Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Old Fishery

I've broken the Old Fishery down into four encounters: the upper floor, the shark attack, the Kraken's Folly, and the lower floor. This makes for a pretty solid day of adventuring; the PCs should be capable of clearing out the entire fishery without needing an extended rest.

The shark encounter and the Kraken's Folly are not strictly necessary to complete the task at hand and advance the story of the adventure. While it is likely that the party will come across these encounters, award them experience as though they had even if they don't - this will allow them to keep pace with the adventure's progression. That said, you should consider subtly encouraging the players to check out the areas where these optional encounters take place. Generally, this will hold true for all of the campaign's optional encounters, unless otherwise noted.

Haunted Fortunes

There is little conversion necessary during the adventure's exposition. A couple of skill checks may crop up as the PCs experience the illusions Zellara has created for them. A Streetwise check (DC 10) informs them that the address on the card they received is the home of the fortune teller Zellara. If they grow suspicious of the illusions themselves, an Arcana check (DC 22) is enough to sense the presence of or identify the arcane illusion magic.

The Harrowing should play out as written in the original adventure. Expect this to be a challenge for you as the DM - it may take quite a bit of practice to get the hang of connecting the "meanings" of the cards to the events of the campaign.

With the reading done and the PCs' task in front of them, provide them with a major quest to put and end to Gaedren Lamm's career of crime.

The Old Fishery is really the first adventuring location of the campaign, and it's there where we get to the meat of the conversion process.

Harrow Points

The Harrow reading at the beginning of each adventure determines how many Harrow Points each PC receives. Edge of Anarchy is tied to the Dexterity ability score, and so your players have the following options for how they might spend their Harrow Points:

  • Dexterity Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point as a free action to reroll any one d20 roll modified by your Dexterity bonus. You must keep the new result, unless you have additional Harrow Points to spend for more rerolls.
  • Reflex Defense: Spend a Harrow Point as a free action to force an enemy to reroll any one attack roll targeting your Reflex defense.
  • Speed Increase: Spend a Harrow Point as a free action to increase your speed by 2 until the end of the encounter. You may only spend one Harrow Point per encounter in this fashion.
  • Aid Another: Spend a Harrow Point to use Aid Another as a free action.
Each PC is also tied to an encounter (or set of encounters, or event) where they will receive a small bonus for a short while. The card selected by the PC during the Choosing determines which encounter this is. While the PC is participating in that encounter, he or she receives a +2 bonus to all d20 rolls modified by the Dexterity bonus, and gains a +1 bonus to Reflex defense. The benefits expire when the encounter ends.

Harrow Readings

Harrow readings are an important thread of continuity across the campaign. They pose a challenge in converting to 4th Edition, however.

In 3.5, alignment adhered to a 3x3 grid (Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic along one axis, and Good-Neutral-Evil along the other). Harrow was designed to take advantage of this. 4e removes or renames a pretty significant chunk of that alignment spectrum. This is not an insurmountable obstacle.

John Marron over Tales from the Three Rings Tavern gave this conversion project a shot before he moved onto the Legacy of Fire adventure path, and he posted his thoughts on the Harrow deck in this post. I like his first suggestion on how to handle Harrow: ironically, the best solution to the problem of converting Harrow is to simply not convert it. Run it as presented in the "rules" of Harrow. The idea of alignment isn't something that the characters themselves really ought to be familiar with anyway, as it's a largely metagame concept. Ignore the fact that some alignments are missing, and simply perform the Harrow reading as it instructs. If there's any need to determine exactly what alignment a given character would be under the old 9-alignment system, make an educated guess based on what you know of that character. This may come up, for instance, when the PCs discover the cards left hidden for them by Zellara summoning them to her home. The PCs probably have no idea why they received that particular card, so there's really no cause for concern about guessing or randomly selecting the card that is supposed to match their alignment.

There are other aspects of Harrow aside from the readings themselves. PCs also receive Harrow Points during each adventure.

Edge of Anarchy

The premise of this adventure assumes that your PCs have some substantial (probably negative) connection to Gaedren Lamm. You should strongly encourage your players to select one of the backgrounds provided at the end of the Player's Guide in order to cement this tie. Converted background benefits and feats from the Player's Guide can be found in the Pathfinder Character Elements document linked to in one of this site's sidebars, and they are reprinted below for convenience:


Addiction (Addicted Friend)
Benefit: You gain training in Streetwise and a +2 bonus on Streetwise checks.

Addiction (Personal Addiction)
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against poison effects and diseases.

