War for the (second) Crown: conversion testing.

Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback

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The bells and jingling, the rides are fun, and the sleighs are one-horsing, and the Playtest period comes to a close.
Similarly, on Golarion, the heroic adventurers are rotting on the floor of Ramlock's laboratory and the stars are disappearing as Aucturn prepares itself to assimilate all life and destroy all civilisations... But what happened before that?
Years before the planet was bound to die, a group of slightly more competent heroes has taken part in much less cataclismic events. Their tale, however, is still one deserving to be told, and this is what my next project will be.


So as someone might've noticed, I got to the end of Doomsday Dawn with my group (in a less than optimal manner, unfortunately).
Having spent the last few months running adventures as scripted and working mostly on players' feels on the rules, I now find myself wanting to do something different: I want to see how the rules of Pathfinder Playtest offer themselves not just to GMing, but to adapting existent material into the new ruleset. I want to see how long it takes me to set DCs, decide on attack bonuses, abilities, challenges, interactions, loot, finances, and how well that lines up with the actual successes and failures. I want to run this with my best poker face and then ask players how it felt. I want it to look smooth no matter the amount of notebooks I have to run through, and then count how many notebooks I used.

I will run the War for the Crown AP.

This is mostly because I am currently in Book2 with a PF1 group, and am familiar with the story and areas. It'll help reduce my workload and give me a way to compare PF1/PF2 once I had a couple sessions. It also is an AP that relies heavily on skill checks and downtime, so there will be ways to get those involved. Skill feats might be less impactful with the social mechanics the campaign offers, but I am confident that the off-social parts still have quite a few skill challenges I can use to get them to a valuable level.

As this is a test for the GM side of things, I don't care as much to keep player rules as written. As a consequence I have allowed a few houserules and edits on player side. They should not impact the GM side of things as much (the edits change the way people get values, but not the values themselves). We are also using a variation of Focus and a couple other things.

My first challenge, as I start into this, is to adapt the Campaign Traits into valid Backgrounds, and the Noble Scion feat into a worthy Human Heritage. Time to see how long that takes and how well it turns out.
I hope this can be of interest to someone and that it'll be entertaining for the players.

As a last note, this WILL contain spoilers from WftC, so y'know, SPOILER ALERTS and all.

SESSION -1: setting this mess up

I pitched the idea to my group and it seems like we're going forward. The first thing I have to do is to have a good talk about what houserules they want to make this more enjoyable, smoothing out some of the playtest's clunkiness, while leaving the GM side mostly untouched. That led to some interesting feedback which will end up in a different thread, and the birth of a general Focus ruleset.

Then, I need to set the campaign up so that players can actually build characters. To do so, I need to give them three very important things:

I also need to forewarn that the campaign makes use of Social Encounters, a special kind of event that uses several skill checks (and not simply Diplomacy) to determine whether seasoned politicians can be turned in lifelong allies (with better results being achieved if the PCs beat the DC by 5). For my conversion, this becomes a campaign rule that allows PCs to critically succeed if they beat the DC by 5 in these social situations.

Now, Ancestry. What ancestries are allowed? Which ones would look odd? Which ones would get you shot on sight? Any additions?
The answer, since the campaign is set in Taldor, was from the book: Humans are predominant, and most other races are rare and seen as an oddity, a practical help, or servants. The exception is Aasimar, which are believed to stem from Aroden's bloodline.
...I had to make Aasimars.
I also have a campaign-based feat, Noble Scion, that can only be taken at 1st level.

As a result, I have created a series of Human Heritages, basing their benefits off other PF2 Ancestries and the book's own guidelines. Again, while I don't care too much about players following the rules to the letter and in perfect balance, this is an exercise in conversion, so I took this challenge and ran with it. What you see is my first draft.
I will now list the noble families (with flavour text) and their P2 (and summary of the original) benefits:

