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.
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.
If you’re interested in my previous posts about Mummy’s Mask, check out Mummy’s Mask: Game Aids, Mummy’s Mask: The Shrine of Wadjet, Mummy’s Mask: The Canny Jackal, Mummy’s Mask: The Dead Come Knocking…, or learn more about our characters in Character Focus: Mummy’s Mask: Fateway Five.
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!