Age of Worms Adventure Path

IcarusATB

Explorer
AoW 5e DMs Guild suggesion

Alrighty now!!
I've made it through the end of the whole thread now! I read it in three installments!
I've made edits to my copies of the PDFs noting the few corrections for typos or left out info, etc. the things that you explain, I almost always agreed with your reasoning for your choices in game design.

:aow:
My party just started the campaign two weeks ago, with a Session 0, and now they're in Diamond Lake and have stumbled their way into a few clues.

Tormyr, FYI … do you know about the DMsGuild? There's actually another "free/pay-what-you-want" PDF on there for a 5e conversion of Whispering Cairn. And it's rubbish. The author clearly knows nothing about game design, and it seems arbitrary, and random. Even DCs aren't consistent, like they aren't aware a DC25 is enormously difficult in 5e.
You could really do well in selling this as a single PDF, or 12 cheap ones.
I would love to see you do that, and be able to benefit from all of this hard work you've put into it, and offered to us.

One question, though:
When you write, for example, "Each Additional PC: Add a Swarm of Centipedes.", does this mean each one above regular party size, or each one beyond the first?
I noted in later episodes, you use the phrase, "per PC", and I didn't know if that was supposed to be effectively the same or not.
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
Alrighty now!!
I've made it through the end of the whole thread now! I read it in three installments!
I've made edits to my copies of the PDFs noting the few corrections for typos or left out info, etc. the things that you explain, I almost always agreed with your reasoning for your choices in game design.

:aow:
My party just started the campaign two weeks ago, with a Session 0, and now they're in Diamond Lake and have stumbled their way into a few clues.

Tormyr, FYI … do you know about the DMsGuild? There's actually another "free/pay-what-you-want" PDF on there for a 5e conversion of Whispering Cairn. And it's rubbish. The author clearly knows nothing about game design, and it seems arbitrary, and random. Even DCs aren't consistent, like they aren't aware a DC25 is enormously difficult in 5e.
You could really do well in selling this as a single PDF, or 12 cheap ones.
I would love to see you do that, and be able to benefit from all of this hard work you've put into it, and offered to us.

One question, though:
When you write, for example, "Each Additional PC: Add a Swarm of Centipedes.", does this mean each one above regular party size, or each one beyond the first?
I noted in later episodes, you use the phrase, "per PC", and I didn't know if that was supposed to be effectively the same or not.
It should be the same language as the other ones. The encounter is set up for 4 PCs. Each additional PC gets an additional swarm.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Ok Age of Worms fans. My group is me DMing (and playing 2 pcs, a healbot cleric and a support wizard) with my 2 kids, so I couldn't reasonably do the switcheroo for the Hall of Harsh Reflections. However, I wanted to do a screw-job with them, so they can figure it out on their own and for the future of their gaming careers. At the Crooked house, I just had the whole party ambushed in their rooms. The whole thing in the Crooked House was to get the party out of their room, where a trap was laid for them with various poisons and gases. The dopplegangers were part of the crowd, at first trying to get them arrested and then agreeing with the crowd that they did a good job in saving the situation. Starting them all out in a cell with no equipment is fun, and I had the enemies beat up one of my PCs first, leaving my son and his monk and his lockpicking ability to be able to get out and then plan an ambush with my others sons Goliath Paladin when they brought back my unconscious PC.


An unarmed goliath paladin can still wreck people using manacles wrapped around his fist as a weapon with sacred weapon and divines strikes.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Alrighty now!!
I've made it through the end of the whole thread now! I read it in three installments!
I've made edits to my copies of the PDFs noting the few corrections for typos or left out info, etc. the things that you explain, I almost always agreed with your reasoning for your choices in game design.

:aow:
My party just started the campaign two weeks ago, with a Session 0, and now they're in Diamond Lake and have stumbled their way into a few clues.

Tormyr, FYI … do you know about the DMsGuild? There's actually another "free/pay-what-you-want" PDF on there for a 5e conversion of Whispering Cairn. And it's rubbish. The author clearly knows nothing about game design, and it seems arbitrary, and random. Even DCs aren't consistent, like they aren't aware a DC25 is enormously difficult in 5e.
You could really do well in selling this as a single PDF, or 12 cheap ones.
I would love to see you do that, and be able to benefit from all of this hard work you've put into it, and offered to us.

