Night of the Blue Sun
If the party did not fare well in the battle, and was easily defeated, the Aefet will not consider them as potential allies. He wants somebody that might actually be able to help him, not somebody who will just be a burden. The party will, however, be visited by another individual. In this case, proceed to Event 4.
- Event 1
- Aefet is defeated, but not killed.
Pulling out a long silver dagger, Aefet bids the best warrior of the group to strike him down with it. Concerned PCs may be reluctant to do this, but Aefet has no desire to die, he simply wants to make the party's escape believable for Pharaoh Sematiffir. He gives them a small signet ring and tells the PCs to journey to a small farm house just to the south
of here. "Once there, look for the sign I will send you." That is all he will tell them. If pressed for more details, he will reply that time is short. The Pharaoh may even now be preparing another contingent of troops to capture the party.
The party should have as much or as little trouble finding the farm as the DM desires. They can be hounded by patrols, but they should be able to hide fairly well in the crops that surround them. The DM may also wish to run Event 2 at this point as well, especially if he feels that the party may need a little extra help. Running Event 2 is an option, and need not be done at all.
Upon arriving at the farm, the PCs will notice a nondescript mud house. This is where the farmer and his family live. There are no other buildings that they might take refuge in. Persuading the farmer to let them in may prove to be difficult. He doesn't want to take the chance that he will be caught. If that happened, his entire family would be put to death. Stress the fact that the party doesn't have a lot of time to convince the poor man. Patrols can be heard closing in on them through the fields.
If the party happens to show the man the signet ring they received from Aefet, the man becomes quiet and grants them entrance to his home. In this case, the patrols will pass by the house without giving it much notice. If the PCs break down the farmer's door, or otherwise force entrance into his house, he will not protest. He does not want to draw the attention of Semetiffir's guards under any circumstances. However, there is a 30% chance that any patrols passing in the area will notice something is amiss in the dwelling and will investigate. The DM should make two to three such checks throughout the party's stay. The party may be able to deal with a patrol (5 first-level fighters) before an alarm is raised. Otherwise, they will have a lengthy battle on their hands, and if they do not flee the farm, they will eventually be outnumbered and captured.
Assuming that the party manages to elude the patrols out searching for them and gain entrance to the farmer's house, they will be safe for a while. Some minor wounds may be healed during this time, and the DM may allow wizards to meditate and memorize a few spells (though not his whole spell compliment).
Just when all seems peaceful, the farmhouse door bursts in, and half a dozen guards rush in. More surround the house outside. Three of the guards are bestial, resembling Aefet after he changed form. Two of those stand back while the third one, slavering, rushes in to meet the PCs at full force. Alert characters will note that one of the lycanthropes is flashing an amulet containing the same symbol that is on the signet ring. The other lax lycanthrope has that same symbol tatooed on his shoulder. No such symbol can be seen on the charging man-beast, however. He will target a single fighter-class character and attack that individual whether or not the party surrenders. The other two lycanthropes will not stop the attack, but if the PCs get the upper hand, they will intervene and save their companion. There should be enough soldiers at the farm to subdue the PCs if they do not surrender.
- Event 2
- Aefet is killed in battle.
If this happens, the PCs can either choose to flee into the countryside, or try and storm the palace. Fleeing into the countryside might seem like the most sensible thing to do, especially with scores of more guards pouring out from the gates. However, the PCs only have a limited amount of time in this land. If they flee, then they need to make definite plans about how to get back to the palace, for it is there that their true enemy lies.
Storming the palace at this point will only lead to the PCs' capture. Unless the party can come up with a good plan to enter the palace, the DM should show no lenience in dealing with this action. The full force of the palace guard will fall upon the characters. In this case, the guards will not bother trying to capture the PCs: they will instead use deadly force.
If the characters decide to try and evade their pursuers across the countryside, they should be able to do so. Although they will be dogged by the patrols and tracked by sniffing man-beasts, the party should be able to stay one step ahead of them. If the DM wishes, the party can have encounters with one or more patrols, consisting of five level-one fighters, and one man-beast. After several hours of running through fields of tall grasses, a lone man appears in front of the party. His name is Memphenon, and he has been avoiding patrols in these fields for the past hour, trying to contact the PCs. Memphenon is quite good at evading the patrols, and will lead the party out of the fields to some small ruins on the edge of a cold desert. No patrols follow them there.
