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Dungeons & Dragons: The Shackled City Adventure Path Hardcover

***** (based on 24 ratings)

Hardcover: Out of print

Non-Mint: Out of print

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Evil schemes are afoot in Cauldron, a metropolis of merchants built into the caldera of a long-dormant volcano. To foil the agenda of evil cultists, your band of adventurers must brave haunted jungle ruins, slay mighty dragons, and bind themselves to a layer of the infinite Abyss. Will their swords and spells be enough to save the Shackled City?

Originally published as 11 linked adventures in the award-winning Dungeon magazine, the Shackled City Adventure Path is the most ambitious official Dungeons & Dragons campaign ever created. Now, for the first time ever, everything you need to play the campaign has been compiled into a deluxe 416-page full-color hardcover that also includes an 8-panel fully detailed map of the City of Cauldron, a 12-page full-color map and illustration booklet, and a brand new Shackled City adventure written by fan favorite author Christopher Perkins.

Specs: 416-page, full-color hardbound book; 8 3/8" x 10 7/8"

Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of our design diary from Erik Mona, James Jacobs and Sean Glenn. You can also download a preview of the introduction, including the table of contents, and another of a statblock page showing NPC progression throughout the campaign. The player handouts are now available for download, too. Or join the buzz on our Shackled City messageboard forum.

Product Availability


Hardcover: This product is out of print.

Non-Mint: This product is out of print. This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at webmaster@paizo.com.

PZO1000


See Also:

Product Discussion (78)
1 to 50 of 78 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Let me know the good and the bad elements about the adventure path overall. How easy would it be to convert to Pathfinder? Please keep it civil.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The good, in brief:
Of the three Dungeon magazine APs, I would say this is the one with the setting that would be the easiest to convert, especially if you intend to set it in a homebrew world of your own design with PF rules. Porting it to Golarion is a little trickier, but should be do-able. The setting is Greyhawk, but in an out of the way corner that wasn't really ever written up before this. Also, all four of the main churches in the base town have pretty close Golarion analogues. The later two Dungeon APs, especially AoW, are much more closely tied to Greyhawk and various WotC stuff, like White Plume Mountain and the Isle of Dread. For that reason, Age of Worms and Savage Tide have stronger appeal to grognards, the nostalgic, and folks who want to appreciate the roots of the game.

They do a generally B+ to A job with divinations and keeping in mind the abilities of high level PCs.

As the oldest of the Paizo APs, there are more campaign journals and fan created support material for it than the others. That makes the DMs job somewhat easier, as you have lots of playtest reports of what can come up that wasn't well covered by the included text. Even reports from running the modules from the magazine are usefull, as the compilation sticks pretty closely to them. (The main difference I saw was a bonus mod in the book, plus the removal of repeated encounters with frustrating monsters. Across one transition there were back to back rakshasa fights, and the book re-wrote them to be different. Also, Cauldron, the town in which it's set, is more detailed than the magazines.)

Over the years, there were a number of borrowings from literature to D&D. Of the many D&D adaptations of

Spoiler:
Conrad's Heart of Darkness,
this one has my favorite by far.

Overall, I'd say it's excellent value for the price. Full color, good art, some handout illustrations and plenty of NPC portraits, good organization, and a number of interesting NPC potential allies. Also, two poster maps. Cauldron is a neat setting.

The bad:
In terms of plot cohesion and a few other details, SCAP may be the weakest of the 3. This was the first time they tried to do an AP. They worked it like a newspaper serial, in that later authors did not always have the previous month's adventure to refer to. As a result, foreshadowing and revealing the main goal of the campaign are largely left to the DM. In particular, the identity of some villains is presented with little build-up, after the party takes down one of the villains who has been built up.

It's set in a city the PCs need to care about strongly enough to want to save it. If your players prefer the roving band of mercenaries model, they are likely to revolt.

