Have any of you seen the film Kubo and the Two Strings? I watched it with my children and husband recently, and was literally amazed by it.
Kubo is wonderful stop-motion movie that follows a boy named Kubo on a journey to protect himself from the dreaded Moon King. But Kubo is no ordinary boy. Kubo can make magic happen by playing his samisen. On his journey he’s accompanied by an origami samurai, a talking monkey, and a samurai beetle who has amnesia.
It’s a samurai film and a fantasy film, lovingly made with puppets and gorgeous scenery. Not only was it a joy to look at, the story was well-developed, the characters were lovable (or terrifying) and everyone was… well-rounded. Whole, believable people. No one thought they were the villain, not everyone got along, and not everything came down to killing things. It was a touching tale, and admittedly I was sobbing my face off near the end, but at the same time, it was heartwarming and hopeful.
Although an American movie, Kubo is clearly a Japanese story, and a ton of research went into making it as historically accurate as possible–considering the story, haha. For those of you who haven’t given this movie a chance, I STRONGLY recommend you do.
Watching Kubo made me want to play some of the awesome adventures I have kicking around my house that have an Eastern feel to them, but since I have way too many campaigns on the go as it is, today we’re going to celebrate them on d20 Diaries! Presenting my five favourite d20 adventures that are inspired by Eastern cultures. Whether they’ve got samurai, ninja, monasteries of contemplative warrior monks seeking enlightenment, or a fusion of many places and cultures, these adventures celebrate, embrace, emulate or are inspired by the Far East!
So sit back, and enjoy!
The Winding Way
The first adventure we’re taking a look at is The Winding Way. Written by Nicholas Logue, and Published by Paizo in Dungeon Magazine Volume 117, The Winding Way is a 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons adventure intended for 14th level characters. Although it was written for a ‘neutral’ campaign setting and is meant to be dropped into any fantasy world, The Winding Way is clearly inspired by contemplative warrior monks like the Shaolin of China. That being said, it’s a horror adventure first and foremost, so don’t expect to be achieving enlightenment, or making friends with this one.
The Winding Way takes place at a secluded temple monastery which was built on the slopes of Darkmoon Mountain. During construction the Master, Marik Draven, discovered an ancient stone door, sealed for untold generations. Marik and his students were unable to decipher much of the text, but what they did translate was ominous: words like death, darkness and plague. Marik halted construction of his temple and meditated in contemplation. Eventually he decided that the door should be left untouched, and that his temple would be built around and above it. In addition to being a school for martial arts and enlightenment, the Temple of the Winding Way would become a guardian of this unholy doorway, ensuring it remained sealed for all time.
But it was not to last. Out of jealousy and greed, a rebuffed student sought to steal the riches of the temple for himself, and discovered the graven door. He picked the locks, disabled the door’s defences, and opened it, sealing the fate of those within the temple. For death was behind the door, and its spread is unstoppable!
This adventure has the PCs explore the Temple of the Winding Way for a variety of reasons, only to find that everyone inside has been turned into undead monstrosities. In order to put an end to this evil, they’ll have to defeat a wide variety of undead including bhuts, dread wraiths, forsaken shells, vampires and–my personal favourite–a pennaggolan monk! That’s right, an undead monk that’s going to use unarmed strike to fight with his own lungs and entrails. It’s going to be AWESOME! In addition, they’ll have to pass through the trials of the Winding Way itself, not all of which can be accomplished with brute strength or agility, and discover the source of the undead plague.
The Quest for Perfection
The second adventure we’re taking a look at today is actually a three-part trilogy of Pathfinder Society Scenarios entitled the Quest for Perfection. All three scenarios are Tiers 1-5. Scenario #3-09: The Quest for Perfection Part 1: The Edge of Heaven is written by Jerall Toi, and takes place in Tian Xia, a continent on Golarion strongly inspired by Chinese cultures. This adventure tasks the Pathfinders with travelling through the Wall of Heaven, the tallest mountain range on Golarion, on a journey to reach the Clouded Path Monastery and obtain an ancient relic, the Braid of a Hundred Masters, from the monastery. The trip is dangerous, and has a lot of wonderfully designed encounters where terrain plays a huge part. In addition to the perils of the mountain itself, the players are clearly on a pilgrimage trail, and there’s a lot of neat shrines, and other monuments along their journey. Upon reaching the monastery itself, they find it the lair of violent yetis who make excellent use of their surroundings. Their leader throws relics and nearby objects at the group including foo lion statues (of which there’s a picture)! In addition to enemies, the group can also meet a former monk of the monastery, currently a statue capable of tactile telepathy, who can share much of the history of the monastery with the group. After obtaining the Braid of a Hundred Masters, the Pathfinders discover it’s powers have gone dormant, which leads us into part two.
Scenario #3-11: The Quest for Perfection Part 2: On Hostile Waters is written by Benjamin Bruck, and sets the Pathfinders on a quest to reactivate the Braid of a Hundred Masters by bringing to the last remaining descendant of its rightful owner, a woman from the town of Nesting Swallow by the name of Je Tsun. The journey is a long one, down the Tuunma River and into the Sea of Eels. The river is surrounded on all sides by political turmoil, as it passes through the warring successor states of Lingshen, Po Li and Quain. In addition to the dangers of the river, and banditry, the players have to defend the Braid from soldiers and naval ships from Lingshen who desire to claim its power for themselves.
Scenario #3-13: The Quest for Perfection Part 3: Defenders of Nesting Swallow is written by Sean McGowan, and finally sees the Pathfinders arrive in the small town of Nesting Swallow, only to discover it has been under attack from tengu bandits. Je Tsun agrees to aid them in reactivating the Braid of a Hundred Masters–and will even let them keep it–if they can defend Nesting Swallow from the villains who prey upon them. The rest of the adventure allows the players to organize the defence of the town, train the villagers, and set up barricades or whatever else the group might think of. When the bandits finally come, they get to see how their work has paid off (or not!) as the villagers and the Pathfinders fight alongside one another to drive off the bandits. Wave after wave attacks the town, and whether anyone survives is up to your players. In the end, the bandit leader himself joins the battle, the tengu samurai mounted atop his axe beak mount: Khwankonu! This is the adventure’s finale, and is a ton of fun! If Je Tsun lives she makes good on her word and reignites the magic of the Braid, bestowing it upon the Pathfinders for saving her village.
This is a wonderful, atmospheric adventure that has the players explore the frozen wastes of Kisarimuke, with the purpose of finding the Amata Goten–the legendary Palace of Plenty–which was said to be a magical palace that once was connected to the city of Okabaimura. After making the journey through Kisarimuke, the group can explore the ruins of Okabaimura, a sombre, mysterious experience. Events in the ruins can give the group clues as to the nature of the Palace of Plenty, and how to get there, but it does so in a very subtle, wonderful way. After eventually finding the way to Amata Goten, the players find a beautiful palace, lush with greenery, that is frozen in time. Within are spirits and ghosts, and many more mysteries. I’ll refrain from giving anything else away about this adventure. But, I will say that I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful this adventure hints at the backstory, and the stories and lives of the ghosts and spirits within it, without just giving away information. It’s subtlety is spectacular.
The Ruby Pheonix Tournament
The fourth adventure we’re looking at is The Ruby Phoenix Tournament, a Pathfinder adventure written by Tim Hitchcock and intended for 11th level characters. This adventure brings us back to the Wall of Heaven on the continent of Tian Xia. Here, on the island of Xielan, a prestigious fighting tournament takes place, which allows the winners to claim any one object from the treasury of Hao Jin, the Ruby Pheonix. This tournament attracts combatants from all over the world, including from nations inspired by real-world Japan, China, India and many more. The matches the players are going to engage in are varied, with the terrain often playing an important part in the battles. Some places the players might find themselves fighting in are: flooded mud pools, hot coals, atop multiple towers and rope bridges, and even fighting horizontally on the side of a cliff (literally standing on the cliff face with slippers of spider-climb)! Your players are bound to be continually surprised. In addition to the tournament battles, the players can join in extra matches and challenges. But as the tournament proceeds it becomes clear that something is wrong. From entrants being poisoned and assassins attacking, the players will have to work fast to figure out who’s trying to put an end to the Ruby Pheonix Tournament and stop them, before it’s too late!
Although this adventure has a simple premise, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s a great, exciting adventure that can be a ton of fun!
Tide of Honor
The final adventure we’re talking about today is my very, very favourite. Jade Regent Part 5 – Tide of Honor by Tito Leati. Now, the Jade Regent is a Pathfinder campaign where the last three books take place in Minkai, Paizo’s Japanese inspired nation in Tian Xia, but volume five of the series is my all time favourite. This adventure was clearly written with such LOVE and RESPECT. It’s honestly astounding how clearly that shows in the final product. But enough about the writing, what about the adventure?!
Tide of Honor has the PCs arrive in Minkai with their friend Ameiko Kaijitsu, true heir to the Imperial Throne of Minkai. …But they have no army! Minkai is currently ruled by the Jade Regent, a vicious tyrant who claimed the throne by murdering the emperor. In order to overthrow the Jade Regent the players are going to need allies. A LOT of them. The players single out an honourable Ronin and his small band of masterless samurai as a likely ally, knowing that they were expelled from the capital and are opposed to the Jade Regent. If the players can make contact with the ronin and ally with them, they will gain not only a number of trained warriors, but also allies who know the country, and may be able to help the group get other allies–or at least in contact with them. The leader of the ronin, Hirabashi Jiro attempts to test the PCs character and, if he finds them trustworthy, gives them a task. There is a group of bandits terrorizing the villagers and farmers of the region, but as they operate in two units, the ronin do not have enough warriors to defeat both groups at once. If the players can attack and conquer the bandit fortress, then Jiro and his men can take out the raiders before they harm any innocents. This opening battle is very adaptable and mobile, featuring a lot of ways the players can go about attacking, and organic ways in which the inhabitants respond to attacks. This encounter can benefit a LOT from good planning and scouting, and it’s a great location. To make it better? If the players can defeat the bandits, not only does Jiro agree to join your cause, but he also sets up the fortress as a base of operations for your group and your allies. This fortress is YOURS.
After some deliberation and discussion, Jiro can give the group a list of important political players and potential allies throughout the nation: the ninja clans of Enganoka, the merchants of Minkai who can be contacted by the geisha of Sakakabe, and the samurai of a cruel daimyo! But success isn’t as easy as simply meeting these groups, the players will have to earn their trust, and prove themselves worthy. But, if they can? The players will have an army at their disposal, one which will help them take on the Jade Regent himself and restore the throne to its rightful heir!
But the Jade Regent has many spies, and will not let the players operate without opposition! I hope you’re ready for some fearsome Oni!
And that’s all for us today! I hope you enjoyed taking a look at some of my favourite Eastern styled adventures! What are yours? Did I miss any you think deserve to be on my list?
Welcome to d20 Diaries! Today we’re taking a look at my husband and mine’s first session of Iron Gods! Iron Gods is a six-part adventure path by Paizo Publishing that fuses technology and fantasy into one awesome Pathfinder campaign. The first volume, Fires of Creation, is written by Neil Spicer, and is intended to bring characters from levels one to four. The Iron Gods Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, here. For further information on the Iron Gods campaign, check out my blog post ‘Iron Gods Adventure Path,’ and for information on our characters, check out my blog post ‘Iron Gods: Character Focus: Haji and Nix.’ If you’re going to play Iron Gods yourself, I highly recommend picking up the Iron Gods Pawn Collection, which has a ton of unique pawns for use in the campaign.
Our story begins with Haji returning to Torch after a week spent mining in the surrounding foothills. He strode into town tall and proud, olive skin slick with sweat, and long black hair and beard weighted down by the stones and gems braided into its length. He carried his trusty shovel over his shoulder and wore a heavy backpack. Beside him scurried Rothmhar, a hideously ugly, hairless rat with rocky protrusions sticking up out of his flesh.
Haji strode through town, watching the citizens with his one green eye. The other eye was nothing but a large glittering gem resting in an empty eye socket and encircled by a massive triangular brand. Despite his poor vision, Haji noticed the garbage piling up in the streets, the over-crowded bars and and the unusual amount of idle citizens. Haji popped by his tiny shack in the junkyard to drop off his gear, then visited his friend, Junkmaster Garritt Burrwaddle. After paying him a few shiny stones as rent he set off to visit his girlfriend, Nix.
