Bob's Serpent Skull

Serpent Skull 8

All players could make this session.
They’d just finished having bloody revenge. They killed the hunters and warrior of the cannibal camp, then later found the rest of the cannibals would just go off and ‘pick berries’, turning their head and whistling and letting them come in uncontested to take on the ghoul-mother, who they found in the lighthouse and took out.

Healing the enemy
The party had a week to think about it. They wanted to be ‘the good guys’. Revenge was nice, but making friends was nicer. They decided to go in and be helpful.
After a day of healing up with the dryad, they returned to the cannibal camp tentatively but openly. They weren’t attacked. The women around the campfire went and got the witch who came out to talk in infernal with the paladin. Yes, sure, she would accept their help with their diseased children. They’d been bitten several times by the ghoul-mother, and locked in a shed with nothing but human meat before. They were now trying to recover in the main longhouse. Of course she was suspicious and wary, and the women held weapons and watched their every move, but they just did heal checks and cast around some spells, and used the rest of their viper nettle berries to help some of the kids. They decided to stick around for a few days, to help the kids recover. Zun Zun wanted to swap spells with the witch, and after a few days she agreed to talk to his scorpion and let him talk with her monkey. Rerdahl used his engineering knowledge to easily figure out how to fix up the rest of the lighthouse at the top, and started lighting it and sending out a sweeping beam of light. The PCs were a great help in helping most of the six kids finally overcome the ghoul fever. Zun zun himself really felt their suffering as he’d gone through it, and the terror at considering an undead rebirth, himself not long ago. He got a few bonuses to helping on heal checks, as a fellow sufferer. Unfortunately, the cannibals were mostly immune to the insect-borne diseases, so even in the lighthouse with makeshift mosquito nets they had to contend with some island diseases themselves. After a few days, they decided they were now friendly enough with the cannibals, the witch even revealed that she understood common and talked with all of them, and they agreed to let their other castaway NPCs to join them with the nice stone buildings.
They left the paladin to continue ministering to the couple of kids who were still diseased, and spent a few days to go off towards their base camp with the NPC castaways. A couple forgettable encounters, some monkeys maybe, and some more dire rats. The NPCs were stunned and ecstatic to find the PCs returning, after over 2 weeks gone. They just assumed the PCs were all dead. They mobilized the base camp, dragged some makeshift wagons and litters and trudged through the jungle back to the lighthouse cannibal camp.
When they returned, there was still one cannibal kid who just stubbornly would not recover from the disease. It required 2 consecutive saves, but the kid only rarely made a single save, never twice in a row, and there were no more viper nettle berries left; only the lesser restorations kept it from dying. While the NPCs started stringing up decent mosquito netting, and better beds and such in the stone buildings and lighthouse, the PCs tried talking with the cannibals more about good-aligned religions, like Shellyn. Sure, most of them were still evil, as detected by the paladin, but they were cooperative, and thankful for the unexpected help with their children, and were no longer ruled over by a powerful undead cleric.
The paladin educated them on the existence of other gods and beliefs, not pressing too hard, just letting them know about other things out there. Help from the druid and an appearance by the dryad in showing nature beliefs might be a viable alternative.
But dammit, that one kid just wouldn’t make his fort saves. They kept trying for another week. He sucks. He’s so weak, what the hell? Hmm, let’s see how old he is on a d20. Oh! No wonder. It’s just a little 1 year old baby. The tribe was already thankful that the other 5 kids were cured, nobody except maybe the mother would miss the baby. They’ll continue trying to support her, but if she turns into a ghoul they’ll behead and burn her like you advised. You’re free to go on your own adventures without any guilt.
“A ghoul baby? Ew, how non-dangerously freaky.” Yeah, and that’s what subsequently happened.

