Conscientious Objectors

I have a shrunken monkey head

Mayor Arvanxi hardly had time to get her breath back before the three acid spitting betentacled millapede things burrowed up after her. The group fought them and, while there was a bit if pain, were victorious. They pushed the carcasses off the plateau, went into the jungle a bit, and used a scroll of magnificent mansion to give the rescued prisoners (and themselves) a decent place to spend the night.

In the morning they all went down the tunnel, leaving Lord Dioso behing to look after the prisoners, and soon found themselves in a prison for celestials. Reethna-Onatee was particularly distressed by the sight of three dead archons. The only prisoner still alive was Vintari, a feebleminded lillend. Reethna-Onatee unhesitatingly cast heal for the first time, bringing her back to herself. She told the group about the Insatiable Queen and how she had captured Himotae, a human poet for whom Vintari served as a muse. She chose to join them in the quest to end the kidnappings, saying that they needed to find the Boudoir of the Insatiable Queen on the Ring of Ecstasy.

The next room had several hezrou demons in a massive whirlpool. Two of them were knocked unconscious and were whisked away, and two more were slain.

More human prisoners were beyond them, and though these were all insane the group was careful to free as many as could survive and put them out of harm’s way.

Finally they found an enormous cavern of a room, with cages hanging from the ceiling and a large statue of a succubus straddling a door.

“Classy,” remarked Reethna-Onatee.

Guarding the room was a huge gold dragon, and Lena-Karik was able to use Zig-Tarrin’s borrowed goggles to realize that the dragon was possessed by a shadow demon. The group feel into detailed discussion of how to fight the dragon without killing her in hopes of freeing her from the demon’s possession. It looked like it was going to be a very tough fight.

“Or,” said Lena-Karik, “I have a shrunken monkey head.”

Investigation soon revealed that the Zenj Spirit Fetish was intended for exactly the purpose of expelling shadow demons, and she quickly put it to use. The dragon, Maurinaxian, was very grateful.

PCs:

Lena-Karik
Reethna-Onatee

Guest PCs:

Anselar Harth
Coraline Arvanxi

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Meeting Chinchilla On the Moon

Reethna-Onatee’s quest to eliminate the demonic threat pressed onward. A large, black tower loomed on the horizon, and its guardian moonbeasts looked even more ferocious than similar creatures back on Golarion, possibly because they were in their native environment. Fortunately, Reethna-Onatee had brought Lena-Karik along, and she made short work of them.

The tower turned out to contain what appeared to be a large gathering of very relaxed worshippers of Shelyn enjoying art, beauty, alcohol, and each other’s company. Chinchilla was among them, much to Lena-Karik’s delight.

Mayor Arvanxi found a pool of hot, swirling water containing several partiers, and used her dust of dryness to empty it. As Lena-Karik had immediately seen and told Reethna-Onatee, about half the people at the party were actually alu-demons. This surprised all of the humans, and two of them were almost instantly subjected to their mind-influencing magic. Mayor Arvanxi was forced to restore the pool while Lord Dioso gave up her polearm and began to doff her armour.

While the fight ensued, Anselar was flying around outside mostly ignoring it so that he could vandalize the tower. A couple of demons attacked him, but not enough to make an event of it. For the most part Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karik (and Mayor Arvanxi, once the compulsion was ended) made short work of them.

Some scouting ahead revealed that the purpose of the tower was to spy on Golarion, though Anselar had made a bit of a mess of that. Reethna-Onatee pondered destroying the tower completely in order to hamper the spying, but took no precipitate action.

A quick look behind the tower revealed a tunnel heading straight down. Mayor Arvanxi scouted ahead, but was doused in acid and had to make a quick retreat back to the surface.

PCs:

Lena-Karik
Reethna-Onatee

Guest PCs:

Anselar Harth
Aremcesca Dioso
Coraline Arvanxi

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Why Yes, This Is Indeed the Moon

One of the (many) problems in a journey alongside humans is their fragility. The particular humans accompanying Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karik needed food and sleep already, and it had barely been any time at all. One of them had even died from hardly any fire giants chopping at her with their greatswords, so clearly their weakness was unfeigned. The humans invited Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karick back to their home in Westcrown (by which they meant that they needed the serpentfolk to teleport them there), and while there the group picked up some supplies specific to their mission.

