Another Pathfinder adventure path closes with Sanctum of the Serpent God (by Neil Spicer). The Serpent’s Skull adventure path started from a shipwreck and became a jungle expedition in search of an ancient lost city. In this final installment, the PCs need to stop the ancient serpent people from reviving their god, which involves an assault on the main serpent people citadel underneath the city ruins (the the same undercity the PCs explored in the previous segment). While quite combat-filled, there are nice opportunities for diplomacy here, since large parts of the undercity are described as big sandboxes with various competing factions – gaining some of these as allies will probably help a lot in the final assault.
It’s a decent completion to the adventure path. While the “main adversary” (or even the existence of such) only became clear at the end of the adventure path, the assault on the serpent stronghold contains quite a few interesting locations and the end is suitably cinematic. There’s nothing all that original here plotwise, but it’s fairly well plotted and has some freeform factors.
What about the “Serpent’s Skull” adventure path as a whole, now that it’s complete? I have to say it’s not all that good as a whole. The beginning is very good and the end is quite decent, but it loses focus in the middle parts. In hindsight, the middle section (arrival at the ruined jungle city) is the low point – instead of an exciting, mysterious bunch of ruins with a lot of Indiana Jones action, we get something that is, frankly, boring. The is no excitement, little mystery, and ridiculous amounts of repetitive combat with no clear goal or motive for the PCs, other than “explore and maybe find some loot”. The actual “main plot” only shows up in the last few episodes, and even there it’s a bit hit and miss. I can easily see the players going “screw this, we’re going home” well before they encounter the end game, or the “main plot” in the first place. Another negative is the fact that even though this thing is set in the “Africa” of Golarion (Pathfinder’s game world), there is precious little local color. The PCs are mostly white, the NPCs the same, and there is precious little “Africa” here other than a few gorillas and other jungle creatures. A lot of missed opportunity here.
It’s a pity, since the start is so good… but the meandering continuation, mostly invisible background/main plot and downright poor middle part more or less ruins this one. There is good stuff here, but unless your players absolutely love endless combat encounters, heavy rewrite is needed to make this playable as a whole.