WOTC has updated their core books and GM screen with errata. There has been some discussion on this at other sites already.

Late last week, Thursday to be exact, I started working on my latest painting project. This mini is the halfling rogue I play in Ray's KotSF 4e campaign. The mini works on multiple levels;

1. It is a halfling.
2. it is wielding one weapon.

See how perfect of a match it is? So far I have it base coated black and I am working on the skin tone. After 4 coats of Vallejo skin color (I can't remember the exact color, maybe medium flesh?) he is starting to come to life. I plan on painting his blade white with a metalic undercoat and a slight ice blue highlight. Eventually he will be equipped with an ice damage dealing dagger.

In the painting pipeline I have a dwarf fighter, cleric, human barbarian, and various others. The fighter and cleric are the other two I play during the campaign as well. The barbarian will be a gift to Ray for him to use in my Pathfinder games when we resume. I am also looking for a wizard to do up for Matt.

Clue #2

2. Ibor Thorn

Includes only two skill checks.

3.5e

  • DC 15 Intimidate or some other skill to change his feelings
  • DC 20 Sense Motive check reveals that Ibor’s holding something back.
4e
  • DC 25 Diplomacy, Intimidate vs Will, or Bluff vs Insight. Indifferent adds -5 to the difficulty (included in diplomacy).
Ok this may be tough for a newb like me. Ibor doesn't have any stats other than level 2 expert (Burnt Offerings pg. 67 under #25). So I need to find a way to make a 4e level 2 expert. I couldn't find any info in the DMG on that kind of class. WoTC wants to make it tough on me I guess. Looking at the pages on how to create an NPC doesn't help because they only have info for types of classes used for combat. Well I guess I could use one of those, but I would still have to build him out from scratch. Luckily there is another reference which seems to fit the bill, the Monster Manual. I flip to the page containing Human info (MM, pg. 162). There are a couple of entries two of which seem like a good fit. The Human Lackey and the Bandit. I feel the lacky would be a better fit, but I would have to subtract 5 levels from him just to get a couple saves for the DC above. Lets make this easy and use the bandit which is level two already. Alright now we are cooking. If Ibor played any bigger part in the story I wouldn't have an issue fleshing him out. Luckily for me he's a nobody and will always run the sawmill unless the Scarnetti's decide to make an example of him.
  • DC 25 Insight to sense Ibor is holding something back. This is supposed to be a difficult check. In 3.5 a 4th level PC could have 9 skill points in Sense Motive giving about a 50% chance to tell he is trying to hold back. With a DC 25 in 4e my test rolls seem to average around 40-50%

OK, step one done.

In my previous post I said the initial skill checks might work like a skill challenge. Well I just read through the skill challenge section of the DMG and don't think that would be a good fit. So I will go with the other plan of leaving it as regular skill checks. However the following will be modified to account for the skill changes introduced with 4e.

1. Sandpoint Lumber Mill

3.5e

  • DC 10 Knowledge (Local) - Information obtained by anyone in the crowds (locals, guards, etc). The mill was working during the night. The two night shift employees, Harker and Thorn, usually ran the mill until well past midnight. A bone of contention around town as the noisy mill and its infernally creaky log splitter kept neighbors awake.
4e
  • DC 15 Streetwise check (PHB pg. 188) Originally this is a Know:Local check which doesn't exist anymore. I am basing the difficulty off the common difficulty under Knowledge checks (PHB pg. 180)
The timber pier

3.5e

  • DC 15 spot check, anyone investigating the pier, (DM rolled) - A set of muddy footprints that leads from one end of the pier up to the mill itself.
  • DC 15 survival, anyone with Track feat - Your knowledge of tracking reveals the footprints to be from a barefoot human man who clambered up from the mud under the pier, crossed over to the mill, and then scalled the wall to an upper-floor window.
4e
  • DC 15 Perception (for both skill checks) - Since there is no track feat anymore I combined both into one perception check. No attempt was made to cover them up and they are found in the mud.
The party should be level 4 or close. That means a PC trained in perception would have about 9-10 skill points in that skill (PHB pg. 178). That takes into account +2-3 ability modifer. To see what kind of challenge that would be I rolled 10 d20's +9 at Pen Paper and Pixel. My dice came out as 8 beating the DC. A 80% chance of beating the DC seems reasonable for someone trained in observation to notice muddy footprints on the ground.

