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Pathfinder Adventure Path #37: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv (Serpent's Skull 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 12 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #37: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv (Serpent's Skull 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 1: "Souls for Smuggler’s Shiv"
by James Jacobs

Only the Strong Survive

A deadly storm shipwrecks the passengers and crew of the Jenivere upon infamous Smuggler’s Shiv, an island off the coast of the jungle realm of Sargava. If they’re to have any hope of escaping the notorious pirates’ graveyard, the survivors will need to band together to outwit the isle’s strange beasts and legendary menaces. But can the PCs unite the swift-to-squabble castaways, especially when several seem to have mysterious goals of their own? And does Smuggler’s Shiv hide secrets even deadlier than its desperate denizens?

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Serpent’s Skull Adventure Path and includes:
  • “Souls for Smuggler’s Shiv,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by James Jacobs.
  • A detailed look at the personalities marooned on Smuggler’s Shiv, by James Jacobs.
  • Revelations into the history, ways, and world-spanning schemes of the serpentfolk, by Clinton Boomer.
  • An introduction to the wisdom and dangers of the jungle in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin Laws.
  • Five new monsters, by James Jacobs and F. Wesley Schneider.

Pathfinder Adventure Path is Paizo Publishing's monthly 96-page, perfect-bound, full-color softcover book printed on high-quality paper. It contains an in-depth Adventure Path scenario, stats for about a half-dozen new monsters, and several support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the standard 3.5 fantasy RPG rules set.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-254-8

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

Product Availability


Print Edition: Ships in 2 to 6 business days.

PDF: Fulfilled immediately. Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Non-Mint: Ships in 2 to 6 business days. This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at webmaster@paizo.com.

PZO9037


See Also:



Product Discussion (232)
1 to 50 of 232 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>
Andoran

FIRST!!!!

This looks cool as hell.
Loves me some pirates!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

NO! How did this happen? Now there are two threads. Blast you Heathy! Did you even read the description?!?

Andoran

Hell yeah. I didn't go to school in Texas.

Andoran

Red Mantises,....pirates,.....serpent folk.....ancient civilizations....yadda yadda.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Dammit! I'm running a pirate campaign that will end up in the Mwangi, but I'll have to do it way before all this comes out. And it's perfect for it! I weep!!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Ernest Mueller wrote:
Dammit! I'm running a pirate campaign that will end up in the Mwangi, but I'll have to do it way before all this comes out. And it's perfect for it! I weep!!!

Funny, I had collected Nyambe and Freeport material to run a "pirates sail to fantasy African analogue"! Great minds, me hearty.


I am so stoked for this.
kingmaker does not sound good to me, but this is gold sounding

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds cool! Too bad my gaming group failed its save versus a disintegrate spell. Still, I'll keep collecting PFs since its now my only way to get a fix.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, it's the Cannonball Run of Golarion, sounds cool.
And it has pirates! :)


Pirates, like ninjas, make everything cooler. Can't wait to see this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am really looking forward to this one...really love the Mwangi setting....

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Sssssssserpent folk! Sssssscore!

I'm the happiest skull this side of the Boneyard!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber

YEA! Perhaps this AP will use my collection of 100 yuan-ti and Nagas galore...

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Fantasy Indiana Jones!
I'm loving the crazy serpant folk magic and snake skull... now if we can just get a green hag riding a bunch headless animals it will feel like home!


This will be my favourite adventure path.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Any idea what the lvl range on this adventure path will be?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Kevin Mack wrote:
Any idea what the lvl range on this adventure path will be?

I'm hoping that we'll be able to pull off an AP that goes from 1st to 17th or 18th with Kingmaker. Assuming we can do that, I suspect that'll become the norm.

Serpent's Skull will probably go from 1st to 17th as well.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Ernest Mueller wrote:
Dammit! I'm running a pirate campaign that will end up in the Mwangi, but I'll have to do it way before all this comes out. And it's perfect for it! I weep!!!
Funny, I had collected Nyambe and Freeport material to run a "pirates sail to fantasy African analogue"! Great minds, me hearty.

Oh hey come talk with me about it in my campaign thread and we'll compare notes; I'm mixing up the first bits of Second Darkness and the Freeport Trilogy right now, will move to using Razor Coast, and then down to the Shackles and Mwangi-land for the high levels, and I was going to be making it all up myself (except for River of Darkness)... And I too pulled Nyambe to use for the African part. Need a time warp so this AP is ready in a couple months!

