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Night Below Conversion


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#1 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:00 AM

I'm running a game and shifted my characters into a Night Below campaign, they are a little higher than normal for the start of the campaign, but I'm adjusting it on the fly.

Actually I'd be adjusting it anyway, they are new role players and I eased them in with the easy to learn 4th edition. (I know...I know...but they are new).

But I recently sat down and said forget it and converted all their characters to 3.5 and I'm going to make them learn it by playing a few sessions and see if they like it.

But regardless, I was just wondering if anyone had seen a conversion for Night Below that I could take a look at that goes to 3.5.

(Cause I seriously doubt there is a conversion to 4th edition, and I really hope I don't need it anyway...time to move these players to the next level)

Side Note: My game consists of 3 men and 3 women. An unusual combination I believe. ;)
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#2 Balgin

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 07:59 AM

But I recently sat down and said forget it and converted all their characters to 3.5 and I'm going to make them learn it by playing a few sessions and see if they like it.


1: I've done all the npc's from book 1 and nearly half the npc's from book 2 (book 2 has less npc's than book 1).

2: There's a very useful site called something like Illuminating the Night Below which is dedicated to various people's 3rd ed/3.5 conversions. I believe they've got stats for the more unusual creatures in book 1 (giant crayfish, for example). If not then I got them from somewhere on the net and can easily post them to you). I also statted up a "young" werebear (used the rules for "advancing" backwards to degress him into young one stage). It worked out well.

3: I also have a link for a site with all the maps & player handouts as separate images at a large rezolution in case you wanted to email people player handouts or simply print the maps up on new (and thus more durable) card or paper. I'll PM you the link if you're interested.

I hope that helps you a lot :).
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#3 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 08:30 AM

Yeah it does, thank you very much.
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#4 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 08:32 PM

Played our first 3.5 game with my players, none of them are familiar with 3.5, except one who a while back played 3.0.

It went well, I kept it kinda loose and helped them a bit, they aren't used to this kind of freedom that I feel 3.5 gives you in comparison to 4e. 4e is almost entirely about combat and the 'info gathering' or skill challenges are just dice rolling to earn info or get somewhere, there is very little roleplaying, at least they got way more into travelling through a forest in 3.5 than they did in 4e.

They are struggling with it and I've had to drop them some hints on possible solutions, I get a lot of blank stares sometimes when I put them in a situation where they have to take actions they aren't used to, but they do okay with it, once I prod them a little.

The wizard and cleric are overwhelmed but I'm helping them with their spells.

Anyone tried to move newer players into a more complex system like this and have any pointers they want to share with me?
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#5 Jodast

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:10 PM

The only way to get used to the magic system for 3rd edition is to read it and sort it out in your own mind, as far as I can tell. For all the times I hae listened to World's Largest Dungeon, Warlords of the Accordland and the other 3.5 based games on this site, it is only this last week, when my shiny Pathfinder book turned up, that everything finally clicked into place and made sense. I am still relatively new to roleplaying and haven't played a 3.5 based system yet, but I would certainly say that having heard talk of spell slots and preparing and learning spells made a bit of sense, and the idea was solidified when I got to read it for myself.

Also you can listen to the 3.5 Private Sanctuary podcast re Wizards

http://www.35private...tuary&Itemid=33

or Clerics

http://www.35private... ... &Itemid=33

Each episode is about 30 mins, so it isn't too much of a trek to listen to. I like these guys a lot. If you find that you like these episodes, I will warn you, the early episodes are spent bitch-slapping 4th edition, which can get annoying, but once Pathfinder got announced, they stopped throwing their toys from their pram and got on with making informative and entertaining podcasts.

The other thing is to let them play Neverwinter Nights, as the system is a computerised version of 3rd ed, so they can get the hang of playing with spell lists and allocating slots etc.
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#6 Ieqo

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:16 PM

Or you can just give the wizard player my email... :twisted:
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#7 Jodast

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:24 PM

Or you can just give the wizard player my email... :twisted:


How does the contents of your inbox help new players deal with the magic system? :D :P :D
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#8 Ieqo

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:45 PM

Where 3.5 is concerned, I humbly claim that I am to arcane spellcasters what the Redoubtable Mister Blease is to clerics. To be honest though, for people unfamiliar with 3.x, the magic users are far less complicated than fighters. Choosing spells is one thing. Choosing the class features of your character is another.
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#9 Jodast

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:49 PM

I don't doubt your skills. As you probably figured by now, I just used your wording for a cheap and not very funny piece of sarcasm. I should go to bed before 5am instead of trawling forums. Maybe I'd be funnier.

Of course, there's a chance I might not...
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#10 Balgin

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:59 PM

Or you can just give the wizard player my email... :twisted:


Or mine :).

Or more specificaly, the email address of one of the guys in my group who can do wizards even better than I can :). And I generaly prefer playing fighters or paladins anyway but I can do the whole wizard spell combination and planning thing very well when I have to :). I'll make no claim to greatness, just that I seem to have the knack of it.
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#11 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 07:40 PM

Lol.
8O


Well I shouldn't have said have my group is female...lol. I wonder if that has to do with all the requests for email addresses is for. :wink:

Anyway, it went alright, that game, they just need some nudging right now. They are at the keep at this point, well about to approach it, I'm skipping somethings simply because they are higher level and just need to get to where the challenge is. But this keep should be interesting. I've had an NPC that follows them around and helps out when the group is missing some people, which sometimes happens, but I don't want to have him be the one who decides the route for them to take.

