Converting Ironfang Invasion to playtest rules. (spoiler)


Running the Game


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So we finished book 2 of the Ironfang Invasion, losing 3 PCs in the process. We are taking this opportunity to convert to the playtest rules. We have done character creation and had 1 low key session so far. We were already using the unchained action economy, and while I like it a lot, I thought it would probably work better with PF2. Plus, people still get confused about caster level. And some of us were just keen to try it.

While the PCs hit level 8 at the end of book 2. However, book 2 says the PCs are established as the most powerful heroes in the region, and that various Chernasardo Rangers who gather to their banner are between levels 1-6. As such, it didn’t feel right to me to bring in a bunch of randos at their levels, so I’m committing one of the biggest faux pas in Pathfinder and using different levels for the PCs. *gasp*

Ironfang Invasions has next to no shopping, instead having a ton of found loot. I’ve had some fun converting items between the editions, with some being obvious, like Ibzairiak’s +1 AoMF granting the effects of a more level appropriate +2 Handwraps. Others were a little more abstract, like taking the +2 Headband of Charisma which boosted the eloquence of Parthuk the Troll and turning it into a Choker of Elocution programmed with Goblin. Some were tough judgement calls, like deciding the Cloak of Elvenkind would be too strong if converted into its new level 10 version. Various items didn’t even require modifications, granting out of combat effects.

As a general rule of thumb, I’m going to assume something like a +2 amulet of natural armor translates to a +2 potency rune, and occasionally adjusting boss loot to more level appropriate options.
We are also using the militia system, which is granting the PCs various boons as they rank up their forces. This has so far included an extra skill feat, an extra skill to expert, and an extra skill to master.
So our party consists of:

Half-Orc Monk 8. He actually lost an arm fighting Ibzairiak, the black dragon final boss of book 2, but also got his +2 amulet. He’s using wolf stance, ki blast, wholeness of body, and wall run. His big skills are stealth, athletics, and acrobatics. Currently using Bracers of Armor 2nd.

Dwarf Fighter 8/Cavalier. He’s taken every Cavalier feat but Banner, and took Power Attack and Shield Warden for his Fighter feats. He’s a master in medicine and crafting, and has taken Magical Crafting to boot. He’s used that to shift runes around to create a +2 Shock Lance and +2 Dragonhide Master Splintmail. (Homebrewing the material was pretty easy—make it master quality minimum and then make it cheaper to inscribe an energy resistance rune on it, just like PF1.) He made the character before the ancestry update, and since he had been built to maximize his saves I let him spend an ancestry feat to keep hardy, essentially. He was very disappointed with the change and it didn’t seem like it would cause any harm.

Human Ranger 7 The previous archer ranger had been training up a protégé in fiction, so I let her come in a level above the completely new characters. This Shoanti nomad has inherited a pretty sweet set of equipment, including a +2 shortbow, +1 longbow, 2 +1 shortswords, and a set of+1 Shadow Studded Leather. The armor and swords were taken off the book 1 final boss, a bugbear slayer. The studded leather was original spiked an fortified. But armor spikes no longer exist, and fortification is much stronger now, so I repurposed it into something that it seemed appropriate for the Bugbear to have instead. Mostly archery feats but also twin take down IIRC. She is dabbling in snares and crafting but mostly focused on survival and stealth. Perhaps the least optimized in terms of ability scores.

Gnome Fey Blooded Sorcerer 6. Focus on intimidation and Deception. Took Animal Speaker ancestry feats to fill the “wild empathy” role, which is super useful in this wilderness heavy campaign. The party seeks to continue treating various dire animals like pokemon instead of killing them.

Halfling Maestro Bard 6. A bit of a wild card—I’m not totally sure what to expect here.

Session 1 was mostly just spent on militia stuff, role-play, and crafting—we were down 2 players so I didn’t want to start in earnest. The crafting rules seem to work fairly well in play—one interesting thing I learned was that if you have multiple crafting projects to get done and don’t precisely know how much downtime you have, it is only worth taking extra time on the last one because you save the same amount per day no matter the original cost of the item.

I also realized afterwards I was letting them convert gold into crafting without paying heed for acquiring raw materials—which isn’t a given since they have very little shopping access. Still, they have lots of gold, gems, reagents, and an excessive amount of extra weapons they’ve picked up to arm their militia. Handwaving the gold cost as an abstraction of all of that seems OK.
Because they plan on outfitting their militia with extra magic weapons and armor rather than selling them, I may need to add some extra wealth. In particular, I’ll probably tweak some upcoming loot drops to beef up these new casters—they need some help since they are under-leveled and the existing permanent items aren’t as helpful to them. Still, there’s some old wands that have been gathering dust that these new party members can finally use.

While the dwarf crafted, the monk and sorcerer went out and fought two red caps. The sorcerer fireballed them for 20 a piece, and the monk one shotted each them with crits. With flanking, he only needed 13 on the dice to do so. Also, Metal Strikes is waaay better this edition thanks to Weakness.

For next session I’ve prepped the rest of the Fangwood encounters. It was also pretty fun to do. I have made an adjusted Book 2 random encounter table using the PF2 bestiary— a few enemies converted directly, but several others are just using tweaked statblocks of PF2 monsters that I have reflavored. I’m treating CR as level and it seems like it should pretty well.

The Ironfang Deserters for encounter A were easy, as level appropriate Hobgoblins are already in the bestiary. I’m going to wind up upgrading that base stat block a lot as the game progresses though. These troops will also clue the party in on a new group of refugees they can take in for encounter B. These folks have been infested with Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing eggs though— using local herbs to cure the affliction is going to call for me to decide on some Skill DCs, and I’m not sure if the original DC 20 checks for this section will feel appropriate. Still, I’m inclined to use them for the moment.

Searching for said herbal remedies will lead to encounter C, a Maenad and 4 charmed dwarven revelers. The dwarves were CR 1 but buffed by the Maenad, so I’m just using the stats of level 2 orc warchiefs. Replacing the weaponry and orc ferocity with dwarf stuff. For the CR 8 Maenad herself, I am using a level 9 Night Hag as the base—I figured the level bump would help make up for the 5 man party. I trimmed a lot of spells, and replaced them with heroism, some food creation spells, charm, confusion, and paranoia. Making the charm spell at will bypasses the plot problem of its reduced duration, I think. I’m not sure if I want to make Infectious Dance an AoO Confusion or if I want to use the less dangerous Paranoia. I think the confusion nerf that they get a save at the end of every round will probably make it fairly reasonable, especially with the bard around. For her Con damaging poison, I’m using something modeled after the Leng Spider, a 3 stage affliction with increasing drain value and confusion at stage 3, lasting 6 rounds.

Debating whether the maenad’s lyre should be master quality or a full blown Maestro’s Instrument for the bard.

Patchy the advanced Dire Bear was originally going to be an Elite Cave Bear, but because she went from a CR 7 base to a level 6 base, it didn’t quite seem to cut it. Instead I’m basically using the numbers of the mastodon and anaconda as benchmarks for level 8 animal numbers and adjusting the cave bear to match.

Finally, somewhere in all this Marrowcrack will probably strike, looking for revenge for the death of her pet gorgon. She’s been chowing down and graduated to a Greater Barghest. She could get real dangerous if she strikes when the party is still worn down from these other encounters. Her at will invisibility means she can really pick her moment.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at! I will update on session 2 after our Sunday game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Super cool to read, thanks for taking the time to share!


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Erpa wrote:
Super cool to read, thanks for taking the time to share!

Glad you like!

I will say, I like how easy it is to build monsters even without the monster building rules. (Which according to the last stream should be coming... soooooon?)


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Good to confirm this is possible outside the Paizo staff. Works roughly as I figured, but knowing people are implementing it and seeing success is good to see. Thankee for posting.


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Session 2 went pretty dang well. Notes from the top:

--I am experimenting with a house rule that combat maneuvers don't factor into multiple attack penalties. For my reasoning behind this, see here. The change seemed to be well received among my group, especially those who have also participated in the playtest.

--We all need to adjust to the new tactics more. The cavalier had some struggles figuring out when and how to challenge, for example. I didn't use my monsters actions as effectively as I should-- I need to get used to things like moving away to get rid of the volley penalty or using the combat maneuvers instead of just attacking 3 times.

--Exploration tactics work reasonably well.

--Lower level enemies can still crit hard enough to make players feel it.

--The XP rules actually make it pretty to have lower level party members, because you don't gain XP for trivial encounters. So most of the encounters were trivial for the 8th level folks but still awarded XP for the 6s and 7.

--The original skill DCs from the AP have worked well so far.