They were waiting near the Somal Gate by sundown the next day, at which point it filled with purple energy. Leaping through, they found themselves on the moon. They were almost immediately ambushed, but quickly dispatched all but a single demon (who teleported away). They took some time to examine their surroundings, and realized that they were in the Moonscar, an abyssal jungle growing across the southern hemisphere of the moon.

Someone had obviously been taking care to clear away the undergrowth and provide a path from the gate to somewhere else, so the group set out to find where the trail led. Before long they ran into a jotund troll who called himself the Trailblazer. He used his massive scythe to get rid of the rapidly-growing jungle, and was about to attack the group when Coraline (one of the humans) convinced him that they were supposed to be there. They pressed onward rather than linger near him.

Skirting around a lake, they saw the albino eye of a froghemoth poking above the water. The humans had never seen one, but Reethna-Onatee and Lena-Karik were able to describe it to them. Taking care not to wake it, they crept onward into the jungle on the far side of the water.

A couple miles past that they discovered an altar with embedded shackles. They debated the appropriate response, and decided that the best action was no action at all. Leaving it undisturbed, they pressed on toward the black tower at the top of the nearby hill.

The tower had no visible windows and apparently only one door. It was guarded by three moon beasts. Uncertain how to proceed, the group begain discussing tactics:

PCs:

Lena-Karik
Reethna-Onatee

Guest PCs:

Anselar Harth
Aremcesca Dioso
Coraline Arvanxi

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The Moon!?

Reethna-Onatee knelt before Iomadae as she gave him his next mission: return to Golarion and investigate the means by which demons on the moon were abducting people, and put a stop to it. She left him a whisper of the mythic power she had granted him while they fought evil ascendant deities together, and directed him to Korvosa to seek out Lord Anselar Rosala, a descendant of one of Aroden’s angels.

Lena-Karik learned that Chinchilla had abandoned his pregnant girlfriend and run off with another woman. She quickly realized that he had been subjected to some sort of mind control, and was surprised to encounter Reethna-Onatee while she was on the trail. Together they sought out Lord Rosala and his companions (Lord Mayor Arvanxi of Westcrown and Lord Aremcesca Dioso), and set out on their search.

Eventually they found themselves on the Growling Skald, an active volcano in the Mindspin Mountains. There were ancient Azlanti ruins, which they explored, and a squad of fire giants, which they fought. Aremcesca was killed, but Folba-Onatee was able to bring her back from the dead. One of the fire giants, Zatzka, surrendered; Lena-Karik christened him “Frosty”.

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Dreams Do Come True

We’d escaped with our lives and not much else. As the battle raged (and I was locked in combat with the most… resilient… tyrannosaurus rex I’ve ever fought), I saw my nemesis enter the fray. I swore I would kill him. I swore I would claim bloody vengeance.

No, not Ydersius. Not even Vyr-Azul.

Cuddles.

Oh, I saw him. Though he didn’t see me.

As my duel with the tyrannosaurus went on… and on… and on… and so forth, my compatriots managed to behead Ydersius, steal his head, and… teleport out. I could see my nemesis so close! But no, I was forced off field. Forced off field to save Lena-Karik’s mother, and Varya, and save Kyras’ corpse. Forced off field without killing Cuddles.

As my rage boiled within, I did the only thing I could, prior to teleporting. I knew he felt my stare, I knew he felt my hot rage. As he turned, and our eyes met…

I veiled as Brea once more and smiled.

As I teleported away, I saw the dawning comprehension in his eyes, heard the beginnings of his scream, felt the deliciousness of his impotent hatred. I left him there, deep in serpentfolk territory. With hostile serpentfolk surrounding him. I left him there, and it felt right.


Years later, after the fighting (I won’t say it was in Iomadae’s name, but I felt I owed her a debt… I’m not one to leave debts to gods unpaid), I finally opened that little bar I’d been talking about. My taxidermy skills had improved by leaps and bounds, and I now had quite the collection (properly mounted for display, of course). I’d even managed to track down a second camulatz, an endeavour that took the better part of a month, and the most terrifying aerial battle I’d ever engaged in.


