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

teitan

Legend
So a guy with a small YouTube channels speculating about the RPG industry is, to you, the same as that looney bin of a fringe conspiracy group ruining lives and getting people killed? Holy…wow, dude. That’s an out there hot take you have. No wonder he booted you.
Way to go extreme there buddy. There is a difference between a QAnon influencer than the whackadoos who did those things. Ciao now.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
...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.
 

James Jacobs

Adventurer
Or shackled city?
Not as much. To me, the draw of Age of Worms (or Savage Tide, for that matter) being compiled into a hardcover is that this puts it all in one much more durable spot, in a format that can be bought and reprinted, and that isn't disrupted by advertisements. That's in part why I mentioned I'd be delighted to see Age of Worms compiled into ANY game system. Even if it's just right back into 3.5.

We've already done this for Shackled City, so I don't have much of a need for it to happen again, personally.
 

Azgulor

Adventurer
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. <snip>
My Pathfinder campaigns of the last two years would disagree with you. PF2 has actually made sandbox gaming easier to run than it was in PF1.
 




CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
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).
 

dave2008

Legend
My Pathfinder campaigns of the last two years would disagree with you. PF2 has actually made sandbox gaming easier to run than it was in PF1.
The only stumbling block with PF2 and a sandbox is the +3/-3 range of adversaries. IMO, a sandbox should have a much larger range, but that is not the case for everyone.
 

dave2008

Legend
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).
It has been a long time since I played BECMI, but I don't remember the combats really being any longer or shorter than what we have in 5e. I mean technically they were longer in BECMI days since we have adapted some speed strategies because of 4e. But If I remove them, I feel the combats move forward about a similar pace. What, in your memory, made BECM fast for you?
 

BigZebra

Adventurer
Not as much. To me, the draw of Age of Worms (or Savage Tide, for that matter) being compiled into a hardcover is that this puts it all in one much more durable spot, in a format that can be bought and reprinted, and that isn't disrupted by advertisements. That's in part why I mentioned I'd be delighted to see Age of Worms compiled into ANY game system. Even if it's just right back into 3.5.

We've already done this for Shackled City, so I don't have much of a need for it to happen again, personally.
Would it at all be possible to do a hardcover of Age of Worms? For PF2 or 5e? Or are there some licensing issues with WotC?
I have just bought old Dungeon issues on eBay to get it, but would love a hardcover.

And seriously thanks for so many amazing APs!
 



Azgulor

Adventurer
Hmm, could you expand upon that?
In no particular order:
  • Pathfinder makes it very easy to adjust and scale things with the creature/NPC-builder. So, even if I were adhering to the idea of a "static sandbox" where content levels don't adjust - I don't, btw - I can adjust encounters on the fly.
  • Exploration Mode provides enough mechanical meat to keep wilderness exploration / sandbox play interesting.
  • Critical successes & failures being baked into the core mechanics of skills allow for a wider range of outcomes than pass/fail, which can apply to all aspects of sandbox play.
  • The number of healing options available has been expanded. Mostly, this has been done without requiring gamist-mechanics via things like improved role of Medicine as a skill, extracts, potions, as well as magical methods. Although, in fairness, I would definitely relegate Battlefield Medicine to the gamist column where short/long rests live. This alleviates the 15-min adventuring day but PF2 combat & healing still provides enough grittiness that some wounds last for days (or at least longer than the end of an encounter).
  • Level guidance/CR of creatures seems to be more accurate than other editions of PF & D&D. Still a guideline and I don't run "assume everything is balanced to your PCs' levels" in any case.

All of my PF campaigns are sandbox games. My most frequently-occurring game is two-players. Sometimes they have NPC henchmen or other allies, but often they don't. 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. Both since switching to PF2, I've been able to run the purist sandbox campaigns that I ever have. I don't think that's 100% due to the game mechanics, but they definitely aren't an inhibitor in any way.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It has been a long time since I played BECMI, but I don't remember the combats really being any longer or shorter than what we have in 5e. I mean technically they were longer in BECMI days since we have adapted some speed strategies because of 4e. But If I remove them, I feel the combats move forward about a similar pace. What, in your memory, made BECM fast for you?
I think it's a matter of less-is-more. I'll try to explain.

In BECM, you didn't have multiple types of actions to resolve on your turn, so there was less pressure to "find something to do" with your Action, and Movement, and Bonus Action, etc., on every turn. The way that 5E is written, players often feel like they are wasting their action economy if they don't do something with each of their different action types on each of their turns of every battle. So the game lags while the Fighter tries to find something to do "as a Bonus action."

