With Several Variants
Well, after a month where I published more articles here than in the past several years combined, it should surprise no one I took some time off. What might surprise people is I’ve actually been really productive in January, in terms of personal projects, and of course also in terms of work, if my boss or co-workers are reading this. (As if anyone is reading this!)
Earth Delta PF2 is coming along, with the scholar class — a sort of cross between the PF2 Alchemist and the D&D 4e Warlord — starting to take shape. (The Scholar creates “concoctions” which can damage, debuff, or heal, and are usually delivered as thrown items or by touch (i.e, alchemist stuff), and also delivers “lectures”, which draw from a focus pool and provide party-wide effects. It’s really rough now, but I’m happy with the concepts.)
And I’ve really got the bug to run yet another GURPS-based pan-dimensional game (Those of you who like seeing sausage being made can look at the really rough, really in-progress, not-very-good state of it here.), my third multi-dimensional setting for GURPS and my fourth overall (that one’s gone through 3.5, FantasyCraft, and Pathfinder, and if anyone’s got 3200.00 to spare, I can tell you more about it in public.)
However, none of that is relevant here. What is relevant here is golden-tongued mummies! That links to the BBC article, and if that link goes dead, here’s the summary: Archeologists dug up golden-tongued mummies. These would let them talk to Osiris. The mummies, that is. Not the archeologists. Well, maybe not. I mean, they should try, at least, right?
But anyway, having done mummy parrots, this seemed like it would fit.
So, what makes golden-tongued mummies different from regular mummies? Well, the cheap, obvious, and uncreative answer is “They have some kind of charm/persuade/hypnotize powers, because ‘golden tongue’, right?” So, since we have a cheap, obvious, and uncreative answer, there is absolutely no need to go any further.
NO. APPEARING: 1-4
ARMOR CLASS: 3
HIT DICE: 6
% IN LAIR: 90%
TREASURE TYPE: D
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-12 plus disease
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Fear, Charm
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
PSlONlC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
When a great ruler was prepared to go to the afterlife, their tombs were filled with all that they might need, from boats to weapons. Some, facing the prospect of eternity among the souls of their ancestors, feared being without the guidance of their most trusted advisors, and so, had these wise, eloquent associates mummified alongside them, to serve them in death as they did in life. (One might speculate that the truly skilled would have talked their liege out of this idea, so the only ones subjected to this treatment were the less skilled. One might also speculate that the heirs to the dying ruler didn’t want overly-cunning and possibly-ambitious holdovers from the prior administration interfering — which is, naturally, what their advisors warned them about.)
Golden-tongued mummies are slightly less effective in straight-up combat than their more mumbly/grunty kin, but more than make up for it with their vastly superior intelligence and magical powers. A golden-tongued mummy will rarely (unless very recently awakened) just be hanging around some tomb waiting to kill adventurers. They are seekers of power, ideally through a puppet/figurehead, but sometimes openly. They may command several dungeon levels, or the criminal underworld of a major city, or even be the power behind a rising warlord or the ruler of a city-state.
Golden-tongued mummies may cloak themselves in illusion at will, taking the guise of who they were in life. There will always be some indication of their true state, such as a rotting finger joint or missing patch of hair revealing a necrotic skull, but they usually dress so as to cover this up or have some plausible excuse. They can, at will, drop the illusion for a single target, which triggers their fear power: The target, within 6″, must make a saving throw versus magic, or be paralyzed with fright for 1-4 melee rounds. Others will not see this, which is a good way to make people think the target is insane. In combat, the mummy is likely to drop the illusion altogether and then all will be affected. They cannot choose an intermediate point; either one person is targeted, or all who can see them are.
The golden-tongued mummy may use charm person at will, doing so via seemingly mundane conversation (though if someone can sense spells being cast, they will do so). Those who successfully save will be immune for the next 24 hours. 3/day, after a minute or more of non-violent interaction, the golden-tongued mummy may attempt a suggestion against any charmed target. If they save, they will not sense there was a magical force behind the suggestion unless they roll a 20 on their save. If they do, the charm is also broken. Each day they are consecutively charmed, the save against the suggestion is at a cumulative -1. If they fail their suggestion save for five consecutive days, failure is automatic from then on, unless the spell is broken via some other means. Creatures in this state are known as thralls, and a golden-tongued mummy may have up to five at one time.