Nix’s home was a small one-room warehouse crowded with a mess of scrap, cluttered worktables and unfinished projects. When Haji arrived, Nix was tinkering with an unfinished device–a gun that had more in common with a hunk of junk than a proper firearm. She wore massive work goggles over her eyes and was wielding a screwdriver with her large mechanical arm. After a short reunion, Nix exclaimed with a smile:
“Took you long enough, freak! Let’s go!”
“Go? Go where?”
“Go where? What?! Oh, boy, are YOU in for a surprise! Come on!”
Nix led Haji through Torch, then up the Black Hill where Haji was surprised to discover no smiths, and no labourers. And worst of all? No violet flame. The lifeblood of Torch had died. Without the violet flame atop Black Hill, the town’s economy would flounder, and they would no longer be able to pay tribute to the oppressive Technic League.
“See? What the hell, right?” Nix prodded. “When it went out people were freaking out. Screaming and crying! Haha! They’re still freaking out! It’s been… like… four days or something.”
Surmounting the hill, Haji and Nix went to check out the former site of the flame. Now little more than depression in the earth filled with a strange, rippling, black fluid, that swirled with a prismatic sheen. It smelt weird–burning wildflowers, crude oil, vinegar, citrus, even vanilla on occasion. Nix scooped some up in a bucket and carried to home to test in her alchemy lab.
“Whoah! What are you going to do with that?” Haji asked with worry. “Don’t eat it! That stuff will mess you up!”
Nix only laughed.
The next few days were busy. Nix tinkered in her lab, Haji sifted through the junkyard, did a bit of mining and stuffed himself to bursting at the local taverns. And Torch? Things weren’t looking so well for our little town.
Massive headaches plagued its citizens. Tunnels were discovered underneath Torch, where more than a few groups of adventurers had gone missing plumbing their depths. Khonnir Baine, a friend of Haji’s and one of Torch’s Councilmen entered the tunnels and returned with a disabled automaton. After speaking with the rest of the Council he headed back below ground, and hasn’t been heard from since. The Council posted a staggering reward for the rescue of Khonnir–4,000 gold! And another 4,000 gold to whoever can get the violet flame burning again.
Worried for Khonnir, Haji picked up Nix, and together they went to the Foundry to visit Khonnir’s daughter, Val. The place was closed, but as they approached they heard a scream and a lot of loud crashing noises.
“Val?!” Haji called out. He took off at a run for the Baine’s home. “This way, Nix!”
As they turned the corner a metal monstrosity came crashing out of the front door with a jerky, staggering gait. As wood splinters showered the front steps, the five-foot tall, three-legged robot reached for the house and began tearing it apart with its four-fingered hands. The automaton was a wreck. Although it’s spider-like legs allowed it to maneuver across the ground with ease, the rest of the body was in poor repair. Parts of its chassis was missing, revealing technological components and delicate circuitry within. It’s head was lop-sided, and each movement made a loud and tortured grinding noise.
From inside the house, Haji heard Val scream.
Haji growled and charged at the robot with his shovel. “I’m coming, Val!”
From behind him, Nix smiled. “Whoah! This thing is amazing! Look at it move!”
“Take it down, Nix!” Haji ordered.
Nix laughed. Pulling a clockwork device from her belt she gave it a twist, causing thin protrusions like a spider’s leg to extend from its centre. Nix placed the device against her collarbone, where the thin filaments punctured her skin. Suddenly a crackling aura of electricity sparked to life around her. A moment later it disappeared, but she could feel it around her. The air was alive with power.
“With pleasure, babe.”
Haji fought the robot with his shovel, putting his muscles to good use, while Nix drew her morningstar and beat at the robot. Although it took the pair a while to take the mechanical marvel down, they were relatively unscathed from the battle. Haji hurried off into the house, worried over Val, while Nix stayed outside and began disabling the robot for scrap.
At the sight of Haji, Val burst out from her hiding place under a table and gave the intimidating half-orc a big hug. Haji laughed with relief.
In time, he calmed Val down and learned that the rumours were true, Khonnir Baine was missing. With hopeful eyes, Val asked Haji if he was going to save her father, and Haji assured her he would. In gratitude, Val offered Haji and Nix the use of the Foundry Tavern as a base of operations while they explored the tunnels beneath Torch. She promised them clean bedrolls on the floor, and hearty meals cooked for them whenever they desired. With more heartfelt pleas from the child to save her father, Haji went back outside to see Nix.
Poking her head up from the robots inner workings, Nix smiled widely. “Give me a hand hauling this back home! There’s all kinds of great stuff in here!”
Haji laughed. “Want to go to those deadly tunnels under Torch to find Khonnir with me?”
“Pfft! Heck yeah!”
As they dragged a broken metal automaton down the street, Nix pointed out, “Hey, we should go to the Town Hall first so we get paid for it. Isn’t there a reward for saving him?”
With their priorities set straight, Haji and Nix dropped the robot’s carcass off in Nix’s workshop and traipsed through Torch to the town hall.
Although one of the nicest buildings in the town, it was quiet today. Only one Councillor, Dolga Freddert, was present in the offices. Dolga was well-respected around Torch, and had been around since the violet flame first arced up into the sky. She was there, experimenting with smelting, while the town of Torch sprung up around her. Unfortunately, neither Haji or Nix we particularly well-versed in local history. Both were more interested in their crafts than politics and local legends.
“What do you want?” Dolga asked from her cluttered office. Despite the dwarven woman’s old age, a massive adamantine warhammer was within reach of her desk.
“We’re going to rescue Khonnir Baine.” Haji replied.
Nix raised an eyebrow and smiled. “You paying?”
Dolga frowned. She gave the duo a thorough once over, then shrugged. “Why not. You won’t be the first to die down there, and I’m getting desperate. Come in then, and I’ll tell you what I know.”
Haji and Nix spoke with Dolga for a while, learning all they could about the tunnels below Torch, the previous groups who ventured there, and what was discovered within. Of particular note? The entrance to the tunnels is in the Weeping Pond. Underwater. Could be trouble! Haji and Nix bargained with Dolga, eventually earning the group a writ good for 20% off at all shops and stalls in Torch, and the promise that Joram Kyte, a Councillor and priest of Brigh, would cast a water breathing spell upon the duo whenever they desired. Armed with information and away to avoid drowning, Haji thanked Dolga for her time, and then left with Nix.
After a quick trip to the temple of Brigh to have Joram work his magic upon them, Haji and Nix arrived at the Weeping Pond. This placid-looking pond was devoid of life. No plants grew near its banks, no fish swam within it, and no animals ventured near it. The placid waters are toxic and stunk of sulphur and other chemicals. It was enough to make their nostrils burn and their eyes water.
Haji examined the surrounding terrain, and came up with a pretty good guess of where the tunnels were most likely to be located. Then the pair plunged into the poisonous pond. Visibility was horrible, and they stuck close together to avoid getting lost.
Suddenly, the water shifted around Haji, and what looked like a circular air bubble the size of a child sped straight toward him. As it slammed into his chest its touch burned like acid. It stuck to him–or it tried to–and Haji squirmed out of its grip. He swung his shovel at it, but the water made it difficult, and although he struck the strange gelatinous blob, he barely harmed it at all.
Seeing Haji flail around like a weirdo, Nix swam a bit closer to him, but couldn’t see the creature. Haji was on his own!
As the giant amoeba (Bestiary 2) surged at Haji, sizzling away part of his flesh with it’s touch, Haji screamed–a sign to Nix that something had hurt him, even if she couldn’t see it. Changing tactics, Haji stabbed at the creature with his shovel, jabbing its tip into the weird blob just as he would dig into the earth. By the time Nix joined the battle it was half-over, and the strange creature broke apart and died shortly after.
With no further enemies barring their way, Haji Nix and Rathmhar discovered the underground tunnels and made their way inside. Eventually they reached a stony, soot-scarred beach. The dark water continued on, past the beach and into the darkness. The air in this cavern still stunk, and the walls were thick with moisture. Upon the stone beach was a head-high ledge that opened the way to a low-ceilinged cave dotted with stalagmites and stalactites.
Haji and Nix clambered up out of the water and onto the stone beach. They discovered signs of the previous explorer’s passage: footprints and scuff marks leading up the ledge and into the cavern, as well as signs of an alchemical explosion. As they looked around, Haji noticed an approaching light just before a trio of giant beetles with glowing glands on their heads burst from a fissure in the wall over the water. The beetles looked ravenous, and surged across the water at Haji, Nix and Rathmhar. But Haji wasn’t taken by surprise. He smashed his shovel into one of the bugs, crushing its head before it had a chance to bite him. The other fire beetles (Bestiary or Bestiary Pocket Edition.) put up more of a fight, but not enough to be more than a hinderance. Nix set upon their corpses with glee, carving out their glowing glands to use as a light source.
With their macabre lantern prepared, Haji led the way up onto the ledge, and into the low-ceilinged cavern. Being over six and a half feet tell, Haji had to stoop quite low just to proceed, but Nix had less trouble, being only five foot four. The cavern was filled with stalagmites and stalactites, turning it into a forest of rough stone. As they creeped forward they discovered a body. Worried, Haji immediately fell to his knees… And was relieved to see it wasn’t Khonnir Baine. It was a half-orc woman who had clearly been robbed. She had wounds on her back… Knife, perhaps? Some kind of short blade? Whatever it was she hadn’t seen it coming. Unfortunately for the corpse, neither Haji nor Nix had any idea who she was. With a shrug they continued on, eventually entering a large cavern. Haji smiled and stretched, happy to be able to stand up straight.
The cavern continued straight ahead, with a pool of water on the left and a tunnel leading deeper into the caves on the right. Haji and Nix entered the cave warily, worried about whatever had killed the half-orc. Noticing a magical aura coming from in the water, they approached the pool only to come face to face with a pale white, frog beast.
Despite the warning, Nix only laughed. “Close ONE eye? Which one are you gonna use?”
But as the blindheim turned its red gaze onto Nix it wasn’t very funny anymore. She was blind. It bit her and tried to drag her into the pond, but she struggled. Haji beat it upside the head and Nix punched at it with her metal arm–striking nothing but air. This fight would be up to Haji!
The battle against the blindheim turned out to be the toughest fight the party faced so far, lasting a staggering seven full rounds before the creature was defeated. Bad luck plagued the party, with miss after miss from both Haji and the blinded Nix. Right before the battles end, Nix fell unconscious, and a furious Haji finally beat the blindheim’s head into paste before hurrying to Nix’s side.
“Nix! Can you hear me?”
Using magic granted to him by Rothmhar, Haji healed her wounds.
“Wow, this place SUCKS!” she remarked as she regained consciousness. “I mean it! It’s so overpopulated! How have these things not eaten each other by now?”
Haji laughed. “The blindness will pass in a few hours. Best to head back home for now. But first…”
Haji dove into the water and looked around for the source of the magical aura he had seen earlier. Finding it on a dead body, Haji dragged it to the surface.
“Don’t be Khonnir. Don’t be Khonnir.”
The body was mostly eaten… The armour and clothing were ruined. It looked male… It could be Khonnir… But the belt pouch on the hip finally gave him a clue. It contained gold, some healing potions–all of which could be Khonnir’s–and a silver holy symbol of a pick made from bones with a skull at its centre. Definitely NOT Khonnir’s.
Haji breathed a sigh of relief before returning to Nix’s side. Leaving the body (and the other one) behind, Haji helped Nix through the stalactite forest, back down the ledge and into the flooded tunnels. Tying themselves together to prevent being lost, they set off into the toxic Weeping Pond and finally climbed out stinky and soaking wet onto the beach in Torch.
Haji and Nix had survived their first foray into the tunnels.
Would they survive the next?
That’s up to the dice!
I hope you enjoyed our first experience with the Iron Gods Adventure Path! Tune in next time when we continue our foray below Torch with more from book one, Fires of Creation!