you come from a long line of ambassadors, diplomats, and travelers, and your family maintains the strongest ties to the elven nations of Kyonin of any Taldean.
You can select one additional language between Celestial, Elven, Gnome or Sylvan, and you have access to all uncommon Elven weapons and items, Weapon Familiarity (elf), and all feats that require it. (original gave the language and proficiency in one elven weapon)
your Garundi and Mwangi ancestors served Taldor proudly during the Sixth Army of Exploration and were awarded lands and titles for their service. Your family is known for its keen insights and biting observations.
You can use your Wisdom modifier instead of your Charisma modifier for the Diplomacy skill. (unchanged)
your family came to prominence during the Second Army of Exploration, and maintains a legacy as explorers and sailors.
You treat successes in Survival as critical successes. (original had minor Climb and Escape Artist bonuses and a larger Survival bonus)
yours is a family of distinguished military veterans, charismatic demagogues, and xenophobic zealots. As the rest of the family becomes increasingly Imperialist, you have made no effort to remain in their good graces, but you retain the skills they taught you during a childhood of rigorous training.
When using Deception or Diplomacy for Initiative, you treat all opponents as flat-footed until the end of your first round. (original used Charisma for Initiative checks)
your stalwart family defines itself by opposing your devil-worshipping Chelish cousins, a grudge that inspired some of Taldor’s greatest healers, priests, and negotiators.
You have an additional Focus point that can only be used on items or effects with the Fortune, Good, Mental, or Positive traits. (original had extra uses for LoH, channel, bardic music or mesmerist tricks)
your family ranks include the greatest wizards and arcane scholars in Taldor, and schooling in some of the most comprehensive arcane libraries in the Inner Sea was your birthright.
You learn Read Aura as an arcane cantrip, and you add your Intelligence modifier to the amount of damage required to disrupt your concentration. (original had several arcane-based SLAs)
the cunning members of your large family, a longtime fixture in Oppara’s bureaucracy, specialise in tracking lineages and sidestepping red tape.
You never critically fail at Society checks, and you halve the time required to create forgeries, decipher writing, search archives, examine contracts or otherwise work within complex bureaucracies. (original had large bonuses for secret messages and the same half-time bonus)
a close relative of the Grand Prince, yours has been a life of material comfort and indulgence, coloured by constant threats and direct influence.
If you succeed at a saving throw against a mental effect that attempts to control your actions or against a poison, you critically succeed instead. (original had save bonuses for poisons and charm/compulsion)
your starkly conservative family are merchants and entrepreneurs first and aristocrat second, willing to forgo duty if they can pursue profit. They condemn would-be adventurers and readily oust them from the family ranks, leaving you an outcast.
You gain the Additional Lore feat related to a trade or profession of your choice. (original had bonus to profession and ability to use it instead of knowledge checks)
your family immigrated to Taldor from Vudra hundreds of years ago, and thanks to noble roots, extensive trade contacts, and an unparalleled skill in negotiation, soon developed into a steadfast fixture in Oppara’s social scene.
Whenever you roll Diplomacy to influence a crowd, room, or area, you can roll twice and take the better result. (unchanged)
your family is descended from the great general Arnisant, who commanded Taldean forces during the Shining Crusade… and they will never let anyone forget it! Their fierce Imperialist support and nationalist fervor has left you alienated from your relatives now, but their emphasis on scholarship left a mark nonetheless.
When you use the Recall Knowledge action, you never critically fail as long as you are at least Trained. (original had +1 to all knowledges if Trained)
newcomers and outsiders, your Ulfen family was exalted to nobility 19 years ago, when Stavian III promoted your family patriarch to Baron of Oppara as a reward for service in the Ulfen Guard. Established aristocrats consider your family crude, choosing to leave them on the margins of Taldan politics unless a noble thinks they can use you to curry favour with the Grand Prince, but hard-won practicality and newborn cynicism grant you insight most Taldan nobles lack.
You gain a +2 conditional bonus to your Perception DC against the Deception skill. (original had 1/day Advantage on Sense Motive)
your family runs charities and lobbies heavily for social reform, leaving them with few friends among their Opparan peers but heartfelt support from the common folk and lesser nobility.
Whenever you succeed at a Diplomacy or Perform checks to influence common citizens and nobles whose titles are limited to Lord, Lady, Knight or Dame, you critically succeed instead. (original had +2 bonus to the same skills in the same conditions)

Aasimar (heritage): you gain low-light vision and the Angel and Celestial trait, and gain one additional Focus point that can only be used on items or effects with the Good, Healing, Light or Positive trait.

Now, while I did say this is a first draft, I think it flows pretty well in terms of flavour and while it's not mechanically perfect or totally balanced, I don't think there's massive outliers (maybe the Lotheed one). The Karthis family bonus is powerful but harder to trigger, so I'm mostly ok with it. I liked how P2 gives me a lot of tools to tweak and lets me make these pretty varied, and most of all, every single one of these traits (except Talbot's) can be something players will actively call upon and remind others, rather than just being a +1 to forget about. The Aasimar had a dozen different suggestions around, but ultimately I believe the magical angel race should have something magical and angel-y, and that's an efficient way of making it scale with level and stay consistent.

Then, Backgrounds. I will assume everyone is familiar with the concept of Campaign Traits. They tie people in the campaign, they are usually tailor-made, and they allow characters to fit in from the start. That sounds like an ideal candidate for adaptation into PF2 Backgrounds.
I followed the format of two stats choice (physical/mental), free stat, lv1-2 skill feat, Lore. Again, I will list the final result with the same format:

Athletic Champion (Str/Cha)
Your physique and skill brought you into the public eye, and a winning smile helps you stay there. Taldor honors its extraordinary athletes, celebrating them as cultural heroes. Whether you were a gladiator, a runner, a wrestler, or any other competitor, your most recent victory caused someone important to sit up and take notice. You may never have a political career in front of you, but for now your name is helping to bring a little extra money in, and maybe that’s good enough.
One-Handed Climber, Military Lore
(original gave two between Climb, Diplomacy, Perception and Swim, trait bonuses, and a +2 to navigate crowds or anything that prevented being moved)

Child of Oppara (Dex/Cha)
You belong to a noble family that matters in Taldor, though as the story begins you may or may not be on good terms with your relatives. Your upbringing among the city’s well-to-do gives you an upper hand when it comes to knowledge of high society, and you start the game being used to a certain level of comfort. With Princess Eutropia’s efforts to provide for Taldor’s common citizens and overturn years of tradition, new lines are being quietly drawn in the sand, and you have found yourself embroiled in these intrigues whether you intended to be or not.
With this trait, the assumption is that you belong to a minor noble family (and can make up your family name). In this case, your family keeps a small manor in Aroden’s View or Senate’s Hill. If you want to be a member of one of Oppara’s major noble families, you must take the Noble Scion heritage.