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

James Jacob wrote:
I'm hoping that we'll be able to pull off an AP that goes from 1st to 17th or 18th with Kingmaker. Assuming we can do that, I suspect that'll become the norm.

Is there any talk of a path that starts at higher levels and ends at 20th?


forgive my linguistic ignorance, but what exactly is a "shiv"? can someone provide me with a meaning for that word, or some synonyms?

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tommaso Matteucci wrote:
forgive my linguistic ignorance, but what exactly is a "shiv"? can someone provide me with a meaning for that word, or some synonyms?

shiv

n. Slang
A knife, razor, or other sharp or pointed implement, especially one used as a weapon.

shiv
"a razor," 1915, variant of chive, thieves' cant word for "knife" (1673), of unknown origin.


Callous Jack wrote:
Tommaso Matteucci wrote:
forgive my linguistic ignorance, but what exactly is a "shiv"? can someone provide me with a meaning for that word, or some synonyms?

shiv

n. Slang
A knife, razor, or other sharp or pointed implement, especially one used as a weapon.

shiv
"a razor," 1915, variant of chive, thieves' cant word for "knife" (1673), of unknown origin.

nice, thanks a lot :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

TheTwitching King wrote:
James Jacob wrote:
I'm hoping that we'll be able to pull off an AP that goes from 1st to 17th or 18th with Kingmaker. Assuming we can do that, I suspect that'll become the norm.
Is there any talk of a path that starts at higher levels and ends at 20th?

That idea's been tossed about here and there... but we're really hesitant to start an AP not at 1st level. Personally, I feel that 1st level is perhaps the MOST important level for a long-going campaign or AP, since that's when a lot of a character's personality is generated. Robbing an AP of this opportunity makes me very nervous.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

James Jacobs wrote:
That idea's been tossed about here and there... but we're really hesitant to start an AP not at 1st level. Personally, I feel that 1st level is perhaps the MOST important level for a long-going campaign or AP, since that's when a lot of a character's personality is generated. Robbing an AP of this opportunity makes me very nervous.

I think you could still pull it off by starting an AP at 3rd level, though. All that means is the character's personality generation gets to incorporate a couple levels of adventuring that defines how they became who they are at 3rd level...and, you guys do such a great job with the Player's Guides, that I think you could suggest a number of possible adventure seeds from which their careers began. You could also suggest a magic item or other enhanced gear that they acquired via that particular adventuring background. Then, let the players continue from 3rd level on thru the AP. It doesn't give you a lot more levels to extend an AP...but, it might be a good experiment to start out with and see how it's accepted.

Just my two-cents,
--Neil

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

James Jacobs wrote:
That idea's been tossed about here and there... but we're really hesitant to start an AP not at 1st level. Personally, I feel that 1st level is perhaps the MOST important level for a long-going campaign or AP, since that's when a lot of a character's personality is generated. Robbing an AP of this opportunity makes me very nervous.

You could also pull the "Dragon Lance" time warp. Have the adventurers part around middle level for a certain amount of time and then come back together at a higher level with a back story for the time parted. You could have them enroll in a school that is important to the story for a semester, or locked in jail for a year. You could have multiple premade key events that could happen over that time with assigned consequences and outcomes.

So sometime between the begining of the 2nd book and the end of book 4, the GM time warps the story and "gives" the players 3 levels; then having them regroup more powerful, wiser, and feeling like all around bad asses. Coming together again one last time to save the world.


James Jacobs wrote:
TheTwitching King wrote:
James Jacob wrote:
I'm hoping that we'll be able to pull off an AP that goes from 1st to 17th or 18th with Kingmaker. Assuming we can do that, I suspect that'll become the norm.
Is there any talk of a path that starts at higher levels and ends at 20th?
That idea's been tossed about here and there... but we're really hesitant to start an AP not at 1st level. Personally, I feel that 1st level is perhaps the MOST important level for a long-going campaign or AP, since that's when a lot of a character's personality is generated. Robbing an AP of this opportunity makes me very nervous.

I for one feel my players need the first few levels to figure out how there characters are.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
NSpicer wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
That idea's been tossed about here and there... but we're really hesitant to start an AP not at 1st level. Personally, I feel that 1st level is perhaps the MOST important level for a long-going campaign or AP, since that's when a lot of a character's personality is generated. Robbing an AP of this opportunity makes me very nervous.

