Well, it’s been a busy summer so far. We’ve visited family, celebrated birthdays, gone swimming, tended our garden, played at the park and… Well, frankly my allergies are acting up like CRAZY! Whoo, I feel horrible! Haha. Still, my kids are happy, and I’d rather get out and enjoy the summer than I would let it pass me by.
A while ago my daughter asked me if I would start moving some of our d20 games online to play-by-post. She felt that she never got to play her many, many, many adventures and characters because when the weekend comes we only have time for one game, and it’s going to be one of the ones everyone agrees on. That means that we could go months without playing some of her characters.
“Pleeeeeeease, Mom?” she asked. “Some of my characters might as well be DEAD! I would rather play them one post a day than take no turns EVER! PLEEEEEEASE!?!?”
She’s a little dramatic, but she got the point across. Haha.
So, at my daughter’s request, we moved one of our ongoing family PFS games online and we moved our family Dead Suns Adventure Path online. My kids and I also have a lot of campaigns that involve only me and them. I told them they could choose one to move online for now. They gave this a great deal of thought and, although they have a ton of characters they enjoy playing, they also have campaign envy.
Every time the grown ups play Mummy’s Mask, or Iron Gods, or Reign of Winter they are desperately jealous. A while ago they began their own Mummy’s Mask campaign and they’ve been begging me to let them start Iron Gods and Reign of Winter ever since. In the end, they chose the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. I’m actually really excited, since they created a very entertaining group of characters that shook up our typical party dynamics. More details on that will come in an upcoming blog post.
In other news, Gameday VII will start in another few weeks, which is super exciting! I can’t wait! GenCon is coming up (for those of you lucky enough to attend such things), and Paizo recently released their Puzzle Hunt from PaizoCon online for mass consumption. No idea what that is? In short, its a series of Golarion-themed puzzles within puzzles that were given out at PaizoCon back in May. It’s a free download on their website, and you can talk about the puzzles with other gamers on the boards. I gave them a read and am actually super excited to try them out. It looks fun!
Paizo recently announced their upcoming Pathfinder Society Scenarios, which include the finale for Season 9 and the start of Season 10! They’ve also shared details on the next four Starfinder Society Scenarios. Soon we should get information on two new Adventure Card Game adventures, and the first three of their upcoming Pathfinder Playtest Scenarios! I can’t wait to get my hands on these beauties at the end of the month!
Speaking of the Playtest, there have been some awesome spoilers lately. My favourite turned out to be the BARD. Now, I’ve always had a soft spot for bards, so I was pretty sure I was going to love it no matter what they did. After reading their recent blog post on the topic I was elated! It’s got full spellcasting, performances are now a special sort of bard only cantrip called a composition (which means you’re not going to run out of music!), and some of the performances are reactions (counter song, here’s looking at you)! It’s just… awesome! I can’t wait to read the whole class!
Luckily, we don’t have much longer to wait. Pathfinder Playtest releases on August 2nd, along with the Doomsday Dawn Adventure, free maps to go with it, and a trio of Playtest Society Scenarios. I’ve had the good luck to join up with a group of play-by-posters who are going to be playing all three PFS scenarios in a row, which will give me a chance to try the game as a player. Meanwhile, I’ll be GM for Doomsday Dawn (and perhaps even the PFS Scenarios) for my family at home. I expect there will be a lot of characters being made around the house at that time, so who knows what we’ll end up playing with! It’s exciting.
Now I just have to find the time to read all of that…
Today I’m going to leave you with a photo my daughter took especially for d20 diaries. And yes, it has rabbits.
Another week, another game night! Today on d20 diaries we’re heading back to Wati for more of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. So, sharpen your khopesh, pull out your holy water, and let’s get ready to take on the dead!
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, intended to bring your characters from level one to around level seventeen. This campaign takes place in the deserts of Osirion, and involves trap-filled pyramids, haunted tombs, scorching deserts, bustling bazaars and more undead than you can shake an ankh at! The Mummy’s Mask Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, and contains a ton of useful information for players looking to make characters that have lasting ties to the campaign. For more information on Osirion, you can pick up Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs. Players looking for desert-themed character options can also check out People of the Sands.
The Fateway Five left the Precinct of Left Eyes behind, and set off for their friend Manaat‘s house, deep in the slums of the Asp District. As they travelled, the streets got tighter, the homes smaller, and soon neither doors nor shutters protected the cowering inhabitants from the horrors outside. Only tattered curtains offered a barrier between the families hiding in their overcrowded homes from the zombies and skeletons stalking the streets.
“We need to get these people out of here…” Arc remarked. He was an awkward, red-headed herb witch from Thuvia. He wore little in the way of clothes and held a staff in his hands. On his back he wore a bag of dirt in which he grew a tiny garden and carried his pet rabbit.
“All of them.” Kasmet added. She was a fiesty catfolk dressed in ancient Osiriani finery with a pelt like that of a cloud leopard and an unhealthy fondness for shiny jewels.
Nazim Salahadine, a portly catfolk cleric of Pharasma who looked like an overgrown Persian housecat, spent no time in conversation. Instead, he let out a loud ululation and leapt into battle with his khopesh and shield against every undead he laid eyes on. Arc and Kasmet followed him a moment later.
It took them a long time to fight their way through the streets to Manaat’s house. Although the wandering, weak undead posed no challenge to them, there were plenty to fight off. To make matters worse, most of the dead were relatives and pets of the residents, who had been buried under the floors of their homes due to an inability to afford burial in the Necropolis. This meant that families didn’t just have to fight off a roaming zombie, they fought off grandma, or a cousin or their previous pet cats. They also faced freshly risen zombies — residents of the Asp who were killed recently and reanimated by the necromantic pulses that had been washing over the city.
Arcs little pet rabbit looked around at the chaos with a sad look and a twitching nose. A silvanshee named Kal sat beside her, mocking every move Arc made.
“This is it!” Kasmet suddenly exclaimed.
The group hurried into the tiny house to find it under attack. Undead had literally crawled out of the tiny home’s back wall. The house was no more than ten feet by fifteen feet, and was packed with a bed, table, and cupboards, not to mention Manaat’s husband, twelve children and three zombies.
In between attempting to maneuver through the house, combat the undead, and protect the children, this turned out to be the groups hardest battle yet! Thankfully they pulled through without any of the family being injured. As Arc and Kasmet ushered the family out into the streets and explained to the father who they were, Nazim inspected the walls. The house was built right up against the Necropolis, so he was worried that the undead had broken through the Necropolis walls and into the home. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. It looked like the undead were purposefully interred within the walls, although he wasn’t sure if they had been honoured ancestors unable to pay for a proper resting place, or murder victims buried in the sly. Whatever the case, he was certain the Necropolis walls were still holding strong.
The group filed out into the streets and started to make their way back towards the Grand Mausoleum.
“Wait,” Kasmet exclaimed. “The people in these homes have no protection. We need to get them out of here.”
“Agreed!” Nazim declared. “But we cannot take them all. If the group is too large we will not be able to protect them.”
Arc nodded. “This neighbourhood, then. We’ll gather whoever will come with us from this block.”
“And the others?” Kasmet asked. “We can’t leave them.”
“We will come back for them!” Nazim purred loudly. “For now we announce our intent to return and tell them to ready themselves! Now, hurry! Let’s be off!”
The group took to the streets shouting that there was safety at the Grand Mausoleum and that evacuations were under way. They banged on the walls of those homes who they could escort now — some of whom joined them — and shouted their intent to return in another hour for another group. As they left the neighbourhood behind with nearly forty other citizens in their care, they prayed that the people of Asp could last that long…
Arc ordered Kal ahead to scout for danger. Surprisingly he offered no quips or arguments. Despite his frivolous demeanour, Kal cared for protecting innocents, particularly from his hated foe: undead. With their guide hopping between rooftops as a lookout and the Fateway Five armed and ready for battle, they managed to get back to the Grand Mausoleum without any casualties.
The Fateway Five were tired and sore. Battered and bruised. Though they still has magical resources at their disposal, it had been a long night. Fatigue would set in soon.
But as the residents of the poorest sections of Wati fell upon the steps of the Grand Mausoleum and wept in relief to find sanctuary; as Manaat’s family rushed into her arms crying “Mommy;” they decided it had all been worth it. It wouldall be worth it… For they were far from done. The slums were large, and there were many other families who needed help.
The group beckoned over some healers to tend to their wounds, then headed off to speak with High Priestess Sebti. They found her in the sanctum making up sleeping pallets for the refugees. The group told her all they had learned so far, and informed her of the weakening of the wall wards, the rising of the recently deceased, the plans of the Voices of the Spire, and the Voices intent to summon psychopomps to supplement their numbers.
Sebti was grateful, but also worried. She thanked the group for aid and sent for the clergy’s resident expert in holy wards. While they waited for him to arrive so they could escort him to the Necropolis gates, Nazim explained their plan to protect the poor of the Asp district. Sebti was both shocked and pleased.
“A wise decision,” she told them with a smile.
Just then a regal looking man with pale skin, a bald head, and long blue robes strode into the room. With a very imperious look he assessed the Fateway Five. He sighed in disdain.
“You called for me, High Priestess.”
Sebti smiled at the scholarly priest and quickly introduced everyone. “This is Ahrutep Mahetree, our foremost expert on religious blessings and defensive wards.”
You’ll be escorting him to the Necropolis gates.” Sebti finished.
Ahrutep frowned. “I… uh… that is… High Priestess!” he stammered. “I am a scholar.”
Sebti smiled. “I wish you the best of luck. May the Lady of Graves watch over you.”
With their reluctant scholar in tow the group left the safety of the Grand Mausoleum and headed out into the abandoned streets. Kal hopped off to scout ahead. Not long after he shouted down from the rooftops,
“Hey! Losers! There’s some dead-heads over here.”
The Fateway Five took a slight detour over a block, heading towards the undead.
“What? No! Go the other way, you fools!” Ahrutep exclaimed in a panic.
Nazim let out a loud ululation, drowning out the man’s complaints, and leapt into battle. It was a trio of zombies, so combat was quick. During the fight Kal hopped down into Arc’s dirt-bag and cuddled up next to Arc’s rabbit. Arc offered some ranged support, and Kasmet attacked with her claws.
Ahrutep panicked, shrieked, and hid behind Arc.
Kal laughed at the top of his lungs. “A-HA-HA! THIS POMPOUS FOOL IS THE BIGGEST COWARD!”
Ahrutep was too scared to care.