Last week we talked about the Iron Gods Adventure Path that my husband and I were about to begin together and mused over character concepts. Well, it took some time, but my husband finalized his character and I set about creating my own. So before we embark onto Iron Gods: Book One: Fires of Creation together this week, we’re going to take a look at the characters who’ll be attempting this campaign. Wish them luck! They’re going to need it!
Haji is a tall half-orc with olive skin and a piercing green eye. He has long black hair and a bushy black beard, both of which have rocks, gems and stones beaded into their lengths. He has a lot of body piercings, all of which have rocks, crystals, metals and gems in place of earrings. He has one eye and one gemstone in place of the second. A strange brand encircles the gem-filled eye socket. Though friendly, Haji’s appearance tends to shock and scare the people he meets. He has few friends.
Haji was raised and kept as a slave by a mean half-orc shaman. His Master was cruel to him, and forced him to participate in strange rituals. When Haji was young his Master tore out his eye and branded a strange triangular rune around the empty eye socket. After it healed, Haji took to placing decorative stones and gems in this eye socket, to make himself feel better. His Master forced Haji to work as a miner, ceaselessly toiling beneath the earth for stones, and for… something else. Something big. Haji never discovered what it was. Still, Haji toiled long and hard, suffering through great abuse, for scraps of food. To help fill his belly he took to eating small stones, a habit which he still has to this day. Haji dreamed of rumbling in the earth. Earthquakes and worse. To this day he finds such tectonic activity both exciting and comforting. Like an old friend. Working in the mines hardened Haji, and one day he saw a little rat in the tunnels with him. Much to his surprise, the rat looked right into his eyes and spoke.
“Kill your master.”
Haji had gone insane.
Or had he?
Haji saw the rat again and again over the next few days, always it told him the same thing. Eventually, Haji went to bed, dreaming for the first (and only) time in his life of something other than earthquakes: he dreamed of talking rats and something he had never imagined before: freedom.
When he awoke Haji’s master was nowhere to be found. Haji never saw him again.
Free, and with no idea what to do with himself, Haji and the rat–who he’s pretty sure can’t really speak… Can it?–lingered around the camp for a while. Haji shared a few delicious stones with the rat only to see the rat begin to shake and convulse. It frothed at the mouth and soon was overcome with bubbles, which hardened into a rock-like cocoon. Haji was terrified! And oddly… transfixed. He could hear strange voices in his head… Was it the rat? Magic began to awaken inside him. An hour later the cocoon cracked open and the rat came out with strange rock-like protrusions sprouting from his skin. And Haji? Haji could use magic! Whatever had happened, Haji and the rat were inseparable after that. They happily shared a few stones together each morning, which always resulted in a new stone coating for the rat and magical powers for Haji. The rat told him his name was Rothmhar. At least, Haji thinks the rat told him that. His mouth never seemed to move…
Eventually the pair set out into the unknown. In time they came to Torch, where Haji worked his trade as a miner, and earned enough coin to get by. When he’s in the town Haji pitches his tent in the junkyard, with the permission of the Junkmaster, Garritt Burrwaddle. It was there that he met an enthusiastic woman scavenging for junk in order to make a mechanical arm to replace her missing one. In time the pair became lovers and started dating.
A few months ago Haji became a student of Khonnir Baine, owner of the Foundry, Councilman of Torch, and a local mage and alchemist of some repute. Under Khonnir’s tutelage Haji learned more about his strange magical powers. He also became acquainted with Khonnir’s young, adopted daughter, Val.
Haji enjoys mining and being underground. He loves rocks, gems and metals of all kinds. He decorates his flesh with them, sells them to make a living, and consumes them alongside his rat. As a person who grew up with nothing, he loves stuff! But his favourite things? Eating. Haji eats like he’s never going to eat again, stuffing himself to bursting every meal, and eating whenever the opportunity arrises, even if he’s not hungry. Haji still dreams of earthquakes, and often shouts, “Quake and shake!” before charging into battle with his trusty shovel and pick.
But Haji is far more than he seems. First off, his master didn’t take him from anyone, or steal him. His master made him. Haji was his master’s clone. And his rat? A divine conduit to the slumbering god Mhar, who rests beneath the ground, stuck dreaming ceaseless dreams until the day he is awakened. This is why Haji has always toiled: his master wanted him to find Mhar, and with his passing, Haji’s spirit animal has taken up the cause. They hope that in time Haji will find Mhar and awaken him, or grow old and make a new clone, to continue the cycle anew. Whatever the case, Haji’s soon going to discover his rat is more than meets the eye, and the mysterious powers of the world that grants him his magic? Not so benevolent!
Mechanically, Haji is a shaman connected to the spirits of the earth. His patron is Mhar, the slumbering old god of caverns, mountains, volcanoes, chaos, destruction, earth and fire. His spirit animal is the rat, Rothmhar. He fights with the tools of his trade, typically his shovel and miner’s pick. His spells of choice are magic stone, monkeys and obscuring mist, although he’s more than capable of casting magical healing spells, as well. Haji can shoot gouts of acid from his hands and there’s something else… Some other power stirring inside Haji. Something just out of reach…. If only he could unlock it somehow!
Next up is my character. For those of you who read my last post about Iron Gods, you may be wondering which character concept I ended up using. Although my daughter desperately wanted me to make the psychic, and my son was feeling the iron priest, I went with my gut and made a scavenger. Presenting: Nix.
Nix is a manic, enthusiastic woman who loves nothing more than to tinker with scrap metal and bits of broken technological devices. Born, Pheonix, because of her flaming orange hair and golden eyes, Nix is the daughter of a blacksmith and a failed scholar. While her mother has made a successful career of crafting mundane goods for the locals, her father made little progress in his studies and became a bitter drunk. Despite that her mother has always tried to convince her to ‘make something of herself’ and warned her not to ‘follow in that no-good father of yours’ footsteps, Nix spent her teenage years searching for scrap and broken tech in the junkyard. Although she’s a good engineer, and a decent alchemist, Nix is scatter-brained, and often has five or more projects on the go at once. When she was twenty, Nix lost her entire right arm in an unfortunate junking accident–guess she shouldn’t have put her arm in there! She spent the next five years making herself a mechanical arm as a replacement. Now, with it finally complete (and awesome!), Nix has turned her attention to crafting something new: a gun! Of course, now it’s nothing more than a pile of parts… but hey! One day it’ll do something!
Nix is never happier than when she’s creating. Whether it’s with mechanics, technology, or mixing volatile chemicals, she loves making things with her hands. She’s inventive, and loves trying new things. She’s wild, and wacky. Her enthusiasm and devil-may-care attitude sometimes make people think she’s reckless and crazy. In their defence, she is reckless, but she swears she’s at least a little sane!
Nix lives in a tiny warehouse which serves as her laboratory, workshop, kitchen and bedroom. it’s cluttered and crowded with parts, chemicals, and her many ongoing projects. She sleeps in a dirty bedroll on the floor. When she’s not in her home she’s likely at the Junkyard, digging around for components and spare parts; at the Market, selling her alchemical goods or clockwork devices; or at the Foundry Tavern, getting a decent meal and a drink alongside her dad.
Nix is a well-equipped woman, who’s always ready for trouble. Mechanically, she’s an investigator with the scavenger archetype. She’s incredibly smart, and great with building things, but is reckless and impulsive. Working with heavy machinery and hauling scrap has made her strong, while dodging hazardous materials and dangerous accidents (like the one that took her arm) has honed her reflexes. Nix uses her gadgetry to create devices that produce magical effects, and is most likely to prepare cure light wounds and shock shield, although she also knows hot to craft a number of other devices that serve more utilitarian purposes, including ant haul, comprehend languages, monkeyfish and–one of her personal favourites–firebelly. She’s well armed (pun intended), and is a capable melee combatant. She’s also fond of hurling alchemical creations at her enemies–as long as there’s nothing around she might wreck!
Nix and Haji have been dating for a few months, and are about to embark on a dangerous adventure…
The violet flame atop Black Hill has gone out, and Haji’s good friend, Khonnir Baine, has gone missing in the caverns beneath Torch. With all of the rescue parties sent after him having disappeared, it’s left to this ragtag, obsessive duo to delve beneath Torch, rescue Baine, and blow stuff up until the violet fire returns! If they don’t die first…
Thanks for joining me today! I hope you’re as excited for the Iron Gods Adventure Path as I am! Tune in next time for the start of Haji and Nix’s adventures.
With the Ruins of Azlanti adventure path’s final volume out, the next campaign from Pathfinder is already on it’s way. And where, you might be wondering, is the next adventure path going to be?
That’s right! Today we’re talking about War for the Crown, the next campaign from Paizo Publishing for the Pathfinder RPG! War for the Crown is a six part adventure path that begins with Crownfall. Pre-order is expected to be available in a few weeks time.
So what is War for the Crown? I expect that much is obvious from the title… This one’s pretty self explanatory, guys!
Crownfall begins in Taldor’s capital city of Oppara, during a massive celebration. But conspiracies, rivalries and rebellion cause Emperor Stavian III to snap, ordering a bloodbath in the senate halls. Trapped inside the palace alongside spies and with their life in danger, the PCs will have to escape and save the heir to the throne, Princess Eutropia–just as the Grand Prince himself dies. But even if they manage to save the heir, civil war is on the horizon…
War for the Crown continues with Part Two: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur, Part Three: The Twilight Child, Part Four: City in the Lion’s Eye, Part Five: The Reaper’s Right Hand and the finale, Part Six: The Six-Legend Soul.
Now, the player’s guide for War for the Crown isn’t out yet, but a thorough (and excited!) reading of the information available on each book proves that this is a political campaign, first and foremost, which promises to forge your player’s characters into ‘legendary politicians, spymasters, and nobles in their own right.’
While the first book, Crownfall, seems to be about survival and making allies, the second, Songbird, Scion, Saboteur, involves the player’s characters building a power base for the heir by reclaiming her lands from the Lotheed family and includes infiltrating high-society events, and working as a spy to undermine Princess Eutropia’s rivals. Book three, The Twilight Child, continues in this vein, allowing the player’s characters to infiltrate the city of Yanmass, and earn the Princess the respect of the city through espionage and what sounds like a lot of meddling. With a ton of issues plaguing Yanmass, including a cult, this volume seems like it’s going to be more varied and combat heavy than the second book, but with a strong emphasis on politics. Book four, City in the Lion’s Eye sounds like it’s raising the political stakes considerably, by pitting the player’s characters against Princess Eutropia’s rival for the throne, General Pythareus. In addition to commanding an army, the General also commands the most ruthless spymasters in the world. It sounds like the purpose of this book is to outmaneuver the General, and bring down his regime with as little bloodshed as possible in order to prevent a violent war over the throne. I’m particularly interested to see how this book plays out!
It seems like book five, The Reaper’s Right Hand, changes gears considerably, taking the players on a hunt for the First Emporer of Taldor in the planar city of Axis. Yup! You heard right!
“Hey, guys, we’re fighting goblins, what are you up to?”
“Goblins? How droll! We’re off to have afternoon tea with the First Emporer of Taldor on another plane. No biggie!”
Why are they doing this?
I have no idea! But, I’m excited to find out!
War for the Crown finishes with book six, The Six-Legend Soul, which returns the player’s characters to Taldor only to find themselves labelled traitors and murders. Hated and hunted, they’ll have to face off against a secret society known as the Immaculate Circle, and confront six of Taldor’s greatest emporers resurrected from the past!
Wow, that is one tough throne to claim!
As a big fan of urban campaigns, I’m SUPER excited for this campaign!
But, while I wait impatiently for the Player’s Guide to show up on Paizo’s website as a free download, all is not lost! The Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-08: Birthright Betrayed, is a prequel to the War for the Crown, and I happen to be lucky enough to be playing it right now by play-by-post. Want to give it a shot? Birthright Betrayed is available as a PDF download for only five dollars. And it’s not the only one. Scenario #9-11: The Jarlsblood Witch Saga, and Scenario #9-13: The Lion’s Justice, both set the stage for War for the Crown as well!
I don’t know about you, but character concepts are already flying around in my head…
I’d better get plotting! Sounds like I’ll need all the practice I can get before taking on War for the Crown!
Here’s hoping I can spy with the best of them…
Update: All of the issues of War for the Crown are now available!