Memphenon is the leader of a resistance movement, bent on overthrowing the Pharaoh Mummies that rule this land. They call themselves the "Dragon's Cowl," and their symbol is that of a cobra with its hood extended. The stone ruins that they stand in are cracked and scorched by fire. Eight other members of the resistance are here, several of whom wear the garb of palace servants.
A Cowl member saw the PCs step out of the air and rushed to tell Memphenon. Memphenon believes that the PCs are heroes sent by the true gods, to help him rid this land of the Pharaohs' rule. To this end, they are willing to disguise two of the PCs as palace servants and sneak them within the walls. They can only risk replacing two servants, but the two that the characters replace will have access to the Pharaoh's chambers. The other characters will have to find their own way in. Memphenon can get them near the palace walls without being seen by the guards, but the PCs will have to take over from there.
If the party agrees to Memphenon's plan, then two of the resistance members will take off their robes and give them to the PCs. Let the players choose who will take the disguises. The rest of the characters will have to bundle up in merchants' garb, and carry large sacks of grain to the market place which is just outside of the palace gates. From there, they can slip behind the scenes and make their way to the walls. Anyone actually entering through the gates is thoroughly searched by the guards.
- Event 3
- Aefet captures the party, but considers them to be helpful.
The party is taken to the dank dungeons below the palace. Aefet taunts the characters before leaving them in their prison. Two guards stay behind to watch them. Let the PCs sweat over how long they will be kept in prison. After a short time, Aefet returns to taunt them some more. He orders the guards to open the cell door and prepare the prisoners for execution. The first guard opens the door, and Aefet shoves him inside for the PCs to deal with. The second guard gets a knife in the back and crumples to the floor. Aefet is able to slam the cell door shut if the PCs should try to rush him.
Assuming that the characters are willing to listen, the man-beast tells them his story. His entire family was infected with the beast plague two years ago. He was the only survivor. Aefet watched the rest of his family as they went through the torturous transformation process every couple of hours. Of four brothers and three sisters, only he could master the painful transformations. The rest of them died over a period of nine months. The only thing that kept Aefet alive was the thought of revenge. The man-beast will let the PCs go if they agree to help him kill the Pharaoh. Aefet has never seen him while the blue sun has been in the sky, and he knows the Pharaoh's powers are limited during this time.
Aefet's plan is simple: he wants the PCs to cause a distraction near the throne room, perhaps the antechamber. At this point, the Pharaoh will send his guards to investigate, and Aefet and his compatriots will attack and destroy the Pharaoh's body.
Unfortunately, Aefet's plan will go astray. A lycanthrope loyal to Pharaoh Sematiffir has infiltrated Aefet's group and will try to foil the assassination attempt. The PCs will have to fight their way through Sematiffir's guards and help Aefet carry out his plan.
- Event 4
- Aefet captures the party, but considers their help to be worthless.
Aefet doesn't even taunt the party as they are locked in their prison cell. He leaves the room, taking all the guards with him.
Moments after Aefet leaves the chamber, the PCs are joined by another lycanthrope. Unhuar is the youngest member of Aefet's resistance movement. He has doubts about Tahehn, another member of the group, and suspects him of plotting with the enemy. Unhuar offers to free the characters if they agree to expose Tahehns treachery.
Once Unhuar releases them, the party are on their own to find evidence against Tahehn. He tells the characters that Aefet will act against the Pharaoh very soon, and fears that the attempt will end in disaster if the traitor Tahehn is not revealed. Unhuar then leaves hurriedly, already afraid that he has taken too much of a risk.
The Pharaoh's Palace
No matter how the PCs enter the palace, their goal is clear: they must find the Pharaoh Mummy Sematiffir and destroy him. Then they must find their way back out. There are many guards and servants in the palace; too many for the characters to fight all of them off (though not all of them are loyal to the Pharaoh), so the party will have to be stealthy. Inside of the palace, guard patrols consist of three first-level fighters or one first- to third-level lycanthrope. Once an alarm has been sounded, the patrols will consist of five first-level fighters and a level 1-4 lycanthrope.