One question, though:
When you write, for example, "Each Additional PC: Add a Swarm of Centipedes.", does this mean each one above regular party size, or each one beyond the first?
I noted in later episodes, you use the phrase, "per PC", and I didn't know if that was supposed to be effectively the same or not.
I am playing through just a little ahead so don't be afraid to stop by for tips.

Beware of the first encounter in the showers. Its easy to screw that room up royally and die.

A hint also, from a long time player like me, wealth isn't always in coins and gems. At low levels regular equipment and land are good things. Do you have the Wormfood Articles from Dragon? PM me if you don't, and I will send the you first one to give your party a base.
 

IcarusATB

Explorer
Ok Age of Worms fans. My group is me DMing (and playing 2 pcs, a healbot cleric and a support wizard) with my 2 kids, so I couldn't reasonably do the switcheroo for the Hall of Harsh Reflections. However, I wanted to do a screw-job with them, so they can figure it out on their own and for the future of their gaming careers. At the Crooked house, I just had the whole party ambushed in their rooms. The whole thing in the Crooked House was to get the party out of their room, where a trap was laid for them with various poisons and gases. The dopplegangers were part of the crowd, at first trying to get them arrested and then agreeing with the crowd that they did a good job in saving the situation. Starting them all out in a cell with no equipment is fun, and I had the enemies beat up one of my PCs first, leaving my son and his monk and his lockpicking ability to be able to get out and then plan an ambush with my others sons Goliath Paladin when they brought back my unconscious PC.
An unarmed goliath paladin can still wreck people using manacles wrapped around his fist as a weapon with sacred weapon and divines strikes.
Actually, I'm a long-time player, too.

I'm "of an age", so to speak. I started back in AD&D 1st Edition. (Thought it was just called "AD&D" back then, LOL!!)
This is my third run of AoW, and you're definitely right about the shower scene … it can be lethal if goofed up.

And re: non-monetary wealth: spot on, again,
The Abandonned Mine Office is a big deal to be able to have as owned property, for example. I'm going to have them work toward getting the actual deed.
 
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IcarusATB

Explorer
Abandoned Mine Office

On the topic of the Abandoned Mine office …
It's clear in the AoW Overload, the actual adventure, and the Backdrop: Diamond Lake that the Abandoned Mine Office (and therefore the entrance to the Whispering Cairn) were placed differently at separate iterations of the article.
It is variously referred to as being "less than a day's ride", "an hour outside of town", and on the map it's shown right there at the edge of town on the hilltop, only a quarter-mile away.

I haven't been able to decide which way I want to handle it - saying there's multiple abandoned mines, or that theirs is one of those in particular and the others don't exist, or that, like, the one on the hilltop is theirs, but, the Whispering Cairn is an hour outside of town.
What do you guys think?
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
On the topic of the Abandoned Mine office …
It's clear in the AoW Overload, the actual adventure, and the Backdrop: Diamond Lake that the Abandoned Mine Office (and therefore the entrance to the Whispering Cairn) were placed differently at separate iterations of the article.
It is variously referred to as being "less than a day's ride", "an hour outside of town", and on the map it's shown right there at the edge of town on the hilltop, only a quarter-mile away.

I haven't been able to decide which way I want to handle it - saying there's multiple abandoned mines, or that theirs is one of those in particular and the others don't exist, or that, like, the one on the hilltop is theirs, but, the Whispering Cairn is an hour outside of town.
What do you guys think?
If you are referring to #32 on the map, I don't think it is the abandoned mine office. It's just an abandoned mine.

Go with it being an hour out of town. That is also less than an a day's ride. That way they are close enough to get the laborers to fix the place up when they strike it rich (My group named the baby owlbear "Payday"), but the Whispering Cairn can be 10 minutes away through dense forest and out of the way.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Don't forget the old Observatory. When Smenk is dealt with it is certainly reasonable for the PCs to take the place over as it is abandoned by the monks who used to live there. We have a monk in the group the Twilight Monastery, so the old Observatory seemed like it would be a natural fit as a place they used to occupy. The Town is quite fearful of the Monks as indicated and the place was abandoned, so I don't think anyone in the town would bark to much.


Monks are fun to play in general, but really fun to play in this path as "Rumors suggest that Izenfen’s masked silent killers remain active to this day, citing the disappearance or mysterious deaths of nearly a dozen political enemies within the town." Instead of a rogue the group has a half elf monk with street urchin background with stealth and disguise skill to represent these masked killers instead of the usual monk stereotype. Its right out of The 5 Deadly Venoms.
 

