Thursday, 23 February 2017

Curse of the Mummy

Back in the mid-1980’s I got a subscription to the brand new Dungeon Magazine. After reading issue #1 it occurred to me to write an adventure for submission. I never did submit it for publication but I did write and play the adventure.

I called it Module D6: Curse of the Mummy. I came up with what I was fairly certain was an original concept and map and a nice hook. At the time I mainly used published adventures or pieces of published adventures.  I always re-wrote them for my players style of play. So coming up with something original was not so easy.

The adventure was a single dungeon level with a one-way entrance.  The entrance was a bowl shaped depression in a plain with a sacrificial altar. The altar was actually a mechanical trap that would tip players into the dungeon. To complicate things, a local barbarian tribe has discovered the altar and sacrifice trespassers on it. The players become involved when a former party NPC is captured by the barbarians and “sacrificed” on the altar. Becoming trapped in the dungeon.

D6: The Curse of the Mummy (1986)

Once players entered there was only one way out and those trapped in the dungeon with them (except the Mummy) did not know the way out. Since I always overthought the backgrounds for my adventures I spent a lot of time working out how this dungeon ecology could exist. The dungeon was the last temple of the evil god Nechtanesmere. His last high priest Kholum sealed the dungeon as he made preparations to become a mummy. The remaining temple clerics were turned into a form of undead called the Brethren. They did not age but still required food. So they used magic to create food and water. The center shaded area of the map is the stronghold of the priests of Nechtanesmere.

The area to the top left is the stronghold of a bunch of adventurers who entered the dungeon over the past 30 years and became trapped. They raid the temple for food and water and offer a place where the players can rest safely but there are a lot of politics in play.

To the south is the area where the players enter and it was full of the kind of monsters (magical or plants) that could survive with only occasional food. Of note is area 42 which was inspired by the dungeon scene in the movie “Goonies”.

At the top of the map is a crypt with powerful undead and the final chamber that held the mummy Kholum. In the mummy’s crypt was a key opening a secret exit from the dungeon.

The playtest with my then BECM game group back in 1986 actually did not go very well. The hook was likely not strong enough. The players were not particularly enthused with rescuing the NPC once they were trapped. They became annoyed with the politics and the constant threat of combat. They did succeed in escaping but rather than enlisting the other prisoners of the dungeon as I expected they left them to their own devices shortly after encountering them. Instead they just bulled their way through the Brethren and went head on with the Mummy. Once player’s character was killed, but as 9th level characters they could afford to drag the body to a priest and get her raised before the next adventure.

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