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5E Savage Tide Adventure Path

Mistwell

Legend
I've decided to use this for my 5e game. I'd like some advice from anyone who has run it before (for any edition). As there are no reviews of it posted here at EnWorld, if anyone has general impressions they'd like to offer I'd appreciate those as well.
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I personally preferred Age of Worms out of those Dungeon Magazine APs. I don't know if either would be easier to convert than the other (much the same I imagine). That said, wasn't there an updated compiled version of ST? I don't know if it was different to the magazine version.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Savage Tide has one massive problem: the details of the initial setting (Sasserine) are done extremely well and it makes the game falter once you leave its environs. We got about half-way through the AP before abandoning it. The first couple of adventures were great, because you had the potential of a lot of intrigue and role-playing, but once you set sail for the Isle of Dread, we found everything got very boring. We just didn't care any more.
[MENTION=1]Morrus[/MENTION], it was the Shackled City (the first AP) that got the compiled version. Age of Worms was the best of the three APs in Dungeon magazine.

Trivia note: Wizards extended the duration of the Dragon and Dungeon licenses so that Paizo could finish off the Savage Tide AP.

Cheers!
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
We started Age of Worms in April under the September play test rules and converted to 5e as parts of it have come out. We are currently in chapter 4 and having a blast. Let me know if you ever decide to run Age of Worms or have more general questions about converting 3.5 adventures.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
The 1st parts of it are great, some of the best D&D adventures of all time IMHO.

In 5E you level up a lot faster so maybe use milestones instead of xp. 3.0 and 3.5 adventures seem to be the easiest to convert to 5E. Do you know the overall plotline?
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
The 1st parts of it are great, some of the best D&D adventures of all time IMHO.

In 5E you level up a lot faster so maybe use milestones instead of xp. 3.0 and 3.5 adventures seem to be the easiest to convert to 5E. Do you know the overall plotline?
Strange, I found that the xp did not keep up after going to 3rd level. The players were not going to make it to 5th level of the Age of Worms chapter 2. So they would not have been level 5 for the start of chapter 3. So I abandoned XP levelling for milestone halfway through chapter 2.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I'll be ignoring the levels anyway. My party is 6th level, and since I need to replace the challenges to convert to 5e anyway, I'm just replacing them with level-appropriate challenges.

I decided on Savage Tide because my party got themselves a pirate ship and wanted an adventure related to using said ship. Savage Tide has that, at least in part, so I figured I would give it a try. That, and Sassarine seems to be a great city with lots of potential for adventure, and the maps are beautiful.

We started tonight, the party is set to reclaim the Blue Nixie as the first part of the first adventure "There Is No Honor". I think it will be fun for now, but I have not read the adventure much beyond this first part. It sounds like both [MENTION=3586]MerricB[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6716779]Zardnaar[/MENTION] agree that the first part is good, and that the later parts are not as good, so I will keep that in mind. Perhaps I will remove everything from Isle of Dread onwards and switch to something else or 100% homebrew at that point. Though knowing my players that won't be necessary as they are already talking about a raid on the Temple of Wee Jas and possibly trophy hunting in the jungles.

My biggest question at this point is converting from 3.5e to 5e. My plan so far is simply swap monsters entirely. For instance, the first combat encounter involves 7 human thugs and their leader, and as my party is 6th level I am just using the stats for a Hobgoblin Warlord (CR 6) and 7 Gladiators (CR5), and giving the gladiators a crossbow in addition to their spear and shield, while switching the Warlord's javelins for a crossbow and some daggers as well.

We're using milestones for leveling already, so that won't be an issue. Every 3-4 sessions or so they're leveling.

Treasure will be an issue, but then until we have a DMG all we have are the playtest guidelines on that anyway so I will continue just using those and winging it as I have been for the past 18 months.

Any other advice on conversions? I am reducing the magic shops way down, and some of the spells and such are not available so that may impact some of the challenges as well.
 

MarkB

Legend
My biggest memory when running this was its extreme lethality. It was pitched towards experienced groups, but still, beyond the earliest levels, it felt like we were losing characters every other encounter, and that's a big problem in an adventure with heavy continuity links.

We got through the long sea voyage, and there were some good fun parts, but we called it quits after arriving at the island.
 

