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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Thomas Shey

Legend
People say this but the number of choices per level are vastly reduced from 3E/PF1. You do make a lot of choices at level 1, but level up is really only two choices from two tables of a handful at most of options. Also, the choices are often very obvious, so its not really a lot of choice at all in my experience when it comes to PF2.

We're playing hybrids in the game I'm in, and I still normally only have about three things to decide, and as you say, sometimes the best choice is extremely obvious given prior character advancement choices.

What seems to freak people out is the vast pile of options all laid out in tables. Once you realize its all been siloed down to make leveling easy, you realize its not as daunting as people make it seem.

Yeah, there's tons of options, but you're almost never in a situation where you need to look at them at once, unless you're one of those people who just has to plan ahead ten levels (and there's far less need to do that in PF2e than PF1e or D&D3e).
 

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GreyLord

Legend
They picked this particular one because this AP sold really well. Just like WotC also learned, simple dungeon-crawls have a bigger audience than complicated plot / lore-based adventures.

With that said, I'm excited to see Paizo success in any form: that means more investment back to my favorite D&D (PF2).

It also was a low level AP which was only 3 volumes instead of 6. In many ways it also tied into the BB and sequel. Multiple things that I think might have spurred on sales for it.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
This will be interesting to see. I wonder how much adjustment is going to be applied to the assumptions of the "adventuring day" from the different games. I come to this from playing a fair bit of 5E and running Curse of Strahd, and playing a fair bit of Pathfinder 2E.

The games really work differently in terms of expectations as far as party resources in terms of the adventuring day. My 5E games start with a rested party and have it steadily dragged downward. You definitely feel the effects of a combat on your party's resources. That can vary based on how much you have short rest reliant characters and how often you let players take those short rests. My group just felt drained at the end of an adventuring day in Curse of Strahd, which was what I was hoping for.

Pathfinder 2E is very different from my experience: there really seems to be the expectation that you will be full strength in terms of HP in a combat. If you aren't, you're looking at a much more difficult situation.

I am prepping to run Abomination Vaults, and so have been watching videos and listening to Tabletop Gold's podcast as well, and that seems to be the way it runs: the GMs actively encourage the groups to heal up and refocus and the times they don't it hurts.

I think that would require some rebalancing of encounters for the conversion, and I wonder how much of that they are taking into account.

It will be interesting to see at least. More power to Paizo for making a product that I think will be successful. I hope it does not signal a shift away from Pathfinder 2E, however.
 

Retreater

Legend
I think that would require some rebalancing of encounters for the conversion, and I wonder how much of that they are taking into account.
Hopefully they will playtest that. I think the initial PF2 adventures and APs (Plaguestone and Age of Ashes specifically) are notoriously difficult because encounter challenge levels weren't set in accordance with actual play.

I am prepping to run Abomination Vaults, and so have been watching videos and listening to Tabletop Gold's podcast as well, and that seems to be the way it runs: the GMs actively encourage the groups to heal up and refocus and the times they don't it hurts.
The best thing you can do to prep Abomination Vaults (and I don't know if it's covered in the podcast) is to work on the story and character motivations.
Some of the encounters (in Book 1 anyway) are incredibly difficult. For me, I'd consider starting a group at second level if I were to run it again.
 

Staffan

Legend
Hopefully they will playtest that. I think the initial PF2 adventures and APs (Plaguestone and Age of Ashes specifically) are notoriously difficult because encounter challenge levels weren't set in accordance with actual play.
Yeah, I get the feeling that while the game designers worked to make the various difficulty descriptors mean something (a Hard encounter is actually hard), adventure designers still worked on older assumptions for quite a while that well-designed characters could probably kick the butt of anything at least three levels higher. That, and making moderately big dungeons and expect them to be cleared in a single run (I'm looking at you, Show Must Go On circus camp, corrupted hermitage, and Erran Tower).
 

