Shackled City This is the campaign journal of a monthly D&D game in Zürich, Switzerland. We’re using a crazy mix of English and German while playing.

Contact me if you’re interested in getting on the waiting list for this campaign and I’ll put you in touch with our DM.

If you’re a player, you might be interested in the Shackled City House Rules.

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2008-05-09 Moved

I’m moving the pages for our ShackledCity campaign to a new site!


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2008-03-09 Drakthar

Our Shackled City DM James reports:

We had an interesting session last Sunday, not too much intrigue or diplomacy, but an journey through the jungle, the rescue of some slaves, and the destruction of a mad Derro, seeking to resurect the cult of Drakthar.

The morning following the massed Goblinoid attack was pretty peaceful, and became interesting when it was interupted by the arrival of Alec Tercival and Fario Ellegoth. Alec and Fario explained that they had been scouting the area, looking for the source of the Goblinoid problems, though they knew nothing about the temple shown on the map. Alec had heard rumours of a Goblin training camp North West in the jungle, and proposed exploring further in that direction, the group agreed that two scouting missions would be useful, to identify what the best option was, Alec and one group would go to the Goblin camp, and the rest of the party would go check out the temple. Borg and Zacharias said they thought they would see more action checking the camp, rather than a crumbling old temple, so they elected to go with Alec. Rhysalis, Aria, Fenyal and Wim chose to explore the site of the temple.

Before they left, Iruth Mercud explained that as the guard was at only 1/2 strength, following the disappearance of Kallev and Chorlyndyr plus five other gaurds, he was unable to offer any additional people to assist the party.

Setting off on the journey through the hostile jungle, the party was surprised about how difficult the conditions were (though most people made their Fortutiude save for heat exhaustion...) and were even more surprised by the attack of two Giant Crocodiles. Luckily some early blows from Rhysalis cause one croc to loose heart and run off, and the other exploded following a critical spell from Fenyal, otherwise the outcome could have been quite different.

  • 2 x CR 4 Giant Crocs

The rest of the journey passed uneventfully, and the party found itself creaping up on a the temple, which Fenyals familiar told them was far from disused and uninhabited.

After skulking about for a fair bit, the party drew some of the Bugbear and Hobgoblin guards away from the camp, and attacked them. The goblinoids got reinforcements, and the party was about to make a tacktical retreat, when the slaves made a poorly timed attempt to escape. Rather than watch the slaughter of the slaves, the party rejoined the battle and were ultimatly victorious.

  • 6 x CR 3 Hobgoblins
  • 4 x CR 4 Bugbears

On questioning the slaves, the party found out that something nasty was living in the temple. They chose to return to Achet, rather than confront the evil boss.

They part brough the rescued slaves back to Achet, and rejoined to discuss the situation with Alec and Fario.

Alec explained that they had found a large Goblin camp in the jungle, but was most interested to hear about the nast creature in the temple. Over many beers, and much discussion a decision was made to make a double assault, one group to destroy the temple, another to destroy the camp. Alec agreed to join the temple raid, since he had some experience of Demons, and Iruth offered to reinforce the camp raid, since it offered the chance of ending, or at least reducing the Goblin menace for some time.

The party made their way back to the temple site, and after suitable buffing, whent into the temple, to be greated by a mad Derro, and a bearded deamon. Although tough, and long, the battle in the temple was untimatly a straight forwards brawl, the Derro was too crazy to make good use of its spells, and Alec and Rhysalis did good work tag-teaming the Demon. Fire support from Fenyal and healing from Aria made sure that the end was inevitable.

With the death of the Derro, the evil in the temple faded, and the threat in the region reduced dramatically.

  • 1 x Derro (with Sorcerer levels)
  • 1 x Bearded demon
  • —————————————

So an ending to Drakthar... or someone trying to pretend to be Drakthar anyway. That will be the end of that then... maybe...

I have awarded 40% exp to Borg and Zacharias. They fought goblins in the Jungle with Alec and Fario, but it was risk free, and I do not want people to get too far behind.