Map of the Pharaoh's Palace (64k)
- The Wall
- This is a jagged formation of tall, sharp rocks. Scaling the wall proves difficult, but not impossible. There are no battlement patrols along the wall, so PCs who try to gain entrance this way shouldn't have to worry about prying eyes from the outside. Guards do patrol the gardens and inner sanctums of the palace, so characters need to be wary when dropping down on the inner side.
- The Gates
- There are ten guards stationed here who question merchants and commoners wishing to gain access to the palace. Another 20 guards, along with 2-3 lycanthropes, can be summoned at need. Vigilant PCs who watch the gate for a few hours will note that those marked as servants (wearing white robes with the symbol of an eclipse embroidered on it) are passed through without much notice. It is as if the guards feel that questioning slaves and servants is beneath their warrior's pride. If the party can find enough servants' clothing, they may be able to slip into the palace without notice (especially if one of them can speak passable Alaysian).
- The Garden
- This is a mockery of botanical specimens. The plants in this garden are vile to look at, as well as being dangerous. Several of the plants are actually plant-like mosters. Many others are full of spines and dripping with potent poisons. Any characters moving at a running pace in this area must make a successful dexterity check or scrape themselves on one of the poisonous plants. The DM is free to come up with any poisonous effects, but the PCs should be allowed a saving throw.
- The Dungeon
- Several dejected individuals populate this long hallway full of prison cells. If the PCs have been captured, this is where they will be. Depending upon the circumstances of their capture, there may or may not be guards posted here. A cell at the far end of the hall contains a member of the resistance sect, Dragon's Cowl, who will help the party with their mission if freed. He is a level 2 fighter. Several other humans inhabit the other cell, but they are defeated souls, frail and broken in spirit.
- Guard Chamber
- These rooms can be found throughout the palace, and house from 5-10 guards. No lycanthropes are stationed here. They are either in their private chambers or out on patrol.
- Hall of the Man-Beasts
- This wing of the palace is reserved for the lycanthropes. Any others who enter this area are putting their lives in jeopardy. The party can just barely make out several murals on the walls, behind spatterings of dried blood. Several of the paintings depict a mummy figure fighting with a great golden cobra.
- Aefet's Chamber
- Aefet's room is like many around it: smashed furniture, torn tapestries, dried blood splotches, and bones littering the floor. In one corner of the room is an unidentified tome. In it is the story of how the old gods aligned with the dark gods to overthrow the gods of the sun and their followers. With their goal in sight, the old gods turned on their allies, giving the sun gods time to recover. Eventually, the old gods were destroyed and the dark gods fled to a new land. All of the references are quite vague, but Myrrith may be able to make something out of the passages.
- Unhuar's Chamber
- This room is slightly more organized than the others. Nothing can be found here that would distinguish this room as Unhuar's, but underneath the bedding, an investigating character will find a Dragon's Cowl talisman.
- Tahehn's Chamber
- Tahehn's living quarters are a shambles. If the PCs spend the time to search through the rubble that is strewn about this chamber, they can find the following items: a smashed talisman which used to display the symbol of the Dragon's Cowl, a vial of silver nitrate (will stain skin brown) which is poisonous to the man-beasts, a human-shaped doll covered with coarse fur and blood (magical investigation reveals that the fur belongs to Aefet's beast form). Each of these items will take a full turn of searching to find. The DM should roll randomly to determine which item is found first.
- Dark profanities graffiti the walls and ceiling of this chamber. The desiccated remains of servants who were unlucky enough to displease their master adorn a bloody altar in the center of the room. Black tapestries hang from the walls. Upon entering the room, the PCs will feel an overwhelming sense of dread. All attacks by the PCs are made with a -1 penalty here.
- Servant's Alcove
- Many servants huddle in this cramped space, shivering with fear. If the PCs need a little help, one of the servants here can be a member of the Dragon's Cowl.