As the battle came to an end he cleared his throat and smoothed out his robes. “Ahem… Yes, well… A fair job…”
Kal scoffed. “I’ve seen braver babies at Insula Mater!”
As Ahrutep stammered in embarrassment Kal rubbed his side against the rabbit, then hopped back up to a nearby rooftop and disappeared.
Only a handful of steps later and there was a strange glow emanating from the space behind the Ahrutep! He turned slowly so see a human-shaped figure made of glowing light.
“AHHH!” he shrieked. He hurried to hide behind Kasmet and cowered in terror.
The Fateway Five looked at the glowing figure. Kasmet bared her claws, while Arc and Nazim tried to determine if it was undead. Suddenly both of the men relaxed and rolled their eyes. Nazim held out a hand to prevent Kasmet from wasting her energy.
“It is but a trick!” Nazim explained.
“Not funny, Kal,” Arc remarked aloud. “We’ve got important things to do.”
From above they could hear the silvanshee laugh. “AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Did you SEE that? Get that guy a change of shorts!”
Ahrutep fumed angrily and sputtered out a rebuttal.
Kal laughed and turned, showing off his backside to the scholarly priest. “Ha! Okay, I’m really leaving now.”
And with that, he was gone. Again.
The short trip to the Necropolis gates took far longer than expected, but in time the massive gates loomed large. They could see Bal Themm and her reinforcements holding the gate against the hordes of undead who banged against the gates from the other side. The howls of the undead made a loud cacophony that gave chills to even the bravest of souls.
“Greetings, Bal! Here is your holy water,” Nazim said, handing over the vials. “And here is your priest.”
They pushed forth Ahrutep.
The scholar cleared his throat and stepped forward. “Lead the way, Voice.”
As the pair walked away, Kal laughed. “We should call that guy ‘yellow.’ And why was he wearing a dress?”
Arc, whose elaborate loincloth was more akin to a skirt than shorts, blushed. “Get a move on, Kal! We need to hurry.”
“Sure, sure,” Kal groaned as he scampered ahead.
The journey to the tail end of the Asp continued with Kal making a mockery of the Fateway Five, and pointing out all the undead in their vicinity. The PCs made quick work against all of the undead in their path. They battled zombie cats, skeletal members of the Silver Chain gang who were looting nearby homes at the behest of their skeletal champion gang leaders, sun-baked dead who had died of dehydration out in the desert and slums, and even an attic whisperer who stole Nazim’s voice.
Much to my amusement Nazim’s player, my brother, played the rest of the session only acting and mouthing out Nazim’s words. We all had one heck of a fun time guessing and replying in character. I particularly enjoyed playing Kal, who assured everyone that he could read lips, and then proceeded to translate everything Nazim attempted to say horribly wrong, and thoroughly insulting. It was a complete and total blast! So much fun! We probably spent more time laughing than we did playing. Haha.
The Fateway Five pushed themselves hard, and made a total of six trips to and from the Asp district, escorting the residents to the safety of the Grand Mausoleum. They were surprised to see a few familiar faces among the residents. Senja Messeniah, a dancer who occasionally performed at the Tooth and Hookah was among the citizens. As was Tais (a half-orc who had befriended Kasmet a few days earlier), Frida Bylo (a partying dwarven lass who had tried seduced Arc in the hopes of robbing him blind. Her flirting stopped abruptly when she realized all he had in his room was plants). They also met the Pahnet, the wife of a dead man they had discovered in the Necropolis on their second day of the lottery.
Unfortunately, undead weren’t the only ones to cause trouble. Kal tricked Arc into an embarrassing encounter with a thief girl that Arc had a massive crush on. While Arc blushed, Kal threw his voice and gave his best Arc impersonation, then proceeded to make chauvinistic comments at the young woman. She was less than unimpressed.
On another trip the group discovered that they were missing a handful of refugees! They backtracked and found the missing citizens trying to rob a local shop. Outside the battered and bruised teenaged girl who worked there sobbed in the street. To make matters worse, one of the refugees was a kid. The Fateway Five ended up beating the robbers into unconsciousness, then dragged them through the streets to the Grand Mausoleum and handed them over to High Priestess Sebti. The shopgirl refused to come with them, knowing that her father had told her not to leave the shop unattended.
On their last journey, right at the end of Mender’s Row, where the slums transition to the lower class section of the Asp (as opposed to the destitute section) they heard screams and some strange growls. The Fateway Five called a halt, left Kal in charge of the refugees (which he loved), and hurried over a street. There they reached a fabric and dyer’s shop called Rising Pheonix Textiles, which happens to be the place that Manaat worked as a dyer. Out front they saw the owners — Ohmun Kotem and Shamihn Hep — being attacked by zombies while two massive beasts tore the zombies apart. The creatures looked like wide, panthers with ruffled black feathers around their necks, and skeletal crocodile heads.
“Esoboks!” Nazim exclaimed. “Psychopomps who devour all in their path!”
“You mean the Voices of the Spire summoned those things even though you told them not to?” Kasmet shrieked. “Fools!”
The esoboks finished devouring the zombies and approached the women with open, bloody jaws. Ohmun and Shamihn shrieked in panic.
“Ah!” Arc exclaimed. Then he waved his arms and starting yelling at the beast. “Hey! Over here! You’re ugly and… you look like the undead! HA!”
The esoboks turned at the word undead, pinning Arc with their baleful gaze. The Fateway Five dashed into battle intent on not only destroying the esoboks, but protecting the women. It was a fun battle, that really showcased some of the esobok’s cool abilities (wrench spirit, anyone?) which was made extra challenging due to the maidens in danger. In time the esoboks were defeated, and vanished in a puff of gravedust, confirming that they were summoned creatures brought to Wati on purpose. Although they had combatted the undead, as the Voices of the Spire intended, they also were a threat to the living, as Nazim had warned. Nazim took a quick look around for the caster, but couldn’t find him (or her), while Arc and Kasmet tried to calm the women. They offered to escort the ladies to the Grand Mausoleum, which Shamihn accepted, and Ohmun complained about. After some fine diplomacy checks the Fateway Five convinced them to join the refugees.
“Oh!” Kasmet suddenly remarked. “And Manaat sent us to check on you, you know.” she lied. “You owe her your lives. You should probably give her a raise or something.”
When they finally reached the Grand Mausoleum the sun was rising. The Fateway Five reported to Sebti, ensured the citizens were well cared for, and then headed off to their rooms down the road at the Tooth and Hookah to fall asleep. They hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours.
Undead still stalked the streets. Citizens were still in danger. And there was a group of impatient nobles waiting at the Grand Mausoleum to be escorted to their homes. But, the Fateway Five had saved a lot of lives. They had held the Necropolis gates, coordinated the major religious organizations, evacuated the most at risk neighbourhood in Wati, and slayed dozens of undead.
They had done an amazing job. But, there was much left to do.
Wati needed heroes.
So heroes they would be.
Thanks for joining us on another trip to Wati! I hope you enjoyed your time with the dead as much as we did.
Today on d20 diaries we’re heading back to Wati for more of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path! That’s right! It’s game night! So while all of our kids settled in for a night of movies and popcorn, we adults cracked out our dice, scrambled around for our character sheets and settled in to play!
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, intended to bring your characters from level one to around level seventeen. This campaign takes place in the deserts of Osirion, and involves trap-filled pyramids, haunted tombs, scorching deserts, bustling bazaars and more undead than you can shake an ankh at! The Mummy’s Mask Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, and contains a ton of useful information for players looking to make characters that have lasting ties to the campaign. For more information on Osirion, you can pick up Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs. Players looking for desert-themed character options can also check out People of the Sands.
When we last left our quirky crew of heroes, commonly known as the Fateway Five, they were standing in the Sunburst Market surrounded by the dead. Or, rather, the recently destroyed undead. The team had been present at an auction which had been rudely (and violently) interrupted by a pack of roving zombies and a particularly angry crawling hand. After saving the other attendees and laying the smack down on some undead, they headed out into the city to find Wati under attack by walking corpses. Without hesitation they waded into battle, saving more than a few familiar faces. But on the wind they could hear the screams of the living, and the rasping groans of the dead. The battle was far from over.
Wati was under attack. But from where? And why were the dead rising?
The Fateway Five paid a quick visit to the three local churches in order to coordinate a plan to save Wati and then set their sights on the town. But first? Gear. Having just come from a fancy auction with the nobles of Wati, they were more than a little under-equipped for battle. Or rather, some of them were. Arc had shown up half naked with a bag of dirt on his back, like always. But Nazim and Kasmet had attended in finery and jewels! Jewels would not win a battle. And finery? It would get torn and stained! They needed their gear, which was tucked away safely in their rooms at the Tooth and Hookah.
As they turned to leave the Sunburst Market they heard some loud screams. Women! Lots of them! And infants….
Immediately my players looked at each other and nodded. They all agreed without argument that paying a visit to Insula Mater (the local hospital dedicated to the care of pregnant women and infants) far outweighed their need for gear. And so, dressed in their finery and under equipped, the Fateway Five rushed off in the opposite direction, to Insula Mater.
Insula Mater is a large, multi-level building with easily locked and shuttered windows and lockable doors. The grounds are surrounded by manicured bushes in order to offer the women and infants on the grounds privacy. Insula Mater is run by a learned and weathered cleric of Pharasma known as Auntie Jehuti, staffed by a team of six other Pharasmin midwives known as the Mother’s Handmaidens, and guarded by a small contingent of holy guards. As the group arrived on the scene they found the windows shuttered, and doors locked. Two guards stood in front of the building’s doors, fighting off two zombies, with two other guards flanking the zombies from the other side. The zombies would not live long. But from the upper windows came panicked cries and the wailing of infants. Another voice rang out above the din, shouting: “We’re missing one! We’re missing a mother!”
Knowing that the two residents of Insula Mater with whom the Fateway Five had shared an evening with had signed themselves out for the evening and were currently safe at the Grand Mausoleum, the group all knew that their companions were not the mother in question. With worry, they left the guards to deal with the zombies and scoured the grounds for the missing woman. They found her easily, engaged in an argument with a guard on the corner of the grounds. It was Keera, a confident pregnant woman they had met earlier in the day, with nasty scars across her face from some kind of clawed creature.
The guard was urging Keera inside, proclaiming: “It’s not safe.”
Only for Keera to reply. “You’re right. It’s not.”
Suddenly, from behind the bushes burst a quartet of zombies, all of whom moved to attack the poor guard. He howled in pain and moved to protect Keera, while Nazim let out a loud ululation and charged into battle with his khopesh raised high. Kasmet dashed into the fight right behind him, while Arc moved to help Keera. Much to their surprise, Keera began to cast a spell, proving herself much more capable than they expected.