This past Friday was game night around my house, and we played Mummy’s Mask. Currently on Book 2 – Empty Graves, we played through one of the parts of this campaign that my children were most excited about–an auction at the Canny Jackal. Now, my children don’t actually play in Mummy’s Mask on Friday nights, but they did help me populate and pre-test the auction, so they were literally bouncing in excitement all day.
Having recently finished exploring three tombs within Wati’s Necropolis, my player’s characters have earned the right to place their artifacts up for auction at the Canny Jackal. They’ve selected their lots, priced their goods, and spent a good deal of coin on proper attire for the festivities. Because of their exceptional performance in the lottery, they were granted a writ for 1,000 gp each to be spent at the auction by High Priestess Sebti of the Grand Mausoleum. That combined with an estimate of how much they’ll be making at the auction, and their wealth from previous delves, left my player’s with a heavy coin purse. Knowing that one of my players, my sister-in-law, loves all things Egyptian, I decided to go all out on the auction. I fully populated the Canny Jackal and it’s guests, and made a player handout listing all the objects up for bid which I handed out to my players the session before. After arriving, browsing the catalogue of artifacts, and socializing with the guests, they settled in to spend a lot of coin!
In the hours leading up to the auction my characters passed by the Insula Mater, a small building run by the Grand Mausoleum’s Auntie Jehuti, which cares for pregnant women and their infants. One of my characters, the recently heartbroken catfolk Nazim Salahadine, is a pious worshipper of Pharasma and has even invested skill ranks in Profession (midwife). Another, the herb witch Arc Goodstorm, is a healer and herbalist who always offers assistance to the sick. As the group passed by Insula Mater for the first time they got immediately interested in the building. They chatted up some of the pregnant women, offered advice for their ailments, and Arc used his entire day’s worth of poultices and cure-alls to make medicine for the various women’s aches, pains and illnesses. They offered a sizeable donation to Auntie Jehuti, asked for extra jars so Arc could bring by more poultices in the coming days, and even set out to buy care packages for the many women in the building, including blankets, clothes, wooden chew toys, and baskets for the newborns. In fact, they took such an immediate shine to the women they spoke to, they each invited one of them to the Canny Jackal later that evening for a night out and some fine food. Two of the women accepted, Pahetti, a middle to upper class woman from Wati’s sister town of Tephu, who was in the market for a husband. Pahetti threw herself at the ever-awkward Arc and was hopeful she could woo him into making an honest woman out of her. The second, Manat, was a peasant woman with many children who lives on the poor end of Asp and works as a dyer on Mender’s Row. With hands stained purple, and plenty of births under her belt, Manat was immediately adored by the whole party. They loved her lack of shame, down-to-earth attitude and strong work ethic. After ensuring that nothing weird was expected of her, Manat decided to give the auction a go–they were offering guests free dinner, and she couldn’t even imagine what kinds of things rich folk might eat! Some other women turned down their offer, and so the trio set off with their ‘dates’ to the market. There they insisted on buying their guests fine clothes and enough jewelry to make a good impression, as well as a bath at the local inn. Manat balked at the extravagances, but they assured her after the evening was over she could keep it, and sell whatever she wanted, a kingly gift that would provide Manat more money than she and her husband made over the course of a few years. Stunned at the group’s generosity, she accepted, planning to feed and clothe her children, and see them tutored in… smart things! Perhaps they might even move into a nicer home. Fully clothed in proper attire for a night at the Canny Jackal, the group (Arc, Nazim and Kasmet: collectively known as the Fateway Five), their pets (Arc’s rabbit familiar and his silvanshee friend), and their guests (Manat and Pahetti) entered the Canny Jackal for an evening of food, drink, and entertainment.
The Guest List
The auction at the Canny Jackal can be as detailed or streamlined as you wish, but I had a feeling my group would love it as detailed as possible, so I made sure there were plenty of people around to chat with and influence. The guests present at our auction included four major types of people: Nobility: who were here to socialize or spend money; Representatives: people who were here on business for a company or a collector and were here to acquire objects of value; Suppliers: adventurers and other dealers who were here to sell their products in the auction; and Officials: people who were here on behalf of their government or church in order to represent their organization and possibly acquire relics related to their group’s interests. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our guests! Note that none of the artwork below or linked to is my property. For artist information check out the signatures on the images, or find the links on our Pinterest page.
The Canny Jackal is owned and operated by Minnothet, a shrewd business woman with a silver tongue, and a well-trained group of historians, appraisers, guards and labourers in her employ. Her establishment is the finest auction house in Wati, and caters to the nobility and well-off collectors. By this point, the player’s characters will have interacted with Minnothet a few times, to register for the auction, to have their relics brought in for verification, and to organize their relics into lots.
The two employees most interacted with by patrons are Ahteb and Hamapetra, servants who are dressed in revealing ancient-styled attire, and who greet, serve, answer questions and generally tend to the needs of the auction house’s patrons. This duo will be the first people that the player’s characters see tonight, and are likely to be familiar faces. Ahteb and Hamapetra will have greeted them on all their prior visits to the Canny Jackal.
Plenty of other workers are seen during the auction, including servants who carry water and food around to guests, and guards who patrol the building and it’s display rooms.
In addition to my players, the Fateway Five, plenty of other adventuring groups put forth the goods up for auction tonight. Some of them are in attendance. The first is a person that is new to my player’s: Aladwen Enns, a member of the Four Lanterns, an adventuring group from Andoran who were hoping to spread a message of freedom throughout Wati. Aladwen is an artist whose main purpose in the group was to document their findings. He is found in the display area, sketching a picture of some of the objects up for sale. Aloof and engrossed in his work, the player’s are unlikely to catch his attention. However, if they manage to he happily draws their portrait alongside some of their finds, and may seek them out later in the evening, when the auction comes to a sudden end.
The second adventuring group the player’s are likely to encounter are Lirgana Ahmose and Verichi Denger, members of the Flickering Four. The only two members of this team in attendance, Verichi is seen peering into one of the display cases and examining the artifacts inside with magic, while Lirgana is chattering away in excitement. These two were likely met during the Lottery within the Necropolis, and should be familiar faces to the group. In addition to Lirgana chatting away with the group about what objects she’s interested in bidding on, Verichi’s action may cause clever PCs to examine the displays with detect magic themselves, allowing them to catch a few objects that may have been undervalued. Lirgana is chipper and excitable, and can easily be convinced to bid on your group’s items if the player’s give influencing her a try.
Melu, of the Amethyst Dragons is in attendance, socializing with the nobles in the parlour, and attempting to enchant one or two particularly rich, lone guests. During our auction, Annen Essesh was her target of choice, who is detailed later on. Melu will be memorable to most groups, as she was another team who was met in the Necropolis. She likely tried to enchant one of the player’s characters into helping her, and (if the group has had their ears to the ground for rumours) word is that she lost a whopping six companions (two sets of three) to the dangers of the necropolis. Still, Melu looks no worse for wear and seems to be about to make a killing on selling her relics today.
Partway during dinner, three final adventurers arrive representing the Daughters of the Desert: the mysterious Twins and Sigrun Firehair, a personal favourite in my house. Although the Twins are here to examine the relics and choose a few objects to bid on, Sigrun is here to have a good time, and hype up the crowd in the hopes of her lot selling for big money. Sigrun’s grandstanding, epic tales and obvious marketing skills are likely to make your player’s suddenly realize that they can do that too. I’d suggest letting your players each choose one item to really push. Contrariwise, they could choose to go the opposite route, and try to convince the guests to bid on relics other than the ones that your player’s want to buy in order to lower the prices. Either way, Sigrun is great fun, and your player’s are bound to have a blast interacting with her.
Wati is home to plenty of nobles who live in the Morning Sun district. Some of them are present at the auction to represent their family’s, some are present out of genuine interest, and some are just at the Canny Jackal to have a good time.
While travelling through the showroom, the party will encounter their first group of nobles: Maru and Namaru Meshhoten. This pair was a hit with my players. Maru is an old woman and grandmother to Namaru. They’re currently peering into a display case filled with risqué objects. While Maru laughs and chats happily, Namaru blushes brightly and scolds her grandmother for being crass. As the group arrives, Maru smiles widely at them and can share rumour four.
Maru: “Greetings strangers! I’m Maru Meshoten, and this is my granddaughter Namaru. You were among the ambitious explorers who delved into the Necropolis, I take it?”
*Listens to the players.* Maru: “Yes! Of course! I’ve heard of you! You must be skilled to have come out of it alright. I hear most groups didn’t. Nine groups vanished, the Sunrise Fellows were betrayed by one of their own, the Scorched Hand are all dead, and I hear the Amethyst Dragons lost six members!”
When it’s time to bid the player’s farewell, Maru offers the group handshakes. If there are any handsome men among the group she tells them: “Oh, bring yourself in for a hug, dearie! You’re a handsome, strapping thing!” As that player walks away Maru watches them go, loudly exclaiming: “Mmmm, mmmm, mmm! Get’s the blood flowing, doesn’t it?!”
Namaru blushes brightly and exclaims: “Grandmother!” in embarrassment.
The rest of the nobles arrive fashionably late, and are likely in the parlour chatting and socializing when the players finish their trip through the display cases in the warehouse. The nearest group of nobles consists of four women, one of whom is a dwarf. Here, Amanakha Tejuht (wife of the Archbanker of Abadar and a shrewd businesswoman), Baketra (a notorious gourmand known for her extravagant and scandalous dinner parties), Lady Neferebi (a spoiled, proud noblewoman who was carried here on a palanquin), and Meehr Zet (a dwarven woman whose father owns the Tarworks, making him the richest man in Wati. She uses her father’s wealth to buy her way into fine events like this one), all chat about the objects up for auction, and the effects of mumia, allowing the group to learn rumour five if they join the conversation.
Baketra: “Did you know that mumia can protect you against mummy rot? I’d never take the stuff myself–it’s made from actual mummies, you know, not to mention illegal–but I’m sure some of those adventuring types in the city these days don’t have such scruples.” Amanakha: *nods* “It costs a tidy sum.” Lady Neferebi: “Oh, Baketra, you’re horrible!” *laughter* Meehr: *looks confused* “That can’t be very good for your health…”
The other ladies then laugh at Meehr.
Nearby is a smaller group of young noblewomen: Yuya Mahfre (of the distinguished House Mahfre: the only nobles who remained in Wati throughout the aftermath of the Plague of Madness) and Denae Shepses (a pious Pharasmin of the distinguished House Shepses, cousin of the Commander of Voices, Nakht Shepses, and descendant of the man who founded the Grand Mausoleum, the Necropolis and revitalized Wati). Yuya and Denae are friends and both are here to represent their families with honour. Unfortunately, as a Mahfre, Yuya despises members of House Okhenti, particularly the swaggering bastard Teos who is present tonight. Throughout her conversation with Denae, Yuya casts glares at Teos from across the room. If the player’s join the young women in conversation, Yuya can be heard to share rumour two.
“Naturally, the Okhenti’s will throw their vulgar coin at anything with a blade–if they haven’t already spent tonight’s share on companionship and liquor, of course!”
The next group consists of the aforementioned Teos Okhenti, one of many bastards from House Okhenti, and his half-brother Khammayid, a Scion of House Okhenti and a true descendant of their line, Khammayid has recently returned from studying abroad in Absalom and is at the Canny Jackal to obtain a respectable artifact to present to his father upon his return home later tonight. Unfortunately, his half-brother, Teos is here representing the Okhenti family, and fully intends to make Khammayid work for it. Teos knows that Khammayid thinks he’s superior to him, so he is currently spending his time teasing and cajoling his half-brother into a foul mood. For his part, Khammayid despises Teos, believing his father’ many bastard to be a mark of disrespect upon their House.
Khammayid: “Cease your prattle. I’ve no desire to speak with you.” Teos smiles and throws an arm around Khammayid, loudly proclaiming to the group: “My brother has been gone for years and this is the greeting I get!” Khammayid: “We’re not brothers.” Teos: “Of course we are!” *To the group he adds:* “I’m Teos Okhenti and this rude fellow is Khammayid Okhenti.” Khammayid: “I am a Scion of House Okhenti.” Teos: “He thinks he’s better than me.” Khammayid: *Turning to the group* “If you’ll excuse me. I tire of the company.” *leaves for the showroom. Teos: *laughs* “We have different mothers.”