Framed (Family Honor)
Benefit: You gain training in Bluff and a +2 bonus on Bluff checks.

Framed (Dropout)
Benefit: You gain training in Arcana and a +3 bonus on Arcana checks when using the Detect Magic action.

Love Lost (Orphaned)
Benefit: Once per day, reroll a failed saving throw.

Love Lost (Widowed)
Benefit: You gain training in Intimidate and a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks.

Missing Child (Missing Sibling)
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Insight and Streetwise checks.

Missing Child (Missing Son or Daughter)
Benefit: You may reroll any Streetwise check and must use the result of the second roll.

Unhappy Childhood (Tortured)
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to saving throws against psychic effects.

Unhappy Childhood (Religious)
Benefit: You gain training in Endurance and a +2 bonus on Endurance checks.

Heroic Tier Feats

Remove the feat Crossbow Mastery. It filled a gap in design that has already been filled by the feat Speed Loader in 4th Edition.

Shingle Runner
Prerequisites: Trained in Acrobatics
Benefit: You gain a +5 bonus on Acrobatics checks made to reduce falling damage. Any time you fall more than 10 feet, you may shift 1 square at the end of the fall as a free action.

Acadamae Graduate
Prerequisites: Con 13, wizard
Benefit: Once per day, when you use a daily attack power with the summoning keyword, you may use your second wind as part of the same action.

Prerequisites: Cha 13
Benefit: You gain a +2 feat bonus to saving throws against charm effects. In addition, once per day, you may draw a card from a Harrow deck you own. At any one point during the rest of that day, after making any d20 roll modified by the ability score associated with the suit of the card you drew, you may gain a +3 bonus to the roll.

Paragon Tier Feat

Sable Company Marine
Prerequisites: 11th level, Mounted Combat
Benefit: Flying mounts you are riding have their fly speed increased by 1. In addition, flying mounts you are riding do not suffer a penalty due to confined spaces, and can make an Athletics check to recover from a crash as a move action instead of a standard action.

Before we can tackle the business of the adventure's progression and encounter conversion, we need to convert a very important part of the campaign's exposition: Harrow.

Curse of the Crimson Throne

I've wanted to try my hand at another adventure path for a while, now. In my ideal world, I would have time to convert every one of Paizo's 3.5 or PFRPG products to 4th Edition - from Shackled City all the way up through the currently unreleased Kingmaker (and even some of the Pathfinder modules!). The reality is that I'm incredibly fortunate to have enough time for two conversions at the same time.

Curse of the Crimson Throne is a nice addition to my gaming arsenal. It takes place on the same continent in the same world as Rise of the Runelords, but its focus on urban adventure and royal intrigue is sufficiently different from the wilderness and ancient ruins of RotR that I have little worry of becoming bored out of similarity.

And now to you and your game. Gather up your friends, find a comfortable place to prop up your DM's screen (you may find some of the notes on useful DM materials I wrote for an older post helpful), and pull out the first adventure in the series: Edge of Anarchy.

Have a Seat

This blog will serve as the home of my second adventure path conversion project. Curse of the Crimson Throne also happens to be the second published Pathfinder adventure path. Much like my Rise of the Runelords project over at Tales from the Rusty Dragon, you will find everything you need to run Curse of the Crimson Throne in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition here. First, a few notes on how I do things.

I am blessed with a thriving, local tabletop roleplaying community. I currently DM two weekly games with completely different sets of players, and these two groups serve as the playtest groups for my conversion projects. Because of this, nearly all of the material you find here will have gone through a live playtest, and incorporates improvements and revisions based on how the material played.

Material posted to the blog itself should never be considered final. I post my conversion notes as my group plays through the adventure. When the adventure is completed, I then fill in any remaining gaps in the conversion, compile it into a single PDF document designed to mirror the original adventure as much as possible, and then publish it to a document sharing site so that you can make use of it. Even after this PDF compilation is published, I will go back and revise the document multiple times as errors are pointed out to me, or new material is published that causes me to rethink earlier design choices. This is, I feel, the biggest strength of this form of online publishing.

In addition to the actual conversion information, I will also occasionally post non-mechanical advice on running the adventure path whenever I feel it would be helpful. I will do my best to explain any design decisions that stray significantly from the printed adventure. In my experience this happens fairly rarely, but when it does I will do my best to provide a plausible explanation for how the events of the adventure might play out in the way I describe.

I encourage comments, suggestions, and the active pointing out of errors that inevitably crop up. The best way to get my attention is to simply leave a comment in the blog post itself.

Let's get started.