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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Shackled City 3.5

    So is it just me or is this campaign stupidly lethal? Currently playing in it with three other people, so two down from the suggested six, and its nuts. What were the creators thinking?

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Which parts? Read it in dungeon, but never got around to playing it.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Telonius's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Hasn't seemed particularly lethal to me. I'm currently DMing one. We've reached about Chapter 8. I have a moderate-optimization party - two new players, three very experienced players - and I've had to consciously amp up the difficulty of almost all of the encounters to prevent them from chewing through the scenery. (This happened with a previous group as well - we cakewalked through the whole thing up to the last bad guy).

    One big problem with the module is that half of it was designed for 3.0, and then migrated over to 3.5. Most of the standard optimization tricks are totally absent from even the mooks, let alone the lieutenants and main villains. Sounds to me like your DM is either playing the bad guys with extreme intelligence, or ramping up the difficulty.

    What's your party composition, where are you at in the adventure, and which things have seemed particularly hard?

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Standard optimization tricks? Do tell...

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Glyde's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Currently running it with a Rogue/SS/Invblade, Cleric, Battle Sorc and Paladin/Crusader. We seem to be doing very well, to be honest, but I expect catastrophe at every corner. It's *very* unforgiving, I find.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ernir's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Runestar View Post
    Standard optimization tricks? Do tell...
    Uh, melee types use THF and Power Attack shenanigans. Caster types use battlefield control and buffs/debuffs over unoptimized direct damage. Rogues use TWF to apply their d6es more often. Clerics don't heal until after battle.

    I'm guessing it's basic* stuff like this he's referring to.




    *Basic not meaning "always true". Consult your DM, splatbook availability and optimization skill before judging.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    not very challenging except some peculiar spots.
    i'm at the last chapter with a group of six and i have adjust the strength of the encounters some levels up to actually give them an edge.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Telonius's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    Uh, melee types use THF and Power Attack shenanigans. Caster types use battlefield control and buffs/debuffs over unoptimized direct damage. Rogues use TWF to apply their d6es more often. Clerics don't heal until after battle.

    I'm guessing it's basic* stuff like this he's referring to.


    *Basic not meaning "always true". Consult your DM, splatbook availability and optimization skill before judging.
    To give you an example, I'll pick out a few enemies at random from Appendix IV.

    Level 7 Cleric. Feats include Toughness, Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike), and Weapon Focus (Spear). - Toughness sucks, and Weapon Focus is for Fighters. You have better things to spend your feats on.

    Level 7 Wizard. Feats include Combat Expertise, Skill Focus (Know Arcana), and Spell Focus (Evocation). - If you need Combat Expertise, something has gone horribly wrong; Evocation sucks; and ... really... skill focus? Not unless it's a prereq.

    Level 15 elf. Class progression: Wiz1/Ftr6/ArcaneArcher8. - A level 15 arcane archer is not much of a threat to the level the party's supposed to be at when they meet it.

    Level 13 Cleric. Feats include EWP: Bastard Sword, Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword). - Bastard Sword is a trap, and they've wasted two feats on it.

    Fighter7/DwarvenDefender3. Feats include Quick Draw. - Why?! (Note that this character avoids the normal DD problem of not being able to deal when characters take a 10-foot step away; the situation where he occurs forces the characters to engage in melee. Otherwise this would be worse than Ftr10).

    Monk6/Tattooed Monk10.... I don't think I need to say anything else here.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2011-01-02 at 03:22 PM.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Greenish's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Level 13 Cleric. Feats include EWP: Bastard Sword, Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword). - Bastard Sword is a trap, and they've wasted two feats on it.
    Are you sure those aren't from war domain?
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    I was playing SC and my party found encounters that easy that at some point we would just say 'ok, we kill them' in order not to waste time on stupidly easy combats.

    Problem is that SC was made on the end of 3.0/beginning of 3.5 so if you play characters with access to about 100 splatbooks, the danger decreases.

    In the end, it stopped being intresting to play at all, so we stopped on chapter 10.
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    Alleine's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    I don't recall much about the Shackled City as we played it awhile ago, but I do remember there was a TPK or near TPK.

    IIRC, we all got killed fairly early on. Maybe around level 6 or earlier. There was a flying beastie with far too many bow attacks that did far too much damage. It didn't help that we had no good way of attacking a flier, but this thing wiped the floor with us. One person got full attack pincushioned in one round, my psion utterly failed to hit with any powers, and all of the save only powers failed as well. I think only one guy made it out alive, and that was the lizardfolk druid. The campaign ended there.

    I find a lot of published campaigns tend to have really pathetic average encounters and a few really dangerous encounters just randomly mixed in. It usually has nothing to do with optimization.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    My party's had a few problems. Mainly in the Flood Season Chapter.
    The Kopru layed a rousing game of grab-flail-drown with a series of four players who came to help the previous player and just couldn't roll high enough grapple. This was stopped when the grapple optimised monk decided to play back.

    And then the T-Rex Skeleton caused a TPK, narrowly averted by the fortuitous arrival of a DMPC.

    In Zenith Trajectory the party got well trounced by a random encounter involving 4 giant eagles, and then nearly TPKed again by a red dragon, who, due to the tactics laid out in the book would not land and managed to crispify both ranged attackers in short order.

    Drakthar's way however, was hilarious. Due to lack of players the party had an NPC cleric of pelor around to perform healbot duties.
    The random encounter table includes the Titular Drakthar, a bugbear vampire.
    Said vampire was rolled and approached the party from the rear to try and drag away the back party member while noone was looking.
    Said party member was the cleric who turned round, Turned and, due to the sun domain, subsequently disintegrated the poor bloke.

