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Paizo’s “The Emerald Spire” for 5th Edition, Part 1

Late last year, Paizo Kickstarted a superdungeon called “The Emerald Spire“. Along with the characteristicly beautiful production value and stunning art, each of the 16 levels of this detailed module has its own fold-out map in the style of Paizo’s other excellent flip-maps, making it a very easy crawl to run.

I recently decided to host a series of all-day “Retro 80s” Game Days for my players who never had the opportunity to come home from school on Friday afternoons and game non-stop until Sunday night, fueled on little more than Mountain Dew and Cheetos. Since I had backed the Kickstarter at a level where I received all eight double-sided maps as well as the campaign cards, I decided to convert “The Emerald Spire” to 5th edition to use as my old-school dungeon crawl.

The module’s base of operations, Fort Inevitable, requires little conversion as most of the conflicts there are political rather than physical. The dungeon’s levels are designed to equal the PC levels, meaning at 1st level the characters should be able to take on level 1, and by 8th level they should be able to handle level 8. As my players started at level 3, I needed to increase the power of each level a bit.

Below you will find some of my conversion notes for Level 1. You will not find detailed information on the Emerald Spire. If you aren’t running “The Emerald Spire”, you may still find these new monsters, weapons, and initiative system helpful for your personal campaign.

Level 1 “The Tower Ruins”
Level 2 “The Cellar”
Level 3 “The Splinterden”
Level 4 “Godhome”: The majority of this level is roleplaying oriented. Should combat break out, the stats for the associated monsters from the 5th ed Monster Manual work well.
Level 5 “The Drowned Level”
Level 6 “The Clockwork Maze”

New Monsters

Goblin commandos (CR 1/2)
Worg, simple variant (CR 1/2)
Goblin cleric (CR 2)
Automaton guardian (CR 2)
Bugbear commander (CR 2)

New Weapons

Compound Longbow
150gp; 1d10 piercing; 4 lbs; Ammunition (range 200’/800’); heavy, two-handed, Strength 14

Superior Compound Longbow
300gp; 1d12 piercing; 6 lbs; Ammunition (range 200’/800’); heavy; two-handed; Strength 16

Strength Trait: Creatures without the requisite Strength score make attack rolls with these weapons at disadvantage, as well as treat the weapon’s range and damage as a normal longbow. A small creature without the requisite Strength score cannot use the weapon at all.

Alternative Initiative System

Initiative. 1d10 + Wisdom bonus + proficiency bonus (if applicable)
Proficiency. Barbarians, Fighters, Monks, Paladins, Rangers, Rogues

Level 1: The Tower Ruins

Goblin Commandos

Small goblinoid, Neutral evil

Armor Class 15 (chain shirt)
Hit Points 16 (4d6)
Speed 30’
Initiative +2

Str 10 (+0) Dex 14 (+2) Con 10 (+0) Int 10 (+0) Wis 10 (+0) Cha 10 (+0)

Skills Perception +2; Stealth +6
Senses Darkvision 60’; Passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Goblin
Challenge 1/2 (100xp)


Nimble Escape. Disengage or Hide as a bonus action.
Mounted Combat. Advantage on attacks against unmounted targets.

Multiattack. The goblin commando can make two attacks with its dogslicer. The second attack is made at disadvantage.

Dogslicer. +4 to hit, reach 5’, one target, 1d6+2 (6) slashing
Shortbow. +4 to hit, range 80’/320’, one target, 1d6+2 (6) piercing


Large beast, Neutral evil

Armor Class 13 (natural)
Hit Points 26 (4d10+4)
Speed 50’
Initiative (as rider, or +3)

Str 16 (+3) Dex 13 (+1) Con 13 (+1) Int 7 (-2) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 12 (+1)

Skills Intimidate +3; Perception +4; Stealth +3
Senses Darkvision 60’; Passive Perception 14 (19 for smell)
Languages Common, Goblin
Challenge 1/2 (100xp)

Keen Senses. Advantage on Perception checks involving hearing or smell. +5 to Passive Perception with smell.

Bite. +5 to hit, reach 5’, one target, 2d6+3 (11) piercing. DC 13 Strength save or be knocked prone.

A note on Keen Senses: I’ve added a +5 bonus to Passive Perception to any creature that has advantage on Perception checks. You might wish to allow a character with proficiency in Nature or Survival to read the winds around an encounter with any creature with a bonus to Passive Perception based on smell. A DC 10 check could show them a better way to approach from downwind to negate the bonus.