The zombies began to fall under the player’s attacks, while the guard was heavily wounded. Kasmet tore into the zombies with her claws, Nazim swung his khopesh, and Arc pulled out a dagger and cut up the zombie’s arms. Suddenly there was a flickering of magic, and some grotesque-looking wild dogs appeared on the battlefield. Keera’s spell was complete! Her dogs let out a growl and attacked the guard. Keera stepped back away from the fight, let out a series of manic laughs and began to cast another spell.
Needless to say the Fateway Five was confused! Arc tried to get through to Keera (because clearly she was delusional! Right…?), while the rest of the team put an end to the zombies and slaughtered the magical dogs. The guard fell during the battle, while Keera laughed and danced away from the group with a dagger in her hand. She intoned a prayer in a foul language and sent a pulse of evil energy out at the PCs. The only discernible word the PCs had understood was a name: Lamashtu. Goddess of monsters, madness, pregnancy and deformity.
In a rage, Nazim charged at the woman and cut her down, ending her life with a slash across the throat. As she gurgled in surprise, Nazim and Arc got to work on attempting to save her baby. With one of them a trained midwife, and the other a gifted healer, the odds of the child surviving were pretty high. Confident in their abilities, and well aware that she was near term, they performed an emergency cesarian, cutting the infant out of her mother’s womb, only to discover the baby was a hideously deformed monster with crooked hoofed feet, horns on its head, and a scaled tail. While Kasmet raised an eyebrow at the proceedings, Arc and Nazim were unphased by the child’s appearance, caring only for it’s health. During the operation a guard came upon them.
Covered in blood, with a nearby guard killed by the teeth of a dog (which could be easily confused with those of say… Kasmet), and a dead pregnant woman at their feet, a guard commanded them to stop. Nazim and Arc refused. Instead they finished delivering the baby, and ensured it was hale and healthy. Then they passed it off to the guards, explained what happened and moved to leave. The guard didn’t believe them at all. Perhaps due to the unbelievability of their tale, the evidence that seemed to point to their guilt, or their HORRIBLE social skills. But, in the end, he let them go anyway, clearly deciding that bringing an infant into battle against three warriors was a horrible plan.
After that emotionally draining experience, the Fateway Five hurried off to the Tooth and Hookah to pick up their gear. On the way they ran into a pair of clearly wealthy people, who were battling a group of six zombies in the road. They seemed experienced with their weapons, and unworried about the entire ordeal. Nazim let out another ululation and rushed into battle, with Kasmet and Arc following close behind. The battle was over quickly, and the moment it was, one of the unknown warriors, a dashing middle-aged man with a charming grin, gave Kasmet’s hand a kiss and began to flirt with her. The other unknown warrior, an imperious woman in her late twenties, rolled her eyes.
“You’re an embarrassment,” she told the man.
The man laughed, and introduced himself to the group as Ahben. He continued to flirt, which Kasmet accepted with a swish of her tail and a purr.
“We need to go home,” the woman pressed.
“Nonsense, Hakor! We have business in Bargetown.” He then proceeded to ignore the other woman’s complaints and explained to Kasmet, “I have a friend I need to visit before they leave. Perhaps we can see each other again, in a more intimate setting.”
Kasmet agreed, then was left in a bit of a daze as Ahben and Hakor turned to leave.
Hakor shook her head in disgust. “You’re the worst father.”
“Oh, don’t be silly.” Ahben remarked as they left. “It’s well known I’m a wonderful father. Just ask your siblings.”
The woman didn’t seem amused.
As the Fateway Five watched the wealthy pair walk away, Kasmet’s heartbeat returned to normal and she finally realized where she had heard the names Ahben and Hakor before… Ahben was the Patriarch of House Okhenti, one of the most powerful families in Wati. He was a member of the city council, and well known for taking care of his many children by giving them government jobs, and seeing to their martial training. His many, many, MANY children. For Ahben was notorious for having hordes of lovers. His legitimate children were known as the ‘Scions’ of House Okhenti, while his bastards were simply his children. All of whom he took to live with him on his vast estate. Much to the displeasure of his wife. In fact, the Fateway Five had met two of Ahben’s son at the auction earlier that night: the pompous Scion of House Okhenti, Khammayid Okhenti, and the irreverent Teos Okhenti. And Hakor? She was Ahben’s eldest child, a Scion of her line, and set to inherit her family’s wealth and estate.
Kasmet shared what she knew of the man with her companions as they made their way to the Tooth and Hookah. There were a few zombies out front which they dealt with quickly, before being ushered into the building by its owner, Farhaan. The Fateway Five had little time to rest. They quickly re-equipped themselves, ensured the Tooth and Hookah was secure, bid their patron farewell, and headed back out into the night. They headed right for the front gate, but as they passed by the many courthouses along the way they came upon a grotesque sight: fresh corpses lined the road. The PCs approached closer, to discover that many of the bodies were Voices of the Spire, and all of them were missing both of their eyes.
“Oh, gods,” Kasmet gasped while Nazim intoned a Pharasmin blessing over the corpses. “Back in the time of Wati’s first occupation, a common punishment for lawbreakers was enucleation: the removal of the eyes. It’s still practised in some places today, but not here. Once though… Hmm… There was a judge who was known for plucking the eyes out of people for even the simplest offences. A task he would carry out with his own bare hands. They called him ‘Old Eye-Taker.’ And he operated out of that courthouse.” Kasmet pointed to the ancient looking court one building over.
“That’s horrible!” Arc exclaimed.
Kal appeared out of nowhere and let out a laugh. “Hey, sometimes losing an eye is a blessing! Like if they had to look at your ugly face every day!”
Nazim clanged his khopesh onto his shield. “Enough bickering! We must find the culprit.”
And with that the group raced down the road to the courthouse.
Inside they found an undead trial in session. Four skeletal bailiffs presided over a criminal kept on trial against her will. It was Ankhet, a young dwarven member of the Voices of the Spire, whom they were acquainted with. She was unarmed and bruised, with a look of terror on her face. Presiding over the courtroom was a bloody skeleton wearing a judge’s robes with a black fez on his head. It was Old Eye-Taker, himself! Back from the grave!
He slammed his gavel on the wooden podium. “And the verdict has been rendered! You have been judged guilty!” the skeleton announced. “Those who sin against the pharaoh should forfeit the souls their eyes house. Therefore, your punishment is enucleation, to be carried out IMMEDIATELY!”
Ankhet let out a scream.
Nazim burst into the room with a shrill ululation and raced down the aisle towards the front. Arc hurried around the sides, hugging the wall in an effort to get to Ankhet before she lost an eye. Kasmet dashed over pews and benches, tumbling up and around to the other side, in the hopes of flanking the skeletons with Nazim.
“ORDER IN THE COURT!” Old-Eye Taker howled. “GET THEM!” After ordering his bailiffs to attack the PCs he moved down from his podium to attack Kasmet. He gave her a shove and tried to pin her down, in an effort to take her eyes.
Kasmet shrieked and squirmed, and managed to evade his grasp.
Meanwhile, Kal let out a series of ‘eye’ jokes. Then came one of the most enjoyable parts of the session: I challenged my players to come up with eye jokes while we played. Every turn Kal would shout out a new joke or pun and whoever called a new one out first would get to choose it. Everyone took to the challenge with glee, shouting out puns that ranged from obvious to witty. In the end, my sister-in-law ended up giving Kal the most lines, a victory worth celebrating!
Back in Wati, Arc readied his quarterstaff and waded into battle with the skeletons who held Ankhet prisoner. He urged her to help, but she was too scared, leaving Arc one heck of a challenge! The bailiffs all moved to try to capture and pin down Kasmet, which proved very difficult. Nazim smashed them to pieces with his shield, while Kasmet tumbled around, flanking with Nazim in order to get her sneak attack damage on the skeletons, all while evading their efforts.
Soon, Ankhet was free, and only Old-Eye Taker was left standing among the enemies. United, the group made quick work of him, and promptly stole his wonderful fez. Even better? No one lost an eye.
Arc quickly tried to get Ankhet ready to move, a task made extra difficult by the rude cat making eye jokes from Arc’s plant-bag. With the dwarven woman ready to move, Arc healed everyone and they set out for the gates to the Necropolis. There they hoped to discern if the undead were escaping from inside the Necropolis, or were coming from somewhere else. But, as they reached the road they felt a sudden pulse of foul energy roll through them. A moment later, the eyeless dead shuddered and twitched, and climbed up onto their feet. They had become freshly risen zombies! This wasn’t the first time they group had felt such a feeling, or seen freshly killed dead rise…
“Necromancy!” Nazim shouted. “An affront to the Lady of Graves! We must find the source of this evil!”
“Less talking, more killing!” Kasmet shouted back. She dashed into battle as the zombies tried to gain their footing. Meanwhile, Arc drew his dagger and Nazim let out an ear splitting ululation before charging at the undead with his khopesh. Ankhet stood there in stunned terror.
Kal waved his paws in front of her face and laughed. “HA! Look at her! She looks half-dead herself!” he told Arc’s rabbit familiar.
The little rabbit twitched her nose, wiggled her ears and then shook her head once.
“What? It’s FUNNY!” Kal replied. “You’re too kind!”
By the time the silvanshee was done making his jokes at poor Ankhet’s expense, the battle was over. Eight weak undead stood little chance against the Fateway Five.
Arc sheathed his dagger and turned to face Ankhet. “I’m sorry about your friends. But we have no time to mourn. Wati needs us.”
The group hurried the rest of the way to the Necropolis without further trouble. There they found the gates shut and barred, with a great wailing and banging on the other side. The voices of dozens of undead moaned and screamed on the other side of the gate, their fists pounding against the doors and the walls. Bal Themm stood at the gate, bracing it shut with her body alongside two other guards from the Voices of the Spire. They strained with all their might, but with each bang from the other side the entire gate shuddered.
“Fateway Five!” Bal shouted at the sight of them. “Come here! I need you to deliver a message to the Precinct of Left Eyes! It’s the base for the Voices of the Spire. Tell them we need reinforcements! And we’re out of holy water!”
The group urged Ankhet to join the other Voices before turning away, when they suddenly noticed a strange sort of shifting ripple across the gate. Two undead shadows emerged from the Necropolis and into the road, passing right through Bal Themm and the other guards.
They gasped in pain.