Before the next session, there are choices...

If the party chooses, you could catch up on the raid on the goblin camp, which would be a big long fight, or you can choose to return to Cauldron. You do not have to choose now, but if you let me know your interests, I can plan better. So choice 1: Lets go back to Cauldron quickly, and pick up the main quest choice 2: Lets raid the goblins, and maybe investigate further about Drakthar and what is sturing up the goblins.

Choice 1 takes you back to cauldron, with no real issues, we pick up where you left off. Choice 2 takes us away from Shackled city, and certainly makes you too high level to do some of the early Cauldron chapters.

Please let me know..,

After last session, exp stands as:

Aria 11215 (level up to 5)
Borg 7685 (level up to 4)
Fenyal 11215 (level up 5)
Zacharias 8885 (bad luck, no level)
Wim 10190 (level up to 5)
Rhysalis Eina 9600 (level up to 4)

We will discuss loot at the next session...


Comments on 2008-03-09 Drakthar

I really enjoyed the last session: fighting hobgoblins and bugbears (yay favored enemy bonus!), sneaking around (I really need to boost my Move Silently), and tense moments of the battle to free the slaves.

Scariest moment: The giant crocodiles. I thought for sure one of us was going to get dragged underwater.

Coolest moment: Once again, Fenyael does all the dirty work, while us melee-types goof off :-P The critical hit with the Scorching Ray was very, very nice, and came at a very good time.

Most surprising moment: That Drakthar was not a vampire. My D&D meta-sense was tingling something fierce, but in retrospect the evidence also fits a derro very well. I really liked that touch.

OOTS moment: I now feel Vaarsuvius’s pain, with a fragile animal companion that appears and disappears when I remember/forget it. Not sure if the poor little guy is going to tag along with me for very long, though...

– Adrian 2008-03-17 16:47 UTC

I really need to turn Rhysalis into the party tank. As soon as possible I’ll have to arrange for enchanted full plate armor... :)

AlexSchroeder 2008-03-18 01:01 UTC

I thought Rhysalis was all about the elvishness. Fenyael would tell her that the best armor around is elven chain – not clunky and ugly like plate mail, but light, strong, and very stylish!

– Adrian 2008-03-18 07:08 UTC

Indeed, indeed. I guess that’s why Rhysalis went for a chain shirt. And now she’s wearing what—a piece of big ugly heavy chain mail that slows her down. :'(

Eventually, however, we’ll have to think about our effectiveness. Borg will be the well armored tank, specially if he goes into the dwarven defender prestige class. Rhysalis was to be the diplomatic person. But without Borg Rhysalis is forced into the tank role and she doesn’t have the AC to go along with that.

I’m torn on the issue. :)

AlexSchroeder 2008-03-18 11:41 UTC

Ah, effectiveness. I daresay that Wim leans decidedly towards less than effective side of the spectrum – a gnome (strike 1) ranger with a low Wisdom (strike 2) that is going to take the Horizon Walker (strike 3) prestige class. It is a wonder he’s made it to 5th level :-)

It is hard to keep the AC high enough to make it worth it – a mithral plate and shield dwarven defender, or a duelist are exceptions. You either have to pour all your resources into getting a high AC (best armor + Dex bonus combo, magic items, feats), or focus solely on damage-dealing, since the faster the monster dies, the fewer times it can hit you.

– Adrian 2008-03-18 13:23 UTC

In my Monday group we have Fäm who regularly walks around with AC 29 and often brings it up to 36 using defensive fighting and what not. It’s pretty impressive...

But I’m also fine with not being all that effective and placing all my hope in the DM. Perhaps I should resist the little powergamer in me that is struggling to come out... ;)

AlexSchroeder 2008-03-18 14:09 UTC

No, come to the powergaming dark side. Absurd ACs, overpowered combinations, and ridiculous damage awaits you...

