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Shackled City in Pathfinder


Shackled City Adventure Path

Andoran Contributor

So, two of my friends have never played an RPG before and wanted to see how it worked, and three more of my friends have been itching to test-drive the Pathfinder Beta we got, so I killed two birds on Monday, and then afterwards we decided to game.

Since I didn't have time to write anything up from scratch while they built characters, I decided to pull out "Life's Bazaar", the first adventure from Shackled City. There were some starts and stops as we all learned the new rules together, and we had to pause a few times while I explained the more complicated rules (like Attacks of Oppurtunity, and Tripping) as they came up, but everyone had fun. Maybe too much fun.

They've started crawling through Jzadirune, and everyone is having so much fun that they want to turn this one-off dungeon crawl into a full campaign. Has anyone else updated Shackle City to PfRPG yet? If not, I don't plan on making too many changes... probably just update the bosses to PfRPG stats and leave the grunt monsters more-or-less unchanged.

As far as setting goes (since two of my players are nuts for Golarion and demanded to know as much about Cauldron as possible), I've settled the city in the Aspodell Mountains, in northwest Andoran, but announced that the city mostly stays neutral in politics, due to it's isolation and indomitable defensive position.

I've also changed the half-elves from Striders to Pathfinders. Seemed more appropriate.

Any other advice? I haven't had the chance to read much of the rest of the AP yet, so I'm probably in for some surprises in the next few weeks.

Cheliax

Sounds like a really cool idea. I'm not sure if anyone has posted on these boards yet about Pathfinder conversions of the Shackled City, but now that I said that they'll be coming out of the woodwork to prove me wrong.

As for general advice about the AP, I'd suggest just going through this messageboard (and the archives) and see what everyone else has written up. Foreshadowing of future events, and introducing the right NPCs early on can turn the AP from a series of loose adventures into a really in-depth campaign. As you read the book (or magazines) just use Paizo's search function and see if anyone else has done stuff with those modules...you'll be amazed at what's hiding in the archives on this site.

Also go here: http://therpgenius.com/index.php right now. It's a compilation of what a lot of us have done with Shackled City, and is an excellent resource. Seriously, go to that site. Also, if you ever write down your conversions in a word file, post them at the site so that other's can shamelessly steal from your hard work!


As far as where to place this city in another campaign setting, I would consider how much conversion you are willing to do. First, any campaign switch involves gods changing... so are you willing to constantly switch the name of the written gods (not hard, but constant).

Another consideration is that Cauldron takes place in a mountain over the top of a jungle environment. Varisia is a bit different, so when the players leave to go investigate the Lucky Monkey, they might ask... "would my character know what the heck a monkey is?!?!" and of course the dinosaurs seems to make more sense in a jungle, etc. etc.

Nothing that is a huge deal to overcome, but worth considering.

Sean Mahoney


I'm thinking of Pathfinder-izing (but not Golarion-izing) my existing Shackled City PbEM. I won't change any of the enemies, though (other than things like Polymorph that no longer exist), and I might not bother changing the skill system unless everyone agrees on it.

Qadira

I started Golarionizing (great word) Shackled City also. I posted a Player's map for a PbP I'm hoping to run someday if work leaves me time to game ever again. That map is here. I set Cauldron in the Bandu Hills of Sargava (lower Garund). I think the huge complexes are too much for the PbP format, so I'm modifying it alot. I imagine I'll run it by the Pathfinder rules so I'm definitely in the market for some converted NPCs.

Andoran

I don't know anything about the Pathfinder RPG so i can't really comment on that part of the post. However, I second (third?) the recommendation to borrow heavily from the board here as well as the resources over at theRPGenius.com, my Shackled City game wouldn't be nearly as good without some of the stuff I have lifted.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Luke, good call on the placement. Reviewing the local history, it would be safe to say Cauldron is predominantly Chelish descended, but of course has plenty of other settlers from all over. I may have to steal your map and start working on Golarionizing it myself for the next time I run it. I'm wondering if Sasserine can fit in the Desperation Bay. Have to read my Campaign Setting some more.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I’ve not done any SC to Golarion conversions, and I don’t have any game information with me, but a couple of things off the top of my head.