Courtly Graces, Fashion Lore
(original gave one between Appraise and Knowledge(nobility), trait bonuses, and expensive extra equipment. also, flavour text mentioned a small inheritance rather than a life of comfort)

Disgraced Noble (Str/Cha)
Your noble family used to matter, until your father took a stand against Maxillar Pythareus, the commander of Taldor’s military. True or not, the accusations Pythareus leveled against your family in return destroyed your reputation and isolated you from the society you grew up in. Now the only thing that matters to you is clawing your way back up the social ladder, either for your own quality of life or to clear your family’s name. You’ve had to practice deception as you began working your way back into Taldan social circles.
Confabulator, Nobility Lore
(original gave one between Bluff and Linguistics, situational trait bonuses, and a 1/day 'hunt target' against those who ruined your family)

Rising Star (Dex/Int)
All too often, great minds must suffer for their art, but you’re one of the lucky ones. Your skills attracted the attention of a noble patron who pays for your food, housing, and tools. As your patron introduces you to other cultural elites, you’re slowly learning to navigate the treacherous waters of high society, but you still remember the lean times when each meal was a hard-won treasure.
Additional Lore, Arts Lore
(original gave one between Sense Motive, Survival, and one Craft or Perform, trait bonuses, and a 1/day bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy or Intimidate, plus a mwk instrument)

Senatorial Hopeful (Con/Wis)
While you belong to a noble family, hailing from the outlying prefectures means you lack the pull and wealth needed to rub shoulders with the stars of Oppara’s social scene. Your life has been quiet, isolated from the thrum of fashion and pop culture, but you see this as a source of insight and aim to help people by someday joining the senate. It’ll be a long journey, but you’ve already begun learning which hands to shake and how to listen carefully when others tell you what they want.
Hobnobber, Nobility Lore
(original gave Diplomacy and Knowledge (local), trait bonuses, and a 1/wk ability to request free items, with value limitations)

Taldan Patriot (Con/Int)
You love your country, its history, and its people... even though they may not love you back. Whether you’re a bureaucrat, a minor noble, or a soldier, you want your community to be the best it can be and you channel that love into a position in service to the people of Taldor.
Glad-Hand, History Lore
(original gave Sense Motive and Knowledge (history), trait bonuses, and a 1/day free information on a noble NPC)

Young Reformer (Dex/Wis)
Perhaps you were born at the bottom of Taldan society and you’re tired of seeing your friends and family toil endlessly with no hope of a better life, or maybe your privileged outlook was shattered by empathy or tragedy. Either way, you know the system is broken, and you’ve dedicated your life to fixing it. But tradition rules Taldor as much as any Grand Prince, and change requires more influence than you have... so far. You’ve got a few friends and allies, and plenty of determination, but while you work toward the power you need to change the nation, you’ll have to resort to more discrete ways of righting wrongs and curbing the abuses of the upper class.
Connections, Taldor Lore
(original gave one between Disable Device and Knowledge (local), trait bonuses, and a 1/day chance to have your allies arrange "things" happening, such as doors being left unlocked, guards repositioned, or key clerks being threatened)

Now, as you can see, this was much less flexible. The structure of background meant having to rely on existing feats unless I wanted to make them up from scratch. The Lore categories were much easier, but while I still managed to maintain some theme connection between flavour text and feat assignment, this feels nowhere near a direct transposition and instead it's much more of a full rework. Perhaps Traits are not a good fit as Backgounds, but I don't see any other well-fitting pieces in the PF2 structure.

Lastly, Lore. As per the Rulebook, GMs decide what Lore categories to allow... but I read that more as a proactive invitation than a permission to block. Therefore, starting a campaign, I intend to advise players on which Lores are most appropriate, and for War for the Crown, I suggest the following:

Suggested Lore categories are Animals, Fiends, Undead (for enemies), Folklore, History, Taldor (for context), Arts, Fashion, Hunting, Mercantile, Military, Nobility, Riding, or any craft or trade-related category (such as Farming, Jewelry, or Smithing). Note that all Lore skills play relevant roles in social interactions.

This is a mix of information from the Player's Guide, my own knowledge from running the campaign, and things that could be expected in the setting. I have used these as guidelines for the Backgrounds, and already know that they will feature in certain encounters (which I haven't fully converted, but... you get the idea. I had to look up tidbits).

Players will receive the information and be allowed to create their characters over Christmas. We are currently set to start after the holidays. I will keep everyone updated on characters, choices, questions, and the like. Let me know what you think of the starting work.

I sort of wish I had made Ironfang backgrounds. But there didn't seem to be as much point doing it for characters who were already well immersed in the narrative.

Paizo Employee Designer

Cool stuff! I am also running WftC in PF2 (currently midway through Book 3 though we had to break til the new year) online with my college gaming group, and it's working really well! The subsystems work particularly well, some better in PF2 than in PF1 with little or no tweaking, though I have the unfair advantage of the game including (with Linda as a player) the authors of the Influence, Verbal Duel, and Persona rules on hand. I would recommend just skipping the succeed-by-5 for an extra discovery in influence and just go with success counts as 1 and crit success counts as 2 (because Perception is trained or better for everyone and handles Sense Motive, one way the influence system works better according to Linda, its author, is that all characters can at least do well at Discovery, so you should see more Discovery success). My group was routinely reaching more than the total successes necessary to fully convince all the AP's initial NPCs, though I added more, using the senators from the back of Book 1 and then a bunch of other NPCs I created in Book 2 so that <redacted, you know who> wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb at the jubilee. They almost always maxed all the "most important NPCs" and then a lot of the new ones I added (the one exception was that they had trouble with Baroness Voinum in Book 2's jubilee, since she starts Unfriendly and the group triggered a lot of her negative biases. They still got her to Friendly at the jubilee and Helpful later on though).

Anyway, basically it means you don't have to create the tracking for the by-5 rolls and it still works great with the regular rules (I also gave -1 successes for critical failures and we had some great scenes from that based on the alchemist rolling so many 1s against Bartleby and hooking it into the story, but the reason why is a big spoiler so I'll avoid it here).

Oh wow, didn’t expect that one!

Hmm. Nice observation about Sense Motive... and everyone has more Trainings, with skills being condensed. I can see how things would be hastened.

