3 Keys to Reskinning an Adventure

As I mentioned, my “office” game is Tales of the Yawning Portal. Previously, I talked about reasons to use published adventures and how to turn published modules into a campaign. Today I want to talk about keys to taking a published adventure and turning it into what you need for your campaign. This process is called reskinning and it is pretty easy.

1) Figure Out What to Keep

The single biggest reason to use a published adventure at all is to save time. So if you are not using a published adventure as written, you have to ask yourself why you’re not simply using a different adventure. Some reasons include you like the map, or the story, or perhaps some unique monster. These are the things about the original adventure you will want to keep in your reskinned final version of the adventure.

This will also tell you what about this adventure you need to change. If you simply do not like the map, then all you need to do is draw a different map and perhaps change the read aloud text to describe the vicinity. If the level of the adventure does not work for you, figure out if can you just increase or decrease some of the numbers in the monsters/difficulties to make it work? This works best if the level of adventure is only 3 or less levels away the character’s level. Any wider a gap and the designers probably did not anticipate the capabilities of the characters (whether in their favor or not) to be able to complete the adventure. If some of the monsters simply do not grab you, then it is time to use those creative skills you have in you and craft a new one. Alternatively, you could just a monster book and switch out the offending monster with a new one.

2) Add New Reasons to Go In

Changing the premise of the adventure is the easiest thing to do. If the adventure is at the right level, features enemies you want to pit against the characters, and has a map you like but the reasons the module has for going on the adventure don’t work for your campaign, change it to something that does work for you.

When you do that, make sure to add multiple reasons for the characters to go on the adventure. Players and their characters are not monolithic. Seeking out a treasure horde does not always excite them. Similarly, serving the good deity if goodness is not always proper motivation. Having a handful of reasons means that everyone can find something. These reasons should be a mix of long term campaign reasons and some reasons specific to this adventure.

3) Just Use the Encounters

If you want to be dramatic and essentially throw out the adventure, there are still parts of you you can keep. Namely, the monsters and their proportions (aka the encounters). By using the encounters, you know the battles are already balanced; the math is already worked out. All you have to do from there is focus on the map, the descriptions, the reasons to go in, and maybe make a monster more or less difficult. Translation: do everything above.

This works great when you have an adventure that takes place that doesn’t work for your campaign—such as a volcano like in Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion—and you want it to take place elsewhere, like in a magical glacier. Well you will need new maps and will need to rewrite all the flavor text. However, you can keep all the encounters, simply renaming the monsters and changing fire damage to cold and the …. well that is a spoiler for the adventure.

The real advantage of doing this is you save time on crafting your own adventure, but you save some by using whatever parts of the existing adventure work for you. Plus you have a template for how the story should flow, giving you a basis for your own version of the adventure.

Download all of Jon Brazer Enterprises’ adventures for 13th Age, Fifth Edition, and Pathfinder at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder: Shadowsfall Symbols and Map Fonts

This past weekend, the map arrived for the first Shadowsfall campaign that we are hard at on work. I would love to show you the full map, but we are still putting names on everything. There is one part of the map that I am able to show you right now and it is the legend. In the picture above, you can see all the symbols of places in the area. It shows everything from villages and towns all the way to the stronghold at the center of the campaign: Blackbat.

There is another reason why I am showing you the legend. It is because I would like your help deciding on the font we should be using for the map. It is difficult because we want it both stylized and easy to read. If it is not easy to read, then it fails at its main purpose as a map. However, if we go with something that is obviously a modern font it will pull your mind out of the immersion of the world. So we are looking for the right balance.

Some of the fonts there are modern fonts simply to have a baseline. Others are more stylized. Take Ruin for example; that font is the same font that we used for the Shadowsfall logo.

Tell us which font is your favorite in the comments below.

The Not Going to PaizoCon 2019 Sale! is going on now. Grab our PDFs at 60% off their regular price at the JBE Shop.

Pathfinder: Some Just Want to Watch the World Burn!

Some Just Want to Watch the World Burn!