--Dirge of Doom is quite good, as it has no save and is AoE. It does mean an intimidate focused party member will find it harder to find targets while it is running. Frightened really seems like something that should stack, IMO, since it usually decreases by one every round. Then again, Demoralize is already pretty powerful I guess.

Specifics:

As mentioned, Exploration mode went pretty well. The party is well balanced for it. The ranger covered tracks, the fighter used Expeditious Search to keep a lookout as they moved, and the monk used stealth but managed to keep pace with the party because he was about twice as fast as their slowest member. I find the travel rules for distance and such much cleaner this edition.

They were told two of their patrols had gone missing around a certain area, and went to investigate. They snuck up on some loudly bickering level 4 hobgoblins using the bard's invisibility sphere, which is significantly better than invisibility for only being one spell level higher.

To adjudicate a "surprise round," I had everyone roll initiative. The goblins were blissfully unaware they were in initiative though, so the party hunted targets and dropped into stances and what not for free. Then the other 4 party members readied single actions to go off after the sorcerer cast fireball, which she did on her turn. The readied actions all triggered, and the fight picked up with the sorcerer having one action left. (Which was interesting because she wasn't at top of the initiative order, but we just rolled through it downwards. It worked pretty well.)

The hobs put up an OK fight, considering their level disadvantage. The bard used Dirge of Doom to great effect, keeping the hobs' AC lowered and allowing more crits. One hob sniper actually landed two back to back crits on the fighter, not only doing scary damage but stapling him to the ground twice. The party's teamwork hasn't completely gelled yet-- the ranger and fighter got their challenge and hunt target crossed a few times. The fighter mostly used power attack, and charge as well when possible.

Sure enough, the party won, and single prisoner they took revealed the hobs had captured one of the missing Chernasardo Ranger patrols. The other is still MIA, but they did find a bloody scene with no bodies and a bit of a Ranger's uniform.

The hobgoblin also told them of the Greatest Supreme Chieftain Boss, and the description of Barghasts allowed the fighter to roll a Recall Knowledge that clicked with a monster the party had fought before but failed to identify-- the Barghast Marrowcrack, who came very close to killing the fighter before escaping. Knowing this badass monsters was still out there made them nervous.

We followed with a random encounter with two Ohanacus-- giant cyclops fey critters. I used the stats for a Hill Giant (7) with two additional drawbacks: Weakness cold iron 10, and a cumulative drained penalty from yanking soul hairs out of the giants' beards. I decided that probably made them more like level 6 enemies and adjusted XP accordingly. I also lowered their perception mod/DC. The hillgiant has a +14 and 0 wisdom. Any higher than a 9 seemed silly, and made even the master stealth monk way to close to coin flip territory. This is a widely discussed problem.

They got two good hits on the monk, but he SHREDDED them thanks to metal strikes and rolling athletics against their reflex save to yank out beard hairs. The archer and fighter also laid out some sick damage and the casters managed to provide pretty decent support. Another trivial encounter to the level 8s.

The party then discovered the new group of refugees, and was super paranoid about catching whatever sickness had infected the group. They were terrified to realize the culprit-- Wolf in Sheep's Clothing eggs. The monk and ranger had fallen into the trap of one of these aberrations on a scouting mission and came very close to dying. But the party succeeded at all the checks to identify the problem and began gathering the plants needed to make cures. It only took about 6 hours for them to get enough to save the whole group, way under the 48 hour window they had. Go team!

However, while gathering the last of the tincture ingredients, they came across the party in the woods... we ended just before rolling initiative with the bard and monk charmed into joining the feast. We will see what happens next!


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Oh, also, I'm using the AMAZING GM sheet done by Charon Onozuka. It makes tracking XP, how much time has passed, secret checks, and various rules and conditions so much easier it is crazy. Highly recommend it. Honestly, this is an excellent resource regardless of edition, but Charon might have one for PF1 as well.


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Our sorcerer decided she wasn't happy with the gnome she built, and is going to instead bring in a draconic sorcerer, played by Resh the troglodyte hunter from book 1! The refugees let Resh go alive as a peace offering to the trogs. (Party was away when Resh and her sibiling attacked the camp.) She happened to be on guard duty when the party approached the cradle of stone to propose an alliance, and ever since they moved out of the Cradle and into Fort Ristin she's gone with them to act as an ambassador to the Children of the Stone.

Making a homebrew ancestry was pretty easy (+2 Con/CHA/Free, -2 INT), and we skipped making feats by letting Resh qualify for the Adopted Ancestry feat since she'd been spending so much time with humans. (She'd also started bathing regularly so no stench aura.) She also secretly began worshipping P'tah because of the oracle Ibzairiak killed, and when meditating on the flames some powers awoke in her blood.

In other news, I'm working on encounters for part 2. Bulettes were easy. I also used their stats as a benchmark for the Giant Ogre spider-- took the level 11 goliath spider and lowered it down to 8. It's web pit trap seems like I can just run it as is, DCs and all. Treasure rewards here included an efficient quiver, lesser bracers of archery, and 12 +2 arrows. None of that exists in the playtest. The arrows seem easy to port over, and the efficient quiver could be as well,though we already have one and probably don't need another. So I'm considering replacing the quiver and bracers with an Oathbow. A level 10 item would be a pretty big get at this point, but that volley trait seems like it will keep it from being too nuts and we already have a +2 shortbow, so.

Advanced Griffons are going to use Smilodon (5) stats, removing armor rending and replacing it with a 70 foot fly speed. There's a potential bane weapon reward here, and they've got some old bane weapons too. I think I'm gonna say bane weapons get treated like their potency rune is +2 higher. Will be interesting to see if this unbalances them on bane greatswords and such. (Also, oil of gravity bow improves the bow's damage dice by one step, so a +1 longbow does

We also had a trench mist and some giant phantom armors made out of melted minotaurs. The armor was easy-- use animated armors with level 4 minotaur stat benchmarks. The trench mist.... I'm gonna try just running the PF1 version. Maybe adjust a DC here or there. Honestly, the stat block would be better suited to a complex hazard than a monster, but we will see how it works with zero conversion effort.

There will some quarrygeists and alibino spiders coming up. Not expecting any spider trouble, and I think the 'geists should be fine using some ghost benchmarks.

Ridgeline Camp has got a couple upgraded Hobglin Snipers. It also has a wolf riding calavier that I was considering just building using PC rules, but he's only level 8 and you can't actually get a large sized wolf by then. Also, he needs something Inspire Courage-y for his troops, so I'm gonna let him cheat the multiclass into bard.

The thing I haven't done yet is Troops. I'm gonna need several for this AP. I THINK if I just make an appropriate level monster and apply swarm mechanics from the bestiary, it should be fine.


Regarding invisibility and Initiative, you handled it basically the same way I did when it came up for me.

Only difference is that I assume creatures do have at least some sense that they are in initiative; sort of a preternatural "danger sense". Basically I had the monsters act the same way I would expect PCs to act if I suddenly told them to roll initiative and then they couldn't see any creatures.

It's definitely a little weird not having surprise rounds, but I definitely see the gameplay reasoning behind it and it isn't as awkward as I originally thought in play.

Really cool to hear about this conversion, overall. I've been very curious what converting a 1e AP to 2e would look like, so this is a fun read. :)


The quarrygeists, which are variant gear ghosts, are going to be run with their PF1 statblock. Anything that isn't going to trade blows seems like it will work this way.

There's a bunch of random encounter stuff, and I'm considering how much of it I want to use. There are some higher level ogres that I could level up or just use level equivalent giants for.

The troops wound up being pretty easy. I just leveled up the original hobgoblin soldier, added weakness 10 AoE, a swarm type attack, a 2 action volley, and buffed the HP a bit. I like that the shield block actions are still on the table-- I like the idea of a troop using its actions to form a phalanx.

Treasure assignment continues to be a concern, mostly because there's so much of it in this campaign. I'm considering handing out bigger ticket items than prescribed. It is interesting because in PF1 lots of low bonus items could add up to really powerful results; even if you have a +2 Amulet of Natural Armor you might still get use from a found Ring of Protection +1. But that's not really true anymore. As such, it's tempting to just hand people larger bonuses to achieve the same effect, but that can lead to a lot of max level items dropping like candy. At least out of combat stuff isn't as big a deal.

If folks are curious to see any converted stat blocks I'm happy to share.


Questions;

1 - How'd your Caviler take losing Orders and Tactics or did he not use them before?

2 - Like to hear more about how you did crafting rules because the group is in the middle of no where, the need to swap to silver, and the issue with treasure.

3 - Exploration works because Ironfang is an exploration based game. I'd like to hear how they liked it when they hit a castle or cave.

4 - Resonance is still in testing. Are you playing with the new testing rules or the standard Resonance rules as depending on what you use, magic items from PF1 are a problem or less of one.


