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.
Another weekend has come and gone, and this one was busy! Between swimming classes, birthday parties, errands, and the weekly trip to the laundromat, there wasn’t much time for other activities. We played some board games with my daughter, my son started work on an ambitious dinosaur puzzle, and I posted in the horde of play-by-post games I’m involved in.
My family and I had a bit of time to play Shackled City. Aeris, Mick, Falco and Rabbity headed deep underground through forgotten secret passages and stairwells with Patch and Keygan (very unenthusiastically) accompanying them. They stepped foot into Jzadirune and explored a strange room where they heard birds chirping, gnomes laughing, and felt a breeze blowing on their skin. Massive masks hung on the walls. As they moved into to illusion-draped room to look around they discovered two strange doors–like giant gears that roll into the walls, these were the Doors with Teeth. My children were thrilled! But seeing a glimmer of light coming from the cracks around one of the doors, Aeris and Mick went to peek inside, while Falco moved deeper into the room.
Suddenly the masks on the wall began to sing, welcoming them to Jzadirune and warning them against pilfering. Although my kids loved it, and asked me to sing the song to them over and over, it wasn’t so great for their characters. The illusory song caused the figures beyond the lit door to notice the heroes. Quickly camouflaging themselves, the skulks vanished. They lay in wait to ambush the PCs, but after only one round of battle they ran off, deeper into Jzadirune through makeshift, rough tunnels that had been drilled through the walls.
Our heroes gave chase, engaging in a series of skirmishes against a pair of skulks. Eventually they came to a room with a strange mechanical construct in it, clearly the source of the roughly drilled tunnels. There a dark creeper ordered the construct to attack the intruders, in gnome. Mick laughed and told it to stop. The pair argued and bickered, giving the construct contrary orders until the creeper gave up and fled. Mick was thrilled with his new, neat, half-broken construct, and the group was off again, charging blindly through the tunnels, deeper into Jzadirune.
One battle into this place and they’re already super lost! Haha. But by then we were out of time, so further exploration would have to wait. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
In other news, Pathfinder recently announced a new product coming out soon. A new style of flip map tiles, which honestly look awesome. Similar to their old flip-tiles, these are double-sided, can be used with dry erase markers, and connect wonderfully to one another. The differences are in size (these are a bit bigger, and are square), and in number (these have a whopping 42 tiles per pack, as compared to the old ones which had 18). The tiles look great, and I’m curious to see how they’ll look and handle in person. The map tiles are due out in April.
The other exciting release is for a book called ‘Disciple’s Doctrine‘ Like the other ‘Faith’ books before it (Faiths of Balance, Faiths of Purity, Faiths of Corruption, Faiths & Philosophies, etc.), this book is a soft cover intended for players that takes a look at a dozen complex philosophies that are found throughout Golarion. Including the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, Magnimar’s mystery cults, and the Oracular Council of Po Li, this book is filled with a wide variety of doctrines. The one I’m most excited for? The Prophets of Kalistrade! FINALLY! What are they? I have no idea! What I do know? They’ve been name-dropped since way back in the first Pathfinder release, they’re important, they follow strange taboos, they wear white and gold, they wear gloves, and they like making money. Anything else? Nope! I’ve got no clue! I’ve been curious about this ‘faith’ for years, so I’m excited to find out. Like all the player intended soft covers, this book has a lot of traits, feats, spells and archetypes in it to make use of. I’m curious to see what it contains!
One final bit of excitement happened around my house this week. My husband decided he’d like to play a campaign with just me and him. So I named him the ones I have that he hasn’t played (not a very long list, haha) and he thought about it for a while. He narrowed it down quick, but was torn between Wrath of the Righteous and Iron Gods. So while he debates between two awesome campaigns, I’m going to crack out my first volume of each and give them a reread. It never hurts to be prepared!
That’s all for today. Thanks for checking in with us here at d20 Diaries. We’ll talk again soon.
d20 gaming happens plenty in my house, but Friday nights is special. Friday night is for adults only! While my kids and my brother’s kids run around, eat popcorn and have a movie night together, we parents play some Pathfinder. If all four of us are free we play Mummy’s Mask, and if only three of us are free we play Reign of Winter.
And this week? Reign of Winter.
