Iron Gods 5E Conversion Advice


Iron Gods


I posted this in a necroed thread, so I wanted to repost the basic points of it here for further discussion. My group is working on converting to 5e for the rest of Iron Gods from Valley of the Brain Collectors forward. Its a bit of a challenge trying to match the theme of each character as the classes and archetypes they picked are so tied into Pathfinder, but they are having fun in the attempt. My biggest concern is how to modify the NPCs and monsters as little as possible to decrease my workload. I experienced a bit of that challenge last week when I ran Crypt of the Everflame, and had to change the AC of the final boss based on how armor works in 5e. He was still two-shotted due to bludgeoning vulnerability, but he had the PCs worried after the tabaxi monk almost went down in one swipe of a longsword. Any tips on how to use what is written, and modify on the fly?


Some conversion items to consider:

1) Robot Hardness. Since there is no hardness mechanic for creatures in 5E, I will just replace it with Resistance to damage from bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing weapons that are not adamantine. I am not sure if that Resistance should extend to attacks with energy types. Robots are vulnerable to lightning damage.

2) Skill check modifiers. I need to figure out a way to adjust skill check modifiers for monsters. At a glance, I would just take 4 skills that the monster has and give them proficiency, but should the bonus depend on the HD of the creature?

3) NPCs with class levels are the most daunting to quick-convert. My detail-oriented brain wants to re-write them using 5E class abilities. My lazy DM brain says to just use them as written with minor tweaks based on 5E rules since NPCs don't necessarily have to follow PC rules.

That's what I have for now. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.


I do not know anything about 5e, but since Pathfinder hardness affects energy attacks I would think that Resistance should extend to to them in 5e also. That is why they gave robots hardness instead of DR.


1. Use as is.
2. Sounds good to me.
3. Use ready made conversions for mooks and minor villains. But any special NPCs I would either convert personally or use the stats provided and balance as you see.

Even when running using Path1e I would modify things on the fly to make them more challanging for my specific group of PCs.


WagnerSika wrote:
I do not know anything about 5e, but since Pathfinder hardness affects energy attacks I would think that Resistance should extend to to them in 5e also. That is why they gave robots hardness instead of DR.

That's a good point, and something I forgot to mention in my previous post. Thanks!


KujakuDM wrote:

1. Use as is.

2. Sounds good to me.
3. Use ready made conversions for mooks and minor villains. But any special NPCs I would either convert personally or use the stats provided and balance as you see.

Even when running using Path1e I would modify things on the fly to make them more challanging for my specific group of PCs.

1. By use as is, do you mean the PF hardness mechanic, or 5e Resistance?

2. How would you determine the proficiency bonus? Is this something I can find in the Monster Manual?

3. What do you mean by "ready made conversions" for mooks and minor villains? The NPC index in the back of the Monster Manual?


1. I would just use hardness as per the pathfinder rules. If you find it to be unbalanced then cut the numbers down a bit.
2. I haven't looked in a while but somewhere there is a list of Prof Bonus by level/HD.
3. Generally use monsters that are appropriate level when you can as close as you can. The ready made NPCs are a good example. I'm sure somewhere online there is a 5e Character generator that can throw together some stats for you quickly. I personally like Fast Character and have even used this site to generate quick PCs for an ongoing Undermountain game.


KujakuDM wrote:

1. I would just use hardness as per the pathfinder rules. If you find it to be unbalanced then cut the numbers down a bit.

2. I haven't looked in a while but somewhere there is a list of Prof Bonus by level/HD.
3. Generally use monsters that are appropriate level when you can as close as you can. The ready made NPCs are a good example. I'm sure somewhere online there is a 5e Character generator that can throw together some stats for you quickly. I personally like Fast Character and have even used this site to generate quick PCs for an ongoing Undermountain game.

Thanks for the tips. I need to check the DMG for that list you mentioned.


4) Skill check and saving throw DCs. A poster in another thread recommended adjusting DCs by dividing the PF DC by 2 and adding 4 in most cases. So far this has worked for most DCs.

5) PF classes without a 5e analog. The gunslinger and magus have been the most complicated to convert to 5e. I have found some class conversions in the Iron Gods forums as well as a gunslinger fighter subclass created by Matt Mercer from Critical Role on DMs Guild. This ties in to #3 above.