I am currently running WftC in path1 too, at about the end of book2, and <redacted> stuck out a little but not too much (kinda the same issue with <small redacted> in book1) - I made this habit of looking up this stuff before and tying them more tightly into the story to help them blend in... but since book2 isn’t over I don’t want to post even if I mentioned spoilers. My groups might read this!

...should I PM?

To be clear, this thread is in no way spoiler free, but it will follow spoilers at play rythm, revealing things AFTER the players go through them. This hit me a bit too early.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Spoilers: Yeah, it's tricky because ideally this thread could also be a good place to put up tips for others wanting to run WftC in PF2. If we moved it to the WftC subforum do you think that would help your group stay out of it while still being in a good place for PF2-minded WftC runners?

As to the WftC stuff, yeah, my group started in PF2 and we've been playing long playtests almost every week, so it's been PF2 all the way through, probably simpler than Converting. <Small spoiler> stood out less because of being given equal representation to the other folks in the AP than <spoiler>. That said, as it worked out, my group has a page with theories on <spoiler> that include huge numbers of theories but not the correct one, so adding more NPCs really helped.

...Yeah ok you're getting a [REDACTED] PM.
To all others, I'm sorry, the information isn't available at your current clerance level.
-Your friend, the Computer.

As for the thread, I think this is more relevant to PF2 then it is to WftC itself. I'll spend quite a bit managing monster conversions and treasure values, so it's not just about the story. Also, I unfortunately have organised this so that I can get the two groups to compare notes and give me feedback on the transpositions, so hiding from them doesn't really help.

Mandatory long shot here, but I am assuming you play a slightly different PF2 than I do. Is there some key difference that helps you more than others in making this a smoother experience? Besides having access to the monster rules, clearly.

(and how did you adjudicate skill feat use in social rounds? Especially Glad-Hand)

Ediwir wrote:

...Yeah ok you're getting a [REDACTED] PM.

To all others, I'm sorry, the information isn't available at your current clerance level.
-Your friend, the Computer.

As for the thread, I think this is more relevant to PF2 then it is to WftC itself. I'll spend quite a bit managing monster conversions and treasure values, so it's not just about the story. Also, I unfortunately have organised this so that I can get the two groups to compare notes and give me feedback on the transpositions, so hiding from them doesn't really help.

Mandatory long shot here, but I am assuming you play a slightly different PF2 than I do. Is there some key difference that helps you more than others in making this a smoother experience? Besides having access to the monster rules, clearly.

(and how did you adjudicate skill feat use in social rounds? Especially Glad-Hand)

Not sure how close the influence system is to social combat, but when I ran my verbal battle I had feats like Glad-Hand grant edges.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Glad Hand requires expert so they did not have it available in Part 1 (level 2 is just in case a rogue takes it, most can't until 3), and it happened the bard took it just after the jubilee. If we needed to influence now, I'd probably give an extra "bonus phase" before everything starts where the bard chooses someone to Glad Hand at the -5.

Paizo Employee Designer

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I just used the same rules as everybody else throughout the playtest (plus monster rules), though I had the updates slightly sooner.

Mark Seifter wrote:
I just used the same rules as everybody else throughout the playtest (plus monster rules), though I had the updates slightly sooner.

Just following this as I am converting Ironfang for a 2ed Brazilian Podcast!

Only problem I have is with some monsters that I need to copy the statblock. But everything is going fine

Dante Doom wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I just used the same rules as everybody else throughout the playtest (plus monster rules), though I had the updates slightly sooner.

Just following this as I am converting Ironfang for a 2ed Brazilian Podcast!

Only problem I have is with some monsters that I need to copy the statblock. But everything is going fine

If you need statblock help, hit ya boy up. I've got book 3 about done already.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Dante Doom wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I just used the same rules as everybody else throughout the playtest (plus monster rules), though I had the updates slightly sooner.

Just following this as I am converting Ironfang for a 2ed Brazilian Podcast!

Only problem I have is with some monsters that I need to copy the statblock. But everything is going fine

If you need statblock help, hit ya boy up. I've got book 3 about done already.


Currently I'm using that Sheet that autolevels PF2ed monsters.

Sometimes is hard how to apply class levels (Currently I'm just uping the monster to the level I want they to be and then select some feats from the class. No Idea how to do multiclass)

And coming up with new abilities and reactions (that are balanced) are hard too! lol

Thanks Mark :) did you use the traits and Noble families at all in yours?

As for the general thread, bit of an update: having a look at DCs and using 10.2 as a comparison, most seems to be aligning with P2 Hard or higher. I briefly thought of remaking every DC using 10.2 (assigning lv1-2 to most things, difficulty based on attitude and relevance, and a few more modifiers if needed) but I think I might just lower all DCs by -2 and call it a day. The variance is pretty much what I want regardless, and it aligns very easily with what I’m seeing would result from 10.2 on a first pass.

If this sort of approach persists, I might just write down a conversion table for skill DCs based on level. Or a formula if I can do it. I like formulas.

Additionally, Martella’s reward and all financial rewards are based off my financial conversion table as if they were level 3 rewards (so P1gp*3/20). For items and treasures, I am joining levels 1 and 2 in a single pool and remaking all rewards from scratch keeping theme where possible.

Paizo Employee Designer

I like to follow the 1st Rule of Dungeoncraft from a long ago Dungeon Magazine, which is somewhat paraphrased as "Don't force yourself create too much more detail than you'll need." So since I only have a Lotheed and a Vinmark (OK I guess that's still two major families, so "only" isn't the right word), I only created Lotheed and Vinmark.