“Hold your… post…” Bal groaned, but the other two guards broke ranks and ran. Weakened and surrounded by undead spirits, Bal held her ground alone. She did not flee.
Behind her, the door shuddered.
Nazim let out another ululating cry and held his holy dagger, the Fate Blade, to the sky. He prayed to Pharasma, causing a burst of holy energy to surge out of his dagger. The shadows howled in pain. Kasmet quickly pulled out a few vials of holy water and began tossing, while Arc grabbed Ankhet and dragged her to the gate.
The shadows surged forward at Nazim, who combatted them alongside Kasmet with holy water and divine power, giving Arc the opportunity he needed to help Bal hold they gate.
The gate shuddered, and the undead moaned. Finally, Ankhet seemed to realize that if she didn’t help, the gate would fall, and she would die. Together, she and Arc helped Bal Themm. A few moments later, Kasmet joined them. Nazim struggled against the incorporeal horrors, but he never lost his faith, and soon he defeated them with the powers of his goddess. Tired and weak, he let out a victory cry. Then he pulled out his portable ram and helped use it to brace the gate. Kasmet and Nazim moved over a wagon, then some heavy crates and other heavy objects scavenged from the nearby roads and buildings.
The undead continued to wail and bang loudly against the gate, but it held firm. They had secured the Necropolis Gates.
Arc did his best to treat Bal Themm’s wounds and heal some of her strength damage, then did the same for Nazim.
“Go on,” Bal urged them. “Get the reinforcements.”
Ankhet took a deep breath and nodded. “I’ll stay here.”
And so the Fateway Five headed off down the street and over a few blocks to the Precinct of Left Eyes, home to the Voices of the Spire, and the city’s prison. They could tell there was trouble even before they neared. The wails of the dead mingled with the cries of the living. The clash of steel, and the thudding of flesh on shields thumped below the din, like the drum beat of a wild, savage song.
They quickened their pace and emerged to a great battle. A large group of the Voices of the Spire’s holy warriors stood on the building’s front steps, locked in mortal combat against a thong of undead. Their Commander, Nakht Shepses, stood among them, with his second in command, Shenanda by his side, battling like any other soldier. On the other side of the undead, surrounding them, were other Voices of the Spire warriors. Although the undead were many, the Voices fought with skill and determination. Many of them fought undead on a daily basis, and let neither fatigue nor panic interfere with their duties. Clearly, the skeletons and zombies in the throng stood no chance.
With a cry, the Fateway Five charged into battle, fighting alongside the Voices to bring an end to the undead assaulting this part of the city. Upon the defeat of the final undead, Commander Shepses began giving orders to his troops. He was organizing them to reequip and begin patrols of the Necropolis walls. As expected, they were going to use their resources to keep the undead within the Necropolis, instead of helping the living survive.
The Fateway Five tried to push their way through the Voices in order to reach the Commander, but had no luck. Fortunately, they had fought alongside Shenanda on multiple occasions. When she saw them she made her way through the crowds to them.
“What is it?” she asked without preamble. “Have you come to help?”
“Undead are trying to batter down the Necropolis gates. There’s only two guards there. They need reinforcements.” Kasmet explained.
“And holy water!” Arc added.
Nazim locked eyes with Shenanda. “That’s not the worst of it. Shadows slipped right through the gates. If we would not have been there, the gate would have fallen, and Bal Themm would be dead.
Shenanda looked shocked. “Shadows slipped through the door? You’re sure?” As the others nodded, Shenanda shook her head. “That should be impossible…. The gates and walls are warded to prevent undead of any kind–even incorporeal spirits–from passing through. How did… What is…” She shook her head. “I’ll inform the Commander immediately. Thank you.”
Shenanda slipped back through the crowd and the Fateway Five took the opportunity to follow her. The Commander was shocked at her news. “Send word to the Grand Mausoleum. We’ll need their clerics to assist in reconsecration.”
“We can do that!” Nazim suddenly blurt out. “We need to return there shortly, to inform High Priestess Sebti of your plans.”
Commander Shepses eyed the group with a mix of suspicion and disdain. “Very well. Be gone then. Ensure you don’t lapse in your duties.”
Nazim nodded, and the group turned to leave.
Kal chose this moment to begin speaking again. “MAN! This jerk has a huge stick up his butt! You think he’d give us a thank you or something!”
The Commander glared at the cat (and it’s presumed owners) before ignoring them completely.
Arc blushed brightly and stammered out an apology, but the Commander was already in conversation with a priest. They spoke about summoning psychopomps to combat the undead.
Nazim’s furry jaw dropped. Unable to resist, he pointed out that psychopomps were dangerous creatures. Although they did hunt and destroy undead, many had little care for the living. Such creatures could be incredibly dangerous to the populous!
Unfortunately, The Commander ignored his warnings, and returned to his conversation with the priest.
Nazim frowned. Turning to his companions he growled, “We need to tell High Priestess Sebti. NOW.”
“We promised Manaat we would fetch her family before returning to the Grand Mausoleum.” Arc pointed out.
Kasmet nodded. “They live right against the Necropolis walls, Nazim. They could be in trouble.”
Nazim considered this, then nodded. “You’re right.” He pointed off towards the slums of the Asp District. “Let’s go!”
That’s all for our adventures in Wati today! I appreciate you coming along for the ride. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post, wherein the Fateway Five battle their way through the slums of the Asp!
In the past I’ve spoken a lot about my home game of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. Played by my brother, sister-in-law, and my husband, with me GMing, it’s one of the only face to face games I have running that is adults-only. We play on Friday evenings (presuming everyone is free), while our kids run around like maniacs, enjoy a movie night together, and indulge in some popcorn. It’s been a total blast. But, despite the many times I’ve mentioned it, I have yet to get into detail about the characters involved. Safe to say it’s overdue!
What is Mummy’s Mask, anyway??
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, intended to bring your characters from level one to around level seventeen. This campaign takes place in the deserts of Osirion, and involves trap-filled pyramids, haunted tombs, scorching deserts, bustling bazaars and more undead than you can shake an ankh at! The Mummy’s Mask Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, and contains a ton of useful information for player’s looking to make characters that have lasting ties to the campaign. My home group has recently completed Mummy’s Mask: Book One: The Half-Dead City, and have moved on to Mummy’s Mask: Book Two: Empty Graves, both of which take place in the desert city of Wati. For those of you looking to run the game as a GM I highly recommend picking up the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path Pawn Collection, which has a over a hundred unique pawns for use in this campaign. You’ll also get a TON of use from the Mummy’s Mask Poster Map Folio. Trust me, by the end of Empty Graves your map of Wati will have had one hell of a workout. Mine’s already covered in a ton of numbers and labels I’ve added in permanent marker, to help my players keep track of the many locations in this quirky city. The campaign is also available in other formats, including The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy’s Mask Base Set, and as a series of audio stories beginning with Pathfinder Legends: Mummy’s Mask 1: The Half-Dead City. I haven’t had a chance to play either the Card Game version of the campaign, or to listen to the audio tales, so if you’ve done either let me know what you thought of it in the comments!
Our home game centres around three wonderfully colourful characters played by my husband, my brother, and my sister-in-law. Together they make a powerful team called the Fateway Five. No, that’s not a typo. So who are these three numerically challenged heroes? I’m glad you asked!
First up, Kasmet! Kasmet is an attractive catfolk rogue with a pelt like that of a clouded leopard, and an exceptionally long, fluffy tail to match. She’s sneaky and greedy, and particularly adores shiny, sparkly treasures, jewelry and gems. She can pick locks and disable traps–although so far she’s had quite foul luck with that disabling thing. Nimble and quick, she’s prone to tumbling around the battlefield, flanking her enemies before tearing into them with her sharp, well-manicured claws. Kasmet’s a worshipper of Bastet, the ancient Osirion goddess of cats, pleasure and secrets. She can speak the ancient tongue, and is particularly interesting in discovering what she can of Osirian’s ancient past. She’s a sassy thing and more than a bit…. catty. She wears the most luxurious equipment she can get her hands on, and has a particular fondness for clothing and jewelry with an Ancient Osiriani aesthetic. Kasmet travelled to Wati to delve into the recently opened tombs in the little town’s massive necropolis. On the journey, she travelled with another catfolk, although the two couldn’t be more different.
Nazim Salahadine is my brother’s undead-hating catfolk cleric of Pharasma. Nazim looks like an overgrown persian cat. He wears traditional Osiriani armour, and wields a khopesh and shield. He always leaves his chest fur exposed, which he strokes whenever he’s excited, causing him to purr loudly. He’s territorial, and is prone to rolling around all over the things he desires or plans on visiting, marking such places with his scent and hair. (I’m sure you can imagine how much the innkeeper likes that habit…) He eats a lot (and often), favouring fish and a nice tall cup of milk. He’s incredibly pious, and is often heard spouting Pharasman prayers, or blessing himself and others with a spiralling motion over the heart. He’s also a well-trained midwife. He despises undead with his whole being, always attacking them without remorse, with an ear-piercing ululation on his tongue and his khopesh held high!
Nazim also came to Wati to explore the necropolis, although for entirely different reasons than Kasmet. While she was drawn by greed, he was guided by fate. Not long ago, Nazim died. He had been prepared for death. Had known it was coming. So as his spirit wandered the endless desert he had died in, he opened his heart to his goddess, and prepared to walk the spiral. To allow her to draw him into the Boneyard and her realms. But as her psychopomps appeared before him, another made their presence known: Anubis, an ancient death god of Osirion. Anubis destroyed the psychopomps and punched Nazim right in the chest while uttering the words: “Your time has not yet come.”
Nazim awoke on the hot desert sand, dehydrated and alive once more. Emboldened with purpose, but worried at having been denied his judgement in the Boneyard, he found a single word written in the sand beside him. ‘Wati.’ And there he traveled.
Since arriving in Wati, Nazim has made cherished friends and met the love of his life: the mysterious Black Kiss. Unfortunately, her skin is toxic. Also unfortunately, she left him. Sort of. More accurately, she left town. They were never really dating in the first place. It was more like he announced that they were meant to be together and she laughed. Although, his persistence did earn him her attention and some smiles. But, with his beloved soul-mate gone, Nazim is now heartbroken and forlorn, periodically breaking down into sobs and tears. Kasmet thinks he’s being an idiot.
The third and final member of our party is Arc Goodstorm. Played by my husband, Arc is a socially awkward, plant-obsessed witch. He grew up with his over-bearing, druidic mother, Gwen, in a desert oasis, and until leaving a few months ago had never spoken to another person. Prone to blushing brightly and stammering at women with wide-hips (who he finds incredibly attractive), Arc’s still learning the ways of the world, and the intricacies of social interaction. He’s hilarious to see in action!
