The Shackled City
|The Shackled City|
|Series||Dungeon #97-98, 102, 104, 107, 109, 111, 113-116|
The Shackled City Adventure Path (or simply Shackled City) is a roleplaying game adventure designed for the Dungeons & Dragons game, originally published as individual adventures in Dungeon magazine, and later reprinted as a hardcover book (ISBN 0-9770071-0-3), collecting all eleven adventures plus one additional adventure that was not published earlier. Various parts of the game were revised for the collection. Notably, the city of Cauldron was enlarged to better suit the needs of a typical high level game.
The adventures are designed to begin with first level characters and to end with characters at or near twentieth level, taking them through twelve distinct adventures that span basic dungeon crawls, urban adventures, political intrigue, and even extra-planar excursions.
The adventure begins, and is primarily set, in the city of Cauldron (to which the title refers). The city is nominally located in the World of Greyhawk, though it is designed to be easily adapted to other campaign settings. Located in the caldera of a dormant volcano, Cauldron is a medium-sized city.
The Shackled City adventure path consists of the following adventures:
- "Life's Bazaar," by Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #97, March 2003. In this adventure, the player characters investigate kidnappings. The trail leads to a slaving operating from Underdark passages below the city.
- "Drakthar's Way," added for the hardcover collection. In this adventure small bands of goblins raid and vandalize Cauldron. The player characters track the goblins to a hideout in a series of caves below the city that emerge from the side of the dormant volcano. The goblins are led by a vampiric bugbear.
- "Flood Season," by James Jacobs, Dungeon #98. In this adventure, the city of Cauldron is threatened by flooding during the rainy season. Magical wands of control water, normally used to control the flooding, are stolen and taken to a lair below the city. The player characters presumably track down and recover the stolen wands.
- "Zenith Trajectory," by David Noonan, Dungeon #102. The player characters are asked to rescue Zenith Splintershield, a dwarf who has been missing since heading into the Underdark to fight evil. Zenith has gone insane and is treated as prophet by the kuo-toa who captured him.
- "The Demonskar Legacy," by Tito Leati, Dungeon #104. In this chapter, the heroes must find a missing paladin to stop an incursion from Cauldron to nearby Redgorge. After retracing the paladin's steps through a jungle, a giant-controlled cavern, and an otherworldly maze, they must face the demonic architect of the area's strife.
- "Test of the Smoking Eye," by David Noonan, Dungeon #107. Following their warning from a dying paladin to "seek the sign of the smoking eye," a mysterious plane-wanderer asks for their help in completing a series of tests to redeem an abandoned layer of the Abyss.
- "Secrets of the Soul Pillars," by Jesse Decker, Dungeon #109. After several assassination attempts on the heroes, the assassins are traced back to the temple of Wee Jas. After assaulting the temple and fighting its undead inhabitants, the heroes are led to an ancient frozen spell weaver complex, where a powerful oracle is guarded by a horrific undying dragon.
- "Lords of Oblivion," by Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #111. An ally of the heroes is kidnapped and taken to a safe house of the Last Laugh, Cauldron's thieves' guild. Once they break in and rescue him from the den of thieves, the heroes learn of a secret meeting among some of the realm's most horrific criminals at a noble's mansion. In addition, the Last Laugh's beholder overlord is practicing unholy rituals in the complex below.
- "Foundation of Flame," by Chris Thomasson, Dungeon #113. The Cagewrights begin their plans in earnest now, awakening the volcano on which Cauldron is built. Spewing lava, earthquakes, and collapsing buildings require the heroes help to get everyone evacuated. Worse, demodands begin to emerge from a planar rift already building, and a certain local dragon gets riled up by it all.
- "Thirteen Cages," by Chris Thomasson, Dungeon #114. The heroes must march on the Cagewrights' headquarters, in the heart of a volcano, before their ritual is complete and a permanent gate to Carceri is opened above Cauldron.
- "Strike on Shatterhorn," by Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #115. What few Cagewrights remain must be hunted down and exterminated in their jungle retreat.
- "Asylum," by Christopher Perkins, Dungeon #116. When the twisted mind of Adimarchus, imprisoned Demon Prince of Madness, leaks into Occipitus and begins resurrecting his followers, the heroes realize they must go to the otherworldly asylum of Skullrot where Adimarchus is imprisoned and destroy him utterly.
During the course of the adventure, the city is nearly destroyed by an eruption of the volcano under it, which is triggered by magical forces. Shattered, but still inhabited, the city of Cauldron still exists at the end of the adventure.
The Adventure Paths
The adventure paths were an ongoing element of Dungeon, of which the Shackled City was the first. Shackled City was followed by the Age of Worms adventure path, and it contains a few elements that carry over (such as the Ebon Triad, who are minor characters in Shackled City) but each adventure ath stands on its own as a campaign. The third Adventure Path, Savage Tide, begins just north of Cauldron, in the city of Sasserine, and includes at least one character from the Shackled City storyline.
- Decker, Jesse, James Jacobs, Tito Leati, David Noonan, Christopher Perkins, and Chris Thomasson. The Shackled City. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2005.