Friday, August 13, 2010

Lies Your Mummy Told You

Far to the west of the City, within the great Stoney Mountains, there are remote places where ancient ruins dot the hardpan, high-desert landscape. From these ruins sometimes come unusual artifacts, none more so than the so-called dwarf  mummies.

Dwarf (sometimes pygmy) mummies look just as their name suggests: they are wizened figures little more than a foot tall, in their usual seated pose. Despite having none of the usual signs of life, the mummies are endowed with the magical semblance of life at least, and though they don’t move (usually) they are aware, and interact with their environment.

The susurration of the mummies can be heard by all, if conditions are quiet enough, but only the one “owner” of the mummy will be able to understand their dessicated whispering, which will sound as if spoken directly into their ear, even if they are as much as ten feet away.

The mummies' utterances will fall (either randomly or at the GM’s whim) into the following categories:

01-02: Pained, non sequitur reminiscences, possibly related to their long ago lives. These are related to times far too remote for modern hearers to relate to them in any useful way.
03-04: Cryptic foretellings of the future (anywhere from 1 week to 10 years hence) which will relate to the “owner.”
05-06: An exact and surprising statement about some predicament currently vexing the “owner.” The mummy will not elaborate.
07-08: A cryptic statement which seems to be about some predicament vexing the “owner,” but is in fact just nonsense.
09-10: Veiled Suggestions that someone the “owner” is close to is in fact conspiring against them. This may or may not be true, but the mummy will have details that make it seem so. Details will only be delivered in a way that makes the mummy seem reluctant to talk about the issue.

The longer a person owns a mummy, the more uncritical they will become about its statements. After a week or more in their possession, the owner will react to the mummy as if it has a Charisma of 18. After a month, a failed save will mean the owner acts as if charmed by the mummy in regard to believing everything it says, and treating it as if it is a trusted confidant.

No one knows who the dwarf mummies are, nor their purposes.  Any answers the mummies' give in this regard will certainly be lies.

8 comments:

Risus Monkey said...

That is creepy and awesome.

Dungeonmum said...

Certainly is . . . think I might steal.

'Wow I've got this really cool talking dead guy! No really, it knows EVERYTHING'

ze bulette said...

I really like this too - I have this image of a character talking to the mummy on his back while desperately seraching for water. Creepy and kind of funny too.

Lagomorph Rex said...

You have put some absolutely amazing depth into your campaign setting.. I marvel at it every time you post something else.. just one more thing.. one more sprinkle on top of the sundae.

Cole said...

@ Bullette

Ever read Peer Gynt?

Trey said...

Thanks guys. Glad you liked it. It use it in a game, I'd love to hear who it goes.

I haven't sprang it on my players as yet, but there use to me springing weird things on them, so their kind of jaded.

@Lagomorph - Thanks. I don't know how much depth I've got into it yet, given what I see at places like Land of Nod (just to name one), but I will say that I try very hard to focus making sure things support the thematic elements of the setting, and try to come as stuff from a new way. I want there to be a lot of sprinkles. :)

satyre said...

Yoinked for great justice! Very like the Cumaean Sibyl mentioned in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland. :)

Reading it (and ze Bulette comment) I got the idea of a doomed swordsman type with one on his back - sort of a Lone Wolf meets Norman Bates.

Creepy and kooky. Awesome.

Trey said...

"Lone Nut & Mummy", eh? ;)

Maybe a tricked-out babycart would be in order here, too.

Thanks for the comments, satyre.