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Down in the Darkest Stacks: A Librarian's Tale

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Designer Liz Spain continues her breathless romance-novel previews of Mummy's Mask, here showing off the bounties in Adventure Deck 3: Shifting Sands.

Stepping through the heavy marble doors, Alahazra felt the jeers and laughter of the crowd ringing in her ears. Next to her, the surly elf breathed heavily with exertion. The air wafting past him took on the heavy salt note of sweat below the sharp metallic tang of the potions he carried. The camel race had been more difficult and dangerous than expected and, worst of all, had been deeply embarrassing. But empires are built on the vulgarities of those in power. Muminofrah, who had the ear of the Ruby Prince himself, was exceptionally petty. Still, camel spit and grimacing flattery were the price for their prize: a piece of serpentine—a stamp carved with a name better than any key. Well, when it came to dealing with Osirion bureaucrats, anyway.


Shh!

Dark and quiet, the twisting chambers of the Great Library of Tephu echoed with the footsteps of curators and the hush of papyrus turned by diligent students. Alahazra remembered the sound from a sunny afternoon long ago—before the gods struck her eyes—spent with her tutor learning ancient script. Sometimes she missed reading. This vast repository was only the public face of the library, the oracle knew. Below the stacks that held dull histories, philosophies, and trade records lay a trove of terrible secrets. More than a thousand years of renovation had pushed these chambers deep underground, where the human librarians dared not tread.

Footsteps approached. They held the certainty of a library curator. "We have the permission of Muminofrah herself to enter the Vault of Hidden Wisdom," Alahazra said as she held up the stamp of favor, her low, soft voice husky with dust from the chariot race. The curator coughed, "You need Governor An-Keret for that. No one enters those chambers without her approval."

"Couldn't you show us the way?" Alahazra purred, reaching out to stroke the cheek of the nervous librarian. The curator's skin was soft, unweathered, and suddenly warm as she blushed. "Follow me," she whispered. Past several creaking doors and down an uncountable number of marble stairs, the curator's feet stopped. "The Head Librarian went back here. We will have to wait."

The Symbol of Fear inscribed upon the door hummed with arcane malfeasance. Damiel set his bag on the ground with a clatter. "I have something for this," he mumbled, more to himself than anyone. "So do I," Alahazra replied, stretching sensuously as her limbs lengthened into cloudlike tendrils. A heartbeat later, the door clicked open as if unlocked from behind.


We said you had to be quiet, not intangible.

The lack of light in the deeper rooms of the library didn't bother Alahazra, but her companions stumbled and kicked loose rocks as they navigated through the labyrinthine shelving. The hard sound of claws on stone stopped her in her tracks. "Shhh," she snapped. But it was too late. The undead thing, home among the dark, and hungry for knowledge itself, had found them. Its massive leonine form wrapped in immaculate linen, Alahazra could hear the bones of the mummified sphinx creak as it approached.

The little librarian scampered to safety as the oracle and the alchemist prepared their attack. They would have to be careful: any destruction of the library would bring down its protectors upon their heads.


We used to say "Never trust a trader till you can look her in the eye," but this time we'll make an exception.

As the last bits of the necromantic abomination fizzled away in holy light, another set of footsteps approached from the furthest corner of the room, followed by the soft slither of scaly things. "You were not looking for my friend there, I take it." The medusa's voice was filled with gravel, and without mercy. "I can show you tomes. Secret things. For a price." Her forked tongue glided over her teeth.

Behind Alahazra, the little curator clutched her robes and squeaked, "She's real." The elf stood back; diplomacy was not his forte. The burns from the last time he attempted to impress someone were yet healing.

"Deka An-Keret—we need to see her," Alahazra boomed with authority.

"Come," the medusa hissed, leading them even deeper into secrets so dark the parchment had never seen the light of day.

Liz Spain
Adventure Card Game Designer

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Really digging the Library Curator for Ezren.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

The penalty on the Library Curator is pretty scary, but I suppose since it can be used on both combat and noncombat checks the power is very strong.

I wonder if there will be nay encounters in Quiet Please where you must make noise - combat check requirement of 20 or higher.

The Symbol of Fear makes me concerned for later decks - in the RPG there are something like a dozen different symbol spells, with some nasty ones like insanity and death.

It's super nasty for characters that recharge/expend cards during other player's turns.


Ooh, I like that there's a trigger card that is more beneficial to examine than just plain encounter. :D


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The chariot race scenario is probably my favorite scenario so far. Really fun change of pace.

Lone Shark Games

We love our Camel Race. Also, I heartily endorse the word "cameltrops" for inclusion in the new OED.

Lone Shark Games

ryric wrote:
The Symbol of Fear makes me concerned for later decks - in the RPG there are something like a dozen different symbol spells, with some nasty ones like insanity and death.

We did Symbol of Insanity in Skull & Shackles adventure 4.

There is another "Symbol of" card coming, but it's not a barrier.


Did anyone playtest all this "don't roll too high" mechanics throughout the adventure path for fun factor? That scenario previewed makes me scream seeing it. I haven't started MM yet (finishing Rise Wednesday, already have MM Ch1). I know Ch1 had some of it, I thought it was just there, but I see it's continuing, and gets even worse.

And the monsters are so close to that punishing 19.


emky wrote:

Did anyone playtest all this "don't roll too high" mechanics throughout the adventure path for fun factor? That scenario previewed makes me scream seeing it. I haven't started MM yet (finishing Rise Wednesday, already have MM Ch1). I know Ch1 had some of it, I thought it was just there, but I see it's continuing, and gets even worse.

And the monsters are so close to that punishing 19.

Note that there are a number of mechanisms to lower results in Mummy's Mask, after you roll, so don't think you're facing the "don't roll too high" challenge with just the resources you saw in previous sets.

And, also note, for example, the mechanic doesn't apply to the villain in the scenario, because she doesn't have a combat check.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

My girlfriend and I were both worried about the targeted roll effects when we started seeing them, especially after the painfully punishing cillain from S&S (I think it was Admiral Thrune?) However, we haven't had too many issues with it. The penalties haven't been overly punishing, and there's a lot of effects that can push your result back into the correct range. It's still far from my favorite mechanic, but as with most of Mummy's Mask, the level of polish makes it work and feel good.

Seriously, MM has continued to be exceptional so far. Kudos on the great work.

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