Since many fights and adventures occur in town, they sort of assume the PCs will avail themselves of spellcasting services and charged items, so many of the fights were tuned to be tough for the indicated level of v3.5 characters. Players who don't cotton on to that are in for a world of hurt.

The ambivalent:
I'd have to say the introductory adventure is the weakest of any of their APs, 3.5 or PF. Despite early indications the goal is on a clock, there is a huge dungeon between the investigation and a medium-size dungeon. If your players don't build a party that can cover all the bases, it will probably be very frustrating. On a related note, many of the dungeons across many of the component modules are big. If you like the more modern style of the Pathfinder adventure paths, were there are more and smaller dungeons, you're going to not get that here.

They weren't restricted to the SRD, so they used more WotC splat and monster books. Consequently, you'd either need to put in the conversion work yourself or make substitutions. There's an appendix of stat blocks of everything in the back, but you will probably need to do some work to make sure the monsters are a fair challenge.

Likewise, the campaign runs all the way to level 20, and many of the later NPCs would need to be converted. Tracking all the high-level tactical options they have may be complicated. You and/or your players might burnout or drop out before you finish the story. If you prefer the 1-15 model, you'll need to plan an early off-ramp, and accept that you'll be buying stuff you may never use.

Cheliax

I have to agree with everything written in previous comments about this adventure path. It will provide a very rich, memorable, long campaign that will keep most normal groups gaming for quite some time. For the price you get a huge amount of bang for your buck. Feel safe buying this one!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am not sure how well this has sold. I am guessing not great since it is on sale sadly. But with talk in the campaign book thread it got me thinking about old products. Which brought me to this. With many of the dragon and dungeon mags now gone except as pdf's. I would love to see savage tide and age of worms collected and made for sale. Especially if they was updated to PFRPG.

I doubt paizo would have any interest in doing this but just a thought I had and thought I would share.


Dark_Mistress wrote:

I would love to see savage tide and age of worms collected and made for sale. Especially if they was updated to PFRPG.

I doubt paizo would have any interest in doing this but just a thought I had and thought I would share.

It's come up before, and it is not up to Paizo, they would need Wizards of the Coast permission. I believe there was a point (when the magazines were still active) that Paizo hoped for this permission, but I'm pretty sure at this point they have little interest in shackling themselves to any WotC licensing issues. In short, I'm pretty confident that if you want Age of Worms or Savage Tide, tracking down the magazines will remain your only option.


Dark_Mistress wrote:

I am not sure how well this has sold. I am guessing not great since it is on sale sadly. But with talk in the campaign book thread it got me thinking about old products. Which brought me to this. With many of the dragon and dungeon mags now gone except as pdf's. I would love to see savage tide and age of worms collected and made for sale. Especially if they was updated to PFRPG.

I doubt paizo would have any interest in doing this but just a thought I had and thought I would share.

All of the APs from the Dungeon & Dragon mags are Wizards of the Coast IP and are off limit for Paizo to do anything new with them.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ah well that sucks.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Shackled City hardcover actually did really rather well for is. We reprinted it once, in fact—whenever an RPG book reaches a point where it needs to be reprinted, it's pretty much automatically a success story! :)

But it IS owned by WotC, as are Age of Worms and Savage Tide. They're the ones that get to decide if compilations can be done, and to this date, they've not wanted to do so.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

The Shackled City hardcover actually did really rather well for is. We reprinted it once, in fact—whenever an RPG book reaches a point where it needs to be reprinted, it's pretty much automatically a success story! :)

But it IS owned by WotC, as are Age of Worms and Savage Tide. They're the ones that get to decide if compilations can be done, and to this date, they've not wanted to do so.

Ah ok didn't know it was reprinted already, still sucks that you guys can't do the other two. I managed to get all the savage tide but had to settle for a pdf in case of issues 139.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

The Shackled City hardcover actually did really rather well for is. We reprinted it once, in fact—whenever an RPG book reaches a point where it needs to be reprinted, it's pretty much automatically a success story! :)

But it IS owned by WotC, as are Age of Worms and Savage Tide. They're the ones that get to decide if compilations can be done, and to this date, they've not wanted to do so.