But, Arc’s not all adorable awkwardness! He’s a dependable spellcaster, a magical healer, and a talented herbalist capable of making all kinds of wondrous balms and cure-alls. He’s a caring physician, and a passionate gardener. On his back he carries a deep, heavy basket filled with soil and luscious plants, which he tends with care. His rabbit familiar, Mischa, lives inside the basket, and a sarcastic silvanshee named Kal follows him around most of the time, mocking him and his friends. And his dates. And everything, really. Except the rabbit. The silvanshee LOVES his rabbit. Which brings us to members four and five of the team. See? They can count!
Why, you might ask, does a silvanshee follow him around? The answer is part love and part laziness. Kal (short for Kalenthadris) is charged with finding and putting an end to undead on the material plane. Unfortunately, he’s extremely cowardly and doesn’t like to put himself in danger. But, you know who does? Humans! They’re super reckless! And there’s so many of them! Enter Arc! Despite Kal’s irritating jokes, constant pranks, and habit of leading Arc into trouble (only to promptly vanish and leave Arc to fend for himself) Kal’s a big softy. He’s enchanted with Arc’s rabbit familiar, Mischa, who he converses with as if they could understand each other. And when push comes to shove, Kal’s been there to heal Arc on more than one occasion.
And there you have it! The Fateway Five. Heroes of Wati and, maybe one day, something more…
Tune in later this week for an update on our Mummy’s Mask Campaign!
Well, Spring has finally sprung here on d20 Diaries. In the last few short weeks we saw our last snowfall of the winter, we’ve watched the sandy snow melt, and we’ve seen the grass begin to green. My children went from complaining it’s too cold, to whining it’s too hot and bemoaning the lack of prepared swimming pools all within the same two weeks. We had our first sprinklings of rain, and the line-ups for slurpees have officially tripled.
My kids are very interesting in making our planet a brighter, healthier place, so they took to our apartment’s patio at the first opportunity, insisting we spend ‘just a little bit of money’ on some potted plants.
“It will help bring back the bees, Mom!” (Thanks for that tag line, Cheerios, by the way).
“It will bring beautiful butterflies!” (which will leave their cocoons splattered all over my patio walls)
“The rabbits can eat them!” (Not a very compelling argument…)
“They are great for smelling!” (I’m allergic).
“They help us breathe. Well, maybe not YOU, Mom, cause you are allergic to EVERYTHING. But it will help everyone else breathe great!” (Fair.)
Compelling (and not so compelling) arguments aside, I always encourage my kids to follow their passions. My daughter’s embraced her love of rabbits with wild abandon, while my son carries gardening gloves and extra bags in his school backpack, so he’s always ready to clean up the litter we pass by. So, I had every intention of helping my kids do some gardening, despite how ill it was going to make me.
Well, five trips to Rona, nine pots, four tiny bags of soil and infinitely more than ‘a little bit of money’ later, and my kids have transformed our dour little concrete slab into a riot of colourful pots and flowers. They planted three pine seeds they got from the Earth Rangers. (If you don’t know, the Earth Rangers is a Canadian kids conservation organization which challenges kids to help the environment and save endangered species one mission at a time. They have a kid-friendly website, mission lists that give kids easy to accomplish ways they can make a difference close to home, rewards for completing tasks, and nature themed games and articles the kids can play or read. You can also donate or fundraise on behalf of their various missions to save endangered species, but my kids don’t do that part cause I’m a big stick in the mud. For more information on the Earth Rangers, check out their website!). We’ve also got a lovely fern, plenty of flowers and an overpriced rabbit planter. We’ve got a bag of wildflower seeds to plant, as well, which we recently got free from the Cheerios Bring Back the Bees campaign. If you haven’t done so, check out their website, where you can get a free book for your kids and a packet of wildflower seeds (Note: I have no idea which countries can receive the free seeds and book, but it doesn’t hurt to try!).
Admittedly, some plants aren’t doing so well. My kids can be overly eager with the water, we don’t get much sun, it was still below freezing some mornings, and rabbits have been eating all the petals off of the yellow flowers (much to my daughter’s delight). But, that doesn’t really matter. My kids are thrilled to be doing their part to help our local environment, and they’re learning how to be responsible for another living thing. And hey, if it feeds a few rabbits and brings back a bee or two, that’s a bonus. It’s their smiles that really make it worthwhile.
On the gaming front, OutPost has finally come to an end. It was a lot of fun, and my whole family enjoyed themselves. Despite the many games I was a part of, I never managed to win one of the special convention boons, nor did my husband or any of my kids. Happily, what my kids did manage to win was respect. Both of their GMs from the convention were impressed with their crazy characters and their handle of the game. Not long after the end of their convention games they applied for more. My daughter easily scored herself a spot in another play by post, despite worries about her age, after providing a link to her last game to prove she was a decent player. One of the people who played alongside my kids during Outpost decided to GM a scenario and opened a sign up for prospective players which got a ton of interest. My son’s character earned a spot with ease, with an admission from the GM that he had enjoyed playing alongside my son’s character so much that he was the first person selected to play in his scenario. Suffice to say my son was pleased. Both games have been running for a few weeks now, and are going well.
Closer to home, my kids have been plugging away at the The Shackled City Adventure Path. It’s been six play sessions, and we’re still in Jzadirune. The end of their exploration is in sight, and soon we’ll be descending into the Malachite Hold! I’ve had to make some changes to the dungeon. After the first few play sessions my son was getting a little bored of all the fights and what felt like a lack of progress. I streamlined the encounters, removed the unnecessary ones, and added some flavourful fluff. We refocused slightly, and have been really paying attention to the things my son’s character recalls from Jzadirune. He did live there as a child, after all! Last session ended with my son discovering his family’s old home, and meeting the ‘King’. He’s grown to love this haunted little dungeon, and has every intention to fixing up when we’re done down there and living in it. What could go wrong?!
My daughter, meanwhile, has been on the edge of her seat, exclaiming after every session, “But, we have to finish it! I have to save my good friend Griffin who I work with! He was supposed to be married! His girlfriend is so sad she cries everyday! We must hurry! He could DIE!” She says the word ‘die’ with such drama. It’s adorable.
We’re about to undertake a side quest in our Carrion Crown campaign (we’re currently on: Carrion Crown Book 1: Haunting of Harrowstone), but were stymied by an excess of laundry, and a need to purchase summer shoes. More details on these characters will come in an upcoming blog post.
Out in the wider universe, my family is currently one battle into the delightful Starfinder Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth! They’ve just fought their way past Elytrio’s automated defences, deployed their drift beacons, and are about to touch down on the surface. You can pick up this awesome scenario for a few dollars on Paizo’s website. You’ll need the Starfinder Core Rulebook to make characters and play.
My kids have been hard at work creating their own custom adventures, which they’ll be running through as GMs for our family soon. Not long after that they’ll be up on d20 Diaries for your enjoyment. We’re keeping it under wraps for now, but what I will tell you is that they both involve islands, and lost treasure. But, while my son’s gone for a pirate adventure, my daughter’s taken a different approach. And yes, before you ask, hers has some rabbits in it. Haha.
In other exciting news, I’ve cashed in my various gift cards left over from Christmas and have a delightfully tall pile of Pathfinder and Starfinder books to read through sitting on my dresser. I’ve recently finished reading through Pathfinder Player Companion: Legacy of the First World, and have just begun reading the highly anticipated (in my house at least!) Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds! My daughter’s particularly excited for the SROs race, for reasons we’ll go into another time.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for us to water the plants.
This past week my brother and sister-in-law came over for our weekly game night–an event which hasn’t occurred in weeks! Can you say ‘thrilled’? So while all of our kids settled in for a late night of Scooby-Doo cartoons, the adults dusted off our Mummy’s Mask characters and settled in to play!
We last left of our adventures in Wati with a cliff-hanger. My group’s characters had just finished participating in a wonderfully fun auction at the Canny Jackal. They had finalized their purchases, selected some choice buys to wear immediately, and scheduled delivery for the other items at their inn, the Tooth and Hookah. They spent a bit of time worrying over Salal, the ancient slave girl they witnessed sold, and a bit more time socializing and hob-nobbing with the many colourful characters in attendance alongside them at the auction.
Arc Goodstorm, my husbands awkward, plant-obsessed witch, chatted with a local coffee plantation owner, Basif Iosep, while Arc’s guest at the auction, a pregnant gold-digger by the name of Pahetti he had only met that morning, tried her best to flirt with the other eligible bachelors in attendance. Arc hadn’t bothered to dress up for the auction at all, although his date did convince him to purchase her new clothes, jewelry and perfume for the evening’s festivities, in addition to purchasing her an object or two during the auction itself. On his back, Arc carries a deep, heavy basket filled with soil and luscious plants, which he tends with care. His rabbit familiar, Mischa, lives inside the basket, and a sarcastic silvanshee named Kal follows him around most of the time, mocking him and his friends. And his dates. And everything, really. Except the rabbit. The silvanshee LOVES his rabbit. So while Arc chatted, Pahetti flirted, and his rabbit twitched its nose, Kal heckled the surrounding nobles, and cast irritating cantrips at them when no one was looking.
In another part of the room, Nazim Salahadine, my brother’s undead-hating catfolk cleric of Pharasma, chatted with Menya the Whip, a local, up-and-coming armoursmith who Nazim had decided to sponsor. Nazim looked like an overgrown persian cat, and was dressed in some of the finest attire one could purchase in Wati. Bedecked in silks, gems and expensive perfumes, he cut an interesting figure!
Kasmet, my sister-in-law’s catfolk rogue, was similarly attired in the finest ancient Osiriani-inspired fashions. With her revealing white linen dress, collar of gold and blue beads, and her bracelets, anklets, and armbands, Kasmet looked like Bastet herself, pulled through time to the Canny Jackal. Kasmet chatted with her date–well, the date she and Nazim shared–a pregnant peasant woman named Manat whom they had met that morning at the Insula Mater. Manat quickly won them over with her down-to earth attitude and complete lack of shame. While she and Kasmet spoke, Manat stuffed her face with the finest food she had ever tasted, while wearing the finest clothes she would ever worn. The clothes had been a gift, from Kasmet and Nazim to Manat, which Manat only accepted on the condition that she be allowed to sell the clothes afterwards, which would feed, clothe and educate her family for months to come.