When the high priest of the sun goddess brings the planet and the sun closer together to spread his deity’s light to every corner of existence, the world begins to heat up dangerously. All attempts to breach the Temple of Luminescence and halt the magic powering this catastrophe have failed. The adventurers must perform a ritual known as the path of the sun and navigate the temple’s defenses to stop the high priest. But what appalling truths which led to this deadly incident will the adventurers uncover—and can they save the world before it burns?

Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence is an exciting deluxe adventure for 15th-level characters and includes in its 40 action-packed pages:

  • 4 Fully-Statted New and Variant Monsters and NPCs—keep your players on their toes by having them face off against a very old solar dragon, a dwarven warpriest, an elven cleric, and a new type of demon
  • 10 New Traps and a New Haunt
  • 6 New Hazards to make the environment unique and interesting as the sun’s power scorches all within the temple
  • A New Curse that prevents any kind of resistance to fire damage
  • A New Ritual which lets the adventurers pass as one of the temple’s own
  • A Beautiful Map with a GM’s version included in the adventure and a separate PDF that includes player-friendly versions of each map—perfect for play on your favorite VTT!
  • 3 New Magic Items ideally suited to high-level characters
  • Enough content to get your group of 15th-level PCs to 16th level, and approaching the level beyond

Dangers Unknown. Treasures Untold. Adventure Awaits.

Download Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence for your Pathfinder game at the JBE Shop. You can also find this 15th-level adventure at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder: Gibbering Glob

When it comes to monsters, there are some D&D classics that everyone just loves. Owlbears spring instantly to mind. Gelatinous cubes is another one. Bugbears, drow, multicolored dragons, and a whole host of others make the game instantly recognizable. Then there are the ones that Wizards owns and doesn’t let anyone out side of some license touch. Things like a panther with tentacles on it’s back or a human sized race if Cthulhus. The great classic, however, is the floating eye ball with little eyes on stalks. That one is well known.

Making those monsters with the serial numbers filed off is a proud tradition that goes a long way back. To claim that that monster was not a source of inspiration would be untrue. That was only one source of inspiration. Another was the gibbering mouther from the Pathfinder Bestiary. So when I set out to create the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes, I wanted a high level version of that monster in my book. To make it unique, we added in flavor from other sources, including the classic monster that we will not name.

Download the Pathfinder Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow Paizo and the Open Gaming Store.

Gibbering Glob

The entire surface of this red, ball-like creature is covered with eyes and mouths. A constant cacophony surrounds this creature as each mouth speaks in a different language.

Gibbering Glob CR 25

XP 1,638,400
CE Huge aberration
Init +16; Senses all-around vision, darkvision 120 ft.; Perception +47
Aura gibbering aura (60 ft., DC 33)


Defense


AC 44, touch 24, flat-footed 32 (+12 Dex, +4 insight, +20 natural, –2 size)
hp 565 (39d8+390); fast healing 30
Fort +23, Ref +25, Will +28
Defensive Abilities amorphous; DR 10/epic; Immune death effects, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, negative energy, paralysis, poison, polymorph; Resist acid 20, cold 20, electricity 20, fire 20, sonic 20; SR 39


Offense


Speed 5 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee 12 bites +36 (2d6+8/19–20 plus grab)
Ranged 24 eye rays +40 (2d6 energy/19–20 plus eye effects)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks swallow whole (4d6 acid plus 4d6 cold plus 4d6 electricity plus 4d6 fire plus 4d6 sonic, AC 20, hp 56)


Statistics


Str 26, Dex 34, Con 30, Int 18, Wis 20, Cha 18
Base Atk +29; CMB +39 (+43 grapple); CMD 65
Feats Blinding Critical, Critical Focus, Dazzling Display, Deadly Aim (–8/+16), Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Critical (eye ray), Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Improved Precise Shot, Iron Will, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Shatter Defenses, Skill Focus (Linguistics), Spell Focus (necromancy), Stealthy, Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Focus (eye ray)
Skills Escape Artist +58, Fly +54, Intimidate +46, Knowledge (arcana) +46, Linguistics +49, Perception +47, Spellcraft +46, Stealth +50
Languages Aklo, Common, Terran, Undercommon and 39 other languages