I'm actually curious... is Paizo allowed to reprint this without permission from WotC, or is the current stock all that there ever will be?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Alizor wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

The Shackled City hardcover actually did really rather well for is. We reprinted it once, in fact—whenever an RPG book reaches a point where it needs to be reprinted, it's pretty much automatically a success story! :)

But it IS owned by WotC, as are Age of Worms and Savage Tide. They're the ones that get to decide if compilations can be done, and to this date, they've not wanted to do so.

I'm actually curious... is Paizo allowed to reprint this without permission from WotC, or is the current stock all that there ever will be?

I'm pretty sure the current stock is all there'll ever be.


What is the guestimate on the quatity of this AP left in stock? i.e. How many are left in stock?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Sharoth wrote:
What is the guestimate on the quatity of this AP left in stock? i.e. How many are left in stock?

I'm not sure, and we don't generally list stock levels anyway. But we should have a fair amount still, I think. If you want a copy, picking it up when it's on sale now is a good bet though!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

James Jacobs wrote:
Alizor wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

The Shackled City hardcover actually did really rather well for is. We reprinted it once, in fact—whenever an RPG book reaches a point where it needs to be reprinted, it's pretty much automatically a success story! :)

But it IS owned by WotC, as are Age of Worms and Savage Tide. They're the ones that get to decide if compilations can be done, and to this date, they've not wanted to do so.

I'm actually curious... is Paizo allowed to reprint this without permission from WotC, or is the current stock all that there ever will be?
I'm pretty sure the current stock is all there'll ever be.

Yep—we reprinted towards the tail end of the old license, and we do not have the right to reprint it again. We still have a fair amount of the last printing, but when it's gone, it'll be gone for good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, onsale for $30? Yeah, I'll bite! (Hopes this isn't an April Fool's Day joke.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Tales Subscriber

I bought this a few months back during the damaged inventory sale. It was great that Paizo concidered the fault "damage" when I see it as little more than shelf wear. I have seen more damage on books at my FLGS. Nonetheless, I am greatfull for the discount. This is an excellent AP and I am hoping to run it soon for PF. Most of the creatures/NPC's require very little conversion, focus on the BBEG's and main characters. A few of the environments might need some minor tweaking to improve on the encounter, but Cauldron is a great setting. Creating interesting reasons for your PC's to move through the mod will be the key element. You can follow the old-school railroading methods if you want, but prepping some colorful storylines to jive with your PC's backgrounds will be much more effective. All-in-all, it is a top notch adventure. Money well spent.

Now that Paizo has an RPG that directly competes with WotC, I would not expect them to release the rights for an undate. If the demand was large enough, I could see WotC updating them for 4E (ugh!) and re-releasing in a compilation form. At that point, it might be possible for us Pathfinders to use the compilations and convert to PFRPG. I prefer using them as printed in the magazine. 3.5 is closer to Pathfinder than 4E anyway.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well worth getting folks, well worth getting, and I don't run 3E or PF.


It is disappointing that this can't be done as a PDF - primarily because it makes it a hassle to turn the portraits and artwork into digital copies for virtual tabletop use. The book has portraits of all the main NPCs and I've found that those go a long way to giving the players a really immersive experience.

