Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 6

Arodus 19

The morning began with intent to adventure. The party set out with Endure Elements from Korva who was staying back at camp and summoned mounts from Ken. Their goal was to explore the area where they were warned of a “winged blood drinker” by the barbarian cannibal they had charmed. The area had been described as “The Red Mountain”

Soon they came upon four zombies staring intently at a tree. The fight began on horseback, Yosemite and Oswald shooting with their firearms, Ken casting Disrupt Undead and Eshe throwing Chakrams while Bamidele focused on melee attacks. By the end of the short fight, Oswald had dismounted and was flanking with Bamidele and Pete had resorted to throwing handaxes, but the zombie threat was quickly disposed of with no damage to the adventuring party.

As they approached the red mountain, they came to a rope bridge that spanned 50′ across. Yosemite wagered it wouldn’t hold more than one horse at a time and so they party crossed carefully.

Next they came to a fork in the trail. Tracks led in both directions, but it was clear the western trail had been used most recently. They followed this trail eagerly. It led to a cliff above a bay. Rope bridges led a trail across various bits of higher ground. The mast of a large ship jutted out of the water. On the cliff there was a strange pyramid, covered in sentinel runes, vines had recently been trimmed back. A cup shaped basin topped the structure, with channels running down from it. As they got closer, they could see that there were traces of blood on it, only 2 or 3 days old.

While they were inspecting the pyramid, a shadow passed over them, something was coming in from above. Ken thought it looked like a Chupakabra, but he had not heard of one with wings. Yosemite readied his musket, Oswald sought cover, Ken prepared to cast a spell and Eshe buffed Bamidele. As the creature swooped down to attack, Yosemite and Oswald fired their guns and Ken cast glitterdust. Within one round the party had decimated the winged creature.

Before heading down to the bay, the party explored and discovered the chupakabra’s den, a nest full of driftwood, grass and bone, along with a magical quiver and some money.

There was an excellent view of the island from atop the mountain.

Before examining the pyramid further, Yosemite drank a potion of water breathing and donned the ring of swimming that the party would later, ridiculously, sell (foreshadowing here.) and headed out towards the ship that could be seen in the bay. He swiftly encountered a shark which he majestically killed single-handed.

After his return, the party decided to see if this pyramid structure was The Tide Stone of the ritual they had found. After various attempts of bloodletting and stone licking, they hit upon the proper execution of the ritual.

1. Put blood of Intelligent creature on each stone.

2. Lick from a snake.

3. Sea water in vessel.

4. Say Yrdirsius.

A bolt of lightning hit the stone and the waves in the bay began to churn, parting the waters. A path now led down, with shallow tide pools dotting the way, to a heavy stone doorway. The wrecked ship was in good enough repair that the words “The Salty Strumpet” could still be deciphered on its side. The party stopped to investigate. Inside the Captain’s quarters of the ship they met a water mephit wearing a captain’s hat. He introduced himself as Captain Ecubus and agreed to investigate the stone doors with the party.

The doors were carved with Azlanti maidens. Inside they found alcoves that looked like yawning fanged mouths and more unsettling Azlanti carvings on the walls.  Before they had time to investigate further, the party was attacked by javelin bearing skeletons from a bridge 40′ above the ground floor. Luckily the party was fairly well equipped to fight ranged foes and the two gun-toting adventurers killed the skeletons while Eshe tossed her Chakrams somewhat ineffectively and Ken looked for a way up to the bridge, finding a bronze door that appeared to be bleeding.

They noted that one of the alcoves contained a lever.

 

 

 

 

Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 5

Arodus 16

 

Oswald spent the morning repairing his gun.

 

The party had known the night before that their new camp was near the hunting grounds of a Shiv Dragon, but they had been too beat by the horrible encounter at the cannibal village to seek out the danger and destroy it. They set out before the heat of the day to fight it, and made fairly quick work of the beast, taking the meat back to camp to add to their rations.

There were no rains and the rest of the day was spent quietly at camp until near nightfall, when it cooled enough to try and move the camp. They knew that the village was still inhabited, but thought it would make the ideal place to set up a safer, more permanent camp until they found some way off of the island. They moved camp to the jungle about an hour from the village and planned a night raid on the remaining cannibals.

 

The plan was to be stealthy. The best laid plans of rats and gnomes oft go astray. Because of the rat, of course. The party soon found themselves fighting nine barbarian men and an old woman who seemed to have mystical powers. The party spent more of this encounter hiding in the jungle, falling prone often and keeping to cover, this had been Oswald and Yosemite’s saving strategy in the previous battle and it served the party fairly well. Though Korva was dropped before the battle was done, it lasted less than a minute and Jask was nearby to heal the party.

They made a cursory check of the compound to search for dangers before bedding down for the night. They found signs of cannibalism and butchery, human jerky and skeletal remains, but also signs that Captain Kovack and Ieana had been there in rations stamped in the same way they had been on the Jenivere. The found a shrine to Asmodius, and a figurehead of that god that seemed to be about 70 years old. One of the structures was an unfinished lighthouse. There was also a hut that contained an alchemical lab. They found the entrance to an underground chamber, presumably the ruins that Og-log had mentioned. Establishing that there was no immediate threat within the village, they moved the camp there  and put a watch on for the night. They called it a night in the wee hours.

 

Arodus 17

 

Korva and Yosemite awoke feeling sore in body and mind respectively.

The party pooled their endure elements and spent the whole day cleaning up the cannibal muck in the village. Oswald and Ken focused on crafting antiplagues.