Thus arrayed around the room, there was a sudden knocking at the front door. Ahteb and Hamapetra, the most eye-catching of the Canny Jackal’s many servants, moved to open the door–only to have it smashed in by six zombies. With the servants pinned to the ground and dying under the heavy doors, the zombies poured into the Canny Jackal… And we had stopped.
You see why we were so excited to get back into the game!
We picked up this week with the zombies pouring into the Canny Jackal, spreading out to attack the various nobles and adventurers that my players had grown to love over the past few game sessions. Some nobles were prepared to fight back, of course, like Teos Okhenti, a bastard of House Okhenti who moved immediately to protect Yuya Mahfre, who openly hated him despite his many shameless attempts to flirt with her. Most panicked and screamed. Luckily, there were a few other capable combatants in the room at the time, including Sigrun Firehair and her mysterious companions known only as The Twins, all of whom were members of the Daughters of the Desert adventuring group.
My players leapt into action to protect their pregnant guests and help those in need around the room. Ah, but this battle wasn’t so simple! Crawling hands, shifting crowds, panicking guests and collapsing scaffolding all worked to complicate this fun, dynamic encounter. My personal favourite part? Their pregnant guest Manat stood unworried at the back of the room, filling a massive bowl with as much left overs as she could carry.
In the midst of this battle, the group could hear cries of “More!” and screams of alarm from outside in the Sunburst Market, and deeper into the showrooms of the Canny Jackal, so at its conclusion they took a moment to heal themselves, and ensure their guests were safe, before hurrying on to the next nearest sounds of panic.
In the showroom warehouse they discovered the owner of the Canny Jackal, Minnothet, being attacked by a zombie, while the coffee merchant Basif Iosep protected his mistress, Lady Nubumshaset, from another. Splitting up to better protect the nobles worked well–for a time. Unfortunately a nearby sarcophagus burst open a few moments later, revealing the mummy of Amadjawat the Many Veiled to them in all her undead, angry glory! Luckily, only Kasmet and the nobles suffered under her fear aura, leaving Nazim to shout his ululating battle cry and hurry into battle, with Arc following close behind with his magical lighting spear in hand.
Throughout this rolling series of encounters, the Fateway Five, as our trio of heroes is known, saved other nobles from zombies and rescued the ancient slave-girl Sallal from being abducted. After ensuring the Canny Jackal was safe and looked after, they headed out into the city of Wati–only to see MORE undead terrorizing the populace.
Nearby a terrified man hurried to unlock his door while two zombies closed in on him. Nervously he fiddled and fussed… and dropped his keys. Further away, the familiar sight of Mila Ansretti, a travelling merchant who they had befriended during our first play session and who had been a recurring character since, stood in the market surrounded by four zombies, with only a pair of market stalls and her wits to protect her. The many severed hands of thieves tied to the Pillar of Second Thoughts twitched with unlife, while in the distance they could see The Abadaran Sanctum of Silver and Gold, and the Nethysian Temple of Arcana Unbound both under assault. The other way they could see the holy, white crocodiles being devoured by zombies–their keeper apparently having decided to leave them to their fate. And further away? They could hear the screams of the terrified residents of Wati. The dead had risen!
The rest of the session turned out to be a fun, dynamic series of battles, where our heroes saved familiar faces, made new friends, and brought the dead back into undead. When they had finally cleared the Sunburst Market of dangers they spoke with the nearby churches in order to coordinate a plan to save Wati, and investigated a nearby wagon accident. There they discovered wagons had been smuggling corpses from the Necropolis into Wati, when the dead had suddenly burst out of the wagons and killed the drivers and camels. Although this showed them where some of the undead had come from, it didn’t explain how they had animated, or where all the other undead had come from. Unfortunately, as they were investigating the wagons, the corpses of the wagon drivers stood up, and the broken pinned down bodies of the camels twitched to life. Or, more accurately, unlife. Fighting off the zombies and dodging zombie camel bites was a ton of fun, and when it was over my players were left with an imposing sense of doom.
Something had made the dead rise. And then, right before their eyes, the freshly killed had risen again.
By then it was late, and the time had come to wrap up for the day. So we tidied up, collected our children, and said goodbye.
They have some time to think on their plans before we play again this week, and I can’t wait to see where they decide to visit next!
See you next time!
And remember, if the dead come knocking, don’t open the door!
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?
Welcome back to d20 diaries! I hope you had a great weekend. With the start of this new week also comes a return to school for my children, a return to normalcy to many of my play-by-post campaigns and for us… a return to Wati.
That’s right! Our second game supplement is here!
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for Pathfinder, published by Paizo. Throughout the course of the the first two books, The Half-Dead City and Empty Graves, Wati acts as the players home base. This city is a colourful, quirky, fun locale, and I highly recommend making the most of it. Players who become invested in this city, and who make connections with its citizens right from book one will get much more enjoyment when Empty Graves comes around, than those who don’t.
Like most Pathfinder Adventure Paths, the back of The Half-Dead City has a great primer on its urban locale–in this case, Wati (of course). This article has all kinds of great locations, personalities and plot hooks. As is the case with any good adventure, there’s a ton of cool stuff! Unfortunately, that mean there’s not enough room to explore all the locations mentioned in the primer on Wati with any kind of detail. That is the job of the GM, and one I highly recommend GMs embrace. In order to help out with this, I’ll be posting a list of short social encounters and sights for your players to see throughout the city in the future, but today, we’re just going to focus on one: The Shrine of Wadjet.
After returning from their final foray into the Necropolis during Wati’s tomb lottery, my players were left with a stone tablet that makes mention of an ancient relic hidden in the ‘new city where the Asp and Crook join.’ Identifying this city and the age of the tablet was easy for them. Wati is the city where the Asp and Crook rivers join, mingling together to birth a new river, the Sphinx, the life-blood of Osirion. In fact, that’s why Wati was founded. To mark the birthplace of this holy river. As for the age, since the city is referred to as ‘new,’ clearly it’s referring to Wati’s founding, long before disaster struck the city.
Not content to assume that the location they found the tablet in was also the location of the ancient relic, my players rightly asked me a question: “What in Wati that survives today was part of its original construction?”
The answer? Lots.
With the lottery coming to a close, my players will no longer have access to the Necropolis. And it’s the Necropolis which contains Old Wati. The historic parts, the ancient parts… That’s all in the Necropolis.
Ammending the question to include only what they can access at the moment, they were left with only three locations: The Shrine of Wadjet, Ubet’s Folly, and the Whispering Stone. Knowing that two of the locations–the Shrine of Wadjet and Ubet’s Folly–are located on the banks of the River Sphinx itself, they seemed to be prioritizing these two locales.
Now, all three locations are mentioned in the primer on Wati, but none are detailed fully, leaving me with an opportunity to fill in these quirky locations.
So today we’re going to take a look at one of them, The Shrine of Wadjet.
The Shrine of Wadjet
Located upon the riverbank, just past the bustling Sunrise Market, is a small stone shrine with a single gold brick at it’s centre. Stairs lead from the shrine down into the river itself, disappearing underwater at the place where the Asp and Crook rivers conjoin, to birth the river Sphinx. Here you’ll find people from across Osirion bathing and praying, while countless locals draw their water from this site. Though faded and worn with age, ancient carvings of birds, snakes, scales and feathers can be seen upon this humble shrine, hidden beneath the grime of centuries.
Any of the locals nearby can provide your players with the following information:
This Shrine is ancient, and marks a holy site.
The River Sphinx is considered holy by citizens of Osirion. It’s birthplace–here, at the confluence of the Asp and Crook Rivers–is doubly so.
Locals of Wati draw their water from the base of the Shrine, if they live close enough.
Pilgrims come from all over Osirion to visit this holy site.
Unfortunately, more details on this Shrine are harder to come by. The following information can be discovered with the appropriate skill checks.
Knowledge (local) or Diplomacy to gather information:
DC 12 – All festivals in Wati begin or end at this shrine.
DC 15 – Wati’s temples all draw their water from the shrine and use it to make holy water.
DC 20 – Although created to celebrate the birthplace of the River Sphinx, this shrine is dedicated to an ancient river goddess, long since fallen into obscurity. Whoever she was, no priests in Wati remember her, and no clergy tends her holy shrine. Apparently her holy animals were birds and snakes.
DC 15 – No incidents of crocodile or snake attacks have ever been reported near the ancient shrine.
DC 20 – When Pharaoh Djedert II ordered Wati’s construction he laid a gold brick where the Asp and Crook meet to form the holy Sphinx River. The Shrine was built around this brick, by the cult of Wadjet.
DC 15 – Water drawn from the base of the shrine’s stairs under the sun of the summer solstice is said to have healing properties.
DC 20 – The shrine is holy to an ancient river goddess known as Wadjet.
DC 25 – Wadjet was worshipped in ancient Osirion and was considered to be the living embodiment of the River Sphinx. She was a teacher, a giver of wisdom and a protector of all peoples–from Pharaohs to commoners, and everyone in between. She was depicted in art as a snake-headed woman with wings. Her holy symbol was a uraeus, a two-headed cobra with feathered wings.
Players who pass this knowledge check can attempt to learn more about uraeus with a knowledge (arcana) check, the results of which are found later in this article.
Players who choose to inspect the shrine can discover the following with a perception check.
DC 15 – In addition to bird and snake imagery, there’s a strange symbol shown repeatedly in the shrine’s carvings–a two-headed cobra with feathered wings.
DC 20 – The gold brick that lays near the water line is covered in ancient hieroglyphs.
Players who speak Ancient Osiriani can read that the heiroglyphs are prayers marking the birth of the River Sphinx at the joining of the Crook and the Asp, invocations to Wadjet, and requests for Wadjet to bless the city founded in her honour at this holy site–the city of Wati. They also can see Pharaoh Djederet II’s name on the brick and the date it was placed: ’10th year of the rule of Pharaoh Djederet II, Summer of the Boiling Lake, Summer Solstice.’ This equates to the year -1608 AR, which is the year Wati was founded.
DC 25 – Within the shrine, directly above the golden brick, is a particularly prominent winged-snake carving. This carving conceals a hidden compartment. By pressing in the wings of the carving and succeeding at a DC 10 strength check, the entire snake body pops up a few inches. This twenty pound, thirteen inch long piece of stone can then be lifted up and out of the floor of the shrine. Inside is a hollow cavity that is four inches wide, two feet deep and shaped like the stone which was removed. Forgotten for centuries at the bottom of this hidden compartment is a magical amulet holy to the faith of Wadjet–a Uraeus Amulet.