It’s a bitter winter evening, and as it grew late, the fire in the hearth grows low, and I see the last few tipsy regulars out the door, I close up shop for the night. As I wipe my rag over the counter and clear the last few flagons into the dish tray, I hear the door open, then shut. The driving snow and brutal wind sounded just terrible, and I’m thankful they have little chance to intrude on my cozy, quiet evening. And, though I hated to turn a customer away…

“We’re closed” I say, barely glancing up from my cleaning.

When there is no response, I look up. The four figures silently step forward into the waning firelight. The two serpentfolk drop their veils, and start to circle around the counter to the left. The wood golem circlee to the right.

But the menace of their movements was of little concern to me. Instead, I grinned at the short figure in front of me. He was older, wearier, and sporting as many ugly scars as I had, and wielding a vicious-looking war axe. But it was him. It was him.

“Brea,” he hissed. “I… hate… you…”

I reach under the counter and pull out a large peacock feather

“Cuddles. I’d hoped this day would come.”

I spread my wings and vault the counter, swinging the sword with both hands, every last ounce of hatred behind the swing. With a snarl, Cuddles leaps towards me, his axe coming around in an equally fast, equally purposeful blur.

At last.

Our reckoning.

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The Death of Marcello Vicolla

Excerpt from the final page of a journal found by Initiate Pavo Baradin while cleaning the caretaker’s cottage — Neth 30, 4710



Life takes many strange turns. As I write this, I sit here in the humble cottage that was my home while I lived among the humans as Marcello Vicolla. I lived here, acting as caretaker for the temple and worshipping Iomadae in my own way for almost an entire human lifetime and yet, I have had more wonderful, spiritual, and awe-inspiring experiences since I left then I ever had listening to the head priest’s sermons. For most of my life, I have felt lost, but somewhere in the dark depths of Ilmurea, the holy light of Iomadae shone upon me and showed me the way once and for all. I know now that Marcello Vicolla was a lie. A well intentioned lie, perhaps, but a lie nonetheless and I cannot be true to Iomadae without being true to myself. To say the head priest and my brothers and sisters in the temple were surprised to see my true form would be an understatement, but when they saw the power of Iomadae flowing though me, they welcomed me without reservation.

Soon I will leave to fight at Iomadae’s side against the forces of evil, but if it is Her will that I survive, I know now that my purpose in life is to continue to travel the world for as long as I am able, bringing Her light and Her sword to all the dark places. Perhaps my companions and I are not the only serpentfolk to reject our species’ evil ways. It is my duty find my serpent brothers and sisters and show them that they are not alone in believing in a better way. If they choose not to listen, well perhaps Fulba Onatee will have a short but meaningful conversation with them. He can be quite convincing.

No matter what the future may bring, one thing is certain: Marcello Vicolla is dead, now there is only Reethna Onatee, Serpentfolk and Cleric of Iomadae.

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Contientious Objectors: Fact or Fiction? by Arbo Keioki
Chapter 3: Lena:Karik (pgs 342-344)

Excerpt from Chapter 3: Lena:Karik (pgs 342-344)

The diary of Lena-Karik, the famed Serpentfolk warrior, was found in the clutches of the human named Groundhog. The existence of this diary was only rumoured among those inside the Church of Lena-Karik. According to close friends of Groundhog, the diary was passed down from his grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather’s friend’s grandfather’s deliveryman’s grandfather, who had been the legendary shadow vampire, Chinchilla. Chinchilla was the first soldier of Lena-Karik, and went off to train many other soldiers. These soldiers in turn went off to raise many animals of various sizes, all in the name of Lena-Karik.

Below is a small excerpt, retelling the fight against Ydersius.


All I could think of when I was standing wounded on the pyramid, waiting for Vyr-Azul’s spells to inevitably hit, was how Phoenix and Unicorn and Pegasus and Cerberus would miss me when I died. Then Sharta-Meklesh also appeared on the pyramid and a glow came from Reethna-Onatee and then from within me. Warm, tingly, healing that tasted like justice and mithril. Or maybe that was the blood. Anyway, I have converted to Iomadae.

