Return of the Annunaki
Serpent Touchstone (Cursed)
Aura strong necromancy and conjuration [teleportation] (see text); CL 20th
Slot –; Weight 80 lbs.
This jade statue stands around 3-1/2 feet tall, depicting a reptilian humanoid like a serpentfolk, holding a staff, with an actual jewel (polished malachite) mounted in the head of the staff and the serpentfolk’s forehead, and appears well polished in all of its most exposed surface areas. The statue itself seems to defy damage all types of damage dealt to it (including magical damage; treat mundane damage as if against adamantine instead of normal stone).
When the statue is not in Nagajor: When detect magic or read magic are cast on the statue, it reveals a set of eleven symbols which are otherwise indecipherable, that hover in front of it and glow blue-green for 1d8+2 rounds, but they do not reveal the meaning of the symbols. Any attempts to learn its abilities (Appraise or Spellcraft checks) reveal only a minor prestidigitation which causes any surface around it to be cleaned and dusted when the statues is placed on a flat surface made of stone or earth. Only after this first effect is activated, does it reveal a possible secondary effect (ghost sound). Only when a legend lore spell is cast on the item does it reveal any of its deeper effects or history.
The statue houses a constructed sentience born from the collective passions of the Annunaki races, a sort of haunt that inhabits or influences those around it in order to achieve its goal of resolution; only when it reaches its home placement in Nagajor (or in the hands of a “caretaker” with the Annunaki blooded trait) is the curse lifted. Any person with the Annunaki blooded trait must commune with the statue for 10 minutes every 24 hours to neutralize its harmful tendencies, and even then, there is a 15% every day that it will momentarily gain hold once more, and can possess its victims for up to 1d4+2 rounds. This sentience has a limited capacity for understanding the PCs or its victims unless it is possessing a victim, at which time it also possesses that person’s memories and understanding of others, despite the person losing total control of their own actions.
When a person is being possessed (as if by a magic jar spell cast by another caster of the statue’s level, which works at any range, cannot be blocked by protection from evil, and requires no receptacle), their eyes light up with a mystical iridescent glow which becomes red when the statue’s sentience is angry or hostile against the PCs, and they are completely under the statue’s control, and retain all of the victim’s natural abilities and ability scores. The statue attempts to possess the most applicable PC (those with the lowest Wisdom first when multiple PCs or NPCs are present), and follows with the PC with the next lowest Wisdom score, and so on, repeating this cycle until it has coerced the PCs into accomplishing the task it has demanded, or until it has taken over each of them successfully. Any person successfully possessed by the statue, once released completely or rendered unconscious (or killed), cannot be possessed by the statue again for 1d4+2 hours (24 hours following being raised/resurrected if killed). The statue’s sentience acts aggressively without regard for the victim’s life, in order to coerce or force its handlers (the PCs) to take it Nagajor (“the land of the fire-stone mountains”) and to its caretakers (“the handlers and caretakers of the relics of the Ancients”). If any PC in the group has the Serpentine Sorcerer Bloodline, the Annunaki Blooded trait, or the Scalykind cleric domain, it considers that character a lowly caretaker, “not worthy of our pure trust” – and demands to be taken to a true caretaker, one which can only be found in “the place you call Nagajor.” It will force the PCs or any other victim to do anything it wishes in order to achieve its goals, including violently attacking the other PCs at the expense of the victim’s life, and it remains merciless and unsympathetic to any excuses – it does, however, allow the PCs time to rest, eat, and take care of necessities (only when necessary), including resting to replenish spells and other daily abilities (since it knows that, only by being prepared for any dangers ahead, can the PCs truly be capable of returning it to its necessary caretakers). The statue’s curse will affect the PCs even if they place it inside another item or an extradimensional space, such as a bag of holding.
The statue is not an intelligent item, but the powers it houses are constructed from a collective consciousness of beings living and deceased; treat this transient sentience as having Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 15 for the purposes of roleplaying its reactions, but always treat it mechanically with the abilities of the possessed victim. If the PCs attempt to reason with the possessing being, or otherwise make Diplomacy or Intimidate checks, the possessed creature can still choose to aid the skill checks of the other PCs, even while not otherwise in control of their own body.
When the statue arrives in Nagajor: When it is brought to the land of Nagajor (within the nation’s borders), the statue’s sentience pacifies somewhat, becoming less violent against the PCs except under situations of extreme circumstances (any action which directly violates its directives), but remains coercive and stern in its resolve for them to finish their duties. Any blooded character can commune with the statue for 1 hour to pacify it completely during this communing, and for the remaining 23 hours of the day. When placed on the pedastal designated for it in Nagajor’s scholarly noble court, its curse is lifted completely.
Destruction: The serpentfolk touchstone can only be destroyed by acid (50 or more damage), mixed with the blood of an Annunaki Overlord, or that of a blooded serpentfolk or naga with at least 25 HD. A statue which is destroyed by any means reforms within 30 feet of the last person (still living) that it possessed, after 24 hours. Attempting to destroy the statue through extreme means, such as by throwing it into the top of an active volcano, does not destroy the statue completely for 1d6 hours, during which time it will attempt to possess and kill every creature involved in its attempted destruction, before reforming one day later, and beginning the cycle all over again. The statue is not intended to be destroyed, but to be returned to its placement in Nagajor, where its curse hazards are negated and resolved successfully.
BACK STORY: Created long ago as a set of eleven touchstones (2 in Vudra, 6 in Nagajor, 1 in Sarusan, 1 on Castrovel, and the current statue), this jade and malachite stone artwork is at rest peacefully when placed on its pedastal in Nagajor, when all the passions of the Annunaki can slumber peacefully, safe in the knowledge that their schemes are still in place. However, when the statue is removed from Nagajor by the naga financier, and given to the vishkanya crime ring leader, it must be communed with for 10 minutes every 24 hours, or else its powers will manifest, and it will demand to be taken home or to its caretakers.
The serpent touchstones all share the same properties as this one, though their greater powers always remain silent (with the exception of the curse, which acts only on the contingent of being removed from its pedastal in Nagajor). As soon as the PCs enter the borders of Nagajor, the presence of the touchstone at this unique time also makes one of their most secretive gateways begin to activate sporadically, and the naga scholars see this as a sign of some greater activity related to the statue’s destined purposes. Each statue, along with being deceptively mundane in many ways, is a powerful relic of the Serpent Empires – one capable of creating a network of teleportation gates across multiple continents and worlds.
The secondary effects of the statue, including the curse itself, are only meant to serve as a precaution against would-be tomb robbers, pirates, or relic theives – making certain that any appraisal on the item results in the same mundane response, followed by the curse effects, in the case of being sold or given away to a non-blooded individual or group. By ensuring that the statue is cared for only by a blooded being (a descendant of the Annunaki), and by violently attacking people and forcing them to return the statue to its rightful place, the statues have – for the most part – been safely kept where they were meant to be, in the hands of the nagas and other serpent rulers, waiting for the return of the reptilian overlords. Only when the PCs prove themselves worthy of the right to help protect the lands of Golarion, and ally with some of the most influential nagas in many lands, they will be granted access to this ages-old gate network, and be privy to the greater resources of the nagas which seek to fulfill the greater destiny of their peoples prior to the return of the Annunaki.