The murder scene:

3.5e
  • DC 15 survival - reveals what should be obious -- a desperate struggle took place here several hours ago.
  • DC beaten by 10+ also reveals - One set of prints in particular is not only barefoot, but reeks of rotten meat.
4e
  • DC 10 Perception - I think a lower perception for something that seems obvious should be the right thing.
  • DC beaten by 10+ reveals the rotten meat info

Harker's body - Horribly desecrated. Placed on hooks on the wall used to hang machinery. The body is mutilated, skin on face is missing as well as the lower jaw. Chest has a 7-pointed star carved into it. The same one seen in different parts of Thistletop. The only identifiing mark is a tatto of a raven across his lower abdomen.

3.5e
  • DC 30 Knowledge (Arcana or History) - The mark is identified as being a Sihedron Rune, an antiquated glyh that symbolizes arane magic once practiced in ancient Thassilon.
  • DC 15 Heal - Reveals the presence of several additional wounds. These are not like the others and where made by what looks like a small claw -- a finve fingered, human-hand-sized claw. The rotten scent is stronger near these wounds.
4e
  • DC 25 Knowledge (Arcana or History) - I lowered this to 25 to bring it in line with a master knowledge check. On my previous 10 rolls for the nature check (assuming the same amount of bonuses) the PC would have only a 40% chance of beating a DC25. I feel that brings it in line with the rune being a very obscure object from a time lost to modern knowledge.
  • DC 20 Heal - I increased this by 5 points because I feel the extra information would come from someone expertly skilled in treating wounds. The DC is based of the Knowledge DCs.
The suspicous axe - This handaxe is embedded in the floor near the log splitter, as if it had been dropped here. The handle has bloody finger marks (left by Katrine)

3.5
  • DC 13 Fortitude, anyone who exames the axe. - The bits of flesh and bone are so overpowering you are sickened for 1d6+4 minutes.
  • DC 25 Knowledge (religion) - Stink is commonly found on corporeal undead. The axe was used on one within the past 24 hours.
4e
  • DC 20 vs. Fortitude - I raised this quite a bit because in 4e your defenses tend to run a lot higher than 3.5. From my quick math a human or eladrin cleric could have anywhere from 16-19 in will defense. A PC with no ability bonues affecting willpower would still be sitting at 12 points. (PHB pg. 274)
  • DC 25 Knowledge (Religion) - This master check would fall under the Monster Knowledge portion of a religion check. In the first bookd Burnt Offerings the PCs didn't encounter many, if any, undead at all. My group completely missed the catacombs of wrath wish would have given them a chance to fight a few undead. If they did I might have lowered this down just a bit maybe to 20.
The Marsh - Found on the other side of the river from the pier.

3.5
  • DC 20 Search - Reveals a relatively dry spot that bears a number of barefooted human tracks and a lingering stink of rotten flesh.
  • DC 15 Survival, made after the search - The tracks lead into the river, but never away from the site. The spot is hidden by several low banks of nettles, but ovffers a perfect view of the mill to anyone hidden here.
4e

If they don't cross the river to investigate the other bank
:
  • DC 27 Perception - This is only if they do not investigate across the river. I used Well Hidden and More than 10 squares away for the total.
If they do cross the river using one of the small dinghys on the dock:
  • DC 20 Peception - There is a DC for barely hidden and well hidden. Aldern didn't attempt to hide his tracks but he did stay hidden in the clearing behind the brushes. So I adjusted the perception check down a notch. This should be about a 60% chance of finding the hidden area (based off my 10 rolls earlier)
Once the hidden area is found:
  • DC 15 Perception to notice the information about the tracks. Once they find the concealed area it isn't to difficult to tell the there are tracks all over it and they lead to the water.

Here is a google doc of the first set of skill challenges as documented in the AP. In the next day or two I will post what I feel would be a could conversion for it. There are two ways to look at skill challenges. I could leave them pretty much intact letting the group use their skills to get them answers, or not. Or I could go full steam ahead and do a 4e skill challenge where they have to get a certain number of successes in a row before a set number of failues (depending on the difficulty). The problem with the 4e skill challenges is the group will automatically know they have missed out or not. I will be honest and say I am extremely new at DMing and have next to no knowledge of DMing in 4e. I think the skill challenges can be rolled secretly by the DM. That is why I need to check into the DMG. I also would like to give the group bonuses on their checks for good RP. That is something that they will know about beforehand.

Work has started on cataloging the different encounters in The Skinsaw Murders. Once I have everything down I will work on what those would equate to in 4e terms.

I did find a very awesome site that is doing the same thing except starting with Burnt Offerings. Let me just say that Scott, the admin, has done a stellar job of converting so far. He has even converted the monsters from the back of the book whether they are used in the adventure or not. Great work!! I would also like to point out that he has great taste in template style :D

Anyway, back to the grind.

