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Such a Deal—A Tour of Traders in Mummy's Mask

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In the spirit of the holidays, it's time to go shopping! Designer Paul Peterson can be found hawking his wares below, describing the trader mechanic in Mummy's Mask. You ain't never had a friend like Paul.

Ah, gentle travelers. To what noble purpose may an unworthy guide such as myself be put for you on a morning so clearly blessed by Ra himself?

Shopping, you say? Perhaps the blessing of generous Wadjet would be more appropriate for those seeking new objects of wonder and delight. There are many fine traders in and around the most wonderful city of Wati, noble souls. Gaze upon our most voluminous bazaar!


Your access to more exclusive shops comes as your reputation grows. Just like life.

But now that I look more closely at you, I perceive that you must be adventurers, here to participate in the lottery! It is most fortuitous that we have met today, for I may be able to guide your way with what meager wisdom I possess.

It is said that every party that comes back from a successful journey in this world may exchange the prizes they discover for those that a trader can provide. If you have lost your way on this road, there will be no trading in your future. And as with all things, there are rules that must be obeyed.

Before any of you begin trading, you must settle the record of your accomplishments. If your adventuring has given you rewards, gather those together with all the rest of your possessions before you arrive. Then you are ready to bargain!

And there is so little time and so much to see in the markets! The haggling alone all but ensures that each of you will only be able to visit one stall when you come.

Also, many of the places you may visit will not wish to deal with money. There are unfortunate taxes to any monetary transactions that can be... avoided, if participants simply exchange objects. So after you have chosen the undeserving merchant you wish to bargain with, trade amongst yourselves to ensure that each person has what they want to give away for clearly more magnificent treasures. However, these are not charity booths. The merchants are masters at bargaining and will be willing to trade only objects of roughly comparable quality. But cheating adventurers can shorten a trader's lifespan, so you can be fairly sure that you are getting value for your trades as well.


Equal value? Close enough.

We could begin in the Sunburst Market. The selection there is unparalleled, and you will have your pick of anything you desire... so long as what you desire is a common gewgaw. However, the merchants there are so simple that they will take almost anything you have about your person in trade.


For all your Basic needs.

Oh, peerless explorers, how could I have believed that such trash would satisfy the appetites of such as you?! Let us speak of it no more. The treasures you surely seek are more likely found with more specialized shopkeepers. Each tends to carry a very specific type of good, so if you find the right one, you are much more likely find your needs fulfilled.

It is a funny thing about these merchants, though: If you approach them by yourself, then no matter how many objects you see displayed, you will only find exactly two that are of any interest to you whatsoever. However, if you bring others with you, the seller will miraculously find another object for each of them. Then you will all be free to decide amongst yourselves which object each of you will take, with the leftovers being consigned to the dusty part of the tent forever. If you have trouble doing so, I'm sure a quick dice throw could sort out who gets to choose first.


Open 24 hours a day.

As I said, each trader has their own specialty. The Smiths of Wati hammer away at their forges, crafting the weapons all the lottery winners need. But Falsin Deek over here does not like to deal in objects of war such as weapons, armors, and spells. He instead carries a fine selection of more utilitarian fare: potions and books, rings and amulets—these can all be found within his walls.

But if unlocking the mysteries of the arcane or divine is more to your liking, just next door you will find Hadden Hoppert, perhaps the finest scribe in all of Osirion. He is only too happy to share his secrets for just a couple of similarly powerful boons.

While these three are happy to meet with any and all adventurers, other traders are more selective. They often only contact you after you have done some great service to their shining selves or to the city as a whole.


Be careful or you may rot in the belly of a sand kraken for 1000 years.

If I may also offer more humble knowledge, do not think that such simple shopkeeps as you see here are all that you will find in glorious Osirion. Many more exotic traders may be willing to barter what they have for what they want if you are brave enough to seek them out. But beware that the more specialized the goods, the dearer the cost.

For example, you might find some troublingly large footprints over by that glassblower's shop. I expect that you'll be able to trade a few glittery curios for the weapons of the fools who decided to follow them.


