Pathfinder Adventure Path #42: Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpent's Skull 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

***( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #42: Sanctum of the Serpent God (Serpent's Skull 6 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Chapter 6: "Sanctum of the Serpent God"
by Neil Spicer

In their lightless sanctuary, an army of serpentfolk gathers to bring the world above to its knees. The skull of the dead god Ydersius has fallen into the hands of his worshipers once more, and fanged fanatics now commence the rites to resurrect their slain deity. Only the heroes stand between the serpentfolk and their insane plot to unleash one of existence’s foulest tyrants once more upon the world. Can the PCs gather the weapons and allies they need to strike back against the snakes and slay their decapitated god once and for all, or will their failure to do so usher in the Age of the Serpent? Decide the fate of an entire world in this, the climax of the Serpent’s Skull Adventure Path!

    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path includes:
  • “Sanctum of the Serpent God,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 15th-level characters, by Neil Spicer
  • Aids and advice to continue your war against the serpentfolk even after the climax of the Serpent’s Skull Adventure Path, by James Jacobs
  • Secrets of the sinister snake cult of Ydersius, beheaded god of the serpentfolk, by Rob McCreary
  • The triumphant conclusion of the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws
  • Five new monsters, by Jesse Benner, Rob McCreary, and Neil Spicer

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: 978-1-60125-307-1

Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content
Sanctum of the Serpent God is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.

Download the rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheets — (495 kb zip/PDF)

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Product Reviews (2)

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***( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Sanctum of the rollfest (with lots of snakes)

**( )( )( )

This adventure picks up from the previous one: the party found an important NPC - Eando Kline, imprisoned by the serpentfolk. Eando supplies key information to continue the campaign: the serpentfolk high priest Vyr-Azul is planning to bring back the serpent god Ydersius, slain ages ago by an azlanti hero.

The moment of this restoration is near and the only chance to stop it is to first, get an über-weapon from the hidden jungle city they're already in. This weapon will allow them to access Ilmurea, the underground city where Vyr-Azul operates from. After this, they need to get an army to attack Ilmurea, enter the temple fortress known as the Sanctum of Ydersius and fight the high priest and the avatar of Ydersius before the serpent god has a definite shape and is still vulnerable.

The plot is super-linear with little space for creativity. The PCs need to get the McGuffin from a dungeon before moving on to the second dungeon.

The army part is a little deceiving. When one reads the summary for the first time, it looks like there is going to be some sort of army encounters à la Kingmaker or Wrath of the Righteous. Not so. The army-recruiting section is limited to talking to different factions or tribes the PCs have been exposed to previously in the campaign and trying to convince them to join their cause. So, a series of boring skill rolls: "Roll Diplomacy DC 35 five times and succeed at least three times" is not the most exciting of play moves. Repeat for every faction changing the skill used every time. Boooooring.

Do they end up using the army for anything even remotely fun? No... the armies are supposed to be fighting in the background while our heroes enter the fortress by themselves. I can't see why they added the army section, it brings nothing to the campaign.

Oh, yes... every faction they manage to recruit gives achievement points! These pointless things are used to change the difficulty of some early encounters in the fortress dungeon. This is the least exciting use for achievement points there ever was. So, if our heroes have a lot of armies fighting for them in the background, there are four morlocks in the entrance, instead of eight? Wow. Waste of space.

Once the PCs advance to Ilmurea, the armies are supposed to do their thing while our heroes attack the fortress. This is just a big dungeon split in two sections: the ground level and the dungeon below.

The first part is pretty uninteresting, some morlocks and a lot of serpentfolk in a pretty empty fortress. The entrance of the fortress is pretty mean-looking but other than that, lackluster. Also, the new creatures are just variants of big snakes.

The dungeon below is not much different but it gets very lethal: a marilith demon followed by a new serpent monster, followed by a super-serpentfolk fighter and then the final encounter with Vyr-Azul - a 16th level evil cleric serpentfolk with six attacks and a huge snake companion - followed by the avatar of Ydersius, a big powerful snake. This is the real final encounter, one full page of stats will keep the players entertained for a while.

It's not the boring layout of the fortress that keeps this flat, it's not even the monotony of serpent-themed encounters; it's the fact that the palace is a mere succession of combat after combat with little to no room for creativity - not in the way of social interaction or puzzles but neither in the way of battlefield tactics. It's just a plain ol' huge square room with a big ass monster to slay. Again and again. "Sanctum of the rollfest with lots of snakes", they should have called it.

My rating: 2 stars. This is a mindless dungeon crawl with nothing but combat. The serpent thing gets old after the 10th combat too.

Read my full review here

A well-written and challenging finale

****( )

This is a good finale module. It is sufficiently-epic, well-organized, concludes all the important story lines, and has some great encounters and events.


The "invasion" aspect works well if you like the prerequisite roleplaying and diplomacy. The hard work from the rest of the AP pays off here if you did it right.

The "Coils" are cleverly done. The back and forth with the Serpentfolk has worked well for our group in previous modules (the Seekers in module 4) and I think these will, too. My players will never go for the railroady assassination setups suggested, though, but this is a very minor complaint.

I really liked the sanctum. Other than its generous use of my paper and ink, it is a great final dungeon crawl with appropriate encounters along the main theme and a seriously dangerous, epic finale. If you kill those dudes, you totally won.

I thought the hunter's maze wasn't that interesting and reworked the recovery of the "weapon" (which is a cool encounter and theme) into a much smaller map. I was looking to cut some stuff, though, and a lot of this part seemed like filler to me. Given that, its written well enough, and others might like it.

The proto shoggoth is really cool - another great note in the abomination sub-theme.

For me, the only big problem with this module is the ridiculously bloated maps. These three maps print out (at standard 1 inch mini scale) at about 7 feet by 9 feet EACH! I think you may have been able to trim these down a bit, guys. People print maps and use figures, but it's just not practical with these behemoths.

Overall, this is an epic finale to the AP that manages to shine through the the failings of its wayward sibling modules. Major and minor themes of the AP - the overarching story of Savith & Ydersius, Azlant & the Serpentfolk, the various factions & tribes, the ongoing skirmishes, and the beloved abominations - are all woven in nicely. Thanks to Neil Spicer for pulling it all together into a refreshingly well-written finale.