The book is great, however. I wish I'd bought it sooner, but for some reason when I flipped through it I got the impression it was 4E the first time around! Maybe because all creatures and NPCs are given in a single line in each chapter, and their full stats are given in appendix 4 - one line of content per character always triggers "oh, its 4E" in the lizard brain portion of my mind I guess ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Personally, I've been running this AP for my players for some time now, using the Pathfinder rules... we started using the Pathfinder Beta and when the hardcover PFRPG came out, we immediately converted to that. For conversions there must be, to fit in with the different rules and for the different feel of the world of Golarion. I set the scene in the mountains of the southern continent, near the Mwangi Expanse and Sargava. Really, you just need a volcanic region with some heavy jungle and savannah nearby. Some of the changes or modifications I've incorporated are as follows:

The churches of Cauldron play a major part in the unfolding of the story. I switched the churches of St. Cuthbert, Heironeous, Kord and Wee Jas to Iomedae, Abadar, Gorum, and Pharasma, respectively. Pharasma could also substituted for Nethys I suppose, but I amped up the mystical and creepy factors whenever the party visited there, having the halls change in dimension and layout each visit, rooms appearing when they weren't looking, and a layer of silence and gravity pervading the entire structure whenever the party was visiting. Very Boris Karloff vibe...

Spoiler:
The gnomes of Golarion are not necessarily the tinkers and engineers from D&D, so I had devised my own history of the splitting of the gnome race between gnomes and spriggans, with the spriggans being the "black humor" machinists and the architects of J'zadirune. The Vanishing was caused by a failed attempt to find a cure for the Bleaching.

Likewise, the Golarion goblins are no longer the D&D goblins you remember, and seem to lack the organization required to fill the roles presented in Chapter 2: Drakthar's Way. I suggest substituting your own version of small humanoid villain's instead... hobgoblins might work though they are medium creatures, and derro might work as well though they are really too powerful to use as written. You might just say "these goblins are different" but it's up to you.

Beholders no longer exist in Golarion, and likewise many other creatures featured in the adventure path are now the property of WotC: Umber Hulks, Kuo-toa, Slaad, etc. Just use the stat blocks provided and do some basic PF conversion: more feats, consolidated skills, figure out the CMB/CMD, etc.

Other than that, most of your work comes down to just doing some basic rules conversions, especially for the many, many monsters with Class levels, as the PC Classes seemed to receive the biggest overhaul switching from 3.5 D&D to Pathfinder RPG. It's not too complicated and much of it can be done on the fly if you have any head for numbers at all. Be especially attentive to the changes made to monks, paladins, bards and barbarians, and be ready for domain changes and add bloodlines to your sorcerers. If you need it all written down, be prepared for a major paper-chase.


Laithoron wrote:
Wow, onsale for $30? Yeah, I'll bite! (Hopes this isn't an April Fool's Day joke.)

Buy it! Run it! Love it!

Cheliax

my first copy was destroyed by the flood; thank you for the discount, paizo :-)


why should I get this?

Cheliax

There's an awesome Shackled City story hour that was posted on ENWorld several years ago (converting it to Forgotten Realms).

JollyDoc's Shackled City


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm rather tempted to get this. I got a copy during the Scratch 'N' Dent sale a while ago, but my copy didn't include the map booklet. It was still an interesting read which is the main reason I got it, but I was considering running it and that's a bit tough without the maps!

I don't suppose the maps are legitimately available anywhere else apart from buying the book? I'd prefer not buying it again if that's an option, but otherwise I'm sure I could give the extra book away to somebody. :)


MerrikCale wrote:
why should I get this?

If you like an immersive, long-term campaign with great NPC's and a complex plot, this is a good adventure to run. There's also a treasure trove of resources available for the DM to modify the campaign here on the boards and at RPGenius, so you can benefit from the experience of others. We got 3-1/2 years of gaming joy from this book.

Or not. Up to you.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I purchased this brand new to get all the maps and adventures in one place. I have run it three times and I would say it was well worth the full price, much less this discounted one.

A few points I want to make (and keep in mind this is just my opinion) is that this is a very combat intensive adventure and it is also very obvious that it's the first Adventure Path. I don't mean that it's not well done, just that it's not always obvious what the "next step" for the party should be and there is not a lot of party obvious foreshadowing.


MerrikCale wrote:
why should I get this?

If you can find a better 400 page adventure in hardcover for $30, buy it!


Balodek wrote:
... there is not a lot of party obvious foreshadowing.