If any women are in the party, Teos then hits on them shamelessly, and kisses their hand. After excusing himself he struts over to go hit on Yuya Mahfre, despite the angry looks she gives him. A short while later Yuya stomps off, with Denae in step behind her, heading into the showroom.
If the group is still nearby Teos tells them: “She wants me.”
The final group of nobles present is a large and eclectic one. Consisting of two couples, an elderly man in absurd attire, a foreign nobleman and Melu the enchantress. The first couple, Yakarab and Maihiri Sekhenkhet, have recently purchased their noble title and are extremely pleased to be here. They’re confident, proud and strut about with wide smiles. They’re here to make big purchases to fill their lavish home, and to socialize. The second couple is Basif Iosep, a nobleman who makes his money off his coffee plantation located just outside of Wati. A half-elf, Basif is here to acquire any paperwork he can in the hopes of discovering more about his ancestry. Alongside him is his current girlfriend, Lady Nubumshaset. Although beautiful, Lady Nubumshaset knows her time with Basif is numbered. Having lost his wife many decades ago, Basif keeps his girlfriends no longer than a few years at a time. The old man is none other than the Grand Justice Euclid Menephes an out-of-touch man who’s here to socialize. Annen Essesh is the final noble in the group, a Vudrani merchant who owns the only textile mill in Wati. Though friendly, he dislikes the Grand Justice immensely. Annen knows that culture is not always about the rich, and is fascinated in artifacts owned by the everyman. His family worked itself up from nothing, and he wishes to ensure that the lives of the poor are not forgotten. Unfortunately for Annen, Melu has set her sights on him, and shortly after the conversation he become enthralled with the woman. By joining this group’s conversation players can learn rumours one and two.
Judge: “Absolutely dreadful the way the church is opening our history to so many foreigners!” Annen: “Foreigners?” Judge: “Not you, of course, Lord Essesh. You live here. You’re Osiriani.” Annen: “I am Vudrani, Euclid, and living here doesn’t change that.” Judge: *Pauses…* “Haty-a Oshep Kahmed is going to increase the taxes on travellers from beyond the sister cities to recoup the cultural damage.” Basif: “He’ll do no such thing! The opening of the Necropolis is good for our economy–as it is throughout the country!” Annen: *nods* Melu: “And how nice is it to see the Pharasmins on board?” Maihri: “Mmm hmm! Let’s you know the relics are real. My husband got taken for a fortune on a ‘Second Age’ chest last year. Looked ancient enough, but turned out the damned thing only survived a house fire in An!” Yakareb: *smiles and shrugs* “What can you do?” Judge: “You can’t trust the veracity of anything up for sale, no matter how old it looks. That’s why all legal transactions are vetted and approved by historians.” Yakareb: “Ah, who said it wasn’t legal?!” Judge: *huffs* “If you’ll excuse me!” *leaves* Annen: *turning to the party* “And you, friends? What have you to say on the matter?”
Unlike Wati’s nobility, many powerful people are present at the auction to make purchases on behalf of their organizations. These people are all found in the showroom, examining the displays with serious looks, some of them making notes on a piece of paper or in a journal as they do so. These scholars and businessmen include: Smendes Arun, the pompous curator in charge of acquisitions for the Sothis Exhibitory (Osirion’s grandest museum). Smendes is interested in historically important objects and true relics–nothing that has been repaired or altered; Takhat Elazul, a nobleman and patron here representing the Great Library of Tephu. He is here looking for pieces to add to the library’s archives. Though proud and aloof, Takhat is impressed if he learns that the group put up valuable documents for auction (and took care of them). Secretly a member of the Sacrosanct Order of the Blue Feather, Elazul is scheduled to make a reappearance in Mummy’s Mask Book 3 – Shifting Sands, and may prove to be a recurring contact for the player’s. Menaat Heshwah is a serious, humourless buyer for the Sothis Trading House. She refuses to be distracted by the players. She is interested in acquiring furniture, housewares and pottery. Tenet is a calm, focused scholar who wears a simple silver chain around his wrist and is seen examining masks and historical objects. Unbeknownst to the group, Tenet is a member of the Silver Chain, and a secretive member of another group that’s going to harry the party in the future. Tenet will make another appearance further into Book 2 – Empty Graves, but for now is calm, courteous and distant. Dakar Sonbef arrives late–probably just as soon as the group is about to leave the showroom–and immediately begins looking around for something. He is friendly and joyous, and says he’s an exporter here for the same reason as most people–To make money! He wears a silver chain around his wrist (which matches Tenet’s) and seems nervous. Canny players might realize he doesn’t seem very interested in any of the relics.
Two final representatives are more interactive. These are Ranjetti, a friendly member of the Aspis Consortium (which is a group in good standing in Osirion). Ranjetti is standing alongside another woman, Meru Sehebre, of the Pathfinder Society (a group that is in poor standing in Osirion). Ranjetti smiles and laughs, teasing and chatting with Meru while she examines an ancient map. Meru clearly despises Ranjetti, and ignores him as best as she can. Unfortunately for Meru, Ranjetti adores harassing her, and moves to follow her around the showroom like a shadow. During the auction he bids on everything she chooses to, willing to drop a large amount of coin just to irritate her. Although Ranjetti is here on behalf of his organization, Meru is here on a private matter. She’s in Wati to help a friend of hers–but won’t say more with Ranjetti around. Although interested in the objects on display, she’s here as a fortuitous opportunity, not to purchase anything specific for her organization.
If the players can distract Ranjetti and get Meru some time free of the man she happily tells them her true purpose in Wati. “A friend of mine–a dwarf scholar in Tephu–found clues regarding something that’s peaked his interest. I came to see if there was any truth to it. Unfortunately, access to the Necropolis is hard to come by. I haven’t found any proof at the auction, yet.” *gives the group a discerning look* “If you go back into the necropolis, keep your eyes open for a symbol for me: a stylized owl’s face, eyes open, beak pointing down. No text or hieroglyphs present. Agreed?”
All three of Wati’s churches are represented at the Canny Jackal tonight. Amanakha Tejuht, though not a clergy member herself, is here on behalf of her husband, Archbanker of the local church of Abadar, the Sanctum of Silver and Gold. In the showroom, the group will see a familiar face: Elder Neferaba, one of the oldest and most respected member of Pharasma’s clergy in Wati, and the Grand Mausoleum’s chosen representative. Elder Neferaba was likely met by the group on one of their may visits to the grand Mausoleum, and is the cleric they would have been referred to if they if they had lingering ability damage or curses that needed lifting. Elder Neferaba is currently staring into a display which holds grave goods, and canopic jars. He looks solemn and somber.
Neferaba: “This is a sight I thought I would never see… The treasures of our holy necropolis on display like commodities… We were lucky here. The Grand Mausoleum holds great influence in Wati. The tombs in other places were… treated with much less respect than our own. Still, much of this needs to be returned… Canopic jars and funerary masks…. The relics of the first Pharasmins. With their protection gone I worry about the state of the Necropolis…”
True to his word, Elder Neferaba is here to buy back what relics he can on behalf of the church, as well as any artifacts that contains people’s remains that they may be returned to their rightful place in the necropolis.
After speaking with Elder Neferaba for a moment another voice can be heard. Turning, the group discovers a woman with a shaved head, an Arcanist of Nethys by the name of Intef Karam, and an acolyte under her care, the serious looking Djat Masakhet. Intef is here on behalf of her church, the Temple of Arcana Unbound.
Intef: “Why, Neferaba! I thought of all people you would have been able to stop this.” Neferaba: *smiles widely* “My dearest Intef! Surely you are not suggesting that I would do something drastic?”
As Intef and Neferaba laugh and share a hug in greeting it is clear they are friends. Neferaba: *introduces the group to Intef and Intef to the group* Intef: “A pleasure. This is Djat Masakhet, and acolyte under my tutelage.” Djat: “…Greetings.” *whispers to Intef, then leaves for the showroom* Intef: “I am here looking for relics of my faith. The Nethysian church were among the original builders of Wati–along with the agents of the Pharaoh. That’s a lot of honoured priests who were recently… disturbed.” Neferaba: “Yes, the Ruby Prince is certainly progressive.” *Offers his arm to Intef and they excuse themselves*
Once final member of the Pharasmin church arrives later in the evening: Ptemenib. Although this is Ptemenib’s first scheduled meeting with the group, I introduced Ptemenib earlier, way back during the group’s first visit to the Tooth and Hookah, and have had the party meet him in passing a few times since (at the Grand Mausoleum, or in the Veins). Ptemenib enters the showroom distracted and speaking to himself (actually his invisible companion, Qasin). He clearly looks around for someone. If he’s known to the group he greets them and chats for a moment but is clearly distracted. Soon he remarks, “If you’ll excuse me, I’m on important business.” Then he walks away and asks “Where?” After a few steps one way he suddenly veers off course and heads a completely different direction. Curious characters can follow Ptemenib to discover he’s following and spying on Dakar Sonbef, an exporter mentioned above.
Among the other guests, there are a few who fit into no category above. The first whom the party will meet is Menya the Whip, an up and coming armoursmith who’s recently purchased a shop that faces the Sunrise Market. Menya is here to network with as many nobles and adventurers he can in the hopes of winning either a patron or customers. He’s also here looking for an interesting centrepiece for his shop. Menya is a fun, down-to-earth guy and is likely to get along well with you players. He’s a good smith, and if the group is kind to him they could earn themselves a discount at his shop in the future. He’s also easily swayed to bid on any particularly interesting and large relic that the player’s have put up for auction, if they suggest it, so long as it’s a good conversation piece for his shop. Menya can be found in the parlour well before the evening begins, waiting to greet everyone who enters the Canny Jackal.
Khim-ali Set is a perfumer who the group may have interacted with before this evening–if they went out of their way to purchase fine clothes and attire for the auction. His perfumery, Threshed Souls Fragrances, is the finest and most well-respected in town, and is located in the Morning Sun district. Khim-ali is polite to his customers, but otherwise makes a beeline through the parlour straight into the showroom. Curiously, Khim-ali examines all of the lots that include mummies.
The last of the uncategorized guests includes Teht Blackblossoms and Terhk Fourwinds. Teht and Terhk are lovers and entrepreneurs. Teht is a well-informed gossip and information broker who owns the Whispering Stone, a local tavern. Diplomatic and exotic, Teht has many admirers. Terhk is a massive half-orc who looks both stupid and fierce. He growls at any nobles who get to close, causing Teht and Terhk to have a large amount of space in the parlour to themselves. Terhk is actually a scholar and historian who loves ancient relics. He’s the owner of Terhk’s Expeditions, a company that organizes caravans and mercenaries for cross-desert treks. Teht claims she was gifted tickets to the event by an admirer and is here to purchase jewelry and perhaps a new relic for her bar. In reality, she herself purchased the tickets knowing that Terhk would love to attend the event and invited Terhk along to join her. Terhk acts terrifying, but can be seen perusing the showroom with a smile, and examining the scholarly documents with a pair of tiny glasses perched on his nose–which he quickly removes as soon as Teht warns him anyone is nearby.
The final category of guests include the two most prominent and powerful people at the auction. The first is introduced with a fanfare as soon as your player’s have had a chance to mingle with guests in the parlour and browse the showroom. Djoser Kahmed, son of the Haty-a (governor) of Wati is in attendance. As servants announce him, everyone in the building bows to him respectfully. Then, suddenly, he bows, deeply and nearly to the floor, as another is announced to a chorus of gasps: Lady Hemetre, cousin of the Ruby Prince. Everyone in the auction house suddenly falls to their knees and bows to the cousin of the Pharaoh. Anyone who doesn’t will be publicly scolded by Minnothet until they do, or they are removed from the auction house.
Despite being another hour until the auction is scheduled to begin, Lady Hemetre announces “The auction may begin,” and struts into the bidding hall. Djoser Kahmed follows, trailed by Hemetre’s many servants and guards. Minnothet and her workers hurry to have the auction start early.