There is a 10% chance for any golden-tongued mummy to cast spells as either a 6th level cleric or 6th level illusionist. (Roll a six-sided die; on a 1-4, it’s cleric, on a 5-6, illusionist.) If so, they are likely to have one or two appropriate wands or scrolls, which they will use in battle.
If the tongue is not destroyed (any reasonable means will do), the golden-tongued mummy will reanimate, no matter the condition of its remains, and seek it out. If it has any surviving thralls, they will instinctively know the location of the tongue and the remains and act appropriately to restore their master to full un-health.
In life, golden-tongued mummies were advisers, counselors, and wise ones, serving the greatest nobles of the land. Some where mummified after their natural deaths, to enable them to go on to counsel the dead and even the gods, but others were mummified while alive, so they could travel with their lord to the land of the dead and aid them in their passage. When released from their tombs, they swiftly ascertain the current situation and use their powers to rise in rank within moral society. Even without their magic, they are skilled dissemblers; with it, they can arrange webs of allies and organize the ruling class around their desires. Even in undeath, they prefer to rule from behind some figurehead leader, though some will assume direct command once they have enough followers in power to support them. Note that the majority of such supporters will be free-willed and unaffected by magic; the golden-tongued mummy is quite happy to use mundane tools such as money and grants of authority to win loyalty.
When it comes to dealing with the mummy’s thralls, remember, a charm isn’t zombie-like mind control – the thrall will act and talk normally, respond as they usually would on most topics, go about their daily lives… they just think the golden-tongued mummy is a fine person who is wise and trustworthy and should be listened to for those reasons. If the golden-tongued mummy is well established, their high Charisma and social skills will cause many around them to reach the same conclusions without magic. A thrall acting as a bodyguard who is paid wages for their work, who believes they chose the job voluntarily, and who has internalized, based on social customs, “My job as a bodyguard is to risk my life to save the person I am guarding” will not need to be explicitly commanded to interpose themselves between the mummy and an attacker, even if it took some enchantment to get them to the point where they accepted the role in the first place.
The Golden Tongue: The tongue, which replaces the mummy’s original organ, is key to their power and animation, and is part of the ritual of mummification. If somehow removed (DC 35 Steal check, permitted if in combat and the Perception check to notice is irrelevant; if the mummy is helpless, no roll is needed), the mummy will instantly de-animate, turning to dust. If the mummy is killed and the tongue is not removed and destroyed (melting or hammering is sufficient; Hardness 8, Hit Points 12) , the golden-tongued mummy will rise in 1d6 days. Any former thralls within 100 miles will instantly know this and must make a DC 26 Will save or travel to their risen lord’s location to free them or offer them service.
On a DC 26 Religion or Undead Lore check, this fact is known. On a critical failure on such a check, the belief is that the tongue must not be destroyed and must be buried with the remains of the mummy to prevent reanimation.
If melted into a new form, and then ground into dust, it is worth 250 gp when used in crafting any magic item with enchantment-type effects.
If kept intact, collectors will pay 100-200 gp for it, but the golden-tongued mummy will still reanimate without it, and the tongue will make its new owner(s) into thralls and bring the two together once more.
Golden Tongued Mummy
RARE | LE | MEDIUM | HUMANOID | UNDEAD | MUMMY
Skills Deception +21 , Diplomacy +21 , Intimidation +16 , Lore (Local City or Region) +17, Society +18
Str +5, Dex +4, Con +4, Int +5, Wis +6, Cha +7
Despair (aura, divine, emotion, enchantment, fear, incapacitation, mental)
30 feet. A golden-tongued mummy may turn this aura on or off using Reveal The Dark Majesty . Living creatures are frightened 1 while in a golden-tongued mummy’s despair aura. They can’t naturally recover from this fear while in the area but recover instantly once they leave the area. When a creature first enters the area, it must succeed at a DC 23 Will save (after taking the penalty from being frightened) or be paralyzed for 1 round. The creature is then temporarily immune for 24 hours.