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1 - How'd your Caviler take losing Orders and Tactics or did he not use them before?

Seems to be a non-issue. He was a gendarme order of the flame, so he gave up tactics for more permanent feats and his order was really just for min-maxing damage anyway.

He WAS a little sad to see lose his OP spirited charged damage, but rolling 9d8+2d6 on a crit seems to have him entertained right now.

2 - Like to hear more about how you did crafting rules because the group is in the middle of no where, the need to swap to silver, and the issue with treasure.

Silver is easy-- just divide your gold by 10. They had access to the merchant Novi and were able to liquidate stuff into gold and/or crafting supplies, but I did handwave this a little more than I maybe should have.

Once supplies are taken care of, they need a workspace, but Fort Ristin, Trevelay, and Misthome all have forges.

Beyond that, it is really just running it RAW. Their biggest hurdle right now lack of formulas and no one having inventor, but they sank all their currency into reverse engineering the formula for +2 weapon runes and then upgrading weapons to them, so that hasn't mattered much.

3 - Exploration works because Ironfang is an exploration based game. I'd like to hear how they liked it when they hit a castle or cave.

I imagine more tactics will be employed at that point once the group can move at half speed. The monkey trap dungeon should be a good test.

4 - Resonance is still in testing. Are you playing with the new testing rules or the standard Resonance rules as depending on what you use, magic items from PF1 are a problem or less of one.

I'm using the normal playtest rules, not the new resonance test ones. The new ones aren't ready to be implemented on this scale because it would require redoing every magic item and powers and such.


1) So the Caviler changes didn't effect him at all. Okay.

2) Divide gold by 10 and lower the amount of gold you find. Find far more silver and not always in easily x10 amounts I would think. This deals with treasure more than crafting.

3) I look forward to seeing how they react. I've dropped Exploration from my games, no reason to use it.

4) Then I think you could get away with handing out a bunch of magic items to them. Sure you could use a Ring of Protection and an Armlet of Nat Armor +2 but the player would need to go "Do I want +1 or +2 cause I have Resonance 2 and have other items I would like to use". Honestly if they can get away with using everything they find at once, what's the point of Resonance again? I'd play it as written unless I'd have to really change something when it comes to treasure, see if it bothers them or not.


2) That's really only an issue for the occasional copper that isn't in an increment of 10, but that will happen less and less as treasure pools get bigger, and it is a negligible amount you can just round out anyway

3) It's worked fine in the playtest so far, I'm not especially worried.

4) I'm not planning on using non-existent items like rings of proection and amulets of natural of armor, so this is a non-issue. Their removal from the game reduces the item bloat a lot. Thus far folks seem to have plenty of resonance for their items, though they haven't been dipping into the consumables yet.


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Good session, all in all. Notes from the top.

-- Skill DCs work rather well with minimal changes. Which I guess isn't shocking, since comparatively a master skill in PF2 at this level is only 1 or 2 behind a class skill with maxed ranks from PF1. Currently PF2 lacks many other ways to buff these skills like trait bonuses, racial bonuses, stuff like skill focus, etc. But that doesn't seem to be a huge problem, and item bonuses remain. I'd rather item bonuses to skills be replaced with something else though, but that's a more general thing.

--Spellcasting seems decent. I think debuffs could use a look-- spells not stacking with Demoralize seems to be an annoying trend, and I've noticed various conditions are mostly anti-caster tech in combat rather than more broadly useful, like Enervated and Fascinate. The sorcerer still seemed to be learning the ropes and struggling a little, and the Bard was a tad as well. They definitely didn't deal as much damage as the martials, though they really only used 1st and 2nd level blasts so it isn't shocking.

--Having the casters be behind in level feels like it may have been the wrong call after all. Their saves and DCs feel far enough behind to really feel the difference, and not having access to 4th level spellslots yet is an issue. The bard has hit level 7 now though, so he, the sorcerer, and ranger will all getting XP at the same doubled rate and will hopefully catch up very soon. Otherwise I may just auto level them to the same point as the veteran characters.

--I'm trying to be generous with XP awards, partially to compensate for the level gaps. I feel like I'm playing Calvin Ball with it a little, so we will see how they look at specific milestones.

So they had a pretty good fight with the Manead. The dwarves made for passable interference since the PCs didn't want to kill them. I had Tromaki's performance affect everyone within 60 feet as confusion, but only the bard failed his save and he rolled to act normally. SO did most of the dwaves, so they fled into the woods and I handwaved that the party could restrain them after they finished the fight, cuz, screw rolling all those saves and percentiles and what not just to see if a dwarf bashes their head in on a tree.

She only got a couple of good licks in, and they saved against her poison, but I think that's to be expect when you're massively outnumbered. Once she went down, the party began the whole searching the bodies shtick, and got ambushed by a toxic breath weapon from that Greater Barghast. She crazy good on her stealth check, so I just put her at the top of the initiative order and kept them in the same sequence.

She got blinded on a successful save from the bard, enabling the ranger and figther to crit, plus a little more damage from the monk and she was down to single digits in one round. The sorcerer hit her with dimensional anchor-- and she saved, but it still worked for a round. And since the Barghast didn't have recognize spell, she had no way of knowing she was anchored, and wasted her turn trying to dimension door away. Aaaaand then got crit again by the fighter.

They then got to claim their prize-- the Manead's Maestro's Instrument.

The dwarves were rounded up, the refugees purged of the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing eggs, and everyone camped. The next day they escorted the refugees back through the forest to the home base, and they crossed into the territory of Patchy the dire bear. The DC 24 stealth or survival checks to cross her territory seemed very doable, until I realized they should be 10 higher because their group was so large.

So inevitably Patchy finds the group and snatches a refugee. The party pursues her back to the cave, sees the cubs, and instead opts to charm her with the instrument they'd won the day before, and then used Animal Whisperer/Speaker to talk to the bear, and bribe her with meat to take her cubs and follow her home. (The meat turned out to be the Manead because the Barghast was too toxic, so feeding something shaped like a human to a bear got a little dark.)

Upon returning, they discovered their fey spy team they had dispatched to Longshadow was missing, and the party rolled out to go find what was happening in the Hollow Hills.

They used diplomacy to let a pack of griffons search the sight of a slaughter for treasure before the griffons carried off the bodies. They got a bunch of gold, a +1 Elemental Bane longsword, and some +1 studded leather I upgraded to +2 to keep the party up to snuff with their gear benchmarks.

We ended with the group making camp, and then getting ambushed by bulettes. They really want to eat that halfling. Next week: jumping, the landshark!


MaxAstro wrote:

Regarding invisibility and Initiative, you handled it basically the same way I did when it came up for me.

Only difference is that I assume creatures do have at least some sense that they are in initiative; sort of a preternatural "danger sense". Basically I had the monsters act the same way I would expect PCs to act if I suddenly told them to roll initiative and then they couldn't see any creatures.

It's definitely a little weird not having surprise rounds, but I definitely see the gameplay reasoning behind it and it isn't as awkward as I originally thought in play.

Really cool to hear about this conversion, overall. I've been very curious what converting a 1e AP to 2e would look like, so this is a fun read. :)

I don't see a huge need to have PCs roll initiative if the rolls are reversed-- especially since invisibility lets you "roll 20" on your stealth check, it basically lets you auto pick your initiative. So when the Greater Barghast crept up on the party, she could have done one of two things with her surprise round.

1a) Use a single readied action, such as a strike, with the trigger "just before my turn begins." Effectively that would allow for a 4 action turn, placed at the top of the initiative order, and then you roll from there.

2a) Skip the readied action so that she can open with a two action activity.

I had her do the latter last game, but thinking about it I don't think anything in the rules would have prevented her from doing the former to effectively get that 4th action. Hmm.

All that only really applies because she was a single enemy; were she coordinating an ambush with allies it would have run a little different. If the party's evil doppleganger NPCs were creeping up on the PCs, I'd have probably run it with either:

1b) All enemies ready a single action to go off on the same trigger, such as "I shoot an arrow at the next enemy to move." All their readied actions go off; we then roll initiative as normal.

2b) One enemy wishes to open with a two action activity, like casting fireball. The others ready a single action, with the trigger "right after the fireball." The NPC fireballs the group; the readied actions trigger, and we then roll initiative. The big change here is that we don't start at the top, we start with the NPC who used the fireball, having already used two actions. That means rolling the highest initiative and going before the arsonist is actually a bad thing, unless the arsonist is very last in the initiative order. Which is a little counter-intuitive, but they same to use similar concepts for starship combat, and it seems to work OK.

The only real difference between the NPCs using invisibility sphere and the PCs is that for the former you pretty much can't roll initiative until the actions trigger, while for the latter you can get away with doing it before hand. And honestly, you may as well wait to roll initiative until after readied actions trigger in case that kills some of the folks getting ambushed.