What happened to "never make a deal with a dragon?"

I pray to Wadjet the most divine that my paltry knowledge is of some minor benefit to your glorious selves. It is always an honor to help those who are so clearly the chosen of the gods. Perhaps you shall even choose to reward my efforts, if they please you, but we can deal with such matters later.

For now the question is... What do you seek?

Paul Peterson
Adventure Card Game Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Mummy's Mask Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Scarab Sages

Marvelously written!
Not only is it interesting to see the Traders of the Adventure Card Game, but, also it's interesting to see them all, for the names of the NPCs and their interests and what particular items they trade in, for use in the actual Mummy's Mask AP!

I just started a new Mummy's Mask campaign, and I undoubtedly plan on using these NPCs when the players inevitably go into Wati after exploring the Tomb of Akhentepi, to sell their goods!

Thanks so much for a great article!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Wait, Paul Peterson writing a PACG blog about getting stuff, not smashing stuff? My mind is a little blown.

Traders are such an awesome part of Mummy's Mask that it makes me very sad that they're probably the set's signature gimmick that we might not see again. Every set needs these!

Lone Shark Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Calthaer wrote:
Wait, Paul Peterson writing a PACG blog about getting stuff, not smashing stuff? My mind is a little blown.

James and I released an expansion to Lords of Vegas called Up, and we had to tell Paul not to smash it.

Lone Shark Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As a side note, the flavortext on the traders was some of the most fun to write in the history of the game.

Huh. Maybe an article about how Liz and I wrote the flavortext for this set should be written some point.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I accidently pronounce Shardizhad Charizard all the time...


I just checked the rules carefully (pages 18 and 19) and I still don't understand traders quite clearly. From what I found in the rules, the sequence should be as below:

- win a scenario
- gain rewards
- select traders
- draw cards for the selected traders
- trade boons between characters
- trade with traders
- displayed boons might be banished
- rebuild your deck

This order seems strange to me because as it is written, you gain access to your discarded or buried cards (and your deck!) only when you rebuild your deck, which is supposed to be done after visiting traders. But surely it doesn't mean that characters can use only the cards in their hands (at the end of a scenario) when they trade with traders? Or does it?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Mike Selinker wrote:

As a side note, the flavortext on the traders was some of the most fun to write in the history of the game.

Huh. Maybe an article about how Liz and I wrote the flavortext for this set should be written some point.

Hey, don't let *us* stop you.

If it's of any relevance - on our table those texts were also the most well-received and a delight to read (usually in an over-acted manner and exotic pseudo-accent). Keep them coming (yes, I don't mean in MM alone :)

PS: The completely random manner of gaining Shardizad and his consequent missability are totally not cool, though.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Longshot11 wrote:
PS: The completely random manner of gaining Shardizad and his consequent missability are totally not cool, though.

I'm sure that you have noticed that Mummy's Mask encourages accuracy in your checks, sometimes by penalizing you for inaccuracy, but also by rewarding you for accuracy. (Giving you a trader is a reward. Not giving you a trader is not a penalty.)

But in addition to challenging you to be more accurate, the game also gives you tools to increase your accuracy. By this point in the game (near the end of Adventure 2), if at least one character isn't able to manipulate a die roll to a desired result at some point during the entire scenario, I can only assume that your party is trying very hard to avoid the paths the game is taking you on. (Put another way, if your party isn't packing a couple of Blessings of Maat by this point, you're doing something weird. And the scenario is telling you right up front that there's something you may want to save them for.)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
PS: The completely random manner of gaining Shardizad and his consequent missability are totally not cool, though.

I'm sure that you have noticed that Mummy's Mask encourages accuracy in your checks, sometimes by penalizing you for inaccuracy, but also by rewarding you for accuracy. (Giving you a trader is a reward. Not giving you a trader is not a penalty.)