Reign of Winter is a six-volume Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo Publishing. The campaign begins in the village of Heldren in the nation of Taldor during mid-summer. A blizzard appears out of nowhere, blanketing the nearby Border Wood with snow. When a wounded caravan guard delirious with frost-bite and fatigue staggers into town telling crazy stories about ice fairies, mass slaughter, and a kidnapped noblewoman, the village leaders urge the PCs to investigate his claims. Tasked with finding the missing noblewoman, discovering what happened to the guard’s caravan, and investigating the cause of this unnatural winter, the heroes set out to the Border Wood. Deep in its depths they discover a magical portal to the frozen land of Irrisen, whose supernatural winter will soon engulf all of Golarion unless the PCs can discover the fate of the otherworldly witch Baba Yaga. But following her trail of bread crumbs will take them far from home… Through the eternally frozen lands of Irrisen, and into even stranger lands beyond.
Though the premise is simple–find Baba Yaga and end this unnatural winter before it freezes the whole world–this campaign has a ton of twists, turns, and surprises. Each and every adventure in the series is well-written, fast-paced, and loads of fun. It features a lot of awesome locations, some of which are bound to take your players completely by surprise (parts four and five, here’s looking at you!). One of my favourite parts? Reign of Winter doesn’t always assume what your players do. It leaves it up to them. Although they have destinations to reach and a task that must be completed in each volume to keep them working towards their goals, how they go about achieving it, and who they decide to help or hinder is almost always up to them. This is awesome to see in an adventure path, and really lets the player’s be in control of their destiny, despite being in a pretty tight, ‘on-the-rails’ style of campaign.
In terms of supplemental material, this campaign works well with nearly everything Pathfinder. It’s particularly well-suited to the addition of occult classes and mythic tiers. Surprisingly, gunslingers will also have some distinct advantages during part of the campaign. The only class I don’t recommend is the paladin. Although mechanically they will have a ton of opportunity to shine, and they’re not forced to commit evil acts, the players will not always be able to fight the evil they see. In addition, this campaign’s major goal is to find and save Baba Yaga, an evil witch of tremendous power. Most paladin’s would have a hard time justifying this. Although it can be done, this campaign is much more enjoyable for everyone involved without being constrained by such a strict moral code.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is almost entirely a cold-weather campaign. Your characters will need to find ways to deal with the winter’s chill as soon as possible. But, that doesn’t limit character choices. In fact, as much as playing winter-themed characters can be fun, it’s more beneficial to go in the opposite direction. You are fighting against winter’s spread, after all. In a practical sense, many creatures native to frozen climates have resistances to the cold and weaknesses to heat. Preparation and adaptation to the cold is more important than being at home in cold climates.
I have read a lot of adventures and campaigns over the years, and I can honestly say that Reign of Winter is one of my all-time favourites. Top three, for sure! If you ever get the chance to play, read or run it, I highly encourage you to do so!
My group of players for Reign of Winter is incredibly small. I GM it, while my husband and my brother play it. That’s it. Three people, with a two-person party. Obviously, this brings up some challenges, which will be discussed later. But for now, let’s meet the heroes of my Reign of Winter Campaign: Huxley Rangvald and Aesir Havelok.
Aesir Havelok is a hunter and fisherman of Ulfen descent. During the summer months he lives in the Taldan town of Heldren. During the fall he travels north by ship to meet up with his cousins, and during the winter months he joins his cousins in their longboats, hunting great sea-beasts. He is a cleric of the agathion Ylimancha, the neutral good empyreal lord of seafarers, coastal waters, and creatures that fly. Aesir is particularly good with a bow, and has a way with animals. In addition to summoning creatures to aid him in combat he began the campaign with two beloved pets: his dog, Bjorn, and his seahawk, Bronna. Along the way he also became the proud master of a combat-trained warhorse, Ulbricht, and a wild, giant weasel, Brigga. For a time he was master of a glorious white stag he dubbed Loki.
Aesir is friendly and likeable, but not around Heldren much. He’s not quite considered a local, and is more of a welcome outsider. He’s brave and bold, and tries to inspire others to be the same. He dreams of hunting epic sea monsters, and making a name for himself that his ancestors and future descendants can be proud of! Aesir is my brother’s character.
Huxley Rangvald is a man of contrasts. Raised in a museum with an Ulfen father who longs for adventure, a Taldan mother with a head for business, and a horde of siblings and cousins, Huxley has become a fusion of cultures. Descended from an Ulfen warrior who once protected Taldan royalty and earned all the wealth he could carry as his pay for a decade’s work, Huxley’s great-grandfather used his eye for quality to fill his arms and backpack with priceless relics, valuable antiques and historic artifacts. But instead of heading home, he founded a museum, married a wealthy woman and lived a life of leisure.