Vienneau

Explorer
Prepping for the Mind Flayer ambush in Hall of Harsh Reflections.

1) The conversion misses the DC10 Survival check at the end of this section of text on page 51:

Finding the entrance to Zyrxog’s domain by tracking the drow requires 1d6+3 DC
25 Survival checks by a character with the Track feat. Each check takes 1d3 hours of
exploration. A DC 20 Knowledge (nature) check is enough to reveal that Beggar’s
Gold often grows in sewers where runoff from smithies or forges can be found.
With this information, the Survival check to Track them drops to DC 15.

A DC 20 Gather Information or Knowledge (local) check is enough to locate the
smithy called Cold Forge. The owner of this smithy, a foul-mouthed man named
Crusty Patten, is unaware of the danger that lurks under his establishment.

If the party is searching for phosphorescent mold, finding Zyrxog’s domain
only requires a DC 10 Survival check without the need of the Track feat.


I understand these paragraphs right until the last one. DC25 survival to track the drow. DC20 knowledge check to understand that the mold grows near smithies reduces the survival check to DC15. But then if you're just searching for the mold, the check drops to DC10? So if you're following the drow (or reverse following them, given that they are probably dead), it's really hard. If you know about the mold, following the drow is a bit easier. But if you ignore the drow entirely, and just search for a secret door near mold patches, it's much easier?

2) Also, do the two drow thralls in the Mind Flayer ambush still have their potions of cure moderate wounds?
 

Vienneau

Explorer
3) M5 Chattel Pen

I assume the hp and damage of the zombies increased due to being EL3, but it feels strange to have human zombies with more hp than allowed in the MM. Couldn't there be 1.25 zombies per PC instead?

4) M9 Laboratory

An ABOLETH?! That's more dangerous than the mind flayer boss!

Does it get legendary abilities? It can enslave as well? Yikes.

No lair abilities?

5) M11 Museum

Typo in the first sentence under "Treasure".

You didn't think permanent INT and WIS loss was reasonable for the Grimoire? :) Periapt of Foul Rotting is a bit nicer too - things were hardcore in 1e!

You should indicate that "a kyton's chains" means Chain Devil (MM72)

You missed converting the tiny animated object (book wrapped in chains).

6) M13 Cathedral of the Mind

You don't list an equivalent to the unhallow enchantment on the room.

You also don't indicate if you think Zyrxog should have any of the magic items listed. I'm not sure what a "lesser empower metamagic rod" does, but I can kind of guess. Some of the other items seem less relevant (boots of elvenkind?) while others more so (necklace of fireballs!).
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
I have been tracking XP for these adventures and unfortunately that doesn’t work. XP changed enough between editions that you won’t level fast enough even though the conversations are deadly and tough as they are.

It’s mostly because XP for traps and obstacles are not there any more even though they greatly influence these encounters. For example in the Sodden Hold the invisible stalker room is way harder with the terrain, at least +2 CR as the mobility restrictions guarantee falls into the traps and difficult terrain. Likewise the mirror room against a depleted group, the group will just get many free attacks with advantage and bonus damage against them even if they play perfect.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
I have been tracking XP for these adventures and unfortunately that doesn’t work. XP changed enough between editions that you won’t level fast enough even though the conversations are deadly and tough as they are.

It’s mostly because XP for traps and obstacles are not there any more even though they greatly influence these encounters. For example in the Sodden Hold the invisible stalker room is way harder with the terrain, at least +2 CR as the mobility restrictions guarantee falls into the traps and difficult terrain. Likewise the mirror room against a depleted group, the group will just get many free attacks with advantage and bonus damage against them even if they play perfect.
This was my experience as well and is why the 5e edition of War of the Burning Sky levels the characters at certain points in the story. How far did you make it before the XP was a lost cause?
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
The PC were not 7th Level at start of Hall of Harsh Reflections, so I had to boost them. I figure they should be 8th after Sodden Hold, and then get to 9th for the next. All of these adventures have 2 distinct parts. With killing everything in Sodden Hold is only about (IIRC) about 18k total, not enough to get a party of 4 from 7th to 8th (you need 44k total.) Getting them all way through wouldn't get them there either.

5e basically rewards no xp for story rewards, traps, obstacles, etc. They are just thrown in the DMG also.

