Campaign of the Month: September 2016

Age of Serpents


A summary of historical records, plot-specific events, and episodes in order of their occurrence.
Reader discretion is advised, the chronology contains episode spoilers.

This campaign utilizes the canon historical timeline of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, with two key differences:

First, obviously, the major events of Serpent’s Skull (which take place “in-canon” in 4710 AR) have yet to occur. Second, a century ago, around 4600 AR (the onset of the Age of Lost Omens and the death of the god Aroden); a war between the lashunta and formians on the neighboring planet Castrovel devastated that world—leaving much of its atmosphere poisonous to most air-breathing creatures. This event revealed a heretofore secretive, oppressive empire of outsider-controlled humans on a continent called Sarlona and resulted in an ongoing exodus of refugees of races from that world to Golarion.

Age of Serpents (? pre-history)—A cadre of serpentfolk lords oversee sanctums across what will become Smuggler’s Shiv. Each possesses a magic stone, like the Beast Stone, allowing them to command powerful eldritch forces. In addition to the sanctums, a sixth structure serves as a cathedral to the race’s god.
Age of Legend (? pre-history)—"Azlanti": cultists of Zura escape Saventh-Yhi and occupy Smuggler’s Shiv, re-purposing the serpentfolk structures there for their own needs.
Age of Enthronement, circa 4200—On the planet Castrovel, the Inspired ascend to power on the continent of Sarlona, unify the disparate central kingdoms, and forge the nation of Riedra. Generations later, they prosecute war against the southern realms of Syrkarn, a region under the sway of a resurgent populace of serpentfolk and their dragon lich ally, Nymdragoth. The war pressures the Inspired into a temporary alliance with the races of neighboring Adar. A sect of druidic elves manages to steal and hide the dracolich’s phylactery, removing Nymdragoth from the conflict. These events are relayed through the undead wyrm’s eyes to the half-elf druid Kor’lec in 4716.