Huxley himself grew up well-educated and wanting for nothing. But, living among the relics of legends and heroes, surrounded by history, he yearned to do more. He loves hunting for relics and bargaining for new acquisitions, and has managed to expand his family’s collection tremendously. Huxley is an occultist who uses historic artifacts to unlock and channel his own psychic powers. He is my husband’s character.
The Story so Far…
My group is currently on book one of Reign of Winter, The Snows of Summer. Having set out from the town of Heldren into the Border Wood, the duo fought against strange creatures, frigid icy fey, and the ever-encroaching cold to rescue a missing noblewoman from a group of bandits. But clues discovered in the forest led them to believe that the source of the arctic weather lay within the woods itself. After returning the noblewoman to Heldren and resupplying, Huxley and Aesir returned to the depths of the frozen woods and travelled to its centre, deep in the Somir Valley. Along the way they met a strange doll in a small house within a haunted ice maze. Made from the soul of a child by someone foul, the doll seemed an oddity at first. But as the doll began to act of its own volition, they believed it was haunted, and finally, alive. Aesir though it was creepy and should be destroyed, but Huxley thought it was amazing! He treated the doll kindly and befriended her, learning that her name was Thora. With the creepy doll in Huxley’s care they soldiered on. The cold intensified, and more strange creatures foreign to the woods appeared. After combating terrifying foes amidst a howling blizzard they followed the impossible storm to its centre and found a portal. Suddenly the doll screamed and fought like crazy to prevent them from entering.
Huxley had learned much about the doll during the journey, not only from speaking with her, but from examining her with his occultist abilities and vast arcana knowledge. He knew that whoever had killed the human Thora had captured and used it’s soul to create a dangerous construct known as a guardian doll. Such dolls much follow their creators commands, and can be given tasks to carry out, but are intelligent and cunning. In addition, they lash out against those that they loved in life. But, the dolls are still influenced by the soul used to create them, and as evil as its commands might be, the child inside the doll–little Thora–was a good girl. Huxley had finally discovered the dolls purpose: to prevent anyone from approaching the portal. Knowing Thora would attack them to the best of her ability, he bound her and blindfolded her, and stuffed her inside his bag. Although it was cruel, he hoped that upon leaving the portal behind, the doll would no longer be compelled to harm him. Then her actions would be her own again.
And if she still wanted to harm him? Well, that was her right. He did tie her up and stuff her in a bag….
Just as they were about to approach the portal a nearby tree moved, revealing itself to be a moss troll, the final guardian of the strange portal. Dealing with Thora and the troll at the same time proved a challenge, but Huxley and Aesir triumphed and moved to examine the portal. Huxley determined that the portal was the cause of the unnatural winter, and by closing it they could return the local weather to normal. Unfortunately, the source of the portal wasn’t here, it was on the other side of the portal. Knowing they would be stuck on the other side, wherever that was, they decided to pass through. Only to have something come out of the portal!
A tall figure in black armour, bleeding from many wounds, and clearly near death. The armoured knight removed his helmet and fell into the snow, revealing himself to be an incredibly old man. But this was no mortal… This was Dark Midnight, the Black Rider and one of three Heralds of Baba Yaga’s return. As he was dying, the man drew the others to him and imparted upon them both wisdom and knowledge.
Every hundred years the Great Witch, Baba Yaga, returns to her country of Irrisen to place a new daughter upon the throne. But this year, something went wrong. Queen Elvanna, ruler of Irrisen, did not wish to give her throne to another. Forgetting that the throne was not hers to give, it was Baba Yaga’s, Elvanna set out to kill the Heralds of her return, kill all those loyal to Baba Yaga, and take the entirety of Golarion as her throne. To this end, she has placed magical portals throughout the world, with the intent of spreading endless winter across the globe. Millions will perish, and Elvanna will rule over the frozen world that remains.
The source of this portal was close, within a few days travel once they passed through the portal, in a place called the Pale Tower, but the other portals throughout the world? They were farther, and they were many. Huxley and Aesir would not be able to shut them all down alone, and with even one remaining, the eternal grip of winter would continue to spread.
But Dark Midnight offered them hope.