That rule has never worked for me, I'm afraid. My houserules for this game grow day by day, with the only limit that they must not affect the way I work GM side.
(ok fine I reduced loot availability because of weapon damage progression BUT that would've happened anyways because I would've needed to add potent weapons somewhere SO it's fine)

Speaking of loot,

Session 0 - characters, skills, and loot

A lot less material this time as I am not delving into the details, but WftC has some "starting missions", adventure hooks that will become the main objective for the players in the short term, which are based upon their relevant skill ranks. I found selecting these to be fairly simple, as skill conversion simply requires me to have a small note with the skill names beside me and I can very quickly draw an easy parallel to 1e skills. The only downside is that I had to give someone the Aide mission because of their narrow selection - that's ok however as it'll be useful in other areas of the adventure.

The Influence system, as Mark mentioned, is very much system neutral. I will keep every single rule about it unchanged, with DCs lowered by 2 and skills being transposed directly. Only difference will be that double success happens on a crit rather than DC+5 - a nerf counterbalanced by the width of skills, the availability of ranks, and the ease of Discovery checks (weaknesses still grant a +4!).

Finally, loot - I did this from scratch. Took table 11.1 (party treasure by level), examined the levels I'll cover, and created a total list of item levels to assign. Then checked item levels from the list as I added items that were thematically relevant with the ones marked in the AP (such as elixirs of infiltration where the adventure had dust of illusion, and so on) and distributed them in the appropriate areas covered by Book 1. I did not in the end convert the money, despite all the work I did with WBL conversions (that formula will be used in Book 2, with [large scale redacted] expenses and contributions), instead I used the conversion system to get an approximate parallel and then got a round number from my wealth allocation. This is easily the part that took me the longest to work out and it is definitely the most complex, but it'll get easier as I get more familiar with the item list. Currently, it's incomplete (but enough for my first few sessions, and will get further as I go) as I am fitting the whole loot from levels 1 to 5 into Book1.

As an extra note, there is an armoury somewhere on the way where players can pick up masterwork weapons and armours - I converted them to "any Common standard lv1 weapon or armour", as Expert weapons are worth a lot more than in P1, mostly because of resale value and maths reasons. Bulk should prevent large economical issues anyways.

There was one more conversion I did, but forum posts on that will wait until after the players run into it ;)

Game session is Tuesday! Can't wait.

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Alright, WE DID IT! Let me introduce the characters and players. Note that everyone here is from the Pathfinder Discord and has been playtesting / following the system for a long time. Not sure what everyone's nick is on the forums, so I'll just list them as their Discord handle.

-Astrid Oltarsdottir-Vinmakr, ulfen superstition barbarian, played by VikingGoth.
skills include Acrobatics, Athletics, Diplomacy, Medicine, Survival, Nobility Lore.
-Tux Teatime Waddlepaxis, a sharp-nosed gnome from the church of Abadar, played by ThisLoser.
skills include Deception, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Medicine, Religion, Society, Mercantile Lore, Nobility Lore, Undead Lore, Taldor Lore.
-Derek Mansfield, skilled human and shield-based fighter, played by Archfighter Lakobie.
skills include Acrobatics, Athletics, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Medicine, Nature, Stealth, Survival, Taldor Lore, Farming Lore.
-Syri, bleachling diviner wizard, played by Scrip.
skills include Arcana, Crafting, Deception, Diplomacy, Occultism, Perform, Society, Stealth, Thievery, History Lore.

And of course your local GM, Archvillain Ediwir, who is not trying to kill everyone (seriously, I mean it).

Welcome to War for the Second Crown's first part, the Exaltation Gala!

Session 1 - At the Gala

The session started with a bit of introduction and a light tea, followed by cakes and sweets as the well-dressed Martella explained their delicate missions for the evening. These missions are basically social interaction in various forms, and while they are mostly resolved by skill checks, there is enough variety to grant player agency and separate ways to achieve them.
The main core objective is to join the Exaltation Gala and influence some key individuals in order to push a major legal reform, allowing the Emperor's daughter to take the throne after the death of his only son.

Astrid has been given the Aide mission, tasking her with running around the gala carrying messages back and forth. While it has been very time consuming, she has been handling every single skill check without fail so far. Additionally, when presented with smoked duck breast canapés with spiced blueberry and sorrel (I was specifically asked what the waiter was offering) she stuffed her face with three. So barbaric.
Tux has been charged with Discovery, leading him to interact with Duke Leonard Centimus and Countess Abrielle Pace. While his direct approach seems to have irritated the Duke and led to absolutely no progress in that regards, he has noticed a major namedropping habit and uncovered the Countess's duplicity, setting himself up to corner her in an impossible situation - the truth.
Derek has been asked to do some Politicking, and has spent some time awkwardly chatting up Baron Nikolaus Okerra, trying different approaches to convince the reluctant military hero to discuss the politics at large, at one point even trying to approach him through his young daughter, before enlisting the help of Syri and delivering an impressive coordinated discourse that ultimately led to the Baron's acknowledgment of the value of continuity and stability within the proposal.
Syri, in a move that was absolutely not petty, has been asked to perform a minor act of Sabotage, corrupting the wine donated by Martella's own brother to ruin his reputation. Enlisting the help of the only noble gnome around, Marquess Tanasha Starborne of Wispil (who was SO sorry to see her bleaching that she GLADLY agreed to cause some mischief), she distracted the kitchen staff and infiltrated the winery, using her own powers of divination to ensure her success and leaving no trace of manipulation.

