D&D 5E Paizo's 'The Abomination Vaults' Pathinder AP Coming to 5E

Paizo is set to release one of its adventure paths--The Abomination Vaults--for D&D 5E in November. The AP will be compiled as a hardcover and retail for $59.99. There will also be a Pathfinder 2E version of the hardcover.

The 3-part adventure path was originally released for Pathfinder 2E in early 2021, and is a big dungeon crawl adventure.

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When the mysterious Gauntlight, an eerie landlocked lighthouse, glows with baleful light, the people of Otari know something terrible is beginning. Evil stirs in the depths of the Abomination Vaults, a sprawling dungeon where a wicked sorcerer attempted to raise an army of monsters hundreds of years ago. The town's newest heroes must venture into a sprawling dungeon filled with beasts and traps to prevent a spiteful spellcaster from rising again!

This complete compilation of the original Adventure Path campaign has been adapted to the newest version of the world’s oldest RPG. You’ve heard about the quality and depth of Pathfinder campaigns for years—now explore the Abomination Vaults yourself without having to learn a new game system!
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

I don't think Pathfinder 2 works all that well with large-scale sandboxes meant for a large span of levels, because of the way numbers scale with level. A single monster 3 levels above a party will wipe the floor with them unless they get lucky or prepare just right for the encounter. The first AP makes PCs fight a level 7 monster when they're at 4th level, and the first time we did so we got absolutely slaughtered and had to run for our lives. A level 4 martial will have an attack bonus of about +11 against the monster's AC of 25, an AC of about 22 against it's attack bonus of +17 (meaning it crits on a 15+), and a caster's save DC is about 20 against its saves between +12 and +17.

This is unlike 5e where, at least once you're into tier 2, you can handle most things the game throws at you. You might need rest afterward, but you can punch far above your nominal weight class.

The second adventure in the Age of Ashes AP is a hexcrawl, but it's only for level 5-8 or so. Also, the impression I got (from the player side) was that it was definitely weighted so that the encounters nearer our "base" were lower level than those farther away.
I run one, it works fabulously, we just follow the Ben Robbins protocol of level increasing as you get away from the starting position (we create themed 'zones') with well telegraphed pockets of extreme danger. We also spotlighted the game's chase rules as a system for adjudicating retreats, and are up front about level.

We also made leveling run off treasure.
 

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Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
It's kind of unfair for me to complain about combat speed. I cut my gaming teeth on the BECM rules, so any combat sequence that takes more than 10 minutes is going to feel sluggish and frustrating...and that applies to every game edition since.

That's my problem, though, not the game system(s).
As an off topic note - I spent the last 30+ years with HERO as my primary system, so for me a combat that comes in under 45 minutes or an hour is doing really well. lol.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
...anyway,

How cool is it that you can play Pathfinder's The Abomination Vaults adventure path in 5E D&D? I think it's pretty cool, and I hope it shows a demand for more Pathfinder-5E crossovers in the future. I like the Pathfinder campaign setting and the world of Golarion, and I like the rules mechanics of 5E...so it would be nice to have products that save me the trouble of combining the two.
(If there was a 100% reaction, or even better a 1000% reaction, that would be nice here on EN.)

But that all being said - I am excited for this, and look forward to more of Paizo's APs to be collected into big ol' books.

BUT - a lot of the classic PF1E APs were 6 volume books and were 72-96 pages long. So that's ~450 pps or something. Which might make them US$70-80 books. Ooof.

I see though that now they are putting out 3 volume sets - I don't know how many pages those are though...
 

Tactics play a large part and Pathfinder gives them scads of meaningful options, both in player abilities as well as via the 3-action economy and PF combat tactics. Sometimes they can punch above their weight class, sometimes their foes have the edge.

How does this work in your games? Are you refering to punching above their weight by "bypassing traditional encounter mechanics" through DM adjudicated outcomes of creative strategies?