 

Arodus 18

 

That morning Korva didn’t feel any worse from her red ache. Yosemite’s mindfire was still raging, so he thought it would be a good idea to get himself lowered into the chamber underneath the village. There he found an uneven floor, littered with blood, bones and debris, with a tunnel leading into the gloom. The rest of the party joined him below.

 

The tunnel sloped up and opened onto a chamber with a few Festrogs. The fight was swift but Jumper, the crocodile, got diseased.

 

On the ground, written on a piece of leather in blood,  the party found a letter written by the Captain of the Jenivere. He expressed regret for having brought his ship and her crew to this doomed island, explaining that he was enslaved to a “serpentine demon”, the missing Ieana. He asked that whoever reads the letter destroy the creature he has become and seek out Ieana and slay her as well.

 

In another chamber they found more ghouls, feasting on a great pile of bloodied bones. They made very quick work of them and examined the room. It seemed to be a temple to Ydersius, a serpentfolk god. There was a low stone altar that had a necromantic aura. The walls were covered in Aklo text. No one in the party could read it, but they copied down a bit of text that had been cleared of dust recently and planned to ask there rest of their companions aboveground if they could decipher it.

 

They moved deeper into the underground structure, where they could hear the slight lapping of waves and smell dank sea air. Listening closely they heard something slither into the water. One chamber was mostly under water, with a slender cliff circumventing it, the series of tunnels all echoed with the lapping of water, but it was the central, wider tunnel that the party entered. They found a number of ghouls, which seemed an easy target, until another one, clearly female, emerged from the water and channeled negative energy, greatly damaging the party. Korva and Jumper had moved into the chamber first, and two ghouls immediately attacked them, paralyzing both, while another ghoul made its way around to the back of the party and paralyzed Oswald. Ken was nearest and began to focus disrupt undead on the latter ghoul, while Yosemite fired his gun point blank and Eshe cast buffs on Bamidele, who in turn attempted to bite and claw at the ghouls. It was a very tight spot, and moving without taking attacks was very difficult. All the while the female ghoul was casting spells, channeling energy and dominating the battle.

Eshe attempted to pull Korva and Jumper out of the range of attacks while they were still paralyzed and, and while she managed to heal Korva, paralyzed and near death, took enough damage to fall herself, causing Bamidele to return to his home plane.

Oswald attempted to stealthily move into surprising places, taking flying leaps from cliff to cliff.

Ken summoned a mount for the movement speed and healed Eshe. Now Eshe was reduced to throwing her chakrams and summoning eagles. As soon as Korva recovered from her paralysis, she too summoned eagles every round, surrounding and distracting the cleric ghoul. Ken cast grease behind the cleric so her escape would be hindered. Jumper and the eagles focused on the cleric while Yosemite worked on the other ghouls, who had flanked him in one of the narrow tunnels.

The grease trick worked, and as the cleric ghoul turned to flee, she fell. The rest of the ghouls taken care of, Yosemite ran up and dealt the killing blow with his handaxe.

After disposing of this threat, the party returned to the surface for healing from Jask and asked Aerys if she could read their scrawled Aklo notes from the walls below: All Glory to Great Ydersius. She followed them down to translate more and the acquired what appeared to be instructions for a ritual involving something called The Tide Stone.

Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 4

Arodus 11

Yosemite was finally feeling better, but Ken felt weak in the morning.

The party spent the day recovering from their ordeal the day before and the diseases that had ravaged various members throughout the past week.

The first order of their day in camp was to interrogate the barbarian they had captured. The man responded visibly to Infernal, but no other language. Aerys and Ken had little luck speaking to him, however, and Eshe tried to infer diplomacy through her attitude and hand signals, but he wouldn’t even look at her. They party decided to have Ken attempt to charm him the following day and moved on to other tasks.

They spent the cool parts of the day scavenging for alchemical supplies to help them fight off the constant disease they were being wracked with. They were beset by skeletons while looking for supplies, but made quick work of them. Yosemite collected bits of their broken scimitars for gunsmithing supplies.

Ken and Oswald spent a good amount of time attempting to craft a dose of anti-plague, but failed.

Arodus 12

Ken cast Charm Person on the barbarian and learned his name. Og-log.

Og-log informed Ken that he had lived on the island all his life. He knew of no way off and came from a village of 24 cannibals. He spoke of various aspects of the island. A grove of spirit trees that his people avoid, and the winged blood drinker who they made sacrifices to on the red mountain. He also spoke of the ruins underneath his village where their god and afterlife reside. He also told them that two people, matching the descriptions of Captain Kovack and Ieana had arrived in the village and been greeted by their chief. He had not seen them leave.

Afterward they hypnotized the barbarian, requesting “Guide us safely to your village and introduce us there as friends.”

Arodus 13.

The day was spent in scavenging and crafting anti-plagues. Finally the party was beginning to recover and stay on top of the rampant disease of the island.

Arodus 14.

The party made a plan to move camp once again. As they scouted along, Og-log felt compelled by his hypnotism to point out features along the trail, indicating an area where a sacred building resides. They found a new likely spot to camp and set out to eliminate the surrounding dangers. First the encountered a spider, though it tried to hinder them with its web, they eventually took it down, Oswald dealing the killing blow with his newfound spellslinging powers.

The next threat to their campsite was a lizard. They made even quicker work of it, with Oswald disabling it and Bamidele chomping it to oblivion. They collected the meat from the lizard and returned to camp with it.