The encounter with Invisible Stalkers is a great example. The module isn't exactly clear, but I figured the floor that fell away dropped 10', down, as no falling damage, and the ceiling is 30 feet above lit by ever-burning torches. The stalkers therefore have 40' vertical to move around in, including between the water and the floor that fell away in some areas. The stalkers are also strong enough at STR 16 to push people into the water instead of attacking them, especially if one of them uses the Help action. We only had one flyer, a dragonborn bard with the Mandolin, otherwise everyone went into the water at one time or the other and the volume of attacks is great enough that some hit. Essentially the stalkers have unlimited minions that auto-attack as a reaction. Group made it but was severely beat up.
 

Vienneau

Explorer
Tormyr, you may have missed my earlier post (last week) with questions. I say this only because you've responded to all the others and seemed to enjoy it. :)

I'm also finding that 5e XP isn't sufficient - Harsh Reflections wants them at 7th and I started them at 6th (phase spiders got them to 7th), and Champion's Belt says they should be 9th!

This actually works find for me - I've got lots of other adventures I want to put them through and these are great levels to adventure at. But it's a bit weird that I've got posters about the gladiator games and when they ask when the games will be I say "soon", as in "whenever the plot demands it". I mean, I *could* let them enter as 7th level characters, but I don't like their odds...
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Prepping for the Mind Flayer ambush in Hall of Harsh Reflections.

1) The conversion misses the DC10 Survival check at the end of this section of text on page 51:

Finding the entrance to Zyrxog’s domain by tracking the drow requires 1d6+3 DC
25 Survival checks by a character with the Track feat. Each check takes 1d3 hours of
exploration. A DC 20 Knowledge (nature) check is enough to reveal that Beggar’s
Gold often grows in sewers where runoff from smithies or forges can be found.
With this information, the Survival check to Track them drops to DC 15.

A DC 20 Gather Information or Knowledge (local) check is enough to locate the
smithy called Cold Forge. The owner of this smithy, a foul-mouthed man named
Crusty Patten, is unaware of the danger that lurks under his establishment.

If the party is searching for phosphorescent mold, finding Zyrxog’s domain
only requires a DC 10 Survival check without the need of the Track feat.


I understand these paragraphs right until the last one. DC25 survival to track the drow. DC20 knowledge check to understand that the mold grows near smithies reduces the survival check to DC15. But then if you're just searching for the mold, the check drops to DC10? So if you're following the drow (or reverse following them, given that they are probably dead), it's really hard. If you know about the mold, following the drow is a bit easier. But if you ignore the drow entirely, and just search for a secret door near mold patches, it's much easier?

2) Also, do the two drow thralls in the Mind Flayer ambush still have their potions of cure moderate wounds?

3) M5 Chattel Pen

I assume the hp and damage of the zombies increased due to being EL3, but it feels strange to have human zombies with more hp than allowed in the MM. Couldn't there be 1.25 zombies per PC instead?

4) M9 Laboratory

An ABOLETH?! That's more dangerous than the mind flayer boss!

Does it get legendary abilities? It can enslave as well? Yikes.

No lair abilities?

5) M11 Museum

Typo in the first sentence under "Treasure".

You didn't think permanent INT and WIS loss was reasonable for the Grimoire? :) Periapt of Foul Rotting is a bit nicer too - things were hardcore in 1e!

You should indicate that "a kyton's chains" means Chain Devil (MM72)

You missed converting the tiny animated object (book wrapped in chains).

6) M13 Cathedral of the Mind

You don't list an equivalent to the unhallow enchantment on the room.

You also don't indicate if you think Zyrxog should have any of the magic items listed. I'm not sure what a "lesser empower metamagic rod" does, but I can kind of guess. Some of the other items seem less relevant (boots of elvenkind?) while others more so (necklace of fireballs!).
Hey, sorry I didn't get to this earlier. I saw it but was working hard on the PDF and Roll20 versions of The Fire Forest of Innenotdar (coming soon!) and didn't have time to deal with some of the answers that would have required a bit of digging.

1. I felt that the version that searched for phosphorescent mold was short-circuiting the process a bit too much. Finding the smith and checking the sewers underneath him is a better short version in my opinion. The difficulty with these conversions (vs. a fully new document like WotBS) is that an omission leaves a question about whether to keep something as is or drop it.

2. Whether they have all of their combat goodies is up to you. My rule of thumb is to throw in some of the items when they would actually be usable to the party. If all the stuff was kept in the conversion, the party would be loaded down with consumables. In this case, they would be potions of greater healing, and the bad guys should use some of them once in a while.

