Sanctum of the Serpent God – The Death of Ydersius
This was our final session of the Serpent’s Skull. After 6½ years of monthly games we’ve finally reached the end of the campaign.
Tabansi’s Journal – Part 75 (the final entry)
We reached the lower levels of the temple again without further incident, and headed quickly along the passages towards the large cavern with the chasm. We were briefly blocked when a barrier of whirling blades appeared in front of us – but Venus quickly dispelled it. I guessed that it had been conjured there by the Marilith that had pestered us last time we were here, and I had some disagreement with Ek’Tura about whether we should try and find her, but he argued that we were better to ignore her.
On turning the corner we were charged by three dinosaurs – gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex’s that came thundering down the passage towards us. Venus took on a larger size and stepped out in front of them, blocking one and thrusting into it with her sword. Athazog rushed up along side her, chopping at its legs and distracting it long enough for Venus to kill it.
Down the far end was the Marilith, which I neatly put some arrows directly into – but they passed right through her since she was again an illusion.
Ek’Tura summoned four spectral dreams, which appeared before the dinosaurs, but they just passed through them, even though the spectres tore and ripped at them. Between Venus, Athazog and myself we dispatch the remaining dinosaurs, and the dreams tear what is left to shreds.
The others by now have moved up to the far end, leaving myself down near the corner when a succubus appears near to me. She tried to cast an enchantment on me, but failed. I shot her with arrows and Venus returned to help fight her, but she vanished before we could do anything more.
We gathered together at the far end of the hall, where a double set of doors opened out into a huge cavern, the centrepiece of which was a giant snake skull set on a dais. To the other side of the cavern was a dark chasm from which an irregular rumbling could be heard.
Up on the dais was a high priest, probably Vyr-azul, a giant snake, the succubus and the Marilith demon. I targeted the priest, and sent a flurry of arrows in its direction, but they were knocked aside by a wall of wind that sprang up in front of the priest.
The animate dreams were dispelled, leaving us without summoned help so most of the party charged towards the enemy.
Player’s Notes: I marked Vyr-azul as my quarry, which turned out to be a waste of an ability. He had wind-wall up, which rendered him immune to arrows, so I couldn’t actually attack him. Since I can’t change the target of a quarry, I never got to use it. It’s an ability with limited use, and I was hoping to be able to use it in the final fight, but it turned out to be disappointing.
Whilst Venus took on the succubus, Athazog charged at the Marilith and pounced on her, but she failed to go down. The priest tried to destroy Athazog, but failed.
Arkin found himself repulsed from the room, unable to enter, but I was able to stay outside and instead concentrated my arrows on the snake.
Derek summoned down a firestorm, which burned the Marilith, killing her and also set the snake on fire. This left Athazog and Venus free to concentrate on the priest and allowed me to finish off the snake.
Ek’Tura summoned freezing ice down on the priest, and he teleported away to safety. With no further enemies in sight, Venus took to smashing up the giant snake skull.
There was still a rumbling noise coming from the chasm, so Derek went over to it and cast Earthquake above it, sending rocks tumbling down into it. Meanwhile I went over to the doors to see if there was anything happening behind them.
It was then that a giant serpentfolk pulled itself up out of the chasm. It’s head still seemed to be regenerating – scales were growing around the skull and the flesh was still forming.
It was terrifying to behold, and only myself and Derek weren’t shaken by its appearance. So I shot arrows at it, though it seemed to regenerate the wounds. Derek cast a spell to protect people from the fear, so Venus charged at it, hewing at it with her holy sword. As she struck at it, acid blood sprayed from it, and an unholy aura weakened her.
The creature, who I assumed was some incarnation of Ydersius, turned to face Venus and turned her into a viper. Athazog rushed up to it, and I continued to fire arrows at it.
Though Venus was a viper, she was still able to cast spells, and tried first Waves of Exhaustion and then Waves of Fatigue on the creature, the final one eventually working.
Ek’Tura summoned an Agusura to fight it, but then the High Priest returned and dispelled it. Finally my arrows drop the giant serpentfolk, and Athazog is able to charge after the high priest, and with help from Ek’Tura manages to finish him off.
The serpent creature is still regenerating though, but after Venus is able to dispel the polymorph that had been placed on her, was able to behead the creature, killing it. Though the body seemed to survive, the head itself was killed.
And so both the high priest and the avatar of Ydersius had been slain, and the serpentfolk armies were defeated. We spent some time exploring the rest of the temple, and Ek’Tura was pleased to find a huge library that contained all of the Serpentfolk’s knowledge, both magical and mundane.
The Pathfinders will probably take the opportunity to tear the underground city apart looking for knowledge and artefacts – what will happen to the rest of the serpentfolk here I don’t know. Maybe they will fall prey to the bands of adventurers that are likely to descend on the place now that it’s magical protections no longer hide it.
Myself, I’m probably going to return to the jungles and find somewhere quiet for a while. I may return to Nantambu and see if I can pay back the help they provided me so long ago, now that I am far more experienced that I was then.
The adventure path took over six years of monthly sessions (75 of them) to complete, which is a heck of a long time. I’m not sure whether adventure paths are meant to take this amount of time, but it’s a big investment, and they produce two adventure paths a year.
Of all the sections, I think we enjoyed the first (Souls for Smuggler’s Shiv) and third (City of Seven Spears) chapters the most. In both we had the freedom to explore and do what we wanted, able to take on challenges (and run away from them) in the order we wanted to. The first chapter especially had the advantage of being low level, so combat was a lot quicker.
Though it is interesting to take a character from 1st to 16th level, I think a cut down adventure path which only went to level 8 or 9 might be better. It would keep the power levels sane, and get done a lot quicker. I do have a large stack of adventure paths that look like they could be interesting, but can’t afford the 5-6 year investment that they each require. We also don’t like Pathfinder enough to want to dedicate all of our time to it for a more intensive play through. My running of Rise of the Runelords took 5 years, but that was weekly games with breaks between each chapter to play other things.