Ecology


Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair
Treasure triple


Special Abilities


Amorphous (Su) A gibbering glob’s body is constantly in flux. There is a 75% change that any critical hit or sneak attack scored against the gibbering glob is negated and normal damage is rolled instead.
Eye Effects (Su) Upon a successful attack, an eye ray also deals an additional effect as per a particular spell. The spell only affects the target of the eye ray. The exact effect is randomly determined. A gibbering glob possesses a 25th caster level for these effects. These spells are: (01–05%) baleful polymorph (DC 19), (06–10%) disintegrate (DC 20), (11–15%) dominate monster (DC 23), (16–20%) energy drain (DC 24), (21–25%) feeblemind (DC 19), (26–30%) finger of death (DC 22), (31–35%) flesh to stone (DC 20), (36–40%) greater dispel magic, (41–45%) harm (DC 21), (46–50%) hold monster (DC 19), (51–55%) horrid wilting (DC 23), (56–60%) implosion (DC 23), (61–65%) irresistible dance (DC 22), (66–70%) mage’s disjunction (DC 23), (71–75%) power word blind (DC 21), (76–80%) power word kill (DC 23), (81–85%) power word stun (DC 22), (86–90%) prismatic spray (DC 21), (91–95%) slay living (DC 20), and (96–00%) temporal stasis (DC 22). These save DCs are Charisma-based.
Eye Rays (Su) The whole of a gibbering glob’s body is covered with eyes and the gibbering glob can shoot out rays of harmful energy at a creature that deal 2d6 points of energy damage. The exact kind of energy is determined randomly (01–20% acid, 21–40% cold, 41–60% electricity, 61–80% fire, 81–00% sonic). No more than 6 rays can be aimed at a single creature in a single turn. The range is 150 feet.

Gibbering Aura (Su) The cacophony of speech emanating from the scores of mouths that make up the gibbering glob forces all within 60 feet of the creature to succeed at a Will save each round (DC 33) or suffer the effects of an insanity spell. This is a mind-affecting, sonic attack. The save DC is Charisma-based.

A disgusting, floating mass of mouths and eyes, a gibbering glob speaks just about every language known and it can make a reasonable approximation of any language it does not know. However, with so many mouths speaking at any one time, any creature that comes close typically finds the constant noise to be maddening.

A gibbering glob is about 14 feet in diameter and weighs about 4,000 pounds.

Fort Strange

Officially known as Fort Vanderwalten, many refer to it as Fort Strange because of the numbers of non-humans and less common demi-humans present here. When Kortrill Nightfeather was appointed captain of this frontier fort and military governor over the sparsely-populated region until a noble can be entrusted with this land, she took with her many other non-humans with her—both military and civilian alike. In her new position, she made sure that all under her care have been treated equally and prejudicial actions are prosecuted. It did not take long for word of her commendable action to spread and non-humans that want to live in peace to start flocking to live here. Today, Blacktooth Blacksmith and Glittering Foundry—owned by the orc Gathic Blacktooth and hobgoblin Miktar Deathblade, respectively—may be rivals but their rivalry plays out with them pushing the other to make better blades and other wares, instead of slaughtering each other’s families as many humans would expect of their their kind.

Fort Strange is home to many hagborn, catfolk, gnomes, everborn, tengu, lizardfolk, and even a few umbral kobolds. The majority of them came since Captain Nightfeather took command of the post. Previously, the region was inhabited mostly by humans and elves. Those that stayed when a tengu was appointed commander have been far more receptive of their new neighbors. A small yet vocal minority, however, have been voicing their opposition to so many “weird” creatures living among them. While the military-police force protecting this region have made it clear that voicing such concerns will be tolerated, that is the limit; any hostile actions against another law-abiding citizen will be met with swift justice. A number of attacks against non-humans has baffled investigators considering the military forces are not set up to handle such investigations and Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe is looking to hire adventurers to assist in this investigation.