Entwining Speech 1 minute (Auditory, Linguistic, Emotion, Enchantment)
After spending a minute talking to a non-hostile target within 30 feet, the golden-tongued mummy may attempt to cast a charm. (Saving Throw DC 24 Will) This will only be noticed if the save is a critical success. On a failure, the target is charmed. The mummy may do this up to five times a day, to different targets. When the charm wears off, the target will not know they were a victim of magic and will justify their actions to themselves.
Dark Advice ◆◆ (Auditory, Linguistic, Emotion, Enchantment) Target: A creature the mummy has charmed.
The golden-tongued mummy issues a suggestion to a creature they currently have charmed. (Saving Throw DC 24 Will) If this ability is used on the same target on consecutive days, the save is at -1 status modifier for the first day, -2 for the second, up to a maximum of -5. At this point, the target is a thrall and is considered permanently charmed. The golden tongued mummy may have up to 5 thralls, and this total counts against the times/day they may use Entwining Speech (If they have three thralls, the mummy can only attempt to Entwine two others.)
Command Thrall ◆ (Auditory, Linguistic, Emotion, Enchantment) Target: A thrall. Frequency 1/day per thrall.
The mummy gives a suggestion to the thrall. There is generally no save. However, if the order is contrary to the thrall’s deepest nature or is clearly suicidal, they may attempt a save as a free action.
AC 26; Fort +16, Ref +13, Will +19
HP 131 (negative healing); Immunities death effects, disease, paralyzed, poison, unconscious; Weaknesses 10 Fire
Speed 25 feet
Honeyed Words ↻ (Auditory, Linguistic, Emotion, Enchantment);
Trigger: An enemy makes a melee attack against the mummy. Effect The golden-tongued mummy whispers seductive words and enthralling distractions. Saving Throw DC 24 Will. On a failure, the triggering enemy will abort their attack, losing the action(s) expended.
Conceal The Dark Majesty ◆ (Illusion, Mental, Visual)
Weaving powerful necromantic and illusory magics, the golden-tongued mummy looks as it did in life (the golden-tongued mummy may decide which age they appear as, so long as they were basically the same size — a human mummified in adulthood cannot appear as a pre-adolescent, and vice versa). There is both a visual illusion and a mental perception cloak — someone holding the mummy’s withered hand will feel normal flesh. As such, until there’s a real reason to suspect the person they are dealing with is not alive, there is no Perception check or Will save, any more than there is when encountering any NPC in an otherwise appropriate setting. However, there is always some clue, some small part of the body not covered by the illusion, though this is typically hidden — for example, a golden-tongued mummy whose left eye is a worm-infested socket may affect a jeweled eyepatch. In addition, PCs trained in appropriate Lore might recognize the king’s new advisor from ancient paintings, or those trained in Religion might notice the odd behavior of people around the golden-tongued mummy (due to constant charm) and recognize the effect, etc. In such a case, a DC 26 Perception check will pierce the disguise enough to confirm their suspicions, but not enough to make them subject to the Despair aura. For purposes of Detect Magic, the spell level is half the golden-tongued mummy’s hit dice (typically 4th).
Melee ◆ fist +18 (agile), Damage 1d10+11 bludgeoning + mummy rot
Melee ◆ +1 weighted staff +20 (forceful, sweep), Damage 2d8+9 bludgeoning + mummy rot
Reveal The Dark Majesty ◆
The golden-tongued mummy ends the effect of Conceal The Dark Majesty. This instantly activates the aura of despair and all within it suffer the effects. At the mummy’s choice, this can affect one creature or all creatures. The former can be used to make an individual seem insane, as they begin ranting about a hideous monster when everyone else sees a normal, living person.
Mummy Rot (curse, disease, divine, necromancy)
This disease and any damage from it can’t be healed until this curse is removed. A creature killed by mummy rot turns to dust and can’t be resurrected except by a 7th-level resurrect ritual or similar magic. Saving Throw DC 23 Fortitude; Stage 1 carrier with no ill effect (1 minute); Stage 2 5d6 negative damage and stupefied 1 (1 day)