Shackled City: Player's Guide

Welcome to the Shackled City Adventure Path!

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This guide is designed to give players an insight on the adventure path and the city of Caldera. Aside from introducing the adventure, this guide is intended to aid players in the creation of characters native to the city.

The information presented herein is common knowledge, especially to characters who call Caldera home. This guide is organized to familiarize you first with the city of Caldera. Within the following pages, you’ll find a gazetteer of the city, as well as notes on character races, classes, and equipment.

This Adventure Path begins with the assumption that all new characters share one thing in common: they have answered a letter from a local cleric requesting help in finding four children kidnapped from the local orphanage. So, enjoy and good luck!

CALDERA (Small City)


Basic Information:

Total Population: 7,830
Human Population: 7,055 (75% Ralani, 21% Eloysians, 3% Vilzari, 1% other)
Demi-human Population: 775 (55% dwarves, 20% elves, 25% halflings, 5% gnomes)
Humanoids: few (mostly Gnolls, Tasloi)
Government: City-State
Current Ruler: Lord-Governor Severan Navalent
Coat of Arms: purple eye on sky-blue field
Exports: obsidian, malachite, fruit, textiles, diamonds

Caldera; also called "Nas'krii" by the Eloysians and "Cauldron" by many of its local population, is a small, crowded city built around a dormant volcano in the Hellfire Mountains. It is located in the Rockdale, a far-northern region of Avokhar.


This small, cramped city is built in a perfectly circular shape, and is surrounded by 30-foot walls of meticulously crafted gray stone, flecked with polished green malachite. There are four gates for access in and out, with the population crammed into six concentric "rings" of buildings.

Because of the permeating smell of sulphur from the massive, volcanic lake in its center, Caldera's wealthier residents tend to live on the highest level or "ring," whereas its poorest dwell on the lowest levels.

Almost all structures in the city are constructed of clay bricks or wood, with stone foundations. Because of space requirements, most buildings are essentially square blocks; almost all are uniformly four stories tall, to house the city's nearly 8,000 residents.

Caldera's major exports come primarily from two sources: mines and plantations; both of which are based in the hills and fields surrounding the city. Obsidian, malachite, and diamonds are the primary products mined in the region. The local plantations usually produce fruit, cotton, sugarcane, and coffee.

All nearby mines and fields are owned by local nobility and their profits have made Caldera's aristocracy extremely wealthy. Many city residents are merchants, scholars, or workers in those mines and plantations in the outlying areas.

Water is never scarce in town, but it must be regularly purified. Much of the city's food supplies, however, must be imported, since the local fishing and farming enterprises are meager at best

Caldera's nearest neighbors are the Republic of Kendar, located northeast of the city, and the city of Sasserine, which is located to the west, on the Wild Coast of the Shining Sea. Caldera engages in much trade with both, and the roads to Caldera are often crowded with merchant caravans.

Surprising for such a small city, Caldera has four major temples, dedicated to Berevrom; God of Truth, Etahr; God of Strength, Ator; God of the Sun, and Nerydia; Goddess of Magic.

NEARBY LOCATIONS


Hollow-sky: (pop: 460) this village is the smallest of the four human settlements in the Rockdale region. The elven community of Starforest can be found near here.

Kingfisher Hollow: (pop: 2,500) this large, walled town is the third largest settlement in the region and the primary location of Caldera's plantations. The town is surrounded by vast fields of coffee, cotton, and sugarcane.

Lucky Monkey Inn: this popular roadside tavern and inn is located on the Rockdale Road, halfway between Sasserine and Caldera. It also houses a shrine to Ethenghar.

Redgorge: (pop: 1,200) located south of Caldera, this village was the first Ralani settlement in this region. On the borders of the village, a ruined line of fortifications known as the "Basalt Bastions" once protected the settlement, but their massive walls are now abandoned and covered with vines.

Sasserine: (pop: 22,326) a thriving seaport and the largest human settlement in the Rockdale region. The city is located two days west of Caldera via the Rockdale Road.

LOCAL HISTORY


The present-day city of Caldera has a long and distinct history; stretching back 4,000 years. Long before the first Ralani colonist stepped foot on the Continent of Avokhar, this dormant volcano has been home to two earlier civilizations. The City's history can be broken down into three separate eras.

