Currently I am running a Pathfinder campaign for my gaming group, and since I never got the chance to use my copy of The Shackled City hardcover while we were playing 3.5 I figured it wouldn’t be too much work to convert to ‘3.75’. In spite of Paizo’s claims of backwards compatibility, you can’t really use 3.5 D&D adventures off the shelf for Pathfinder. Most of it works, but the monsters and NPCs in particular are too weak to be a real challenge to a party of Pathfinder characters. Converting the stat blocks isn’t impossible, but it does take time, and since I’m doing the work anyway (I’m a bit of a stat block perfectionist) I thought I would share (click on the pictures at the end of the article to download PDFs of the updated stat blocks for all the monsters and NPCs as well as some additional handouts I created for the third chapter). You can find a conversion of the first chapter of the adventure path, Life’s Bazaar, as well as Pathfinder-style versions of the Greyhawk gods here, and the second chapter, Drakthar’s Way, here.
Obviously there are a ton of spoilers here, both for the campaign and the adventure. So if you plan on playing in The Shackled City, peeking ahead is going to ruin a lot of the fun. If you are one of my players, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t read any further. You’ve been warned.
The following changes should be made to the adventure for it to play smoothly using the Pathfinder edition of D&D. Click on the pictures at the end of the article to download a PDF of Pathfinder stat blocks for every NPC and monster in the adventure (when I DM I like to have the monster stat blocks in front of me, instead of having to flip to the back of the book or shuffle through Bestiaries), as well as a few additional handouts useful to the adventure (some handbills advertising Flood Festival events, double-sided invitations to the Demonskar Ball, maps that the PCs can buy to aid them at the Lucky Monkey, the symbol of the Ebon Triad, and an excerpt from Skaven’s scroll detailing the kopru civilization).
Event 6: Meet the Competition
I added a class level to each of the Stormblades to maintain their original CR. Since there isn’t a Swashbuckler base class in Pathfinder I made Cora Lathenmire a Fighter – with her choice of feats and skills she will still be able to take levels in the Duelist prestige class later in the campaign.
Inside the Lucky Monkey
M1. Common Room
I added a level to both the alleybashers and the hillfolk to maintain their CR in Pathfinder. I also slightly altered the hillfolk to give them more of an Olman flavor (the jungle barbarians that live in this area of the World of Greyhawk). I traded out their masterwork longswords for obsidian war clubs (with the stats of a masterwork warhammer), but kept their armor (assuming they had acquired chainmail through raiding or as payment from Triel). If you want the Hillfolk to be more of a traditional European barbarian, just give them longswords.
The hill baboon was never updated in any of the Pathfinder books, so I replaced them with advanced chimpanzees, but kept the description and flavor.
Tongueater was a mess. As originally presented, Tongueater was an infected lycanthrope, which adds a needless amount of rolling for the DM and doesn’t really add anything to either the story or the game – so I changed him into a natural lycanthrope. The second problem was that Tongueater was given levels of Barbarian, a class restricted to non-lawful alignments (and Tongueater is LE), so I switched these out with levels of Ranger (and took the two-handed weapon combat style from the Advanced Player’s Guide to keep him as a falchion wielder). Finally, the way CR works with lycanthropy and class levels is slightly different in Pathfinder, so he wound up with 5 class levels instead of 3. Even after all these changes I still think that my version of Tongueater maintains his core identity – a ferocious melee combatant able to tear through PCs quickly.
For DMs interested in a little more flavor than ‘120 pounds of loot worth 4,500 gp’ I broke it down as follows:
- A large painting of the setting sun on a far horizon with a darkwood frame (taken from area M15); 300 gp; 5 pounds.
- A case of 12 bottles of fine wine from the Holds of the Sea Princes; 10 gp each; 18 pounds total.
- 4 bottles of Keoish brandy; 20 gp each; 8 pounds total.
- Assorted silverware; 100 gp; 10 pounds total.
- A pair of gold candleholders, elegant in their simplicity; 100 gp each; 2 pounds total.
- Silver dinner service, embossed with native Amedio fruits and animals; 500 gp; 7 pounds total.
- 4 golden monkey statuettes with chipped emeralds for eyes; 500 gp each; 15 pounds total.
- A sea chart of the trade winds of Jeklea Bay and the Northern Azure Sea; 200 gp.
- A letter of bond for Maavu’s Imports; 500 gp (a great set-up for the next chapter).
- A lapis ornamental comb; 75 gp.
- A silver mirror with folding cosmetics plate; 50 gp.
- A small bottle of spicy smelling perfume oil; 25 gp.
- 7 moonstones; 50 gp each.
Switch out Sarcem’s 3.5 style periapt of Wisdom +2 with a Pathfinder headband of inspired Wisdom +2 (since the item is a headband, you might consider keeping it with Sarcem’s head in area M27.).
M43. Well Room
I added an additional class level to Shensen in order to maintain her CR, following the guidelines for her advancement in the appendix of the hardcover.
Event 10: Information for Sale
I added an additional class level to Artus in order to maintain his CR. I interpreted his high ranks in Use Magic Device as an interest in magic so I gave him the Rogue talents of minor magic and major magic.
