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SCAP synopsis

Page history last edited by Nib 10 years, 10 months ago


Shackled City adventure path synopsis – slightly humorous


Chapter 1: Life's Bazaar


Flow: The PCs meet in town, help a St. Cuthbert cleric survive an assault by last laugh agents, meet Jenya and are subsequently asked to investigate some kidnappings. Below a locksmith's shop, they delve into Jzadirune, an ancient Gnomish underground city, battle it out with some bad guys, hop down deeper into the Malachite Hold, battle it out with some badder guys and get their first glimpse of "Orbius, a Beholder." (Hint: don't use that name as Vhalantru's first name... too obvious!!! There should not be any hints as to the nature of anything at this point).


Background: "Orbius" is incahoots with an evil group called the Cagewrights. He is also getting some benefits for selling slaves into the Underdark. One of the recent slaves captured (the kidnap victims) happens to be a Shackleborn and so the Cagewrights want this kid back! Enter the PCs.


Chapter 2: Drakthar's way

Flow: The PCs return and gain a little notoriety in town. They are asked to investigate some recent vandalism. They end up going down into Drakthar's Way, battling it out with some bad guys and an even badder bad guy who has really bad hit points but has bad-ass regenerative abilities because he's a vampire. Bad news... Cauldron is built in a bad spot... bad bad bad. There may be a glimpse into some of the plot line here with some mercenaries being smuggled in through the caves, but mention of the Cagewrights is not a good idea yet. Likely, the PCs will say, "Who in their right minds would build a city on a volcano with entrances to the Underdark and all this bad history?" Suppress their urge to go down further at this point.


Background: Drakthar brokered a deal to allow "Orbius'" half-orc mercenaries to come into Cauldron using Drakthar's Way. Damn those PCs for messing it up.


Chapter 3: Flood Season (or "The Longest Chapter Ever")

Flow: The Flood Festival starts to ramp up and the PCs recent actions make them a special focal point of things. There are a lot of opportunities for GREAT role play here. (Highly recommend is DD's Flood Festival outline!!!) Near the end of events, but before the Demonskar Ball, the PCs find out that Sarcem has been attacked. They go to the Lucky Monkey in great haste to get their asses handed to them by a were baboon (Tongue-Eater). They win, rescue Shensen, a hottie half-drow with a penchant of attracting the interest of almost every male PC. Back in Cauldron, the PCs are asked to find out where the wands of water control are (which Sarcem should have had) before the whole of Cauldron is under water. Investigations lead to yet ANOTHER dungeon area below Cauldron - the Kopru Ruins. The PCs go in, get their asses handed to them several times (beware, several areas here are tough for the PCs), retrieve as many wands as possible, and save the day!!! The PCs go back to Cauldron, participate in the Demonskar Ball (if invited), and relax.


Background: Lots of information is in the hardcover, but it turns out that a disgruntled ex-guard (crap... I can't remember her name right now.. Toril?? Terrem??? Tercival??? NO... I got it!!! Triel!!!) was sort of kicked out of the Cagewright's plans and she's out for some kind of profit. She stole the wands to get money from the town. Triel and here cronies are part of the Ebon Triad and were pretty much hired by the Cagewrights to make the Soul Cages. Some more information about the main plot line can be sparingly released during this chapter. The PCs should start to think that bad things are afoot and tied together. There is potential to mix in a tragic love story between Triel and Skylar Krewis as discussed on the paizo message boards after a suggestion by DD.


Chapter 4: Zenith Trajectory

Flow: The PCs are out minding their business, as a group, likely armed, and with no reason to be so, when an Umber Hulk comes out of the ground and starts to tear apart the area. After an interesting battle, the party is invited to the Cusp of Sunrise by a beauty named Celeste. There, they are told about Zenith Splintershield's disappearance and asked to find him. The foolish party accepts the mission to go into the Underdark. They are given Crazy Jared's hut as a marker to help find the entrance to the Underdark (no other reason for his hut than a waysign and a deadly encounter). There, they face a red dragon... good luck. Soon after, they discover a pit in the ground and an entrance to the Underdark, which happens to be guarded by a 7-headed Cryohydra. That bad-boy's 17 fast healing is awesomely bad. Into the Underdark and several random encounters later, they are on the doorstep of Bhal-Hamatugn, a Kuo-Toa city. Bam, wammo, powie, and a HORRIBLY DIFFICULT combat in a temple to Bildooboooposdposfoop (can't remember the name... but it's funny), and they find out that Zenith is not a prisoner, but a psychotic leader!!! Good luck convincing him to come home! Oh... there's another dragon down here too.


Background: This is "Orbius'" way of removing the PCs from the town. Send them to their doom. Zenith has gone mad with dreams from Adimarchus (central baddie demon dude in the storyline) and is now a profit for the Kuo-Toans. Even if they succeed, they are just doing the cagewrights a favor (Zenith is also a Shackleborn).