As the auction officially begins, your players should have had a chance to walk through the showroom and examine the artifacts. If you haven’t given them one already, make sure they get a copy of the items up for auction. The items I provided my players are included on a sheet near the bottom of this post. Give them time to look this over, as they’ll likely want to bid on an item or two. If any of the members of your party have an interest in the old gods, be sure to alter some of the items on this sheet to include those gods. In my group’s case, this was the goddess Bastet, hence the large number of items sacred to her on the handout. In addition, ensure you know what objects your players are putting up for auction and who might be interested in them. If your player’s tried to influence the prices of any objects now’s the time to make sure they’ve made a check or two to do so, and to decide if they’ll succeed. Once everyone’s ready, Minnothet strides proudly onto the stage and says a few opening words, being sure to flatter the Lady Hemetre at every opportunity. Behind her, lot one is rolled onto the stage, and the auction begins.
For every object brought on stage, Minnothet announces and details it thoroughly, while her servants move objects on and off the stage. Describe the bidders interested in the pieces, and then pause, allowing your players to decide if they want to bid. If they do, let them know the highest bid which will win without their interference, and let them decide if they’ll put in a final, winning bid. You’ll be surprised how often the players will cast a bid for something just to foil one of the people they’ve met whom they disliked, or how they’ll refrain from bidding against someone they particularly liked. Some members of my group even purchased objects for other people–their guests, and Menya the Whip–when they were outbid. Be sure to describe the bidders vying for the relics the players put up for auction. This will grant the player’s a great deal of satisfaction. Partway through the auction, be sure to describe Dakar Sonbef leaving the auction, followed by Ptemenib a half-minute later.
There’s one extremely important thing to note here: Lady Hemetre. The good lady is not here for entertainment or to pick up an object of interest, she’s here to ensure the people of Wati are following the Pharaoh’s decrees. That means she is here to ensure that the objects for auction sell for high profits, and that they are not purchased by the people who might ‘lawfully’ own them, or by someone who is just going to return them to where they were taken from. To this end Lady Hemetre opens the first few bids herself, bidding so that the other nobles and people who desire her favour bid in turn. At any point during which the auction is lagging, or a piece only has a few bidders, she bids in order to inspire the other nobles to start a bidding war to impress her. If Elder Neferaba bids on items he’s obviously going to reinter, she bids as high as necessary to acquire the items in question–unless someone else bids on them. She also refuses to let anyone related to a tomb acquire their relics back. This is of particular importance for Lot 42 which includes the remains and grave goods of a member of the Mahfre family. As Yuya bids on her ancestors remains in outrage, Lady Hemetre will spend any amount of coin to see the object not fall into Mahfre hands. A point needs to be proven. Such is her purpose here. Luckily (or not) for Yuya Mahfre, Teos Okhenti is here to bid on the object on her behalf–if the player’s don’t get involved, and all it will cost her in return is a few drinks and a favour.
The Lots up for Auction
Lot 01 – Collection of six clay lamps and a simple clay solar disk. Taken from the home of a labourer. Opening bid: 20 gp
Lot 02 – Collection of grave goods from a textile mill. Goods include five wood-bead bracelets, a ceramic ring, six hand-carved wooden animal figurines and six ceramic jars. Thought to have belonged to the mills slaves and labourers. Opening bid: 25 gp
Lot 03 – Collection of thirteen rough depictions of a smiling dwarf face—the god Bes. Various materials include clay, ceramic, stone, bone and wood. Largest is four inches in diameter. Retrieved from a series of peasant homes and presumed to be hand-crafted by the home-owners in order to ask Bes to protect their homes and families. Opening bid: 25 gp
Lot 04 – Collection of wood and bronze farming implements. Goods include pitchfork, three sickles, a scythe, as well as shovels, trowels, nails, etc. Opening bid: 30 gp
Lot 05 – Collection of housewares. Ceramic and wood. Unadorned. Includes plates of various sizes, bowls, cups, jars, jugs and utensils. Opening bid: 30 gp
Lot 06 – A collection of charcoal sketches of the tripartite tomb of Lord Rab Wadjitor’s favourite concubines: Lady Ever Grace, Mistress Silken Glory and Madame Gilded Lotus; as well as charcoal rubbings from the interior of the tomb. Opening bid: 30 gp
Lot 07 – Set of four ceramic statuettes of a humanoid cat figure in suggestive poses. Six inches tall. Presumed to be Bastet, Sly Enchantress, goddess of cats, pleasure and secrets. Retrieved from the Cat’s Pleasure brothel. Opening bid: 30 gp
Lot 08 – Collection of ceramic and wood grave goods found in a grocer’s store. Pieces include protective amulets, bead bracelets, jars, pots and miniature Pharasmin spirals. Opening bid: 40 gp
Lot 09 – Twenty-two ceramic canopic jars (condition varies) and six bronze canopic jars. Retrieved from a textile mill and thought to belong to the mills slaves and labourers. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 10 – Collection of twenty ancient coins, various denominations. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 11 – Six matching bronze sconces, two incense bowls and one large lamp, all featuring jackal motifs. Taken from the tomb of Neb-at, and Anubisian priest. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 12 – Collection of perfume and make-up. Includes seven scented oils (perfumes) in ceramic containers, various tubes of kohl, green, blue and gold eye shadow, and henna lip smear. Retrieved from Cat’s Pleasure brothel. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 13 – Collection of papyrus scrolls and scroll tubes from a scribe’s office. Extremely fragile. Contents unknown. Opening bid: 50 gp
Note: Examination of this lot with detect magic reveals that two of the scrolls contained therein are magical, but its aura is too dim to determine the scroll’s purpose or type.
Lot 14 – Collection of ten ceramic statuettes depicting everyday life in lower-middle class Wati. Size varies between four inches tall and eight inches tall. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 15 – Collection of apothecary tools. Materials vary. Tools include weights and scales, mortar and pestle, jars of various sizes, spoons, cups, bowls, vials and a tea set. Also includes ten jars of dried herbs (potency and types undetermined), seven vials of essential oils (potency and types undetermined), and a variety of tea. All tools still function. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 16 – Collection of two hundred preserved insects labelled by their ancient names and in framed glass display cases. Many species of scarab, beetle, scorpion and butterfly are represented. Particular attention is paid to aquatic insects. Specimens were preserved by being coated in lacquer. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 17 – Collection of seven wands found in a Nethysian shrine. Materials and motifs vary. Wands no longer magical. Opening bid: 50 gp
Lot 18 – Set of six ceramic wall hangings of an erotic nature. Imagery depicts the cat goddess Bastet engaged in carnal acts with various other deities. Retrieved from the Cat’s Pleasure brothel. Opening bid: 60 gp
Lot 19 – Four foot by five foot painting of a smiling dwarf face—the god Bes. Bes is known as the Guardian Fool and was considered the god of households, luck, marriage and protection. In some ages he was also considered a god of childbirth, protector of children, guardian of sleep, and protector against evil spirits and dangerous beasts. The painting is hung in a wood frame carved with ancient prayers to Bes and images of a family going about typical household life. Opening bid: 70 gp
Lot 20 – Set of ten matching scarabs crafted in gold and semi-precious stones. Exceptional quality. Opening bid: 75 gp
Lot 21 – Collection of fine housewares. Painted ceramic, carved wood. River motifs. Includes plates, bowls, jars, jugs and utensils. Opening bid: 75 gp
Lot 22 – Complete set of mummification tools. Materials vary. Opening bid: 75 gp
Lot 23 – Collection of polished marble erotic tools and well-preserved erotic manual. All exquisite quality and working condition. Retrieved from the Cat’s Pleasure brothel. Opening bid: 100 gp
Lot 24 – Collection of ten bronze animal statuettes. Sizes vary from three to ten inches in length. Animals depicted include the cat, lion, jackal, crocodile, cow, scorpion, ibis, falcon, scarab and the ram. Opening bid: 100 gp
Lot 25 – Ceremonial crook, flail, mask and headgear of an Orisisian priest. Cereamic and gold. Opening bid: 100 gp
Lot 26 – A pair of sandstone warrior statues wielding khopesh and shields. Measures one and a half feet square by four feet tall. Retrieved from Crocodile’s Pride training centre. Opening bid: 100 gp
Lot 27 – Mummified crocodile with golden collar. Eight feet long. Opening bid: 100 gp
Lot 28 – A collection of two-hundred and seventy-six viable ancient seeds salvaged from a greenhouse in Wati’s Necropolis. Thirteen of these seeds are of extinct species; seventy-three seeds are of rare species and forty-seven are unidentified. Opening bid: 100 gp
Lot 29 – Lacquered wooden trunk filled with noble-woman’s clothing. Articles include various linen sheath dresses and pleated dresses, a pair of rush slippers, a pair of leather sandals, four linen shawls, three beaded belts, two beaded collars and one wig. All items have been magically repaired. Opening bid: 100 gp
Lot 30 – A collection of grave goods belonging to Lady Ever Grace, one of Lord Rab Wadjitor’s favourite concubines. Includes a silver diadem, silver armband, silver jewelry, glass bead collar, ivory hair comb, black kohl, silver and ivory funerary mask, silver rings and silver and ivory canopic jars. Opening bid: 150 gp
Lot 31 – Preserved food and liquor from a noble villa. Three jars of honey, small clay jar containing nine preserved dates (no longer edible), large ceramic jug of wheat, small sealed jar of vinegar, one large clay jug of beer (no longer drinkable), three unopened bottles of wine (no longer drinkable), one bottle of fine unopened gin and one bottle of fine unopened whiskey. Opening bid: 150 gp
Lot 32 – An exceptionally well-preserved, unique tome detailing the gods worshipped in ancient Wati, their stories, areas of interest, prayers and ceremonies. Written by a scholar dedicated to the worship of Thoth, Lord of Divine Words and god of magic, the moon, wisdom and writing. Opening bid: 150 gp
Lot 33 – Magically preserved map of the Osirion empire during its height. Map is of exceptional quality. Framed for preservation in a wood and glass frame. Opening bid: 150 gp
Lot 34 – Collection of eight silver statuettes depicting psychopomps – otherwordly beings said to lead the soul into the afterlife, or guard it. Sizes vary from 6 to twelve inches. Beings depicted are the scarab, whippoorwill, jackal, nosoi (falcon-like), esobok (dog-like creatures with skeletal crocodile heads), vanth (skeletal bird humanoid), Anubis (jackal-headed god of death, funerals, tombs and mummification) and Pharasma (goddess of birth, death, fate and prophecy). Opening bid: 150 gp
Lot 35 – Exquisitely crafted silver sceptre in the shape of Ptah, Lord of Eternity’s holy symbol (which incorporates the ankh, djed and was). Opening bid: 170 gp
Lot 36 – Winged solar disk crafted from gold and semi-precious stones, meant to be hung on a wall or used as a centre-piece for an altar or shrine. The solar disk is the holy symbol of Ra, King of the Heavens and god of creation, rulership and the sun. Measures two feet by two and a half feet. Opening bid: 200 gp
Lot 37 – A collection of chairs and side tables. Extremely fragile. Opening bid: 200 gp
Lot 38 – A collection of twenty copper holy symbols featuring ancient gods. Deities represented are: Anubis: Guardian of the Tomb (jackal head), Apep: Devourer of the Dawn (coiled serpent), Bastet: Sly Enchantress (cat), Bes: Guardian Fool (laughing dwarf face), Hathor: Mistress of Jubilation (solar disk with horns), Horus: Distant Falcon (eye of Horus), Isis: Queen of Miracles (knot of Isis), Khepri: Humble Hand (scarab), Maat: Feather of Truth (ostrich feather), Neith: Ruler of Arrows (shield and two crossed arrows), Nephthys: Mistress of the Mansion (basket atop a palace), Osiris: Lord of the Living (crook and flail), Ptah: Lord of Eternity (staff composed of ankh, djed and was), Ra: King of the Heavens (winged solar disk), Sekhmet: Lady of Slaughter (seven arrows), Selket: Mistess of the Beautiful House (scorpion), Set: Lord of the Dark Desert (sha head), Sobek: Raging Torrent (crocodile), Thoth: Lord of Divine Words (scroll with solar disk and cresent) and Wadjet: Green Empress (uraeus). Opening Bid: 200 gp
Lot 39 – The mummified pets of Nanjut Elatep, a noble woman who outlived her husband and eight children and was said to have found solace in her menagerie of pets. Pets include twenty-nine cats, seven songbirds, four snakes, two small dogs, one cow, one ibis, one falcon, one ram and a leopard. Each pet wears a ceramic protective amulet labelled with their name. Opening bid: 200 gp
Lot 40 – The Eternity Lotus. This miraculous blue lotus blooms each day and withers each night only to sprout again each morning. Discovered in an ancient shrine dedicated to Osiris, Lord of the Living; god of fertility, rebirth, the afterlife and resurrection. The Eternity Lotus requires neither care, air, soil, water or sunlight to flourish. Opening bid: 200 gp
Lot 41 – A collection of five ankhs. One silver, one bronze, one gold, one gold with rubies, one gold and platinum. Opening bid: 250 gp
Lot 42 – The canopic jars and funerary mask of Entef Mahfre, ancestor of the distinguished Mahfre noble line. Canopic jars are made of white marble and amber, funerary mask is made of polished silver, ivory and amber. Opening bid: 250 gp
Lot 43 – A collection of grave goods belonging to Mistress Silken Glory, one of Lord Rab Wadjitor’s favourite concubines. Includes silver jewelry, silver armband, glass bead collar, a silver hand mirror, silver comb, hair beads, black kohl, perfumed oil, silver funerary mask and a wooden trunk which magically preserved ten exotic articles of silk lingerie and three scrolls of erotic poetry written by the entombed. Opening bid: 250 gp
Lot 44 – A collection of grave goods belonging to Madame Lotus Bloom, one of Rab Wadjitor’s favourite concubines. Includes amber bead jewelry, amber bead collar, amber comb, incense, incense bowl, amber wall decorations, amber funerary mask, amber holy symbol of Maat (goddess of justice, law, order and truth) and fourteen manuals regarding enlightenment and physical perfection. Opening bid: 300 gp
Lot 45 – A set of six gold statuettes depicting Pharoah Djederet II, founder of Wati, and his family. Pharoah Djederet measures one foot in height, while his family members each measure approximately eight inches tall. Opening bid: 300 gp
Lot 46 – Large copper water clock. No longer functions. Opening bid: 300 gp
Lot 47 – Collection of bronze weapons from the Crocodile’s Pride training centre. Includes 8 khopesh, four kukri, three spears, two curved daggers, two flails, two falchions, one short sword, one quarterstaff and six javelins. Also contains the deteriorated remains of two bows, one sling, and nine arrows in a rush quiver. Opening bid: 300 gp
Lot 48 – A glass jar filled with a semi-precious stones. Opening bid: 325 gp
Note: When examined with detect magic, three of the stones inside are revealed to be cracked ioun stones. A cracked amethyst pyramid, a cracked dusty rose prism, and a cracked tourmaline sphere.
