Random Encounters: The Shackled City for Pathfinder (Chapter 1 Life’s Bazaar)

Currently I am running a Pathfinder campaign for my 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 (I’m not worried about the traps, as The Shackled City has a reputation for the traps being a little too deadly anyway).  Converting the stat blocks isn’t impossible, but it is a little bit of work, 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 first chapter).
Obviously there are a ton of spoilers here, both for the campaign and the first 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.

Greyhawk Gods in Pathfinder

Since my gaming group has had many previous adventures in the world of Greyhawk, it was important for me to keep the city of Cauldron in that setting.  That meant using the Greyhawk deities that were the default for 3e D&D and rejecting the Golarion Gods of Pathfinder.  However, the Gods in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook were each given 5 domains, rather than a number of domains based on deific power, as was the custom in 3.5.  In order to bring the Greyhawk deities more in line with the Pathfinder rule set, the following list updates all the Greyhawk deities of core 3e with 5 domains each, except for Obad-Hai who always had six and Fharlanghn who I couldn’t find an appropriate fifth domain for.  I used the official RPGA expanded domain lists for Living Greyhawk as a guideline, deviating in order to make sure that all the Pathfinder domains were covered.

  • Heironeous: LG; Glory, Good, Law, Nobility, War
  • Moradin: LG; Artifice, Earth, Good, Law, Protection
  • Yondalla: LG; Community, Good, Law, Plant, Protection
  • Ehlonna:  NG; Air, Animal, Good, Plant, Sun
  • Garl Glittergold: NG Community, Earth, Good, Protection, Trickery
  • Pelor: NG; Glory, Good, Healing, Nobility, Sun
  • Corellon Larethian: CG; Chaos, Good, Liberation, Magic, War
  • Kord: CG; Chaos, Good, Luck, Nobility, Strength
  • Wee Jas: LN; Charm, Death, Law, Magic, Repose
  • St. Cuthbert: LN; Community, Destruction, Law, Protection, Strength
  • Boccob: N; Artifice, Knowledge, Magic, Rune, Trickery
  • Fharlanghn: N; Luck, Protection, Travel, Weather
  • Obad-Hai: N; Air, Animal, Earth, Fire, Plant, Water
  • Olidammara: CN; Chaos, Charm, Luck, Protection, Trickery
  • Hextor: LE; Destruction, Evil, Law, Strength, War
  • Nerull: NE; Darkness, Death, Evil, Water, Weather
  • Vecna: NE; Darkness, Evil, Knowledge, Madness, Magic
  • Erythnul: CE; Chaos, Evil, Madness, Trickery, War
  • Gruumsh: CE; Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Strength, War

Life’s Bazaar

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 (Jenya Urikas’ list of abductions, Vervil Ashmantle’s letter to Kazmogen, the Cauldron coat of arms, and the first issue of Cauldron’s populist handbill – The Cauldron Crier).

Gear Door
Twilight mist trap; CR 1; type mechanical; Perception DC 21; Disable Device DC 20; Trigger touch; Reset none; Effect poison gas (twilight mist), multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-square area).
Twilight Mist; type poison, inhaled; Save Fortitude DC 13; Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; Effect 1d2 Dex damage; Cure 1 save

J4: Lurking Shadows
The challenge rating for most creatures has been reduced in Pathfinder, so to keep the adventure challenging and maintain the experience level, I increased the number of monsters.
Add an additional skulk in this room for a total of 3.

J11: Control Lever
I removed the Nystul’s undetectable aura on the bag of tricks.  That spell is now covered by Pathfinder’s magic aura, but because of the slightly different mechanics for detecting and identifying magic items, concealing “the bag’s aura but not its magical nature” doesn’t make sense anymore.  It is still just as dangerous for the party to find since it’s infected with the vanishing.

J17: Hall of Dancing Lights
Add an additional 2 skulks in this room for a total of 4.

J22: Theatre
The fine cloak in the chest has magic aura instead of Nystul’s magic aura.  If detected, it radiates moderate transmutation (a character who casts identify or who uses Spellcraft to determine the function of the cloak must make a DC 14 Will save to pierce the illusion).