Chapter 5: The Demonskar Legacy


Flow: So, your party gets back after getting their ass handed to them six ways to Sunday in Chapter 4, only to find the city swarming with corrupt half-orc mercenaries and tax collectors - hard to say which is worse! Cauldron's government is obviously growing more and more corrupt, but the party doesn't yet have much more than suspicions so far. Local millionaire playboy Bruce Way... er... Maavu Arlintal decides that enough is enough, and manages to accidentally provoke a riot right outside of town hall (with a little help from the Last Laugh) when he announces that the town's resident knight in shining armor, Sir Alek Tercival, has challenged the Captain of the Guard for his position. This is followed by Fire Elementals attacking the Half Orc mercenaries. Needless to say, Maavu becomes persona non grata in Cauldron, but as the city musters to march against him and his allies in Redgorge, the party must race to find the missing knight to prevent an unnecessary and costly war between Cauldron and Redgorge. Along the way, they meet an angel, smack around a lot of giants, have a drink with three sisters, and wander through the looking glass. In all likelihood, they will be confused by the puzzle that follows for quite some time. Eventually, they find Alek, just in time for local demonic boogeyman Nabtoothsomethingorother to arbitrarily kill him off so he can utter a prophecy with his dying breath.


Background: Magnificent Bastard that he is, "Orbius" is manipulating events to remove several possible threats to his power from the region. Nabbadabbadoo, on the other hand, just likes killing Paladins for s&*#s and giggles - he's a dick like that. Oh yeah, and if Redgorge gets burned down, he gets to go home to the Abyss, so I suppose he DOES have a reason after all. The Cagewrights, however, are too busy either playing with their new toy Zenith if your group was successful in Chapter 4, or locating a replacement if they were not, to do much this chapter.


Chapter Six: Test of the Smoking Eye


Flow: Somehow Sir Tercival dying at the gigantic pointy pincers of Nabthorotten convinces Cauldron not to invade Redgorge after all. Breathing a sigh of relief, the PCs meet a half-fiend sorcerer, and decide that it's TOTALLY a brilliant idea to go gallivanting off to the abyss in hopes of becoming Demon Lords with him. There they face three trials, the first of which they will succeed in without understanding why, the second of which will annoy them for hours, and the last of which is super awesome and I won't spoil here. Well, remains to say, that, in a totally unexpected plot twist, the half-fiend sorcerer betrays the party and tries to become Demon Lord himself!


Background: Once upon a time, there was this angel named Adimarchus. He fell, went a little crazy, and turned into a demon lord with a weakness for male celestials. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course! Some of my best friends have a weakness for male celestials... but I digress. One of these celestials talked him into setting up a test to designate a successor with a loophole allowing a good person to succeed, and another seduced Adimarchus gets himself tricked by Graz'zt, who took advantage of Big A's redemption fetish to trick him into taking his lover's place in Graz'zt's clutches. Big mistake, because said second celestial was actually Graz'zt's son in disguise! Oops! I bet Adimarchus sure felt silly after that one! Oh, and all this was a long time ago, and Adimarchus is apparently driving insane people to undertake seemingly unconnected plots in a bid for freedom. Oh, and back home, "Orbius" offs the Lord Mayor and takes over Cauldron.


Chapter Seven: Secret of the Soul Pillars


Flow: The PCs come back to Cauldron, possibly with possession of a shiny new template. They have only a little time to get settled in when a bunch of assassins launch a surprisingly well planned attack against the PCs. Unfortunately, the PCs are able to discover that the Cathedral of Wee Jas is responsible, and they rush off to kill everyone there. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the PCs), the High Priestess is unavailable to take their invasion and delegates it to her toadie Ike Iverson. After offing Ike, the party discovers that some guy with the wonderfully evil name of Fetor is studying "Soul Pillars" and trying to unlock "Secrets" from them. So they explore some spooky ice caves, fight Fetor, and take down a nasty Dracolich. Fun is had by all, with the possible exception of Fetor and said Dracolich.


Background: Fetor has apparently been gaining ancient Spellweaver knowledge from the Soul Pillars, and this has been instrumental in the design of the Cagewrights' wacky World Domination Tree. Which is almost ready now! Embril is unavailable for whacking by PCs because she is busy assembling a large army of Demodands to invade Cauldron once the World Domination Tree activates the volcano. "Orbius" starts to get paranoid that the Cagewrights are ignoring him, and all but disappears from the public eye while planning a ritual of his own to make himself more disgusting and/or powerful. By now, the party should be getting a pretty clear picture of what's going on, but they should be looking for one or two last leads to pinpoint the location of the Cagewrights' Secret Volcano Base and the exact details of how their inevitable World Domination plan is supposed to work.