Colony of Sha'Dur


The first recorded settlement founded in this volcanic crater was called "Nas'Krii;" a colony of the ancient nation of Sha'Dur.

4,000 years ago, in the distant years of the Third Age, it is said that the Shadurians hired dwarven crafters to help build the meticulously crafted, malachite-flecked walls of Caldera, and within them, built a beautiful city of marble, brass, and polished stone.

At the same time the walls were being built, the dwarves built a lair for themselves, directly under the city, called “Jzadirune.”

Shadurian society was extremely advanced, and the few surviving records from this era tell a story of a city filled with powerful magic, arts, and culture. As testament to their ingenuous building skills, several Shadurian era structures in the city have survived to the present day, including both City Hall and the Temple of Nerydia.

Nas'Krii prospered for many centuries under Shadurian rule, until the year 660/4, when the city was captured by the Eloysian Empire, as part of its brutal campaign against Sha'Dur, launched by Mazur the Destroyer.

Subject of the Eloysian Empire


When Sha'Dur was conquered by the Eloysian Empire in 660/4, the Shadurian colony of Nas'krii was also captured, and its population became imperial subjects. Over the following centuries, both the city population and its culture became dominantly Eloysian, and the small city became a remote, yet important, outpost of the Empire.

The imperial city of Nas'krii was ruled by the Eloysians for many centuries, and gradually became a important northern trade center for the Empire.

Sadly, the Eloysian Empire itself began to wane around the fifth century of the Sixth Age. In those waning years of the Empire, the city of Nas’krii was invaded and destroyed by a mysterious foe; leaving only its dwarven-crafted walls standing, and 1,757 years of Eloysian rule over the city came to an abrupt end

Fall of Nas'Krii


Around the year 485/6, the Eloysian city of Nas'Krii was destroyed by an hostile invasion. Because so many records of the late imperial period have been lost, sages have been unable to unravel the mystery regarding the fall of the city; other than its entire population was either slain or taken as slaves, and that the invaders burned the city itself and then abandoned its ruins.

Sages have been put forth several theories as to what destroyed Nas'Krii; a hostile Warlord, or a Gnoll invasion. Some have even suggested a force of evil, aquatic creatures crawled out of the volcanic lake in the city's center and devoured the entire population. The true cause remains a mystery.

The present-day city is established


The ruins of Nas'krii did not remain vacant for long. Only eighty years after its destruction, the ruins were discovered by a group of Ralani colonists, led by Surabar the Spellmason and a group of adventurers, whom are known today as "the Founders."

Surabar was originally part of a group of Ralani colonists who had sailed south from the kingdom of Ralas to flee a terrible Civil War which was raging at that time, on the Continent of Corwyn.

Some of these colonists later settled in the neighboring village of Redgorge, which, sadly, was later attacked by a demon named Nabthatoron and his hordes. During those attacks, the recently-founded settlement was badly damaged.

By the year 565/6, Surabar and his colonists abandoned their new home and settled in the ruins of Caldera, after driving out the Gnoll and Tasloi tribes which were infesting them. Soon after, a new settlement was founded here, which Surabar aptly named: "Caldera."

The colonists then began rebuilding the ruined city, and it has grown from there until the present day. Over the last 700 years, Caldera has become a thriving Ralani city-state and one of the wealthiest trade centers in the Rockdale region. The legacy of those "Founders" is still seen today through their descendants; the "Five Families" of Caldera.

ADVENTURERS


Despite it's small size, Caldera is a cosmopolitan place. Wizards brush shoulders with barbarians in the city markets, fighters and monks work as guards and mercenaries, rogues and paladins vie for time among the city’s elite, and it’s even said that a sect of renegade druids operates in some of the waterfront districts. Yet with this diversity comes conflict—not every person in Caldera is as welcoming as the next.

For additional information about the player races and classes, consult the CORWYN Player’s Guide The following information supplements that, and gives particular details about how these staples of the game function in the city that serves as the foundation for "The Shackled City" Adventure Path.

PLAYER RACES


Look at any cross-section of the Caldera’s population and you will find that for every ten inhabitants you see, nine are human. Humans dominate the city in every way, and comprise an overwhelming majority of the population. Yet humans are not the only denizens of Caldera, as any visitor soon comes to learn.