Overnight the party was awoken by a swarm of bats attacking the campsite. With torches,  persistence and Korva’s produce flame, they eliminated the bats. Everyone was slightly damaged by the ordeal and Jask channeled positive energy to heal the group.

Arodus 15

The day was spent gathering alchemical supplies until noon. The rains started early and everyone thought it was a good omen for the day.

They asked Og-log to guide them to his village, and he led the way. They reached the village around 5:30pm and Og-log grunted to a Shiv-dragon, the same type of lizard they had fought before, that the party were “friends.” While the lizard ignored Og-log’s entrance to the village, it clearly did not answer to his verbal commands, and immediately attacked the party. Bamidele took it out in a single round and the group followed Og-log into the village. He looked confused as he said, “These are friends,” and then headed into one of the structures.

Various people were milling about the village and they clearly didn’t take Og-log seriously. They flexed and raged and a dramatic and horrible battle followed. Eshe fell almost immediately to a thrown javelin, but managed to stabilize quickly. This eliminated Bamidele from the battle as well.

Ken began to dig around for potions. Korva was the next party member to fall. Ken poured a potion into Eshe and she regained consciousness, shocked by the sudden carnage around her. Ken had moved on to Korva.

As Yosemite and Oswald attempted to control the battlefield with their guns, Eshe summoned an eagle and Ken cured Korva. Korva added a summoned stirge to the mix and Eshe began to throw chakrams into the fray.

Eventually Ken managed to fascinate a couple of the barbarians, but there were so many of them it was overwhelming. And just as things seemed like they might be under control, an extremely burly man and a group of women emerged from one of the structures.

The strongest looking barbarian, clearly the chief, took Jumper out of the fight.

Korva summoned one last eagle and fled the fight, Eshe quickly moved away, intending to follow, seeing the battle as a complete loss they both felt responsibility to get back to the camp and protect their comrades there. They were amazed to hear the sounds of battle continue behind them, feeling both heartened and nervous every time they heard a shot from Yosemite or Oswald’s guns.

Ken attempted to color spray, and managed to hit the chief and one of his wives. Eshe was still near enough to summon one last eagle before she took off at full tilt.

Shortly after the colorspray, Ken fell unconscious from a particularly brutal hit, leaving Oswald stealthily hiding throughout the brush, throwing fallen javelins as he found them, and Yosemite running dangerously low on ammunition. Again when they felt they had control of the battlefield, more enemies joined the fight. This time it was caged skeletons, who began to crawl out of their corral. Yosemite got the blow on the chief that sent him spiraling into unconsciousness. A long game of barbarian and skeleton vs rat and gnome followed, with Oswald hiding on one side of the carnage and Yosemite the other, until both the small creatures were victorious. Counting the 14 corpses they could tell they had not completely eliminated the barbarian village. Oswald quickly sent up dancing lights, signalling to Eshe and Korva to return. They grabbed the amulets from the barbarian’s necks and carried the unconscious Ken and Jumper back to camp. Though miraculously everyone survived it didn’t quite feel like a true victory.

Jask healed the party and they decided it was best to move camp, since Og-log may have had a chance to tell the remaining villagers where they were situated.

Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 3

Arodus 8

 

In previous scouting the party had noticed a couple of wrecks along the Eastern shore. While they were on their way to investigate them, they again encountered the group of small monkeys, but the monkeys just screeched and went deeper into the jungle.

 

The first shipwreck was unnamed. Oswald scouted ahead and saw four zombies standing listlessly on the crumbling deck. He signalled for the rest of the party to follow him and a quick skirmish ensued, with Bamidele, Korva and Jumper dealing the killing blows. The party was rewarded for their efforts with the discovery of coins, art and gems belowdecks, but nothing of use for escaping the island.

They returned to camp to acquire healing from Jask and to rest through the heat of the day. After the rains came they set out again to investigate the second shipwreck they had spied. It was far off shore against a small island and the party thought over how best to approach it from sometime. Eshe dismissed Bamidele and summoned a dolphin, which Oswald rode over to the island, after working out a code with his innate dancing lights ability to request another dolphin. Written on the side of this boat were the words “Brandywine Latrine”, not one of the wrecks they were searching for, but he continued to investigate in the hopes that he would find some usable supplies aboard. It was completely bereft of anything of use and Eshe sent another dolphin over to retrieve the gnome.

 

The party returned to camp.

 

Arodus 9

 

Eshe and Yosemite awoke feeling the effects of mindfire. They ate the last of the viper nettle berries to try and fight of the disease but neither of them could say for sure if it had helped.

 

The day was extremely hot, but the party set off on the game trail they had discovered. It was much quicker travel, but unfortunately they had not anticipated the traps that lay along it. Bamidele was in the lead as usual and when the net scooped him up and thrust him against great spikes, he vanished to his home plane.

Somewhat disheartened to lose Bamidele for the rest of the day, the party carefully continued along the trail, Oswald and Korva searching for traps. After Oswald triggered a trap which narrowly missed him, the party decided to move off of the trail and set up a new camp. They found an area which was mostly defensible, but could tell it was within the hunting area of something that scuttles. They went in search of this creature to eliminate the threat to camp.

 

On a nearby beach they encountered a crab. Without Bamidele, Eshe summoned an eagle, and the rest of the party made quick work of the crab, especially Korva’s crocodile, Jumper, who dealt the killing blow and happily ate some of the crab right on the spot.

 

Arodus 10

 

Eshe awoke feeling much better. Yosemite was still feeling the ravages of mindfire, however.

