Welcome back to d20 diaries! I hope you had a great weekend. With the start of this new week also comes a return to school for my children, a return to normalcy to many of my play-by-post campaigns and for us… a return to Wati.
That’s right! Our second game supplement is here!
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for Pathfinder, published by Paizo. Throughout the course of the the first two books, The Half-Dead City and Empty Graves, Wati acts as the players home base. This city is a colourful, quirky, fun locale, and I highly recommend making the most of it. Players who become invested in this city, and who make connections with its citizens right from book one will get much more enjoyment when Empty Graves comes around, than those who don’t.
Like most Pathfinder Adventure Paths, the back of The Half-Dead City has a great primer on its urban locale–in this case, Wati (of course). This article has all kinds of great locations, personalities and plot hooks. As is the case with any good adventure, there’s a ton of cool stuff! Unfortunately, that mean there’s not enough room to explore all the locations mentioned in the primer on Wati with any kind of detail. That is the job of the GM, and one I highly recommend GMs embrace. In order to help out with this, I’ll be posting a list of short social encounters and sights for your players to see throughout the city in the future, but today, we’re just going to focus on one: The Shrine of Wadjet.
After returning from their final foray into the Necropolis during Wati’s tomb lottery, my players were left with a stone tablet that makes mention of an ancient relic hidden in the ‘new city where the Asp and Crook join.’ Identifying this city and the age of the tablet was easy for them. Wati is the city where the Asp and Crook rivers join, mingling together to birth a new river, the Sphinx, the life-blood of Osirion. In fact, that’s why Wati was founded. To mark the birthplace of this holy river. As for the age, since the city is referred to as ‘new,’ clearly it’s referring to Wati’s founding, long before disaster struck the city.
Not content to assume that the location they found the tablet in was also the location of the ancient relic, my players rightly asked me a question: “What in Wati that survives today was part of its original construction?”
The answer? Lots.
With the lottery coming to a close, my players will no longer have access to the Necropolis. And it’s the Necropolis which contains Old Wati. The historic parts, the ancient parts… That’s all in the Necropolis.
Ammending the question to include only what they can access at the moment, they were left with only three locations: The Shrine of Wadjet, Ubet’s Folly, and the Whispering Stone. Knowing that two of the locations–the Shrine of Wadjet and Ubet’s Folly–are located on the banks of the River Sphinx itself, they seemed to be prioritizing these two locales.
Now, all three locations are mentioned in the primer on Wati, but none are detailed fully, leaving me with an opportunity to fill in these quirky locations.
So today we’re going to take a look at one of them, The Shrine of Wadjet.
The Shrine of Wadjet
Located upon the riverbank, just past the bustling Sunrise Market, is a small stone shrine with a single gold brick at it’s centre. Stairs lead from the shrine down into the river itself, disappearing underwater at the place where the Asp and Crook rivers conjoin, to birth the river Sphinx. Here you’ll find people from across Osirion bathing and praying, while countless locals draw their water from this site. Though faded and worn with age, ancient carvings of birds, snakes, scales and feathers can be seen upon this humble shrine, hidden beneath the grime of centuries.
Any of the locals nearby can provide your players with the following information:
- This Shrine is ancient, and marks a holy site.
- The River Sphinx is considered holy by citizens of Osirion. It’s birthplace–here, at the confluence of the Asp and Crook Rivers–is doubly so.
- Locals of Wati draw their water from the base of the Shrine, if they live close enough.
- Pilgrims come from all over Osirion to visit this holy site.
Unfortunately, more details on this Shrine are harder to come by. The following information can be discovered with the appropriate skill checks.
Knowledge (local) or Diplomacy to gather information:
- DC 12 – All festivals in Wati begin or end at this shrine.
- DC 15 – Wati’s temples all draw their water from the shrine and use it to make holy water.
- DC 20 – Although created to celebrate the birthplace of the River Sphinx, this shrine is dedicated to an ancient river goddess, long since fallen into obscurity. Whoever she was, no priests in Wati remember her, and no clergy tends her holy shrine. Apparently her holy animals were birds and snakes.
- DC 15 – No incidents of crocodile or snake attacks have ever been reported near the ancient shrine.
- DC 20 – When Pharaoh Djedert II ordered Wati’s construction he laid a gold brick where the Asp and Crook meet to form the holy Sphinx River. The Shrine was built around this brick, by the cult of Wadjet.
