Mummy's Mask

The tomb of Akhentepi

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Around a table in the sandy tavern known as the Tooth & Hookah sat a band of fresh faced (mostly) adventurers.

They were: Gruff, the once great hero, Tamarie, sister of the (in)famous Pathfinder Juliver, Tekkit, Inquisitor of Pharasma, Sir Rowe, Paladin and undead scourge and Mook, the dwarven Ranger.

Together, they called themselves ‘The Unknown’ or ‘They that shall not be named.’

Soon they were called to the Grand Mausoleum to receive their assigned sector to explore/rob. The lottery was drawn and the party was given the tomb of Akhentepi. The team entered the Necropolis and traveled out to the tomb. When the party arrived they found that the door had been tampered with and damaged. They had some difficulty prying the door open since nobody had thought to pack a crowbar. After a while of sweaty, gritty work the group managed to get the door open and enter the tomb.

Inside was a chamber full of carvings of warriors and other hieroglyphs in Ancient Orsirioni. After an investigation of the treasureless antechamber, the party found a shaft leading further down into the tomb. At the bottom of the shaft was a desiccated corpse of an unfortunate grave robber some decades old.

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Rowe was lowered down on a rope and he scanned around with detect evil, finding nothing. The rest of the party climbed down as well. The initial room contained a large statue of Akhentepi, apparently one of the very few sculptures in the world that don’t animate and try to kill people. A tunnel led away from the chamber. The party headed through it and when they reached the end they triggered a pressure plate which launched darts that badly injured Tamarie. Gruff suggested throwing the claim jumper’s corpse onto the pressure plate to defeat the trap, but Tekkit, as a follower of Pharasma, didn’t want to desecrate the dead unnecessarily. Eventually the group leapt over it without much further incident—although watching armored dwarves jump was entertaining.

In the first chamber, beyond the hall, was a beautiful chest with doors on either side of the room. Much to the rest of the teams annoyance, Tamarie couldn’t open it as she didn’t know how to pick locks. Doh! After Gruff picked the lock with his axe (destroying the 500gp chest’s value), the party took the loot inside and moved on through the right door.

Passing through a chamber containing a chariot and a hallway full of masks representing death deities, the party entered a room full of chests. When they entered, dolls representing warriors animated and attacked.

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The party’s first combat ended quickly and the dolls were reduced to splinters. Heading back to the earlier chamber and going through the left door this time, they went up a staircase. Suddenly, a ghost scorpion the size of a dog crept up behind them.

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Fortunately, Gruff beat it to a pulp before it could do anything. At the top of the stair was a giant mirror across the wall. The party looked at it, and saw behind them a vision of Akhentepi, staring harshly at anyone who gazed at his visage. Most of the party looked around but saw no trace of him, and moved on without much consideration; however, Tamarie focused on the image and concentrated on it in an effort to discern its makeup and/or purpose. As a result of her effort the Orsirioni word “thief” was permanently etched into her forehead. Doh!

Next, the party discovered a room designed for mummifying corpses. As they entered, a pair of solifugids rose and charged from ambush.

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One was crushed under Rowe’s flail and the other fell under Mook and Tekkit’s arrows.

The party then ventured down a sandy hall, and one of them was eagle-eyed enough to notice a slight movement in the sand. Everyone readied for combat and the paladin called out for whatever was under the sand to reveal itself. It didn’t surrender, and leapt from the sand to attack, revealing itself to be something like a serpent made of sand.

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Fortunately the party was prepared for it and the monster fell under a swarm of readied attacks (and Tekkit’s conveniently prepared boxing glove arrows.)

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The party explored through various tunnels and a room with art depicting the religion’s version of the afterlife, killing off the monstrous mining beetles inside until they reached a large chamber containing a large ornate sarcophagus on a raised dais surrounded by pillars. Gruff climbed up and carefully approached the sarcophagus. Suddenly lightning flashed from the pillars, injuring him and then what had seemed to be a sarcophagus animated and attacked.