Or through good tactics, player skill at using abilities, synergies between abilities, etc.? I do find there is a learning curve with PF2e, but also find that the default enounter guidlines assume a bit of player skill and not just say going up to an above level monster and trying to whack it 3 times every turn. So seems like well oiled teams can punch above their weight a little but not so much that it will stretch the sweet spot too far. Of course, there is always signposting and running away which is fair enough in its own right.
 

payn

Legend
(If there was a 100% reaction, or even better a 1000% reaction, that would be nice here on EN.)

But that all being said - I am excited for this, and look forward to more of Paizo's APs to be collected into big ol' books.

BUT - a lot of the classic PF1E APs were 6 volume books and were 72-96 pages long. So that's ~450 pps or something. Which might make them US$70-80 books. Ooof.

I see though that now they are putting out 3 volume sets - I don't know how many pages those are though...
Can always go PDF.
 

BUT - a lot of the classic PF1E APs were 6 volume books and were 72-96 pages long. So that's ~450 pps or something. Which might make them US$70-80 books. Ooof.
From memory, the actual books were that long, but only around half or a little more was the actual adventure. There was also fiction, monsters, a gazetteer of a significant place in the adventure, a bit of general Golarion setting background etc. Some of that would need to be included in a compiled hardback, but by no means all. Also, PF stat blocks are much bigger and consume more space than 5e stat blocks, especially at high level (in PF1 at least). So there’d probably be a fair bit of capacity to save page count there.

Though on the other hand, PF APs generally assume you have access to original PF monsters in the various PF bestiaries, the expansion rules from things like Ultimate Intrigue, background on Golarion and its gods from the worldbook etc etc. Paizo cross-sell products HARD. If they’re dipping their toe in 5e, they’d need to convert a lot of that stuff over and make it available, which is more pagecount somewhere, whether in the AP itself, or whether in a completely different 5e product. I suspect that’s why this particular AP was chosen - if it’s all in a dungeon, it’s a closed single-location environment that’s easily portable to other campaign worlds, and from what I can read in the summary, unlike many other APs it isn’t tied tightly to Golarion’s gods, history, or geography. So it’s a handy trial balloon.
 

Inchoroi

Adventurer
(If there was a 100% reaction, or even better a 1000% reaction, that would be nice here on EN.)

But that all being said - I am excited for this, and look forward to more of Paizo's APs to be collected into big ol' books.

BUT - a lot of the classic PF1E APs were 6 volume books and were 72-96 pages long. So that's ~450 pps or something. Which might make them US$70-80 books. Ooof.

I see though that now they are putting out 3 volume sets - I don't know how many pages those are though...
There is a lot that can be cut from the volumes for even things like Rise of the Runelords. Unless they keep the formatting as close to the PF2e version as possible, trimming out the various statblock calls, the hazard/traps statblocks, full statblocks in the actual text, would save quite a bit of space.

5e does monster calls by just bolding the monster's name, which usually means that that monster can be found in the SRD, and monsters that are in the back of the book usually just say in parentheses that its in Appendix ##. In addition, unless they keep all the treasure rewards the same, there will be significantly less magic items to keep track of (if they don't change the treasure, the party will end up blinged on so many magic items). Like just the wand of heal in Book 1 of Abomination Vaults has no 5e equivalent; I'd probably end up throwing in a few more potions of healing to compensate for its loss, if even that. In my own conversions for Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne, I threw out literally all the treasure as printed unless it was plot required.

I just counted: there's 59 magic items in Book 1 of Abomination Vaults.
 

Hussar

Legend
Out of curiosity about map scaling. Wouldn’t the easier solution simply be to treat squares as 10 feet? That would likely give you all the space you need.
 

Out of curiosity about map scaling. Wouldn’t the easier solution simply be to treat squares as 10 feet? That would likely give you all the space you need.

Having tried to do that from time to time, it works well ... right up until the point when it doesn't.

It depends on the map. A cave complex or a big temple or even a street - they can work. But any more complex and you run into problems. Doors, for instance - they tend to be 'D&D 5 ft' wide. Double it, and all your doors are 10 feet wide, which is a bit ridiculous - especially for hidden secret passages etc. Similar with areas where cramped conditions, twisty narrow passages, chokepoints etc are intended to hamper PCs and provide tactical challenges (or where PCs are intended to fight larger monsters and there's tighter passageways that THEY can exploit if they're smart.)