Baba Yaga is always prepared for betrayal. She set a contingency in place–left a trail of breadcrumbs for the Herald’s to follow. But death was coming for the last of her Heralds, and the PCs would have to take up his cause. After saving their home by destroying the portal in the Pale Tower, they would need to travel to Whitethrone, the capital of Irrisen. There Queen Elvanna had imprisoned Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut as a symbol of her power. If they could free the Hut and step inside they could travel anywhere–even across planes and to other worlds. But to do so they needed the keys to the hut. Objects mundane in appearance but attuned to different locations. Combining these objects provides navigational direction for the Hut to follow. Elvanna had deactivated the keys, but Baba Yaga had already placed a few keys in hiding for her Heralds to find, and Dark Midnight has done so. With these keys, they can follow Baba Yaga’s trail, rescue her from whatever prison she is trapped in, so that Baba Yaga can destroy the portals–all of them.
But Baba Yaga has a way of testing even those who she desires to aid. The keys are but the first in a series of trials. Where they will take the heroes, Dark Midnight doesn’t know, but he does know that there will be more. More keys to find, more clues to follow, and more trials to face. In the end, they will find Baba Yaga and Baba Yaga will put an end to Elvanna’s foolishness. But until then, they would need a final boon from him. For only Baba Yaga and her Heralds can enter the Dancing Hut. To save their world, they would need to become Her Herald in Dark Midnight’s place. They would need to usher in the return of Baba Yaga.
They hesitated only a moment. Huxley needed no incentive to accept a mission involving a MAGICAL LEGENDARY HUT! While Aesir was bound by honour to save the town of Heldren. Accepting Dark Midnight’s offer, the Herald gave them the keys to the hut, and then passed onto them, his powers. The man in the armour had died. But Dark Midnight lived. Huxley Rangvald and Aesir Havelock took on the mantle and responsibilities of the Black Rider, and with it came great power. They achieved their first mythic tier, and charged through the portal only to come out… in Irrisen.
Eventually, Thora stopped screaming and trying to murder Huxley, which made him very happy, but he did not release her from the bag. Not yet. He needed to be sure she was under no further orders before allowing her more freedom.
In time they heard screams on the wind, and hurried off to find the source. Finding a caravan of dogsleds and their riders under attack by a massive praying mantis–a creature native to the Border Wood back in Taldor. Huxley and Aesir helped fight the beast off and introduced themselves to the people they had saved. Turns out it was a group of importers, returning to the nearby town of Waldsby after weeks away acquiring supplies. They thanked Huxley and Aesir, but had no time for chatting. A storm was coming, and they hoped to reach shelter before becoming trapped in it. Together, they all rode off. But they could not outrun the storm. It came upon them before arriving in Waldsby, and they sought shelter in a cave. There they settled in for the night and had a chance to socialize. Huxley and Aesir shared their tale, and their goal to visit the Pale Tower to save their town, but left out all mention of Thora, Dark Midnight and being Heralds of Baba Yaga.
The caravan was run by a woman by the name of Nadya. It had once been her husband’s business, but his death a few years ago left her in charge of the supply runs. Her husband’s business partner and good friend, Laszlo, stayed on to help her, and was here as well. The third member of their group was Inuq, a foreign woman who was the owner, breeder, and trainer of the dogs they used to pull the sleds, as well as owner of the sleds themselves. Typically, the three were the only ones in the caravan, but this last run had been long, and a few more hands had volunteered to join them. Laszlo’s son, Andrei, who had almost been eaten by the mantis, and Nicholai, Nadya’s neighbour, who was a friendly fellow, but didn’t seem comfortable this far from town. As the night wore on, they settled in to sleep, only to have a visitor arrive–a forlarren musician on her way from Waldsby to the Pale Tower. The group begrudgingly let the fey join them in the cave, but clearly the mood was tense. Nadya covered for Huxley and Aesir, lying about their purpose and claiming they were distant relatives of hers. They went along with the lies, knowing something was off, and managed to avoid confrontation with the ice fey. But as she played some local music for the group, she watched the PCs keenly, curious if they knew the words and clearly trying to discover what part of their tale was lies.
The evening was tense, but in time everyone went to sleep. When they awoke it was to the sounds of Nadya screaming in pain. Something had hurt her! Huxley and Aesir charged in to see what had happened to find the forlarren gone, and Nadya wounded from intense cold–a magical spell most likely. The group muttered and worried over the attack, and wondered how the forlarren could slip away so quickly, but Huxley felt a nagging worry. He checked his bag to find Thora there, but unbound, and her tiny footprints heading toward Nadya’s tent. At the back he found a small section of canvas cut away by a sharp object, just large enough for a doll to peek through.
