Skull & Shackles
Ships passing within sight of the isle can still see the ruins of the pirate lord Nalt’s fortress, Eel’s Skull, staring arrogantly over the edge of a sheer cliff on the northern expanse of the island’s eastern shore. Every sailor knows untold wealth and power lie somewhere deep within that cursed castle’s abandoned halls and caverns.
The rocky outcropping that gives Nalt’s fortress its name once sat above the structure’s entrance, but the grand iron portcullis that allowed broad carts laden with pirate booty to pass into the castle was crushed by tons of falling rock when the demented pirate lord put the place to the torch. The only known ways to access the fortress interior now are the “eye sockets” of the skull: two large oval openings, both blackened by the same flames that consumed Nalt. Reaching these apertures requires a perilous climb, with angry waves pounding the cliffs nearly 200 feet below. Once inside the place, there’s no telling how deep the chambers and caves descend. Ancient demons of Ghol-Gan are thought to prowl the levels below, guarding the treasures and primeval artifacts Nalt saw fit to deny his enemies by setting the fortress and himself on fire. Numerous adventurers have set out to explore Eel’s Skull (with at least three expeditions mounted by the Pathfinder Society), and it has been rumored in recent times that some parties even managed to access the labyrinthine lair’s blocked-off dungeon levels. Only two adventurers, however, are known to have emerged from the dread dungeons alive, both terribly altered by the experience; no attempts at healing could restore either to full health or sanity, nor could they repair the survivors blind, pupil-less eyes; ash white skin; or permanent tremulousness. One eventually committed suicide by setting himself on fire (certainly more than mere coincidence, considering Nalt’s own fiery end), while the other, a Pathfinder named Gelrue Palane, is last rumored to have set off for Besmara’s Throne.