Deadfall Trap

Falling rubble trap that fills a 10′ x 10′ square. Creatures in the area when the trap falls must make a DC 12 Dexterity save or take 13 (4d6) damage and become pinned under the rubble. A pinned character is prone and restrained (DC 20 Strength check from under the rubble or outside ends both conditions), as well as stunned for 1 round. A successful save reduces the damage to 7 (2d6) and allows the character to dive to either side of the rubble.

Goblin Cleric

Small goblinoid, Neutral Evil

Armor Class 17 (leather, shield of faith)
Hit Points 30 (4d8+4)
Speed 30’
Initiative +4

Str 10 (+0) Dex 18 (+4) Con 13 (+1) Int 12 (+1) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 6 (-2)

Skills Arcane +3; Perception +3; Religion +3; Stealth +8
Tools Alchemist supplies +3
Senses Darkvision 60’; Passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Draconic, Goblin
Challenge 2 (450xp)

Dark Devotion. Advantage on saves against charm and fear.
Nimble Escape. Disengage or Hide as a bonus action.

Spellcasting. The goblin cleric is a 4th level caster. His spell casting ability is Wisdom. He has the following spells prepared:

Cantrips (at will): guidance, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
1st Level (4 slots): command, inflict wounds, shield of faith
2nd Level (2 slots): hold person, spiritual weapon (whip)

Multiattack. When the goblin cleric attacks with sacred flame, he may also make an attack with his scimitar at disadvantage.

Scimitar. +6 to hit, reach 5’, one target, 1d6+4 (8) slashing
Sacred Flame. DC 12 Dex save, range 60’, one target, 1d8 (5) fire damage
Inflict Wounds. +4 to hit, reach 5’, one target, 3d10 (15) necrotic (+5 dmg if cast at 2nd level)
Spiritual Weapon (whip). Bonus action (move 20’, attack); +4 to hit, range 60’, one target, 1d8+4 (8) force

Automaton Guardian

Medium construct, Unaligned

Armor Class 16 (natural, adamantine)
Hit Points 41 (4d8+18)
Speed 30’
Initiative +0

Str 16 (+3) Dex 9 (-1) Con 16 (+3) Int 4 (-3) Wis 7 (-2) Cha 1 (-5)

Damage Immunities critical hits, poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Vulnerability. Lightning
Skills Perception +0
Senses Blindsight 60’ (blind beyond this distance); Passive Perception 10
Languages Understands Draconic
Challenge 2 (450xp)

Shield Master. If within 5′ of its charge when the charge is the target of an attack, the automaton guardian may use his reaction to move up to 5’ and force the attack roll to be made against him instead.

Electrical Explosion. Once the automaton guardian is reduced to 10 hit points or lower it begins to arc electricity from his power core. Any creatures within 5 feet must make a DC 12 Dex save at the end of their turn or take 2d10 (10) electrical damage (half damage on a successful save; creatures wearing metal armor or wearing a metal shield make the save at disadvantage). At the end of the automaton guardian’s next round, it explodes, forcing a DC 14 Dex save to all creatures within 10 feet or take 4d10 (20) electrical damage (half damage on successful save). If reduced to 0 hit points before its turn, the automaton guardian’s broken body sparks as above until the end of its next turn, then explodes.

Antimagic Susceptibility. The automaton guardian is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by a dispel magic spell, it must succeed on a Constitution save against the caster’s spell DC or become unconscious for 1 minute.

Multiattack. The automaton guardian can make 2 glaive attacks as an action.

Glaive. +5 to hit, reach 10’, one target, 1d10+3 (9) slashing

Bugbear Commander

Medium bugbear, Chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (studded leather)
Hit Points 40 (6d8+6)
Speed 30’
Initiative +4

Str 18 (+4) Dex 17 (+3) Con 12 (+1) Int 10 (+0) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 11 (+0)

Skills Athletics +6; Intimidate +2; Nature +2; Perception +4; Stealth +6; Survival +4
Senses darkvision 60’; Passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Goblin
Challenge 2 (450xp)

Brute. The bugbear commander deals an extra die of damage with any melee weapon he wields.

Surprise Attack. When successfully attacking a surprised target, the bugbear commander deals an extra 2d6 (7) damage.

Multiattack. The bugbear commander can make two melee attacks or two longbow attacks with one action.

Morningstar. +6 to hit, reach 5’, one target, 2d8+4 (14) piercing
Compound Longbow. +5 to hit, range 200’/800’, one target, 1d10+3 (9) piercing (see New Weapons above)