I'm going to throw in a recommendation for the module 'Modifiers Matter' it just tells players when a special modifier they have makes a difference to hitting, so things like flanking with an ally, or having an ally frighten an enemy are more obvious about how useful they are (which is extremely.)
Also, are you using the officially supported version of Abomination Vaults through
Foundry? If so, it's really great, though it's not like, necessary, I was just really impressed with the Beginner Box adaption.
Finally, if the players are creating their own characters at any point, they should have three things in place to be able to take on the challenge level of AV:
- An 18 in their primary stat
, in other words, the one they hit things with, if they can't have an 18 due to playing one of the classes which has an offbeat key stat they don't actually hit things with, it should be a 16. Some people think a primary 16 is ok in general, maybe it is, I recommend sticking with an 18 to get a good baseline feeling. The game makes you well-rounded anyway, so I would discourage players from treating it as cheesy or anything.
- They should have a plan for AC,
heavy armor with little dex, light or no armor with a lot of dex, or medium armor with middling dex. The point is, get the highest AC you can, while being as close to the dex cap of your armor as possible. Every class can get good AC.
- The party should have some form of healing
, this doesn't have to be a dedicated healer, but at the very least one or two people should have medicine trained, so they can treat wounds, ideally with Battle Medicine as their skill feat, or maybe a focus ability that lets them heal someone, or maybe if there are two spell casters they should each prepare a healing slot if they aren't Arcane list. There are different ways to scratch the itch, you want both in and out of combat healing.
Doing these three things will largely set your party up for success and make the experience as enjoyable as possible, everything past this I would say is largely unnecessary, and they should feel empowered to take whatever for their feats and stuff.
Rule Notes for you:
- Remember that dex doesn't apply to damage unless the players have something that says otherwise (and that something is only the Thief Rogue) incidentally, strength isn't necessary on dex characters which is why I didn't mention it above, but the lack of it will hurt the most at low levels where it would otherwise be a relatively large percent of their damage.
- Mind the Incapacitation trait on their spells.
- The Manipulate trait triggers Attacks of Opportunity from creatures that have it, spells with the somatic component have the manipulate trait.
As do some other things you might not expect, like picking up a dropped weapon or opening a door
- Exploration is measured in a minimum of 10 minute increments for a reason, don't be afraid to let them use multiple 10 minute increments to heal between combat and stuff, even searching a room right after a fight takes 10 minutes at a minimum. Be mindful of the fact that your players are supposed to have exploration activities as you explore that they're doing, it'll help you spread the spotlight around.
- Double Check if monsters have aura effects, I always forget them, lol.
- Unlike 5e, they need their magic items as they start leveling, there are rule variants for if you want to play with fewer magic items. AV has rewards already picked out of course, but if you were going to deviate from the adventure's treasure (which I would not encourage except maybe to customize some of the items if you wish) stick to the Party Treasure chart on the CBR.