And of course there's map art, which these days especially often is lavishly illustrated in colour, and has recognisable furniture, gear etc on it. If you're just doing a scale up, then you run into problems with the objects that are drawn on the map, especially if you're running in a VTT or something directly on the map. Ok, so that armchair takes up a 10 ft by 10 ft area on the map now - can i take cover behind it? Oh, so it's only 5ft really? Which square is it in? On a map of any complexity, you have to make so many changes that you're almost making up a new map.
 

Retreater

Legend
I see though that now they are putting out 3 volume sets - I don't know how many pages those are though...
My PDF copies of the three volumes of Abomination Vaults are 100 pages each (including covers, ads, legal appendix, etc. - which could be cut down a few pages in a combined volume). But likely it would be close to 300 pages for the compilation.
 

Retreater

Legend
And of course there's map art, which these days especially often is lavishly illustrated in colour, and has recognisable furniture, gear etc on it. If you're just doing a scale up, then you run into problems with the objects that are drawn on the map, especially if you're running in a VTT or something directly on the map. Ok, so that armchair takes up a 10 ft by 10 ft area on the map now - can i take cover behind it? Oh, so it's only 5ft really? Which square is it in? On a map of any complexity, you have to make so many changes that you're almost making up a new map.
And at the point that you're making new maps, putting it on a VTT, drawing in dynamic lighting, etc., you're almost better off just designing your own adventure - especially if you're making a lot of customization to it anyway.
The problem of too-small maps isn't just in Abomination Vaults. It's in the other APs I've seen (Age of Ashes and Extinction Curse) as well as the Flip-Mats they create. I've loaded several of these into Foundry, and the rooms and halls are too small to have tactically interesting combat.
There was one I used called The Wicked Dungeon that had a large, open area with a pit and lava stream in the center. It was good (but only in the center). Mostly it was a 5-ft wide hallway flanked by numerous 5-ft "monster closets." The center, however, played out great for a dragon fight. The dragon would do a draconic fury attack on a few party members, fly across the chasm (maybe taking an opportunity attack), doing this back and forth waiting for its breath attack to recharge. Meanwhile, the distance was too great to cross in a single turn, so the party had to use ranged attacks, delay actions, etc.
Even though it was a "system test" I threw together this afternoon for PF2, it was the type of encounter that just doesn't happen in the APs, largely due to the limitations of the maps.
 

GreyLord

Legend
And at the point that you're making new maps, putting it on a VTT, drawing in dynamic lighting, etc., you're almost better off just designing your own adventure - especially if you're making a lot of customization to it anyway.
The problem of too-small maps isn't just in Abomination Vaults. It's in the other APs I've seen (Age of Ashes and Extinction Curse) as well as the Flip-Mats they create. I've loaded several of these into Foundry, and the rooms and halls are too small to have tactically interesting combat.
There was one I used called The Wicked Dungeon that had a large, open area with a pit and lava stream in the center. It was good (but only in the center). Mostly it was a 5-ft wide hallway flanked by numerous 5-ft "monster closets." The center, however, played out great for a dragon fight. The dragon would do a draconic fury attack on a few party members, fly across the chasm (maybe taking an opportunity attack), doing this back and forth waiting for its breath attack to recharge. Meanwhile, the distance was too great to cross in a single turn, so the party had to use ranged attacks, delay actions, etc.
Even though it was a "system test" I threw together this afternoon for PF2, it was the type of encounter that just doesn't happen in the APs, largely due to the limitations of the maps.

Something I did that made the games run better was to move to Theater of the Mind when running the adventures. You can increase the size (or decrease if you desire) the areas as you want to better enable how they move and go. I still use sheets of paper for general positioning and such, but I can change the dynamics of the area and combat according to the gameplay and how they are playing.

It made running PF2e for me (in this AP I would add) a much better and smoother flowing game for me and the group I ran it for.
 

Juomari Veren

Adventurer
As someone who wasn't surprised but was disappointed that of all of the game studios they could've loaned the rights to create an official 5e module for (Kobold Press, Green Ronin, AND Sasquatch?) that Paizo never got the opportunity, but the SRD has quickly righted that it seems.