 

Bamidele again took the lead on the game trails, searching for traps along the way. They made good time and moved the camp again, getting it set up just before the noontime heat. It was a long five hours before the rains came.

 

The trail forked, and the party took the way that led towards the shore. They found the remains of a camp. It looked like a collection of six or so nests, the area was littered with broken sawtooth sabers and daggers, but they found one high quality dagger. The design on it was familiar. After a moment they realized that it matched the tattoo on Sasha’s back.

 

They looked along the shoreline and spied a colossal crab. They carefully headed back inland to avoid the beast.

As they headed along the untried trail, Bamidele spied another trap in a valley between two cliffs. Oswald successfully disabled it, but a sudden and clearly controlled yank upon the rope sent him sailing into the spikes set into the cliff wall. The party attempted to climb the sheer wall, with much scrambling and difficulty. Bamidele made the most progress, but by the time he reached the top, Oswald was bleeding at the top, a fearsome barbarian standing over his small, broken body. Bamidele attacked him and he was heavily damaged, Korva was the next to make it up the cliff face, after catching Eshe, who had fallen, Ken and Yosemite realized that they stood little chance of making it up the wall and stood helplessly at the bottom, trying to get the Barbarian within their sights. Bamidele chased the barbarian until he begin to feel the effects of distance from Eshe, and just as he had given up, the barbarian suddenly dropped to the ground in front of him. Eshe continued to attempt the climb, but fell again and dropped unconscious, thus sending Bamidele back to his home plane. Korva dragged the unconscious barbarian back to the party, tied him up, and they dragged him, while carrying the completely broken body of their poor gnomish comrade back to camp.

In the spoils of the treasure they had dug up with Ishorou they had found a scroll of raise dead. Jask used this to bring Oswald back and the party spent a sobering evening thinking over their life choices. They all felt very different upon reaching level 2.

Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 2

This is not in a story format, just a general recap of each session to keep myself, my husband and our gamer friends fresh on what happened between games.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 2

Arodus 4

Sasha had asked Yosemite for a baby Dimorphodon, a kind of poisonous Pterosaur that had been seen flying around the island. In the rain on their first day, the party had seen a nest, but avoided it, having no reason to trouble the creatures at the time. Yosemite was so charmed that he convinced everyone to go and bother the innocent, but not harmless, beasts.

They retraced their steps to the nest, this time finding it guarded by two adults. Yosemite was eager to impress Sasha and ran to the front of the party, where he was immediately charged by the two Dimorphodons. He stood his ground, shaking and bloodied as Bamidele came up beside him and gave one of the Dimorphodons a chomp. Eshe kept a bit of distance and flung a javelin but missed her mark. Oswald was able to crouch down in the jungle brush and fire his crossbow into the fray, killing the injured Dimorphodon. Korva cast Magic Fang on Jumper and the crocodile moved forward.

Yosemite, heavily damaged, but feeling brave with one of the Dimorphodons slain, fired off a shot with his pistol with a flash, temporarily blinding the Pterosaur as it damaged it, giving him a bit of cover from its next attack, which missed. Yosemite probably felt confident that Bamidele, Eshe, Oswald and Jumper would finish the beast off, but alas! they all missed, and suddenly it was up to Yosemite once more.

Yosemite moved back and fired again, hitting the Pterosaur. The creature took a bite at Bamidele but missed and began to fly back towards its nest. Bamidele pursued and Eshe threw another pointless javelin. Oswald however managed to hit the moving target as Korva and Jumper joined the chase.

Yosemite fired once more and finally the Dimorphodon was killed. After collecting the two Pterosaurs bodies for the meat (stranded as they were, they couldn’t overlook any food source), Yosemite peeked into the nest where two tiny newborn Dimorphodons hissed and flailed.

The ratfolk gunslinger collected his prize and presented them to Sasha. She called them “the twins” and gave him a kiss on the forehead.

From there, the party decided to methodically search the island, scouring the jungle for viper nettle berries and the beaches for wrecked ships, but forefront in everyone’s mind was finding some sign of the Captain of the Jenivere or some serviceable form of egress from this wretched island. They were slightly hopeful as they approached the wreckage of a ship, the words “The Lusty Lizard” peeling on its side. It was, however, pitifully empty. As Yosemite scoured the broken wreckage for materials to outfit his pistols, Eshe climbed atop the crooked mast and collected a seagull feather from a nest there. Sitting down on the ground she attached it to her quarterstaff with a look of thoughtful determination on her face. She shook the staff and said aloud, “Yeah… yeah…” several times.

It had taken many hours to reach the northern tip of the island, and it was very late at night as the party trudged through the pitch dark waving a sunrod ahead to light their path. When their path took them near the sea, they could see roiling, glowing green humanoid figures moving through the water. They didn’t speak of it, just walked closer to one another and grimaced. Re-entering the jungle, they were attacked. Crouching in the bush 3 dire rats thoroughly ambushed the unsuspecting adventurers.

Korva and Jumper moved up, the crocodile taking a chomp out of a dire rat.  Yosemite considered befriending his wilder cousins, but could think of no reasonable way to do so, so he resorted to firing on them. Ken attempted acid splash but missed in the confusion. Oswald managed to move away after being bit by one of the wretched creatures, and hid in the dark brush, firing his crossbow and killing a rat. Eshe and Bamidele killed the remaining two and the party set to wondering if the creatures were diseased. “Does this look infected?” Oswald queried.