Tru dat, and it's something the gang on the SCAP thread here did a bunch of work on.


hogarth wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
why should I get this?
If you can find a better 400 page adventure in hardcover for $30, buy it!

I doubt I could. The question is really if this 400 page adventure is worth $30 not if there is a better one out there

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Treppa wrote:
Balodek wrote:
... there is not a lot of party obvious foreshadowing.
Tru dat, and it's something the gang on the SCAP thread here did a bunch of work on.

Sho'nuff.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
MerrikCale wrote:
hogarth wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
why should I get this?
If you can find a better 400 page adventure in hardcover for $30, buy it!
I doubt I could. The question is really if this 400 page adventure is worth $30 not if there is a better one out there

Yes.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

It's a bargain at 60 USD, and a steal at the current price. It's the first AP, the blueprint, the humble beginning, the first step on the road.

Also, it likely won't get reprinted, so grab yours while you can :)


Gorbacz wrote:

It's a bargain at 60 USD, and a steal at the current price. It's the first AP, the blueprint, the humble beginning, the first step on the road.

Also, it likely won't get reprinted, so grab yours while you can :)

And IMHO one of the best!!


MerrikCale wrote:


I doubt I could. The question is really if this 400 page adventure is worth $30 not if there is a better one out there

Well, it's hard to tell you what you might or might not like. Personally, I like some of the 12 adventures more than others. E.g. I like Flood Season more than Drakthar's Way.

But even if there are some bits you don't like or you're not interested in running the whole adventure path, there's still plenty of ideas (maps, stat blocks, encounter areas, plot elements) that you can mine for your own game. And there's quite a few supplementary resources that folks have come up with on their own.


Gorbacz wrote:
so grab yours while you can :)

insert funny one-liner here

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is this a level 1 - 20 adventure?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Chris Ballard wrote:
Is this a level 1 - 20 adventure?

Yes.

Cheliax

Gorbacz wrote:

It's a bargain at 60 USD, and a steal at the current price. It's the first AP, the blueprint, the humble beginning, the first step on the road.

Also, it likely won't get reprinted, so grab yours while you can :)

Definitely! Especially the first five adventures are very, very good, and easily modified for pretty much any campaign setting (using Cauldron "as is" may be a bit more difficult in published campaign worlds such as FR or Eberron).


Arrived today! I flipped through it and holy smokes I wish there more AP or adventures in hardcover of this quality.

P.S I would absolutely purchase rise of the rune lords in hardcover as well


How well would this port to the Freeport setting? I picked up a bunch of Freeport stuff cheap over Xmas. It's fascinating, but not enough pregenned adventures to hang a whole campaign on. Would Shackled City make up the difference?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I did it with Kingdoms of Kalamar. So it is not to difficult to port to a new setting. It is a blast to do! :)

Good luck!


Why is this even still available at this price?

By far one of the best campaigns in my 30 years of gaming, and one of my absolute favorite RPG products ever regardless of edition.


Sunderstone wrote:

Why is this even still available at this price?

By far one of the best campaigns in my 30 years of gaming, and one of my absolute favorite RPG products ever regardless of edition.

Add to the fact that chances of reprinting this (or releasing it as a PDF) are next to nil...

This tome is huge people! $30 is a steal!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yea considering I got this book for 60 bucks... 30 dollars is a steal to say the least. A chapter that was not in the dungeon Magazines. A map book that is second to none and lots of extra goodies. This book is phenomenal!!


I have to admit I'm a tightwad, but I paid > $50 for this book and it was worth every penny. $30 is just crazy cheap!

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I bought this book twice. It's that good.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I bought this book twice. It's that good.

Heck, Im tempted to get a second copy myself.


Where would Cauldron be located if placed in Golarion?


One of several threads on the topic:
whereOnGolarionDoesShackledCityBelong


Maybe it should be mentioned that Shackled City is for D&D3.x. I guess most people are fully aware of this, but maybe not everyone.

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