Spellcasters using detect magic cannot discern the aura of the amulet while the compartment is closed, as there is more than one foot of stone surrounding the object on all sides.
Knowledge (arcana) can be used to learn more about uraeus’ after any player discovers carvings of them, discovers the amulet, or learns about them from the knowledge religion check found earlier in this post.
DC 15 – A uraeus is a magical beast native to Osirion’s rivers. They are intelligent and quite rare. They measure seven feet long and have a wingspan of approximately the same length. They weigh 150 pounds.
DC 20 – Both heads of the uraeus can spit venom from their mouths at a range of thirty feet and are particularly fond of aiming for their enemies’ eyes. This same venom is injected into their victims through their bite.
DC 25 – Uraeus are capable of speaking Aquan, Celestial, Common and Osiriani. They speak with a single voice that emanates from both heads at once. It is said that with proper offerings and a dedicated disposition a uraeus will take a supplicant on as a student, teaching them how to use the river’s bounty and serve their society.
DC 25 – Uraeus are protectors of rivers and waterways said to be birthed by the Ancient Osirion goddess Wadjet herself. They are highly territorial and protect their rivers from those who would harm them or make them unsafe for travellers.
The Uraeus Amulet Aura moderate abjuration; CL 6th; Slot neck; Price 5,500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Attached to a gold chain, this gold and blue glass amulet is cast in the form of a uraeus–a two headed winged cobra. Whenever its wearer is affected by a fear effect, she may attempt a new saving throw at the end of her turn each round to end that effect. Furthermore, once per day on command, the amulet grants its wearer an aura of courage that lasts for 1 minute. This aura is otherwise identical to the aura of a 3rd level paladin. Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, bless, remove fearCost 2,750 gp
NOTE: The uraeus amulet was originally published in Wayfinder: Volume 12: Osirion: Ancient Sands as the ‘djed pillar amulet’ in an article entitled ‘Heroe’s Hoard: Bajaba’s Beetles and Reeds,’ by Joe Kondrak. Wayfinder is a fanzine available as a free pdf download on Paizo’s website (some are available in print but are no longer free). Volume 12 is available here. I highly recommend downloading this one if you’re going to be running Mummy’s Mask, as there are plenty of useful articles, items, and even a few short adventures that can be easily added into the campaign. And if you’re not running Mummy’s Mask? Download it anyway! It’s free and a great read.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little trip into Wati today. We’ll visit again in the future.
I love to GM. As mentioned already on this blog, I do it a lot, but mostly for my children. Playing d20 games with a five and six year old is considerably different than playing with a group of adults. Currently, there’s only two games I play face-to-face that do not involve my kids: Mummy’s Mask and Reign of Winter. I GM both.
It’s been weeks since we’ve played, but that’s understandable. November and December are a time full of birthdays and holiday events in my family. Add to that all of us suffering through a weeks-long illness and it’s no wonder my beloved games have been put on a bit of a pause.
We play on Friday nights: Reign of Winter when my brother’s free to join my husband and I, or Mummy’s Mask when both he and his wife are available. Our kids spend the evening playing and watching a movie before heading to bed for the night, and we have a few rare hours of adults-only d20 gaming.
And tomorrow, FINALLY, we’re playing Mummy’s Mask! Needless to say I’m excited.
One of the things I enjoy about GMing and playing is the environments you can create. With a simple description and a series of short social interactions it’s easy to make each city and town feel different and memorable. But a city’s not just buildings and climate, it’s also the is people who live there. Not just the few NPCs who hold plot-hooks, but all of them. From the lowly baker to the mayor’s foppish cousin, I love making an eclectic cast of NPCs for my players to interact with. Shopkeeps have names and families, minor social encounters occur when travelling through cities, and even that random urchin who tries to con you out of a few coppers has a name and a friend or two. I don’t expect the group to interact, befriend, or get into deep conversations with all of them, but I find it’s enriching for them to be able to. To know that they can. Every once in a while there’s an NPC who becomes special to them. Maybe it’s the baker’s daughter who’s been dumped by her boyfriend, the crime-lord’s bodyguard who they try to entice into switching sides, or the down on his luck priest whose temple is in need of repairs. And nothing makes side characters more memorable than a few lines of dialogue and an image to represent them.
Mummy’s Mask is a campaign bursting with opportunity for NPCs. Right at the beginning of the campaign the group stays at a local inn, the Tooth and Hookah. Run by a husband and wife duo, this hookah bar and watering hole is also home to tables staffed by merchants, and a tiny crocodile who lives in the well named Toothy. Now, what player’s NOT going to want to talk to the innkeeper when he’s got a croc in his well? Answer: none.
Beyond their base of operations, the PCs join a lottery put on by the church of Pharasma. Run by it’s High Priestess, a woman with green painted lips known as Sebti the Crocodile, even this distant personality is bursting with interesting quirks. There’s also gate guards and patrols of Voices of the Spire, militant Pharasmins who patrol the Necropolis the tombs are found within.
And the most fun, exciting NPCs to make in the early days of this campaign? The other lottery entrants. See, this campaign is special. Your players join a lottery where the right to explore ancient tombs is handed out to registered groups of adventurers by draw. Some of these groups have a chance to interact with your PCs. And what’s more fun than making a bunch of adventuring parties for them to socialize with?
Playing, obviously, but making adventuring parties is pretty cool, too.
Which brings me to the purpose of this post: GM Aids.
Periodically I’ll post supplementary information, images, encounters, locations and side-trek adventures intended to be used in published campaigns. Today’s focuses on the many NPCs–especially the rival adventuring groups–found in the first book of Mummy’s Mask.
So without further ado: let’s get rolling!
Mummy’s Mask is an adventure path printed by Paizo Publishing which takes place in the town of Wati, within the desert nation of Osirion. A six-part adventure path, the first of these volumes is entitled The Half-Dead City and is written by Jim Groves. Additional details on the city of Wati are included in this book, written by Crystal Frasier, while a short story in the back of the book that uses the Tooth and Hookah as a backdrop is written by Amber E. Scott. A player’s guide for this campaign is available as a free download on Paizo’s website here.
The Tooth and Hookah
One of the places players of Mummy’s Mask are going to visit most often is the Tooth and Hookah. This affordable little establishment will become their temporary home. A place for them to sleep, eat, rest, get out of the sun and to plan. Owned by a Garundi fellow named Farhaan, the Tooth and Hookah, its owner, and it’s delightful little crocodile mascot, Toothy, are given a bit more detail in the short story found at the back of the Half-Dead City. For my version of this campaign we gave Farhaan a wife, Maatkare, a meek but hardworking woman who busies herself around the Tooth and Hookash as a cook and waitress.
Along one wall of the Tooth and Hookah are a few tables available for rent by merchants and peddlers. These merchants aren’t detailed, so I got to make some additions. At the start of the campaign these tables are staffed by Mila Ansretti, a friendly Varisian traveller who loves the vast deserts of Osirion and makes a living selling maps, books, herbs and scarves of all kinds; and Ishpi, an awkward young man who (poorly) sells hand beaded jewelry created by his ailing grandmother. Later in the book Jarha Psenmin joins the merchants here, loudly shouting at patrons and acting like your typical pushy, market haggler–though this one deals in potions! Jarha doesn’t last long at the Hookah, and moves on to the Sunburst Market after only a single evening. If no one’s given Mila a reason to stay at the Hookah, she moves on by the end of this book, finding a new location to sell things in Wati.
For entertainment, the Tooth and Hookah features performances by Wahka, a sleazy half-elven bard who secretly lusts after Maatkare, and Senja Messeniah, a streetwise, lesbian belly-dancer who is good friends with Farhaan.
The Grand Mausoleum
Wati’s temple of Pharasma is incredibly large and has a lot of political power. It’s called the Grand Mausoleum, and is the organizer of Wati’s Necropolis lottery. Each day of the lottery sites are drawn and announced by High Priestess Sebti, pictured in the sidebar. Sebti is detailed thoroughly in the Half-Dead City adventure and the article on Wati later in the book. She’s helped by some acolytes which are undetailed. In my campaign these acolytes are Henna, a scribe who handles all the lottery’s record keeping and can sometimes be found working as a secretary at the Grand Mausoleum, and Ammon, a charismatic mysterious fellow who handles inquiries and explains the details of the lottery and their site with the PCs while Sebti continues with the lottery.
Other NPCs added into the Grand Mausoleum are Elder Neferaba, one of the oldest and most respected clerics in the temple, and Inet, a young woman with no formal education who works as Sebti’s personal secretary.
There’s one more member of the Grand Mausoleum who is written directly into Mummy’s Mask. Introduced with full character art and given a thorough backstory, Ptemenib is found in the second book of this adventure path, Empty Graves, he’s a colourful character your players are bound to love. I highly recommend introducing him right from the start. In addition to being found at the Grand Mausoleum, Ptemenib could also be spotted at the Tooth and Hookah spying on a suspicious patron he suspects of being a member of the Silver Chain (a local gang of smuggler’s who operate within Wati and it’s Necropolis). Ptemenib is joined by his (invisible) friend, a nosoi psychopomp by the name of Qasin.
The Voices of the Spire
The Necropolis is under the control of the Voices of the Spire, a militant wing of the Church of Pharasma, led by the Commander of Voices, Nakht Shepses. Nakht is a character written into books one and two of Mummy’s Mask (though no art was provided for him), and is destined to butt heads with Sebti and the player characters in book two, Empty Graves.
Only one member of the Voices is given a name and artwork, Bal Themm, a woman who guards the front gates to the Necropolis and is introduced in book two, Empty Graves. Bal is easy to include right from the start, as the players walk right by the gate guards twice a day while they’re in the lottery. Starting professional, Bal can grow to respect the group for their accomplishments in the Lottery and even become a friend and source of information. By the time she needs their aid in the second book she’ll already be a companion–or at least remembered–and her fate will have more of an effect on the group.
The Half-Dead City makes mention of Voices of the Spire patrolling the Necropolis and performing inspections during the lottery. However, no other Voices are detailed. In my campaign we added in Shenanda, an experienced Voice who is professional and serious. She’s also Bal’s superior, and Nakht’s lover. Working with Shenanda is a nervous new recruit to the Voices, Menes. Although Menes looks up to Shenanda, he thinks that Commander Shepses is too proud, and needs to treat his lower-class subordinates better. Other Voices on patrol in the Necropolis include the young dwarf Ankhet, the stern female oread Faiza, and the charming and flirtatious Sebkay.
