The young girl named Serethet always knew that her destiny lay in the priesthood of Nethys. A native of Sothis, she was a curious child with a quick intellect and a giftfor putting seemingly disparate pieces of information together. Her parents saved and scrimped in order to send her to a school in the city run by the priesthood, and there Serethet thrived.
When Serethet was 17, tragedy struck her family. Her mother died suddenly of a wasting disease and her father, in his grief, spent the family’s savings on an elaborate funeral for his deceased wife, leaving Serethet without the funds for her final year at seminary school. A friend in her class recommended that Serethet sign up for an expeditionary year-a sort of internship where insteadof learning in a classroom, she could pay her tuition by serving on an archaeological dig for the church of Nethys. Desperate to stay in school, Serethet signed up for the expedition, though she was never an overly athletic individual.
Serethet proved to be an asset on the expedition, and her knowledge and intuition were a great help to its leaders. She made several valuable discoveries as the team excavated an ancient ruin in the Osirian desert, including uncovering a stone scarab engraved with arcane formulas developed by a researcher over 3,000 years in the past. Powerful emotions stirred within Serethet at the sight of the piece of Ancient Osirian history resting in her hands, of the knowledge that could have been lost forever now brought to light. She took her vows and entered the priesthood immediately upon returning to school.
Serethet rose quickly in the ranks of the priesthood. The expedition had awakened afire within her, a passion to merge exploration and action with academia. She embarked on anumber of expeditions over the next 10 years and made several important archaeological and historical discoveries, though it was the discoveries themselves that fascinated her, and she never sought fame or recognition for her work.
In retrospect, it seems inevitable that Serethet’s curiosity would lead her into danger. Her years ofexperience lent the priest a confidence in her own abilities that sometimes led her to make wreckless decisions. When Serethet first descended into the record rooms below Azghaad’s Spire, she moved slowly, checking for forgotten traps and wards and examining items thoroughly before disturbing them. As she progressed without incident, however, Serethet grew bolder and failed to take every precaution she could. When she saw the heart of Hakotep, wonder and curiosity overwhelmed her.
Without thinking, she picked up the relic and was instantly lost, possessed by a fragment of the soul of the Sky Pharaoh Hakotep I. Serethet’s consciousness was replaced with that of Hakotep’s-or more accurately, with his ib, the embodiment of his emotions, thoughts, will, and intent. Serethet became the Forgotten Pharaoh-neither Serethet nor Hakotep, but a confused amalgam of the priestess’s memories and knowledge with the pharaoh’s thoughts and desires. The Forgotten Pharaoh is clear on what she wants to do and why (find the Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoh and reunite the scattered fragments of Hakotep’s soul so the Sky Pharaoh can return to life) but that knowledge is overlaid with confusing memories and misguided motivations. Sometimes she thought of herself as Serethet, assisting a powerful force in her mind, and sometimes as Hakotep, making use of the vessel he now inhabits.
In general, the Forgotten Pharaoh thought of herself as the woman Serethet, but she could quickly change to Hakotep, especially in times of stress.
Serethet’s true self is all but lost, replaced by Hakotep’s ib, and the only way to separate Hakotep from Serethet is through death. However, if Serethet’s body is brought to theSanctuary of Nethys in Tephu or the Temple of the All- Seeing Eye in Sothis, the priests there can begin research on bringing the cleric back to life.
A simple raise dead spell cannot restore Serethet’s shattered soul, but a complex religious ritual culminating in a resurrection might be successful. If the PCs are interested in helping, the priests of Nethys might ask them to seek out specialized arcane reagents or a powerful magic item to be used in the ritual.
If Serethet is returned to life, she is grateful to the PCs for helping to free her from Hakotep’s influence. However, her actions have left her bereft of her connection to her god, and she remains an ex- cleric. A quest of atonement, likely involving the recovery of ancient knowledge from a dangerous area, is required for Serethet to regain her clerical abilities. She may turn to the PCs for help in this endeavor as well, and might even ask to join the PCs on their excursion into Hakotep’s pyramid to regain her status and seek her own vengeance on the Sky Pharaoh.
Back in the present, the party left to clear out the rest of the sphinx as they had promised Erayu (the Morgan Freeman looking winged guy at the nearby camp whose nephew had gone crazy and was leading a band of cultist in the sphinx).
Assuming that the party would have proceeded down the nearest unexplored hallway they soon bash their way through an obvious roadblock of quickly laid/shaped stone (dwarven nuts tingle).
