Once every couple of weeks, myself and a group of like minded gamers get together to experience a fantasy version of Africa. Put another way, we get tother to play Paizo’s Pathfinder “The Serpent’s Skull” Adventure Path. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is an outgrowth of the old Dungeons and Dragons RPG and many would argue (myself included) that it is the purest incarnation of the original Dungeons and Dragons rules set and flavor.
I am part of a gaming group that get’s together routinely to play Pathfinder, and this is the third “Adventure Path” which we are attempting- my second at Game Master. Amongst the Adventure Paths (which are a series of adventures designed to take a group from level 1 to level 12-15 or so), the Serpent’s Skull is one of the more maligned of Paizo’s Adventure Paths and has gotten little third part love. I must confess I started the Adventure Path with rather low expectations.
Our player group had dwindled down due to natural attrition so, with the help of our recently formed Meetup.com group I started the new path. I got a huge response, and we thought of dividing the group into two based on factions (which Serpent’s Skull naturally provides). Thus far, however, our group has hovered around the 6-8 range which is not quite enough two run two groups of 4 with 2 GMs. However, I did involve one of the other players as a co-GM.
It turns out, Rick, my new co-GM, is quite ruthless when it comes to combat. Furthermore, he’ll check the minions intelligence level and, if it’s intelligent, he’ll assign them tactics to react to the players. As he puts it, “I play the monsters as though they actually wanted to live!”
Well it turns out that this combination of Rick running most of the combats and breaking in some new players who had never played Pathfinder before caused the combats to be rather deadly. It didn’t help that the Serpent’s Skull AP had some very tough monsters. The AP started ship wrecked on a deserted island which was occupied by cannibals that were level 1 Barbarians with a strength of 18. With opposition like that, low level characters can start dropping like flies.
We are now on our 10th session, and so far we have been averaging 1-2 PC deaths a session. A series of adventures this deadly is certainly not for everyone, and we’ve had some players never come back once their character died. For others, however, they found they enjoyed the challenge. They would sit down a player new to Pathfinder with a sub-optimal character, have it die after a few sessions, and return with a better optimized character. This only added to the Darwinian “battle of the fittest” theme which was present in the AP anyway.
And so, with this in mind, we invite both new and experienced players to come have their mettle tested. If you’re new, you are welcome to come. We can make a character for you, or you can bring you own. If you’re experienced, feel free to bring a character that you feel is up to the challenge. We use low fantasy point buy and allow all classes and most class options. You should familiarize yourself with the Serpent’s Skull Player Guide. Either way, don’t expect you character to live to make it to high level. You’re more likely to become food for a hungry Chemosit. At which point, I’d encourage you to post your characters tale of woe in the Serpent’s Skull Obituaries.
14 thoughts on “Invitation to the Serpent’s Skull Adventure Path”
Hi, I’m a somewhat experienced Pathfinder player looking for a game to join. Are there any open seats at in your campaign?
Sounds great! I love the brutal reality of it.
I’ve skimmed the Player’s guide. What are the restrictions accompanying character generation? I’m fairly familiar with the material on d20pfsrd.com (minus the 3rd party stuff).
Do you have any recommendations?
Low point value from the Core Rulebook. Not classes are banned, but we do restrict some archetypes as well as tweak some class abilities and some spells.
Okay, I’m guessing that means a 10 point buy. I have a couple extra questions regarding character creation.
What starting level? Average wealth by level for items (I read some blurb about low fantasy being half regular value)?
Material from recent Paizo books is okay (I.E. Ultimate Combat, Ultimte Magic etc.)?
Typical starting wealth at 4th level. All books OK.
Great, do you have an email I can send character concept/data to later for you to look over?
So let me get this straight, we are limited to 10pt buy, and the barbarians have 17 pts in just there strength score? Now that DOES sound deadly.
Count me in! I’ll come up with a 4th level concept this week.
Starting characters are 5th level now.
Hi, I’m moving into the Pasadena area on April 6th. I was playing this path with another group, and we had just started (1 session in) the City of the Seven Spears section. From your meetup, it looks like I wouldn’t have any particular advance knowledge at this point.
Got room for one more?
Very interested in playing with you sometime Preston! Played a bit of Pathfinder and dig difficult games of it. Where can I find out when your sessions have room for more players?
I think we have more room now. You should check in with our meet up.