I think the most significant change to the "surprise round" is probably that you can't open with most spells now. The old "standard action" model allowed for surprise casters to be much more dangerous. A group of evil wizards using the invisibility sphere tactic and all launching fireballs could lead to a very dead party.


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On rituals and rarity: one of the party's big motivations is right now is getting their hands on Resurrection magic: they lost 3 PCs and a dire weasel they want back. The problem is they can't cast it themselves , and haven't had access to a major settlement. While the militia rules have allowances for using spellcasting teams to restore characters, it requires procuring scrolls to do so and that's a no go without a market. Theoretically they can also gain black market access through certain militia teams, but that seems impractical at the moment.

But since know have rituals for Resurrection, I'm inclined to say they don't need a scroll so much as someone to teach them this ritual. At that point, I think the wealth expenditure of casting the spell, plus risk of critical failure, should serve to keep the usage from running rampant. Of course, needing to find instructions really puts them back in the same place: they still need some kind of settlement access because the ritual is uncommon.

Now that might be done once they get to Longshadow, with it's 5th level spellcasting services.. The thing, Longshadow seems to follow a similar pattern as many AP settlements: it lists 5th level spellcasting services but has no named 10th level casters. There are a variety of ways you can write around this in most adventurers, but this book has two big problems. One, there doesn't even seem to be a mention of temples in the town. The closest thing we've got is a 5th level sorcerer samsaran with no formal religious training but who knows enough to run the town graveyard. (It does mention bodies are consecrated off site at appropriate temples, but not where those are, so it could be out of town.)

Two, this town is going to come under assault, and 10th level characters seem too much to handwave into the background and keep the spotlight on the PCs.

I see a couple options.

1) Handwave that a temple exists and there's someone who will cast the spell for party.

2) Say the gravekeeper knows the ritual, even though he's not a high enough level to cast it. If he teaches it to the party we should be good.

3) Have the nearby wizard Navah might know it-- she's level 11, and even though she's got necromancy as an opposition school, she seems like the type who might covet ritual knowledge. This also leads into the book's sidequest to seek her aid for the upcoming assault and cure her of her mania.

Not sure which I will pick yet. Still, neat to get to play with rarity mechanics.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Excellent use of and reference to Calvinball, sir! Lol


Erpa wrote:
Excellent use of and reference to Calvinball, sir! Lol

Glad you're a fan. ;)

One minor issue. So when I make adjustments to a stat block I copy/paste it into Microsoft Word. This mostly works pretty well. But I lose the action icons in this process. It isn't a huge deal. Reactions are still easy to recognize because they have Trigger in bold. Strikes are always 1 action anyway, and for any 2 action activities I just note [b]2 Act[/] in bold just before it.

I don't suppose there's any program that will let me copy/paste and edit text while still retaining the icons. But it does seem like something where a work around could be implemented. This strikes me as relevant to the ongoing conversation about making icons work for screen readers. I'd imagine a solution to screen readers might also create a text solution for copy/pasting.

This thought was sparked by the action icon questions in the spell survey.

Silver Crusade

Navah could conceivably do a 2-step teleport to Tamran.


PCScipio wrote:
Navah could conceivably do a 2-step teleport to Tamran.

Hmmm, good idea. Not sure it quite works under PF2 rules. Handwaving that she's got acccess to the uncommon spell seems fine. The 10 minute casting time could present a problem, given the Skeltercat Cloak only works for 15 minutes a day, but I can either double that time to make it more practical or they can cure her, probably with wand of 4th level restoration they could purchase in Longshadow.

The big issue is Tamran and Longshadow are more than 100 miles apart, so a single teleport wouldn't do it. She could do in a couple of days though, I reckon, which will probably suffice for the downtime post-assault.

The other thing you've made me realize is that Navah could teleport the party to sabotage sites, or at least near by to them. I reckon she may not want to stick around for the fighting, especially if she's on the limited timer of the Skeltercat Cloak. But even if she ports back them there and they have to make their own way back, that still saves them precious time they can spend preparing for the attack.

That's especially relevant given teleport nerfs between editions-- the 9th level party could have technically had teleport access, but now they can't since it got bumped up a spell level. So having Navah around really helps that out. Hope they save her!


About the Teleport; Don't you still need to know where you're going to teleport?

I mean in PF1, I ruled Navah couldn't teleport them because she didn't know the sites in question(And wasn't going to risk getting shunted somewhere).

I don't think PF2 has the same risk. Well I mean it does (1%) but that doesn't seems enough to make players not spam teleport.

Reading a bit more, it does say Incorrect knowledge does cause the spell to fail but also at whim of GM. No table though, but I think withholding the chance of success from PCs(And having a teleport table in the GM book) would be the way to go.


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Another solid game. Notes from the top:

--Monsters are kewl. Lots of interesting stuff they can do.

--MAP not applying to combat maneuvers has led to some interesting results. I've utilized it more than the players have thus far, but it can be rather interesting in dynamic terrain.

--However, this is a point where monster skills being too high gives them really good odds of landing maneuvers. I don't think it has hurt the fun of the table though. Usually knocking people around just costs actions and tends to make the battles more interesting than just rolling a bunch of misses with third actions.

--I'm getting the hang of critical failures on Recall Knowledge, and am getting better about rolling such things in secret. Thus far, I've been leaning into stuff that makes the party sweat or feel a little silly when they realize they are wrong, but doesn't really harm them in any meaningful way. Example below.

--Mounts can be a vulnerability. They are usually easier to trip, hit, or reel in than PCs, especially with the 4 legs trip bonuses being gone. Catfall does wonders to help with that though, because if the mount gets tripped the rider lands on their feet.

--Cavalier has a paladin of Erastil as a cohort. I'm basically using the old Leadership table to determine her level(5.) Works out well. I never liked Leadership as a feat you can take, but it works fine as a guideline when the narrative allows for the party to get followers, and Ironfang invasion does. I let the paladin act on the Cav's initiative for simplicity.

The bulette fight worked pretty well. Getting sleepy time interrupted made the group meant no armor, which felt like a solid XP budget adjustment for having a 5th member (well, and a cohort.)

The first Bulette absolutely decimated the halfling in the first round and almost dropped him, and he did wind up getting knocked out in the second or third round. The fin slash move kept the party on their toes, trying to avoid giving the things a line of effect. The monk didn't wake up during the initial surprise round, and was instead awoken by a fin slash auto crit fail. Nasty. Luckily he had Wholeness of Body to patch themselves up.

I also had the bulettes trip the mounted characters-- fun flavor text of them rupturing the ground underneath the mounts.

Through good luck and decent positioning, the 5th level Paladin did a lot of damage. Unfortunately that drew a lot of aggro and she was being played as a straight martial DPR machine, ignoring her shield and Lay on Hands, so she got crit and knocked out the last round of combat. The player learned a valuable lesson about keeping his toys from getting broken.

As they Treated Wounds, the party rolled Nature to see if they knew how big of a pack bulettes moved in. They crit failed, so I gave them a yarn about how landsharks, like normal sharks, had a sense for "blood in the water," and more of them could arrive at any moment. So the party pushed ahead at night for an hour before making camp again, and got a very late start to adventuring the next day. I had considered dropping the next encounter the night before, but instead opted to use it the next day before they arrived at their destination.

So the Cavalier has Expeditious Search and got to roll perception against the pit trap of the ogre spider. He succeeded, and no one stepped onto the trap. However, the ranger got up to examine it, at which point the ogre spider popped out and won initiative. It immediately knocked the ranger into the 50 foot pit with one action, web tethered the Cavlier's horse with the second, and reeled horse and rider into the pit with a third. Strong opening.

The monk crit Demoralized it then, and it fled back into its little hidy alcove. The Cavalier tried to climb out, and got stuck to a web. The ranger took shots from the bottom but had trouble maintaining line of fire when the spider fled back into its little hidey hole.

However, this didn't stop the monk from wall running down the pit, then wall jumping into the spider's alcove, cornering it. They then proceeded to slug it out one on one. The spider shoved the monk into the pit, but the monk just Wall Ran right back up to it.

The rest of the party managed to get into position to support each other, and the battle wrapped up pretty quick from there.

In both fights, players had a lot of bad rolls, so monsters fared well. They also didn't get any crits until the monsters were in the single digits for HP.

I had bumped the ogre spider up to level 8 to adjust for party size. However, I realized when the fight started I had forgot to adjust a few values, including skills and HP. I just did it on the fly and it was fine.