– Adrian 2008-03-18 14:26 UTC

Yes yes yes, I can’t agree more to the point that Borg needs a better armor! Just wanted to say it all the time, but thanks Rhysalis ;-) Eventually he could need some help with buffs, since the dwarven defender is not much more than a rock (being totaly stationary)

– Mircea 2008-03-18 17:45 UTC

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2007-12-12 Kazmojen

The following was written by our DM James. :)

Challenges overcome:

1 x Grell 4 x millipeeds 2 x stone spikes 1 x Ogre 10 x Hobgoblins 1 x Dwarf/Troll Boss


+ 7200 Exp + 1200 Exp for resuing the children, and releasing the other slaves (you were going to release them... wern’t you?) + 900 Exp bonus for returning to the dungeon when low on resources and tired etc... = 9300 6 = 1550 each

New Totals:

  • Aria 4640
  • Borg 3200 (New level)
  • Fenyael 4640
  • Zacharias 4590
  • Wim 3615 (New Level)
  • Rhyalis 2550


1 x cure light wounds, 1 x black inky potion, 1 x masterwork dagger, with poison, 80cp, 32sp 2 x chain shirts, 1 x half plate, 2 x spiked gauntlets (1 pair), a masterwork Great axe, 15 x short spears, 10 x throwing axes, ten x hand axes, five x battle axes, five x heavy picks and 5 x war hammers.

NOTE: One time only GM offer.... You can either spend the next session clearing out the Fortress of the last few creaturs, and looking for loot, or you can take the GM Special Offer. You do not get to know what the offer is till after you accept it or not... We could then move onto the next chapter. Up to you. Simple majority of the people who choose to vote decides the answer.

So, an auspicious day. The resident Overlord of the Universe has decided to take mortal form, and influence events from there, the shady a slightly suspicious character known as “Stone” has disappeared with some party loot, just when a Paladin of Pelor has joined the group, and the party lost, then found its courage. Maybe these are all connected.

Just as our adventurers were resting up before descending once more into Jzadirune Kristof Jurgensen (recently head of the Church of Pelor in Cauldron) asked to see Aria the next morning. That same evening Aria found out that her old friend, Rhysalis, has returned to the city. They meet up and share a few drinks in the Drunken Morpoth. It turns out the Rhysalis has been learning the craft of a Paladin, and has only recently returned to Cauldron, on an urgent mission.

When the morning arrived, Aria found out that the news from Kristof was already known to her, the return of Rhysalis. Kristof has appealed to the Church of Pelor (The Hall of the Sun) in Sassarine to send assistance, following the strange and worrying disappearance of his three superiors at the temple. The response was to send Rhysalis, Paladin of Pelor, to investigate the matter. The Hall of the Sun sees this as a (difficult) test of the new Paladin, and a neat match, with her already familiar with the city of Cauldron.

Kristof explains that he knows that Issal Phenor, Ember Malach and Pirius Starshine have all recently been murdered, though where and by who is not known. Another Paladin of Pelor, Alec Tercival, is also missing, and given the news of the other members of the church, this can only be seen as a worrying development, Alec had hinted that he known something about the deaths. Rhysalis has vowed to assist in this matter, and is pleased that she has found a ready made group to investigate this matter with her... she just needs to sort out this problem about some missing orphans first... As an ex-Lantern Street Orphan, Rhysalis feels a close connection with this trouble, and is keen to resolve this, before pursuing other matters. Certainly Rhysalis has brought some focus to the topic, and moves the quest on at a good pace.

The adventurers return to Jzadirune. They suspect that they know where the lift to the realm of “Kazmojen” is, and are keen to go there as soon as possible. Some members of the party have other ideas though, sensing the possibility of easily achieved treasure in some unexplored areas. A brief exploration into the underground city find the terror that had caused the Skulks and Dark Creepers to seal off part of the dungeon, a filthy and dangerous creature, a Grell. The Grell was nearly too much for one of the smaller members of the party, Wim was mortally wounded by is vicious 10! attacks, however Rhysalis quickly proves her worth with a timely “lay on hands”. Borg gets his loot, (1 x cure light wounds, 1 x black inky potion, 1 x masterwork dagger, with poison, 80cp, 32sp), and the party learns about not shouting in dark rooms. Luckily for the party, the Grell was starving and angry enough to charge in, rather than using its more normal sneaky approach.