Humans


Most of Caldera’s citizens are ethnic Ralani, descended from the original colonists who sailed from Corwyn to Avokhar 800 years ago. The largest ethnic minority in the city is the Eloysians; who are native to the continent, and make up the vast majority of the population in the surrounding region. The city is also home to a few Vilzari from the neighboring island-nation of Nimbor.

Dwarves


Thousands of years ago, the race of dwarves first came to this city as stone-carvers, when they were hired by the Shadurians to build the beautiful, meticulously-crafted stone walls of Caldera. At that same time, those dwarves also carved out an underground lair for themselves. Over the years, many dwarven families settled here. Today, dwarves make up the largest segment of the non-human population of Caldera.

Elves


Almost as rare as druids in Caldera, most of the elven citizens of the city originally hail from the Sanjaara Jungle or the small elven community of Starforest, located near Hollow-sky. A small enclave of elvish citizens has lived peacefully within the city for as long as anyone can remember. These elves often serve as scholars, sages, and advisors for those who would seek magical or natural advice.

Gnomes


These small descendants of the fey possess magic abilities far exceeding their size. This natural inclination toward magic has long attracted the attention of the power-hungry and greedy humans. The few gnomes who make Caldera their home, earn their living as minor merchants, selling well-made crafts, and confirming their reputation as “tinkers.”

Halflings


As in many parts of the world, Halflings have always made a niche for themselves in human society. Most halflings are merchants, sages, or specialists. Their charming nature makes them particularly adept at business interactions with the human population, and their diminutive size prevents the small-folk from being seen as a threat by the majority, human population.

Half-Elves


Walking in two worlds but truly belonging to neither, half-elves combine what some say are the best qualities of their elven and human parents: curiosity, inventiveness, and ambition, tempered by the refined senses; love of nature, and artistic tastes of the elves. Half-elves are natural leaders and negotiators, and, perhaps because of their reality of living in two worlds, are unusually open-minded. Some half-elves manifest this leadership through confidence and bravery, while others are cordial and polite, manifesting their force of personality in a subtler but no less effective manner.

Half-elves share a love of the natural world and art because of their elven blood, but like their elven parents, are often free-spirited and chaotic, with a distaste for overbearing rules and regulations. However, similar to humans, half-elves lean neither towards good nor evil. Because of their shared heritage, Half-elves typically get along well with both elves and humans, and often make excellent intermediaries between their two parent races. Although, both sides often suspect half-elves of favoring one or the other.

Half-Orcs


Because they dwell in the shadow of the Hellfire Mountains, the Ralani colonists have always lived under the threat of orc tribes which dwell there. Occasional orc raids sometimes grow exceedingly personal, resulting in an unlucky half-orc offspring. Few of these half-orcs survive to adulthood, and fewer still live among their human cousins, but despite that, a handful of half orcs make their homes in Caldera. Most half-orcs in human society use their great strength to their benefit, either serving as mercenaries, guards. Others use their innate physical strength to work hard labor in various back-breaking trades.

PLAYER CLASSES


As a thriving human city, Caldera has a little something for everyone. Further, there seems to come a point in everyone’s life where something is desired which can only be had in the bustling metropolis of Caldera. As a result, all eleven standard adventuring classes have a level of representation in the city—some more so than others.

Barbarians


Most of Caldera’s barbarians are visitors from deep within the Sanjaara Jungle. Those few who choose to stay in the city do so usually because they have little other choice, having been exiled or forced to flee the Borderlands for various reasons. Similar to half-orcs, barbarians tend to find jobs as bouncers, dockworkers, thugs, or mercenaries for Caldera’s shadier operations, and are generally not welcome in the more affluent sections of the city.

Bards


Bards are either well-loved or well-hated in Caldera; it’s tough to maintain a low-profile as a bard here, as the locals enjoy their entertainment almost as much as they enjoy their gossip about entertainers. Several taverns, inns, playhouses, and other establishments provide stable venues for bards. Overall, the city always welcomes traveling entertainers.

Clerics


Although the number of deities worshiped on Corwyn is vast, the faiths of several deities stand head and shoulders above the others. It’s generally possible to find clerics of any of these faiths inside of Caldera’s walls, although in certain cases (one might have to look long and hard. The five most popular deities worshiped in Caldera are: Ator; God of the Sun, Aleyssia; Goddess of Healing, Berevrom; God of Truth, Etahr; God of Strength, and Nerydia; Goddess of Magic. (For a complete list; see the Corwyn Pantheon

Druids


Druids are not generally trusted or thought of well by Caldera’s citizens, and because of the urban setting, very few druids choose to live or even visit Caldera. Most prefer to dwell in the surrounding wilds of the Sanjaara Jungle.