A few points of discussion.
As a first session, this played out very much like an introduction, showing the players the social mechanics and getting them comfortable with the system. While I had a ton of material set up, I barely used any past the main adventure information - converting skills was extremely easy and I did it on the fly, DCs were simply reduced by 2 and things flowed fairly smoothly.
Also, having run this campaign already, I could inject some extra foreshadowing, namedropping and leaving clues here and there - I'm sure nobody will remember anything until it hits them in the face. Hi guys. Disregard this.
As with the PF1 group, players have been taking care of missions first and politicking later. With two missions completed, I expect to see more NPC interacting next week, however just like in Wft1C there was close to no "crowd influencing". I believe that is partially my own fault and partially about it being rather intangible as an overall system, it's a little bit weird to explain without giving spoilers.
Skill success has been VERY different. Wft1C had people's first level skill values ranging from +4 to +18, and DC adjustment was basically impossible (it would've made things impossible for whoever wasn't skill-optimised). On occasion, just throwing dice at the NPCs rolled a good 30 without much effort. Here, skills go from +1 to +5, and players have made a lot more use of Discovery checks and interaction to figure out how to approach - I feel like this is much closer to the intended function of the system, and it only works with relatively predictable skill values.
That said, the dice seem to not favour Tux, who has been rolling 3 nat 1s in his first 4 rolls and hasn't done much better after.
Hero points (in a revised form) saw good use, and enlisting Tanasha's help granted an extra point to Syri.

The session ended with an unexpected event as Dame Malphene Trant is seen cornering a junior Senator in a very intimidating way, and attempt to dissuade her end in her henchmen turning on the PCs in what looks to be an impending fight.
As is my duty as GM, I had everyone roll initiative, set everything in order, and CLIFFHANGER!

Glad you finally got started. :) What do you think of writing about your PCs by class instead of their character name? I find keeping track of which name goes to which PC makes it harder to follow along. I find familiar class titles are easier to track for me than made up fantasy names.

A tad impersonal, but I could definitely do it in future updates.

Also, I plan on releasing my notes on loot and combat once I get to the end of book 1 - that way other GMs can pick them up and play the module. It will come with a warning that the loot system assumes ABP rules, and possibly a line or two on how to adjust that for regular games, but I don't expect the playtest ruleset to be that long lived for it to matter.

So uh, this was a bit weird. Session two followed regular scheduling, but was interrupted by family issues and I had to deal with that for a few days, so there was no report. I will now make a double report to update people on the events that transpired and the mechanics involved in my conversion.

Also, I feel like I should repeat this. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Seriously, if you plan on playing this or joining a campaign of this or like the premise and want to try it, DON'T READ. Unless you're always the GM. In that case, hey, I share your pain, go ahead.

Session 2 & 3 - Work fancy, play fancy

Resolving last week's cliffhanger, the party turned the altercation with Malphene in a short-lived battle, knocking down her henchmen and diverting her with a charm spell, getting the guards to remove the two helpers and letting Senator Dou leave unscathed. While Malphene will know about the spell, she is distracted long enough for her efforts to go to waste.

This was the first combat encounter of the game. The corresponding notes were very simple:



E5 (Dissenters), CR2: Dame Malphene Trant (CR1) +3 henchmen (CR1/3).
Removed one henchman as lv0 enemies are offensively stronger than cr1/3 enemies. ~Low (1xlv0, 2xlv-1)
Adopted basic stats of Orc Brute and Orc Warrior, with edits for appropriate weapons and a different escape styled Reaction to allow for more noble-like behaviours in line with the adventure plot.
The overall result is that both statelines are a little weaker than the respective Orcs.

The players were promised a reward from Senator Dou to thank them for the rescue. However, since he will meet them in his office, this hasn't been showed yet (and for this reason it is not included in this level's loot allotment).

They did, however, manage to gather some attention and popularity, which granted them a measure of rewards: Tux the Cleric engaged in political discussion, shaming a particularly annoying nobleman into an uncomfortable position and gaining a sign of friendship from a local judge. Syri the Wizard got the attention of the lead curator of the museum and has been showed how to restaurate antiquities, and given a repair kit to practice. Derek the Fighter fraternised with the kitchen staff and got some Antidotes for precaution (noble gatherings can be dangerous). Finally, they met Kalbio of Breezy Creek, a young peasant with starry eyes and unruly hair who has captivated the hearts of the group and assisted them in some attempts at entertainment in the Gallery, earning them some gifts, a small amount of tips, and a scroll of Hideous Laughter that one particularly passive aggressive earl mentioned could "help make their next performance less quiet".
There's no shade like Taldean shade.

These items have been slotted as their item levels and are part of the allotted items for level 1 adventures in table 11.1. They have been picked by making them thematically close to the items in the original adventure (for example, the earl originally gave a wand of Eagle's Splendour with 5 charges) but altered to fit the new system.

Most of the time in both sessions was spent getting to know Kalbio, a stuttering, smiling idiot who seems to be loved by everyone he talks to (except Duke Centimus) and is destined to be exalted into nobility at the end of the Gala, becoming a Lord. They also managed to complete the missions left over by the previous session. Of particular note is the fact that Syri the wizard managed to get the attention of Princess Eutropia, thanks to Kalbio's help. She also greeted him and welcomed him into high society, wishing him a long and successful career in Taldean nobility, while a person in a dark suit explained some unrelated big words to a nearby group.

As the gala came to a close with dinner and the Senate gathering, people got some more discussion going and gained some contacts which might be helpful in their future endeavours. The primogeniture vote came up and eventually passed, granting Eutropia the ability to inherit the throne one day and placing women on par with men in terms of noble lineage. In its closing speech, the Emperor made no effort to hide his displeasure for this resolution and threw an abundant amount of shade against the senators and his daughter (most of which went straight over Astrid's head, as it would with most barbarians). Finally, he brought forward Kalbio for his Exaltation, and made a long, unhinged speech about trust and duty, condemning his senators for their plots and schemes against the crown and all bloodlines in Taldor, ultimately stabbing Kalbio and ordering the guards to eliminate the traitors.
Oh yes, this is where I wanted to close, with the song starting halfway through the speech and silence falling after the reveal of about 50 guards on the map, closing every entrance. See you next week, everyone... except it would've been the second half-length session in a row, and it kinda sucked. So we continued.