As soon as they pass through the newly opened hallway, Gruff’s nuts tingle again and he quickly discovers a secret door into a chamber that is 50’ high and has viewing slits into the adjacent room. Assuming they look in and perceive and then open the other secret door entering the chamber you see an ancient grand temple. “Dust and fine sand cover the floor of this grand hall , as if decades, maybe even centuries, had passed since any living creature set foot here. Sconces carved into the stone walls hold the withered stems of ancient torches, their blackened heads coldand crumbling.
Here and there, yellow bones molder among the drifts of sand. At the far end of the hall , a narrow staircase leads up to a raised platform. The front of the platform displays hideous images of lion-headed figures, ferocious sphinxes, and horned demons tearing screaming mortals apart. A white stone statue of a faceless demonic sphinx with six legs glares down from atop the dais.
The sphinx’s wide dragon wings spread to either side, forming two flat altars stained with the blood of countless sacrifices. On the curved wall behind the sphinx, the fragmented remains of thirteen humanoid skeletons have been pinned upside-down against the wall with rusty metal spikes. A tarnished oval mirror hangs flat against the wall above the middle skeleton.”
Upon entering the room, four angry advanced spectres swarm Sir Rowe and viciously attempt to slay him and make him, in turn, a spectre, but knowing you guys, you hand them their spectral asses quickly and move on.
The raised area of the temple with the dias is searched and treasure is found worth noting is a ceramic tile with the image of a coiled snake.
Moving south and left, the party met a spectral hermaphroditic paladin named Lady Sophronia.
Sir Rowe successfully diplomacizes and the ghost is now friendly and through conversations you learn that during the battle between the Sarenites and the cultists of Areshkagal, a powerful paladin died in this room, slain by the glabrezu demon Ninureset. Lady Sophronia presented a shifting array of masculine and feminine qualities in daily life, but adopted a priestess’s raiments when performing holy duties to honor Sarenrae. She was a talented and well-respected warrior among the templars, and her death was greatly mourned. Since her death, Sophronia’s spirit has lingered in this area, wandering the empty halls of the Sightless Sphinx in search of the demon who killed her, but unable to find him.
Because of Rowe’s diplomacy, she chooses to ally with the group. Sophronia can offer little in the way of direct assistance to the PCs, as her movement is limited to the rooms in which she fought
and died, but if the PCs engage any evil creatures in those rooms, Sophronia can manifest and assist in the battle. She also knows much about demons and cults and can help the PCs with her Knowledge skills.
Lady Sophronia also volunteers her healing abilities to the PCs if needed, and offers to keep watch over the PCs while they rest, making this chamber a safe retreat in the otherwise dangerous Sightless Sphinx.
If the PCs inform Lady Sophronia that the cult of Areshkagal is on the rise once more, or that Ninureset is present inside the Sightless Sphinx, she flares in furious anger. Her apparition takes on a red tint and appears lit from behind as if by flames.
“My greatest fear has come to pass. This, then, is why I have remained here all this time. I always thought my talents would be needed again. The cult must not be allowed to rise. With your assistance,
perhaps I can make another strike against this nest of vipers corrupting the land.”
Although she cannot leave the area of her death to personally face Ninureset, Lady Sophronia offers to imbue one of the PCs’ weapons with divine power using her divine endowment ability.
Crossing the hall reveals: “A rich, earthy smell pervades the tendrils of steam that drift through the air in this room. The eastern wall of this long chamber is a sunken pit of reddish mud. Lazy currents ripple through the mud, with an occasional slow-forming bubble rising to the surface.
Three stone carvings protrude from the wall behind the mud pit at evenly spaced intervals above square recesses about the size of a human hand. Tiny hieroglyphs decorate each carving.”
As you enter the room, you are attacked by elder mud elementals, but quickly defeat them (especially with Lord Sophronia’s healing).
Gruff’s balls tingle and a secret panel in the floor is discovered, but no matter what is attempted it remains sealed. The smarter ones among you notice that “each of the carvings on the east wall displays the same hieroglyphs-prayers to the demon lord Areshkagal-but a successful DC 20 Perception check allows a PC to notice that one small hieroglyph is different on each carving. The left carving displays the hieroglyph for “four,” the center carving the hieroglyph for “two,” and the right carving has no hieroglyph at all in that space.”
Recovering the treasure and moving on to search the rooms reveals “Small rooms containing four bare wooden cots with legs carved to resemble lions’ paws. Above each cot, a niche cut in the wall serves as a shallow shelf, adorned with a carved figure of a snarling sphinx looking out into the room.”
