Pyramid Down, continued
A Hole in the Ground
The journey into the mountains is very treacherous. The party must be ever-vigilant for rockslides and animals displaced by the violent earth quake. Farlin is a competent guide, but he takes a very simplistic approach, the direct approach. He does not bother to think about dangerous terrain or enraged animals blocking the party's path.
Once the party reaches their destination, the wizard wishes them farewell and uses a fly spell to return to the village. From there he will return to his tower where he can use his scrying device to keep an eye on the party. Once they return to the village, Farlin will be there waiting for them.
The hole in the ground is fairly steep, and very scorched. Strewn across the region are huge stones that resemble giant melted bricks. If the party takes the time to scout out the area they will find tracks leading into and out of the crater. Some of the tracks lead them to what appears to be a fresh cave opening, perhaps uncovered by the crash. There are signs of a struggle near the opening.
At the center of the crater is a stone slab. The slab can be moved to reveal a passageway into the earth. Both the slab, and the passageway, are composed of a stone material not found locally on these mountains.
The entrance, along with the main passageway have been cleared of all rubble. All side passageways are hard to traverse, as there are many large stones strewn across the floor. In some areas the passageways are entirely blocked by rubble. All of the passageways are angled oddly, as if they have been turned on their sides. The floors may be sloped forward or backward, as well as from left to right. In some hallways the passage way is diamond shaped, with the floor forming a V-pattern. All of this makes it very difficult for the party to travel here.
The powers of the pyramid also effect magic in its immediate area. No travel magics (gates, teleportation, etc...) work within 20 miles of the crash site. The clerical ability to turn undead is also negated inside of the pyramid, and within a five mile radius around it.
The pyramid is actually a spelljamming ship from Ebor, an offshoot of the ancient Nithian culture. These pyramids are colony vessels that roam wildspace in search of worlds worthy of colonization and conquest. This ship was damaged and presumed lost by the Eborians. That would have been the end of the story had the ship not crashed on Mystara. Mystara was the home world for the ancient Nithians, and their magic still abounds there. Once the pyramid drew near ancient sources of Nithian magic, energy pulses were sent through its portal, and back to the home world of the Eborians. One of the Eborian priests took an interest in this, and began to monitor the vessel until it hit the ground.
At that time the priest sent his life force through the pyramid's portal to inhabit a specially prepared mummy on board the craft. All of the undead bodies on the craft were badly damaged, but the priest did find one that was still usable as his receptacle. Although greatly weaker in its power and capacity, the Pharaoh Mummy is slowly trying to build up minions on Mystara. It started by animating what skeletons it could, that were interned on the pyramid, and then it gathered the bodies of broken miners from their shafts and animated them into zombies. It has kept a few of these humans alive to serve as its emissaries into the lands of the living.
The third, and final, of the Pharaoh Mummy's short term goals is to find a more suitable receptacle for its essence. The body it inhabits has been too damaged from the crash to contain much of its powers. For this purpose, the Pharaoh Mummy has sent several of its minions forth to scour the lands for ancient Nithian burial sites. Once the Pharaoh Mummy gains a considerable living following, it will have the resources to create its own receptacles, but until then, it will need to find what it can here. The party should not find out about this third goal until much later.
The Ankh and the Pharoah Mummy
The Pharaoh Mummy should be a challenging opponent, but not one that is impossible to overcome. The body it has inhabited is not perfect, and can not contain the creature's full power potential. Sematiffir will therefore be caught off guard by its own shortcomings.
The ankh is an Eborian gateway which allows priests to send their essence through its portal. Only incorporeal forms may be sent through the gateway, nothing physical will pass. The ankh radiates a fierce amount of magical energy while the Pharaoh Mummy's essence in on Mystara. Once the Pharaoh Mummy's body is destroyed, its essence will flee back through the ankh to its own home world. When this happens the magical energies emanating from the stone ankh will suddenly fade to nothing. The Pharaoh Mummy has one final attack however. Once back on its home planet, it will cast Set's Will to assault one of the PCs. It will make one such attack a day, always concentrating on the same PC. Each time it makes an attack, the ankh's magic will flare up. It should become obvious to the party that either the ankh is their real enemy, or it is a magical conduit facilitating the attacks of another entity. Clerics may even be given this information by their immortal patrons who will undoubtedly take an interest in this artifact.
