New ST 5E Campaign!

Savage Tide Adventure Path

Sovereign Court

Starting to work on this campaign, converting to D&D 5E. I was hoping to find more info online, but there doesn't appear to be that much. This forum still appears to be the best place to post and get advice.

Does anyone know if their is a best of board thread for Savage Tide? I looked but have yet to find anything.

I have been running it for the last few years and this forum is still the best place yes. A few people's ST campaigns can be found on the web which contain some information, but I don't recall anyone doing a detailed conversion to 4E or 5E. Lots of Pathfinder 1E conversion material here, though I have stuck with 3.5.

Sovereign Court

NPC Dave wrote:
I have been running it for the last few years and this forum is still the best place yes. A few people's ST campaigns can be found on the web which contain some information, but I don't recall anyone doing a detailed conversion to 4E or 5E. Lots of Pathfinder 1E conversion material here, though I have stuck with 3.5.

I’m not too worried about converting. 5E certainly isn’t perfect and so far I think my monster stat blocks more closely resemble 4E than 5E.

My primary goal of using these forums is finding out what people did to improve the campaign. Did anyone use any of the classic adventures Isle of Dread or Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan? What about the Torrents of Dread adventure from Dungeon #114? What about other additions or changes? I’ve read about how important it is for the PC’s to care about Lavinia and hate Vanthus. I’ve also read about the dangers of the PC’s dying if they cannot swim. I’ve read about some groups losing interest about halfway through the campaign, and how some foreshadowing goes a long way to avert that.

Admittedly, I’m more worried about the 2nd half of the campaign. I believe that every combat encounter needs to be interesting and I’m planning on borrowing several mechanics from 4E for that. Even Demogorgon’s 4E stats seem like a blast to run (with modifications). For the rest, I figure I might add some changes to make the campaign feel a bit less railroady for my players. I’m a big Greyhawk fan, so I might try to add some other things such as the Scarlet Brotherhood attempting to take over Sasserine.

Sovereign Court

Other things that I’m considering to add:

- Side treks to Greyhawk locations such as the Olman city of Xanaclan in the Amedio Jungle, Cauldron, the Mist Kingdom, the Hold of the Sea Princes, and the Scarlet Brotherhood nation on the Tilvanot Peninsula.

- The introduction of the Yuan-Ti as à behind-the-scenes enemy with spies amongst the humans

- Some new playable races such as the Dakon and Rakasta

Very nice ideas, I am not well-versed on the Greyhawk setting so I can't provide any help there.

But I did add some small and quick adventures to the beginning of the campaign in order for the PCs to become more attached to Sasserine and spend more time there before leaving. I can list which adventures I used from Dungeon if you are curious, but one of the last ones which I recommend adding is War of the Wielded from Dungeon #149.

I considered using Torrents of Dread but decided against it because it reveals the kopru and I decided that would be too soon for ST. I did use an expanded 3.5 conversion of the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan during the third adventure so that there were more encounters from the original adventure, but I don't have a copy of that document anymore.

As far as swimming goes, my PCs invested early in swim gems from the Magic Item Compendium to gain swim speeds and avoid that problem.

Hi! I've been converting ST to 5e (with the help of any work already online) and I've gotten as far as the 5th episode (really the 7th), "Tides of Dread". All of the work is in Scabard, but can easily be converted to markdown or PDF. My campaign is private, but I'd be happy to add if you still need it or could use it. --Arcwynd.

Hi Hagen, sorry for the late reply. I've run and have been running the STAP the last year and a half now, currently near the end of chapter 6, the lightless depths.

I will try to refrain from pushing in stories from other modules and stick to the AP as written.