Eventually, an advanced shadow demon named Sargota attempts to magic jar possess a player, but as an immediate interrupt, Sir Rowe succeeds at transferring any failed saves to himself and as he is empowered with protection of evil the domination automatically fails and battle ensues.
Having legitimately failed (we rolled to see what would happen) to dominate you guys would quickly gain the upper hand and smite the evil bastard into oblivion. Lord Sophronia’s spirit would finally be at peace and as she fades away she leaves behind ghost touch armor and sword.
I will arbitrarily say that you clear rooms K19 and K20 before leaving the area. K19, just south of the mud elementals’ room, you find: “A round stone disk hovers two feet off of the sandy floor in the
center of this room. A golden glow radiates from beneath the disk, giving it the appearance of floating on a luminous cloud. The image of a snarling sphinx stretches its engraved wings across a stone door in the western wall. Beneath the sphinx’s outstretched wings, hordes of tiny, twisted demons are carved upon the door.
Both the floating disk and the stone door have moderate transmutation auras. The glow beneath the disk sheds dim light in the room. The door contains no handles or other visible mechanisms to open it and weighs over 1,600 pounds. If a living creature weighing at least 100 pounds stands on the floating disk, the door slides upward into the wall and reveals the chamber beyond.
When the creature steps off the platform, the door closes again. The only other way through the door is by breaking it or lifting it with brute force, which requires a minimum Strength score of 26.”
I’ll assume you guys figure it out or bash it down.
A round stone platform sits in the center of this room, its edge traced with graceful runes etched in silver. A bas-relief of a female head wearing a pharaoh’s headdress, its blank face emblazoned with a spiky rune, decorates the wall opposite the platform.
The lower third of each wall is inlaid with countless clear crystals, forming a rough and dazzling perimeter around the room. A stone door exits the room to the east. This chamber provided a means for the cultists of Areshkagal to teleport into or out of the Sightless Sphinx.
The platform here is exempt from the Sphinx’s protective wards that block extradimensional travel and has a strong conjuration aura. Anyone standing on the platform can use dimensional travel spells such as dimension door, teleport, and greater teleport normally.
Up to six Medium creatures or one Large creature can stand on the platform at once. The carving on the wall represents Areshkagal, as does the rune on the carving’s face.
The cultists used the bas-relief as a memory touchstone, allowing them to accurately picture this room
when teleporting in. The stone door to area K19 cannot be opened from this side. Cultists returning to the Sphinx using teleport had to do so at designated times, when another cultist would be available to stand on the floating disk in the antechamber to open the door.
The PCs can use this chamber to teleport out of the Sphinx and return to a city to resupply or heal,
but they must leave someone behind to open the door if they wish to come back via this route (they may of course destroy the door or find some other way around this limitation).
A large clay statue of a cat-headed humanoid stands in the northeast corner of the room. Such variant clay golems, called panthereons, were popular guardians during Osirion’s First Age.
The original cultists of Areshkaga placed this panthereon here to guard against incursions into the sphinx via teleportation. The panthereon attacks any creature entering the room, whether through the door or the teleportation platform, unless the creature strongly presents an unholy symbol of Areshkagal The panthereon pursues intruders throughout the Sightless Sphinx, and fights until destroyed.”
Again, knowing you guys, it is probably destroyed in less then six seconds. Leaving the possibility to telport in and out of the sphinx now very easy.
Moving on: “A withered heap of wood and tattered cloth in the corner of this chamber is all that remains of a bed. Wooden frames hang on the walls, holding brittle and faded sheets of pa pyrus that seem on the verge of crumbling away.” Treasure is found.
Entering into the next room: “Remarkably well preserved wooden racks line the walls of this room, but the scrolls slotted into the racks have fared less well over the years. Most are little more than bundles of brittle papyrus barely held together by rotted ribbons. Here and there, however, an intact scroll or carved scroll case juts out from the smoothly curved racks. In the center of the room, warped and withered chairs surround a flat stone table.”
In this room you are attacked by a powerful oracle cultist named Thmei.
She attempts to get the drop on you via invisibility, but between Tekkit regularly casting true seeing and detection of evil, she really doesn’t stand a chance and with her surprise round gone she could do some damage but isn’t as tough as what you have already faced. Therefore, I’ll count her as dead. There is some treasure which I have sent on to Michael, but of note is another ceramic tile marked with the image of an armored warrior.