Lot 49 – A collection of silver ceremonial objects. Includes a censer, lantern, ankh, quarterstaff and an exquisite silver dagger of masterwork quality. Opening bid: 350 gp
Lot 50 – A pair of falcon feathers retrieved from a shrine dedicated to Ra, King of the Heavens and god of creation, rulership and the sun. Functions as a feather token (ram) and a feather token (fan). Opening bid: 400 gp
Lot 51 – A lacquered wood palanquin with gold leaf detailing. Opening bid: 400 gp
Lot 52 – Large collection of stone tablets retrieved from a record room in a Shrine to Thoth, god of magic, the moon, wisdom and writing. Of the few currently deciphered, two are official records, one is instructional and two are repositories of knowledge. Opening bid: 500 gp
Lot 53 – Three life-size, painted stone statues of Lord Rab Wadjitor’s favourite concubine’s. Featuring the maiden Lady Ever Grace, the sensual Mistress Silken Glory, and the poised Madame Lotus Bloom. Opening bid: 500 gp
Lot 54 – Nine foot tall black stone statue of Anubis, Guardian of the Tomb and god of burial, the dead, funeral rites and mummification. Features gold accents. Opening bid: 500 gp
Lot 55 – Regalia of a priestess of Bastet, the Sly Enchantress and goddess of cats, pleasure and secrets. Includes a fine silver sistrum, a silver ceremonial dagger with a handle shaped like a walking cat in profile, gold and white linen headband, gold armband, glass bead collar with a pair of gold cats as a decoration, an armoured kilt with a gold holy symbol of Bastet as a central decoration, a single cat’s claws (tekko-kagi), and an aegis (buckler) enchanted to look as if it were made of gold that features a lion’s face upon its outer side and protective prayers to Bastet upon its inside face. Cat’s claws, armoured kilt and aegis are all of masterwork quality. All items in this lot were protected by divine preservative magic, making them in perfect, fully functional condition. Opening bid: 650 gp
Lot 56 – Collection of extravagant housewares. Gold and crystal. Solar disk motif. Includes plates, bowls, decanter, glasses and utensils. Opening bid: 700 gp
Lot 57 – A foreign merchant’s ring. Crafted from smooth red and blue porcelain and wrapped with threads of copper, this ring magically protected its wearer from the heat and cold of his travels. Functions as a ring of inurement. Opening bid: 750 gp
Lot 58 – A phylactery with a preserved scarab inside. Sacred to Khepri’s faith (The Humble hand; god of freedom, the rising sun and work). Functions as a phylactery of faithfulness dedicated to Khepri. Opening bid: 800 gp
Lot 59 – Collection of magical arrows in a black lacquered quiver retrieved from a slave market. Contains five sleep arrows and three vine arrows. Opening bid: 900 gp
Lot 60 – A magical glass lens mounted in a round silver frame that fits snugly in the eye orbit of any small or medium sized humanoid. Retrieved from a scribe’s workshop. Functions as an antiquarian’s monocle. Opening bid: 1,000 gp
Lot 61 – A collection of women’s gold jewelry taken from Maiden’s Joy jewelry shop. Pieces include ten necklaces (fine to thick chains featuring designs of a cat, jackal, bird, feathers, ankh, knot of Isis, waves, basket, moon, and sun), four bracelets (two fine chain, one bangle with engraved feather detailing, one medium chain with seven star charms), two armbands, six rings (two plain bands, two knot-detailings, one with a winged solar disk, one with cat) and seven pairs of earrings (one hoop, two dangling, three disks, one stud). Opening bid: 1,000 gp
Lot 62 – Wargear of a priest of Sekhmet. Includes a pair of golden rosettes (meant to be worn over the nipples of a man or woman), fine armoured kilt died red with blood, a battleaxe with seven arrows engraved along the blade, a heavy wooden shield carved with the face of a roaring lion and stained with blood, and three potions (two of cure light wounds and one of rage). The battleaxe and wooden shield are of masterwork quality. Opening bid: 1,000 gp
Lot 63 – The cursed belt that killed Haty-a Chepren. Made of gold and ivory, this belt appeared to be able to augment the aging Haty-a’s health, when in fact, it sapped it from him until he died. Functions as a belt of weakness. Although it is unknown who delivered the belt to the Haty-a, it is presumed by many to be his advisor Bunefer, who was named Haty-a after Chepren’s death. Opening bid: 1,000 gp
Lot 64 – An empty sarcophagus retrieved from the tomb of Amadjawat the Many Veiled, of the Turanhotep noble line. The Turanhotep’s were master illusionists and prominent members of the Nethysian clergy. Sarcophagus is of stone and draped with illusions of polished gems and gold. Opening bid: 1,000 gp
Lot 65 – Two magically and alchemically treated plant bulbs with a root growing out of each that loops around it like a handle and are capable of causing plants to grow in any terrain. Also comes with a folded papyrus scarab capable of multiplying into a swarm of papyrus scarabs with the completion of a final fold. Function as greensurge bombs and an origami swarm. Opening bid: 1,100 gp
Lot 66 – Exotic looking blue leather boots with a knife motif worked into them and curled up toes. Retrieved from an unmarked building. Function as bondbreaker’s boots. Opening bid: 1,200 gp
Lot 67 – A platinum chain with three platinum protective talismans upon it: an ankh, a scarab and a feather. Each talisman can protect its wearer once before crumbling to dust. Functions as lesser protective talismans (ankh, scarab and beneficial winds). Opening bid: 1,400 gp
Lot 68 – A trio of javelins once owned by a member of the Haty-a (governor) of Wati’s personal guard. Two javelins are of masterwork quality and one is a javelin of lightning. Opening bid: 1,600 gp
Lot 69 – A magical tight-fitting silk corset with thin bone ribbing sewn into it, beautifully embroidered with images of birds and clouds. Comes with a matching (non-magical) embroidered silk collar. Functions as a corset of delicate moves. Opening bid: 1,600 gp
Lot 70 – A magical crocodile skin belt with a gold buckle discovered in the tomb of an unnamed warrior. Functions as a belt of superior maneuvers. Opening bid: 1,700 gp
Lot 71 – A pair of boots cracked and weathered from the desert sun. Functions as dunestrider boots. Opening bid: 2,000 gp
Lot 72 – Canvas and leather gloves stitched with invocations to Ptah, Lord of Eternity and patron of architects, engineers, alchemists and crafters of all kinds. Discovered in the tomb of Alamed Neptus, a master architect and trapsmith who was ritually sacrificed and entombed after completing his labours as lead architect on the tomb of Haty-a (Governor) Neftet Ankametep. These magical gloves impart the wisdom of Alamed Neptus upon the wearer, granting mastery over mechanical devices. (Functions as engineer’s workgloves). Opening bid: 2,500 gp
Lot 73 – This Pharasmin ritual blade used during ceremonies sacred to the Lady of Graves, such as the cutting of umbilical cords, or to lay beside the bodies of honoured Pharasmins as their spirits travel through the Boneyard. The magical blade is etched with spiderweb designs and the hilt is shaped like a skeleton that has been laid to rest. Functions as a fate blade. Opening bid: 2,600 gp
Lot 74 – The khopesh of Manut the Mad, captain of Wati’s town guard from 2490-2499 AR. Captain Manut was the first high profile victim of the Plague of Madness. He slaughtered every prisoner in his custody, six guards, fourteen slaves, one noble, and eleven passersby on his way home before finally murdering his neighbours. Manut was killed by his wife who is reported to have succumbed to the same plague only three days later. Khopesh is of masterwork quality and forged from adamantine. The grip is crocodile skin; the pommel is topped by a fierce crocodile head carved from polished river stones; and the neck of the blade is engraved with ancient hieroglyphics meant to invoke strength and military prowess. Opening bid: 3,000 gp
Lot 75 – The Rods of Gehentet the Merciful. These matching metamagic rods are each crafted from magically hardened marble, one black and one white. Both rods were once wielded by High Priest Gehentet of Nethys’ church. Called ‘the Merciful’, Gehentet was known for never killing his enemies. Instead, he knocked them unconscious and tithed them to the Nethysian church as slaves. The white rod is a lesser merciful metamagic rod, and the black rod is a lesser selective metamagic rod. Opening bid: 4,000 gp
Lot 76 – A buckler belonging to Theban Ahmose, leader of the Sha-beasts, a notorious thieves guild that operated for one hundred years (ending at the Plague of Madness). The buckler is made of black wood and carved to resemble the face of a sha with painted red eyes. Functions as a burglar’s buckler. Opening bid: 4,200 gp
Lot 77 – A magical staff found in the tomb of an unknown Nethysian priest who died during the start of the Plague of Madness. Images from his tomb depict him as charitable, attractive and beloved by all. He seems to have had no wives, but was buried with four children who died before him. It is presumed the children were either adopted, bastards, or young acolytes. The staff is made from gold and capped by a white orb on one end and a black orb on the other. It is functions as a Staff of Blessed Relief. Opening bid: 6,800 gp
And that’s it!
Or is it..?
As Minnothet proudly takes the stage she announces one final lot up for auction…
Lot 78 – Discovered in the tomb of Wati’s first Haty-a, kept in magical stasis for well over 6,000 years, Sallal–honuored slave-girl. Sallal is a child, despite being over 6,000 years old. She only speaks Ancient Osiriani and is new to our ways of life. The knowledge within her is vast, but to keep her unsullied she has been asked as few questions as possible. Her secrets are yours to discover. Opening bid: 5,000 gp.