I think you could still pull it off by starting an AP at 3rd level, though. All that means is the character's personality generation gets to incorporate a couple levels of adventuring that defines how they became who they are at 3rd level...and, you guys do such a great job with the Player's Guides, that I think you could suggest a number of possible adventure seeds from which their careers began. You could also suggest a magic item or other enhanced gear that they acquired via that particular adventuring background. Then, let the players continue from 3rd level on thru the AP. It doesn't give you a lot more levels to extend an AP...but, it might be a good experiment to start out with and see how it's accepted.

Just my two-cents,
--Neil

I have generally played with novices or disorganised people.

Asking them to create level 3 characters would just be cruel - creating starting characters is incredibly daunting for newcomers anyway.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

I can see that, but I don't think it would be cruel to have them, after they have a good handle on there characters and the game, to bounce from 6th to 9th level, or 9th to 12th.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I think a mid level jump would work best. Paizo tried something like that in the armageddon echo but I do not know how the feedback was. Adventure seeds or suggestions are okay but options are good. One could suggest a couple of pathfinder modules that would fit the theme and level, a lot of DMs use Pathfinder because they do not have time to create their own adventures, this would give them an out. Obviously DMs could just hand wave and bump the character levels also. Giving these three options should please most everyone.


Personally, I like AP starting at first level. I have tried to join APs at higher levels, as a secondary campaign to let players see how they liked higher level characters, and the campaign just never gelled the way that campaigns that start at lower levels did.

I think part of it is that when someone creates a character at higher level, they kind of visualize what that character has done to get to that point, and you have a group of "islands" that have developed to whatever level without needed or interacting with the rest of the PCs.

As far as "skipping" levels, I would much rather the AP at least try to cover most of the levels involved. While its fun to add encounters here or there and customize things, I'm not as thrilled about it being required, especially in the middle of an AP where my tangent might end up breaking the flow of the next adventure or even making the PCs want to follow up on threads from that adventure instead of diving back into the AP.

Finally . . . please never make an adventure like Dragonlance where you have multiple sets of PCs that are designed to go on separate paths. I think all it does is make things more complicated and to keep things on track I think it requires much more railroading than a standard AP does.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I have no problem with APs just starting at level 1 and ending up level 14. DMs can mod for outside that. High level play has issues and people can always just jump over the first couple levels. I prefer slow advancement so already have to mod APs, keep them on the "middle ground" lest they become useless to people on the other side of the direction someone else wants to go.

Now, adding on seeds for higher level play would be great, but I think a lot of people run out of steam there, and the APs by their nature need to appeal to most everyone.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Christopher Hauschild wrote:
I think a mid level jump would work best. Paizo tried something like that in the armageddon echo but I do not know how the feedback was. Adventure seeds or suggestions are okay but options are good. One could suggest a couple of pathfinder modules that would fit the theme and level, a lot of DMs use Pathfinder because they do not have time to create their own adventures, this would give them an out. Obviously DMs could just hand wave and bump the character levels also. Giving these three options should please most everyone.

The feedback from when we tried that in Second Darkness was relatively poor. Folks did NOT like it.


Pathfinder Modules to the rescue with a level 20 AP capstone!

Actually, I like the modules to be independent of the APs. Just curious, why not cover more levels with each AP installment to reach level 20 by the end of Part 6? Sorry if this has already been explained elsewhere. It seems like you could even pad a single installment with all the extra levels (instead of skipping) by making a couple sections more sketchy and packed with encounters (terse story-wise, more like story notes). It would be just a part of only one installment, only 1/12 of the AP to string encounters on a thin strand of story. So it doesn't seem like inconsistent presentation or careless work, you could make it explicit that you are padding that installment with levels to reach higher level play by the next installment.

Spoiler:
Something like the islands of Kakishon in The Impossible Eye (cool adventure!), but on the path and not just sketched in to support optional exploration. I did appreciate the non-railroady quality of that adventure with its multiple ways of reaching the goal, as well as the unusual boundaries that made a complete sketch possible. An explicit level grind could similarly include multiple branches that rejoin later on the path.

Oh, and Serpent's Skull looks like an awesome AP! Even if it ended at level 12 I would still say awesome :)


In my opinion a campaign up to 17 is much to long, it will take my groups nearly 2 years to get there, and after a year and maybe 9 or 10 levels, most players will start to think about other characters they’ll like to play, new concepts and it gets very hard to keep them interested in the campaign.

Why not keep the AP’s at 15 level and add an “revisited” adventure for the high level fans, maybe that adventure could be used with different AP’s to compensate the lower buy rate of high level adventures ?