J26: Automaton Factory
I never really liked the raggamoffyn as a creature, and thankfully Paizo has never made a Pathfinder version of it.  Rather than creating a new monster (when I wasn’t crazy about the original) just substitute a single adamantine cobra (included in the PDF) for the captured skulk and raggamoffyn (its poison and damage reduction will make it enough of a challenge).

J27: Gearworks
To simulate the pulverizer I used a clockwork servant and just gave it the ‘self-winding’ special quality (at the beginning of each encounter the clockwork creature winds itself as a swift action and carries out its last orders).  It has a net instead of a sonic attack, but the battlefield control elements of the attack are very similar (and visually it can spit the net out of the same opening the pulverizer uses for its sonic attack).

J31: Alchemy Lab
Replace the raggamoffyn with an adamantine cobra.

J36: Great Factory
Since there isn’t a Pathfinder version of it (along with mind flayers and umber hulks), I replaced the grell with a grick.  There are some pretty good Pathfinder versions of the grell online, but in the last 2 campaigns my group has played in they encountered quite a few grells, so I thought I’d give another creature a turn.

J40: Woodshop
Add an additional dark creeper for a total of 2.

J44: Hidden Foes
Add an additional dark creeper for a total of 2, plus the pulverizer.

J48: Secret Vault
I replaced the dread guard with an animated object, and styled it after an animated suit of metal armor.  It is Medium sized instead of Small, but so is the dread guard.

J52: Kitchen
Add an additional dark creeper for a total of 3.

M3: Stony Greetings
I substituted a Medium earth elemental for the stone spike – it is slightly more powerful but has many of the same abilities.

M4: Major-Domo`s Quarters
Xukasus is a very strange creature in the original adventure, whose statistics rely on the 3.5 edition polymorph rules, which have been drastically overhauled in Pathfinder.  To save the DM a headache (and also because I don`t really buy Xukasus’ neutral alignment) I have made the Major-Domo a ‘normal’ ogre – albeit a mentally ill one who believes he is really an otyugh.

M14: Automaton Guard
I used robot fighters with warhammers and short swords to simulate the hammerers.  If used as is, this encounter will be CR 6, which is incredibly tough.  I recommend damaging the hammerers as they are in the original adventure and treating each as a CR 3 creature (which would make this encounter CR 5 – the same as it is in the original adventure).

M34: Slave Bazaar
Kazmogen’s strange heritage was easy enough to replicate from his 3.5 stat block, although in Pathfinder his fighter levels lead to a monster with a weaker CR (which is OK since Prickles is now more effective than it was in 3.5).  Pyllrak was a different story.  To simulate a durgazon I used a duergar monk, applied the devil-bound template (bearded devil), and removed the ‘battle-frenzy’ ability since Pathfinder bearded devils lost this ability.
With his high hit points and fast healing, Kazmogen and his pet should be a formidable encounter.

Event 5: Orbius’ Intervention
I didn’t include stats for the Beholder or Thifirane in the PDF since this event is obviously not intended as a combat encounter.

Tags: , , ,

7 Responses to Random Encounters: The Shackled City for Pathfinder (Chapter 1 Life’s Bazaar)

  1. Elliot says:

    Spoiler Alert?!? Damn!

    • Sorry man, there are some doozies in there… Don’t worry, there will be some Shackled City posts that you guys can read – but the conversion notes are pretty spoilerific.

  2. Ken says:

    This is excellent… I will be doing the same as you – taking my Pathfinder gaming group through Shackled City. Have you done any additional conversions? I’d be very very interested to see what you’ve come up with.

    • Cool, are you guys keeping it in Greyhawk or using it in Golarion?
      My players are just about done this adventure so I should have the conversion of Chapter 2: Drakthar’s Way done in a week or two.

  3. Ken says:

    I’ll be keeping it in Greyhawk, as a “sequel” to a campaign I ran a few years back. Issue is, that campaign, like Shackled City, was 3.5, and we’ve since converted to Pathfinder. My main concerns were a few things like the deity “conversions”, some creatures that don’t appear in Pathfinder and some magic items.

    What you did for the Greyhawk gods is perfect. If you don’t mind I’ll use your conversion. I’ve got an idea already for some “water-based” creatures that appear in a later chapter, and I think I’ll keep the beholder as-is.

  4. Nexist418 says:

    Thank you very much. My children have been pestering me to run them through this adventure & I was dreading doing the conversions. You’ve saved me.

Comments are closed.