With newfound hope we fought on. Even when the tyrannosaurus rex appeared behind me. Even with a bunch of bees kept coming out of this amphibian’s barrel. Even when this goblin that looked suspiciously like Cuddles was running back and forth near this large gooey snail.

Al though the tyrannosaurus was unusually persistent, I left Het-Kiril to it and worked to take Nylla-Jas down. Meanwhile I could see Terod-Iras bravely go face-to-face with Ydersius. Our dearly departed Yssith-Atil’s summoned creature was able to climb down the hole, grab the sword Fulba Onatee, and return it to Reethna-Onatee.

Reethna-Onatee chopped Ydersius’s head off. There was a collective gasp (and a shrill inserpentfolkane scream from Vyr-Azul) as the head rolled and the body blindly flailed with indignation. Vyr-Azul tried to grab the head but dropped it into the arms of Reethna-Onatee. Around that time the tyrannosaurus grabbed me in his teeth and we decided as a group it was time to go. The bunch of us at the pyramid went to recoup while Reethna-Onatee said he would take Terod-Iras and Ydersius’s head to a high temple of Iomadae and teleported away.

We laid low for a bit and I thought since Zif had been so nice to let me “borrow” his teleportation boots I would also whittle him a small Head of Ydersius in addition to the Cerberus ornament. I asked group if we could stop off quickly on the island where Zif and the pets were relaxing and to our surprise found the Reethna-Onatee and Terod still a bit worn and being taken care of by Chinchilla. Reethna didn’t really want to talk about why they were here instead of the temple so I handed him Cerberus. Playing with Cerberus is a good stress reliever. Thankfully Zif was still asleep, so we had a coconut drink and waited for the boots to recharge before setting off again.

We will have to take care of Vyr-Azul soon, but right now laying on the ground and breathing while not talking to each other is pretty nice.


Are these the false scribbles of a deluded cult leader or is this finally proof a rebel group of Serpentfolk succeeded against their god? Researchers have puzzled over this for decades. Unless a daring group of adventurers can find more evidence, we may never know the answer.

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The sleepers

From the journal of Yssith-Atil:

I should really go to one of Iomedae’s sermons, or maybe just pick up something that I can read… I will have time. With Ydersius “dead”, we finally have some breathing room to clean up the messes that Vyr-Azul’s insanity has wrought.

The first, and only pressing issue is Vyr-Azul himself. He still knows the location of one of the caches of ancient sleeping serpentfolk, and he probably still has the means to wake them. Hopefully, knowledge of it will die with him. With Reethna leaving in a week, we will have to figure out the best way to find him, and quickly.

Then there is Eando Kline’s cache which, luckily, he wants to keep hidden as much as we do. I will have to convince him to tell me where it is so that we can seal it up. Once that is done, I will be able to join Het at her pub and relax a little. Maybe we can slowly wake up some of the sleepers and integrate them into the world, but I know that I am not the one to make that decision.

Speaking of integration, I will have to visit Issilar from time to time to make sure that he is doing alright. Maybe all of us could even help him retake Saventh-Yhi from the vegepygmies. An out of the way, magically hard to find, city is exactly what he will needs. I can’t let him end up like Drago.

Summary:

  1. Kill Vyr-Azul with the group (skip if not possible)
  2. Seal all entrances to the serpentfolk sleeper’s cavern (or wherever they are)
  3. Relax at the pub / Help Issilar integrate into the world.
  4. Not listed above but, once #2 is done, I would like to offer free teleportation services to any agent of Iomede on church business. So once a day (2-3 Teleports) to/from just about anywhere in the Inner Sea.
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Ydersius, God of *most* Serpentfolk

from the journal of Gethedar:

Sunday, Neth 21:

And it was going so well.

My defences had held against the forbiddance as we breached the inner sanctum. The guards placed at the doors were no match for Reethna-Onatee and I, even before Lena-Karik began raining death upon them. Yssith-Atil had flawlessly countered the Blade Barrier with a Stone Wall ramp, allowing Reethna to take out Sozothala. It had almost felt too easy.

Then the Earthquake began.