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As the adventurers battled the monster, secret doors swung open, bars snapped up over the exits and water began to flood the chamber. The False Sarcophagus knocked Gruff unconscious and swallowed him whole. Gruff was nearly slain but the party killed the monster just in time, saving him. (And there was much rejoicing…)

The party tried desperately to escape the slowly rising waters. Just when all hope seemed lost, the ancient mechanisms failed and the waters stopped. (And there was much rejoicing…)

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At this point the party chose to rest and recover. The next day they moved on into the last few rooms. After a surprisingly difficult battle with a swarm of cockroaches that wore the party down, they entered the actual final burial chamber.

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The party cautiously approached ready to fight the expected mummy when an iron cobra uncoiled itself and rose from behind the grave.
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The mechanical serpent nearly killed half the team, but for crucial healings from Gruff and Mook’s deadly bowshots finally destroying it.

Having cleared out all opposition the party finished looting the tomb (making sure to dismantle Akhentepi’s favorite childhood chariot and take it as well—f you Akhentep!) and left the Necropolis.

The party returned to the Tooth and Hookah, and met the other adventuring groups who had been looting other tombs. Here is the summary of the info gathered during that night of revelry:

Cryptfinders: Members of this group hail from all over the Inner Sea region, and include a Chelish cavalier, a Nexian summoner, a Qadiran cleric of Sarenrae, and their leader Falto (male human), a bravo from the streets of Absalom. They boast of being assigned the tomb of an important government official in the lottery and hint at the wealth they brought out of the tomb after defeating a mummy inside the tomb.

Daughters of the Desert: This all-female adventuring party follows the lead of Sigrun Firehair (female
human), an Ulfe of the Linnorm Kingdoms who claims to be descended from a genie. The group also includes an exiled Rahadoumi cleric of Iomedae, a barbarian from one of the nomadic desert clans of
Thuvia, and two Osirian witches, twin sisters who always wear veils. Sigrun has journeyed south seeking adventure… The Daughters were assigned the house of a wealthy pawnbroker to explore; they encountered several traps, but little else in the way of opposition. The women are cagey about what treasures they may or may not have fond in the tomb, but Sigrun is very interested in hearing the stories of other groups’ experiences, possibly for…

Dog Soldiers: This group’s membership is composed entirely of halflngs and their pack of trained Katapeshi fighting dogs, led by the loquacious and hard-drinking “Mad Dog” Marro (male halfling). The Dog Soldiers were sent to explore an abandoned tannery, where half of their dogs died fighting a gelatinous cube they found within. Mad Dog is broken up over the loss of several of his favorite pets, but he proudly shows off the magic sword he salvaged from the cube after slaying it. He is interested both in a potential buyer for the sword and in purchasing replacement dogs from a respected breeder.

Sand Scorpions: This party contains no fewer than three rogues, along with a single magus half-orc named Davor the Spiderslayer for combat and magic support. Each rogue specializes in a different area of expertise, whether, locks, traps, or, in the case of their leader and a mysterious woman called Black Kiss (female half-elf). The Sand Scorpions keep mostly to themselves and do not volunteer any information on their exploration site and the treasures they found there.

Scorched Hand: Led by a Taldan Osirionologist named Velriana Hypaxes (female human), this group is appears to be dedicated to the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. With the exception of the hired mercenary Idorii (female half-elf), the members of the party are all devout followers of Nethys, from whom they take their name. Native Osirians Azaz Arafe (male human) and Khelru (male human) round out the group. Velriana is quite vocal in her disapproval of the Grand Mausoleum’s refusal to assign specific sites to groups that requested them. It seems that the Scorched Hand was denied a petition to explore a site sacred to its members’ faith, and was instead allocated what turned out to be an ancient brothel. Although the group easily dispatched the nest of zombies in the brothel’s basement and even managed to recover a few minor treasures from the site, it’s evident that the group’s members are disappointed with their first foray. Velriana makes a point of moving about the different people and groups to ask about any have learned of an ancient temple or shrine being assigned, or heard any rumors of something called “the Erudite Eye.”