Clerics who received a flash of insight about the ankh from their immortal patrons, may try to commune with them to gain more information. Any Clerics who do so will receive pictures of undead walking away from the crash site, searching for another mummy to bring back to the ankh. They will then receive the feeling that if this happens they will have an even more powerful foe to battle. The immortals will make it plain that this event is to be prevented at all costs. Clerics who would shy away from this task will earn the displeasure of their patrons, and may lose all clerical abilities until they vow to complete the task that the immortals set for them.
One thing the party could do is try to track down all of the undead that left the pyramid. This may slow the Eborian priest down, but would not stop him. Ultimately this course of actions may prove impossible to complete, as the undead that ventured forth will enlist the help of any undead that they come across. A greater concern will be had once the spell Set's Will has made a successful attack. The party should be sufficiently worried over the fate of their comrade. If the victim of the spell dies, he will become a desiccated husk which Sematiffir will try to inhabit. Trying to destroy the ankh proves fruitless. Nothing the party does will harm it. Their best bet would be to take information of the ankh back to Farlin...it is after all, just the type of information he asked the PCs for.
The Journey Home
The trip back to the village should be uneventful. The PCs will be treated like heroes upon their return. Farlin will of course, be very anxious to hear their tale, even though he saw most of what transpired through his scrying device. If the PC's neglect to mention some magical device or artifact that they happened to pick up, then Farlin can offhandedly mention the item with a suggestion that he might be able to examine it. He will be extremely excited once he recognizes the style of the artifacts, as he has an acquaintance who is very interested in items of this make.
Farlin also suggests that the party guards the ankh until his acquaintance arrives. She will know best what to do with it. Once Farlin's acquaintance Myrrith arrives at the scene, she rewards the PCs for finding the artifact, and for guarding it while she made the journey to this remote location. Myrrith is very excited about the party's findings, but keeps her own council on the matter.
The adventure can end at this point, or the party can play the next module in this series, Night of the Blue Sun.
Farlin is a Thaytian ex-patriot in his late 60s. He is an accomplished mage, but feels more at home attending a noble's court, or rummaging through a musty library, than he does crawling through a dungeon. During his many years of moving through the upper circles of Thaytian society, Farlin has made many diverse contacts far and wide. He uses these contacts to support his one passion in life, being an information merchant. The old wizard trades his vast amounts of stockpiled knowledge to other wizards. Farlin charges a pittance of a fee for his services in gold...just enough to keep him living comfortably. His real reward is the information that he receives from other wizards in return.
The old wizard's favorite tactic is to race to the scene of an unknown or intriguing occurrence, find the first hardy party of adventurers he can, and send them off in the direction he wants them to go explore in. He offers what services he can to further the parties goals, and in return he expects them to share information with him. He is especially interested in examining any magical treasures that the party might find. Many times he will offer to identify magical items for free, just to get a chance to study the object for a while. He then returns to his tower to search through his vast list of contacts for a wizard who might be interested in the items he just studied. For the most part Farlin means well, but he just doesn't think ahead sometimes. Many parties have accepted Farlin's friendly services, only to have some strange wizard (one of Farlin's contacts) show up the next day and try to relieve them of their hardly won treasures.
PCs may come to deal with Farlin on a regular basis. If all concerned are happy with the arrangement, Farlin will give the party a magical means to contact him whenever they have found something interesting. He can be very helpful in identifying arcane lore and items, or putting the in touch with someone who can do such things for them, and his prices are cheap. But the party must be ready for unexpected visits from unwelcome guests, especially after they have shown Farlin something he has never seen before.
This adventure and all related material copyright 1999 John T. Calvin. All rights reserved. Used by permission.