And there wasn't hundreds of spells, feats, class options, etc., to pore over, to find the perfect thing for this exact occasion. There were only a handful of classes and race options (and often, they were the same thing!), and class/race features were succinct and few in number. There were only a few dozen spells in the whole game, and the descriptions for them were brief and concise. And so on. This meant there was much less 'decision paralysis' from round to round, where players had to weigh dozens of options carefully on their turn and try to pick the best one, only to get frustrated and cast Eldritch Blast again, for the eighth time.

There was no battle mat. You could use one for visual reference, sure, but none of the rules cared about whom was flanking whom, or how many "squares" an orc could move, or who had reach, or whether or not a crossbow had enough range. Using a battle mat has easily doubled, maybe even tripled, the amount of time it takes to resolve combat, as everyone finagles their tokens around trying to get the "perfect angle" on every action.

Same on the DM side...the DM didn't need to track nearly as many different numbers, token positions, lighting conditions, and types of actions for every creature in the scene. I remember just needing to track AC, HP, and initiative...everything else was in a table, on my DM screen.

I could go on, but I think I've answered your question. The reason that BECM ran so much faster for me than all other rules sets that I've tried, is because there wasn't as much stuff for me to run. I'm not saying the tradeoff isn't worth it--I love having lots of spells and class features--but it all came with a price. And for me, that price was really long, really boring combat scenes.

Pathfinder was the worst offender in this department, it wasn't uncommon to have a single combat scene eat up an entire 4-hour gaming session. 5E is faster, about 30 minutes or so, but that's still about twice as long as I would like. But I can cope.
 
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Azgulor

Adventurer
The only stumbling block with PF2 and a sandbox is the +3/-3 range of adversaries. IMO, a sandbox should have a much larger range, but that is not the case for everyone.
1. That's a guideline, not a shackle.
2. This is a sandbox philosophy statement more than a rules comment, but not every encounter has to be a combat encounter.

For a specific example, when I first created my sandbox campaign area, I did the traditional sprinkling of settlements, ruins, monster lairs, etc. One such lair was for a manticore. The first time the PCs wandered into manticore territory, instead of throwing a Level 6 monster at a Level 1 party, they discovered two recent kills. A few recall knowledge checks later, they strongly suspected they were seeing the aftermath of a manticore attack. Wilderness travel got a lot more tense after that. --So, despite rolling a manticore encounter (they weren't in the lair hex but in hunting ground hex), I used it to foreshadow, instead.

The second time they passed through that territory a manticore encounter manifested again. They were Level 2 and had several NPC allies (due to the current quest) with them. They "encountered" the manticore at a far distance. The manticore didn't engage due to the size of the party. The party didn't engage because a) they didn't need to, b) they didn't want to fight an aerial opponent, and c) they were Level 2 (meta-gaming reason). So, I presented the option of a combat encounter and left it to the players to decide.

The third time they passed through they were now Level 4. Two PCs each with a Level 1 henchman. The manticore was encountered in the air at a closer range. The players were done with cat-and-mouse and kicked off the encounter. They won, but it was a narrow thing while the manticore was able to strafe/hit-and-run from the air. Once they scored some persistent bleed, the tide started turning their way. One PC almost died when the manticore scooped the halfling fighter off the ground and was flying away and then the manticore bled out 30' from the ground... The players still talk about that fight.

Now very little of that story is PF2-specific. But while PF2 provides guidance for "balanced" play, it's only a restriction if you make it one. It's not a requirement and it's certainly not a limitation of the system.
 

payn

Legend
In no particular order:
  • Pathfinder makes it very easy to adjust and scale things with the creature/NPC-builder. So, even if I were adhering to the idea of a "static sandbox" where content levels don't adjust - I don't, btw - I can adjust encounters on the fly.
  • Exploration Mode provides enough mechanical meat to keep wilderness exploration / sandbox play interesting.
  • Critical successes & failures being baked into the core mechanics of skills allow for a wider range of outcomes than pass/fail, which can apply to all aspects of sandbox play.
  • The number of healing options available has been expanded. Mostly, this has been done without requiring gamist-mechanics via things like improved role of Medicine as a skill, extracts, potions, as well as magical methods. Although, in fairness, I would definitely relegate Battlefield Medicine to the gamist column where short/long rests live. This alleviates the 15-min adventuring day but PF2 combat & healing still provides enough grittiness that some wounds last for days (or at least longer than the end of an encounter).
  • Level guidance/CR of creatures seems to be more accurate than other editions of PF & D&D. Still a guideline and I don't run "assume everything is balanced to your PCs' levels" in any case.