As Sean mentioned, the climate and terrain will probably be quite different in northern Andoran to the warm jungle around Cauldron. This will probably have the most impact in Flood Season and to a lesser extent The Demonskar Legacy and Strike on Shatterhorn. The latter two probably just mean changing a few random encounters, Flood Season may take a little more work.

It might make sense to change The Lucky Monkey to a different name (and decorative theme); perhaps The Cheeky Squirrel, The Daring Fox, The Lucky Rat or something similar? As I don’t know if monkeys would be found or even well known in the hinterlands of Andoran.

The jungle around Cauldron might be changed to heavily wooded hill lands or something similar.

You might want to change TongueEater to something more local … the classic werewolf is always a good fallback, but maybe something like a werepanther, were-mountain lion, evil werebear or something like that could work, with his animal friends also changed to the appropriate species.

I don’t know, but it may snow in the mountains of Andoran during winter? This may require you to shift the Flood Season to a different time of year, or make the threat come from melting snow rather than torrential rain.

For religions in town, I would substitute Abadar or Iomedae for St Cuthbert (you may want to substitute the Star of Justice for another appropriate weapon or item), Sarenrae for Pelor, Gorum for Kord, and probably Pharasma or maybe Nethys for Wee Jas.

Osirion

Mothman wrote:

I’ve not done any SC to Golarion conversions, and I don’t have any game information with me, but a couple of things off the top of my head.

As Sean mentioned, the climate and terrain will probably be quite different in northern Andoran to the warm jungle around Cauldron. This will probably have the most impact in Flood Season and to a lesser extent The Demonskar Legacy and Strike on Shatterhorn. The latter two probably just mean changing a few random encounters, Flood Season may take a little more work.

It might make sense to change The Lucky Monkey to a different name (and decorative theme); perhaps The Cheeky Squirrel, The Daring Fox, The Lucky Rat or something similar? As I don’t know if monkeys would be found or even well known in the hinterlands of Andoran.

The jungle around Cauldron might be changed to heavily wooded hill lands or something similar.

You might want to change TongueEater to something more local … the classic werewolf is always a good fallback, but maybe something like a werepanther, were-mountain lion, evil werebear or something like that could work, with his animal friends also changed to the appropriate species.

I don’t know, but it may snow in the mountains of Andoran during winter? This may require you to shift the Flood Season to a different time of year, or make the threat come from melting snow rather than torrential rain.

For religions in town, I would substitute Abadar or Iomedae for St Cuthbert (you may want to substitute the Star of Justice for another appropriate weapon or item), Sarenrae for Pelor, Gorum for Kord, and probably Pharasma or maybe Nethys for Wee Jas.

This is great, I just started running my 9yo twins through this, and am converting it to Golarion.

Thus far, I've changed St. Cuthbert to Iomedae, and the Star of Justice to the Blade of Justice, it's a longsword.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Mothman wrote:

It might make sense to change The Lucky Monkey to a different name (and decorative theme); perhaps The Cheeky Squirrel, The Daring Fox, The Lucky Rat or something similar? As I don’t know if monkeys would be found or even well known in the hinterlands of Andoran.

The Drunken Hero.

Shensen would totally fit as a bard of Cayden. Raised in a monastery and left because of their refusal to bend their rules for a good cause?

Have to figure out what race to make her too, since half-drow is pretty hard to pull off in Golarion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for the tips, I just opened another thread when I couldn't find this one. Starting new Golarion based Shackled City adventure, wanted to find place to put campaign and other things... I had originally thought of placing it in the mountains to the east of Nex, west of the Mwangi Expanse, but now might give Sargava a closer look... I like the idea of using Chelish influences and diabolism to fuel the history of the Cagewrights.

Hmm, using Iomedae as a Cuthbert-ian substitute could work, Sword of Justice, etc. After all, the Cauldron church has a paladin on staff, and Iomedae being goddess of Justice fits the role the church plays in the adventure as well.

It would interesting to get feedback from others regarding the various human regional races presented in the Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting. Where would certain key human NPCs fall? Jenya? Alex? Terseon? The Stormblades? His honor, Lord-Mayor Whatsisname? ... feedback?