Fighters


There are many opportunities for fighters in Caldera; as private bodyguards, bouncers, or caravan guards. Many other local fighters have a career in the city watch.

Monks


Few monks dwell in Caldera, although many have heard tales of Daroon mystics or martial artists from the distant Far Eastern lands of Kurand, and of the incredible feats they can accomplish with their bare hands. Although no monastic order is based in Caldera, there is much to attract a monk’s interest in its libraries and temples.

Paladins


Caldera is an extremely lawful city, and one with a strong tradition of knights and paladins, specifically from the Temple of Berevrom. Most local paladins come from this order and aspire to the honored traditions of the ancient hero Kristof Tercival.

Rangers


Because of the urban setting, very few Rangers choose to live in, or even visit, Caldera. Most prefer to dwell in the surrounding wilds of the Sanjaara Jungle.

Rogues


Despite its fondness for law, Caldera has a thriving underworld both above and below its streets. Several gangs of thieves, thugs, and troublemakers rise and fall like the tides in the city’s low-rent districts. Caldera’s largest and most secretive thieves’ guild is known as the Last Laugh.

Sorcerers


Sorcerers are extremely rare on Avokhar, and Caldera is no exception. Looked down upon, discriminated against, and even outright hunted, these natural spell-users usually avoid large urban centers such as Caldera for their own safety.

Wizards


Wizards are both feared and respected in Caldera, and are therefore, quite rare. The few mages that practice here are outsiders, as the city has no wizard guild or major magic schools.

THE TIE THAT BINDS (Player Hooks)


Your player character has received a letter from Jenya Urikas; a local cleric of the Temple of Berevrom. She has described a series of kidnappings of children from a local orphanage in Caldera. She has requested your assistance in the solving these heinous crimes.

CALDERA NPCs


Alaric Tercival: A brave Paladin and the current head of House Tercival

Andros Taskerhill: Wealthy noble and Patriarch of House Taskerhill

Annah Taskerhill: Daughter of Andros and Ileova, prominent Caldera socialite

Arlin Maavu; Wealthy merchant and political opponent of Lord Severan Navalent

Artus Shemwick: owner of the Tricksy Nixie:

Azkefir: High-priest of the temple of Etahr; God of Strength

Celeste: Hostess of the Golden Sunrise

Cora Lathenmire: Wealthy merchant, and part of Caldera’s “new nobility”

Criswell: Local sage living in Caldera

Dunadar: owner of Westkey’s Maps

Embryl Alustani: High-priestess of the temple of Nerydia; Goddess of Magic

Falco: owner of the Burning Tree

Felian Shard: Local half-elf staying at the Merry Mermaid

Garth: (male dwarf) owner of the Merry Mermaid

Gretchen Stokeworth: Headmistress of Lantern Street Orphanage

Halder: Owner of Drunken Harlot

Ivor: Priest of the temple of Nerydia; assistant to Embryl

Jenya Urikas: Priestess of the temple of Berevrom; assistant to Saracem

Keygan Ghelve: Well-known, expert locksmith in Caldera, owner of Ghelve’s Locks

Kristof Melec: High-priest of the temple of Ator; God of the Sun

Loren Vanderboren: Head of House Vanderboren and father of Loren Vanderboren

Ochio Vhalantru: Wealthy merchant, and an influential member of Caldera’s “new nobility”

Ophelia Knowlern: Wealthy noble and matriarch of House Knowlern

Phalian Gurnezarn: Owner of the best-known Smithy in Caldera

Rhianon Rhivaldi: young noble and niece of Thirifane Rhivaldi

Rivek Mol: owner of Cracktooth’s Tap

Rufus: Acolyte of the temple of Berevrom

Saracem: High-priest of the temple of Berevrom; God of Truth

Severan Navalent: Lord-Governor of Caldera

Shensen: Local Gauth female who stays in Caldera for unknown reasons

Skie Aldersun: Local merchant, owner of Skie’s Treasury

Skylar Krewlis: Officer in the Caldera City Guard

Terseon Skellerang: Captain of the Caldera City Guard

Thirifane Rhivaldi: Wealthy noble and matriarch of House Rhivaldi

Tippy Surefoot: (halfling female) owner of Surefoot Livery; a custom tailor shop.

