Serpent’s Skull – Part 73

Sanctum of the Serpent God – Demons in the Temple

We make our way down to the lower level of the temple of the serpent god, in the final chapter of the Pathfinder Serpent’s Skull adventure path. Last session we had finished in the middle of a combat at the top of a flight of stairs. The entire final run has pretty much been a single combat, starting at the entrance to the temple and now down to the lower levels.

Tabansi’s Journal – Part 73

There was a single iron golem left, which had recently managed to climb back out of the pit, but Athazog was able to take it apart without too much difficulty. That left the floating snake head, which was currently on the ground gradually pulling itself back together.

Ek’tura had figured that only electricity would stop it from regenerating, so Venus was able to summon forth a lightning mephit, which promptly breathed on it, ending its existence permanently.

We had two choices at this point – explore more of this level of the temple, or head down the stairs to see what was there. We decided to push on as quickly as we could, so headed downwards towards a deep rumbling sound which seemed to come from the earth itself.

So Ek’Tura summoned a Leonal which was able to heal some of us as we headed down the steep stairs. They came out at one end of a long passage which had doors lining it either side. We ignored the doors, and pushed on, towards where the passage widened and the floor was covered with serpents – Venus though could see that they were illusions, but beyond them was a Marilith – a demon with the lower body of a serpent and the upper torso of a six armed human female. Obviously enraged at seeing a hated foe, Venus cast righteous might, growing in size and strength.

The Marilith put up a blade barrier, which Venus was able to dispel. By the time she was able to get past though, the Marilith had vanished. I followed after Venus as she rushed to the end of the passage, where it made a left turn and headed up towards a set of doors at the far end.

The passage here was littered with shed snake skins, and the skin of a large snake floated in the air in between the pillars, a greenish tint behind where the eyes would be.

Without giving much thought to anything else, Venus flies straight at it, and starts cutting it to pieces. The mephit follows after her, throwing a lightning bolt at the animated skin though it doesn’t seem to have any effect to the mephit declares it to be an illusion.

I try putting some arrows into it, which hit and harm it. It backs off, and casts a horrid wilting, sucking the water out of everyone in the passage apart from myself since I am too far back to be affected. The mephit shrivels and dies, but Venus steps up and finishes off the snake thing before it can do any more harm.

Fighting Hezrou and Serpentfolk

The adamantine doors at the end of the passage are thrown open by Venus to reveal three Hezrou demons as well as a number of serpentfolk. One of the serpentfolk, obviously a leader of some kind, carries a two headed flail whilst the others try to use magic to slow us down.

When Hezrou goes down, and the other two teleport away, allowing us to finish off the serpentfolk without too much hassle. However, the Marilith re-appears, throwing spells at us. With true sight we are able to determine that the Marilith is an illusion – but is still able to cast magic. I’ve heard of powerful magic that allows a spellcaster to create an image of themselves through which they can cast their spells, so it’s probably something like that.

Whilst we try to find the source of the Marilith, the two Hezrou teleport back in and we are forced to finish them off. Venus tries to Banish one, but it insists on staying, so Derek calls down a Flamestrike on it, destroying it. The last one is slain when I put several arrows through its head.

By now the main doors are open to the north, and we can see a large cavern which has a open chasm running through the middle of it, and some sort of shrine lit by unholy looking purplish light.

This looks very much like the most unholy of unholies to me, and though us warriors are happy to continue, the Ek’Tura is low on spells and a lot of healing has already been used.

So we decide to start moving back out. We’ve cleared a lot of the defences, so a retreat back to rest up, then a second assault to finish things off seems prudent. We discuss whether we want to try teleporting out directly, but Ek’Tura isn’t certain whether the teleport will get us all the way back, and he only has one left.

So our plan is to try and walk out. Hopefully most of the enemies have been killed, though we know there’s at least one large golem of some kind which we ran past on the way in rather than fighting it. We all agree to try and head out the same way we came back in, rather than risk getting caught up exploring parts of the complex we don’t know.

Player’s Note: This session was a continuation of the combat from the previous session, and will continue again for next session. For the most part, it was a reasonably balanced fight which I think worked like D&D does best – as a fight of attrition. We took damage and they took damage, and enemies were taken down as we progressed through the ‘dungeon’.
This may be the penultimate session of the campaign, though it depends on how much effort getting out and getting back in turns out to be. A couple of characters have got enough XP to level up, but Tabansi is still significantly off 16th level (a rule early on was that you didn’t get XP, or only got half XP, if the player wasn’t there, and I missed several sessions due to having to be in the US for work).
We’ll have a mix of 15th and 16th level characters, for an adventure path which is meant to take us up to 17th level, so it’ll be interesting to see how well the final fights work out.

Samuel Penn