Another thing, though... gnomes are very different in Golarion, no longer the mechanical engineering dwarf-knockoffs that they once were. As creatures of Fey, they wouldn't exactly be building underground cities with mechanical traps and automatons, so... What race makes a good substitute? Spriggans, kobolds, other? Ideas...?


May be you can use dwarves for gnomes in Jzadirune, fits perfectly with the mechanical/construct aspect and underground.
Not enough dwarves for me in this AP;)

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sean Halloran wrote:
Sounds like a really cool idea. I'm not sure if anyone has posted on these boards yet about Pathfinder conversions of the Shackled City, but now that I said that they'll be coming out of the woodwork to prove me wrong.

I'm still converting my 3.5 Undermountain conversion to Pathfinder, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to convert Cauldron next.

Honestly conversion isn't that hard, especially if you have a PDF copy of the 3.5 file and a word processor. I can convert an NPC with 5-7 class levels in about 5 minutes. Monsters are a lot easier than I thought too. If they aren't in the bestiary, just scroll to the back, and verify the information back there (ie. aberration, undead, etc) is correct for the 3.5 monster, and change it if it isn't. Most stuff doesn't need to be changed. And once you get used to it, it goes faster and faster.

Getting used to some of the new rules, like predatory animals use BAB on all attacks, not just their primary ones (which means no more need for the Multiattack feat) is difficult at first, but it gets easier. The only creatures I've had to pause and work on when converting were dragons, but I've only converted one so far.

I feel the best way to learn a new system is to convert something. It's how I picked up a lot of the nuances in 3.5. I can offer advice if you want. Besides, there's nothing more fun than converting something from an old edition that the party's never heard of and seeing the look on their faces when they don't know what to do!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

All of the PAIZO adventure paths usually recommend 4 player characters. I am getting ready to start a shackled city campaign set in the world of Golarion and I've noticed in reading through it that in the beginning 6 player characters are recommended for the campaign. This seems like alot as I've been used to 4 PC's in the current Adventure Paths. Is this fairly accurate that the adventure path calls for 6 player characters. Or to rephrase my question; is it designed and geared for 6 player characters? Anyone care to chime in here? Thanks in advance

Osirion

Professor wrote:
All of the PAIZO adventure paths usually recommend 4 player characters. I am getting ready to start a shackled city campaign set in the world of Golarion and I've noticed in reading through it that in the beginning 6 player characters are recommended for the campaign. This seems like alot as I've been used to 4 PC's in the current Adventure Paths. Is this fairly accurate that the adventure path calls for 6 player characters. Or to rephrase my question; is it designed and geared for 6 player characters? Anyone care to chime in here? Thanks in advance

I am halfway the Strike on Shatterhoen. I have had 6PC's the whole time. I would say the first 4 chapters it was pretty good, but since I have had to significantly beef stuff up. Especially if you are running PF chatacters..

In hindsight, the buffing up of the encounters (converting the NPC's and re-allocating new magic items) probably contributed to my problem. I think they have become too powerful and too laden with magic...and it has contibuted to a circle...Too much power, too much gear...


As a player, I played through about 3/4 of Life's Bazaar with 5 player parties. We had a dead PC, then lost 3 of 5 PC's plus an NPC we'd brought in for help, and finally TPK.

Running it as a DM, I did the last part (Malachite Fortress), modified to have the monsters better organized in their response to the party.

I had a party of 5 - Rogue 4, Ranger 4, Cleric 4, Wizard 4, and Paladin 2. They had two tough fights - one got close to a TPK, with only a run of good luck and a retreat preventing it.

So, 6 might be a good idea!


Currently running it (actually for the second time).
Mostly, converting is very easy to do on the fly, most NPCs need some extra HP (toughness and favored class) while most monsters are pretty fine.
Most classes used on NPCs are basically the same, granted, a few abilities are quite nifty but most are not really something which truly affects the combat that much.

Use 3rd ed exp tables instead of PF ones, or just don't bother that much and just let people level when appropriate, the campaign is pretty clear on which level the character should be in almost every chapter.

Personally, I wouldn't (and won't) allow item creation feats as written since item creation is seriously out of whack with 3.5, basically just doubling the wealth for characters, especially due to all the down-time which is a quite necessary part of this campaign.

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