A high level Varisia Adventure could be interesting for ROTL, CotCT and SD groups and would probably sell better than one usable only with one of the 3 AP’s


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
aeglos wrote:

In my opinion a campaign up to 17 is much to long, it will take my groups nearly 2 years to get there, and after a year and maybe 9 or 10 levels, most players will start to think about other characters they’ll like to play, new concepts and it gets very hard to keep them interested in the campaign.

Why not keep the AP’s at 15 level and add an “revisited” adventure for the high level fans, maybe that adventure could be used with different AP’s to compensate the lower buy rate of high level adventures ?

A high level Varisia Adventure could be interesting for ROTL, CotCT and SD groups and would probably sell better than one usable only with one of the 3 AP’s

I think that's a really good idea, bordering on great! It would be pretty easy to have a 2-3 set of high level adventures suitable for use post any of those APs... People could dust off the PCs from whichever they liked best and run them... In general I dislike high level play but this would be something I'd buy into.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Honestly... what will LIKELY happen is that we'll continue to let the APs be as long as they need to be to tell their story. That DOES mean that some will probably go to 15th or 13th... but we've had a lot of folks asking for ones that go for longer.

I'm still not convinced we CAN do a 1st to 17th level adventure path in 6 volumes of Pathfinder... especially if we use the Medium advancement rate (which we really don't want to change). If we can... cool. If we can't... that'll have to do as well.

We certainly don't have the luxury of going all the way to 20th though, unless we cut things down to one support article per volume. And even then... we don't have enough time in a month to edit and develop adventures that are that long.

In any event... keep up the feedback! The reason we're going to 17th or 18th in Kingmaker is 100% because of customer feedback, and if it turns out there's just as many or more complaints about going to 17th level as there were for NOT going to 17th level... we'll absolutely listen and continue to vary the length of the APs.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Is doing an AP of more than 6 volumes off the table? Or is 6 volumes just a guildline that seems to work best? If the story was awesome but the AP needed a 7th or even 8th volume would it be more likely you just cut the story down?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

TheTwitching King wrote:
Is doing an AP of more than 6 volumes off the table? Or is 6 volumes just a guildline that seems to work best? If the story was awesome but the AP needed a 7th or even 8th volume would it be more likely you just cut the story down?

I think the problem there is that the current schedule has two APs a year, one chapter a month, for half the year. Throwing in additional books would bump that schedule all to hell. Or it would have to APs coming out in the same month, the new one starting and the extra volumes that are wrapping up the prior, causing that much more work on the editorial staff and causing massive SAN loss ...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Making each adventure path 6 monthly installments really is the way to go, you get a new AP for each Gen Con (a must in the industry), you get variety (it's nice to mix up the favor and mood twice a year), and it leaves enough space to put in some background filler articles. If there was a lot of yelling about skipping one level in the armageddon echo it definitely will not pay to skip levels. Now lets quit harping and let them get back to finish designing this adventure path (serpentfolk yeah) and start working on the one after this one (which James promised would be either the Numerian one or the Baba Yaga one right ;))

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Another option could be to do a sequel to an earlier AP. It would be very easy to have the Cheliax come to reclaim Korvosa for a sequel to the Curse of the Crimson Throne; or you could have different armies from around Varisia to come conquer golden Xin-Shalast and have Karzoug’s leaderless army go throw chaos about northern Varisia for a sequel to Rise of the Runelords. These would be great ways to let players bring back old characters and go into epic levels. It could come out around the time of the ‘remake’ of the epic level handbook.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

TheTwitching King wrote:
It would be very easy to have the Cheliax come to reclaim Korvosa for a sequel to the Curse of the Crimson Throne.

If there were going to be a sequel to Curse of the Crimson Throne, I would so love for it to involve an awakening of Sorshen. Now that would be truly epic.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

TheTwitching King wrote:
Is doing an AP of more than 6 volumes off the table? Or is 6 volumes just a guildline that seems to work best? If the story was awesome but the AP needed a 7th or even 8th volume would it be more likely you just cut the story down?

Six volumes is a good number. Lets us do two a year, one of which debuts at Gen Con. If we do something other than six, then we have to do something tricky in order to make the next year's Gen Con launch still work out.

Shorter than six and there's not enough adventures to tell the story. Longer than six and the AP overstays its welcome.

Six is a good number for a LOT of reasons.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Christopher Hauschild wrote:
one (which James promised would be either the Numerian one or the Baba Yaga one right ;))

Nope.