The party also found enemy messages and a few magic items on the centaur. I converted the ammo as described above, let the efficient quiver just exist as an item that let's you ignore the bulk of ammo and such, and turned the Lesser Bracers of Archery into Bracers of Missile Deflection. I thought better of dropping a single higher level item on them. (Side note: I don't really get why you can't wear a second pair of bracers as shin guards or whatever, but the only Bracer's of Armor user in the party is the one armed monk, so he didn't have enough appendages anyway.)

The party healed up and made their way to Rayda's Hollow. They found the mining settlement abandoned, but with evidence of its recent occupation by the Ironfang Legion. Uncovering notes about a recent mine collapse, they went down (reluctantly) to look for survivors. They heard the tapping of said survivors, and cleared the rubble out of a tunnel with an hour's work.

... Which then got them stuck in the "monkey trap," as the Quarrygeists used their trap resetting powers to re-collapse the tunnel behind them, and set various other traps for them on their only remaining route out. That's about where we ended minus a little loot gathering and other plot info. They found a Candle of Clean Air, which I think I can basically run as written, replacing "resistance" and "deflection" bonuses with item bonuses. Should get the similar non-stack factor, but the +4 bonus still makes it useful at this level.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Those quarrygeists were a far-beyond-level horror for our PF1 group and we fled as soon as we realized we couldn't really kill them anyway yet.

Thanks for the thorough feedback about your conversion. A lot of notes match with my experiences converting War for the Crown (though of course, we have way more social rules in WftC).

Also, I'ma stop reading this thread now: You've caught up to where we are in the AP, and I don't want any spoilers beyond that!


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So today I did my first foray into adding class levels onto existing monsters. Enter the Burrl Ogre clan. I was trying to do it using a character sheet and failing pretty miserably, so then I just used my copy/paste into word and adjust numbers strategy, which made it much easier.

My monsters were the CR 7 Ogre Boss (ogre fighter 4) and CR 6 Ogre Brute (ogre barbarian 3.) I used the level 7 Hill Giant and level 6 Cave Bear as baselines to check my work against.

Here's the original statblock for the playtest ogre.

OGRE CREATURE 3
Perception +5; darkvision
Languages Giant
Skills +1; Acrobatics +4, Athletics +9
Str +5, Dex –1, Con +2, Int –2, Wis +0, Cha –2
Items hide armor, javelin (6), ogre hook
AC 16, TAC 14; Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +5
HP 60
Speed 25 feet
Melee ogre hook +10 (deadly 1d10, reach 10 feet, trip), Damage
1d10+7 piercing
Ranged javelin +8 (thrown 30 feet), Damage 1d6+7

To add 4 levels of fighter, most of these values increased by 4 as a baseline. In addition, I looked at what sort of item bonus increases a character would expect from leveling from 3 to 7-- armor upgrades from +1 to +2, so that another +1 to saves and AC. They also have a +1 potency rune and could have a master quality weapon, which is +2 to hit and additional damage dice.

I struggled to figure out how to account for TEML. 4th level fighters are masters in weapons, for example. But it seems the basic ogre might already be an expert, and with a +1 item bonus to hit. So I only had the TEML and item bonuses only increase by 1.

The ogre boss wears full plate instead of hide, so I adjusted the AC accordingly. (The ogre's TAC seemed 1 point too high compared its AC in hide, so I used the full point swing between TAC and AC in full plate.)

Finally, I adjusted the ability modifiers of the monster to those of its PF1 counterpart. (The baseline PF1 and PF2 ogres share the same ability mods-- more on this later.) Of most relevance, it wound up with +6 STR, -2 Dex, +4 Con, and +1 Wis.

This brought my ogre boss's to hit to the same value as a Hill Giant's, +17. Saves wound up in the same ballpark, although with a larger disparity between high saves and low saves. Coincidentally, that's the same to hit value as a level 7 fighter would have if they had +6 to strength. Which of course, they can't, but they also are going to have much better dex than our ogre boss has.

I noticed that while the hill giant does rolls 3 damage dice, it only gets +5 to damage, which is actually 1 less than its +6 strength mod. Many creatures just add their strength mod to damage, which some, like the ogre, seem to get an additional +2 bonus, presumably for size. Because the ogre seems to fall into the latter category, I let it keep its +7 damage mod (+8 after strength got bumped up) rather than giving it a third damage dice. So his greatsword is +17, 2d12+8.

I gave him the proper number of class feats-- Sudden Charge, Brutish Shove, and Improved Brutish Shove. And finally, I gave him a demon mask to help him keep his underlings scared and in line, plus add an actual useful item drop. Even if I actually gave the ogres magical weapons and armor, they'd probably be too big to carry and sell.

The Barbarians followed a similar route, but I decided to make them giant totems. The sluggish 1 lowered their AC and to hit, but their damage on a hit goes up to 2d12+14, which feels exciting. I gave them accute scent, swipe, and sudden charge. I am unsure if I plan to use the 1.6 rage rules-- I'm going to run 4 of these at once, so having separate timers for all of them seems like it would suck. OTOH it will be weird if they all get fatigued on the exact same round.

I took a stab at doing their grand pappy, who was an ogre brawler 7, but wound up giving up on it for the moment. I can't quite decide if the character should be monk 7 or fighter 7 with monk multiclass. Leaning towards the latter I guess. If so, I intend to treat the creature's total level as character level for purpose of multiclass qualifications. So he can snag the 10th level flurry if he so chooses.

My next project is a harpy slayer 2, but given the harpy already got bumped up one level this edition, I'm tempted to just bump her up another and call it a day.

Looking through the bestiary, I noticed a lot of monsters seem the have the same ability mods their PF1 versions did. In cases like the ogre's melee attack, this makes the to hit bonus actually pretty easy to see the math on. However, when a monster's mathematical to hit bonus was so low as to be irrelevant, THAT's when it seems to get a kind of arbitrary looking boost. This is the case on the ogre's javelin, as well as the harpy's attack bonuses.

Interestingly enough, my 6th level Harpy winds up with stats very close to those used by the Harpy Slayer 2, who had a much better set of ability scores than the default harpy whose ability scores show up in the playtest statblock. I guess the modern AP writers want monsters that are actually relevant against PCs, too. I think if ability scores were toggled to be a bit more in this vein, complaints about monsters not making sense or not mirroring PCs would quiet down a lot.


Good good session. They basically did the entirety of the Rayda's Hollow dungeon this evening. Only 4 PCs, which made life easier in some ways. (Ranger couldn't make it.)

Notes from the top:

--The XP conversion has worked out real well. By my calculation the original PCs should be hitting level 9 right on time with the milestones, assuming they defeat the Trench Mist of Redburrow. One of the other characters hit level 8 tonight.

--Gold may be more of a challenge than anticipated, though. It has been brought to my attention that dividing by 10 for the silver standard really isn't the only change to the economy-- WBL values seem to vary pretty drastically between editions, as do item prices.

-- And there's some really massive paydays coming up in the adventure. The party currently has about 7800 gp they've collected and has another 7300 worth minerals (weighing nearly two thousand pounds) if they can figure out to transport them to town. There's another 19,500 to be found at the Ridgeline Camp, and a Stipend of 20,000 to help defend Longshadow plus an additional 500 gp retainer for each PC.

--Really gotta decide how much of that is gonna translate.

--Wall run and wall jump let the monk parkour past some obstacles and look good while doing it.

So they fished a dead dwarf out of some sewage. In the original version, she had +2 Belt of Mighty Constitution, which I turned into a Belt of the Five Kings. Which is a much more valuable item, but I honestly couldn't think of anything else for it to be. There's a weird lack of belts in the current playtest treasury.

They then sent the monk out to scout one of the two paths left open to them. He found himself in the den of some Albino Cave Solifugids which miraculously beat his perception DC and got to ambush him with their pounce action. I think only 1 or 2 hit him though, and he then won initiative and used his awesome mobility to high tail it back to the party down the other path.

Unfortunately, he ran directly into a caustic acid jet trap. As the party fought the pursuing spiders, they didn't notice the Quarrygeist resetting said trap as it joined the fray.

Someone on the Ironfang Invasion board actually made a Quarrygeist conversion, which I started off using, but it was level 8 instead of 7 and it felt a little too strong even for that level. So I downgraded it to a level 7 version using the Greater Shadow's numbers for my benchmarks. But I had a lot of fun with the special abilities they came up with-- telekinetically shoving the cavalier off his horse and into the Gust of Wind of the sorc was pretty hilarious.

The party quickly devestated the spiders, and the Quarrygeist crit failed a save against the dragon breath of the sorc, so it actually pulled back. The Cav gave chase, and triggered the acid trap again. The Quarrygeist had a bit of running fight with the Cav, and then retreated to float above a trapped bridge. Which the monk heedlessly charged onto and triggered. XD

At that point, the Quarrygeist was able to just float out of reach of the Cav and snipe the party members. The monk got a good ki blast in but didn't have the spell points to spam it. (This is about where I decided to lower the 'Geist's numbers, especially hit points, or this would have dragged on FOREVER>) The fight was really carried by the sorc using magic missile and the bard using spiritual weapon to bypass the thing's resistance.