The majority of the humans in this region are serfs, living in the work-farms adjacent to the fort. Their owners—mostly human—are not happy with the current regional government. Normally they hate each other and actively plot against one another, but they are united in their prejudice. If they could be turned against one another, their petitioning to speed up the appointment of a noble (preferably one of human ancestry) would fall apart.

Fort Strange

LG large town
Government military overlord
Population 3,500 (1,000 humans; 400 elves; 350 catfolk, 250 hagborn, 1,500 other)

Notable NPCs


Captain Kortrill Nightfeather, military governor (LG female tengu fighter 9 [13A: 4])
Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe, head of special operations (LN male orc fighter 4 [13A: 2])
Faixgrop, Crafter’s Guildmaster (LN female umbral kobold rogue 3 [13A: 2])
Darren Rimeheart, Farm owner and serf master (NE male human bard 6 [13A: 3])

If you want to see more locations like this detailed, please let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about the races mentioned here see the Book of Heroic Races collection for Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, and 13th Age here at the JBE Shop. You can also find out titles at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.

Pathfinder: Phantasm Swarm

Swarms are a pain in the butt. Physical weapons are of not much use against them if at all. Spells that target only a single creature are downright useless. You have to rely on area effect spells to take them out. Otherwise, you’re running away.

Incorporeal creatures are a pain in the butt. Physical weapons are of little use. Spells that don’t deal force damage or positive energy are not very effective. You’re have to rely on a small selection of spells and certain divine casters to take them out. Otherwise, you’re running away.

So when creating the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane, I thought why not combine the two. That would make a monster that is just downright terrifying and perfect for a higher level game. The only thing that would make it even worse is if one of those classes you would normally rely upon were less effective. That would be evil! The result of that is below.

You can find this creature and more that are equally awesome in the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane at the JBE Shop. This book is also available at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Phantasm Swarm

A cloud of dark malevolent energy manifests itself as a roiling mass of angry skulls and grasping hands. The parts move and act as one – a single entity driven to destroy all that is holy.
PHANTASM SWARM CR 12
XP 19,200
CE Tiny undead (incorporeal, swarm)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +32


DEFENSE


AC 23, touch 23, flat-footed 16 (+4 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 size)
hp 102 (12d8+48)
Fort +8, Ref +12, Will +14
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, incorporeal, swarm traits; Immune undead traits; SR 20 (divine spells only)


OFFENSE


Speed fly 40 ft (perfect)
Melee swarm (1d8 Wisdom damage)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks distraction (DC 22), hatred of religion (+2 Wis)


STATISTICS


Str —, Dex 23, Con —, Int 13, Wis 22, Cha 18
Base Atk +9; CMB +13; CMD 28
Feats Dodge, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Skill Focus (Perception), Skill Focus (Stealth), Step Up
Skills Fly +33, Knowledge (religion) +16, Perception +27, Spellcraft +16, Stealth +35
Languages Aklo, Common
SQ divine spell resistance


ECOLOGY


Environment any (Plane of Shadows)
Organization solitary, pair, or mass (3-5)
Treasure none


SPECIAL ABILITIES


Divine Spell Resistance (Su) A phantasm swarm has spell resistance against divine spells equal to 8 + its total HD. Arcane spells are not subject to this spell resistance.
Hatred of Religion (Su) The only thing a phantasm swarm hates more than religious holy/unholy symbols are those bearing them. The Wisdom damage dealt by the swarm attack is increased by +2 if the targeted creature possesses some kind of obvious holy/unholy symbol or channels energy.
Wisdom Damage (Su) A phantasm swarm’s attack deals 1d8 points of Wisdom damage to a living creature. This is a negative energy effect. A creature dies if this Wisdom damage equals or exceeds its actual Wisdom score.
It is done. These souls will never reincarnate nor will they be at peace. We have made them an offer and they chose to reject it. They refuse to work for us; they will have all eternity together to regret their decision. It is too late for them to reconsider now. Their souls are now damned for all time. Let them writhe in torment and remember their loss with no end. Pain is all they shall ever know.
– Thykan Rast, cleric of Asmodeus, “Ledger of Souls”