Back at camp in the wee hours, Ken had a nightmare. In the dream he was seasick on the Jenivere, looking around, all of his companions were sick as well, except Captain Kovack and Ieana, who stood and watched. The ship was taking on water, and all Ken had was his wooden soup spoon, and so he tried to bail it out. He saw monstrous things, moving and nightmarish, and awoke. He shared his nightmares, much to everyone’s surprise. He seemed too private the type to admit to such fears. He became preoccupied with searching for a wooden spoon.

Arodus 5

Everyone slept quite late after their previous adventures, and as the heat of the day began, Korva grimaced at the skies and said she didn’t think it was going to rain this day. They were left but little choice but to try and keep themselves entertained in the camp for the day.

In the midst of the horrific heat hundreds of monkeys came into the camp. At first everyone was bewildered and little bit amused by the attack. They were adorable, tiny monkeys. Sasha and Eshe protested at harming them, until they began to pick up food from their stores and grab at their persons. After one attempted underwear theft and a monkey successfully taking one of Yosemite’s cartridges, peeling it like a banana and getting a face full of gunpowder, Bamidele picked up several monkeys and shook them about, knocking them out and dispersing the rest. When those monkeys came to they scrambled to escape the camp. Their squeaks almost seemed to admonish the party for being poor hosts. Several monkeys had been caught in traps around the camp and killed, they served a grisly replacement for the food that they had stolen.

After dark they decided to move the camp, hoping to get a good spot to set out from and explore farther into the island.

Their new campsite was right between a river, where they excitedly took baths for the first time in several hot, sticky days, and a wall of viper nettles, which they determined to explore in the light, hoping to fulfill Aerys Mavato’s request.

Arodus 6

The party stood around the giant pile of viper nettles. It looked quite painful, and they knew, was poisonous. Seeing that no one else was taking a step towards it, Oswald volunteered, since it was his friend, Aerys, in need. Everyone stood outside, cringing in anticipation of Oswald’s expected injury, but they just heard the sound of slight rustling as he deftly avoided the poisoned nettles and called out triumphantly from the middle of large bramble, “I’ve found them!” He collected 12 handfuls and escaped the nettles unscathed, impressing everyone. Returning to Aerys with the berries, she thanked him and offered him the opportunity to read her epic poem. Which was not a euphemism. Or was it?

Searching not far from the new campsite, the party found signs of another camp, a fire, a rough shelter, Captain Kovack’s hat, some scarves and, much to Ken’s excitement, a wooden spoon. Bamidele took the hat, explaining that the sun had been bothering his sensitive, otherworldly eyes, and Korva collected the scarves, offering one to Eshe. Eshe wrapped it around her head gratefully. It was clear that Captain Kovack, and probably Ieana, had camped here about a week prior, probably their first night on the island when everyone else had been unconscious from the poisoned soup. They saw signs of two sets of tracks and followed them along the river. They passed not far from their campsite.

As they walked they saw the remains of another shipwreck and went to investigate. Oswald scouted ahead and saw several zombies milling about on deck. Although foolhardy, the party decided to investigate further, Bamidele and Eshe running right up on deck like Zombies were an everyday occurrence. The zombies devastated Bamidele, leaving him nearly dead and undoubtedly knocking off his new hat. Shortly afterward they ravished Eshe, knocking her to the ground, unconscious and bleeding out fast, as she fell, Bamidele turned, looked at her with aching eyes, and disappeared. Korva ran up, rummaged for a cure potion and prepared to pour it into Eshe’s mouth as Ken summoned an eagle, which gamely stood in front of the unholy creatures and took the brunt of their attacks for a round. Jumper, Oswald and Yosemite focused their attacks and Korva managed to stabilize the still unconscious Eshe. After the zombies were dealt with and Eshe recovered somewhat, she summoned Bamidele and tied his hat on his head with a bit of rope. They sat on the deck in a tangle of emotion as the rest of the party searched the boat.

They returned briefly to the campsite for healing from Jask, and set out to follow the tracks once more.

The tracks continued along the river, until they came to its mouth, and in the cove where the river met the sea, they saw another shipwreck. This was one they had been hoping to find, on Jask’s behalf. The Brine Demon.

Once again Oswald scouted ahead, finding the deck empty, he peered into one of the cabins and saw a skeleton clutching at a locked box. Oswald returned to the others with this information and they all went to investigate. Everyone was on edge after their encounter with the zombies, but the skeleton remained immobile as they reached for the chest he was clutching.

Inside they found a dagger, which Korva claimed, a gold locket with a picture of a beautiful red-headed half elf, inscribed with the name Aeshamara, which Yosemite snatched, exclaiming, “my new girlfriend!” and a pile of ledgers and journals. They took these to see if they were the evidence Jask needed to clear his name.

Immediately on returning to camp, Jask confirmed that they were. He seemed almost giddy as he held his redemption in his hands. The party prepared to move camp to a spot near the cove where they found the Brine Demon to keep near the tracks they had been following and the river.

After the new campsite was assembled and everyone was settled near the fire, not for warmth, but to keep the horrible bugs of the jungle island at bay, they were shocked by the arrival of a walking skeleton. It was the captain who had been clutching at the chest on the Brine Demon.

He was unarmed but pointed a finger at Korva. “You… Aeshamara? Is that you?”

Korva was immediately taken aback, but tried to speak soothing words, saying, “Yes, its me, and I want you to go and be at peace.”

He stood and stared at her dumbfounded, saying, “I just wanted to see you.”

Yosemite pulled the locket from around his neck and said, “Hey, you want this?” holding it out with the picture visible.