  • Moonday, Calistril 28th, Winter 4716 AR—The Jenivere departs Bloodcove, leaving its missing cabin boy, Brynan Devers, behind.
  • Fireday, Pharast 4th, Spring 4716 AR — On the final leg of its four-month journey along the western seaboard of Garund, the Jenivere departs Senghor for Eleder. (Campaign Begins)
  • Toulday, Pharast 8th—Several passengers aboard the galleon Jenivere (Dornas, Kishtari, Kor’lec, Monica Montana, Nemanji, Aerys Mavato, Gelik Aberwhinge, Jask Derindi, Sasha Nevah) survive their ship being run aground on the northern coast of Smuggler’s Shiv. First Mate Alton Devers manages to ferry the survivors to land via the galleon’s jollyboat, though he does not himself survive.
    • The Jenivere’s alleged saboteur, Ieana, and her accomplice, Captain Kovack, make landfall on the isle’s east coast and set up a crude camp. Kor’lec begins having dreams about the dragon lich Nymdagoth.
    • Tyst, an undiscovered stowaway on the Jenivere, washes up on shore without any recollection of who he is or what he was doing aboard the ship. A lycanthrope with Red Mantis training, Tyst avoids detection by remaining in animal form.
    • morning, the Castaways awaken and assess their situation after defeating some eurypterids. Breakfast is Served
    • afternoon, evening, the more adventurous Castaways rescue Kai, Kor’lec’s animal companion and salvage food and building supplies from the wrecked Jenivere. The Wreck of the Jenivere
    • late night, the Castaways confirm Kai has been magically dominated by Ieana, who can potentially spy on them via the theropod’s senses. The Red Mountain Devil begins stalking the Castaways. Eyes in the Night
  • Starday, Pharast 9th—Dornas, Kish, Kor’lec, Monica, and Nemanji assign camp duties to the others, and strike into the Shiv interior.
    • Ieana and Kovack abandon their camp and head into the jungle, leaving a trail. Through Kai’s eyes, Ieana periodically checks on the status of the Castaways.
    • morning, early afternoon, the adventurers are accosted by a hunting party of monkey goblins. Monkey’s Bum
    • noon, the explorers ascend “Black Widow Bluff” and become involved in an old tribal feud between the Mongrukoo monkey goblins and the Klixarpillar mites, taking the goblins’ side after they are ambushed by the mites and their swarming spiders. Likki joins the party, hoping they’ll help him rescue members of his tribe that the mites took captive. Gob-Webs
    • afternoon, early evening, on route to the mites’ lair, the heroes take cover from the midday heat in a cave infested with giant crickets. The Cricket Pitch
    • evening, the Castaways defeat the Klixarpillar in their cavernous lair, rescue the goblin captives, and discover within the web-covered shrine the Mongrukoo hoped to procure for themselves. Fight With All Your Mites
    • later, unbeknownst to Kor’lec, the heirloom charm he carried reincarnated Pollock, the last of the Klixarpillar mites (slain by Likki). Now a grig, Pollock awakens in the dryad Aycenia’s grove. The powerful fey senses the presence of a good druid on the isle, and considers asking Kor’lec’s help to restore nature’s balance to Smuggler’s Shiv.
  • Oathday, Pharast 10th—The castaways return from Black Widow Bluff with Likki. Chief Basako of the Mongrukoo insists on a feast to honor the heroes and their friends. Legacy of Fiends
  • Fireday, Pharast 11th—The castaways return to Black Widow Bluff to finish exploring the mite lair. There, they defeat the Hive Queen and discover that the old “shrine” is really a 10,000 year old serpentfolk sanctuary! Monica uses the Beast Stone to break Ieana’s hold on Kai. House of the Hive Queen
  • Starday, Pharast 12th—The Castaways are now clearly divided into an away team, who explore the island, and an equally important home team, who guard the camp site and treasure. The away team strikes south on the trail of Sasha, who has abandoned the camp in anger. Wing and a Prayer
  • Sunday, Pharast 13th—Dornas, Kish, and Monica follow Kor’lec south along the Shiv’s eastern strand. Nemanji catches up later. The Castaways capture the Brine Demon from undead pirates and find evidence of Jask’s innocence.
  • Moonday, Pharast 14th—The Castaways finish relocating base camp to the hulk of the Brine Demon. Home Wrecked
    • late evening, Kor’lec is contacted by the sick Spirit of the Island through Pollock, but the evil little fey places Likki’s life as a condition for leading the druid to her grove.
  • Toilday, Pharast 15th—The Castaways defeat a monster in a massive viper nettle patch and recover the fruits to ease Aerys’s recovery from alcoholism. Thorny Entanglements
    • late evening, Kor’lec, Nemanji, and Dornas while hunting near the Brine Demon encounter a bull dimetrodon, but the animal doesn’t seem interested in a fight. Kish, Monica, and the other castaways are assaulted by the ghost of the Brine Demon’s captain, but figure out his earthly fetter and lay him to rest. Shiver Me Timbers
  • Wealday, Pharast 16th—The away team leave for an extended trip inland, trusting the other castaways to take care of themselves.
    • Unfortunately, Gelik decides to take matters into in his own hands and secretly sets out for the Nightvoice, bringing a willing Sasha and a charmed Aerys along for protection.
    • Pollock appears to give Likki 24 hours before their death duel. The Thrunefangs are later encountered, and ambushed after Kishtari telepathically discerns their evil intentions. They learn Ieana’s already infiltrated the cannibals and has provided to them descriptions of the Castaways.