Nualia's end

Ok so on the last session the group was facing a Yeth Hound. After considering their options they retreated and closed the door. Exploring the dungeon they came upon an Elf and a Human locked up in dungeons prison cells. The two, one an exotic dancer the other a Ranger, decided to join the group.

They managed to slay Lyrie and Orik who where barricaded in a room leading down to the next level. The exotic dancer they freed earlier found the pair of earings he was looking for, but decided on staying with the group for now.

Moving on they backtracked to a section of the dungeon that was roughly hewn out of rock. The floor was smoothly polished with dead corpses of birds and a few goblins. Inside was a deadly tentacle monster that tried to grapple the dancer and inject its deadly venom. Luckily his agile body and dance moves saved his life. Once the monster was slain, the Yeth Hound from earlier finally managed to break out of the chapel. He brought a friend with him and they proceeded to box in the group by covering their escape routes.

(intermission)
Wow it has been a long time since the group did that fight. (It is July 21 right now) I am trying to figure out why I paused to finish it. Oh well. Let me see what I can remember.
(/intermission)

The group managed to deal with the two Yeth Hounds. There was some issue with the group on what they should do. A couple of them decided to take on the Yeth Hound closest to them. the others not really able to get a line of site for ranged/spells just stood back. I had to come in and make a few suggestions on what I would do if I was the Rogue, Wizard, and Ranger. Once they figured out their differences and went with the flow things worked out. The Yeth Hounds bit the dust pretty easily. Their high AC just made it hard to hit them. The key damage dealing was the wand of flame and the exotic dancer (aka acrobatic rogue) to bypass the DR they had.

After dealing with the hounds they moved back towards the stairs down. On the way there they set off a burning hands trap CR3 I believe. I rolled all ones on damage. (sigh) With no real damage they just kept running. The dancer (Luke who has a lot of RP experience) took the lead and being the highly skeptical rogue he was searched everything and was rolling hot all night. My terrible poker face didn't help make it any harder for him either. He did manage to avoid the trap leading into the corridor right outside Nualia's room. They figured out how to disable it and moved on.

The fight with Nualia went pretty good. There were a few exciting rounds there. To compensate for the groups larger size I added a couple more Yeth Hounds. The Bard (Will) seemed to always try and get in the front of the fight. Even though she was only wearing cloth armor and using a whip, she managed to disarm Nualia while surving a few rounds. The others bullied their way in and took her out then the dogs. The Rogue bit the dust making it the second PC to die. After divying up the phat lewtz they continued their search.

It didn't take long for them to figure out how the faux stack of gold coins worked. Once they gained entrance to the secret area they found the key to the Barghest room. This had to be the best part of the whole thing for me. The Elite Barghest was THE toughest NPC in the whole adventure. When they opened the door the only thing they saw was the candles and the smoking pit in the middle. The dancer, apparently with a weak bladder, decided to piss on the unearthly fire pit in the middle. As soon as he whiped it out the beast struck. One hit later for 20+ damage the rogue is on the floor bleeding to death. His insides spilling out of the large gash on his side. Completely spooked now the group tries to figure out what is going on. The Barbarian heads in, the Cleric pulls the body out, and Wizard cast see invis. Uh, oh. The group makes a hasty retreat taking only a few hits while closing the door behind them. Damn.

The room with the shades went to easy. A well rolled Turn Undead made them a non-threat. The secret room which led to the old treasury was easy to find. After searching the room they see the large golden helmet in the water. The Bard, did I mention always in the lead looking for trouble, throws a rock at the helmet. After a few seconds the helmet spins around to face her. At this point the group remembers the large picture drawn on the wall by the goblins and they are showing a little fear. Alianna tries to speak a few different languages thinking she can reason with the giant head. the others are near the other hallway/stairs leading to the back of the chamber. A call of initiative makes it harder for them to get there. The fight went as expected with the giant crab dealing crushing damage to Alianna while the others tried their best to get there and help her out. Just before they could try and heal her the crab scored a decent hit and cut her in half. After that the crab went down easy.

The group divided up the coins on the bottom and headed back to town. At the news of Nualia's demise and the clearing of Thistletop the town threw them a celebration. Statues of the group where brought in to commencerate their achievements. The group was also given two magically enchanced items for their efforts. This was done because they never would have beaten the Barghest and gotten the spoils, and because their gear was very magic lite. At 4th level they had no magic weapons or armor. Everything was masterwork or silver.

Well that is about it. The next book will be converted to 4e because we like it. I should have had it done by now, but I just haven't done it. I hope this weekend I can get the 4e DMG out and do some studying.