Tobias Vanderboren: Young noble and son of Loren Vanderboren

Tygot: Owner of Tygot’s Old Things; an antique shop

Vortimax: Owner of Exotic Elixirs; a shop selling potions and alchemical items

Zachariah Azlaxin: Young nobleman adventurer and son of Zoren Azlaxin

Zanathor: Owner of Zanathor’s Provisions, a general store

Zoren Azlaxin: Head of House Azlaxin and father of Zachariah

MAP-KEY: CITY OF CALDERA


1-4 City gates: These tall wooden gates and strong stone battlements are left open by day, but are closed after nightfall. All four are manned at all times by city guardsmen. Northgate opens to the Malachite Road, which leads to Kingfisher Hollow. Southgate opens to the South Road, which leads to Redgorge. Eastgate opens to the East Road, which leads to Hollow-Sky. Westgate opens to the Rockdale Road, which leads to Sasserine.

5. City Hall: Caldera’s town hall is a single-story stone building and one of the oldest structures in the city. The building serves as a place for Lord Severan Navalant and his advisers to hold meetings with the nobles and important people in the city. Records of ownership, historical documents, and similar archives are stored here. The Hall is connected to the guard barracks by an underground passage.

6. City Guard Barracks: These buildings house Caldera’s garrison of 120 soldiers. The central area of this walled compound is used for training, and the low, single-story keep is the above-ground facade for the Caldera Dungeon; a small underground prison. The Captain of the Guard; Terseon Skellerang, lives in a one-story green-tiled house in the south-western corner of the compound. The Barracks are located next to the Town Hall, and are off-limits to civilians.

7. Temple of Berevrom: A two-story, domed structure with blue and white marble walls. High priest is Saracem, assisted by his acolyte Jenya.

8. Maavu Warehouses: Owned by Arlin Maavu, these warehouses hold the many types of goods bought and sold in Maavu’s trading business.

9. The Burning Tree: A favorite tavern for miners, plantation workers, and other working-class citizens. The food and drink are cheap, and the town guard tends to ignore the place, making it a handy site for illicit deals and clandestine meetings; its owner is Falco.

10. the Golden Sunrise: This high-society club and inn is a favorite place for Caldera’s rich and powerful to meet and relax. Membership is required for entrance, unless one pays a hefty fee. It is unknown who owns this establishment, but everyone knows the Hostess; Celeste.

11. Maavu's Imports: One of the more successful businesses in Caldera, Maavu is a shrewd businessman, who buys and sells exotic good for a tidy profit.

12. Tygot’s Old Things: This is a well-stocked antiquity shop that specializes in non-magical objects gathered from across the known world. Tygot; the owner, frequently buys old documents and artifacts from local adventurers. The shop is a two-storied structure with a small flat on the upper floor and a well-organized business area on the first floor.

13. Skie’s Treasury: This small shop is owned and run by Skie Aldersun. The modest building is constructed from blocks of volcanic stone. The facade of the building bears dozens, if not hundreds, of symbols and sigils that have been carved into the face of the stone. One door and a pair of tiny windows face the road and overlook the lake below. Above the door, a sign proclaims the establishment to be Skie’s Treasury. This store is famous for its magical treasures, all for sale at steep prices.

14. the Drunken Harlot Inn: This is perhaps the most popular inn in the city of Caldera. A regular stop for many merchants and traveling adventurers, the combination of comfortable beds, good food, and reasonable prices make it a favorite among the city’s returning visitors. the Harlot can become quite rowdy and is a frequent target of the city guard. The large common room is decorated with several obscene, lustful paintings; its owner is Halder.

15. Cracktooth’s Tap: This tavern is generally regarded as the best place in the city for common folk to get a drink. It’s a favorite place for off-duty city guards, and as such, brawls are fairly rare; its owner is Rivek

16. Lathenmire Estate: This sprawling is home to the noble Lathenmire family; a member of the “new” nobility of Caldera; raised up from the status of wealthy merchants. This estate is home to Cora Lathenmire.