    • late afternoon, the adventurers come across another shipwreck survivor, Pezock, and befriend him. The tengu has lived on the island for over a decade.
    • Meanwhile, Gelik, Sasha, and Aerys are attacked by ghouls; Sasha is bitten and contracts ghoul fever.
  • Oathday, Pharast 17th—The Castaways help Likki survive his duel, though the goblin spares Pollock’s life. He implores the vengeful grig to abandon their respective tribes’ blood feud. Path of Redemption
    • afternoon, the heroes reach the hill of Aycenia. The dryad offers succor and intelligence in exchange for their help removing “an alien blight” infecting the far northwestern isle, a.k.a. “the Island of Never Going There.” The Castaways go there.
    • Gelik’s party, meanwhile, encounter the blight firsthand as they reach the islet first. They are attacked by the fungoids who capture and maim Gelik and Aerys before bringing them to the Nightvoice. Sasha escapes, but crawls into a cave she cannot climb out of.
    • dusk, The Red Mountain Devil sends the heroes a message, dropping the head of the bull dimetrodon at their feet. Nemanji sends one in return, winging the flying chupacabra with an arrow from hundreds of feet away. Food of the Gods
  • Fireday, Pharast 18th—Hours before dawn, the captive Gelik and Aerys are force-fed the toxic mold by the fungous pygmies. Sasha, trapped and famished by ghoul fever, eats the mold as well.
    • dawn, Tyst reveals himself to the party and is invited to join their quest.
    • morning, the Castaways cross over to the Island of Never Going There and battle a large, well-prepared force of fiendish fungoids. Tyst metamorphoses into werebadger form and helps route the enemy. The group discover signs of a recent battle and the involvement of those they thought they left behind at base camp. The away team track down Sasha and from her learn the story. Grey Matter and Invasive Species
    • late morning, the party cross over to the Nightvoice, and defeat some fungoid guards abovedecks. However, they come under fire from an immense horde from the land. Nemanji and Tyst take the battle to the horde, so the others can rescue the hostages.
    • After defeating a small but elite force of fungoid guards, the Castaways find Gelik and Aerys. Gelik lets on that he’s a special agent of Absalom, though he admits later to Monica that he lied about that to protect himself. The heroes leave their wounded friends behind and delve into a cave beneath the Nightvoice to find the fungal infestation’s source. Toxic Reactions
    • noon, in the caverns beneath the surface of the gray island, the Castaways destroy the fiendish source of the Abyssal fungus.
    • afternoon, at Aycenia‘s grove, Pollock is discovered to have been psionically influenced by Ieana to steal Kor’lec’s reincarnation amulet. Failing his mission, the grig commits suicide. Aycenia sees to the recovery of Gelik, Sasha, and Aerys and provides a haven for the other Castaways. Kor’lec, Monica, Dornas, and Kishtari leave to retrieve Jask from the Brine Demon.
    • late evening, the Castaways reach Pezock’s crab, and stay the night.
    • night, Ieana, who has been dominating the Thrunefang cannibals through their chief Klorak the Red, commands that she be allowed to see Nylithati, a presumably undead religious icon that dwells in the sea caves below their encampment. The enchantress descends with Captain Kovack, but does not return with him. Soon afterward, Ieana surreptitiously departs, and upon regaining his will, Chief Klorak vows vengeance upon her.
  • Starday, Pharast, 19th—Dornas, Kor’lec, Kishtari, and Monica discover that the Brine Demon has been attacked by the Thrunefangs and totally destroyed; and that Jask was taken captive. Destiny’s Hinges
    • late evening, after a number of hindrances across the breadth of Smuggler’s Shiv, the Castaways reach the Thrunefangs’ camp and endeavor to free Jask. After alerting the entirety of the tribe, the rescuers attempt to retreat but destroy most of their enemies in the process. The Thrunefang chief remains sequestered in his tower, undergoing narcotic “purification” with his brides. Game Trail and Cannibal Cataclysm
    • later evening, the Castaways attempt to capture the lighthouse, but find its defenders—Chief Klorak and his razor-crazy brides—very well entrenched. After the party slays one of his wives, Klorak negotiates with them, offering temporary use of the tower in exchange for Ieana’s corpse. The High Chief’s Aegis
  • Sunday, Pharast, 20th—In the caverns beneath the Thrunefang camp, the Castaways discover a confessionary note from Captain Kovack that exposes Ieana’s “purecaste” serpentfolk nature. Later, the party discover what Ieana was probably looking for—an ancient serpentfolk temple. Inside, they are forced to do away with a giant cadaverous snake and a pack of serpentfolk skeletons guarding a secret sanctum that contains the Typhonian Proposal. Boils and Ghouls and Shrine of the Serpent Lords
    • later, Nylithati and her lacedon children try to prevent the Castaways from leaving her domain. It does not go well for the aquatic ghouls. Dornas uses the undead matriarch’s head to insure Chief’s Klorak sticks to his part of their deal. The Castaways return to Aycenia’s grove. Ieana activates the Tide Stone, using the ritual described in the Typhonian Proposal. The rite pushes the ocean back from the bay adjacent to Red Mountain allowing the serpent-woman access to a subterranean structure. Unfinished Business