(Recall Knowledge from the Sorc also came in handy for knowing what they were fighting.)

They were pretty banged up during this fight, and the monk was almost out of spell points, but the casters had plenty of spell slots. So they spent like 40 minutes Treating Wounds and continued.

They then cautiously used Exploration tactics to push forward, actively Seeking for traps around every corner, and the dwarf's stone cunning actually juuuuust let them spot the last collapsing ceiling trap. They wanted to know if they could bypass it somehow, and the sorc asked if she could Dispel it. Considering it had a disable DC for something I couldn't fathom, I decided there could be a magical effect holding it in place and let her trigger it with the spell. (Also, just had her roll for it, and since she rolled really well I didn't bother looking at the confusing counteract tables.)

This then commenced combat with the final two Quarrygeists. The Cav got stuck in the collapse zone with some bad timings and the 'Geists triggered the trap 3 times on his head, which was amusing. But in the narrow quarters here they lasted much less long.

The party added the two surviving minors to their tag alongs, and is now getting ready to attack the Ridgeline Camp. I'm not worried about the encounters-- I've got them mapped out. But I AM worried about the currency conversion now. Part of me wants to just use the silver/10 thing and see what happens. It seems like it might blow past the PF2 WBL curve for level 9, but honestly this AP feels waaaay more generous than WBL should have allowed for in PF1.


Oh, one thing I DM forgot to mention on XP. PF1 assigned XP from traps as if they were monster encounters, while PF2 uses a much lower "hazard rate" of XP. Because I want to keep up with PF1 milestones I am not using the hazard table to determine XP awards. I always thought it was weird that a one second trap granted the same XP as a 45 minute monster fight, and prefer the PF2 hazard XP rate. But cutting these awards down to 25% will slow leveling down in undesirable ways, especially when I have lower level characters still catching up.

On gold: I'm feeling more and more inclined to just see what happens if I use the silver/10 thing. A lot of those rewards are optional anyway-- they are awarded only on a success for a given quest, or are hard to actually cash in on. If the players do well enough to get it all, let them reap the rewards. Ironfang has always seemed like a high powered campaign anyway.

Plus I have 5 players right now, so the gold gets split up a little more. And this will be their chance to really shop for what they want.


Camp Ridgeline was... intense.

Notes from the top.

--Encounter balance is VERY finely tuned. I built the 80 XP first encounter with a 20 xp adjustment for 5 party members. When our bard player bailed at the last minute, I thought "well, let's see how they do, they can win extra XP if they win with only 4." The cavalier got his butt kicked and got dropped to 0, so I had the bard show up to heal him and provide buffs.

--Ranger levels aren't worth adding to monsters, IMO. I did it because the original monsters in the AP had ranger levels, but hunt target is too fiddly to run on multiple NPCs and animal companions underleveled barely justify their existence.

--Ranger PCs seem pretty solid though. Even with bad rolls the archer ranger did pretty well. Hunt Target makes 3rd or 4th attacks actually feel relevant, especially against foes a couple levels lower.

--Remembering to have enemies drink their potions is hard, though this was true in PF1 as well.

--Potions taking 1 action to drink is super nice.

--Play of the Night went to the monk: wall run > wall jump > grapple a flying harpy. Next turn: flurry (crit), kill harpy > kick off harpy back to wall > wall jump back to ground with call fall making up the difference.

--I like combat maneuvers not getting the multiple attack penalty. Their critical failure conditions add a little risk as is, and feel like a nice replacement for the fumble mechanics we used previously.

--Bards make nice DM PCs. Inspire Courage doesn't require much thought, and the spells are pretty straightforward. Spiritual weapon+ Inspire is a particularly easy "auto setting" to use.

So the session itself. Ridgeline camp consisted of:

2 level 6 Hobgoblin snipers with owl companions in opposite watchtowers.

Sergeant Dog, 8th level hobgoblin fighter/cavalier with Inspire Courage and shield feats. I added a level and gave him a potion of haste to help offset the 5th party member.

Level 6 troop.

Camp was set at the top of a cliff that made it hard to sneak up on, with an 80 foot fall attached.

They sent the monk into scout, but he rolled bad on a stealth check and got spotted. This put the camp on alert and made the fight harder. Monk runs away.

The party then used invisibility sphere to get close, which frankly made my life easier. The sorcerer used fly and a spontaneously heightened invisibility on the ranger, and she rained arrows down on the battlefield invisibly like a boss.

The monk ran up a tower and ki blasted a sniper and his pet out of it. Noice.

The cavalier tried to close with the Sergeant Darg, but his heavy barding war horse couldn't quite get there with a double move and instead ended his turn inside the troop. This was a bad call.

I barely remembered the owls existed; had I used their work together actions they might have contributed but didn't really as is. To be fair, they weren't really combat relevant in their PF1 incarnations either.

The troop began chipping away at the cav and Bad Horse with their swarm-esque attack. Dargg drank his potion and rolled up and tripped the cavalier off the horse with his flaming flail. Cav cat falled onto his feat though. Dargg then landed a crit, doing massive damage, knocking the cav prone, and lighting him on fire. The cav kipped up and then jumped back on his horse, but he was seriously put on the defensive. He wound up fleeing in the single digit HP and then getting dropped by an arrow.

The sorcerer took a lot of abuse from the snipers-- those fireballs really drew attention to her.

I don't think Dargg had been hurt at this point, but his mount was damaged in a fireball. The mount wound up getting taken out by a ki blast, which also had the benefit of leaving Dargg prone.

The troop got dismantled by a couple fireballs and an alchemist fire thrown by the monk. Weakness mechanics are fun.

The Cav's paladin cohort, in the meantime, tried to trip a sniper, crit failed, fell off her mount, and then got shoved off the 80 foot cliff. She lived but was removed from the fight in a pretty spectacular fashion.

I had the bard show back up, Soothe the Cav, and blind Dargg. From there the party had finished mopping up the underlings and everyone ganged up on Dargg and took him down.

The party then only had 4 rounds before the Carrion Brides showed up. Originally this encounter was three CR 6 Harpy Slayer 2s, and two CR 4 harpies. Because of the extra PC, I ran them as five Harpy Ranger 1s with twin takedown.

I really should have just used the Elite adjustment. Twin takedown allowed for some fun flyby double attack shenanigans, but overall Hunt Target wasn't worth the book keeping, and I undershot their AC a little which led to them getting crit and killed.

This fight was quicker and easier, though it did still feel scary because the party hadn't fully healed from the last fight. Sorcerer got dropped and the bard had to get her back up.

Honestly, I didn't think this would wind up being a fight, but the monk was the only one near where the Carrion Brides landed, and he wasn't built for diplomacy. He tried scaring them off and it didn't work. One Harpy fled, as all her sisters were dead and she was fleeing from a crit demoralize anyway. Which gives a nice incentive for the Brides to align with the Ironfang Legion and come after the party in revenge, contributing to the climatic assault of book 3.

I gave them 20 minutes to Treat Wounds before the Burrl ogres showed up to lay claim to the Legion's various prisoners. That's where we ended.

Upcoming challenges:

--We will be hitting a sandbox portion pretty soon, which means I should really front load some monster conversions. I can't spend as much time on it. Brutes don't seem too bad though-- I built 2 Elite and 1 unique owlbear last night quite quickly.

--Casters, on the other hand, will be harder. While I don't mind asymmetry between PCs and NPCS/monsters, I dislike how humanoid NPC casters have inexplicably good martial presence. A cleric shouldn't have as good a to hit value as an equal leveled fighter.

--Spells also make this tricky. Spells having their levels or effects changed change what tactics NPCs have available. A CR 8 hobgoblin battle priest can't use Righteous Might anymore-- which is a shame because that spell now removes much of the work of conversion.

--Shadow Walk/Teleport nerfs also makes fleeing harder.

--Similarly, converting a Hunter who is a credible melee threat while spamming spells is tricky. Is she a Ranger with a Druid multiclass, or a druid with a ranger multiclass? Currently leaning towards the latter.

--We have a verbal duel coming up too, but as Mark alluded to on the last stream I think this shouldn't actually be too bad. I think I can basically run it as written.


Do you effectively drink potions in 1 action? Don't you have to draw it (1 action) (and free a hand if neccesary prior to doing so), and then interact (a second action).


pad300 wrote:
Do you effectively drink potions in 1 action? Don't you have to draw it (1 action) (and free a hand if neccesary prior to doing so), and then interact (a second action).