It wasn’t the forlarren that had attacked Nadya. It was Thora. But why?
Huxley kept this news to himself and chatted with the others. They set out for the day and Huxley continued his prying. Eventually he discovered that Nadya had three children. Two boys and a girl named Thora. While Nadya was away on a supply run the Lady of the Pale Tower and her Guard had come through Waldsby on a surprise visit. Thora had been heard making a joke about the witch, and dragged back to the Pale Tower as a prisoner. Her babysitter, Nicholai and his wife, was distraught, and told Nadya what had happened as soon as she returned home. Nadya rode for the Pale Tower, begging for her daughter back, and was promised that if she could bring back more than double her typical shipment of goods to the Pale Tower, her daughter would be released. Nadya agreed and hurried back to Waldsby. Laszlo and Inuq prepared to join her, but to bring back double would be a long trip, and they would need more sleds. Inuq had plenty of sleds and dogs, but they would need others to drive them. Nicholai volunteered out of guilt, knowing that little Thora had been in his care. Laszlo’s son volunteered out of pride and excitement, hoping to join his father on an important journey. Now Nadya was returning to Waldsby, and then on to the Pale Tower to get Thora back.
But she wouldn’t get Thora back, would she? For the witch of the Pale Tower, Nazhena Vassiovna, had killed Thora, captured her soul, and turned her into a guardian doll, sending her through the portal to the Border Wood to stalk and kill all who attempted passage.
Huxley had Thora. And as a guardian doll, Thora would be compelled to lash out and kill all those who she had loved in life. Including her mother, Nadya, and her brothers… Worrying over what to do, Huxley kept his theories (and Thora) to himself. The journey continued, and they triumphed over the dangers of the frozen woods and plains.
But as Walsby came into sight, Huxley made a decision. Taking Nadya aside he told her about Thora’s death, and her rebirth as a doll. Nadya didn’t believe him, and was angry, but as Huxley pulled out Thora, Nadya broke down in tears. The doll wore her daughter’s clothes, and her daughter’s real hair had been used in the doll’s creation. After crying over the fate of her child, Nadya lashed out at the doll, tossing it into the snow. That abomination wasn’t her daughter. Her daughter was dead. That thing needed to be destroyed.
Aesir agreed, but Huxley and Inuq did not. And as Huxley cradled little Thora in his arms, he vowed he would not let anyone harm the girl, whatever form she might be in. Meanwhile, Aesir convinced Nadya that they would seek vengeance against the White Witches on Nadya’s behalf–or alongside her, if she desired.
Setting out to Waldsby with grim determination, the group entered town in order to resupply and rest. Huxley and Aesir would set out for the Pale Tower the next morning, with–hopefully–someone to guide them there.
But Waldsby was not what they expected. It was strange. A mirror image of Heldren in both layout, and its citizens, Aesir and Huxley were both creeped out. They resupplied and socialized, but found the people here hard, and cold where the citizens of Heldren had been welcoming and warm. Huxley determined that the two towns likely lay along the same ley lines, which made the town connected by both magic and psychic powers despite the distance between them. Things occurring in one place would echo across the ley lines and affect the other. Intrigued, Huxley explored the town. Although they made a few friends, more often than not these interactions ended poorly. In the end they decided to leave their animals in Inuq’s care for the night, and sleep in Laszlo’s tiny house.
But the evening was interrupted by the sounds of guards approaching. The Pale Tower Guard were here! Deciding they didn’t want Laszlo to be punished for harbouring them, Huxley and Aesir slipped out a back window and waltzed into the town square. They were immediately approached by the Pale Tower Guard who ordered them to see their commander for questioning. Aesir loudly refused, causing a loud ruckus. Although both groups resorted to intimidation and threats for a while, it ended with violence. Aesir and Huxley defeated the first few guards, but more were on the way. Aesir whistled for his animals, and Huxley used his magic and sword skills. But soon the rest of the Pale Guard were upon them–all nine–as well as their Sergeant. The battle was hard, but together, the group triumphed. With the bodies of the Pale Tower Guard around them, bleeding in the streets, Nadya insisted they leave. More guards would come, and if they were to get vengeance for the death of her daughter, they would need to leave now. Inuq and Laszlo also offered to join Aesir and Huxley on their battle at the Pale Tower.