Reethna and I foud ourselves cut off from our companions as they were buried by the falling rubble, only their telepathic voices could reach us over the cacophony, letting us know that they had survived. Yssith could not reach us, due to the Anti-Magic Field… I knew the situation must be dire if he was willing to sacrifice his magic for this. The field turned out to be short-lived, as Yssith was overcome. According to the spotty reports we managed to exchange while fighting for our lives, Yssith-Atil had boldly sacrificed his life to protect Het-Kiril and Lena-Karik, only to be taken over by an intellect devourer. While I questioned the tactical soundness of Het focussing on freeing Yssith’s body from the creature, I cannot truly fault her, for having to face the idea of allowing such a creature to inhabit the once-great mind of a friend is unthinkable, and some things are more important than tactics. With that situation resolved I can only hope we see our Draconic friend soon; for within the Sanctum the fighting has been fierce.

Vyr-Azul and his inner circle have been throwing everything they can at us. If not for the innate defences of our kind, I believe we would have long since perished. As it is, we managed to hold them at bay for some time, slaying Vyr-Azul’s pet serpent. When Lena appeared, I thought that she could tip the scales back in our favour, but she only beat Ydersius, god of all Serpentfolk to the Sancutm by a matter of moments. Vyr-Azul unleashed some sort of electrical storm, badly wounding Reethna and I, and stunning us with the force of the blast. While we were reeling from the force of it, Vyr-Azul swept up Fulba-Onatee. We had a moment of hope when we all prayed that Fulba would overcome Vyr-Azul, but in that clash of minds, our foe prevailed, casting the sword into the pit to disappear into darkness.

Yet not all hope is lost. The mantis has arrived, as have some very odd inter-planer travellers. As well, a snake-like guardian golem seems to be malfunctioning and has deemed Ydersius an intruder (an opinion I share with it). As I lie here on the edge on conciousness, I regret my lack of piety, for it seems a good time to take up prayer.

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3 out of 4 Serpentfolk agree...
losing your head is inconvenient.

Hopefully from the future journal of Yssith-Atil:

Having violently subdued the Emperor of Scales, we Dimension Doored into the antechamber before “The Sanctum” as the guards called it. It was eerily silent until Gethadar walked, invisibly, into the Sanctum itself. Four degenerates had left the massive adamantine doors open so that they could hide behind them and ambush the temple’s latest invaders…us. Once Reethna and Het went into the Sanctum and started into those four, the real threats emerged. Sozothala, Nylla-Jas, Vyr-Azul, Raviaza, and some green skinned lady were all waiting for us… in the air. For some reason, mass flying never occurred to us.

If the last few months had taught me anything, it is to work with what you have. After I conjured a ramp over the Blade Wall that someone have put up, Reethna managed to take an impressive leap at Sozothala, taking his head clean off his shoulders. Reethna is now behind the wall, some how surviving the intense magical onslaught that Vyr-Azul and Nylla-Jas are pouring onto him.

Gethadar followed Reethna’s lead by bolting up to grab onto the green skinned lady. For a hairy moment, it looked like she may try to drop him into a giant pit off to one side of the Sanctum. Of course, we shouldn’t have worried. He sprung off the green lady to try for Nylla-Jas, unfortunately, her Mirror Images did their job and he fell to the floor. But, he made his point, and all the flyers seem to be edging a little higher.

Het was having too much fun with the four, now two degenerates to get involved with all these high flying antics. After killing two and blinding one, he had to jump through a Wall of Fire to help Lena and me with our little problem.

Lena, with her usual terrifying flair, has been filling the immediate area with shafts while trying to convince Nylla-Jas that this is not our fault. I swear that it may have worked too… unfortunately, Nazith, like the others, is as insane as Drago and bent on the conquest of the Overburn. Which leads to the problem. Crazy wizard types tend to summon dangerous outsiders and other assorted terrifying beasts to their aid. Outsiders like Raviava, the six-armed, flying, snake-bug-elf, thing that just swept through the ante-chamber and sliced up Lena with concerning accuracy. Lena has dropped to the floor, hopefully alive.

I was barely able to teleport myself to the opposite side of Raviava to put into action ‘Plan A for crazily powerful outsiders and wizards’, an Antimagic Field. Of course this leaves me cut off the magics and friends that have kept me, mostly, alive until now. It’s amazing how much time you have to consider your life when you are standing next to something that is about to kill you… and how much trust you can have in four other people to stop that from happening.

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