We only played a single session (about a third) of the first adventure in "Savage Tide" before real life killed it off. I did find two problems with that first adventure:

- The "investigation phase" of the adventure really lagged. IIRC, my players missed a key clue early on, and spent the next while floundering without success. I recommend re-writing that part of the adventure, bearing in mind the Three Clue Rule.

- The pirate base is a warren of very narrow passageways. This led to my PCs getting stuck in a very static fight where most of them could barely act, and likewise the enemies couldn't get at them. Such passageways are probably more realistic, but they made that fight really drag. Again, I would recommend redesigning that area to open things up a bit.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I'll be ignoring the levels anyway. My party is 6th level, and since I need to replace the challenges to convert to 5e anyway, I'm just replacing them with level-appropriate challenges.

I decided on Savage Tide because my party got themselves a pirate ship and wanted an adventure related to using said ship. Savage Tide has that, at least in part, so I figured I would give it a try. That, and Sassarine seems to be a great city with lots of potential for adventure, and the maps are beautiful.

We started tonight, the party is set to reclaim the Blue Nixie as the first part of the first adventure "There Is No Honor". I think it will be fun for now, but I have not read the adventure much beyond this first part. It sounds like both @MerricB and @Zardnaar agree that the first part is good, and that the later parts are not as good, so I will keep that in mind. Perhaps I will remove everything from Isle of Dread onwards and switch to something else or 100% homebrew at that point. Though knowing my players that won't be necessary as they are already talking about a raid on the Temple of Wee Jas and possibly trophy hunting in the jungles.

My biggest question at this point is converting from 3.5e to 5e. My plan so far is simply swap monsters entirely. For instance, the first combat encounter involves 7 human thugs and their leader, and as my party is 6th level I am just using the stats for a Hobgoblin Warlord (CR 6) and 7 Gladiators (CR5), and giving the gladiators a crossbow in addition to their spear and shield, while switching the Warlord's javelins for a crossbow and some daggers as well.

We're using milestones for leveling already, so that won't be an issue. Every 3-4 sessions or so they're leveling.

Treasure will be an issue, but then until we have a DMG all we have are the playtest guidelines on that anyway so I will continue just using those and winging it as I have been for the past 18 months.

Any other advice on conversions? I am reducing the magic shops way down, and some of the spells and such are not available so that may impact some of the challenges as well.
The rest of the AP is good its just that Sasserine is so good you find of don't want to leave. I quite liked the Isle of Dread Adventures and recently ran them as stand alone. Sasserine was also supposed to be the centerpoint of my new 5E campaign and I located it near Threshold but the campaign kind of stayed near Threshold.

BTW Gladiators are very nasty in 5E. Our DM love throwing them at us or rekinning them slightly by swapping the states around and throwing on full plate and shields for armor.I use them tweaked for elite archers as well.

I'm running the Dying of the Light Adventure from 3.0 Dungeon for 6 level 10 PCs and they took down 3 Vampires in a single fight. There are 7 total to find+ others and they have not had much in the way of magical treasure lately so they will get a bit once they are done (by 5E standards). +2 weapons and a +2 ring of protection seem to be exciting again. Cutting the magical loot in half roughly.
 
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Boarstorm

First Post
I had forgotten about this AP... I may mine it for some goodness myself, since the Isle of Dread adventures would fit in quite well with Chult.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
My biggest memory when running this was its extreme lethality. It was pitched towards experienced groups, but still, beyond the earliest levels, it felt like we were losing characters every other encounter, and that's a big problem in an adventure with heavy continuity links.

We got through the long sea voyage, and there were some good fun parts, but we called it quits after arriving at the island.
I had heard of how deadly Age of Worms was, but the players were cruising through during the play test rules. Even when I started getting the monsters in Basic and the MM, things did not get too much harder. Then the party lost the cleric to real life, and the updated encounter building guidelines came out. Ouch. 2 sessions ago, the 6 member party was mired in a sea of 7 mimics, which they handled after a drawn out fight. Last week they fought 3 invisible stalkers while walking across rotting beams above a stagnant pool with sharp pokey things sticking out. 2 went unconscious (1 twice), another fell in the water, and without the Dragonborn Sorcerer firing every lightning bolt he had, they would not have survived.