As soon as one of the players was hit by the guards, they all felt a surge of energy and got surrounded by complete darkness and silence.
A basic casting of Light revealed they were in a dusty old room, no exit in sight, except for Derek the fighter who was stuck in the nerby bathroom. They explored the adjoining rooms and figured they were trapped in some sort of ancient panic room, while Martella kept giving them staggered updates through their magical badges. While it took a while to leave the room, I may have been blessed with the least dumb players in the history of puzzles and they managed to leave the rooms just before the session time ran out, finding the exit to an ancient corridor, the body of a dead noble, and an old undead creature coming out of the very stone in the walls.

The fun has just begun...

Alright, who's the d@$*~ead king who oversaw the construction of these tunnels dozens or hundreds of years ago? I got a bone to pick
Can't believe we gotta risk our 2nd-level lives cleaning up some rich a%*~+#*%s' undead mess. . . .

Completely leaving out that Astrid the Barbarian solved the puzzle by lounging on a dusty bed and trying to read.

VikingGoth wrote:
Completely leaving out that Astrid the Barbarian solved the puzzle by lounging on a dusty bed and trying to read.

right, you followed the clues, found the right title, picked the book and... laid back on the bed, opened it, and dropped the key flat on your face.

Slow clap.

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Alright then, next chapter coming up!

We dedicated this session to Kalbio.
He was there when our adventure begun,
We were there when his ended.

Session 4 - Night at the museum

In the hidden chambers underneath the Senate building, the heroes faced the undead remains of entombed architects and builders. The two creatures manifested themselves through the very stone, but got forced into withdrawal by the magic of Tux the cleric and the might of Derek the fighter. And also a temporarily magic weapon. In the adjacent rooms, the heroes found a bunch of terrified nobles, a humble servant, and... Dame Malphene Trant! She wasn't happy to see them.
Grouping up with the concerned noblemen, the group ensured that the way was safe and started exploring the abandoned corridors. What they found soon after was an ancient, abandoned museum, with plenty of historical artifacts and pieces of military history in carefully-placed glass cases.
Clearly, they opened them to take some weapons, armours, and a particularly good-looking crossbow.
Clearly, the only two full plate armours animated and started chasing the robbers.
Clearly, it was a difficult fight.

What surprised me here was tactical versatility. Rather than just standing and whacking (which, hey, could've worked), players tried to manouver, bait and tank, even kite the armours exploiting cases and speed. At one point, Astrid the barbarian disarmed one and used their own glaive to beat them. While the dice made this even harder than necessary (I might have rolled 3 nat20 in just a couple of rounds), everybody seems to appreciate the mechanics for construct armour and how it interacts with damage reduction (It doesn't, technically, but critting gets easier, and that helps). Thumbs up for the combat, but GM beware - deadly weapons really are deadly, especially at low levels.

The game went on in a rather even mix of exploration and combat, mixing odd fights with guardians and local inhabitants with strange findings of historical artifacts and ominous circles. Something lives in these ruins, but nobody seems to be able to figure out what.
An abandoned chapel to Aroden reveals an apparition of the mighty "Arrow Dean, god of the humans", a warrior clad in green and gold, demanding an offering in exchange for his blessing. As you can imagine, everyone called me out on that, and the trickster gremlin that created that image was eventually spotted and forced to give up the pretense, up to the point where he eventually literally threw money at Derek the fighter to have the "faithless" leave.
Next session, they're going to explore a dusty library.

I have made large use of bulk as a way to limit their ability to loot and found it still practical / applicable. Treasure mainly consists of art / trophies with some consumables thrown in - I remembered to use trinkets, but they seem very narrow in scope.

Monsters of the day:
C1 (Hall), CR4: 2x walcofindes
Using the Ghoul statline as base. ~High (80xp) L4
Edits included adding DR2, reach, removing all special attacks and jaws, altering their movement, raising claw damage to 1d6+1 (agile, grab) and adding a special attack to drag grappled characters through the wall. Scary stuff deserves to be hella scary.

C4 (Museum), CR3: 2x degenerate guardian phantom armours
2x Animated Armour, High (80xp) L4

C6 (Storage), CR3 trap: shocking floor trap
Custom lv2 trap (8xp) : Stealth DC16 or Detect Magic. Disable Thievery DC16 (expert) or Dispel (1st).
[R] a creature opens or breaks the jewellery cases. All creatures in contact with the floor take 2d12 electricity damage (Reflex DC14 half).
Trap can be triggered safely with the use of a 10ft pole, which is why you always bring one.

C10 (Seed Vault), CR2: garden ooze
Gray ooze, altered to be greenish to hide in the vines and leaves. immune to electricity rather than fire. Trivial (40xp) L2

C12 (Archive), CR3: guardian scroll
Elite Animated Broom statline, attacks by throwing itself at someone’s head, bludgeoning people with the wooden support and wrapping itself around their head (blinded rather than coughing, Reflex rather than Fortitude, 1 action to pull it away - can be done by others). Trivial (30xp) L1

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So we had to skip a week because of IRL reasons, and took a pretty important decision regarding the playthough, mostly due to the fact that it's working really well. More on this in the next updates.

Session 5 - The King

Players managed to get some more information from the High Priest of the Arrow Dean by returning his offerings and offering some platitudes. While he still suggested they'd make another offer to receive the blessing of his god, they turned the offer down (to which he complained that humans are strange. He was talking to the gnomes). Talk of a King of the Underlevels, Lord of the Circles, began to... circulate.