This startled the skeleton from his slackjawed staring, and he said, “Yes…” looking at Korva again, he said, “You’re not Aeshamara,” and reached for the locket.

His hands passed through it, and as they did, he seemed to have a calm, almost fleshly look on his face, and his form disappeared. Yosemite shrugged and put the locket back around his neck.

That night Korva had a nightmare. She was sitting in the galley of the Jenivere, preparing to eat a delicious looking soup, but she dropped her spoon. She had to lift the bowl to drink from it. Something large slid from the bowl into her mouth, the feeling was repulsive. It was serpent. It bit her tongue, and she awoke, biting down on her own tongue. When she shared this dream with the others, Eshe looked at her curiously and said she always dreamed of serpents, had dreamed of them her whole life. This was a sign that they were meant to follow the same quest, and Eshe felt confident they would find a way off the island together.

Arodus 7

Disease was becoming more of a problem as the days passed, and those who remained at camp became more focused on defense and healing, leaving little time for hunting. The party decided to first go to the hunting ground of a snake they had passed by the day before, and collect the meat.

This snake was much stealthier than the last they had slain, a constrictor, it hid from them, but Bamidele scented it out and the party made quick work of it.

They returned early with the meat and were able to set out again before the heat of the day, this time with Ishorou and the treasure map that he had spoken of. They took shovels and found the spot, atop a hill not far from their current campsite.

While taking breaks, they spied two more shipwrecks on the eastern shore and made note of them on the map they had found in Captain Kovack’s cabin.

They dug at the spot indicated on the map until the heat of the day became too much for all but Korva, who was under the effect of an Endure Elements spell. She continued to dig until the rains began, luckily early today, and the others rejoined her. Finally, ten feet down, they struck wood, and found the immobile skeleton of a dwarf who seemed to have been murdered. Their hole was 8 feet in diameter and the wooden platform took up the whole of it. They dug around until it was revealed to be 10 feet in diameter and attempted to pry it open with a grappling hook. This splintered some of the wood away, but much of it was still there. Bamidele peeked down and said he saw water forty feet down, and while everyone tried to think of how to get the lid off, Eshe beat at it impatiently with her quarterstaff. Three good thumps and the whole of it went crashing down into the water.

They attached the grappling hook to a bit of wooden bracing around the hole. Ken saw two figures in the water and Oswald fired a crossbow bolt at them, but missed. Ken lowered himself down within range of the forms and cast disrupt undead. He could tell that it was effective and cast it again after Bamidele and Korva followed him down the hole, while everyone else watched from the top. Two ghoulish figures emerged from the water and began to climb the sides. Bamidele took a bite out of one and it fell into the water. It tasted disgusting. Yosemite hopped around atop the hole wishing for a clear view of the remaining ghoul. It was easy to drop however, it seemed to have been damaged by the falling wooden plug.

Korva jumped the rest of the way into the water acrobatically and the rest of the party followed by climbing down the wooden braces. Under the water they found a path that led a short way to a chamber with a chest. They could not initially open the chest and so they, and Ishorou, hefted it up out of the hole.

It contained much gold, gems, a scroll in a mithril scroll tube and a jeweled star knife.

That night in camp, Korva again had nightmares. This time, she found herself in a row boat. Alton, the friendly first mate of the Jenivere, was rowing the boat, but he was clearly dead, she could see he still bore the wounds she had seen on him in his cabin. He took her to shore, to an island covered in snakes, and left her standing in their midst. As he rowed away, she thought he must be searching for more survivors, and awoke as the snakes at her feet began to bite her ankles.

Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 1

This is not in a story format, just a general recap of each session to keep myself, my husband and our gamer friends fresh on what happened between games.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 1

(Items  quoted below are from the free Serpent’s Skull players guide, for reference, none of the characters are mine except Eshe).

The Crew:

Alizandru Kovack: A Chelish man whose family has made the Magnimar to Eleder run for generations, Captain Kovack is pleasant enough with his passengers, but a strict disciplinarian when dealing with his crew.

Alton Devers: The Jenivere’s first mate is friendly with both passengers and crew, but he sometimes seems to chafe under the strong discipline of Captain Kovack.

Rambar Terillo: A taciturn man from Senghor, Ship’s Cook Terillo has served in that capacity aboard several ships, though apparently not on account of his culinary skills, which seem to be limited to watery soups.

Passengers:

Aerys Mavato: This severe half-elven woman boarded in Port Peril, where she immediately got into a scrape with a crude sailor. She spends most of her time in her bunk, seeming to purposefully avoid fraternizing with the ship’s other passengers.

Gelik Aberwhinge: A sharply dressed gnome from Magnimar, Gelik spends much of his time writing in the ships’ common areas, and takes every opportunity to tell long-winded stories, boast of past journeys, or quip about anything in his field of view.

Ieana: A bookish Varisian scholar who tends to keep to herself, Ieana is traveling to Sargava to explore the ancient ruins there. Rumors aboard the ship alternately suggest that she’s the Jenivere’s owner, a Chelish agent, or Captain Kovack’s secret lover. Ieana keeps mostly to herself, and grows more intent on her studies with each mile the ship travels closer to Eleder.

Ishirou: A scruffy human of Tian heritage, Ishirou boarded at Bloodcove and waits to reach Sargava with a quiet eagerness. Aloof but not rude, he gives the impression of one who has had a hard life but find himself currently without direction.

Jask Derindi: A prisoner loaded aboard in Corentyn, Captain Kovack sees to this taciturn human’s needs with curt courtesy, but insists he be left alone, sequestered in the ship’s brig.