I think I'm just going to tell them I'm giving them no ideas, and let them do what they think they should and just go with it. See how it ends, because honestly, they should have little trouble with this. they are about 3 levels too high for the encounters and I'm only going to make them a little tougher.

But this weekend is our next game. We'll see what happens. :)

And yes the mage is female, and the ranger, and the paladin. The Fighter, cleric, and druid are male. So...there you go. Heh. If they want help, I'll mention it to them. 8)
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#12 The_Nalic

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 07:56 PM

Perhaps a one on one session with each magic user might be handy, sometimes explaining the effect of a spell is easier than reading all the rules then trying to choose based on an unfamilier rules system. Summerising spells and allowing them to make a choice is handy, or getting them to describe what sort of things they want to do and suggesting spells for them that fits into their idiom. As a basic guide to summerising:

Magic Missile, it does low damage now, but it always hits even stuff like ghosts. It gets better as you go up levels so if you don;t get it now it may be worth getting later on.

Sleep, this gets quite a few monsters at once in an area, however some monsters won't be affected, like undead, because they can;t sleep.

Mage Armour, Its magic armour which protects you, it lasts a fair amount of time but you need to cast it before you get into a fight really. If your going into a spooky dungeon or about to start a fight, thats the time to cast it.

Burning Hands, its a cone of fire good for killing lots of wimpy things like goblins, however its tricky to use because you might get your friends too!
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#13 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 08:32 PM

Oh yeah, I did sit down with them to explain everything, however they aren't used to coming up with ways to use those spells for anything other than directly what they say...if that makes sense. They get what they do, but they can't see past what the text says.

Like all the possible uses for grease.

Things like that. They'll get it. It's just, compared to 4e...a BIG NEW WORLD.

I equate it to no longer being anime, and suddenly being a little more gritty and realistic.

They need adjustment.

I guess I was just wondering what others had done to ease people in to the game either brand new, or with limited experience with a more open and interactive world with your powers, than 4e.

In 4e, magic items and spells are crap. Or if they aren't, they take 10 - 25 minutes to cast...stupid rituals. They took the magic...out of magic.

Now they have real magic. But mostly they are confused in not being stuck in a combat, or just rolling dice to resolve a chase scene. (Skill Challenge)

I just wondered if anyone had tips on how to nudge them the right way, without snapping on the lead or pushing them like mindless cattle in a direction.
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#14 eformo

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:09 PM

This is part of why I dislike 4e - exactly the kinds of problems you're talking about. 4e doesn't require any roleplaying.

My first thought is try a game of some other kind for a brief time. Play a sci-fi RPG for a short time to break some of the connections with 4e. Perhaps a game of paranoia or something like that to try and give them a new perspective. The first time I played Paranoia, I think I rolled 2 dice in a 4 hour session and I lost my entire 6-pack. It was a blast and totally different from the video-game fantasy of 4e that feels like you should load your saved game if the hero dies.
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#15 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:29 PM

I may have to try that. We'll see how the next couple sessions go. Our next is this weekend. We will see how they do.

Might go next weekend too. If not, might do a short series of Shatterzone or something. Dunno.

Good idea though.
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#16 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:30 PM

I may have to try that. We'll see how the next couple sessions go. Our next is this weekend. We will see how they do.

Might go next weekend too. If not, might do a short series of Shatterzone or something. Dunno.

Good idea though.
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#17 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:31 PM

I may have to try that. We'll see how the next couple sessions go. Our next is this weekend. We will see how they do.

Might go next weekend too. If not, might do a short series of Shatterzone or something. Dunno.

Good idea though.
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#18 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 04:11 AM

Oh yeah, I did sit down with them to explain everything, however they aren't used to coming up with ways to use those spells for anything other than directly what they say...if that makes sense. They get what they do, but they can't see past what the text says.

Like all the possible uses for grease.

Things like that. They'll get it. It's just, compared to 4e...a BIG NEW WORLD... I guess I was just wondering what others had done to ease people in to the game either brand new, or with limited experience with a more open and interactive world with your powers, than 4e.

In my humble experience, one of the best ways of introducing new or unfamiliar elements of an RPG is to let the NPCs use them first. This may sound like a killer GM tactic (quelle surprise :twisted:), but can be quite useful and even player-friendly if handled correctly. By letting the NPCs show the players how magic can be used creatively, the players will eventually catch on to the idea, and (hopefully) start getting inventive themselves.

For instance, when the party is resting up in town or encounters another group of mercenaries in the wilderness, you could let an NPC spellcaster demonstrate some of the possibilities for creativity and innovation inherent in a flexible magic system. Apart from common situations, like when the PCs need healing from the resident cleric or they consult the town sage for identify spells, there's also options like having a traveling circus drop into town (or encounter the party on the road), where the circus magician can put on a show. Maybe the party gets hired to track down a mysterious master thief (or they may have a personal investment in the chase, by having the thief abscond with their prized belongings). The thief is always one step ahead of the authorities, using magical spells and items to evade his pursuers. During the manhunt, the players may pick up some pointers.