They then explored the previously abandoned library section of the archives, meeting some creatures called gishvits who turned out to be less aggressive than expected (but hitched a ride and are now feeding off their adventures) and a small inevitable by the name of Factor 12, bound to the library and stuck on a single date, awaiting for the Head Librarian to come sign off for the day since over a hundred years ago. He was very nice and gave them all library cards, providing guidance and details on what they could do, as long as they return the items they borrowed "within one week". Additionally, he warned them of a book thief.

They then left for the door they thought would lead to the exit, only to meet with a series of traps, a merchant kobold, and a cave leading to the Darklands. Noped out of there, they explored some more and met a terrifying haunt - a vision of eldritch energies, powers, and a ritual gone awry.
Pushing forward, the party got to a large, circular room, where they were faced with the booming, echoing voice of the King himself, Dagio the Great, who revealed himself to be...

A dire rat. With magic. And friends. Thousands of friends.

...unfortunately, we had to cut the session short and will be reprising next time, so I'm not sharing statblocks yet. Stay tuned!

Skipping a few weeks between cliffhangers and real life, but back with an update!

Session 6 - Small Problems

With Dagio the Great threatening the lives of the party and large rat swarms gnawing at their ankles, the heroes find themselves in a battle for their lives. We explore the mechanics of swarm attacks, badly rolled AoEs and lines like "what do you mean my shield is useless" or "wait, I'm good with a javelin?". As positioning and ceiling height suddenly become relevant as Dagio scurries overhead taking magical potshots, ranged attacks and prepared actions make an unexpected appearance. The swarms get cleared out by a series of crits as our raging barbarian proves to be as skilled with a sword as a housewife would be with a broom, making quick work of the pests just as Dagio is reduced to a pin cushion.

It is only after the fight ends that a concerned Imistos reappears from the corridor, apparently sent to check out on the heroes by the waiting nobles - just moments before they trigger a hidden trap in the door, attracting concerned servants from the upper levels. With worried halfling running up to them to assist, the heroes barely notice being surrounded... as they reveal their treacherous nature and attempt to capture them in their moment of weakness.

While they have eventually overcome the ambush, they now know a group of dangerous assassins infiltrated the servants, and Martella herself seems to have gone missing. They have found an exit, but not an end, as they head to Martella's own secret safehouse to look for their missing leader.


This was the first encounter involving hand-made NPCs, and I believe it worked quite well. I have used one of the bestiary NPC as a baseline, working edits and alterations to make it work, but I believe it went quite well. For reference, here is the final statline:

Animal, Chaotic, Evil, Small
Perception +5, low-light vision, scent 30ft
Languages Common, Azlanti, Draconic
Skills -1; Athletics -1 (+5 to Climb or Swim), Arcana +7, Stealth +5, Occultism +7
Str+0, Dex+3, Con+1, Int+4, Wis+0, Cha+1
Items lesser healing potion, scroll of invisibility, wand of shocking grasp
AC15, TAC15; Fort+2, Ref+5, Will+4
HP 17 plus 10 tempHP
Speed 30ft, climb 10ft
Melee jaws +7 (agile), Damage 1d4 piercing plus filth fever
Arcane Prepared Spells DC15, attack +6; 2nd Acid Arrow, False Life (cast), 1st Magic Missile x2, Mage Armour (cast), ; Cantrips (2nd) Acid Splash, Daze, Detect Magic, Light
[R]Counter spell
Filth fever (disease) Sickness and unconsciousness from filth fever can’t be reduced or recovered from naturally until the disease is cured. Saving Throw Fort DC 15. Stage 1 carrier with no ill effect (1d4 hours), Stage 2 sick 1 (1 day), Stage 3 sick 1 and slowed 1 as long as it remains sick (1 day), Stage 4 unconscious (1 day), Stage 5 dead.

A special thanks to Sherlock C. Porcellus for his excellent portrayal of Dagio the Great. He got extra cucumber.

Session 7 - Meet the Iconics

As the group emerges from the Senate sublevels, Lady Gloriana Morilla (whom they met earlier at the gala) reveals herself as the head of the Sovereign Court and conscripts their help to look for her friend, Martella. She lends the brief but notable aid of four of her own agents, noting that they need to disappear quickly to avoid political turmoil but will help creating a distraction.
A young knight wearing an orange sash, an older dark-skinned man loaded with trinkets, a woman in blue veils and a charming elf are waiting right outside the warehouse, noting some of the movement they have witnessed in there and discussing a plan. Soon after, things get in motion and as the pathfinders create a distraction to attract some of the guards, the heroes jump in!

This session saw a few experiments from me. Specifically, I had my first custom-made monster ability used in a wide range of cases and I experimented with using double adjustments. I also built a bard NPC and played around with stealthing enemies.

-custom ability: Tactical Flanking. You grant flanking to all your allies who are attacking the creatures you are adjacent to.
This was a great success, not just because it was on a bunch of assassins with sneak attack (the unmodified statblock used 2d6 base damage, but 1d6+sneak felt more interesting) but because players felt actually threatened by expert assassins. It pushed people to work together tactically to move around and try to split the enemy forces, and the fact that it granted flanking rather than made assassins flank meant it became a lot weaker when an assassin wanted to flank with someone who wasn't a tactical flanker. All in all, a good first go.

-double adjustment: the alchemist.
Fair-Minded Efarni had his surprise effect mildly ruined, but did well where he was supposed to. His stats were simply taken from the NPC alchemist statblock, but with "Weak" applied twice (and items adjusted for his new level, of course). That also seems to have worked well, as he was maybe on the weaker side of his adjusted level but not by too much. I would however advise against triple-stacking adjustments, and even double-stacking is something I'll try to avoid if possible.

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