4. if it works for you thats great.
5. I'm pretty sure that 5e has gun rules in the DMG. I would just analog the classes to an NPC of your choosing with some pathfinder abilities for flavor. dont hesitate to make npcs with abilities the pcs cant have.


The firearm rules in the DMG say to follow the downtime rules for training in the PHB. They say that training to gain a proficiency takes 250 days and 1 gp per day. That seems a bit extreme, so I may rule that if someone in the party can train, it will reduce the time and cost.


Since PCs are special, I would essentially let them do it for like a weeks worth of downtime or training with someone who already knows how to use them.

You also may want to consider making Technology use/knowledge its own skill in some way?


Maybe do a quick conversion of the backgrounds in the players guide for Iron Gods.


I am using the conversion material by Badmudderfugger in their thread "Iron Gods come to conquer 5e!" Technologist is a sort of Meta-tool proficiency that I am allowing to replace any tool proficiency provided by any background. The spellslinger wizard is basically using the PF archetype as-is with minor tweaks, so he gets firearms proficiency as part of his arcane tradition. The Numerian scavenger rogue took the firearms feat, so we just fudged that he has proficiency. In the thread previously mentioned, the campaign traits were reimagined as background bonds.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

How are you handling the Android NPCs?


Lord Fyre wrote:
How are you handling the Android NPCs?

As far as their racial traits, or converting their stat blocks? As for the former, I am also using Badmudderfugger's conversion notes. As for the latter, I am rewriting them as need be based on the availability of similar 5e classes.


This isn't specific to Iron Gods, but does anyone have a good 5E Summoner conversion? One of my former player's character is an aasimar Summoner, but he has been relegated to NPC status as the player moved to another state. For now, I have basically just replaced the Summon Monster spells at alternating levels with Eidolon Features, which are just the Eidolon-specific Pathfinder feats that Summoners can take. I also adjusted his Spells class feature to the Bard's spell progression as that is what the Summoner's is in Pathfinder. I include the Eidolon-specific Pathfinder spells as well as all Conjure _____ and Summon _______ spells from the PHB and Xanathar's Guide to Everything in the Summoner's spell list. I exclude any Pathfinder spell that doesn't have an official 5E version.

As an alternate plan, I may just recreate the Summoner as a Conjurer Wizard since the new 5E version of my campaign is essentially a reboot.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

RedRobe wrote:
As an alternate plan, I may just recreate the Summoner as a Conjurer Wizard since the new 5E version of my campaign is essentially a reboot.

Conjurer Wizard is certainly the best way to go. If the character remains an NPC, just attach an "outsider" type to the character as a permanent follower.

May I ask a different question? Does D&D 5E have a way to gain a permanent follower?


Lord Fyre wrote:
RedRobe wrote:
As an alternate plan, I may just recreate the Summoner as a Conjurer Wizard since the new 5E version of my campaign is essentially a reboot.

Conjurer Wizard is certainly the best way to go. If the character remains an NPC, just attach an "outsider" type to the character as a permanent follower.

May I ask a different question? Does D&D 5E have a way to gain a permanent follower?

To my knowledge, none of the classes have permanent followers like a summoner's eidolon, or spiritualist's phantom. However, the Hunter Ranger has an animal companion, and two of the Artificer subclasses have a homunculus and a steel defender as class features respectively. There are some third party guides for followers, like Matt Coville's Strongholds and Followers, but I have not read any of them.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

RedRobe wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
RedRobe wrote:
As an alternate plan, I may just recreate the Summoner as a Conjurer Wizard since the new 5E version of my campaign is essentially a reboot.

Conjurer Wizard is certainly the best way to go. If the character remains an NPC, just attach an "outsider" type to the character as a permanent follower.

May I ask a different question? Does D&D 5E have a way to gain a permanent follower?

To my knowledge, none of the classes have permanent followers like a summoner's eidolon, or spiritualist's phantom. However, the Hunter Ranger has an animal companion, and two of the Artificer subclasses have a homunculus and a steel defender as class features respectively. There are some third party guides for followers, like Matt Coville's Strongholds and Followers, but I have not read any of them.