Defeating the Infernal Fungus
The party could go north, to investigate the ‘dead’ area of the island that the dryad was worried about so they tromp northwards, stop by with the dryad and rest, keep going the next day. They find a beach area, where there are rope ladders attached to the nearby stone cliffs by visiting cannibals. Swimming around in the surprisingly calm waters they find oysters in the sand beds. Searching around and swimming about for a day, they fail to find any red pearls. They stop to rest before continuing to some small islands to the west, connected by sand bars that are covered with high tides.
The island are covered with white giant mushrooms, and long tendrils and fungal creepers and sheets. There’s no greenery or trees or normal wildlife. They see some vague movement here and there though. They decide to wait for low tide the next day, instead of swimming.
During the nighttime, some figures have slunked across the water towards them, the sentry on watch notices and calls the party to action. They fight some fungal vegypigmy’s, who aren’t too tough, and help them realize their resistance to piercing weapons. So the next day they change their weapons a bit, and memorize spells they think will help against fungal monsters.
They go across the sandbar during low tide and see the small island ahead, eerily quiet with pale mushrooms and fungal sheet blowing in the wind. They have to make fort saves against the spores in the air making them slightly weaker. To one side of the island they see a wrecked ship, on the other is a large tower of rock sticking up out of the water at an angle, connected to the mainland by a thick bridge of creepers and fungal vines that lead to a small cave entrance.
“Well, you heard his description. He spent more time describing the creepy rock spire, that’s probably where the big bad is located.”
They trek over the island, avoid any random encounters, and get to the viny fungal bridge to the cave entrance in the rock spire. They have to make acrobatic rolls to get across properly, but halfway through some more vegypigmy’s disguised as fungal clumps around the cave entrance drop down and attack. Zun zun gets a bad roll and falls off the vine-y bridge to the water 40 feet down. The others go into combat and blast and slash and chomp away and kill off 3 more vegypigmies as Zun zun swims to the rock and climbs back up.
They cautiously step into the cave entrance. The rocks are lined by a thick carpet of purple fungus that throbs. The decide against going further in the cave, and try lighting a torch. Oh, we don’t have a torch. They rip off a shirt, around spare sword and light it on fire. When pressing it against the fungus it actually glitters with small glowing spots and reaches for the fire. Tendrils come out and wrest the sword away, unwrapping the flaming shirt and in waves the fungus moves the fire towards the back of the cave. They send Kah the snake forward after that flaming shirt, and a large form rips free from the wall and flings several tendrils at their meat shield. They enter into combat with a fiendish violet fungus, but nobody but the snake or summoned creatures gets very close. Zun zun tries his ability to summon a swarm which helps, until the bad guy dies, and the summoned bats keep going after nearby creatures and chomp away at Kah.
They revive kah, and find an old human skeleton deep in the purple fungal mess of the boss they fought. The purple fungus around them in the cave withers and starts dropping in blackened clumps. When they exit the cave they find the fungus on the isle, including their bridge, flaking and dropping. They dive down into the water and swim around, and investigate the shipwreck they’d seen earlier, which is now empty, all its fungal foes (and a potentially epic combat) dying after their master had died.
They find a log on the shipwreck, which is called Night’s Voice. It details how the crew found a strange seed during their exotic travels, and the pathfinder captain survived it’s initial opening and sporing, though most of his crew succumbed do it’s demonic fungal influence. He knew it would open again, and was too big a risk to any civilized port, so he aimed for an island on purpose to shipwreck himself. When he failed to go under the water he carried the spore pod to a secluded cave, where he hoped he could limit its spread, and became the violet fungus when it opened again. The man was a hero! His story would make him famous. More importantly, it would help the gnome bard NPC get back into the good books of the pathfinder society, and satisfied his miniquest.

Monkey on our back
The party went back, and reported to the dryad. She offered her glade as a permanent camp for them , but they were happier with the cannibal camp with its stone buildings and lighthouse. She also scratched then kissed their limbs, providing a broad natural inoculation, giving them +4 bonus against diseases.
They went back to camp with the NPCs. Kal made sure his beau the half-elven fighter was happy. Zun zun continued a few dalliances with the newly lonely cannibal women. They decided to go to the red mountain to hunt down the monkey devil.
It only took a day, with the available trails, to go across the island to the easternmost area where the small mountain resided. They crossed a rickety bridge on the way, and wisely only went one at a time. Their trail split, and the took the branch continuing upwards to the summit. There, it was bereft of trees or any vegetation, only red colored rocks and soil at the bald head of the mountain top. They decided to try a baited trap, and had Kah the snake lie on an exposed part of the mountain summit while they waited behind large boulders. They’d learned from the cannibals that they regularly left sacrifices here, to keep the demon monkey from attacking them.
About an hour after full night had fallen they heard loud flapping noises nearby, which came back and started circling. After a few moments a form came swooshing down to grab and bite at Kah. It succesfully grappled and stared sucking blood. The party ran out to save their snake, which started whipping around trying escape the grapple. The demon monkey succeeded on its Chuppar ability, and gained a haste effect, and tried to detach to fly around or do more pounces or damage, but Kah bit on him with his AofO, and then successfully grabbed. Getting a closer look, they realize the monster is actually reptilian and nothing like a monkey. It’s an advanced winged variant of a chupacabra.
The party started smacking him around pretty good for a few rounds when he grappled with the contrictor, he was getting hurt and bloody, in an unexpected fight that he just thought was another sacrifice offering, until he finally escaped the snake and flew off. The ratling aims down his sights, and fires a last bullet, which hits, but alas does not down their fleeing foe.
“Ugh. How’re we doing?”
“We’re okay. Let’s go hunt him down. Uh…[watch glance] next session.”
And that’s where we had to leave off.

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