I haven't said much at all about what's coming up after Serpent's Skull. And probably won't for about 8 months or so.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I've thought about doing sequel APs as well... but again, I really DON'T want to start an AP at something other than 1st level. Nor do I want to do one that resides primarilly in the Epic level range... CERTAINLY not before we have a solid support system for Epic level content.

But a sequel to an AP certainly doesn't have to be one that lets you replay older characters... it can start at 1st as well and be a story sequel, not a character sequel.

We'll see...

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I've thought about doing sequel APs as well... but again, I really DON'T want to start an AP at something other than 1st level. Nor do I want to do one that resides primarilly in the Epic level range... CERTAINLY not before we have a solid support system for Epic level content.

But a sequel to an AP certainly doesn't have to be one that lets you replay older characters... it can start at 1st as well and be a story sequel, not a character sequel.

We'll see...

One Runelord down, six to go.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Gamer Girrl wrote:
TheTwitching King wrote:
Is doing an AP of more than 6 volumes off the table? Or is 6 volumes just a guildline that seems to work best? If the story was awesome but the AP needed a 7th or even 8th volume would it be more likely you just cut the story down?
I think the problem there is that the current schedule has two APs a year, one chapter a month, for half the year. Throwing in additional books would bump that schedule all to hell. Or it would have to APs coming out in the same month, the new one starting and the extra volumes that are wrapping up the prior, causing that much more work on the editorial staff and causing massive SAN loss ...

Well, it is not like Mr. Jacobs has a lot left to lose at this point. ;PPP

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:

I've thought about doing sequel APs as well... but again, I really DON'T want to start an AP at something other than 1st level. Nor do I want to do one that resides primarilly in the Epic level range... CERTAINLY not before we have a solid support system for Epic level content.

But a sequel to an AP certainly doesn't have to be one that lets you replay older characters... it can start at 1st as well and be a story sequel, not a character sequel.

We'll see...

Burnt Offerings Spoiler

Spoiler:
You did kind of imply that Ameiko Kaijitsu would have a role in a future AP ...

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

NSpicer wrote:
If there were going to be a sequel to Curse of the Crimson Throne, I would so love for it to involve an awakening of Sorshen. Now that would be truly epic.

Sorshen Morshen, if there is going to be a squel to a Crimson Throne she won't be the main villian. She'd just be one of many lap dogs to GULGA CENCH!!!!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

TheTwitching King wrote:
NSpicer wrote:
If there were going to be a sequel to Curse of the Crimson Throne, I would so love for it to involve an awakening of Sorshen. Now that would be truly epic.
Sorshen Morshen, if there is going to be a squel to a Crimson Throne she won't be the main villian. She'd just be one of many lap dogs to GULGA CENCH!!!!

Well...who's to say Gulga's subterranean activity doesn't somehow bring him into the vaults below Castle Korvosa where he could play a role in Sorshen's awakening? I'm fairly certain she'd think long and hard before trying to sink her fangs into the seweage-covered, moldering hide of a fiendish otyugh. So that give her a long enough pause to consider working with Gulga instead. And that kind of adventure scenario would be like a two-fer of villanesque goodness in a high-level romp. Not necessarily an AP (as James points out above), but a super adventure that follows up from where CotCT leaves off? Now that might prove interesting indeed.

Well...to me anyway... ;-D
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

NSpicer wrote:
TheTwitching King wrote:
NSpicer wrote:
If there were going to be a sequel to Curse of the Crimson Throne, I would so love for it to involve an awakening of Sorshen. Now that would be truly epic.
Sorshen Morshen, if there is going to be a squel to a Crimson Throne she won't be the main villian. She'd just be one of many lap dogs to GULGA CENCH!!!!

Well...who's to say Gulga's subterranean activity doesn't somehow bring him into the vaults below Castle Korvosa where he could play a role in Sorshen's awakening? I'm fairly certain she'd think long and hard before trying to sink her fangs into the seweage-covered, moldering hide of a fiendish otyugh. So that give her a long enough pause to consider working with Gulga instead. And that kind of adventure scenario would be like a two-fer of villanesque goodness in a high-level romp. Not necessarily an AP (as James points out above), but a super adventure that follows up from where CotCT leaves off? Now that might prove interesting indeed.

Well...to me anyway... ;-D
--Neil

Are you volunteering to write said Mega-Adventure? (Right now, were would you find the time?)

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