17. Home of Criswell the Sage.

18. Lantern Street Orphanage: The orphanage rests on the corner of Lantern Street and Lava Avenue, its charcoal-colored stones held together with mold-encrusted mortar. The windows on both stories are tightly shuttered, but a few slivers of light manage to escape from within. Lanterns hang on either side of the oaken front door. On the front door is mounted a green knocker, shaped like a smiling gargoyle's visage; its nostrils pierced by a copper ring. The headmistress is Gretchen Stokeworth

19. the Tricksy Nixie: The Nixie is a popular inn, tavern, and dancehall in Caldera. Although prices here tend to be higher here than normal, the food and drink are rivaled only by the Golden Sunrise. These two locations have a healthy competition, while Sunrise is generally held to have better food and drink; the Nixie has the best entertainment. The owner is Artus Shemwick, and his Barkeep is Alyssa. Rumor has it, the Inn is a front for the local Thieves' Guild; the Last Laugh.

20. Lakeside Pavilion: This open pavilion is one of the oldest structures in Caldera. Said to have been formed via magic cast by Surabar the Spellmason himself, the pavilion is traditionally where the lord mayor issues announcements and decrees. It has also become a favorite place after dark for illicit meetings.

21. Vanderboren Estate: This opulent estate is home to the both Loren Vanderboren and Tobias Vanderboren; one of the famous “five families” of Caldera.

22. The Merry Mermaid: This low-cost inn and flophouse caters to any-one who cannot afford to stay at any reputable establishment. Prices here are 75% normal, but the owners make no guarantees against theft or loss; its owner is Garth. (male dwarf)

23. Surefoot Livery: The Surefoot Livery is the best clothing and tailoring shop in town; its owner is Tippy Surefoot. (female halfling)

24. Gurnezarn’s Smithy: This smithy is generally regarded as the finest such establishment; its owner is Phalian Gurnezarn

25. Temple of Etahr: This small temple is built of dark red stones, and has large brass gates at its entryway. The temple High Priest is Asfelkir.

26. Navalent Estate: This walled estate is the home of Lord Sevaran Navalent; the appointed Governer of Caldera. The entry gate is normally shut and protected by two heavily armed city guardsmen.

27. Exotic Elixirs: This small, cramped shop is the preferred place in Caldera for potions and alchemical items; its owner is Vortimax.

28. Brass Trumpet: Once a lively tavern, this building has been boarded up for years, and despite several attempts, it has never been reopened. It is currently in a decrepit state.

29. Temple of Nerydia: this temple; a beautiful, towering structure, covered in exquisite purple marble, is by far, the oldest structure in the city and one of the few structures to survive from ancient times. The temple contains several inscriptions and hieroglyphs far older than the present day city. Sages agree, the symbols were once part of the ancient Shadurian culture of Nas'Krii. Today, the High Priest is Embryl and her senior apprentice is Ivor.

30. Ghelve's Locks: Well-known and popular locksmith, known throughout the city; its owner is Keygan Ghelve.

31. Tercival Estate: This opulent estate is home to the noble Tercival family; one of the famous “five families” of Caldera.

32. Zanathor’s Provisions: A general store with fair prices, but few magical items available; its owner is Zanathor

33. Temple of Ator: A yellow stone tower, decorated with ornate carvings of the sun. The High Priest who runs the temple is Kristof.

34. Vhalantru Estate: This sprawling estate is home to Ochio Vhalantru; a member of the “new” nobility of Caldera.

35. Westkey’s Maps: A small shop on that sells maps. It is a new shop, and as such generally only stocks general maps of the area; its owner is Dunadar

36. Rhivaldi Estate: This opulent estate is home to Thirifane Rhivaldi, Jakob Rhivaldi, and Rhianon Rhivaldi; one of the famous “five families” of Caldera.

37. Taskerhill Estate: This opulent estate is home to Andros Taskerhill and Annah Taskerhill; one of the famous “five families” of Caldera.

38. Stonemason Guildhall: This grand building houses the oldest guild in the city

39. Azlaxin Estate: This opulent estate is home to the noble Azlaxin family; one of the famous “five families” of Caldera

40. Caravan Park: located outside the city walls, this large, open area is where merchant caravans, farmers, and other outside traders gather to sell their wares.

41. Road to Redgorge