  • Moonday, Pharast, 21th—After a night of sex together, Kor’lec is informed that Aycenia will bear him two children and offers the druid a home on the island when his adventures are over. Kor’lec, Dornas, Monica, Kishtari, and Likki leave for Red Mountain—to confront Ieana once and for all.
    • afternoon, the Red Mountain Devil attacks the party on their ascent to the apex of Red Mountain. After wounding the creature, the party track it to its lair and destroy it. Kor’lec rejects the idea that the group should use the Tide Stone ritual and searches the bay in porpoise form to discover what Ieana was looking for. In Darkened Storm or Sunlight Glare
    • late afternoon, the Shiv Castaways work with their timely arriving friends to enact the Tide Stone rite, and manage to manipulate it to call upon Nethys rather than Ydersius. The ritual reveals the submerged doors to a serpentfolk lair converted by Azlanti cultists into a temple to Zura first structure to confirm the prehistoric civilization’s presence in Garund. Blood in the Water
    • evening, Tyst attacks the party in the temple scriptorium, but Kishtari manages to break Ieana’s hold over the werebadger’s mind. Together, the group hunt down and destroy the elusive serpentfolk in the nave of the structure’s chapel. Ieana’s research notes and the temple inscriptions illuminate what were her aims—to determine the location and means of access to Saventh-Yhi, a legendary Mwangi “lost city” dismissed by scholarship as imaginary.
    • late evening, the Castaways emerge from the Zura temple with Ieana’s head and her research notes. They destroy the last of the Thrunefangs at the Tide Stone, who attempted to hold the heroes’ friends hostage. Chief Klorak is spared, but remitted to the custody of the arriving Mongrukoo, now led by Cenkil. Rolling Snake Eyes
  • Toilday, Pharast, 22th to Sunday, Pharast, 27th—Montage of events:
    • By agreement, Tyst is imprisoned every evening for the three nights of the full moon (the month of Pharast’s “Rebirth Moon”), a time when he cannot control his lycanthropic transformation nor what he does while in beast form.
    • Monica and Dornas repair the lighthouse reflector and aim the beacon light toward the southwest shipping lane. Aerys provides a signalling code to inform passing ships that there are stranded and seek rescue.
    • Pezock is discovered dead, ostensibly by accidental self-poisoning. However, the tengu’s missing magical sawtooth saber suggests fowl play.
    • The Red Gull, a passing smuggling and salvage vessel, investigates the long-inoperable light from the old Sargavan lighthouse.
    • The Castaways meet envoys from the Red Gull and negotiate their rescue. The Red Gull is on the way north from Eleder to Bloodcove.
    • Basako arrives at Aycenia’s grove just before the Castaways depart Smuggler’s Shiv aboard the Red Gull. Though he is no longer acting as chief, enough Mongrukoo respect his council that he negotiates a alliance with Aycenia for mutual protection. As part of the deal, Aycenia agrees to provide sanctuary to Likki’s wife, Vershnat, and recently born son, Nemanji II. Rolling Snake Eyes
  • Moonday, Pharast 28th—late evening, after nearly 30 hours at sea, a slumbering Cap’n Sigurd Snake-Eyes is murdered in his cabin by Kor’lec and his body dumped overboard. The crime is discovered by the ship’s lookout, Gortross, who raises the hue and cry. Buried at Sea
    • After defeating the smugglers and claiming the Red Gull for their own, the heroes continue north. At the approach of midnight, the Gull is intercepted by Senghori navy. After a brief investigation, the Senghor officials release the Gull and its valuable cargo of narcotics to the Castaways. Wooden Ships and Iron Hearts and Mutiny on the Red Gull
  • Toilday, Pharast 29th—Making port in Suum’tero, at first bell, the group see that the local inn is still lively. There, the party say their good-bys to Aerys, Gelik, Sasha, and Jask. Later freed to go are the four surviving smugglers from the Red Gull. Port in a Storm
    • third bell, the party are accosted by M’bulazi slavers. The Castaways agree to cripple the tribes’ operations and free the fishing village from their grip. Slavers of Suum’tero
    • morning—Kor’lec has more dreams of the dragon Nymdragoth and discovers the communication is two way, and also that the villain is from Castrovel. Awakening, the half-elf impresses the local farmers with a display of druidry by befriending and curing a rogue deinotherium called “Matumba.” Falling Scales
    • late morning—Kishtari discovers more about the slavers’ stockade from a boy who’d managed to escape it. After provisioning themselves, the heroes travel to the eastern highlands of M’bulazi-land using Matumba as a mount.
    • afternoon—During the day’s hottest hours, Matumba refuses to travel further uphill leaden with the Castaways and their gear. A miserable march on foot through the afternoon rains leaves the heroes in no mood for an attempted blockade by M’bulazi villagers, from whom they appropriate a wagon and some sturdy asses.
  • Wealday, Pharast 30th—The Castaways reach the valley of the M’bulazi clan’s stockade and, during the hottest part of the day, infiltrate it it two teams; Tyst and Kor’lec hidden in animal forms and the others posing as slave merchants. The ruse is uncovered by one of the fortress’s representatives, a talking feline monster with a precise sense of smell. Failing Forward

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Great little synopsis of the time line!