So yeah. Now that the rules of 5e are getting finalized, watch out on the lethality of the encounters. NPC spell casters especially. If you use a spell caster of the same CR, they are much scarier in 5e. In 3.5 they had a spell caster level that matched their CR. So they had the same level of spells as the party. In 5e, the spell casters have a level 50% above their CR. So an NPC could have spell levels above what the party has available. Even back when the characters were level 3, a wizard NPC had a couple castings of fireball available. I had to pull my punches on that one.
 


Storminator

First Post
I thought Sasserine was pretty awesome, and they really should have included ties back to it in the later adventures.

Hopefully 5e solves the horrific grapple problem, because were lots of monsters with +40 grapple checks and Improved Grab. I think every single melee character died, including all the animal companions and cohorts.

One particular problem for me as a DM was the sailing adventure. It has a series of encounters laid out along the route, but it has the encounters listed twice, with vital info in each listing. So you have to keep flipping back and forth. I missed a lot of stuff and it was very frustrating to run. If I had to do that again I would photocopy those pages and splice the two lists together so I had all the info for each encounter consolidated.

PS
 


MerricB

Eternal Optimist
I thought Sasserine was pretty awesome, and they really should have included ties back to it in the later adventures.

Hopefully 5e solves the horrific grapple problem, because were lots of monsters with +40 grapple checks and Improved Grab. I think every single melee character died, including all the animal companions and cohorts.
I think the Wizards designers learnt the lessons of 3E Grapple pretty well. Both 4E and 5E fix it by making the check just another ability (skill) check, rather than having size bonuses figure into it, and by having the scores of the monsters much lower. (Pathfinder halved the size bonuses, but it wasn't enough. Opposed skill checks have a completely different behaviour than normal checks when calculating success chances).

A giant crocodile (CR 3) grapples you - the escape DC is 16.

A tyrannosaurus (CR 8) grapples you - the escape DC is 17.

And you can escape by either a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.

Cheers!
 

Vael

Adventurer
Savage Tide has been on my list of "things I'd love to run" since 3.5, though some bad experiences with Age of Worms meant I didn't really DM again until 4e came out. I've thought about running Savage Tide in 4e, Pathfinder, Fate (either Strands of Fate or Fate Core with the Freeport campaign setting) and now 5e.

The main part I'd want to change, though, is the high-level play. I quite like the path up to Scuttlecove, but the stuff in the Abyss is less interesting to me. I'd be curious to hear how others changed these parts, if they did.
 

ugulu

First Post
Just in case anyone is still lurking - I'm in the process of learning 5e by converting Savage Tide. I've had the same feeling - that it rocks while focused in/around the city but that it might lag during the ship-based portion. I do like the Isle - I think we could have fun with that. Currently googling for good sources of 3.5 to 5e monster conversions - considering posting an Iron Cobra and Huecuva concepts but would love to see what others are doing with it. Figure on having to run some play tests to get a handle on how the mechanics works.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Just an update, still running my 5e players through this. Heading into the Bullywug Gambit chapter soon. My players resurrected the dead thief, Pinkus, which changed alllll sorts of stuff with the thieves guild raid. I switched things up, and made it so that the guild mistress (the Lady) was betrayed by Vanthus as well and trapped in her room with a minor demon (invisible) using an illusion of the guild mistress to continue to run the guild on Vanthus' behalf. When the players rescue her (which should happen next session), she will re-unit with Pinkus, and along with the players take back control of the guild (those thieves that are still alive after the party ran through them like a hot knife through butter), and will then hunt down Vanthus on the Lady's behalf as well as their patrons. I also added a metric crapton of traps to the thieves guild - because it's a thieves guild and had almost no traps!

I am considering switching the Black Pearl that releases the savage tide at the cove, to instead being a trapped container that held one of the Deck of Many Things cards (due to a link to something that previously happened to the adventurers).
 
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Herobizkit

Adventurer
I have been cribbing Savage Tide to run for my players, and I've been looking forward to it for a few days... but now to hear that there's a large jungle exploration part and that the players are still butthurt over the sandbox exploration of Kingmaker makes me very leery of running it...
 

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