The party decides to focus now on locating the lift, and do so quickly, once they set their abilities to it. They encounter no more trouble. Unlike with the Grell, the Skuls and Dark Creapers have found no suitable way to trap the party, and they have simply abandoned the Gnome city for safer parts. Some new evil will certainly replace them in time...

The lift down to the Malachite Fortress is a long way, 200 Feet (~65 Meters), and at the bottom our friends encounter a gloomy but well built marble city. Some of the marble is quite active, and they have not gone far before encountering 2 Stone Spike guards, mistaken for statues. The stone spikes were bad enough, but the noise of the fight drew the attentions of Xukasus, an Ogre in charge of the guards of the fortress. The Ogre senses a chance for some nice new food, to rot down to filthy smelly food, Yum Yum! Showing rare mercy, (maybe our Paladin is having an effect...) the party captures not kills Xukasus. He is ordered to take them to the leader of the fortress, another repulsive character, known as Kazmojen. Xukasus senses a chance to escape, and in the very next room orders 4 hobgoblin guards to attack. All the enemies, even Xukasus, are quickly overcome, though another captive is taken, a hobgoblin known as Grag.

Grag is charmed by Fenyael, and tells asll, including the fact that some children are going to be sold as slaves very soon. Grag offers to take the party straight to Kazmojen, to speak with him directly, however the party declines and heads home to rest up. On the way home, Grag stages a dramatic escape, and disappears... maybe to report to Kazmojen.

Back on the surface as crisis of conscience occurs, as some of the party realizes that they have missed a precious chance to locate the children. After much soul searching and a discussion with Jenya Urikas, Rhysalis convinces the party to return that very night to confront Kazmojen. Despite being drained and tired, everyone agrees, Yay!

At 2am, the party stage a raid on the Malachite Fortress. An elaborate plan involving drilling machines is foiled when it turns out that the occupants of the fortress have lowered the lift to the bottom, preventing the drilling machines being brought to play. The party climbs down the dark lift shaft on the chains, and makes their way to the lair of the slave lord.

One the way the party finds the secret armory and also the forge room. Here they find:

2 x chain shirts, 1 x half plate, 2 x spiked gauntlets (1 pair), a masterwork Great axe, 15 x short spears, 10 x throwing axes, ten x hand axes, five x battle axes, five x heavy picks and 5 x war hammers.

Finally the bad boss if found. Our intrepid adventurers confront Kazmojen, 6 of his hobgoblin minions, and a mysterious durzagon. An epic battle ensues, but victory is eventually achieved.

Just as all is settling down following the battle, a momentous shock! An eye tyrant appears! This beholder startles the whole party by demanding that one of the slave children be handed over to him. Recognizing a power that they could not hope to face, the party accept this, and allow one of the children to be taken.

So, the evil slaver is slain, the enemies in the fortress defeated, and the terrors of Jzadirune faced and overcome. It only remains to return the children, collect the rewards, and drink a few beers in the Morpoth. Surely this will be all the trouble faced by Cauldron for now.


Comments on 2007-12-12 Kazmojen

Rhysalis Eina is using lots of Disarm moves with her Ranseur (+2 base attack, +3 strength bonus, +4 two handed, +2 ranseur special bonus = +11 to disarm). That part was incredibly effective. As I had hoped, against foes without reach, this is excellent because they don’t get an Attack of Opportunity, even though I don’t have the feat Improved Disarm.

My current plans are to take Combat Expertise @3, Leadership @6, and Improved Disarm @9. That’s late, but I really had to take Negotiator and Skill Focus (Diplomacy) at first level and I am not a Fighter. Oh well...