It is said that souls that reach their final reward forget their earlier lives. Less known is that souls forbidden from this reward never forget. Over the course of centuries, clusters of these tortured souls have gathered together on the Plane of Shadows to form a phantasm swarm, an entity more powerful than just the combined ectoplasmic energy of the souls alone. Its collective hatred for priests and all divine casters—the living intermediaries to the afterlife—gives a phantasm swarm power. The ghostly lynch mob now seeks revenge.
A phantasm swarm, armed with all its loathing of divinity, will attack any creature it identifies as an agent of a deity, regardless of the religion or alignment. Wearing a holy/unholy symbol or simply invoking the name of a deity may be enough for a phantasm swarm to exact retribution for its wretched state of disembodied unrest on a worshipful creature.
Magic bludgeoning weapons deal half damage to a phantasm swarm. All other magic weapons deal one quarter damage. Mundane weapons do no harm this furious soul cloud.

What Kind of Monster Artwork Do You Prefer?

Earlier this week, we showed off a monster that a druid or wizard can summon with the conjure minor elemental spell. I really like that monster, but there’s something I have been wondering about with the artwork: the style. It is a beautiful color image. The problem is is that I don’t have a massive library of color images. I have a much larger library of black and white image. So as I continue to work on monster books for Fifth Edition, 13th Age, Pathfinder 2e (possibly), and other systems, I want to stay consistent as much as possible throughout the entire project. So that leads me to ask, what do you prefer?

Adding a parchment background to a black and white image is quite easy and rather fun. Not only that, it gives the image a distinctive feeling of being from an ancient tome that time forgot, in keeping with the fantasy theme. However, I do love looking at the color images in monster books. So I am asking you to help me make up my mind.

Tell me what kind of image would you like to see in a monster book from us. Vote in the poll below and as always, elaborate in the comments below.

[poll id=”4″]

See our monster books we have published so far for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop.

Pathfinder RPG: Dare to Enter the Dragon’s Dream

Enter the Dragon’s Dream!

When workers on an archaeological expedition unearth a dragon’s skull, the entire dig crew disappears soon thereafter. Their patron Count Larom seeks adventurers to find out what happened to his employees. Since the workers’ disappearance, strange and terrible songs have been heard coming from the vicinity of the excavation. What dangerous magic has their tampering unleashed—and why have guardians of the realm of the dead suddenly taken such an interest in this site?

Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream is an exciting deluxe adventure for 16th-level characters, and includes in its 47 action-packed pages:

  • 5 Fully-Statted New and Variant Monsters, keeping your players on their toes by giving them a new take on classic monsters as well as unique challenges they’ve never seen before
  • A New Haunt and A New Trap
  • 2 Beautiful Maps, with a GM’s version included in the adventure and a separate PDF that includes player-friendly versions of each map—perfect for play on your favorite VTT!
  • 4 New Magic Items, ideally suited to high-level characters
  • Enough content to get your group of 16th-level PCs to 17th level, heading towards the level beyond

Dangers Unknown. Treasures Untold. Adventure Awaits.

Download Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream, a level 16 Pathfinder adventure, today at the JBE Shop. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder: Maps to the Dragons Dream

On Tuesday, Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream will be available for download and we couldn’t be more excited. This 16th level adventure is the perfect jumping off point to a planar adventure as you enter a demiplane composed of an old crypt dragon’s dream. Naturally, you start off with a normal enough location in the material plane, but the players find their way to a more exotic location.

That exotic location is what we are showing off today. The image at the top of this post is of the two maps included in this adventure. The one in the left is excavation of a lost site of powerful magic. The adventurers explore that location and find much more than they expected. Among the things they find is a gate way into the dream, taking them to the map on the right. There the mad dreams if such a power hungry creature twisted anything recognizable about reality that they will have a whole new realm to investigate.

Each of these maps are highly detailed in the adventure and are labeled with numbers for each encounter you find (as seen above). In a separate PDF, we included the player versions of these maps that lacks the numbers and lacks any spoilers that the GM’s version may have as well as a gridless version for VTT gaming.

We hope that this adventure will be memorable for you and your players. Download Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream, a level 16 Pathfinder adventure, today at the JBE Shop. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

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