The Scorched Hand
There’s a lot of adventuring parties mentioned in the Half-Dead City. Most are little more than a title and a sentence or two of information, but one of them, the Scorched Hand, are destined to play a major role in this adventure. A group consisting of three followers of Nethys and their sword for hire, the Scorched Hand are introduced in a scripted social encounter that takes place after the first day spent in the Necropolis. I recommend utilizing them at least once more, either before or after that encounter as a social interaction. Make Velriana brush against them while passing by your players in the streets and demand they apologize to her for the insult! Or have them show up at a market stall while your players are trying to purchase an item and insist upon buying that same object–for a bit more coin. Small clashes like this will make the Scorched Hand a group to remember. By the time your players spot Velriana’s feathered hat in the final part of this adventure, they’ll know exactly who they’re about to butt heads with–again.
The Scorched Hand is lead by a pompous, Taldan noble who worships Nethys, Velriana Hypaxes, a wizardess with attitude to spare and ostentatious fashion sense. Her second in command is Khelru, a cleric of Nethys who began life as a peasant and slowly worked his way through the clergy. Khelru’s the only member of the Scorched Hand that Velriana respects. Khelru’s lover is a spoiled, nobleman by the name of Azaz Arafe. Azaz is infatuated with Khelru and converted to Nethys’ faith in order to impress the clergyman. Azaz is a wizard–a poor one–and has a scorpion familiar. Velriana thinks he’s useless–and isn’t shy about showing her feelings. Idorii is a half-elf mercenary hired by Velriana to protect her, then the rest of the Scorched Hand. Idorii sympathizes with Azaz, and thinks Velriana’s stuck-up, but business is business, and Velriana’s the one paying her.
Another group conceptualized in the book but lacking details are the Cryptfinders. They’re a group who met in Absalom, the City at the Centre of the World, and joined up specifically for the purpose of entering Wati’s lottery. Including members from throughout the world, the Cryptfinders are lead by a roguish, womanizing bravo by the name of Falto. Falto is joined by Ilpatrus Nexonus, a Nexian summoner who looks down on other magic users (and barely notices non-magic users). Hesham ibn Gathbiyya is a Qadiran cleric of Sarenrae and the group’s healer. He hates undead and tries to convert everyone he meets to his faith–an unpopular habit in a town so controlled by the Pharasmin clergy. Their final member is Vittoria Etrovain, a Chelaxian cavalier that worships Asmodeus and despises every woman Falto interacts with. The Cryptfinders are present at a single scripted social encounter and, like the Scorched Hand, benefit from additional social interactions. A fellow wizard could study alongside Ilpatrus, the players could come across Falto making a scene as he duels a few local men over his recent dalliance with their sister, or they can help Hesham talk his way out of an angry crowd of locals that he’s tried to convert to his faith.
Daughters of the Desert
This entirely female adventuring party is led by Sigrun Firehair, an Ulfen skald from the Land of the Linnorm Kings who claims to be descended from a genie. Joined by Firadora Fal-Shiek, a paladin of Iomedae exiled from Rahadoum for daring to have (and spread) faith; Sati, a Thuvian desert nomad with no tongue who looks fierce and is constantly splattered with blood stains; and The Twins, Rua and Naat, mysterious Osirian witches who refuse to speak or socialize with outsiders and seem to communicate with glances. These adventurous women make their sole appearance in the same scripted social encounter that the Scorched Hand and the Crytfinders appear in. Sigrun takes the lead for this group, telling epic tales of their adventures in the Necropolis. These women, Sigrun especially, are incredibly easy to add to the campaign further. Sigrun can often be found boasting about her many accomplishments at a variety of drinking establishments, hawking her newly acquired treasures in a market and haggling with the best of them. My favourite location to add them is immediately outside the Necropolis, Sigrun works up the crowd, telling tales about their adventures that day and waving around the treasures they acquired. She then immediately attempts to sell the goods to the crowd. The Twins stand by mysteriously silent, Sati roars and brandishes her bloody blade for the crowd and Firadora poses dramatically. Sigrun is also a great choice to use again in book two, representing the Daughters of the Desert alongside the Twins at the auction at the Canny Jackal.
The Dog Soldiers are an all halfling adventuring group whose obnoxious leader, Mad Dog Marrn, fights alongside his pack of trained Katapeshi hunting dogs. Joined by his ‘bitches:’ Rita, a flirtatious and curvaceous warrior; Madge, a trapsmith who doesn’t care at all what you think of her; and Ninette, a sorceress who’s quite likely insane. The Dog Soldiers are scheduled to appear in the same scripted social encounter as the previously mentioned groups. Unfortunately, half of Marrn’s dogs die that day fighting a gelatinous cube. I highly recommend making the Dog Soldiers stay at the Tooth and Hookah in a suite upstairs, alongside the PCs. This gives your players plenty of time to interact with the bombastic group before Mad Dog and the girls are in mourning over their dogs. The next morning be sure to place Mad Dog in the Sunburst Market, sadly trying to find replacements to join his remaining pack.
It’s noted in the next book that not all of the groups who entered the lottery return. Some lose members to death, while others never return at all. I chose to make the Dog Soldiers one of these unfortunate groups. Tasked with clearing out Tahetep’s Dance Hall the day after losing most of his dogs, Marrn, Rita and Madge were all killed in the haunted ruin, while Ninette survived, driven mad by her experiences. Have the players go through dinner that evening, then breakfast the next day, without any sign of the noisy halflings at the Tooth and Hookah. That evening Farhaan can ask if you’ve seen any sign of them. After hearing they haven’t Farhaan sighs and remarks ominously “They’ve still got a bit of time.” After another day with no word from the Dog Soldiers Farhaan places their personal possessions out for sale at his merchant’s tables. This can be a poignant sign to the group that their line of work is more than just dangerous, it’s deadly. The next time the players are in the Necropolis they should discover something of the Dog Soldiers–perhaps it’s Mad Dog’s medium +1 longsword engraved with his name or, if you’re feeling really cruel, they can discover one of his dogs–now an undead ghoul hound–gnawing on Mad Dog’s rotting arm. During the second book, while the players are in the Necropolis on other business they can discover that not all of the Dog Soldiers are dead–the insane wreck that Ninette’s become still resides in the haunted dance hall. Mute, deaf and blind, she dances to a song that only she can hear.
This all-rogue group of adventurers is on the hunt for an arcane combatant to assist them before the lottery starts, but by the morning of the first draw they’ve filled that role. To best showcase this I highly recommend making the Sand Scorpions the second adventuring party to stay at the Tooth and Hookah. This group is led by Black Kiss, an assassin who specializes in poisons that I made mysterious, aloof and literally deadly–her skin is coated in a paralytic poison that she’s immune to. Joined by Briggs, a trapsmith party girl who’s secretly in love with her best friend and other member of the group: Tama. Tama’s a gruff, half-orc locksmith who–along with Briggs–lives in the floating slums of Bargetown. Their newest member is Atticus Bant, a magus who tries his best to get along with all his new female companions, and is failing horribly. He’s terrified of Black Kiss and attracted to Tama. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of letting Briggs seduce him after the first day in the Necropolis and he’s only recently realized she’s both conniving and manipulative. Briggs soon spends her free time bad mouthing Atticus to Tama, while Atticus tries to woo Tama, and Tama poorly ignores the both of them. Desperate for less needy companionship, Tama’s very likely to try to socialize with the player’s characters. An act which is guaranteed to draw both Briggs and Atticus to the conversation in short order. Allowing your players to get involved in the drama of this catty, dysfunctional group can be amusing, and can drive home how important teamwork is. Near the end of the lottery, have fun showcasing Atticus’ desperate final attempts to get Tama to go on a date with him–only to find him later, drunk and mournful at the bar, wailing about his unrequited ‘love.’ Tama and Briggs are also good choices to use as contacts in the second book of Mummy’s Mask, when the players are looking for information about Bargetown and the Veins.
One of my players got obsessed Black Kiss, insisting that his character was destined to be with her (he’s a firm believer in fate). A chubby catfolk who looks like an overgrown housecat, the many, many ways he tried to prove his love to the toxic, aloof woman provided endless entertainment for us. Even more so were her challenges–the most daring of which was taking shots of poisoned drinks with her at the bar. Unfortunately for the smitten catfolk, he was so busy playing coy with her that he missed his chance to say goodbye. After the lottery, Black Kiss heads off to Tephu on the search for ancient alchemical secrets. They’ll have a chance to meet her again in book three.
This adventuring party is detailed in the random encounters section of the Half-Dead City. Consisting of an Osirion enchantress, Melu, and her charmed companions, each of the men in this group vies for her attention and would give their lives for her. Originally consisting of Ahotep, a warrior who’s been charmed so long he can’t imagine life without her; Djaal Sidrim, a young and inexperienced ranger; and Karem Afir, a streetwise cutpurse; this group’s membership is destined to be shuffled around a bit. The first time you meet the Amethyst Dragons, Melu attempts to charm the strongest looking player’s character, while the other members of the Amethyst Dragons sit jealously by. If Melu survives this encounter, be sure to show her a few days later with all new companions–she had to replace them after they gave their lives to allow her to escape the dangers of the Archives of the Ibis.
This adventuring party is also detailed in the random encounters section of the Half-Dead City. Intended to be encountered in the Necropolis, they’re found sitting outside a tomb. Their leader, a halfling sorcerer by the name of Fergrim Flame, toys with a ball of fire, while their studious wizard, Verichi Denger, studies a few tomes on the side of the road. Verichi is wary, but claims that the group needs to wait just a while longer while he memorizes some necessary spells. Lirgana Ahmose, an optimistic half-elf bard, tries to pass the time happily, while the group’s half-orc fighter, Kha, loudly complains about Verichi’s obvious cowardice and picks apart Lirgana’s every suggestion and comment. Verichi is a great choice to use in book two, representing the group alongside Lirgana during the auction at the Canny Jackal.
There’s plenty of other colourful characters kicking around Wati. Patrons of the Tooth and Hookah, the Abadaran Marketwives, merchants, students of the Hall of Blessed Rebirth, and even a thief or two, but those will come in time. For now, I hope you enjoyed–or even better: make use of–the colourful characters I’ve shared today.
Our next Mummy’s Mask game aids will be entirely different. Featuring details on the Shrine of Wadjet, Ubet’s Folly and the tattered remains of a drug-addled cult found within, as well as the lots up for auction at the Canny Jackal in book two.
Until then, have fun, and keep gaming. I wish you plenty of criticals!