- DC 15 – Water drawn from the base of the shrine’s stairs under the sun of the summer solstice is said to have healing properties.
- DC 20 – The shrine is holy to an ancient river goddess known as Wadjet.
- DC 25 – Wadjet was worshipped in ancient Osirion and was considered to be the living embodiment of the River Sphinx. She was a teacher, a giver of wisdom and a protector of all peoples–from Pharaohs to commoners, and everyone in between. She was depicted in art as a snake-headed woman with wings. Her holy symbol was a uraeus, a two-headed cobra with feathered wings.
- Players who pass this knowledge check can attempt to learn more about uraeus with a knowledge (arcana) check, the results of which are found later in this article.
Players who choose to inspect the shrine can discover the following with a perception check.
- DC 15 – In addition to bird and snake imagery, there’s a strange symbol shown repeatedly in the shrine’s carvings–a two-headed cobra with feathered wings.
- DC 20 – The gold brick that lays near the water line is covered in ancient hieroglyphs.
- Players who speak Ancient Osiriani can read that the heiroglyphs are prayers marking the birth of the River Sphinx at the joining of the Crook and the Asp, invocations to Wadjet, and requests for Wadjet to bless the city founded in her honour at this holy site–the city of Wati. They also can see Pharaoh Djederet II’s name on the brick and the date it was placed: ’10th year of the rule of Pharaoh Djederet II, Summer of the Boiling Lake, Summer Solstice.’ This equates to the year -1608 AR, which is the year Wati was founded.
- DC 25 – Within the shrine, directly above the golden brick, is a particularly prominent winged-snake carving. This carving conceals a hidden compartment. By pressing in the wings of the carving and succeeding at a DC 10 strength check, the entire snake body pops up a few inches. This twenty pound, thirteen inch long piece of stone can then be lifted up and out of the floor of the shrine. Inside is a hollow cavity that is four inches wide, two feet deep and shaped like the stone which was removed. Forgotten for centuries at the bottom of this hidden compartment is a magical amulet holy to the faith of Wadjet–a Uraeus Amulet.
Spellcasters using detect magic cannot discern the aura of the amulet while the compartment is closed, as there is more than one foot of stone surrounding the object on all sides.
Knowledge (arcana) can be used to learn more about uraeus’ after any player discovers carvings of them, discovers the amulet, or learns about them from the knowledge religion check found earlier in this post.
- DC 15 – A uraeus is a magical beast native to Osirion’s rivers. They are intelligent and quite rare. They measure seven feet long and have a wingspan of approximately the same length. They weigh 150 pounds.
- DC 20 – Both heads of the uraeus can spit venom from their mouths at a range of thirty feet and are particularly fond of aiming for their enemies’ eyes. This same venom is injected into their victims through their bite.
- DC 25 – Uraeus are capable of speaking Aquan, Celestial, Common and Osiriani. They speak with a single voice that emanates from both heads at once. It is said that with proper offerings and a dedicated disposition a uraeus will take a supplicant on as a student, teaching them how to use the river’s bounty and serve their society.
- DC 25 – Uraeus are protectors of rivers and waterways said to be birthed by the Ancient Osirion goddess Wadjet herself. They are highly territorial and protect their rivers from those who would harm them or make them unsafe for travellers.
The Uraeus Amulet
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 6th; Slot neck; Price 5,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Attached to a gold chain, this gold and blue glass amulet is cast in the form of a uraeus–a two headed winged cobra. Whenever its wearer is affected by a fear effect, she may attempt a new saving throw at the end of her turn each round to end that effect. Furthermore, once per day on command, the amulet grants its wearer an aura of courage that lasts for 1 minute. This aura is otherwise identical to the aura of a 3rd level paladin.
Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, bless, remove fear Cost 2,750 gp
NOTE: The uraeus amulet was originally published in Wayfinder: Volume 12: Osirion: Ancient Sands as the ‘djed pillar amulet’ in an article entitled ‘Heroe’s Hoard: Bajaba’s Beetles and Reeds,’ by Joe Kondrak. Wayfinder is a fanzine available as a free pdf download on Paizo’s website (some are available in print but are no longer free). Volume 12 is available here. I highly recommend downloading this one if you’re going to be running Mummy’s Mask, as there are plenty of useful articles, items, and even a few short adventures that can be easily added into the campaign. And if you’re not running Mummy’s Mask? Download it anyway! It’s free and a great read.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little trip into Wati today. We’ll visit again in the future.