- Aefet is preparing his attack against the Pharaoh when the party enters this room. If the party has found evidence of Tahehn's treachery, now is the time to present it. Tahehn is also in the room and reacts violently to their accusations. If the party accuses Tahehn without showing Aefet any evidence, he may think it just as likely that the PCs are agents of the Pharaoh, sent here to cause dissention among those who would overthrow him. If the argument goes against Tahehn, he will try to stab Aefet in the back before rushing out of the room for help. If the PCs are part of Aefet's distraction plan, the lycanthrope will sound the alarm and draw most of the undead servants from the throne room to battle the characters. He will then try to slip into the throne room unnoticed and kill the Pharaoh. Aefet can succeed in this only if Tahehn has been dealt with. Otherwise, Tahehn will betray Aefet, and the PCs will have to handle the Pharaoh themselves.
- Throne Room
- The Pharaoh and his personal servants are in this room. Semetiffir sits atop a golden throne with onyx wings protruding from its sides. He is attended by 5 zombies and 10 skeletons. Two wraiths are also hiding in the dark folds of drapes hanging behind the throne. The Pharaoh will send his zombies and skeletons into the antechamber if there is a disturbance there, but the wraiths will remain here. If Tahehn has been dealt with, the Aefet may be engaged with one of the wraiths, or even the Pharaoh Mummy himself. Otherwise, Aefet and Tahehn are engaged in battle, with the Pharaoh watching.
Into the Desert
Once the PCs defeat Pharaoh Sematiffir in his palace, they may think that their troubles are over. Although the Pharaoh cannot take another mummy form while the blue sun shines overhead, he is not destroyed, and will return to plague them in just under two months. If the characters have not figured this out for themselves, either Aefet, Unhuar, or Memphenon will enlighten them. If the party has managed to befriend any of these individuals, they may be able to learn valuable information about how to finally defeat the Pharaoh.
Aefet knows that Sematiffir's jars of power, where his life force is stored, are located somewhere in the near vicinity. He doubts, however, that they are in the palace or its surrounding community. From evidence he has gathered about his former master, he believes that the jars are located somewhere in the desert.
Unhuar knows even less than his superior. He knows of several mummies hidden throughout the palace, but has neither seen nor heard of the Pharaoh's magic jars. Searching the mummies will reveal nothing.
Memphenon will be able to help the most if the PCs ask him about possible hiding places for the Pharaoh. Since his clandestine group is forced to meet in secrecy, they have used many of the ruins in the desert over the years, and know them intimately. Although neither Memphenon, nor any other member of the Dragon's Cowl, has ever seen the jars, he can point the PCs in the right direction. There are three sites in the desert that he and his company will not use as meeting grounds because they are infested with lesser undead. He can lead the characters to the sites if they wish.
The PCs should only have enough time left to investigate one of the ruins. Unless they split up into three groups, they will only have a one-in-three chance of picking the correct ruin and finding the jars. The undead guarding the ruins should present a challenge for the PCs, but should not be overwhelming.
It is important to remember that the PCs only have, at most, two days to complete their mission. The DM should not neglect to remind them of this during the adventure. When their two days are up, the PCs are pulled back through the portal to the village. What they find there greatly depends on what they left. If they defeated Kentep, they will return to find an eager Myrrith waiting to hear their tales. If Kentep was not defeated before they entered the portal, then they may have to deal with him when they return. If the latter is the case, then the characters should still be given a chance to rescue Myrrith from the crazed mage, especially if you plan to play the third and final module in this series.
There are several possibilities at the end of this adventure. If the characters failed to stop the Pharaoh, he will continue to plague them with his wicked spells, possibly succeeding in mummifying one or more of the characters. If the characters defeated the Pharaoh at the palace, but failed to destroy his magic jars, then they will have a slight reprieve. The Pharaoh will not be able to cast Set's Will from his magic jars, and so will have to wait 50 to 60 days before he is able to take another mummy body and continue his attacks. Even if the party manages to defeat the Pharaoh in both his body and out in the desert, they will still have the ankh to deal with. It is only a matter of time before another Pharaoh Mummy finds the gate and utilizes it.
In the latter two cases, the PCs should have about two to three months worth of game time to figure out a way to dispose of the ankh. This is the focus of the final module in this series. The characters should also tell Myrrith everything they found out about Memphenon's cult of the Dragon's Cowl. This will prove her theory that the third group from the Lost Nation were worshippers of dragons.
The adventure can end at this point, or the party can play the final module in this series, "Rivals of the Sun God" [in an upcoming issue of Tome of Mystara -Editor].
Copyright 1999, John Calvin. All rights reserved. Used by permission.