You are now done with the eastern end of the sphinx and therefore I would assume make your way back over to where you stopped on the western edge. You pick up over in the octagonal room: “Four doors exit this octagonal room. A symbol is engraved in the wall above each doorway-a shield to the north, a skull to the east, an eye to the south, and a blank female face wearing a pharaoh’s headdress to the west.”
Sticking with tradition, you guys head to the left. You end up moving slowly and cautiously down the hallway: A golden glow emanates from the vaulted ceiling of this hall, giving the illusion of warm sunlight shining down. Low stone walls create a path through the center of the hall between ornate statues pl aced along the way. Carved from the same yellowish sandstone, the statues depict humanoid figures in regal dress, their expressions proud and haughty. Stone crowns and pharaonic headdresses sit upon their brows, and stone robes adorned with bits of jewelry that glitter in the light bedeck them.
On the southern side of the hall stands an immense statue of a golden scorpion that appears to have been crushed. The scorpion’s carapace has been cracked from some mighty blow, and its claws are twisted and shattered.
The walls that line the path are only 2-1/2 feet tall and provide cover, but they also impede progress; crossing one requires 2 squares of movement. The ceiling is 50 feet high in this chamber. The “sunlight” shining down from the ceiling is a permanent image that produces normal light in
The 23 statues in the room, one for each of Areshkagal’s riddles, depict influential priests of the demon lord’s cult. Close examination reveals something subtly wrong about each statue. For example, one figure’s eyes are oddly spaced, and the tip of a forked tail shows at the hem of another’s
robe. A few of the statues just seem subtly warped, with no such overt signs of wrongness.
The golden scorpion represents Areshkagal’s hated sister, the demon lord Aldinach. The statue is actually the gilded carapace of an immense black scorpion. Areshkagal’s
cultists placed the scorpion’s carcass here as a trophy in honor of Areshkagal and an insult toward Aldinach.”
In this room are another advanced shadow demon and several cultists. It could not bypass Rowe’s immediate interrupt and therefore no one could be possessed which would have made things interesting if I could have gotten Gruff. All that being said, you would dispatch it relatively quickly and move on. There is some treasure.
The ceiling of this vast hall arches upward to a height of almost fifty feet. The ceiling has been painted dark blue, and tiny lights twinkle in the darkness like countless stars. Near the center of the room, pillows overflow from a shallow pit. A polished bronze shield lies atop a round stone table rising from the center of the pit.
Beyond the pit, a white stone statue of a six-legged, faceless sphinx faces the room. On either side of the statue, long brass poles stretch from floor to ceiling.”
Here another mini-boss battle takes place but not anything rougher then you’ve already faced so you would dispatch them without too much difficulty.
He’s nuts and no amount of talking and diplomacy will stop him and you’ll eventually have to put him down. After you wipe him and his group of maftet crazies out you collect various bits of treasure but of note are a chest with royal thriae larva and a ceramic tile depicting a roaring sphinx that was hidden elsewhere in the room.
Backtracking to the rest of the western portion of the sphinx reveals cultist maftets and vrocks for whom you are now overpowered and you quickly wipe them out. Treasure is recovered.
Pressing on, the last room of the sphinx proper. “A short corridor extends beyond the door, ending at a crackling sheet of lightning that blocks the end of the hallway. The smell of a summer storm fills the air, and the sizzling of the lightning makes normal conversation impossible near the barrier.”
If someone can cast dispel or use some of Grimm’s scrolls the lightening may be bypassed. Otherwise, it cannot and you’ll have to duck and doge and take some damage. Not too deadly. But, I’m glad you’re not using the ironman suit as it would be destroyed here and Grimm would be very sad.
Moving on to the final known room: “A wide square stone platform stands in the center of the room. Shal low stone steps lead up to the platform on each side of the square. A stone slab hangs from the ceiling on thick iron chains, mirroring the platform on the floor, but with a ball of green fire at each corner. Beyond, the massive stone head and shoulders of a sphinx protrude from the far wall. The carving st retches from floor to ceiling, and its face is a featureless mass of jagged edges and chipped stone. Life-sized carved images of kneeling supplicants on the walls ring the chamber, facing the sphinx.”
Entering the room, you see a pitiful looking little girl chained to the dais. She pleads with you for help….but….Tekkit with true seeing, sees a glabrezu.
I’m quite sure battle ensues. It is in fact a Glabrezu demon and with smites and no surprise you guys will blow him up. Unless, of course, Tekkit doesn’t tell you and lets you foolishly agree to trade a wish for its freedom…yeah, anyway…he casts some annoying gravity spells to make you fall-up on spikes,etc. And then there is no treasure in here.