The Shackled City
The Shackled City Adventure Path is a tough campaign. The rewards are great, but getting to them will be difficult. It is designed to challenge a group of six player characters. I won’t be pushing for you guys to move faster than you think is necessary, because I want you to have ample opportunity to rest and recover from your wounds. That said, there are going to be some times when time is of the essence. To give you a little bit of an “edge” in this campaign, I will be implementing the following guidelines during character generation.
Ability Scores: As we are using the standard method of generating ability scores (roll 4d6 and drop the lowest result), I am allowing you all to generate three sets of ability scores in this way and then choose which set you wish to use for your character.
Hit Points: All characters will be maximizing their hit points through their 5th character level. Hit points will be generated randomly using the appropriate hit die at 6th character level and above.
Although Shackled City should provide characters of any class ample opportunities to shine, some classes may have particular troubles at certain points during the campaign.
Barbarian: Much of this campaign takes place in dungeon or urban environs. As such, a barbarian designed to excel in the wilderness won’t have as much to do as one who focuses his skill points on things like Climb, Intimidate, Jump, and Listen.
Bard: Bards are an excellent choice for this campaign. There are ample opportunities to influence important NPCs during the campaign, and skill in Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate, plus access to enchantment and illusion spells, can be a great help in dealing with large crowds of people.
Cleric: There are only four established temples in Cauldron, where Shackled City is set: temples to St. Cuthbert, Pelor, Kord, and Wee Jas. A shrine to Fharlanghn exists at the Lucky Monkey, a large roadhouse and inn about a day’s ride from Cauldron. Clerics who worship one of these deities have an advantage in that they’ll have a support structure of some sort to rely upon. It is worth nothing that while undead can be found in this campaign, they are not the campaign’s focus. Clerics who focus on feats to enhance their ability to turn undead might consider instead other divine feats that allow them to use their energy channeling ability for other uses.
Druid: As with barbarians, you should bear in mind that much of this campaign takes place in urban and dungeon environs. Nonetheless, there are ample opportunities for a druid’s specialized skills to shine. The citizens of Cauldron know about animal companions, and probably won’t react too violently to a druid’s companion unless she takes a particularly large or exotic one.
Fighter: Fighters should have plenty to keep them busy in this campaign.
Monk: There are no local monasteries or other establishments that cater to a monk’s unique interests and skills. A monk is likely to be regarded by locals with a mixture of curiosity and quiet awe.
Paladin: A paladin is an excellent choice for this campaign. There are prominent NPCs of a similar mindset for the character to interact with, relate to, and rival. Access to some of the choice social skills also makes the class a good option.
Ranger: The advice given for barbarians and druids applies to rangers as well. One thing to note is that the ranger’s favored enemy ability is unique amongst the class abilities; a poor choice of favored enemy can dramatically reduce the enjoyment of playing a ranger. Of course, I will be willing to offer guidance in making favored enemy choices.
Rogue: Rogue is an excellent choice for this campaign; there are a large number of traps for rogues to handle in the numerous dungeons, and a rogue focused in social skills could be an invaluable asset while investigating and interacting with prominent NPCs. There are no fewer than two thieves’ guilds active in Cauldron.
Sorcerer: Sorcerers pose an interesting possibility in this campaign. Since sorcerers gain their magical powers from some mystical inborn source, perhaps that source could be related to the forces at work in the Cauldron region.
Wizard: Wizards need more down time between adventures than other classes, both to scribe new spells into their spellbooks and to take advantage of their bonus Item Creation feats. This class (of which I believe we have at least one PC), is the reason I am not going to press the time issue all that much.
Having read through the first adventure a time or two, there are a number of skills that are not always obvious choices which will prove very useful to the PCs in the course of the campaign. They are (in alphabetical order): Diplomacy, Disable Device, Gather Information, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcane, history, local), Open Lock, Search, Sense Motive, Speak Language (I may have suggestions on which bonus languages you might want to consider).