My advice to you, and anyone visiting this thread later, based on my experience:

* Sasserine is awesome, and full of potential. This is a double edged sword as chapters 3 and higher don't take place in it. My approach was to put a lot of focus on the surrounding history of the Amedio Jungle, the Crimson Fleet and Scarlet Brotherhood meddling from outside the city, which resulted in three players creating wilderness exploration and/or sailor types. My point is if you just dump the ST players guide on your players and a lot of info on the city (which there is a lot of), they may expect an urban adventure based on the material you give them. A lot of intrigue and an underground organisation, but as written they pretty much take care of it in a month or two. When pitching your campaign I would preface they start in the easy secure setting of sasserine but the adventure is more like an indiana jones / jurrassic park style adventure for most of the mid-game. You can expand the sasserine bit for a while longer if you want of course, but if your players are not up for a long sea trip, jungle treks featuring dinosaurs and ancient ruins and spelunking through the underdark eventually you might just need to pick another adventure :)

* I think chapters 1 and 2 can be run mostly as-is. They're both great. a minor pick i had with chapter 2 is something you can find a lot of advice on this board on (i did), but briefly: there's a timing issue at the end of chapter 2, where the adventure expects the players to arrive late, after an attack on the Vanderboren estate they need to clean up. Essentially, be prepared to turn the "Save the hostages" into a "Protect the estate" adventure and you'll be fine.

* I ran it twice and both me and both my groups had a lot of fun with this part of the adventure, though i hear some people hate it and i'm not sure why. A potential problem i already discussed concerning player expectations (they should know there's a looong exploration part coming up). The other problem I see with the adventure as written is that there's this big catastrophy and conspiracy hanging over Sasserine and , as written, the AP expects the players to just drop that and keep helping their patron reclaim her parents colony months and months away. I would encourage you expand some of the stuff present in the adventure in order to link these two together a bit more, for example
** I already gave one of my pc's Lavinia's mom's journal in session 2 to foreshadow the isle of dread a bit way from the beginning
** Have some player who is a member of the Witchwardens or Seekers some hint of the backstory of the demise of Tanachlan by describing a society bound by their shared worship of a giant black pearl only to vanish from the face of the earth in the blink of an eye
** Have other affiliations and organisations prod the pc's to go on and explore the surrounding area's looking for clues surrounding the crimson fleet plot or anything the players care about in order to - ideally - have them ASK lavinia for support for an expedition, rather than the other way around (this would also give good reason to get lavinia to secure the meravanchi support etc... i digress but you get the point).

* In general, concerning the issue with the players leaving sasserine being a problem, i made it pretty clear they were done and heroes there by the end of chapter 2. There's no reason to hold back on that, they should be around lvl 5 by that point which makes them much more powerful than 99% of the people in that city. Let them feel that, enjoy that and exploit the doors it opens at the witchwardens or dawn council and clue them in that they saved the rebellion got their medals' but now its time to get out there and take on the empire :)

* chapter three, the trip to the isle of dread was great for me as well as for my players but it really depends on your group and play style. I gave them a lot to do and used most of the encounters in the book as is, with the added twist that rowyn was one of my character's sister so that added an extra layer to her brother actually stabbing her to death. I really have no good advice to give on this other than: pretend a lot that happens is random (let them roll some dice and go "ooeh" and "aah" and fumble papers a lot is my approach) whilst not getting bogged down with too much boring daily routine work such as the geography and sailor checks.

* the other tip for part three from my end is: don't rush them onto the ship. have them properly plan what's ahead of them and clue them into the fact that teleporting back to sasserine will not be in the cards for a while so what they bring is what they have. Ask them what they think the colony needs, what do they expect to do on the way (one of my players wanted to stop at tamoachan himself so prepared for that), etc. have them make a manifest, some NPC's to fill up the ship(s) to travel south. A detail i used was that one of the players who grew up in the Azure district already knew Amella from childhood, and they already sailed to krakens cove with her in the last chapter, so i had her bring Skald, Lirith and Father Feres, while Lavinia comes up with Urol (who knew her mother) and Avner (whose parents are paying for most of the expedition). The rest was up to the players, is my point.

* I drew them a map of the wyvern and told them to equip it as they liked and asked for a general schedule for each pc's daily routine on decks and off we went so "we'd know who needed to make spot checks and stuff", but really i wanted them to get invested in what a 3 month journey would occupy them with, resulting in everyone bringing something to do and having (a) task(s) during the journey.