I was unable to use my awesome Diplomcay skill (+5 ranks, +3 Charisma, +3 Skill Focus, +2 Negotiator, +2 synergy due to Knowledge (nobility), +2 synergy due to Sense Motive = +17 Diplomacy). All the foes we fought either attacked us, or we attacked them. I wonder if we could have resolved the situation with Kazmojen peacefully. That would have involved some compromise, and I think I would have refused to compromise with a known slaver.

Then again, one of the beliefs I picked is “Everybody deserves a second chance.” Does that mean he would have had to surrender and beg for mercy? I think he would have had to do a lot of grovelling before deserving a second chance...

AlexSchroeder 2007-12-12 23:05 UTC

This was a really good tactic, especially because Wim was able to move into combat without taking an attack of opportunity (he is really fragile, though he has the 2nd best AC in the party right now) and then get his own attack of opportunity when Kazmojen picked up his warhammer.

Don’t worry too much about not negotiating with Kazmojen. Wim, like many gnomes and dwarves, is highly prejudiced against goblinoids, and has them as a favored enemy no less. He probably would have started a fight at some point, if it looked like Rhysalis was going to negotiate. After all, hobgoblins and anyone they associate with cannot be trusted...

– Adrian 2007-12-13 08:58 UTC

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2007-11-04 Drilling Machines

On the first day, the party recovered for spells and Zacharias discovered that he had contracted the Vanishing curse as he failed his saving throw and lost six points of charisma. We’re lucky it didn’t hit a PC who used Charisma as a dump stat... Zach went to St. Cuthbert’s church and asked Urikas for a Remove Curse and 2 × Lesser Restoration. Urikas healed him but obviously expected a grateful donation for the miraculous restoration. As it seems, Zacharias was either poor or stingy and she’ll keep an eye on him. Only the just shall find repose in St. Cuthbert’s shadow!

On the second day, the party explored Jzadirune some more, and managed to find a rich loot of small chainmail armor they were able to sell. The Wand of Cure Light Wounds also proved to be an excellent investment as dark creepers kept hiding in shadows and dealing sneak attack damage. On the plus side the party now pretty much knows where the elevator is, and they have found the part of the enclave that has been barricaded.

The conversation with the Mimic guarding Gehlve’s familiar was also quite funny as soon as we had decided that Fenyael’s missing bonus language was in fact Underdark.

The party also fought a medium spider hiding in an illusionary bath and shot two small spiders that were guarding a dead, dark stalker.

And the party found a one-armed drilling construct! Too bad the monster entry does not list the drill speed.

After the game we went to eat some Italian food, and there was a lot of RPG talk. And James volunteered to take over running the campaign! Yes! :D 👌 I rolled up a character right then and there: 12, 12, 13, 15, 16, 16. And I decided that I was going to play a human paladin with Skill Focus (diplomacy) and the Negotiator feat. Wheee!

It seems that we misplaced our trust in Stone. He took off with that spellbook we found, and we guess we’ll never know about the music box worth 200 gp he pilfered. Did he have any other party gold!?


Challenges overcome: A medium monstrous spider (CR 1), two small monstrous spiders (2 × CR ½), two dark creepers (2 × CR 3), the dark stalker boss Yuathib controlling this level (CR 4; he was cut down before he was able to say a word), damaged pulverizer automaton (CR 3), mimic (CR 4), collapsing cabinet (CR 1), spear trap (CR 2), tilt-and-tumble trap (CR 1) ⇒ ((1+1+3*3+1+2+1)*300+2*1350)5 = 1260 XP per person.

Aria: 1650 + 1440 = 3090 (Clr-1/Ftr-1 + new level)

Borg: 1650 (Ftr-1)

Fenyael: 1600 + 1440 + 50 = 3090 (Sor-2 + new level)

Zacharias: 1600 + 1440 = 3040 (Sor-2 + new level)

Wim: 625 + 1440 = 2065 (Rgr-1 + new level)

Stone: took off!!


Comments on 2007-11-04 Drilling Machines

What about the drilling construct that was going to maul us, but that we so artfully converted to our cause?