The Kopru Ruins
K7. Nightmare Beach
The skulvyn has never been updated to the Pathfinder game so I replaced it with a fiendish bunyip. It’s not a perfect fit, but it’s fairly close (and I get the impression the skulvyn was chosen only to showcase the then-released Monster Manual II).
K8. Kopru Lair
The kopru has never been updated for the Pathfinder game, but rather than substitute another monster I decided to rebuild it using the monster guidelines in the Bestiary (as the race plays such a central role in the adventure). Since it’s essentially a new monster for the game, I included the extended stat block in the PDF (and now that the work is already done, the kopru makes a perfect candidate for the next installment of Classic Monsters).
K13. The Gauntlet
The Reflex save DC for the pit trap here should be DC 20, as that is now the standard for all pit traps regardless of CR.
The mud slaad has never been updated to the Pathfinder game (and won’t be by Paizo as slaad are considered WOTC intellectual property) so I replaced it with a cerberi. This is a case where I think the replacement works better than the original. Thematically, the cerberi is a better fit for the role of leftover mystic guardian.
K24. Skaven’s Parlor
With arcane lock, the Disable Device check to pick the lock is DC 40 and the door’s break DC is 38.
I added a class level to Skaven to maintain his CR. In 3.5 diviner Wizards only had a single opposition school, in converting Skaven to Pathfinder I added the opposition school of conjuration as that didn’t have any effect on the spells he had memorized.
In addition to the scroll on the kopru (included in the PDF of handouts) Skaven’s collection of esoteric books contains the following:
- The Last Will and Testament of Lawethika of Ket
- Ruminations of Charnel Fulminations
- The Hours of Tintinnabulatory Twilight
- Fragments from the Digested Notebooks of Tenrast Inktongue, a Blackmailer
K25: Skaven’s Bedchamber
With arcane lock, the Disable Device check to pick the lock is DC 40 and the door’s break DC is 38.
K27. Spider Nest
Spiders are one of the monsters that went through a lot of changes between 3.5 and Pathfinder, messing up the sizes and CRs of the spiders presented in this adventure. In order to maintain CR replace the small spiders in this room with 2 spider swarms.
K30. Webbed Cavern
In order to maintain the CR of this encounter, replace the medium and large monstrous spiders with 4 giant spiders and 1 giant black widow.
K31. Ettercap Lair
This room should have 3 ettercaps for the given CR.
K32. Harpoon Spider Lair
The harpoon spider has never been updated for the Pathfinder game (and I suspect it was included in the adventure for the same reason as the skulvyn), so I replaced it with another intelligent arachnid foe, the phase spider (which could just as easily be worshipped as a god by ettercaps). I made two slight modifications to the phase spider’s stat block to better reflect the adventure. I changed its alignment to NE to reflect Skaven’s corrupting influence on the creature and I gave it Common instead of Aklo, since there is no Greyhawk equivalent of that language.
K33. Trapped Chamber
The poison on the spikes should read as follows:
Medium Spider Poison—injury; save Fort DC 14; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Strength damage; cure 1 save.
K36. Triel’s Chamber
I added a class level to Triel to maintain her CR.
The bloodbloater ooze has never been updated for the Pathfinder game so I replaced it with an amoeba swarm. While technically the amoeba swarm could crawl out of the pit in search of food, I assumed their preference for an aquatic environment and regular feedings would keep them in the pit.
K50. Undead Ogres
The pair of ogre zombies are slightly below the target CR, but the skeletal tyrannosaurus in area K48. is so brutal it more than makes up for it.
K52. Cult Treasury
The spawn of Kyuss have never been updated for the Pathfinder game so I replaced them with a pair of giant crawling hands. I’ll admit it’s not a perfect fit, but the giant crawling hands are the right CR, and their pus burst has a similar gross-out factor as the spawn of Kyuss’ worms.
The poison on the chest should read as follows:
Nitharit poison—contact; save Fort DC 13; onset 1 min.; frequency 1/min. for 6 min.; effect 1d3 Constitution damage; cure 1 save.
K55. Undead Minions
There should only be 6 zombies in this encounter for the target CR. Just so these monsters wouldn’t seem exactly the same as the zombie ogres in K50., I used the plague variant included in the Bestiary (plus, I hoped they would make up for the missing spawn of Kyuss in K52.).
K56. Tarkilar’s Cavern
Huecuva work very differently in Pathfinder then they did in 3.5 so it was next to impossible to do a straight conversion of Tarkilar. Instead, I rebuilt him from the ground up. Starting with a standard huecuva, I added class levels of Cleric until I hit the target CR (adding class levels also gave the huecuva a bonuses to its stats, which I used to replicate Tarkilar’s original stats as closely as possible). I also fiddled a little with the standard racial skills and feats of the huecuva in order to better emulate the original Tarkilar. Finally, I allowed the huecuva’s disease to be spread through the creature’s weapon attacks (it is wired directly into his flesh, so the spiked chain is probably filled with all sorts of disgusting bits of rotting gnoll flesh).