Alas, then there is no way for a player to "fake" a PF1E style Summoner in D&D 5E. :(


Lord Fyre wrote:
RedRobe wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
RedRobe wrote:
As an alternate plan, I may just recreate the Summoner as a Conjurer Wizard since the new 5E version of my campaign is essentially a reboot.

Conjurer Wizard is certainly the best way to go. If the character remains an NPC, just attach an "outsider" type to the character as a permanent follower.

May I ask a different question? Does D&D 5E have a way to gain a permanent follower?

To my knowledge, none of the classes have permanent followers like a summoner's eidolon, or spiritualist's phantom. However, the Hunter Ranger has an animal companion, and two of the Artificer subclasses have a homunculus and a steel defender as class features respectively. There are some third party guides for followers, like Matt Coville's Strongholds and Followers, but I have not read any of them.
Alas, then there is no way for a player to "fake" a PF1E style Summoner in D&D 5E. :(

There are a few homebrews on the DMs Guild website for pay-what-you-want. I haven't bought any to peruse since he's an NPC now. I will just 5e-ify him as above if he needs to interact with the PCs. If needed, I prescribe to the idea that NPCs are able to have abilities that the PCs can't.


The DM's Guild Summoner homebrew has piqued my interest, so I paid and downloaded it. Aside from some confusion about spells per level, it reads pretty decently. I think its a 5e version of the Unchained Summoner, and the now NPC summoner was the original version. However, it fits the feel of the Pathfinder class, so I believe I will use it for the time being.


One of the things about 5e I find a little annoying, is that I don't understand NPC design in adventure modules. None of them have character classes, and I can't find than minimal design rules in the DMG. When I design an NPC that the PCs will interact and/or fight against or with, I use the full character creation rules in the PHB. Could someone shine a light on how characters are designed in adventures? I know this doesn't apply directly to Iron Gods, but this has come up as I make 5e updates to the AP.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

RedRobe wrote:
One of the things about 5e I find a little annoying, is that I don't understand NPC design in adventure modules. None of them have character classes, and I can't find than minimal design rules in the DMG. When I design an NPC that the PCs will interact and/or fight against or with, I use the full character creation rules in the PHB. Could someone shine a light on how characters are designed in adventures? I know this doesn't apply directly to Iron Gods, but this has come up as I make 5e updates to the AP.

Does it use a system like PF 2E's monster design?


Lord Fyre wrote:


Does it use a system like PF 2E's monster design?

That I don't know because I haven't read any PF2E.


The Pathfinder PCs and their 5e conversions or reboots are:

Peter "Astro Baron" Quill - formerly a human Numerian scavenger rogue, now a variant human swashbuckler rogue

Rocco - formerly and still a goblin spellslinger wizard (with minor adjustments to fit 5e)

Grit - formerly a ghoran brawler, now a reskinned warforged battle master fighter

Lox - formerly an aasimar hedge witch, now a protector aasimar tome pact celestial patron warlock.

Conversions are not complete as yet, but we have a little while before my campaign resumes. The biggest issues have been background alterations based on Badmudderfugger's write-up.


The 5 PCs concluded The Choking Tower at 9th level. I now have 4 PCs, and the suggested level to begin Valley of the Brain Collectors is 10th. Now that we are converting to 5e, I wonder if they are underpowered for the trials ahead. My hope is that they undertake the Black Beacon side quest provided at the end of Choking Tower (which is CR 9) in order to advance to 10th level. However, if they don't, I may have to reduce the difficulty level of the first bit of VotBC.


This week I have been working on converting the Engine Attendant and the mi-go cleric to 5e. Basically I'm writing the NPCs on 5e character sheets, and adjusting their class abilities as needed. Their monster abilities will be tweaked to be in line with 5e rules. The mi-go cleric has the Dark Tapestry subdomain of the Void domain, and the Plant domain, so I think I will just give him the Nature domain and call it a day. The Engine Attendant has levels in sorcerer, so I will have to find an appropriate substitution for his bloodline. I am away from my books at the moment, so I will post again after I have read the stat block and found a Sorcerous Origin that fits.


The Engine Attendant will use the Aberrant Mind Sorcerous Origin as there is not an analog for the Void-Touched bloodline.

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