[13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Discuss Pelgrane Press's 13th Age rules here. Discussion of the Dragon Empire campaign setting can also be held here.

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Angel Tarragon
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[13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:41 pm

I am interested in picking up the 13th Age rules in the next couple of months, but I doubt I'll be adopting the rule-set as my favorite. I love to raid from other rpgs for ideas for my own games and homebrew projects, which are mostly Pathfinder 1E based. So I'm curious...how easy or hard is it to convert between 13th Age and Pathfinder?
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Re: Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by agathokles » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:52 pm

Depends what you want to convert. Adventure modules you'd likely convert by replacing monsters with their equivalent in PF, much like how you would convert 4e.
For rules, you could easily adopt One Unique Thing and Icons/Icon Relationship.

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Re: Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:45 am

How easy/hard would it be to convert mechanics from one system to the other. Like say I wanted to convert a monster.
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Re: Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:06 pm

Both systems are released under the OGL, so it would be legal to use Open Game Content from one ruleset in a product written for the other ruleset.

I don't know Pathfinder RPG very well and I know 13th Age even less, but if you are considering using rules from both systems, I suggest you compare both SRDs and take notes.

You might even be able to knock up a Conversion Document, get input on that and refine it, as you convert more things.
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Re: Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:14 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:06 pm
Both systems are released under the OGL, so it would be legal to use Open Game Content from one ruleset in a product written for the other ruleset.

I don't know Pathfinder RPG very well and I know 13th Age even less, but if you are considering using rules from both systems, I suggest you compare both SRDs and take notes.
Thant's good advice. Thanks, Big Mac!
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Re: Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by agathokles » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:28 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:45 am
How easy/hard would it be to convert mechanics from one system to the other. Like say I wanted to convert a monster.
Monsters in 13th Age look like a simpler version of 4e monsters -- standardised level-based stats plus one or two special attacks or defenses. Pathfinder is generally more complex. That said, PF and 13th Age share the same D&D roots, so most monsters are present in both rulesets.

Magic items are very creative. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of the Book of Loot. They easily translate to other rulesets.

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Re: Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:30 pm

agathokles wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:28 pm
Magic items are very creative. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of the Book of Loot. They easily translate to other rulesets.
The Book of Loot is on my list as well of books to get as well, so I odds are good that I'll convert some of the stuff in there.
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Re: [13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:19 pm

I've converted many Pathfinder modules to 13th Age rules, and would caution against trying a mechanical, one-for-one conversion. Encounter math is different, to begin with, but beyond that, the math and even the stats themselves are very different. There's no Will/Fortitude/Reflex in 13A. In fact, there are no saves against spells -- the spellcaster rolls an attack, similar to melee characters or D&D 4e casters, rather than the target rolling to save. Monsters aren't built in the same way as PCs -- there are no monster feats, and monsters don't select from the standard spell list. Instead, monsters are created from a basic, level-based chassis (hit points, attack bonus, defenses), and then tweaked based on their role and abilities that would be considered iconic.

If you were to start from a 13th Age monster, you'd be left to flesh out a lot to create a full Pathfinder monster. I know some GMs are comfortable with "skeleton" PF monsters that lack some of the seldom-used portions of their stat blocks -- if you fall into that category, you may be able to get more mileage with 13th Age monsters, but there would still be a fair amount of work.

And with all that being said, the encounters will need to be re-tuned for the difficulty level you're looking for. For example, 13th Age relies on mooks to serve as cannon fodder, which don't have an exact correlation in Pathfinder (if you use low-level monsters in PF, their attacks seldom land and their armor is nearly meaningless, which makes them less of a threat than a mob of mooks of appropriate level in 13th Age).

So I use the encounters of another system as a helpful baseline, then tweak based on the actual levels of my PCs. I'll also insert mooks where appropriate (which is almost always in 13th Age), which may require removing some of the other monsters or limiting their strength, somehow. I rely heavily on selecting existing 13A monsters, reskinning, or reskinning with a few tweaks to attacks or iconic abilities. I've only built a few monsters whole cloth in all the years that I've run the game. Given how many bestiaries and 3PP bestiaries are available for PF, you'd likely have an easier time raiding those sources rather than building monsters from scratch.

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Re: [13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:11 am

All good things to know. Thanks Tim!
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Re: [13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:20 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:19 pm
I've converted many Pathfinder modules to 13th Age rules, and would caution against trying a mechanical, one-for-one conversion. Encounter math is different, to begin with, but beyond that, the math and even the stats themselves are very different. There's no Will/Fortitude/Reflex in 13A. In fact, there are no saves against spells -- the spellcaster rolls an attack, similar to melee characters or D&D 4e casters, rather than the target rolling to save. Monsters aren't built in the same way as PCs -- there are no monster feats, and monsters don't select from the standard spell list. Instead, monsters are created from a basic, level-based chassis (hit points, attack bonus, defenses), and then tweaked based on their role and abilities that would be considered iconic.
Have you considered writing an Escallation article with some general guidelines for converting things from Pathfinder to 13th Age?

Maybe there is a 100 percent OGC product that you can quote from and use as an example.
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Re: [13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:49 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:20 pm
Have you considered writing an Escallation article with some general guidelines for converting things from Pathfinder to 13th Age?

Maybe there is a 100 percent OGC product that you can quote from and use as an example.
I like that idea. I'll definitely keep it in mind, if I get the time to do some writing. I'm curious to know if very many people are converting 13A adventures from other systems. Perhaps I'll create a poll on the topic to find out.

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Re: [13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:54 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:49 am
Perhaps I'll create a poll on the topic to find out.
Poll created. Please take a moment to respond, if you're a 13th Age GM.

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Re: [13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by kinokopress » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:12 pm

I was mostly looking at Pathfinder when I made the Sorcerer Bloodlines for 13A, as well as a lot of the Cleric domains. The Warlock and Psion were mostly built on D&D 3E (if that counts).

Now, while 13th Age borrows a lot of themes and flavor from D&D / PF, and the basic d20 chassis is the same, it still very much puts its own spin on things. The game design philosophy is very different. Any directly converted 3E / PF material just doesn’t feel native. You have to look at what the designer wanted to achieve with the thing and then remodel it in 13A.
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Re: [13th Age] Cross-compatibility with Pathfinder?

Post by Tim Baker » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:00 pm

kinokopress wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:12 pm
[W]hile 13th Age borrows a lot of themes and flavor from D&D / PF, and the basic d20 chassis is the same, it still very much puts its own spin on things. The game design philosophy is very different. Any directly converted 3E / PF material just doesn’t feel native. You have to look at what the designer wanted to achieve with the thing and then remodel it in 13A.
This is an important statement, and I'm going to bold it and repeat it here, because I firmly believe it's true: "You have to look at what the designer wanted to achieve with the thing and then remodel it in 13A." ASH LAW wrote a nice post on the Pelgrane Press site about converting 4e monsters to 13th Age, and it makes the same point. You can't do a mechanical one-to-one conversion, but you can capture the feel of the source material and then build that using 13th Age mechanics.

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