– Adrian 2007-11-07 14:21 UTC

Absolutely! :)

The MM2 days “Spd 40 ft., burrow 5 ft” – burrowing should work, I guess. It just takes twice as long because there’s a 50% chance of it not working in any given round. But it’s out of my hands now with James taking over!

AlexSchroeder 2007-11-07 16:34 UTC

What was the name of the hobgoblin in charge of the slavers?

– Adrian 2007-11-12 20:14 UTC

I think the mimic said it was a guy called Kazmojen or some such.

AlexSchroeder 2007-11-12 22:53 UTC

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2007-10-14 Ragamuffins

“Evil cultists are abducting people and sacrificing them to an evil god who has two heads and tentacles for arms.” – just a rumor

Today is September 4, 680 years after the foundation of Cauldron.

Two more players joined the party: Stone the gaunt rogue “between jobs” and Wim the gnomish delver “entrepreneur”.

Wim is known for his clean-up jobs: Sewers, cellars, secret caves under your wine cellar, he has seen them all and disposed of rats, monstrous vermin and a kobold or two. It seems that he lives either close to Borg’s former shop, or that he worked for the Gorunn family before. And he has also worked with Zacharias’ father before: The undertaker is slightly risk-averse and likes his crypts to be undead-free with a money back guarantee. I guess the party liked him because he could read the gnomish runes they had found.

And gnomes seem to be well connected. They say that “Keygan Ghelve is one of the finest locksmiths in the world. Only a skilled rogue or spellcaster could bypass one of his locks without the proper key!” And Wim has connections to Skie Aldersun who runs Skie’s Treasury. Unfortunately she was unwilling to buy the grey bag of tricks for fear of the vanishing curse. Zach ended up using it. And as suspected, it was infected with the vanishing. At the beginning of the next session he gets to make his first DC 15 Fortitude save...

Unfortunately I don’t remember Stone’s connections to the party. I still need connections to two player characters and a backup/support character.

The party made a foray into Jazidrune on September 4 and another one on September 5. Three common raggamoffyns (Monster Manual II) were fought and bested. I wondered about the name of these creatures. There’s some more info on the Wikipedia page for Ragamuffin.

A broken and a whole drilling construct was found, and a new key to the gear doors was found as well. The choker remained out of sight.

The party noticed a certain lack of healing spells and decided to invest some gold in a half-charged Wand of Cure Light Wounds.

I think I know Aria’s family connection, now: She is related to the Aslaxin nobles; they run the Coy Nixie, her father owns vineyards in the surrounding hills, and a cousin of hers called Zachary Aslaxin II seems to have had some success with his own band of adventurers called “The Stormblades”. Apparently they cleared out a cave of kobolds or something of the sort.


Challenges overcome:

  • Captured skulk + common ragamoffyn, CR 4
  • Common ragamoffyn, 2 × CR 3
  • The Vanishing, CR 2

Level 1 & 2: 1350+2*900+600 ⇒ 3750 6 = 625 per person

Current XP:

Aria: 1025 + 625 = 1650 (Clr-1/Ftr-1)

Borg: 975 + 50 + 625 = 1650 (Ftr-2)

Fenyael: 975 + 625 = 1600 (Sor-2)

Zacharias: 975 + 625 = 1600 (Sor-2)

Stone: 625 (Rog-1)

Wim: 625 (Rgr-1)


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2007-09-02 Ghelve

“Alex Tercival, a paladin who serves St. Cuthbert, has been out of town for several days; I hear he traveled to the village of Redgorge to take care of a woman who was possessed by a demon!” – just a rumor

Today is September 1, 680 years after the foundation of Cauldron.

We started the new campaign!! :)

For a DM’s perspective on character generation, see 2007-09-02 Campaign Start.

Borg’s butchery is right behind Maavu’s Imports
The Gorunn butchery

A note on copyright: The map sections on this page are © 2005 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., created by Christopher West. They are not covered by the license notice below.