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Upon division of the spoils, Tekkit gathers his belongings and share and travels to the local temple of Pharisma to provide his report to the elders there, as ordered.

“The crypt was defiled before we even made it inside. Pharisma killed that thief before he could get too far, though. According to our laws, I prevented others in my group from further violating the tomb and the thief’s body. It has been left where it was.

All that has been taken from the crypt was split and here is my share."

The elder’s eyes light up at the sight of all the treasure, but his face soon turns cold as he quickly glances around the room. Khemet III has made it very clear that the Church will not benefit from the desecration of the tombs, and his superior army will back up the edict. “Your gains belong to you, Tekatt, as dictated by secular law. Sadly, we cannot even accept the proscribed tithe, lest we anger the Ruby Prince. I do, however, advise that what you have received be invested in augmentation of your present condition to help at least ensure that the treasures of the past remain indigenous. Perhaps an improvement over the longbow you felt obligated to bring within these holy walls will assist you. Now, please divulge all that transpired within the tomb.”

After Tekkit provides as full an accounting as he could, the elder escorts him from the temple. “I’m certain that you did as well as one of your station could muster. Your treatment of the previous interloper, while demonstrating a straightforward view of Pharisma’s teaching, may not have been the most prudent. I suggest that more concern be given to the elders of past, and less to the vermin who chose to dishonor them. Remember, Tekatt, it is Pharisma whom we serve.”

Tekkit takes his leave of the elder and proceeds to the merchant with whom he is most familiar and, after much discussion and experimentation, he walks away with less gold and more potential.

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A New Adventure Begins...

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The adventure begins in the city of Wati, where the Asp and Crook Rivers converge to form the River Sphinx in southeastern Osirion. Your group is already present in Wati and are acquainted with one another, with an interest in exploring the tombs of Wati’s necropolis.

With the necropolis opened by royal decree, the priests of the local temple of Pharasma, the Grand Mausoleum, have been tasked with assigning sites ready for exploration to adventuring companies in a lottery.

[*The adventure assumes that the PCs have already formed an adventuring party and have registered for this lottery with the priesthood of the Grand Mausoleum. Registering is not difficult; there are no background checks or special fees or requirements. A priest simply records the name of the group and the names of its members, and gives them a token that they should present when the group receives its first assignment at the lottery’s opening ceremony.]

The lottery’s opening ceremony takes place in the Sunburst Market in the center of the living city of Wati, between the Grand Mausoleum and Abadar’s Sanctum of Silver and Gold. An array of other adventuring groups have assembled, and the ceremony has attracted throngs of local people as well as street vendors.

The bustling desert city of Wati is near bursting with excitement. Adventurers from every corner of the Inner Sea region have assembled here beneath the hot Osirian sun to explore the tombs of the city’s necropolis, waiting only to be assigned their fist sites for exploration.

Surrounding the participants, the public has gathered to observe the ceremony as well. There is a festival-like quality in the air, and numerous street vendors are hawking goods and refreshments to participants and spectators alike. Some merchants have even brought what can only be considered adventuring gear to sell as last minute convenience items to explorers, while others advertise that they’ll buy recovered treasures and antiquities from those who visit their establishments.

In front of the imposing edifice of the Grand Mausoleum, an immense awning has been erected between decorated pillars in the market to provide shade for the priests of Pharasma overseeing the lottery. Beneath the awning, two urns sit atop a table elevated a few feet above the ground on a wooden stage constructed for the event. The high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, sits behind the table, while two acolytes confer with her at either side.

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Sebti the Crocodile

Numerous adventuring groups stand in small clusters near the stage, made up of multiple nationalities and races. Most keep to themselves, but some teams engage in quiet conversation with other teams, mostly speculating about what they’ll likely face in the necropolis.

The ceremony begins when the high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, rises to her feet and looks over the crowd. Sebti seems surprisingly young to hold such a distinguished position, but she has a confident air of authority.