I don't not want this book. I'm almost certainly going to buy it, since I want to see which adventure they pick next (assuming that the floor of their sales projections is to sell at least as much as the original Abomination Vaults did for them). But they've got such other cool stories in 2e specifically that they could've converted! Plus, 5e is already really good at letting you build a dungeon on the fly - Steal a map, use the monsters by environ charts in Xanathar's/Volo's/Mordenkainen's and you can add the connective tissue along the way. This one has a story, but from my understanding it's also got pitfalls early on until you actually dig your talons into the exploration aspect. But this sounds a bit more easy to gut of its contents and drop into a homebrew setting than say, 23 levels (+1 city) of Undermountain. Infinitely easier, in fact. And that's a value to me, just one I'm hesitant to cash in on because I don't want to steal and hodpodge too much stuff when I'm trying to build out my own shared fantasy world.

I don't have any gripes with PF2E, it scratches the same exact itch as 5e does for me, which is that once or more a week I can play someone or something fantastical and magical. PF2E's math is big, but not hard; 5e's math is small but swingy. PF2E is a bunch of little choices at every level, 5e is one (very rarely two) choices that sometimes reach out to multiple facets of gameplay. But I am so firmly in the 5e camp that I would rather keep focus on the one system that springboarded my already-strong love of TTRPGs into the stratosphere and actually convinced me to start becoming the DM I always knew I was than the one that came out a few years later than the first, just because of the investment, the enjoyment (which is never-ending from where I'm standing), and the burning desire to be a better fan of the game than some of my forebears.
 


Starfox

Adventurer
I really wish Paizo picked a scenario that wasn't a dungeon crawl. I won't buy it. Paizo excel at adventure paths that involve players in the world around them, and that is obviously less so in a dungeon. That said, I had a lot of fun in Paizo's mega-dungeon Thornkeep (the pnp version).

I join the group of people here who love Paizo's adventures but don't care for Pathfinder 4E... eh... 2e.

As a market stunt to get 5E players to look at PF2, this might work, but not for me.
 

Staffan

Legend
My PDF copies of the three volumes of Abomination Vaults are 100 pages each (including covers, ads, legal appendix, etc. - which could be cut down a few pages in a combined volume). But likely it would be close to 300 pages for the compilation.
Each AP part is 96 pages of content (plus cover), with usually 2/3 of that being the actual adventure and 1/3 being various support material that's usually thematically linked to the adventure but not always directly relevant. For example, in Legacy of the Lost God (Extinction Curse 2) there's a 5-page article on xulgath (aka troglodytes, the main antagonist of the AP) culture, a 5-page article about catfolk (there's an important catfolk NPC in the adventure, but she is not exactly a typical example of the species), 3 pages of magic items (some, but not all, of which appear in the adventure), 1 page with an Animal Trainer archetype, 1 page of spells, 8 pages of monster descriptions (again, not all of which are in the adventure), and 6 pages with more in-depth descriptions of three NPCs that play important roles in the adventure. If this adventure was made part of a compilation, I'd estimate that maybe half of the non-adventure material would be deemed relevant for inclusion – so maybe 75 pages per volume.

As an example, when Curse of the Crimson Throne was compiled into a single volume for Pathfinder 1e (the original being for 3.5e), the resulting tome was 480 pages long, which is 80 pages per included volume.
 

I really wish Paizo picked a scenario that wasn't a dungeon crawl. I won't buy it. Paizo excel at adventure paths that involve players in the world around them, and that is obviously less so in a dungeon. That said, I had a lot of fun in Paizo's mega-dungeon Thornkeep (the pnp version).

I join the group of people here who love Paizo's adventures but don't care for Pathfinder 4E... eh... 2e.

As a market stunt to get 5E players to look at PF2, this might work, but not for me.
There are a couple of reasons for choosing a dungeon crawl. Firstly, WotC haven't made many of those, and secondly, many of the Paizo APs have a strong dependence on the Golarion setting. I expect they chose one that would be easy to drop into another setting.
 

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