Sasha Nevah: This red-haired human boarded the Jenivere in Ilizmagorti. Since leaving Mediogalti Island, the woman’s somber demeanor has gradually faded, revealing a boisterous and optimistic personality. None have yet questioned her about her missing left pinky finger.

The Jenivere set out from Magnimar for a 4 month journey on Gozran 7. By the eve of Arodus the passenger’s were fairly well familiar with each other and the senior members of the crew.

Cast of Player Characters:

Korva (played by Autumn & Aaron): A human woman with unusual red hair and striking electric blue eyes, she is accompanied by a small crocodile named Jumper. She speaks fondly of her halfling family & druid tribe.

Ken Jeur Yewes (played by Jon): An elf wizard, Ken keeps to himself. He seems mistrustful of the other passengers, though over the course of the journey he has spent more time in the common areas and spoken briefly of his interest in continuing his magical studies.

Yosemite Sam (pronounced Yo-sim-might) aka Pistol Pete (played by Dan): It’s unusual to actually enjoy the company of a rat on a ship, but Yosemite has spent time talking with almost everyone, whipping out his pistol for anyone who stands still long enough. He got in a scrape with someone shortly after boarding but hasn’t had any trouble since.

Oswald Longlook (played by Theo): Oswald is a gnome who seems to know a little bit about everything, and he’s happy to share this knowledge with everyone. He’s currently in search of a good business venture and hopes to find one at the end of his journey. In the meantime he enjoys every opportunity to observe & make recommendations for the improvement of every gadget on board the Jenivere.

Eshe

Eshe (pronounced EE-SHAY) (Played by me, Rachel): Eshe is a short, slender Mwangi woman. When she wants to, she can be quite diplomatic, but occasionally she speaks bluntly and offends. She seems extremely childish at heart, and sleeps curled up in various random places around the ship, almost as if she doesn’t have a bed in the cabin. When she is awake she is accompanied by a strange creature, her Eidolon Bamidele  (BA-MI-DEL, though if you call him Bombadil he won’t take offense.) is some sort of cross between a cat and lizard. Both Eshe and Bamidele have a curious matching rune on their foreheads.

Erastus 31

The last day of Erastus was coming to an end normally, though Yosemite Sam had noticed that the ship had altered course slightly, and the crew seemed slightly agitated. The passengers were gathered in the dining area for another bowl of watery soup. After several spoonfuls everything went dark, there was something extra terrible about the soup this time, but no one could fight it off.

Arodus 1

Eshe awoke first and stared blearily at her surroundings, she noticed that it was morning, her second thought was that something was pinching her foot and the pain was excruciating. Sitting up  she saw that she was on a beach and that 9 of her fellow passengers were still passed out across the sands, as well as Jumper the crocodile. More urgent was the sea scorpion with its pincer clamped around her foot, and the fact that she didn’t have weapons or her Eidolon on hand.

Laying beside her, Ken awoke with a start as a second sea scorpion grabbed at him with a pincer, and then they saw that there was a third moving up on the beach. Eshe and Ken saw that all of their belongings, as well as many other things, were piled 10 feet away, further from the shore. They scrambled towards them as the third sea scorpion made a grab and the more of the passengers began to wake up. Eshe picked up her pack of Javelins and tossed one pathetically in the direction of the sea scorpions. Ken grabbed his spell component pouch and cast acid splash, searing the sea scorpions. Korva joined Eshe and Ken near their equipment just as Eshe took another pinch and, this time, a sting, which left her feeling quite lowly. Korva cast produce flame. Oswald scrambled behind some rocks and to the perspective of the party, at least, seemed to completely disappear, though they had some inkling he was still around when a crossbow bolt came whistling out and struck a sea scorpion. Ken cast Mage Armor on himself. Eshe finally managed to get away long enough to cast Mage Armor, since she had been hit a number of times.  Yosemite grabbed his throwing axes and began to throw them, missing the bizarrely agile scorpions. Eshe moved further away and threw a javelin that hit its mark. Jumper the Crocodile was the real hero, however, evidently he has quite the appetite for sea scorpions, he dealt a few killing blows and was rewarded with some tasty sea scorpion meat.

After the fight the rest of the passengers began to stir and observe the chaos. Tensions were high, and everyone seemed a little suspicious of everyone else, but mostly they felt betrayed by the Captain and his crew, who were decidedly missing. Another passenger was missing as well, the mysterious scholar Ieana. Jask, the manacled passenger, said that he had been framed for a crime that he had uncovered the real truth about, and requested that his shackles be removed. Everyone agreed that it would be useful to have a cleric on their side and Oswald showed off a heretofore unseen skill: lockpicking. He really does seem to know a little bit about everything!

Looking up and down the shoreline, the party noticed that the Jenivere was still in sight, but it seemed to have run aground up the coast. As they approached it they saw that it was a complete shambles, it looked as if the lower decks had been completely destroyed and washed away, but there was enough ship left to scour for supplies.

Jask accompanied them onto the ship, explaining that he thought there might be evidence of his innocence in the Captain’s cabin, in addition to his confiscated belongings. As soon as they approached the broken, swaying deck, they saw another, larger sea scorpion, currently preoccupied with opening a couple of cabin doors. His lack of opposable thumbs meant he was really just hacking at the splintering wood with his pincers.

A plan was quickly formulated, Oswald attempted to sneak up and fire his crossbow, but sea scorpions seem impossible to ambush, everyone else stood back and readied to attack when the creature came within range. Oswald & Eshe made range attacks that hit and Yosemite made one that missed. When the sea scorpion came within range, Jumper dealt the killing chomp.