Indeed. But that still leaves you with an action, where in PF1 and PF1 Unchained it did not.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Oh, one thing I DM forgot to mention on XP. PF1 assigned XP from traps as if they were monster encounters, while PF2 uses a much lower "hazard rate" of XP. Because I want to keep up with PF1 milestones I am not using the hazard table to determine XP awards. I always thought it was weird that a one second trap granted the same XP as a 45 minute monster fight, and prefer the PF2 hazard XP rate. But cutting these awards down to 25% will slow leveling down in undesirable ways, especially when I have lower level characters still catching up.

I did a conversion of Burnt Offerings and I consistently was reaching 800 XP per milestone when using PF2e XP awards. For that book (and perhaps the entire AP) I'd just say you level at 800 XP instead of 1,000 XP.

I'd be inclined to find the "average XP per level" and have that be the target number for any converted APs. Handwaiving XP is becoming more and more popular, however I find there is a benefit in awarding it as you can reward the behaviour you want to reinforce.

In fact, I would treat wandering monsters as a hazard and so that way they take resources from the PCs (which encourages them to press on rather than excessively resting) but the PCs don't get any meaningful reward from fighting them.

Captain Morgan wrote:
On gold: I'm feeling more and more inclined to just see what happens if I use the silver/10 thing. A lot of those rewards are optional anyway-- they are awarded only on a success for a given quest, or are hard to actually cash in on. If the players do well enough to get it all, let them reap the rewards. Ironfang has always seemed like a high powered campaign anyway.

For most APs the treasure pretty much demands to be redone. Permanent magic items are also substantially delayed. +1 magic weapons are level 4 which makes them first encountered at level 3 and level 4. +3 weapons are first encountered at level 12, in contrast in PF1e we typically had between +4 and +5 (or their equivalent) weapons. Your going to have substantially different results without redoing treasure.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Oh, one thing I DM forgot to mention on XP. PF1 assigned XP from traps as if they were monster encounters, while PF2 uses a much lower "hazard rate" of XP. Because I want to keep up with PF1 milestones I am not using the hazard table to determine XP awards. I always thought it was weird that a one second trap granted the same XP as a 45 minute monster fight, and prefer the PF2 hazard XP rate. But cutting these awards down to 25% will slow leveling down in undesirable ways, especially when I have lower level characters still catching up.

I did a conversion of Burnt Offerings and I consistently was reaching 800 XP per milestone when using PF2e XP awards. For that book (and perhaps the entire AP) I'd just say you level at 800 XP instead of 1,000 XP.

I'd be inclined to find the "average XP per level" and have that be the target number for any converted APs. Handwaiving XP is becoming more and more popular, however I find there is a benefit in awarding it as you can reward the behaviour you want to reinforce.

In fact, I would treat wandering monsters as a hazard and so that way they take resources from the PCs (which encourages them to press on rather than excessively resting) but the PCs don't get any meaningful reward from fighting them.

Captain Morgan wrote:
On gold: I'm feeling more and more inclined to just see what happens if I use the silver/10 thing. A lot of those rewards are optional anyway-- they are awarded only on a success for a given quest, or are hard to actually cash in on. If the players do well enough to get it all, let them reap the rewards. Ironfang has always seemed like a high powered campaign anyway.
For most APs the treasure pretty much demands to be redone. Permanent magic items are also substantially delayed. +1 magic weapons are level 4 which makes them first encountered at level 3 and level 4. +3 weapons are first encountered at level 12, in contrast in PF1e we typically had between +4 and +5 (or their equivalent) weapons. Your going to...

Your observation on Burnt Offerings is interesting. Isn't it meant to be run on the fast XP track, which would translate to 800 XP in PF2? At least I'm pretty sure my anniversary edition uses that speed.

I actually really like the idea of using the hazard rate for random encounters. Though it may lead to some head scratching moments as most APs have at least a few encounters that might as well be random from the player perspective but are actually scripted.

For treasure, you seem to be right as a general rule. But Ironfang doesn't run on the standard economic model. Book 1 grants just about double WBL, and I don't think it especially slows down.

It also doesn't drop a lot of weapons higher than +1 for a long time, so I think the extra gold they get can basically keep them equipped at a roughly desirable rate. Especially given various things like rings of protection not existing and enemies getting item bonuses inherently. We will see though!

In other news I've converted most of the monsters in book 3 at this point, with lost of what's left being NPCs. Not too worried about the fighter 8 minotaur final Boss, but there are some clerics and alchemists that will be tricky.

I have indeed gotten much quicker at creating monster Stat blocks, and the results are pretty fun.


Hey Captain Morgan. Interesting coincidence about Rise of the Runelords. It matches up pretty much perfectly in that regard (and we know there was no selection bias from me as I had no idea that it was meant to be run on the fast track or what that even meant in terms of XP totals).

Re: Treasure: Yup. I suspected Ironfang Invasion might be a special case.

I do have a query for you, how long are the combats taking compared to what you would expect? What level are your PCs? I've heard in other threads that combat tends to become a slog at higher levels.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

Hey Captain Morgan. Interesting coincidence about Rise of the Runelords. It matches up pretty much perfectly in that regard (and we know there was no selection bias from me as I had no idea that it was meant to be run on the fast track or what that even meant in terms of XP totals).

Re: Treasure: Yup. I suspected Ironfang Invasion might be a special case.

I do have a query for you, how long are the combats taking compared to what you would expect? What level are your PCs? I've heard in other threads that combat tends to become a slog at higher levels.

Yeah, XP converts really well from what I have seen so far. The only exception is I ignore the "no XP for trivial encounters" rule of thumb.

The thing that makes treasure especially hard in Ironfang is that so much of it is magical items, many of which don't exist in the playtest. But those tend to be utility items that are easy to house rule in. For a lower item drop game like Burnt Offerings I think it seems much easier to adjust treasure.

We started the conversion at levels 6-8.(I risked the problems of staggered party level for story reasons.) we are about to be 8-9. I haven't noticed combats feeling especially longer-- my group has never been the quickest. There's probably a little slow down from learning the new game. There's also maybe a little from rolling all those dice, though people really like that despite the cost.

It helps that enemies in actual adventures are often a couple levels behind the group, which means it becomes a crit fest for the players and they blast through those encounters.


So I built a couple of 9th level hobgoblin clerics for different roles in the book. One is the Hobgoblin Battlepriest, who focuses on offensive buffs and stuff like flame strike, and the other is the Ironfang Guardian, who focuses on defensive buffs like shield other on the chapter's final boss. I did these builds using the Android app pathbuilder, and it made the processs pretty dang easy, especially tweaking the former into the latter with different save files.

I used half-orcs to do hobgoblins and based their deity (Hadregash) on Gorum. They use the zeal and tyranny domains, which are fun. The guardian channels positive and focuses a lot on domain powers, plus multiclasses into paladin for retributive strike. The battlepriest mutliclassed into fighter for AoO and uses channel smite for big hits. Gods help them if he crits. Both wear heavy armor.

I'm looking forward to converting the Behir, a 12 legged blue dragon snake thing, using the giant anaconda, young blue dragon, and hydra for inspiration.

I've been trying to decide what to do with the final boss, the CR 10 Kosseruk. She's built as a unique minotuar fighter (sensate) 8, and is supposed to be a genius of strategy and combat. She wields a thundering warhammer and heavy shield, and is clad in an Elysian Bronze breastplate. The book has a Breastplate of Command as a potential reward from the grateful town, and I was thinking it could be forged from her armor. I'm gonna replace her unfinished Tome of Great Intellect with a Diadam of Intellect for a sweet final drop. Not sure what to do with thundering. Maybe have it deal 1d4 or 1d6 sonic damage and deafen targets on a crit?

But for her statblock... the obvious answer is to add fighter levels to the minotaur. But I don't feel like the fighter currently supports the "combat genius" trope very well. So I was thinking I might do some homebrewing. Something like the rogue sidestep feat where she redirects an attack from one enemy to another seems fitting. Not sure what else.

I've noticed that the higher up the levels you go, the less examples of mundane enemies there are. Even the martial focused ones tend to be fiends with a host of spell like abilities as well. Which is a bummer for building bricks to throw at the party. However, Kosseruk packs a ton of scrolls and potions and a sick UMD score. I think she can probably use those creatures as a reference point and just sub her items in for innate spells. (I feel like juggling items while holding a hammer and shield will be awkward though. Not sure how I will handle it yet.) The horned slaver demon seems like a particularly good example, with it's disarm reaction and innate haste for her haste scroll.


MVP was easily the sorcerer. Fireball and Dragonbreath did huge damage on the low reflex ogres, and gust of wind was CLUTCH against the Trench Mist.