Chapter Eight: Lords of Oblivion


Flow: Getting back to town after the creepy creepy spellweaver tomb, the gang gets hit up by Red 1 about Red 2's (as we called them in our game) capture and torture. Or whoever the party likes most, probably el hot half-drow. After dismantling some thieves hideout from the ground up, our friendly NPCs point the group to the next slaughterhouse. Walking into House Rhiavadi, they might get the whole Cagewright plan spilled all over them, or they might get themselves right into the pot with a roomful of baddies. Finishing that up, they might decide to head over to House Vhalantru and kick the door in. A group of dead half-orcs and some dungeon delving, and they finally get to find out who 'Orbius' really is. Hope they manage to free Celeste, cause they're in for a world of hurtin'.


Background: So the preparations for the party are ready, and the Cagewrights are resting up for the big day. Some of them jump planes to send out the invites to the demodand hordes. They don't really notice Orbius and company aren't returning calls, but at this point, they don't care. The party should have the 411, but getting where they need to be to stop it all is frustrating them. Luckily, perusing the captured enemy intel should tell them some things, just in time for all hell to break loose.


Chapter Nine: Foundation of Flame


Flow: So the city is leaderless now, and the important people gather up to figure out who gets stuck cleaning the mess up. Great role-playing opportunity for the gang, right up until some crazy dwarf butts in and tries to kill everyone. With maybe a few less candidates to choose from, the meeting is adjourned, just in time for the volcano to wake up. Suddenly it doesn't seem like such a good idea to have a city in a volcano. Much panic and mayhem ensues with falling fiends, quakes, volcanic activity, and plenty of nasty monster attacks, like someone turned on all the disaster settings in Sim City. The party gets run ragged trying to save as many people as they can with only so much resources available. To wrap things up, mighty ol' Hookface pays Cauldron a visit.


Background: Whoops, someone let the crazy sorcerer out, guess plans have to step up! Activating the ritual, the timer is set, now they just have to wait and guard against any pesky hero types coming to save the world. Oh yeah, there are some around, but they're too busy saving what they can to worry about coming a stopping things. Once they get done doing what FEMA should have been doing, they can put together a meeting of the mindless and figure out where to go next.


Chapter Ten: Thirteen Cages


Flow: Alright, time to storm the gates! Or, well, go spelunking into an active volcano. Same thing, right? However they manage to get there, it's a race to find the Doomsday Christmas Tree, and plenty of cannon fodder to stand in the way. And some baddies looking for cannon fodder of their own. All the way up until they find the end boss, and get to choose between an enslaved Cauldron, destroyed Cauldron, or really disfigured Cauldron.


Background: Not much to say here. The Cagewrights pretty much stand behind doors waiting for the party to come kill them. This is a good time to bring any main NPC baddies back to get killed off for good. The party could learn some interesting background points and motivations about their enemies, but they most likely mow them down heroically. Then they get to try and rebuild their lovely little city.


Chapter Eleven: Strike on Shatterhorn


Flow: After successfully foiling the Cagewrights' scheme to bring an army of demodands into the world and hopefully saving Cauldron, the PCs learn that a few of the Cagewrights were not present in the Secret Volcano Base, and after a bit of research track them to a ruined Yuan-Ti temple deep in the jungle called Shatterhorn. An unfortunately rather pedestrian high level dungeon crawl follows - this entire chapter is probably the weakest in the adventure path by far, although some of the fights and one of the traps look potentially interesting. The party smashes its way through Shatterhorn and lays the smack down on the remaining Cagewrights, although there is a chance that sneaky sneaky Embril may pull off a surprising escape.


Backstory: Their plans foiled, the Cagewrights fall back to Shatterhorn in desperate hope of finding another way to free Adimarchus. Embril gets the crazy idea that if she sacrifices a PC to Nerull, the god of death will release the demon lord of madness. Even if she manages to escape and pull off the sacrifice, however, she will fail because only Adimarchus' designated successor can release him.


Chapter Twelve: Asylum


Flow: Before the party can relax to enjoy their new status as living legends, old buddy "Orbius" returns from the grave to menace them once again! This time, he has a disturbing smoking eye which should be very familiar if the party acquired a certain useful template in Chapter Six. The PCs thus discover that even without his minions, Adimarchus is still trying to manipulate events so that he is freed. The PCs will thus come to the perfectly logical conclusion that the only thing to be done is to... get this... spring Adimarchus from Graz'zt's Psych Ward Gulag and then kill him, or else Adimarchus will continue to send smoking eye goons after them and kill lots of innocents in the process. He's a dick like that. The Party goes plane-hopping once again, fights a number of cool villains, and finally springs Big A for the final battle.


Backstory: See, the whole Cagewright Thing was just a massive Xanatos Gambit by Adimarchus to provoke the PCs into smashing up Graz'zt's prison and freeing him themselves. Sound crazy? Well, he IS the Demon Prince of Madness. Assuming the party is victorious, anyone with the shiny template from Chapter Six will find themselves the winners of... A BRAND NEW PLANE! As epic characters, they should be powerful enough to either control it as part of the Abyss, gradually shepherd it back to the upper planes, or to separate it from both. But that is beyond the scope of the campaign.



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