The pool of blood was seeping out from under the base of the door that the sea scorpion had been clawing at. It took a bit of force, but the party gained entry into the cabin. Leaned against the door was the corpse of Alton Devers, the ship’s first mate. Ken and Korva examined his body and determined that he had two sets of wounds, the first was made by a rapier, but the other was from some sort of stinger, and it was clear that it was poison that had taken his life. No one took pleasure in stripping the corpse of the amiable first mate, but it was the practical thing to do, they were stranded on an island and could use all the supplies they could gather. They also found many items that could be used for fishing, as well as lumber, tools, shovels and large canvas sheets. They took everything that could conceivably help them survive on the island.

Next the party moved on to the Captain’s cabin, hoping for some clue in the Captain’s Log to what had happened. There was a jagged hole, open to the air, and many things had been lost, but the Captain’s desk remained secure, as well as a foot locker which contained Jask’s belongings. The Captain’s desk held the log, which they took to peruse later, a map with the route the Jenivere was supposed to have taken, and which matched the itinerary they had expected when boarding, and a map that seemed to be the island they were now stranded on. It only said the words “Smuggler’s Shiv. Danger!” on it, and was otherwise featureless. They found a number of useful potions which Ken identified, and a bottle of decent brandy.

Afterward in the larder they found the corpse of the cook, who seemed to have been killed by a snake, and 24 rations, which they collected.

Returning to the beach and the other passengers, the party took control of the situation and searched for a usable campsite. Within an hour they had found a defensible spot and, using the supplies they had found on the boat, built a decent camp. It was starting to get unbearably hot and they spent the next several hours in the shade of their constructed shelters looking over the Captain’s logs and talking to the other passengers, establishing jobs and possible routines to better the chance of survival.

The Captain’s log began quite normally, comparing the logs from previous journeys to the beginning of the Jenivere’s journey in Magnimar, the Captain seems sound and knowledgeable. However, as the logs continue, he becomes scattered, even insane, his logs preoccupied with Ieana and his obsessive love for her, his desire to please her. He said that he felt threatened by the first mate for her affections and that he might have to do something about it. The last entries admit that he had altered the course of the Jenivere at Ieana’s request, and that he hoped that they could be happy together on Smuggler’s Shiv.

The day cooled off as a heavy rain started and the party decided it was a good time to check the perimeter of the campsite a bit for dangers and potential ways to get off the island.

The first thing they spied through the torrential downpour was a large nest. Ken suspected from its size and construction that it probably belonged to some kind of Pterosaur, though the homeowner was currently away. They skirted around the nest and Korva noticed from the broken underbrush that they had entered the hunting grounds of a venomous snake. Concerned with the proximity to camp and aware that a 200lb snake would provide a good amount of meat, the party agreed to hunt the beast.

The battle was swift and fierce, the party moved slowly through the thick jungle terrain and circled around the nest of the venomous snake. Bamidele reached it first and was bitten, but then Korva and Jumper finished it off. They triumphantly returned to camp with the snake.

Arodus 2 – 3

Spirits were low, and the party decided to take a couple of days shoring up the defenses of camp and enjoying the surplus of snake meat that they had brought in. The successful hunt had made them, at least, optimistic of survival, even if the rest of the former passengers of the Jenivere had low morale.

Over the next couple of days, between lounging the hot afternoons away, several friendships were formed and one duel to the death avoided.

Yosemite approached the lovely, tattooed redhead Sasha, and after showing her the things he could do with his tail, a friendship was formed. She confided in him that as soon as she had heard about the Pterosaur nest she had been completely obsessed with the idea of having a baby one. She was sure that there would be an egg available and promised that she wouldn’t let the young, poisonous adorable little darling harm anyone. Yosemite, completely charmed, acquiesced to her request.

Oswald and Gelik had much to talk about, each somehow managing to stop talking long enough to listen to the other. Gelik told Oswald of a ship, the Nightvoice, and how discovering its wreckage could go far and recovering his reputation with the Pathfinder Society. Oswald was quite interested in finding the wreckage himself.

Eshe probably shouldn’t have hopped on Jask’s lap and called him Uncle, how was she to know that? After he had pushed her off, Korva apologized for the younger girl’s lack of tact and struck up a conversation. He told her that he had indeed found letters that indicated one of his superior’s involvement in the crime that he had been accused of. He had heard of a wreck near this island of a ship called The Brine Demon, where he might find more evidence.

Oswald determined to draw out the quiet half-elf Aerys. After a bit of conversation he learned that her lifelong dream was to captain her own ship. No one respected this desire and she had been driven by harsh words and humiliation to drink. She was afraid that she was a complete slave to alcohol and had heard of a jungle plant called “viper-nettle berries” which supposedly cured alcoholism. If she just had some she could get back on her feet! Oswald agreed to keep an eye out while scouting the island.

Yosemite attempted to befriend Ishirou, but the taciturn man was completely offended by the ratfolk’s brash bravado. He drew his Katana and challenged Yosemite to a duel, to the death! Yosemite was willing to take the challenge, but Oswald stepped up, such dissension in their small group could be deadly for morale, he apologized for Yosemite’s slight and, the next day, managed to draw him into an amiable conversation. Ishirou revealed that he had collected several treasure maps, and one, he was sure, led somewhere on this very island. He was extremely interested in seeking this treasure out.

With a plan to begin the passengers tasks on the morrow, the party settled down on the evening of Arodus 3.