Suffice it to say that we started with four characters: Borg Gorunn, a dwarven butcher turned monster hunter; Fenyael, an elven explorer interested in the volcano; Aria, a half-elven daughter of a noble house interested in all things elven; and Zacharias, a human child age fourteen from the Cauldron undertaker who runs the crematorium.

Borg lives on Magma Avenue. The butchery is to the right of Maavu’s main warehouse.

Fenyael has rented a room at the Drunken Morkoth.

Aria still lives at home when she’s not at the Pelor temple.

Zacharias still lives with his family in the house near the crematorium. Here’s how to get to the crematorium: Start at Skie’s Treasury, walk down to Lava Avenue, turn right until you reach the back of the Treasury, walk down to Ash Avenue, and when you’re half way there, you’ll see the crematorium on your right.

The crematorium run by Zacharias’ father is very close to Ash Avenue
The crematorium
Basically the party gets involved in the abduction of four children from the Lantern Street Orphanage. What follows is a list of people know, talked to, and information discovered.

_Ruphus Laro_: A monk of St. Cuthbert charged with investigating the abductions at the orphanage. He was attacked by Last Laugh ruffians on the way back and saved by the party.

_Jenya Urikas_: The priestess of St. Cuthbert in charge of the temple while the high priest Sarcem Delasharn is on an extended visit to the port city of Sasserine. She gave every party member a potion of Cure Moderate Wounds and promised 2’500 gp for bringing back the children and punishing the kidnappers.

_Gretchyn Tashykk_: The headmistress of the Lantern Street Orphanage; an elderly halfling.

_Patch_: Half-orc janitor at the Lantern Street Orphanage. He confessed having received 50 gp in order to watch over Terrem about a year ago. He is still contacted by the mysterious Revo Twindagger every now and then.

_Keygan Ghelve_: The gnomish locksmith who supplies 80% of all the locks in this Cauldron. The skulks and dark creepers of Jzadirune forced him to produce three master keys for his locks by abducting his familiar, a rat called Starbrow. He gave the party a map of the old gnomish magic user enclave of Jzadirune, warned them of trapped doors, and mentioned the mysterious Vanishing curse that struck 75 years ago and cursed all magic items produced down there.

_Kristof Jurgensen_: Current head of the church of Pelor; the church is relatively minor, specially since his three superiors recently died under mysterious circumstances.

_Oriodea_: An acolyte at the Pelor temple, and friend of Aria’s.

_Sergeant Justinian_: Working for the town guard; he told the party about the Last Laugh thieves guild (which is what “organized crime” is called around here...). He also mentioned that there are about five levels of subterranean prisons below the town barracks. Seeing that Aria was an acolyte of Pelor, he said he’d give her a tour of the prison complex if she produced a letter of recommendation from her head priest, Kristof Jurgensen.

_Bolar Westkey_: Gnomish cartographer that had a map of Jzadirune similar to the one that Keygan Ghelve gave to the party. Maps seem to cost 2-20 gp.


  1. Fenyael has a remote relative working at the Bluewater Academy. Fenyael is trying to get him to help him research the volcano issue, but this first requires adequate introductions as required by elvish codes of conduct. A present must be sent, an invitation to an appropriate event must be delivered, and so on. What’s this professor’s name?
  2. What is Aria’s noble house? The father must be over seventy years old by now. Where does the elvish mother live, and is there a possibility of her coming back?

The party met Ruphus on September 1, talked to the headmistress of the orphanage on September 2, and started investigating Jzadirune on September 3.

The party spent quite a long time down in Jzadirune and discovered several Skulks, about half of them asleep. One of them seems to have contracted the Vanishing curse. The party traveled quite a bit through mysteriously dug tunnels without ever having to open any of the gnomish doors. They did find a few secret doors, however. Below the old gnomish theater stage, they fought a choker and nearly died because it grappled Borg and nearly killed him, and then started grappling Aria. Only when Zacharias’ Ray of Enfeeblement weakened it such that it could no longer do any real damage did the Choker flee. The party had prevailed and brought some loot back up to the surface.


