Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Freeport Iconics--now for Pathfinder!

Green Ronin Publishing is releasing a new Pathfinder edition of Freeport: The City of Adventure, their ENnie Award-winning RPG setting. This book contains a first-level adventure, "The Iron-Jack Legacy," that showcases the city's flavor of pirates and eldritch horror. Unlike the original Freeport Trilogy adventures, no pregenerated characters are provided. In this column, I will discuss how to convert the "iconic" Freeport player characters--the dwarf cleric Thorgrim, the gnome fighter Rollo, the half-elf sorcerer Malevir, and the human rogue Alaina--to Pathfinder. See pages 139-142 of The Freeport Trilogy: Five Year Anniversary Edition for the party's v.3.5 statistics.

For this conversion, I will only use the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This will limit the options to a manageable size for discussion, but there's another precedent here: In 2000, the first players of the original Death in Freeport adventure only had access to the Player's Handbook.

The first difficulty with this conversion is that these four pregenerated characters have very good ability scores for their level:
  • Thorgrim: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 10
  • Rollo: Str 16, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 10
  • Malevir: Str 9, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 17 
  • Alaina: Str 14, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 15, Wis 11, Cha 13
These scores give total modifiers of +8, +11, +9, and +10, respectively. Compare that to the elite array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) which comes to +5, or +6 after adding the net +2 to ability scores for any of the core races. This disparity become even more pronounced if you calculate the costs to get these scores using Pathfinder's purchase method (accounting for the most efficient racial ability adjustments): 19 points for Thorgrim, 34 for Rollo, 30 for Malevir, and 29 for Alaina. Thorgrim is solidly at the High Fantasy level (20 points), but the other three far exceed even the Epic Fantasy level (25 points).

Freeport is a setting full of high adventure and high stakes, so the High Fantasy level seems most appropriate here. To start with, I dropped the odd scores by one, which saved some purchase points without reducing modifiers. Then I dropped a few of the highest scores, because buying them at that level would eat up too much of the point budget. I then lowered some of the scores that were less essential to the class, to bring the total cost down to 20 points. These changes gave me the following new ability scores:
  • Thorgrim: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 11. Dropping his Con to 16 (still +3) freed up enough points to raise his Wis to +3, making him a more effective cleric.
  • Rollo: Str 14, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 9. Rollo needs to keep the 15 Dex for Two-Weapon Fighting, but that plus the Str 16 [18, -2] would cost 24 points. I dropped the Str by 2, and reduced his mental stats to bring him down to 20 points.
  • Malevir: Str 8, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 16. Rounding down odd scores left him only 2 points over budget, so I only dropped Int after that.
  • Alaina: Str 13, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 12. I decided that preserving her high Dex was more important than most of her other scores. Her human ability score bonus made purchasing a 18 reasonable, if still expensive.
That brings us to skills, which Pathfinder simplifies in several ways. First, multiplying points by 4 at first level, and doubling costs for cross-class skills, are replaced by simply adding a +3 bonus for trained class skills. Second, many skills were merged, notably Listen and Spot into Perception, and Hide and Move Silently into Stealth. For all but Thorgrim, the adjusted ability scores included Int, but this was partially compensated for by using the favored class bonus to replace the lost skill point at first level. Their new skill lists are as follows:
  • Thorgrim: Appraise +1 (+3 metals or gems), Heal +6, Perception +2 (+4 unusual stonework), Sense Motive +6, Spellcraft +5. Appraise and Perception are untrained.
  • Rollo: Acrobatics -1 (-5 jumps)*, Climb +2*, Craft (weapons) +3, Perception +2, Stealth +3*, Swim +2*. Craft and Perception are untrained. Skills marked * include a -4 armor check panelty.
  • Malevir: Diplomacy +7, Knowledge (arcana) +4, Perception +3, Spellcraft +4. Perception is untrained. Diplomacy includes a +3 for the Skill Focus racial bonus feat.
  • Alaina: Acrobatics +8, Appraise +5, Bluff +5, Climb +5, Diplomacy +5, Disable Device +9, Escape Artist +8, Linguistics +5, Perception +4 (+5 find traps), Stealth +8. Alaina benefited from Pathfinder's shorter skill list, and I actually had to choose a new trained skill for her (Linguistics, to replace the lost bonus language). 
The other details are fairly straightforward, except for a few class features. Rollo and Alaina need no further changes from v.3.5 to Pathfinder, However, I have swapped out Alaina's Alertness feat for Weapon Finesse, which has no prerequisite in Pathfinder. This will make her a much more deadly combatant.

Malevir needs to choose a bloodline. Arcane is the default, and fits him well enough. I chose a bonded object (the amulet in his portrait) rather than a familiar, mainly because he never had one in v.3.0 and v.3.5. Under those rules, he would not have had the starting cash for the ritual to summon a familiar.

In the Trilogy, Thorgrim is described as a lawful good cleric of the God of Valor, with the Good and War domains. However, the new Freeport book makes that god chaotic good, without the War domain. Therefore I've changed him to be a cleric of the lawful good God of Justice, and given him the Sun domain instead of War.

That completes the conversion, and you can find my full converted stat blocks here, at Tim's Errata Archive. I hope that you find them, and my notes here, to be useful in your own games.


As a bonus, I have also converted these characters to Fate, for use with the "Fury in Freeport" adventure in the Fate Freeport Companion

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