Well I missed posting the last session. It was ... interesting ... to say the least. I still find it odd that five level 3 PCs run from one bugbear. Oh before I forget again, I swear Ray had some prior knowledge about the bridge trap. Let me start at the beginning (right after a brief recap).

So the party cleared the top floor of Thistletop. No small endeavor on their part. They went back to town to stock up on potions and rest up a day before heading back.

Ok, now on to the current, well as of the last session, situation. I purposefully left the top of Thistletop on the battle map. I started everyone on the main land side of the bridge. Hoping everyone would pile across. Of course like everything in life nothing ever goes right. First the rogue, Matthel, hides and moves silently across the bridge solo. He checks things out doing the normal listen and spot checks. Nothing comes up because the top is still clear. Next the others cross over one at a time. During this time Ray keeps saying lets go over one at a time. Ugh, who leaked him the info!!! After discussing what they are doing for a few minutes everyone but the Wizard is over the bridge. I don't know what Matt was thinking about leaving him there but I guess that's how faith rolls. Right after the last one leaves the Wizard by himself I call for initiative. Matt rolling lucky early gets 1st action with his Wizard. I didn't let the Bugbear, whom I buffed up another Ranger level for double shooting, get a surprise round. My hopes where to get everyone over the bridge to attack him at once so it could collapse. The Wizard attempts to cast sleep which fails due to the Bugbears higher HD, 5 to be exact. He next moves his 6 squares over the bridge to the others. There were a couple of PCs that went before the Bugbear, but they all stayed on the other side. The Barbarian, big bad mofo with a greatsword, said he isn't crossing the bridge. Ok big guy I got something for you. Instead of Elf bane arrows I substituted Sleep arrows. With the bug bears double shooting feat he managed to score a hit on the wizard causing him to fall asleep in the middle of the bridge. To cut this a little shorter, the next 3-4 rounds the PCs stayed on the other side. Will was the only one who had the balls to try and run up and do something. He ran to the bridge tried to attack or cast a bard spell, not sure on that, before running back. The next turn the Barbarian or Cleric, both still deathly afraid of the bridge, tied one end of a rope to the bridge post and tossed the other end to Will as he ran by again. This time Will ran to the Wizard and lassoed him with the rope. The cleric pulled them back across. This whole time my Bugbear Ranger is pelting them with arrows. He has a good To Hit and is steadly knocking HPs off the Barbarian and the others. FINALLY, I let them make spot checks to tell the bridge is rigged to collapse. Will's Bard ties it up to prevent it from falling and they make it over. After a few rounds the bugbear is toast. They moved into the top level everyone and their momma rolling spot and listen checks. With 5 PCs there is usually always a 18-20 rolled. Nothing surprises these guys apparently. The stairs where supposed to have CL3 Burning hands traps set there but it took so long to do the Bugbear fight I forgot all about it. Moving into the 1st dungeon level they skipped all rooms that didn't have noise in them. After just a few minutes they were already at the Chapel with the Yeth Hounds. The AP originally calls for 2 Yeth Hounds which I bumped up to 3. While looking over the stats I realized no one had a silver weapon to overcome its DR/10. I scalled this back to 2 Hounds, eventually taking it to 1. This is where they are at currently. Combat has only gone to round two with the Yeth Hound.

Some notes on this encounter:

1. Ray's Cleric and Barbarian would not cross the bridge whatsoever. Even when Matt's Wizard and Will's Bard where on there at the same time. It was at this point I basically let them make a spot check just to get the battle going. The bugbear was getting close to running out of arrows.

2. This one fight took way to long because Ray's hesitance at jumping into the fray. To clarify, the fight between one Level 2 Bugbear Ranger and 5 PCs in a well rounded group took over 3 hours. Yikes. I will say in their defense we are still working on the rules, etc. This is the first game some of us have played in years if not decades. Trying to look up some rules and the ensuing discussion takes up precious time.

3. I didn't mention it in the game summary, but they left a room of Goblin babies alone because that would be wrong. They open the next door and slaughter the Goblin women. Matt was the only one who wanted to kill the babies. I have to agree with him. With no one to care for them they will just die a horrible prolonged death. Well at least for the ones that gets eaten by the toughest one until he dies.

4. The Thistletop dungeon is comprised of many small rooms with a whole lot on nothing going on. Maybe I should do something about that but the AP has decent descriptions and some rooms have important hints or other items that can be used. The group was getting tired and wanted to get to the end. Little do they know there is another whole level to explore. They completely missed the rooms of the human occupiers. This would have given them some clue as to what they will be facing.

Well that's it for now. As soon as I get a chance I will post Saturdays upcoming session. Peace!

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