But in addition to challenging you to be more accurate, the game also gives you tools to increase your accuracy. By this point in the game (near the end of Adventure 2), if at least one character isn't able to manipulate a die roll to a desired result at some point during the entire scenario, I can only assume that your party is trying very hard to avoid the paths the game is taking you on. (Put another way, if your party isn't packing a couple of Blessings of Maat by this point, you're doing something weird. And the scenario is telling you right up front that there's something you may want to save them for.)

Oh, I *get* the idea, the accuracy theme and all that. - and I know I have to double-down on that, just as we had to double down on scouting and location deck manipulation if we wanted to ever beat RotR 6-5.

However, outside of Blessing of Maat (which is now my favorite blessing and is never leaving my deck; seriously, I don't know how you guys are going to top *that*), the only other powers that let you alter accuracy are (to my memory) Effigy of Maat item, Cleric of Nethys, Marianix, and Threefingers allies (and Amhotep's character power, but we can't bet on that). So first you need to *luck* into one of those NINE cards (counting the blessings) - which I'd hardly call 'going out of my way to avoid where the game is taking me'- and then, if you don't have one of the 6 Maat cards, you have to hit one of exactly *two* numbers (with the exception of the Effigy, all other powers let you add/subtract a set number, not a choice within a diapason), no matter how many dice you roll!, to get Shardizad. So even with the 'tools' the game gives me, I'm basically hoping on blind luck (yes, I realize the irony that the whole game can be described as such, if one chooses to be argumentative about it).

(Also, if I must be fair, I should mention all the cards that give you re-rolls, but this is no much different than the "add X/subtract Y" scenario - you're still hoping on 2 numbers, only it's the same number on two different roll)

Shardizad really feels like it's been set for "Blessing of Maat or bust", and if I somehow manage to get him any other way - it feels like I was *rewarded* for playing a roulette, rather than for any meaningful strategy. If he had at least a somewhat broader accuracy target ("if you acquire a boon by no more than 3") - then we could play the odds, or if we had "after you acquire a boon, succeed at Charisma 40 to gain Shardizad" - we could use planning and resource management to make it at least a quasi-sure thing.

At any rate, that's my opinion and I'm not trying to impose it; I preference to think of PACG as a tactical game, not as gambling, and I just think Shardizad went a bit too much on the 'gambling' side. Also, I've had the chance to observe that parties that have the *right* character/cards composition for any given scenario tend to see that scenario as OK or even 'easy' (while those who don't can struggle immensely with it) - so I don't suppose any party with a Blessing of Maat will even register this issue anyway.

Lone Shark Games

One of the keys to getting Shardizhad is to be willing to manipulate your odds when attempting acquire checks. In several tests, I've managed to do it with many turns to spare, by things like rolling 1d4 to acquire BotA (25% chance) or opting for a skill you don't have (plus blessing) when trying to acquire something with a CtA of 4-6.

In that particular scenario, you can also choose when to end it, and continue to explore locations even after finding their compasses to find more boons.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Keith Richmond wrote:
opting for a skill you don't have (plus blessing) when trying to acquire something with a CtA of 4-6.

Hah, we were exactly trying to play the odds with two-dice checks and their averages, but we didn't think about using non-trained skills. Thanks for the tip!

Keith Richmond wrote:
In that particular scenario, you can also choose when to end it, and continue to explore locations even after finding their compasses to find more boons.

We actually wondered about that but it turned up not to matter. Still, thanks for the clarification, I'm kinda wondering how there hasn't been a thread about it yet ( idk, it may be that I am missing something, but the text:

"To win the scenario, 3 Elegaic Compasses must be displayed next to the scenario."

..doesn't seem all that unambiguous that ending is optional when the 3rd Compass is displayed. For the record, the majority read it that ending is mandatory, as we kinda expected a "you MAY win the scenario" there if was otherwise.

PS: Keith, could you also share what's the 'lore' behind Shardizad's mechanic? We all wandered what the 'bullseye' check is supposed to represent in RPG terms (if it does at all)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Longshot11 wrote:
I don't suppose any party with a Blessing of Maat will even register this issue anyway.