James Jacobs

Adventurer
Yeah, I get the feeling that while the game designers worked to make the various difficulty descriptors mean something (a Hard encounter is actually hard), adventure designers still worked on older assumptions for quite a while that well-designed characters could probably kick the butt of anything at least three levels higher. That, and making moderately big dungeons and expect them to be cleared in a single run (I'm looking at you, Show Must Go On circus camp, corrupted hermitage, and Erran Tower).
Sort of. The focus of our playtest was more on balancing player characters in encoutners and less on adventure construction playtesting. It's always awkward when we switch an edition, since the adventures we publish at that time have to be written before the rules are done, and thus before the adventure writers and adventure developers have a finished set of rules to use. I feel we've gotten much better more recently, and it basically boils down to advising authors that encounters we list as Severe or Extreme encounter, and those encounters should be VERY rare. Leaning in to having more Trivial, Low, or Moderate encounters as the bulk of an adventure rather than having too many Moderate or Severe ones is one of my biggest takeaways, as is that single monster Moderate+ encounters tend to be rougher than those made of lots of less powerful ones.

We often include dungeons because they are consistently things that folks really enjoy. The expectation that a dungeon should be cleared in a single run is something I often try to push back against in adventures I develop, but yeah, that's for sure something that all of us developers and adventure authors keep in mind.

(Also, in 2nd edition, it's a LOT easier to heal up and recover between encounters, and that's a play style shift that I think lots of 1st edition players/GMs are still in the process of adjusting to.)
 

Staffan

Legend
Sort of. The focus of our playtest was more on balancing player characters in encoutners and less on adventure construction playtesting. It's always awkward when we switch an edition, since the adventures we publish at that time have to be written before the rules are done, and thus before the adventure writers and adventure developers have a finished set of rules to use. I feel we've gotten much better more recently, and it basically boils down to advising authors that encounters we list as Severe or Extreme encounter, and those encounters should be VERY rare. Leaning in to having more Trivial, Low, or Moderate encounters as the bulk of an adventure rather than having too many Moderate or Severe ones is one of my biggest takeaways, as is that single monster Moderate+ encounters tend to be rougher than those made of lots of less powerful ones.

We often include dungeons because they are consistently things that folks really enjoy. The expectation that a dungeon should be cleared in a single run is something I often try to push back against in adventures I develop, but yeah, that's for sure something that all of us developers and adventure authors keep in mind.

(Also, in 2nd edition, it's a LOT easier to heal up and recover between encounters, and that's a play style shift that I think lots of 1st edition players/GMs are still in the process of adjusting to.)
To be fair, I think you have gotten better at it, and it's really common that the early adventures of version N+1 are designed as if they're version N adventures, because the writers are still feeling the system out and, as you say, the very first adventures are written without the full rules available. I've skimmed Kindled Magic, and it's a lot better than The Show Must Go On in that regard.

As for dungeon length and time pressure, in The Show Must Go On in particular:
Once the circus show is over, the PCs are strongly encouraged to explore the area around the camp to look for clues about the killer, and even once they've found them they're pressured by the Professor and other crew to explore some more to make certain the camp is safe – in other words, clear out the dungeon. Even if the floor is dirt and grass, the camp area is a dungeon. And later when the PCs get to the corrupted hermitage, there's the pressure of a hostage as well as a dungeon full of intelligent opponents who would reasonably react to PCs making hit-and-run attacks. So both those dungeons have a pretty strong push for getting it done-in-one. The Erran Tower is also full of intelligent opponents, but at least there's not the immediate threat of a hostage being sacrificed.

And yes, PF2 is significantly better than PF1 when it comes to partial party resets between encounters, but the big helper in that regard (Treat Wounds) takes a few levels to come into its own with Rapid Recovery and possibly Ward Medic plus getting decent bonuses to Medicine. So it doesn't help as much when the PCs have to deal with 8 encounters (plus whatever you needed to do during the actual performance) in a single night.
 



Hussar

Legend
Thinking about it though, at least with Savage Tides (a module I do know very well), I'm not sure that it would mesh particularly well with 5e's lore to be honest. At least, the second half of Savage Tides, when you start delving into the Abyss and whatnot, leans REALLY heavily on 3e and earlier planar setting lore. The first half would be no problem but, I'm not sure if a lot of the stuff they talk about in the second half actually applies anymore. And it really doesn't apply to Forgotten Realms.
 

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