3. You could do 1.5 regular zombies per PC. I bumped the zombies' stats to keep it 1 per PC because the map is so small and is a bit tight for larger parties (especially in M5, and at this point my group had 6-8 PCs in a session.

4. The aboleth fits thematically with the mind flayer and fits the CR. Enslave has a chance of taking a PC out at the expense of 36 damage, but the advanced Octopin is on its own and will likely be overwhelmed. It crawls out of its tank, so the mucus does not come into play. It is a young creature and does not have lair abilities which would alter the CR anyway. It is more deadly than the mind flayer arcanist, but that is more a factor of encounter building in 3.5 vs 5e. In both, a CR 10 creature makes a "10" encounter, whether EL 10 in 3.5 or a Medium encounter for 4 level 10 PCs in 5e. However 3.5 doesn't provide as much of a boost from additional creatures in an encounter. The 3.5 final encounter has a CR 11 and two CR 6 creatures. The 5e version has a CR 8 and two CR 4 creatures, and that still runs on the "high" end of the encounter difficulty (barely Hard for 4 PCs; solidly Medium for 8 PCs).

5. I tried to get the cursed magic items to be more 5e in their implementation. The biggest thing that surprised my players was that identify didn't pick up on the curses. The tiny object didn't seem like something to convert as it was just a tiny object, but I could put an entry in for that.

6. 5e doesn't have unhallow, and it changed "good" and "evil" in spells to refer to celestials, fiends, and the like. With all the concepts dropped from 5e, I dropped the effect here. As for Zyrxog, I generally only keep magic items that were important, held by an important NPC, and (usually) have a 5e version. I also glazed over the magic items when a creature came from the MM (rather than be custom) as they could change the CR. The boots are not very useful for him. Only the arcanist's lightning bolt would benefit from empower. He could use the necklace of fireballs, but that means he is spending turns not being a mind flayer. In the end, the mind flayer arcanist, without magic items, provided what I thought would best fit the encounter, but it is easy to add in some of the other items, such as the potion of superior healing.
 

Vienneau

Explorer
Re-reading it again for tomorrow's session:

7) The Chuuls in M7 should probably have a 5' reach if they're now M size.
8) You don't list a disarm (or detect) check on the stone brain trap. I'm not even sure how that would work - it doesn't seem like it can be disarmed. But one is listed in the original.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Re-reading it again for tomorrow's session:

7) The Chuuls in M7 should probably have a 5' reach if they're now M size.
8) You don't list a disarm (or detect) check on the stone brain trap. I'm not even sure how that would work - it doesn't seem like it can be disarmed. But one is listed in the original.
7. Actually, the octopins originally had a 10 ft. reach with their claw attack. So the 10 ft. reach is fine (unless you really want it to be 5 ft. --- it doesn't really change much).
8. I thought the simpler version was better. You could add in a DC 23 dispel magic, but I always felt disable device was a bit too much "roll the dice to get a result" vs. utilizing talents the PCs actually had --- especially when it was the rogue who suddenly disarmed some complex trap that was all magic. The end result for this encounter is that it turns it into a "smash the device before everyone falls" encounter. In my game, the TWF eldritch knight was known as the "unhinged elven blender," but she had a low Wisdom save. Everyone got really scared when she led the way into the room, the stone brain flashed purple, and she turned around with a murderous gleam in her eyes.
 
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Vienneau

Explorer
Went through it last Tuesday...

- the # of zombies was irrelevant, they use flame bolt and other cantrips through the bars to light them all up.
- the drow priestess killed two players with consecutive insect swarms (oops!)

...so we didn't get to the Chuuls. Yet.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Went through it last Tuesday...

- the # of zombies was irrelevant, they use flame bolt and other cantrips through the bars to light them all up.
- the drow priestess killed two players with consecutive insect swarms (oops!)

...so we didn't get to the Chuuls. Yet.
1. That's what my players did. Just narrated them away.
2. Ouch.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Looking for advice.

Ok since we started this, Summon Demon spells came out. I want to work in an angle where instead of summoning demons the Vaati send Wind Warriors. I think it’s appropriate once the PC get Zosiels amulet, connecting them with the party.

The question is this, how do you upscale them? Any idea?

Same for polymorph, the vaati change your spell to give you air creatures. Any ideas?
 

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