    The rest of the party remained blissfully unaware.

    Later on in the dungeon, Drakthar appears where he's supposed to on the map, rolls poorly on initiative and manages to say "Oh no, not YOU again" as a free action before being dusted by the Cleric's overwhelming faith again.

    Hey Ho, we're generally having fun though.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Glyde's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleine View Post
    I don't recall much about the Shackled City as we played it awhile ago, but I do remember there was a TPK or near TPK.

    IIRC, we all got killed fairly early on. Maybe around level 6 or earlier. There was a flying beastie with far too many bow attacks that did far too much damage. It didn't help that we had no good way of attacking a flier, but this thing wiped the floor with us. One person got full attack pincushioned in one round, my psion utterly failed to hit with any powers, and all of the save only powers failed as well. I think only one guy made it out alive, and that was the lizardfolk druid. The campaign ended there.

    I find a lot of published campaigns tend to have really pathetic average encounters and a few really dangerous encounters just randomly mixed in. It usually has nothing to do with optimization.


    I remember that one. Since we only have four characters we were higher level, but we clipped its wings and tackled it off the ledge. The Paladin then landed on top of him and the rogue teleported behind and had a healthy sneak attack yahtzee. The Paladin died shortly after that encounter though to the cleric thing afterward.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Monk6/Tattooed Monk10.... I don't think I need to say anything else here.
    While it is a Monk, Tattooed Monk is a decent Prc.
    Especially for NPC where 1/day means all day (unless you somehow fight them multiple times/day).

    10 levels mean 5 tattoos:
    Arrowroot is decent healing.

    Bellflower is weird because it boosts what it boosts ad neasuem. You add Cha mod to all scores to (even Cha so you boost them again and again).
    Issue adds MAD, but the fact that adding it doubles mod kinda it helps.
    Cha 20, adds +5. But 25 Cha is adding +7. Therefore, you have 27 which is 8 so you have 28 (+9 Mod), which is Cha 29 at the end.
    So +5 modifier just granted you a +9 modifier.

    Chameleon: Alter Self (good for +6 NA).

    Dragonfly adds +5 AC (dodge) for 10 rd.
    Falcon: immunty to fear
    Scorpian; makes minmaxers suck (makes target use lowest ability score to attack him). Likely Cha as melee usually dumps that. but that would only be 5/day.

    Tiger: 5/day, Unarmed +1 hit/+1d6 damage, 10 rd each use.

    Wasp: haste

    Spider Deal Con damage instead of Stun with Stunning Fist.

    I'd pick for a NPC:
    Scorpian
    Dragonfly
    Tiger (if I am going unarmed)
    Wasp
    Falcon or Chameleon

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Telonius's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Are you sure those aren't from war domain?
    Quite sure. His domains were Death and Magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II
    I'd pick for a NPC:
    Scorpian
    Dragonfly
    Tiger (if I am going unarmed)
    Wasp
    Falcon or Chameleon
    Hers were:
    Crane
    Phoenix
    Scorpion
    Tiger
    Wasp

    So yeah, Crane was wasted, and Phoenix wasn't much better. Feats included such gems as Mobility (when her tumble was already +26), Spring Attack, Combat Reflexes (no reach weapon...) and Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike). It was pretty close a textbook demonstration of "how not to build a monk."
    Last edited by Telonius; 2011-01-02 at 07:29 PM.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Starbuck_II's Avatar

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Quite sure. His domains were Death and Magic.



    Hers were:
    Crane
    Phoenix
    Scorpion
    Tiger
    Wasp

    So yeah, Crane was wasted, and Phoenix wasn't much better. Feats included such gems as Mobility (when her tumble was already +26), Spring Attack, Combat Reflexes (no reach weapon...) and Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike). It was pretty close a textbook demonstration of "how not to build a monk."
    Okay, Scorpian and Wasp are good. Tiger is okay (hit/dam bonus).
    Crane/Pheonix: SR (iffy benefit) and Poison immunity?
    Unless he smears his body in contact poison it seems a dubious choice.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    I'm mainly referring to that first dragon fight, the eryines fight and the hag/fey fight later on are deadly as hell. We're not A very optimized group, evidenced by the fact that I play a fighter/scout/ranger that is neither ranged nor uber charger, my brother plays a wizard who purposefully took the spell focus evocation cause blasting is cool to him, the newbie cleric who i built to use dmm persist divine power shennanigans so he could enjoy himself. The rogue is a standard rogue/shadow dancer, which is quite awesome.
    Its probably that dm is playing really smart and that we're playing kind of dumb, but I feel like almost every fight contains the real possibility of a tpk. As someone mentioned earlier, its very unforgiving.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    frown Re: Shackled City 3.5

    My friends and I are about to start this campaign. There will be about 5-6 of us. I'm playing a Druid in the Red hand of doom now. I can't decide if I should be a Sorceress or a Cleric which the group is trying to sway me to be a cleric. Any suggestions?

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Fire I have always found fire to be a suitable solution to all problems PC's may have in a game
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    My gf's group is running through it with 4 players and at chapter 10 have had 7 deaths, not counting Heroic Destiny being triggered every session (first character death per session is ignored, PC stable at -9).
    Their characters have not exactly been optimized, but nothing as bad as Wizards with Combat Expertise, and there have been many exclamations per session about "this dungeon!".

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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    {scrubbed}
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2013-05-05 at 12:22 AM.

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    Sheriff in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Default Re: Shackled City 3.5

    Sheriff:Please don't do thread necromancy.
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