The Ogre barbarian (giant totem) worked about as expected. They hit super hard but not very often, which was really good for making the players sweat, especially combined with Swipe. They scored a hit or two early on that convinced the resource depleted party they were going to get TPK'ed, but they pulled it off. I think the casters used up every spell slot they had left to do it, but they won. (They never seem to remember the rather large supply of wands they have access to.)

Oh, and the Cavalier opted to deal the final blow through the Demon Mask I had given the lead ogre fighter in fullplate. I called that one dent to it, and then he nat 1'ed in repairing it and broke it. Now he's scared to touch it again and risk destroying it.

They uncovered the plans for the Assault on Longshadow in 12 days and collected about 30,000 sp worth of coins and gems. They had an early bedtime because they were out of spells, and hit the road again at like 4am. Between Charron's time tracker and various tweaks Paizo has made to tighten up travel and task time, I can really hone in on how much time passes with much more precision.

Upon passing the remains of Redburrow, they found themselves embroiled with fighting the trench mist. Which was... interesting. I tried to make as few changes to the PF1 stat block as possible-- I maxed its hit dice and boost its accuracy on the touch attack to compensate for PF2 touch ACs being so high. Otherwise I tried to run it as written.

The thing averaged 42 damage on a strike or successful engulf. With it's gargantuan size it could engulf the entire party at once. However, the statblock for the mist specifically says creatures only take damage if they start their turn engulfed, not that they took damage when they first get engulfed. The sorcerer acted just after the Mist, and blasted it away with Gust of Wind every time it engulfed the party. Great use of a 1st level spell.

The mist grew frustrated and tried to just Strike the sorcerer down, but the cavalier used Shield Ally to keep her relatively intact. Its low AC meant they could hit it with 3rd or 4th attacks and really just unloaded on it, especially the ranger with hunted shot for 4 shots a round.

All in all it worked pretty OK. I felt like action economy changes and wonkiness had a much bigger impact than the raw numbers on the statblock did.

Oh, and the Phantom Armors (lv4) last a couple rounds and served to distract the party and prevent focus fire, but I don't think they landed a hit.

I subbed the wand of heat metal found treasure with a wand of acid arrow. Seemed more thematically appropriate given the acidic miasma monster anyway.

Vanquishing the mist took the cav and the monk to level 9 right on schedule.

They ended the session just outside of town. My biggest upcoming challenge is deciding what their shopping options are. Longshadow has a base value of 2600, and if I use 2600 sp as a limit that means the party can't reliably buy items above 6th level. I'm considering if there can be some higher level craftsman they can hire to make stuff while they use prepare the town for the assault and sabotage the approaching army. At the very least, they should be able to hire folks to transfer runes for them. I feel like +2 potency runes seem like something you should be able to get in this town, and I'm realizing everyone needs to get their potency runes up to snuff.

I want them to be able to have fun blinging themselves out, but by RAW their best bet might be buying formulas and crafting for themselves after the Assault, when they will have downtime and even more money. Still, as I've said in other threads, I was never the biggest fan of the PF1 settlement purchasing rules in the first place, so I may just take some liberties.

One other option is I could have Navah do pre-Assault crafting for them, though it feels like an 11th level wizard would have better ways to help the town weather the attack.

Shopping aside, I expect the verbal duel next week, and I feel pretty ready for it. I'm going to let relevant skill feats grant edges, I think. Not sure if anyone took such feats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Still reading. Thanks for sharing!


Erpa wrote:
Still reading. Thanks for sharing!

No prob!

I forgot to mention, I completely forgot about the rage duration update for my ogre brutes. Probably for the best. Running 3 barbarians and tracking rolls for each would have sucked. I did like how when the rage ran out the PCs could pick them off pretty easy. I didn't think an ogre was smart enough to stop swinging so it incurred the full fatigue penalty and got crit hard that round.

It's interesting how much easier to run monsters are than PCs. It makes sense, of course, since the GM has more on their plate. But I'm finding myself less and less inclined to build out monsters with class levels, and instead just boost their numbers to appropriate benchmarks, maybe tack on a feat or two to give them a special action.

Still need to decide on some shopping options.

Edit: Also, the sorcerer initiated combat and ended negotiations with a demoralize, which allowed for a pretty elegant use of her Battle Cry feat, using the same roll for her free intimidation and initiative roll.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Erpa wrote:
Still reading. Thanks for sharing!

It's interesting how much easier to run monsters are than PCs. It makes sense, of course, since the GM has more on their plate. But I'm finding myself less and less inclined to build out monsters with class levels, and instead just boost their numbers to appropriate benchmarks, maybe tack on a feat or two to give them a special action.

I'm converting some modules too and that's would be my approach. Just build they to tell a good story


Heavy RP session leading up the social combat rules. Party mostly just got to know Longshadow and its people in order to get the mayor to listen to them about the incoming Ironfang Invasion.

Social combat rules worked quite well as written, but I did make a couple small changes.

1) I didn't enforce the "always use charisma as the ability score" rule. Most tactics keyed off charisma anyway, but leaving them as is allowed for the Ranger to actually be relevant using her perception score, for example. And it seemed like with mods on most skills being so close anyway it would have felt pretty samey. OTOH, if I had enforced it the sorcerer would have been able to contribute more off her lore skills.

2) I gave the party an edge for every social skill feat I deemed reasonable. Group Coercion gave an intimidation edge, Intimidating Glare did not because it is a combat thing. The Bard went in with a bunch of edges.

3) I let the Bard use Peform for a couple different tactics, seeing as how it had been condensed down to one skill across all categories.

4) The group was told to meet up for the debate at the canary in an hour, which they used to try and get various townsfolk on their side who showed up to watch. I let these interactions count towards seeding and discovering biases for the mayor. Felt much more narratively satisfying than simply having them roll some sense motive against the mayor. I did tweak the DCs to seed the audience, though.

The party did exceedingly well against the Mayor's advisers. They only lost one exchange, reducing their determination from 10 to 7. The advisers were scrambling to try and beat their DCs and kept trying to use Red Herring to force draws on exchanges. I think their downfall was probably mostly that all 3 of them used the same statblock; they didn't have the build diversity to cover all the tactics effectively. Not sure if the PCs using PF2 stats while they used PF1 mattered. A well built PF1 adventuring group could have pretty similar numbers, especially with a Bard in the group.

Overall it was a fun time. People appreciated not having to get out the mat or figurines or roll initiative as a change of pace. They also dug all the little side quest hooks in the area, even if they don't have time to deal with them right now.

They got a 20,000 sp stipend to help defend the town, bringing their savings up to something like 53k sp. They will have opportunity to shop, but I'm currently planning on limiting most of the items to 6th and below to match the level of crafting based NPCs and the base value of the town. There will be some exceptions-- Longshadow has access to crazy levels of mineral based industry, so I think allowing for master quality metal items is reasonable, as well as maybe some stuff like +2 armor and horseshoes of speed. I think mithril and adamantine items will also be available. Plus formulas for higher level items-- I feel like that's way easier to get from a decent sized town because they are cheaper and store better. So the team can get formulas and raw materials to craft after the battle is won.

The monk and cavalier hit 9th last session, the ranger is halfway to level 9, and the bard and sorc are somewhere in between level 8 and 9. I'm dolling out the occasional extra XP to the stragglers for exceptional performances, like the sorc against the trenchmist or the bard in the debate.

The next session will involve them making various DC 15 skill checks to prepare the town's defenses. There will be Ironfang agents trying to sabotage these activities behind the scenes, and I'm curious how the party roots them out. The mayor's 3 advisers have been replaced with Doppelgangers. The ranger nat 20'ed a Seek on one of the advisers and is suspicious about them and so the party has already focused on her. There was a fun moment in the debate where the Ranger used perception/sense motive(complete with Hunt Target bonus) to Bait that adviser and win an exchange.


I'm looking forward to the next session. The Ranger has a bunch of Snare Crafting and tracking feats, and I think this might be a rare opportunity for those to shine in rooting out the saboteurs.

I'm also looking at an interesting point of comparison between editions with the defense point skill checks. It seems like a great opportunity to utilize critical successes, but I'm afraid to skew the math of the final battle. Also, we have opposed skill checks from the saboteurs here, which aren't a thing in PF2. I could swap them for the saboteurs rolling against skill DCs instead, but I like the idea that if the players do their jobs very well it is harder to screw them up, so I probably won't.

Also, the saboteurs inflict extra damage if they win the opposed skill check by 5 or more. I've noticed that a lot of PF1 skill checks have a "critical success" at 5 over the DC instead of 10. I wonder how that will change in the new edition. I'm guessing the 10+ threshold will remain the same, but the DC for a normal success might get lowered a bit on average.

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