Puzzles present you with an ideal opportunity to let the magic-users shine. First, you need to look at your party's spells, as well as their equipment and abilities, and come up with a puzzle trap that they'll have at least two or three ways of solving - and if they think of a novel way of surmounting the obstacle that you hadn't thought of, be sure to give them a fair chance. If the players get stumped, think of ways you can give them hints without making them feel stupid. Getting back to the grease spell you mentioned, put a great, big stone block in the corridor, hindering their passage. The block is much too heavy for the PCs to move with their own strength. If they can't think of a way to move it themselves, let them roll some skill checks to notice faint traces of old grease that previous residents left behind when they used it to reduce friction and shift the block more easily. Other possibilities include charming a monster to get it to move the stone, summoning a beefy extraplanar being to do the same, or perhaps using levitate to make the stone lighter (depending on DM fiat - I would probably allow such an interpretation of the spell description, although it would require a fairly high-level caster to lift the stone only using a levitate spell).

Should you decide to get ingenious with your NPC enemy magic-users in combat (and I see no reason why you shouldn't), you will of course have to exercise more caution. Try beefing up an otherwise weak encounter, that the PCs normally would have no difficulty in dealing with. Kobolds, goblins, osteoporotic orcs and other wimpy humanoids are good choices; just pepper them up a bit with a shaman and some cunning tactics. A useful trick is to equip a low-level shaman with a wand holding a high-level spell - the players will have to focus their attentions on offing the spellcaster while fending off his cronies, and if they succeed, they'll be rewarded by laying their mitts on a sweet little limited-use magic item.
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#19 ShadeOfRed

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 01:01 AM

Well one thing I've done, is I took the time to actually type up a list of all the wizards spells she has in her book, along with a short description of what it does, and even put in a few hints on how it might be used outside of normal thought. Like feather fall works on falling boulders. Or Grease placed on a ladder, climbing rope, or sword. Technically even someone's boots. I gave the wizard when I converted her to 3.5 several utility spells they didn't have before. And included the rituals, where applicable, to her spell list.

They are going to be assaulting the spire keep Saturday night, and will, I imagine be meeting up with Ranchefus. With his wings of flying and spells...well I think I will change the scenario slightly. In the book he stays below as they assault the keep, because the characters are probably only level 3 or so. My guys are higher, so to keep them from busting through the gates and slaughtering everything, I think I'll bring Ranchefus outside to play. Where his wings of flying will aid him much. Along with allowing him to use Animate Dead on the bandits they have slain, hold person, a ring of free action and a potion of polymorph self...I should be able to do lots of devious things to them. I know in the adventure there is the mines as well, and they have I think 3 spellcasters. I may 'clone' one and put it in as well to make things more challenging, if I feel it's necessary.

My goal last session was to get them more comfortable in this world they are in now...and I think I did it, with them encountering the goblins, doing the Eelhold quest, and searching around for Jelenneth. They found out about the keep from Shiraz, simply because I didn't want to drag it out, because they didn't need the levels to make me do it.

I think I won't try to kill them, but to outgun them and make them flee perhaps the first time in. They have already told me they plan to scout it out, probably using the mages cat familiar, which I'm fine with. As long as the cat doesn't get to nosy, I doubt the bandits would get to worked up about it being around.

But when they attack, the bandits will retaliate in kind from in the keep, and if they get inside, Ranchefus, his undead and maybe another caster will come out to do battle, and forcing them to sweat a little more than they might imagine. I've warned them they are attacking a keep. And it's not going to be easy. I don't plan to murder them, but instead to beat them back and force them to realize it won't be easy. We'll see if I'm good enough to out think them, but not kill them. I don't really fudge dice rolls or use a DM screen, but I might roll behind a stack of books this time, just in case.

If any of you have the adventure, and have some non murdering ideas, send them my way. I may give the npc's some scrolls I come up with on the fly. Like transmute earth to mud and such just to fuck with the pcs.

Any ideas? I'll check this out before I play tomorrow night. :twisted:
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#20 Balgin

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 09:05 AM

In the book he stays below as they assault the keep, because the characters are probably only level 3 or so.


Actualy it's because he doesn't know they're coming. If he's got fair warning then feel free to have him behave as you see fit but don't give him an unnatural level of prescience. That's just not fair.

One of my favourite Night Below moments has got to be the mineshaft in book 1 where the guy playing the Centaur turned 'round to the rest of the party and said "just how am I supposed to get down the ladder?" Classic :).

so to keep them from busting through the gates and slaughtering everything


Actualy the gate's remarkably hard to break down. It's the low roof above the stables/outhouse type buildings just inside the wall and the open window just around the corner from the gate which are the weak points. As is the watchtower itself. Providing they act at night they shouldn't have as much difficulty as they would say, oh I don't know, you know, charging the gate in broad daylight without even a battering ram.
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