Not only is this the fifth scenario in which you might acquire one of the five Blessings of Maat in the game, but it even seeds additional blessings into some of the locations.

Lone Shark Games

Longshot11 wrote:
..doesn't seem all that unambiguous that ending is optional when the 3rd Compass is displayed. For the record, the majority read it that ending is mandatory, as we kinda expected a "you MAY win the scenario" there if was otherwise.

For clarity, I'm not saying "display all 3 compasses next to the scenario, then keep playing" but "choose not to display a 3rd compass - by _failing to defeat 1_ - until you get Shardizhad". They're super easy to intentionally fail, which displays it next to the location, at which point you _may_ encounter it.

Quote:
PS: Keith, could you also share what's the 'lore' behind Shardizad's mechanic? We all wandered what the 'bullseye' check is supposed to represent in RPG terms (if it does at all)

In the RPG, it is very difficult to convince Shardizhad to treat with you at all due to her prickly nature, but very careful negotiation, avoiding any pitfalls, and tumbling onto her love of gems can turn her into a shopkeeper.

The mechanic helps represent the thorny and capricious negotiation required to pull it off ;)


Vic Wertz wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
I don't suppose any party with a Blessing of Maat will even register this issue anyway.
Not only is this the fifth scenario in which you might acquire one of the five Blessings of Maat in the game, but it even seeds additional blessings into some of the locations.

Well.. this isn't really a complaint about Maat or Shardizhad (we picked him up but I wouldn't have really minded missing him, the regular traders already have let us see pretty much all of the new cards that they can trade, so we haven't found him necessary to use) - but I would like to point out that my Drelm has only been able to pick up 2 Abadars (and the second one was in the very last scenario of AP2) out of all the missions through AP2. (And that's with all 6 members of our group trying to get them for him when they appear)

In my experience there are usually a couple of boons that slip through each new deck and you never see them (particularly if there isn't a trader for them like with blessings) until later and then you have a "how have I not seen this card yet" moment when they pop up during the next adventure.

So saying it's the fifth scenario where you might acquire one does mean there's a decent chance that you've been able to do so, but it's hardly guaranteed. And it's likely that there's one, maybe two floating around amongst all the character decks. Not exactly always available to adjust the perfect check to make that exact roll.

Once again, I didn't find Shardizhad hard to acquire but I also don't think that automatically assuming there's going to be a Maat to make that happen is correct either. It just seems pretty luck based to me as well, which doesn't really bother me because I wasn't that concerned about acquiring him.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Keith Richmond wrote:
In the RPG, it is very difficult to convince Shardizhad to treat with you at all due to her prickly nature....

As always, expect table variation:

An RPG table in the not-too-distant past wrote:

DM: There's a dragon that looks like it's made of crystal. It asks you what you want.

Diplomancer: I suck up to the dragon. ::clatter:: Aid, aid, fail, aid...33.

DM: The dragon offers to trade boring non-shiny items for shiny gems to add to its collection.

And so the party traded for the compass bits, left, and never talked to the (unnamed) dragon again.

Going back to the card game, I think the mechanic for getting Shardizhad would be better if it had something to do with gems or Diplomacy. It seems rather minor in the long run, though, so whatever.

Lone Shark Games

Oh, I'm pretty sure we'd get a lot more complaints if you had to make a Diplo 20 check at the end of the scenario to gain Shardizhad :)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Keith Richmond wrote:
Oh, I'm pretty sure we'd get a lot more complaints if you had to make a Diplo 20 check at the end of the scenario to gain Shardizhad :)

Hey, that's why I said CHARISMA 20 (even though I realize Diplomacy would make more sense) :)

At any rate, it's funny how a little context can change perception - now the whole party is like "Huh, so we talked down a twitchy dragon? Man, that's cool!". We really *love* little 'side quests' like that in PACG, only Shardizad seemed a bit too arbitrarily random - at least until we *knew* why it is that way.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

There are enough boons and powers to allow you to tweak a "close" roll to make it an EXACT roll that this shouldn't be a problem...

...if you remember to do so. (*sigh*)

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