Serpent's Skull

15 Sep 2022

It's on again! I'm back behind the DM's screen, and will be running Serpent's Skull probably for as long as people are interested in playing.

I'll organise this page a bit better once I have an idea of what is going to be in it. Maybe keep the latest game on this front page, archive it into a separate file. As with Age of Worms, I will be shamlessly ripping artwork out of the PDF, although I will also attempt to keep the artist's name in the image, if it's there.

The players:

With an archaeologist, this party could work.

Part 1: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv

Game 0

Most of game 0 is character creation, of course. But I pushed to get at least something happening before we all went home, to whet the appetite, and maybe to motivate my players to read some of the campaign material. The initial beach encounter is a great setup.

Snid is dreaming

You’re back aboard the Jenivere, bent over the railing being seasick. After your latest bout of retching, you slump back and see the rest of the passengers and crew are on deck as well, all of them sick save for the captain and the quiet Varisian scholar Ieana. She whispers in the captain’s ear, then gives him a kiss on the cheek. At that point the captain holds up a wooden soup spoon, and you realize that you’re holding one as well. Everyone has a spoon. The ship is sinking, and the only way to stop it is to bail out the hold with your spoon! You work feverishly, but the waters keep rushing in. Just before you wake, you can see monstrous things with pincers in the water trying to claw their way into the ship...

Last thing anyone remembers is dinner at the captain's table aboard the Jenivere. Now, somehow, they are on a tropical beach, unconcious. The party wakes up one at a time, still sick, still queasy. But no time for that, because crablike crustaceans about the size of a dog have emerged from the sea and are nibbling on the party.

The party are dressed as they were at the captain's table - no armour, no weapons except for their daggers. But they reasonably easily kill the sea scorpions with those. Then they take stock.

Their gear is stacked up in a neat pile further up the beach, although it's a mystery how it got there. Footprints leading from the surf to the beach indicate - perhaps one of the crew? But where are they now? Their queasiness fades with a final vomit. Vox is certain they have all been poisoned, but it seems not fatally so.

There are nine people on the beach - the three that have just woken, another five, and one who is still heavily unconcious. All are passengers - no crew, no captain. One passenger is missing, the Varisian scholar Ieana.

The other passengers are wary, guarded. All except Sasha Nevah, who is a cheerful sort. The prisoner - Jask Derindi - still wears his manacles. Looking about, they see they are on a narrow beach at the end of a small cove. Behind and around them rise nasty, volcanic basalt cliffs - jagged and sharp, but climbable. Atop the cliffs, thick tropical jungle. About half a mile away they see the Jenevere, fetched up on rocks in the churning surf. She will never sail again, and before long the sea will claim her. But aboard her still is rope, canvas, carpenter's tools and wood, and something else.

"Horse!", cries Kraig. "We have to go get horse, he's still in his pen, I'm sure. I'll go alone if no-one will help."

"Low tide should be mid-morning", replies Vox, "it's the only way - we can't swim in that surf. By late afternoon, that ship will be swept off the rocks."

It's dawn, and it's already starting to get hot and humid. Far above in the jungle, the birds are kicking up a cacophony which will continue non-stop all day long, save during the usual downpour mid afternoon. The castaways need to set up camp. They need fire to repel the mosquitoes during the night, they need something to boil water in. They need to rescue horse. And of the five other companions on the beach, only one seems ready to help.

Its day 1 on Smuggler's Shiv.