* Now part three ends with a major railroad plot point being the players, as written, shipwreck their ship, which is hard to get around. Now, depending on how much your players are going to hate that and how good you are at pretending they had a chance all the time, you can have them make a series of difficult choices to make but still have them end up shipwrecking or give them a chance to sail on to farshore. I know debates around railroading can get heated on this forum (which i understand) so take my advice with a grain of salt, but I ended up deciding i wanted them beached at the north end of the island as written this time around because 1. i really like the next chapter as a good way to get to know the isle of dread and didn't want to just skip it and 2. i didn't feel like rewriting the entire adventure to include the cool stuff they would've run into. However I really wanted to give the players a hard choice which would've let them pass safely to farshore and stole one of the suggestions from another thread on the board and brought in Emraag early

* Emraag comes back into play in chapter 6, but i had him approach the ragged ship in the storm and ask for tribute, using the same rules as in chapter 6 concerining doing diplomacy with him. It was going to be hard and expensive to get him to let the ship pass and my players refused to pay him a cent outright both times so i had emraag bellow: "no tribute no passage" and proceeded with him biting 6 hull sections of the wyvern and forcing the players to beach it as written. This sets up Emraag as a cool adversary for later on as a bonus. What i did not like doing was killing off the entire crew, for dramatic effect however. I understand that's done to make chapter 4 run a little more easilly but i felt that was really stupid. Having their 25 people crew beached on the north end of the island with all the supplies still in the wyvern was actually an interesting situation where my players decided to leave half their crew, , including the leveled fighting types, behind to defend the crash site while they went to get help in farshore. This ended up as a spinoff adventure later with my players playing some of the npc's later, defending the crash site from dinosaurs and the kopru druid in chapter 5, which was a good break and fun excercise for everyone.

* Chapter 4 i loved running; it's a really good idea to read up on the isle of dread a little more than the adventure covers; try to get the original X1 module online (its about 5$ as a pdf) or some other source to really make it feel like its come to life as a magical jungle like environment. I've hinted at this before but this AP really resonates som iconic movies for me: chapter 3 is like Pirates of the Carribean with a lot of Alien mixed into it, chapter 4 starts as the original Jurassic Park, and once the pc's seem to get grip of the dinosaurs that live on the island it turns into Predator, with the Barl-Gura's stalking the party and picking them off one by one. Eventually even one of the PC's was captured and i decided to just have them play one of the npc's for the time being as they needed to rescue them.

* I understand this part of the adventure can - again - feel like a bit of a railroad as the players could think of clever ways to avoid the path you lay before them, and i'd say let them. If the Barl-Gura's capture some of them, they may need to get back on the road towards the shrine to demogorgon anyway so i really wouldn't worry about it too much.

* The end of part 4 is really important to me, as both in and out of game its been at least 4 months since they encountered friendlies, but more importantly, they come up to the great wall of Tanaroa, which the AP kind of glosses over, but I suggest you really play up more; think of the great wall of China. There is NO way the people guarding the wall now are capable of building such a structure. If you used the stopover at Tamoachan during chapter three, i'd suggest you reference this achievment as even greater and of much better quality as the ruins there suggest the Olman were once capable of. This plays up the ancient city of tanachlan and the power they put into Tlaloc's Tear later.

* Part 5 was my dream to run so i really gave it my all there. I ran most of the adventures described in the book as is, but rather than just using the victory points system described in the AP, i rewarded the players with actual regiments of olman warriors, zombies, siege weapons, phanaton rangers, etc. etc. to defend the colony by the end of the adventure, while the pirates had crew regiments, golemm, ballistae, vrocks etc. all as regiments to fight the rest. I used the OGL stuff from MCDM's 5e Strongholds and Followers to run a battle concurring with the events during the siege of farshore and it was a blast. A b**** to run and prep for but very satisfying. The confrontation with vanthus and his vrocks (do put them together, by himself Vanthus is much too vunerable and he cannot flank/sneak attack) in the middle of an ongoing battle between the forces of farshore the pc's fought hard to acquire and the crimson fleet was epic.

My players are currently in Golismorga in chapter 6, if anyone is still listening in on this thread or finds it much later and wants more updates, let me know and I'll continue my story then :)

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