All of my PF campaigns are sandbox games. My most frequently-occurring game is two-players. Sometimes they have NPC henchmen or other allies, but often they don't. 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. Both since switching to PF2, I've been able to run the purist sandbox campaigns that I ever have. I don't think that's 100% due to the game mechanics, but they definitely aren't an inhibitor in any way.
I appreciate the write up. You certainly dove into the expectations of the PF2 system. I find many of these things to actually be roadblocks to what I think of as a sandbox. I also feel that the tactics in PF2 come at expense of strategy, which is why I have been a hard sell on PF2. Do you write up game journals at all?
 

payn

Legend
1. That's a guideline, not a shackle.
2. This is a sandbox philosophy statement more than a rules comment, but not every encounter has to be a combat encounter.

For a specific example, when I first created my sandbox campaign area, I did the traditional sprinkling of settlements, ruins, monster lairs, etc. One such lair was for a manticore. The first time the PCs wandered into manticore territory, instead of throwing a Level 6 monster at a Level 1 party, they discovered two recent kills. A few recall knowledge checks later, they strongly suspected they were seeing the aftermath of a manticore attack. Wilderness travel got a lot more tense after that. --So, despite rolling a manticore encounter (they weren't in the lair hex but in hunting ground hex), I used it to foreshadow, instead.

The second time they passed through that territory a manticore encounter manifested again. They were Level 2 and had several NPC allies (due to the current quest) with them. They "encountered" the manticore at a far distance. The manticore didn't engage due to the size of the party. The party didn't engage because a) they didn't need to, b) they didn't want to fight an aerial opponent, and c) they were Level 2 (meta-gaming reason). So, I presented the option of a combat encounter and left it to the players to decide.

The third time they passed through they were now Level 4. Two PCs each with a Level 1 henchman. The manticore was encountered in the air at a closer range. The players were done with cat-and-mouse and kicked off the encounter. They won, but it was a narrow thing while the manticore was able to strafe/hit-and-run from the air. Once they scored some persistent bleed, the tide started turning their way. One PC almost died when the manticore scooped the halfling fighter off the ground and was flying away and then the manticore bled out 30' from the ground... The players still talk about that fight.

Now very little of that story is PF2-specific. But while PF2 provides guidance for "balanced" play, it's only a restriction if you make it one. It's not a requirement and it's certainly not a limitation of the system.
That is an excellent example of sign posting. I think many players and GMs often struggle with this. If they catch wind of something, they are about to encounter it in mere min, not days or weeks.
 

dave2008

Legend
I think it's a matter of less-is-more. I'll try to explain.
I get that in general, if not all of your examples. One of them being...
There was no battle mat. You could use one for visual reference, sure, but none of the rules cared about whom was flanking whom, or how many "squares" an orc could move, or who had reach, or whether or not a crossbow had enough range. Using a battle mat has easily doubled, maybe even tripled, the amount of time it takes to resolve combat, as everyone finagles their tokens around trying to get the "perfect angle" on every action.
When we played BECMI we had minis and a "battlemat" it just wasn't one that had a gird on it. I had big roles of paper I would draw on and the players would locate there mini. I still do this sometimes in 5e, but usually add a grid or print out a pre-made map. I find the map has sped up the process. We always do some TotM and it always takes longer for everyone to figure out what is going on. Though, I don't really remember if it was that difficult back in the day, but we starting using minis and rough "terrain" pretty soon if not immediately. I mean I had the books and a ton of minis way before I started playing
Same on the DM side...the DM didn't need to track nearly as many different numbers, token positions, lighting conditions, and types of actions for every creature in the scene. I remember just needing to track AC, HP, and initiative...everything else was in a table, on my DM screen.

I could go on, but I think I've answered your question. The reason that BECM ran so much faster for me than all other rules sets that I've tried, is because there wasn't as much stuff for me to run. I'm not saying the tradeoff isn't worth it--I love having lots of spells and class features--but it all came with a price. And for me, that price was really long, really boring combat scenes.
I definitely understand, I guess I still DM a lot like I did back in my BECMI days. I can even run a monster without a stat block based on the tables in the DMG.
Pathfinder was the worst offender in this department, it wasn't uncommon to have a single combat scene eat up an entire 4-hour gaming session. 5E is faster, about 30 minutes or so, but that's still about twice as long as I would like. But I can cope.
We can get through most encounters in about 10-15min, but we are extreme about time. A PC gets 30 sec to determine and resolve their action. That is it. It really has made the game more fun for us.
 
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