So I've been running a RotRL game for a relatively green group of players, and doing my own conversion to the PFRPG system. In the spirit of me being lazy, we've done away with xp entirely, and instead the party is leveling up at specific points in the story, usually after defeating a specific boss. We've just finished Burnt Offerings, and it's been working well so far, but I'm still trying to get a feel for the party I'm working with and what level of difficulty they're comfortable with in the game. In any case, we're about to start Skinsaw Murders next week, so I've been working on my conversion, and I'm trying to figure a few things out...
First, at what pace should they be leveling up in this adventure? With them starting it at 4th level, my initial inclination would be to have them hit level 5 after they defeat Aldern, level 6 after Justic Ironbriar, and level 7 after Xanesha, but I've read some things suggesting that they ought to be leveling up sooner than that.
Also, I'm wonder how to appropriately rebuild the NPC villains, starting with Aldern. My party rolled through Nualia pretty well at 3rd level, and I had made her a level 6 antipaladin, though they did have Orik Vankascerkin on their side, and they got lucky with her rolling a 1 on her save against a monk's stunning fist attack. In any case, I currently have Aldern drawn up as a level 6 rogue (rake) with the dread ghast template, and he ends up with fewer hit points than Nualia had and with a lower AC. I'm concerned the party is going to burn through him too quickly to make the fight seem climactic, and was wondering if I should bump him up to level 7? I would just put some armor on him for more survivability, but I don't want to throw my party's WBL off too much, and I think they're already a little bit ahead after what I added in the 1st adventure.
I would also welcome any advice on building Ironbriar. I was planning on making him an Inquisitor, either level 7 or level 8. Xanesha as well. I've heard plenty of horror stories about her, and I don't want to throw her against this party as-written.
This is getting a bit ahead of myself, but any advice on converting "bosses" from future adventurers would also be welcome, as would suggestions on points to level up at in further adventures.
If it helps, the party I've got right now consists of 5 people (I'm usually adding minions to boss fights, but won't be for Aldern or Xanesha in this case). They're currently level 4, and they are...
Dwarven Barbarian (Brutal Pugilist) 2/Monk (Martial Artist) 2. Probably our heaviest damage dealer, with a decent AC too.
Half-Elf Fighter (Rondolero) 3/Ranger 1. High AC, decent damage in melee, and just got his disarming trick.
Halfling Rogue 3/Wizard (Illusionist) 1. Shooting for Arcane Trickster later. He became a wizard after stealing Lyrie's spellbook in Thistletop.
Elven Cleric of Desna. Unusually low strength for a cleric, but building himself for archery.
Half-Orc Druid. Tends to offer spells to control the battlefield, then wade in with a falchion.
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I'm running RotRL for a Pathfinder party right now as well :D My players just finished book 3, so hopefully I'll have some good insight.
I made Nualia an Antipaladin as well, but level 7, and she had backup. I think the biggest problem in RotRL is that the bosses tend to sit alone (at least for their first introduction to the PCs), making them easy targets if your party can deal good burst damage.
As far as Aldern is concerned, my party ended up exploring Foglove Manor while I had determined he was out killing people - leading to an interesting situation where the party knew who the killer was - a killer who had a magical mask that let him take the face of people he could see. The pressure got put on doubly when he started taking their forms to attempt to murder people they had connections with. Play him smart - a Rogue shouldn't charge into battle against alone and 5 people without backup. Have him wait until the party engages a family of farmers he's turned into ghouls, then have him spring out and sneak attack.
I left Ironbriar a Cleric. I got a lot more mileage out of him by having the mayor host a breakfast with a dozen or so important NPCs from Magnimar (town councilors, businessmen, a few judges, etc.) with the PCs present. Make sure he's got a few skinsaw cultists to back him up (and maybe a Faceless stalker or two). I also re-did a few of the cultists as Vivisectionist Alchemists to spice things up a little.
I left Xanesha mostly the same (just left off a few AC buffs so that she was hit-able). If you want to make things more interesting, give her a Lamia attendant to drawn some fire.
I left book 3 mostly the same, and the party burned through it; I wasn't that interested in most of book 3, and they didn't complain XD
Depends on what you use it for. If you're using it to paralyze the players, I'd say go for it; death attacks below level 7 is a little mean for my tastes :D
What do you think about Aldern kidnapping someone close to the players (especially the character he's become obsessed with) and then taking that person's form when the players come to call?
Party: "Shalelu! Thank goodness we found you before the worst happened!"
Aldern (as Shalelu, tied in a chair): "It was horrible! But now that you've freed me, I've got to tell you: He's an undead! Quick, drink this potion of Hide from Undead and you'll be safe!"
::hands a bottle of poison to the party; Spellcraft or Craft (Alchemy) to correctly identify it::
Very devious, sir. I like the way you think. But who to kidnap...
Janking Ameiko a second time would just get old, but I suppose if I make it a running gag...
The half-elf PC is looking for his father, who has traveled all over the Inner Sea and is originally from Varisia, so I'm making the chick who runs the tailor shop his half-sister, but he hasn't really met her yet despite all of the bones I've been tossing out there.
Beyond that, the only NPCs the characters have dealt with at length so far are Hemlock and the dwarf who oversees the Carpenter's Guild.
They did find a journal in Aldern's room in Burnt Offerings, though, leading him to flee the town and almost kill a few guards on his way out, so maybe now that the goblin threat has been quelled and the roads can be traversed the Sheriff could head out with a couple of guards to apprehend him. As an assassin, perhaps his first move is to paralyze the object of his obsession? At this point, I'm not sure if he'll envy the fighter/ranger for his heroism or he'll be consumed by wrath towards the rogue for exposing him.
"Arise, o thread, from the depths of the archives!"
*casts Raise Thread*
Ironbriar as an Inquisitor is an interesting option. But has anyone tried him as a War Priest with the Cult Leader archetype (both from the ACG)?
And I like the idea of switching out some of the regular Skinsaw cultists with Alchemists (vivisectionist). Just so long as no one tries to throw bombs in a certain location ...
I've statted up Xyoddin Xerriock as a Slayer for my game this weekend. I wanted to put more Occult Adventures material in for this weekend's session, but I didn't feel like it fit well into Runeforge, so I'll save it for Chapter 6, when things start to get weird.
My party will be finding the Cultists Sunday. I rebuilt Ironbriar as Cult Leader 8/ Rogue 1. I boosted him a bit because I have 6 PCs, and they might have a Cohort in the fight too. Really, I only gave him the 1 level in Rogue to get Linguistics profienciecy, since it's kinda key to his journal. I also gave all the Cultists 2 more levels of Rogue with Gang Up and the Knife Master archetype. It should be a sufficient challenge for them.
Going over the Cult Leader, it almost seemed like they built that archetype for Ironbriar. The only thing he misses out on as a 8th level Warpriest compared to as written is Evasion. The skills come out almost the same, as well as his spells, oh and a BAB of +6 instead of +5. With the swift action buffing, he'll get into combat MUCH sooner. I'll trade that for losing Channel.
Yeah, I noticed too how well War Priest (cult leader) fits Ironbriar. As for the lack of Evasion ... if the party insists on throwing Fireballs around in the sawmill, they'll deserve what they get. (More bang for their buck than expected.) Please tell us how it went!
Nualia is practically a perfect fit for a regular War Priest - which is how I ran her. :)