Now, for good reason, this last lot up for auction is probably going to upset your characters. For starters, slavery is horrible, and this is a child we’re talking about, but keep in mind this is Osirion. Slavery is legal here and a ton of bidders are going to be interested in Sallal. Unfortunately, no matter how much coin your players can throw at her, Lady Hemetre is destined to win the slave girl. Many people cast bids, some in excitement, some in curiosity and others in distaste, but none can beat out Lady Hemetre’s final bid of 12,500 gp. If for some reason your player’s can, she bids higher.
Quickly, Minnothet wraps up the auction with a speech and informs guests to mingle in the parlour. They’ll be called up one by one to finalize their purchases and either bring their goods home now or schedule a convenient time for delivery. So let the player’s stew over their losses and brag about their wins with the others guests, cause soon, shit is going to hit the fan.
While they socialize be sure to highlight a few social encounters…
Maru has won a lot of scandalous objects–much to her granddaughter’s embarrassment. Have Teos Okhenti stroll up to the old woman and jokingly ask for her hand in marriage, or if he can pay her a visit later. The old bird will laugh him off and give him a farewell hug–perhaps even a slap on the butt. Unforunately, Teos is in trouble, as Yuya Mahfre slaps him in the face for buying her ancestor’s remains at auction. Teos thoroughly embarrasses the young woman by insisting she thank him, he spent that coin for her, after all! And all it will take for her to get her great so-and-so back is a romantic evening at his estate! Meanwhile, Sigrun Firehair, Baketra and Maru Meshoten find they have a lot in common, as they chat and laugh together. Melu tries to enchant the Haty-a’s son only to be caught in the act by Intef Karam of the Church of Nethys. At her command Melu is arrested and lead from the auction house immediately.
Soon, the group is called in to speak with Minnothet. Allow them to see their goods and carry whatever they want with them. For those objects they don’t pick up be sure to schedule a delivery time. Figuring out what they have with them is very important.
As the group leave Minnothet’s office, they are overcome with a strange feeling, as if a pulse of very subtle energy flowed through them. Elder Neferaba is the only other guest who seems to notice.
Suddenly a banging can be heard at the front door… As Ahteb and Hamapetra go to open it the door bursts open in a shower of wood and splinters. Knocked to the ground and bleeding uncontrollably, Ahteb and Hamapetra are buried under the debris and stepped on by the newest guests to the Canny Jackal… A horde of newly risen dead!
I hope one of your player’s chose to bring a weapon tonight! Cause the dead have come to party!
My players and I all had a blast playing through he auction, literally from start to finish! Even my kids were thrilled, and the spent their time sneaking out of their bedrooms to eavesdrop, plan what they would buy, and shout at my husband what his character should buy for them. I gave my player’s their handouts of the lots early, and they spent over a week reading and rereading the lots available for purchase and trying to decide what to bid on. They made friends among the guests, influenced prices to their benefit and were positively distraught that they didn’t have enough money left to buy the poor slave-girl Sallal. With most of the group dressed in their finery, and a bunch of new friends to save, they get to spend the next week or two wondering who they’re going to save…
Will it be Ahteb and Hamapetra, the poor, friendly servants they’ve met a few times, or Grandma Meshoten and her daughter? Will Menya the Whip escape unscathed, or will they choose to defend the nobles of House Shepses and Mahfre instead? Can they keep their pregnant guests Pahetti and Manat safe?
I can’t wait to find out!
The Other Side of the Curtain:
Today’s Auction at the Canny Jackal is from Mummy’s Mask Book 2 – Empty Graves, by Paizo Publishing. The Canny Jackal is the opening scene in the book and, although hugely expanded upon, my version of the auction includes and is based upon the information in this section of the adventure, as well as information on the city of Wati found in Mummy’s Mask Book 1: The Half-Dead City. In addition, the character of Sallal is from Wayfinder Volume 12, available as a free download here, although I changed her purpose entirely.
I hope you find use for some of these additions in your home version of Mummy’s Mask, and that your players have some fun with it. This auction provides a great way for your player’s to get to know a bunch of people they’ll soon have to defend while simultaneously getting to shop and spend their hard earned coin. By the time the auction is rudely interrupted, they’ll be lulled into such a sense of safety it will take them completely by surprise. Of course, once it’s underway, wait and see how long it takes them to realize that Sallal might still be in the building… They wouldn’t rob the great Lady Hemetre! Would they?
I watched a strange little documentary last night on Netflix called Dwarvenaut that follows a little company called Dwarven Forge. Dwarven Forge isn’t new, they’ve been around for twenty years, in fact, but their product is new to me. They make game terrain. But not just any terrain! Oh, no. They make AMAZING game terrain.
The pieces look awesome, are easy to build with, are super durable and come entirely painted. The downside? Price! These are super expensive. Take into account the exchange rate and the absurd cost of delivery (they’re American, and I’m Canadian), and WOW! That is SO outside my budget.
Still, they look amazing. It’s definitely going on my Christmas List. Or birthday list. Or, the ‘when I win the lottery’ list…
My daughter and I spent a bit of this morning checking out their website, watching the videos and tutorials, and generally geeking out over them. Her solution? Buy them for my son for his birthday! Haha. Way to get what you want, without giving up your own gift, my dear!
Cheeky little thing.
You can check out these nifty products on their website: Dwarven Forge. Let me know what you think!
Already own some Dawrven Forge products? Cool! Let me know how you like it in the comments below!
As you may have already read, my husband and I are about to start a campaign for just the two of us, to play in the evenings when my children are going to bed. I own a lot of cool campaigns, but my husband has also played a lot of them. From among the ones he hasn’t played we debated for a while between two choices: Wrath of the Righteous and Iron Gods. In the end we chose Iron Gods.
So what IS Iron Gods, anyway?
Iron Gods is a six-part Pathfinder Adventure Path that fuses sci-fi and fantasy into one awesome campaign. Obviously a ton of inspiration spread out across all kinds of media that clearly influenced this campaign, but all in all if I had to name a few things this campaign feels like, I’d mention the Borderlands Video Games (Borderlands Triple Pack – PlayStation 3, Borderlands – Xbox 360), Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (Blu-ray), Outlander (the film about vikings and aliens, not the tv show about time travel) and the old classic: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This campaign has an aged, grungy sort of atmosphere about it, and does an excellent job of blending sci-fi themes and worn out advanced technology with typical fantasy fare. This campaign isn’t Starfinder, or some kind of new Sci-FI d20 game. It’s the Pathfinder you know and love, with a some sci-fi themes and loot mixed in for your players to encounter.
This campaign takes place in Numeria, a land of insular barbarians that was struck by strange objects falling from the sky in the distant past. These objects are considered cursed by locals, but are sources of wealth, wonder and knowledge to foreigners. Over time, scholars, treasure hunters and adventurers moved to Numeria, intent on taking all the relics from the sky as they could. Now, Numeria is run by the Black Sovereign, a barbarian King, and the Technic League, a group of unscrupulous, tyrannical scholars who are determined to keep all the lore and technology within the country to themselves. Within this volatile nation lays the town of Torch, the starting place of the campaign and home (or temporary home) to the PCs of Iron Gods.
Torch is known for its bright purple flame that burns constantly atop a massive hill the town is built around. This flame is perfect for smelting sky metals, and is the town’s major source of income and tourism. Recently, the Torch has sputtered out. Knowing this spells disaster for the town, various groups have looked into the matter and only one had any success: Khonnir Baine. Khonnir is a town councillor and wizard who returned a while ago with a deactivated robot he discovered under the town of Torch. Believing that the source of the purple flame also lay under the town, he dropped the robot off at his home and returned underground. He never came back. In desperation the town council has offered a sizeable reward to anyone who can restore the purple flames or find Khonnir Baine. And the PCs happen to be the next group to accept the challenge!
The way I see it, there’s two basic kinds of characters you can make for Iron Gods: characters who accept technology and characters who don’t. Characters who accept technology are probably going to be interested in using technology or figuring out how it works. Whatever their reasons for doing so–greed, curiosity, convenience–they’re the kind of character who’s going to pick up a laser gun and either use it or sell it. Characters that don’t accept technology are going to do the opposite. They’re not going to use the tech they find and chances are, they’re going to try to break it.
Obviously, for either type there’s a ton of characters you can make, and these characters are likely going to have different attitudes and outlooks regarding technology. But for us? We’re going to be a small party, so I would prefer to make a character with the same outlook as my husband. So what was he going to play? I’d have to wait and see…
I set about perusing the many classes archetypes and character options available to me and came up with a few ideas that really tickled my fancy.
First up? The sorcerer. A native Kellid who manifested a bloodline tainted by nanites, this sorceress would have been cast from her tribe when her powers manifested. Left to wander the wilds, she reached Torch and stayed out of desperation. Now working as a scrapper, this sorceress is strong and fit. She knows about technology and hates it with a passion, just as she hates her own powers. Bitter, rude and blunt, I would have a blast playing this character. The nanite bloodline has some cool powers. At low levels you can use the nanites inhabiting your body to coat your weapon and poison your enemies, or use the nanites to improve your skills. At later levels you can use the nanites to heal your own wounds, avoid critical hits, and even become a living swarm yourself. Cool!
Second, a character who loves technology so much it borders on worship. A cleric with the iron priest archetype. This character believes that the Rain of Stars which brought technology falling from the heavens was a divine event. The gods intended these objects as a gift for the people of our planet to use as they desire. You know that dirty, crazed weirdo sitting on the street corner preaching about the end times? THAT’S who this character would be. Minus the whole end-times thing. Haha. With the ability to cast make whole and greater make whole spontaneously, and the ability to channel energy that harms or heals constructs instead of undead, this would be one weird cleric. And if there’s anything I love playing, it’s an eccentric! Although worshipping Brigh would be tempting, I think I’d prefer to worship Nethys, and take both the Destruction and Protection domains, believing that the technology was a gift from Nethys–just another form of magic!
The third character concept I’m interested in is the gunslinger. more specifically, the tech slinger archetype. There’s not much description needed here, really. I mean, if you’re going to play a gunslinger, there’s no better time than during a game that’s bound to give out a few guns! The techslinger archetype swaps out some of the gunslinger’s deeds with new deeds that involve using technological guns and gear instead. It’s quirky, it’s thematic, and it’s a chance to finally play a gunslinger! I’m seriously tempted.
The fourth character concept I’m contemplating–possibly my favourite–is an investigator with the scavenger archetype. Scavenger’s make tiny gadgets to deliver their spells instead of brewing potions and extracts. They give up their poison abilities to get some cool thematic abilities that make them good at making, controlling, harming and healing constructs. Finally, instead of using their inspiration for free on knowledge checks, linguistics and spellcraft, they can use it for free on disable device, appraise and knowledge engineering. This archetype is just… awesome! I love the flavour and abilities and I think it would be a great fit for the town of Torch and the Iron Gods campaign as a whole.
But there’s one concept left I’m super excited for… A psychic! Psychic? Yup! More specifically, a psychic with the mindtech psychic discipline who specializes in using psi-tech. In short, this psychic can communicate with electronic machinery and technological devices. They can amplify and focus their powers through the technology around them, and can essentially mind-control constructs and override their programming at higher levels. There’s a host of cool psi-tech abilities which they can take in place of phrenic amplifications or feat, including the ability to shoot lasers, make force field, and even upload their consciousness into technological devices like robots in order to become an AI. Weird. Cool. Awesome. My only problem? Since Iron Gods doesn’t start with technology in the hands of its players, it could be a while before her powers see good use in the game.
So, while I contemplate my character options, I’ll give my player’s guide a read. I’ll crack open my adventure path volumes and ready the awesome Iron Gods Pawn Collection I got for Christmas.
Let me know your thoughts on Iron Gods and your character ideas below! I’d love to hear them!
The nanite bloodline is from People of the River, a book about the River Kingdoms and Numeria and the people who live there. The iron priest archetype for clerics was published in The Technology Guide, as was the techslinger archetype for gunslingers. Scavenger was from Blood of the Beast, a wonderful little player’s book about animal-inspired races including catfolk, grippli, kitsune, ratfolk and more. Finally, the mindtech discipline for psychics is from Occult Realms.