After calling for silence, she begins with an invocation to the Lady of Graves, followed by a brief history of the founding of the necropolis. [*This information on the necropolis’s history can be found within the redacted info I sent out.]

Sebti concludes by saying the following, “Let the lottery begin! Although many of you have requested specific sites to explore, we must leave these matters to fate. The Lady of Graves is a far better judge of destiny than we of this mortal sphere. The gates of the necropolis will open at sunrise tomorrow.

Use this evening to prepare yourselves for the task ahead. Let these rules guide you in your endeavors in this holy place: remember how this came to pass, every slave’s hut is a memorial, and honor the departed. May you go with the Lady’s blessing.”

The priests of the Grand Mausoleum have decided on a lottery to distribute access to the tombs to make the process impartial and subject to the dictates of fate, in keeping with Pharasmin religious tenets. The church has mapped the necropolis and designated selected sites within it for exploration, dividing them into three pools, from the smallest and simplest of structures to the largest and potentially most complex.

Each party of explorers is assigned three sites, one at a time, so that a group must complete its exploration of one site before gaining access to another. This process wasn’t intended to simply be arbitrary. The church also seeks to avoid conflict between groups within the necropolis, the neglect of smaller sites in favor of those that might contain more wealth, and bribery and backroom deals with local officials to gain access to specific structures researched in advance.

The Grand Mausoleum is dedicated to remaining neutral throughout the entire affair. After Sebti returns to her seat, the two acolytes accompanying her each draw a wooden token from one of the urns on the table. The fist token identifies the adventuring group, matching the token that group received when it registered for the lottery. The second token determines which tomb is assigned to that group.

A single representative of the chosen group is then summoned to the stage to present the token his group received at registration to one of the acolytes. Once the group’s identity has been confirmed, Sebti shows the representative the location of that group’s fist exploration site on a map of the entire necropolis. She also gives the representative a smaller, sketched map that shows the site’s location in relation to the necropolis gates. Once a group has received its assignment, the process repeats with a new group.

The priests of the Grand Mausoleum expect groups exploring sites within the necropolis to follow three basic rules, as mentioned by High Priestess Sebti the Crocodile in her speech during the opening ceremony.

1) Remember How This Came to Pass: The Plague of Madness was unleashed upon the city of Wati while religious authorities were engaged in infighting. This rule is a reminder that the necropolis remains a holy place, and those who engage in needless conflict and banditry are not only criminals, but accursed.

2) Every Slave’s Hut Is a Memorial: Every structure within the necropolis is a testament to the people who lived and died in the city. Explorers must not desecrate or vandalize standing structures and tombs, but preserve them as the memorials they were intended to be. Some structures may be trapped or decrepit, but willful and unnecessary destruction will not be tolerated.

3) Honor the Departed: The dead should be treated with dignity and respect. If the interred need to be disturbed to recover an antiquity or relic, they should be returned to their resting places carefully. It is understood that the ancient dead are often brittle, but there is no need for the contents of a sarcophagus to be summarily dumped on the ground. This rule does not apply to the undead or other abominations.

Failure to comply with these rules can result in, but is not limited to, expulsion from the necropolis, a ban on continued exploration, seizure of recovered valuables, and arrest and prosecution by local authorities.

In practice, the church’s ability to enforce these rules is almost negligible. Most members of Wati’s city guard have no desire to patrol the necropolis, even if summoned by a priest. The church does send experienced priests or members of its militant wing, the Voices of the Spire, into the necropolis to make spot inspections, but it’s too woefully understaffed relative to the number of adventuring companies roaming the necropolis for this to be a strong deterrent.

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Arriving in Wati
The Half-Dead City (Now, there's a slogan for tourism!)

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Here is a link to the info packet on the city I sent out:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ifucipnh4hltl8m/PF%20MM%20Wati%20Info%20Packet%20%20REDACTED.pdf?dl=0

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Welcome to Osirion.
Come for the Treasure, stay for the sun (and heat and sand and the undead.)

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