While Huxley stripped the dying guards of their gear, and the townsfolk yelled at the outsiders to leave, Aesir called the town to arms. Surely SOME amongst the citizens of Waldsby would fight back against the oppression of the Pale Tower Guard and the White Witches? Some seemed convinced, and to these people he bestowed the weapons and gear of the Pale Tower Guard. These people would be the town’s defenders!
Huxley was pretty sure these people would die.
With all the goods they could carry, Huxley, Aesir, and Aesir’s many pets set out with Inuq, Nadya and Laszlo by dogsled to the Pale Tower. The time had come to destroy the winter portal, kill Thora’s murderer and save the town of Heldren.
If they can…
The other side of the screen:
Welcome to the other side of the screen, a place where you’ll find GM notes related to the recent game sessions you’ve read, and links to the adventures themselves. If there’s something different in the adventure, or things I’ve changed and added, you’ll find it here!
So what’s different in this session?
At its core? A bit. In the details? A lot.
For starters, it’s NOT expected that anyone will try to keep the soul bound doll containing Thora’s soul as a companion. Most groups would have left the creepy doll alone. Those that understood what she was would likely consider destroying the soul gem inside her a way to set Thora’s soul free into the afterlife–which it is. Even those groups who kept her with them for a while would likely turn on the doll the first time she tries to attack, harm or hinder the group.
Mine didn’t. No matter how many times the Thora doll tried to hurt, enchant or thwart the PCs progress, Huxley was there to stop her non-violently. He understood Thora, her impulses and her limitations. Plus, she’s a freaking magical doll! Huxley LOVES things like that. This meant that I had to put a lot of thought into what exactly, Thora’s orders were, who she was compelled to listen to, and who she was compelled to attempt to kill if she met them. It’s also important to keep in mind that guardian dolls are subtle, disturbing creatures–not straight up combatants. This turned out to be great fun, and through it all, Huxley still managed to keep her. How much longer he’ll manage when Thora’s mother is travelling alongside them–a person she is compelled to murder–we’ll see. But honestly? I’m rooting for Huxley and Thora! If they can get her through the Pale Tower, destroy her creator and keep her away from the people she loved in life, Thora has an opportunity for growth and a second chance at life. And if they can’t? It will be a heart-breaking climax to a budding friendship between a creepy soul-bound doll and a kindly eccentric.
The second minor change to this campaign so far, was characters. There’s a great primer in the Snows of Summer for both Heldren and Waldsby, which can be used to great effect in the campaign. It’s honestly my two of my very favourite towns to play in. If done well, it will be both memorable and disconcerting for your players. To compliment this collection of quirky townsfolk, everyone was given face pictures to represent them, and characters who had no names (like Nadya’s four helpers) were given identities, personalities and families. Of all the townsfolk in the campaign so far, my players have felt the most connection with Yuln Oerstag, the wounded caravan guard who initially set the PCs out on adventure back in Heldren; Nadya Petska, Thora’s mother and the importer destined to be your guide to the Pale Tower; Laszlo, Nadya’s business partner and a grizzled old hunter; and Inuq, the Varki dog breeder who supplies Nadya with her dogs and dogsleds. Of these, only the first two had names and images in the published adventure.
The major change I instituted was the mantle of Dark Midnight. In the book, accepting the position as a Herald of Baba Yaga grants you a permanent increase to an ability score, a few boons that will come up throughout the campaign (like the ability to enter the Dancing Hut) and a compulsion that makes your characters want to save Baba Yaga. However, shortly after the printing of this book, Mythic Adventures was released. In fact, Baba Yaga herself was one of the first stat blocks I had ever seen printed who had mythic tiers. Taking into consideration that I had a group of only TWO characters, I decided that this would be a great time to try out the mythic rules in one of our campaigns. And thus, taking on the mantle of the Black Rider granted the PCs their first mythic tier. Throughout the course of the campaign I expect them to get a few more. I’m very excited to see how this change affects the campaign. I think it’s going to be a wonderful fit!
That’s all for now! Thanks for joining us on our continuing adventures in the Reign of Winter Adventure Path. This one’s going to be a wild ride!
What do you think of the campaign? Is it one you’d like to play in? More importantly, what would you PLAY if given the chance to make a character for Reign of Winter? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.