Aura overwhelming all; CL 30th Slot none; Weight 150 lbs.
The skull of this impossibly huge viper seems to weep darkness from its ancient fangs in an endless, pestilent breath.
More than just a powerful artifact, the Skull of the Viper God is the actual skull of a deity, the vessel through which the much-diminished god of serpents perceives and influences existence. The viper god’s clerics still receive spells from their prayers, granted by the skull regardless of its location or ownership. There is no way a mortal can block this effect. Possession of the skull grants several abilities.
- Blessing of Scales: All reptilian creatures (including sorcerers with the serpentine or draconic bloodline, and druids wild-shaped into reptilian forms) within 160 feet of the Skull of the Viper God gain spell resistance 25 and fast healing 10.
- Unholy Aura: The skull treats the 80-foot-radius area around it as though an unhallow spell had been cast with the Skull of the Viper God as the point of origin. This effect carries with it two linked spells that affect only worshipers of the Viper God (death ward and freedom of movement), and two linked spells that affect all non-worshipers (bane and dimensional anchor).
- Voice of the Serpent: Once per day, a creature that touches the skull may cast commune to speak with the Viper God A non-worshiper of the Viper God who uses this power must make a successful DC 25 Will save each time the power is used to avoid succumbing to a feeblemind spell.
Any good-aligned creature that carries the Skull of the Viper God, even via an extradimensional space such as a portable hole, gains three negative levels. These negative levels remain as long as the skull is carried and disappear when the skull is released. These negative levels never result in actual level loss, but they cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells) while the skull is carried. A creature that suffers from these negative levels has a 50% spell failure chance on all divine spellcasting attempts.
The only way to destroy the Skull of the Viper God is to reunite it with the Viper God’s mindless, decapitated body. Doing so returns the Viper god to life, though in a weakened state. This manifestation can be combated and even slain, though it regenerates from nearly any wound short of re-decapitation. For an instant, before the whole body begins to regenerate, the Viper God’s spirit is untethered from his form.
The Skull of the Viper God is nothing less than the corpse of a deity. Those who meddle with the skull meddle in the dealings of the gods themselves.
- Cult of the Snake: Many who seek the Skull of the Viper God quickly discover they are not alone in their search. Although most of the remnants of the Viper God’s faith are in hiding, fanatical serpentfolk priests slink amid the cities of the surface world, seeking rumors of their god’s remains and paving the way for his return.
- Undying Power: The Skull of the Viper God allows the nearly dead god to retain his grip on existence, and the deity’s followers to continue to tap into his dark might. Its destruction would finish the job of slaying the Viper God and leave his followers powerless—yet destroying the skull means first restoring the Viper God to life, albeit in a weakened state.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Artifacts & Legends © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: F. Wesley Schneider.