A blog about my 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign using Paizo's Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path.

Please note that there are spoilers throughout.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Levels and Looking Ahead

If you are one of my players, are a player in a Rise of the Runelords campaign, or want to play in a Rise of the Runelords campaign STOP reading now!
Following my previous post about XP and level advancement, the next step was to look at the future adventures and see how those target levels mesh with the combat encounters. All this conversion work becomes mute if the players lose interest after a third TPK.

So, looking at all six of the published adventures, layering in the two levels per published adventure baseline and taking a quick glance at the major/most interesting potential combat encounters (and what a possible conversion might look like) we get:

#1 Burnt Offerings
Level 1: Goblins, Tough Imp
Level 2: Goblins, NPCs, Tentamort, Yeth Hounds, maybe a barghest

#2 Skinsaw Murders
Level 3: Ghouls, Ghast
Level 4: Cultists, Flesh Golem or maybe a Scarecrow Golem, Lamia

#3 Hook Mountain Masacre
Level 5: Half-Ogres, Ogres, Lamia Noble
Level 6: Ogres, Trolls, Annis Hags, Ghost, Stone Giants

#4 Fortress of the Stone Giants
Level 7: Stone Giants, Mummies, Red Dragon
Level 8: Stone Giants, Lamias, a Skeleton Warrior

#5 Sins of the Saviors
Level 9: Glabrezu demon, white dragon, elementals
Level 10: Lich, succubus, iron golems, stone golem

#6 Spires of Xin-Shalast
Level 11: Cloud giants, storm giants
Level 12: rune giants, lamia nobles

Level 13: The big bad guy - an NPC magic-user

Everything looks pretty good up until level 6 or 7 when Stone Giants become the main enemy. From that point on the giants are just too tough for the targeted 2nd edition characters. A couple of possible solutions are:

1. Use 1st edition giants. With the bump in relative power that 2nd edition characters get vs 1st edition characters and the lower power level of 1st edition giants vs 2nd edition giants, the relative power levels might make the encounters survivable.


2. Replace the type of giants with weaker ones. Replace the stone giants that appear at level 6 or 7 with hill giants and later replace rune giants with stone giants.

Besides the problem with giants, the other encounters look survivable - some are tough though.


  1. It would be interesting to see how you will convert killer encounters like Xanesha to 2nd edition.
    The boss is tough but the encounter makes her much tougher.

  2. Hey Patrick,
    I'm really enjoying reading this. I've mentioned this before but I'm currently running my girls through the same series (Rise of the Runelords) but using Swords and Wizardry rules instead. I thought that I'd have time to post a bunch of notes on their progress on my blog (rollad20.blogspot.com, better known, but not much better, as crit or cruddy), but alas, work has conspired against me. So....Most of my free time has been dedicated to converting things and such.

    I just wanted to say a few things. First, I absolutely LOVE the way that you're slyly introducing characters from the next mod. Brilliant work there... That's seriously going to make a difference in flavor when the time comes. Nice job.

    Secondly, in regards to level, I'm doing things a bit differently than you are. I've only got my two daughters playing, so the numbers are dramatically different. Therefore I've been "eyeballing" the difficulty as we move forward and just leveling them as I see fit. And to be honest, I really like this approach. This is the first time I've ever done such a thing. Most of the time I'm a stickler for experience points. But this allows me to sort of free form it and think about other things. So far they're one level ahead of where they need to be. (3rd level and they've just killed Rippnugget and have assaulted the temple to Lamashtu w/ the Hounds of Yith guardians.) It's actually working out quite well so far.

    One of the things that I'm not really overly thrilled about so far is the use of stone giants. I'm not a fan. I never have been. They've always been the cardboard cutout for me. Way too two-dimensional. Sure, Wolfgang wrote a great big piece in order to give them some depth, but call me stubborn, I like Hill, Frost and Fire much more.

    So...I'm going to try and use a toned down Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl as a fill in piece. I'm going to have the library buried inside of the glacier at the bottom of the rift and use the Jarl as Karzoug's puppet. The level of the giants concerns me though...in AD&D it was built for 8 - 11 level characters and according to the S&W rules Frost Giants have 10+1d6 HD...Which is a bit steep. So I'm tempted to downgrade them to Hill Giant status. Not sure...

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you what fun it is reading your journal entries. It's both inspirational as well as instructive. I just wish I had more time to do the same.

    Game On