Serpent’s Skull – Part 74

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Sanctum of the Serpent God – Retreat and Return

We were hoping to wrap up Serpent’s Skull this weekend, but we didn’t quite manage that. We think we’d almost got to the “big boss”, but the spell casters were getting low on magic, so we started to withdraw in order to get some rest and level up, before heading back in for a (hopefully) final assault.

Tabansi’s Journal – Part 74

Our withdrawal started off relatively simple, since there wasn’t much back the way we’d come. Once we got to the top of the stairs though we had some disagreement – either head in the direction we’d come from (my own favoured approach), or try a different route in order to avoid the stone snake golem that had caused us trouble before.

It was decided to try a different route, with ended up taking us towards what was apparently some form of larder – frozen bodies of humans and cattle hanging from hooks in the ceiling in a frigid room.

Rather than exploring all the rooms that way, we headed back and out past the stone snake golem. Ek’Tura summoned an Aghasura to aid us, a type of outsider from the lower planes. It definitely helped against the golem, but it was still damaged from our previous fight with it so went down quickly to my arrows, though not before turning Arkin to stone (again). As before, he managed to shake the magic off after a few seconds.

Running past the destroyed golem we ran into some more serpentfolk as well as a combat that was going on between the serpentfolk and some others. They looked like some of the Red Mantis assassins who had agreed to help us, though they are dead by the time we got to them.

There is one human survivor though – Selennia – who says she came down here with Eando Kline, but was killed by the serpentfolk. They raised her, then tortured and questioned her about what she knew, before keeping her as a slave down here.

We take Selennia with us, and head out of the temple, fighting another stone snake golem on the way. There is a door which Selennia knows the password to – “Thanked and sought the primal coil praised” – in order to deactivate the magical traps on it.

From there we were able to head out into the Morlock caves and back to camp.

Player’s Note: By the time we exited the temple, or initiative round was up into the 60s, which meant 6 minutes of almost continuous combat. This is one of the oddities about D&D – the party goes down into a dungeon, kills some things then a few minutes later needs to retreat back to get some rest for the night As a ranger, Tabansi’s spells lasted either hours (Darkvision and Longstrider) or minutes (Gravity Bow), so he was still in the first casting of his spells.

Selennia and Juliver were both overjoyed to see each other, and Selennia very much wanted to go with us back into the temple to get revenge on those who had harmed her. This would complicate teleportation since Ek’Tura wouldn’t be able to take all of us, but we decided we could see what was possible.

The battle between the various surface factions and the serpentfolk was still going on, and it was going well enough to be keeping the serpents busy.

The following day, after resting up, we headed back into the temple. We meet the Thyssalhydra again, and this time kill it. The route we had taken before – via breaking through the stone walls with disintegrate spells – had been fixed, so we went back in through the door we had come out of.

Venus spoke the password, but was hit by a harm spell as she opened the doors. Apparently the serpentfolk had changed the password. There are a few serpentfolk still left here, but we have no trouble killing them or driving them off as we head back down to the lower levels of the temple.

Player’s Note: We had hoped to finish in this session, but it seemed unlikely. The withdraw had taken longer than expected, and not wanting to rush the final fight (which we expect is next), we decided to bring an end to things and finish it off in the new year. We are all now up to 16th level (one level below where we’re meant to be), so it’ll be interesting to see how the final fight goes.
The last few fights have been relatively easy – nowhere near as difficult as the fighting in the Maze for example, and though it’s been a long combat for these final sessions, we’re making progress without it being a complete cake walk. It’s felt more like the sort of combat D&D is good at doing – fights of attrition and generally losing resources rather than insta-kills which can happen at high levels.

Samuel Penn