Challenges overcome:

  • Skulks, 7 × CR 1
  • Patch, 1 × CR 1
  • Choker, 1 × CR 2
  • Keygan Ghelve, 1 × CR 3

Level 1: 8*300+600+900 ⇒ 3900 4 = 975 per person

Current XP:

Borg: 975 (Ftr-1)

Aria: 975 + 50 (initiative) = 1025 (Clr-1 + new level)

Fenyael: 975 (Sor-1)

Zacharias: 975 (Sor-1)


Comments on 2007-09-02 Ghelve

Good write-up :) Shackled City brings back fond memories for me; I played through the first few adventures with my friends when it first came out, and had a blast with it. The adventures raised the already great quality of Dungeon mag by another level. Shackled City deserves it’s classic status.

GreyWulf 2007-09-03 10:36 UTC

Hehe. Indeed, I like what I see. Why did your campaign fizzle? (Or would that contain spoilers?)

AlexSchroeder 2007-09-03 11:33 UTC

Several reasons, really:

  1. Two of my players have a pathological hatred of D&D above 8th level as it becomes too unwieldy to play. That’s their perception at least, and I can see why they think that. Too many choices, too much book-keeping, etc. We’re trying to fix that in the new campaign by limiting magical items and slowing down level advancement
  2. We are getting rather bored of D&D :) We’d played nothing but D&D for almost 2 year, and were desperate for a change. Along came GURPS 4th Edition, HARP then Mutants & Masterminds and we didn’t look back.
  3. Lack of time. Oh what busy lives we lead........

That said, we’re looking forward to going back to D&D now, after the rest.

GreyWulf 2007-09-03 11:50 UTC

Yikes! My MondayGroup will be reaching 8th level soon... I don’t think my players will tire of D&D any time soon. They are a pretty conservative bunch. We tried a session of Rolemaster maybe fifteen years ago that did not go anywhere, we tried GURPS Lite for two sessions and abandoned it, I tried to push my diceless system... And now I’ve given up, turned my coat, and embraced the opposition. D&D all the way to epic levels in three campaigns!! Haaaargh! :goggle: 😈 :fishbone:

AlexSchroeder 2007-09-03 12:50 UTC

Heh :)

I’m sure you’ll be fine. I think it’s just down to my gamers - they’re the kind of players who like to evolve their characters, so by the time they have reached 8th level or so they’ve got them excactly as they want them - so get bored with them and want to start again at 1st or 2nd level.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve kept wanting to bring in Classic D&D’s shift of emphasis at 9th level where the characters get Strongholds, land to govern and politics to be involved in. Maybe this time, I’ll actually manage it...........

GreyWulf 2007-09-03 12:57 UTC

Yeah!! That’s what I’ve always wanted to do as a player. I still remember my very first campaign (actually, a sequence of random bought adventures) for Das Schwarze Auge. The last adventure had us finding a gate to another plane, and the other side had a civilization, different technology, and so on. We wanted to set up an intraplanar trade organization, do politics, get involved... But the game fizzled. At the time I was too young to understand, but thinking back I think one player’s wife had decided that the two were no longer going to play. Bah! (At the time I must have been around ten, playing with my mom and some friends of hers.)

My current players hate danger and risk, and thus they abhor starting at first level. The spirit of Kicki Butti – which is Hawaiian for “kill quickly” – is strong in them. When they cleared a ruined castle, local warlord granted them the land on the condition that they rebuild the castle. I sent them copies of the stronghold rules in the Rules Cyclopedia. But they were not interested...

AlexSchroeder 2007-09-03 23:09 UTC

Hey Alex! I didn´t know you started playing with your mom! Cool parents I must say! As for the kick butt - well I guess a young adult black dragon is not enough any more. :-)

Just to let you know: starting again with 1st level was not at all disapointing! The contrary: I had a lot of fun in Shackled City, which is sure also because the group is not so ambitious of their characters

– Belarond 2007-09-05 15:20 UTC

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