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Heart of Stone

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Designer Liz Spain continues her sun-scorched preview of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Mummy's Mask set, here bathing in the mystery of Adventure Deck 5: The Slave Trenches of Hakotep. To the dunes!

Tef-Naju stirred within the walls of his great marble prison. It was day, not that it mattered in this subterranean place, but he could feel the element of fire heating the sands above. He did not sleep, not in the way that human men had described the pastime as such. But his mind had been wandering, dreamlike, through eon-old memories of the plane of earth and other shaitan he had once known. He reached out to rouse Aiveria, but the stone maiden was not beside him. She was practicing the motions of her kata. Over a thousand years it had become a dance of strength and deadly grace that had once made him weep to see. So, he waited and listened.

Movement sixteen—the swoosh of her sword cutting the air, then the soft tinkling of the coins that dangled from her hem as she placed her foot for the swift, jaw-smashing kick. She had come to his bastion to save the once-legendary shaitan from his eternal servitude and, finding the task impossible, chose to stay. In many ways, she had saved him. He had found peace and companionship with her. Their routine had become timeless, and the anger he once felt toward his captor had chipped away to a tiny flint in his heart.

Yes, you can lose to Tef-Naju and still be rewarded with his trove. Keep that in mind.

Above, the sands skittered with the rhythmic marching of feet. Not animals. These moved with the cadence of creatures of hurried purpose. Not shaitan or oread, either. The footsteps were too light, too fast. Humans, then. His suspicions were confirmed as the Elemental Trenches above crackled to life. Suddenly, the vast tunnels below the trenches hummed anew—arteries carrying vast elemental power, technology of the lost Shory people built to be turned against them. Built by a pharaoh who thought himself a god. A pharaoh who enslaved countless elementals and guarded his works with their corpses. The genie had thought the pharaoh would die like other men. This way, Tef-Naju assumed the contract would wither. And yet, still he had to protect this place. A genie could no more break a contract than a cricket could pull down the sun.

And so Tef-Naju whispered through the sandstone floor to awaken the hanshepsu nearest the entrance. Aiveria had taken it upon herself to repaint the guardian constructs a century or two ago. The iridescent black-beetle wings of their heads glimmered with a realism that would surely please Khepri, the craftsman god they honored. Moreover, the hanshepsu were tough. With a little luck, the uninvited guests would be stopped and he could join Aiveria on the balcony for conversation and sculpting, as they so often spent their pleasant days.

The Trenches can empty your hand and make you happy about it.

But alas, the shaitan groaned as he felt a sand elemental, not one of his own, envelop the hanshepsu, immobilizing it.

The smaller of the interlopers set a chest upon the ground and drew a weapon—an artifact of an ancient war between gods and elementals. The large stone rod animated and, unhinging its massive jaw, swallowed the hanshepsu whole. The stone maiden who had worked so lovingly to paint it would be unhappy. He would have to tell her later.

The largest of the guests, an orc-blooded that wore the crest of the tax-collector god walked through the massive doors to the tunnels and gathered power around himself. Locks and traps would not stop a Gatekeeper, the shaitan thought, his slate forehead cracking as it furrowed. He would have to slip by Aiveria to take care of them himself. Surrounded by tombs of his master's many other victims, Tef-Naju had lost the taste for death. And surely his lovely consort would rage upon discovering a favorite sculpture lost.

Pro tip: Nothing says you can't have multiple cards on the Chest, or that you ever need to draw them.

The spell coalesced around the half-orc cleric, its power released to quickly race through the tunnels. But it was a clumsy spell, the vision cracking a delicate seal upon one of the nastier curses stored amongst canopic jars. The cleric clutched his eyes, screamed, and sank his teeth into his armor, attempting to tear pieces away as his teeth chipped then broke.

The smaller guest fumbled with her mighty rod, startled as Tef-Naju rose from the floor.

"You are not welcome in the machines of Hakotep. I am sworn to protect this place until such time that Hakotep's wish is fulfilled," boomed the genie, crossing his arms in an intimidating gesture.

Be very, very careful with that spell.

"And what if we kill the Forgotten Pharaoh? What then?" The staff-wielder was clever, it seemed.

"Then I would be free," Tef-Naju replied. The word felt hard on his tongue. "But I am obliged to thwart you. I cannot let you pass."

She set her jaw as they willed power around themselves. Another magus, the genie thought. He had crushed a thousand elemental magi in his training a hundred lifetimes ago. He would have to be careful. Flesh was so weak compared to stone. He dodged and struck, the hard lines of the contract stopping him from pulling back too much. Nevertheless, she persisted. The law was satisfied and he could relent.

"I have no tea or water," he said, helping her panting form up from the painted stone floor. "But I can show you a lovely view of the sand waterfall and I'm sure my companion would be pleased to have someone else to discuss her sculptures. Come to my trove. I have a gift for you, such that your soft flesh might not tear when you stand before the pharaoh Hakotep."

Four is not a small number of boons. But it's worth it.

Bewildered at the sudden turn of hospitality, Ahmotep stood as best she could and braced herself for an afternoon of congenial company.

Liz Spain
Adventure Card Game Designer

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

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Vision is a fantastic spell. It reminds me of the mythic archmage. But no one ever wanted me to spend five mythic tokens for that either. Sigh...


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

If Drelm cast Vision, shouldn't Tef-Naju have escaped as if undefeated? ;)

Another fine piece of writing. Good to know not all villains are bent on defeating adventurers.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.

That Chest of keeping is fantastic for fighter types who can get their hand clogged with weapons...you want to ditch the weapons so you can cycle, but you don't want to end up weaponless if something forces a discard. Now you can store those extra on the chest and retrieve them if needed.

Lone Shark Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I definitely liked it on Drelm.

I think it works best for spare weapons, armor, a Cure spell, and a Remove Curse spell. I'm pretty pro-deck thinning to just the awesome stuff (why, yes, I do like drawing blessings every turn, don't mind if I do!), though :)

Silver Crusade

Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Vision is a fantastic spell. It reminds me of the mythic archmage. But no one ever wanted me to spend five mythic tokens for that either. Sigh...

We let you do it once, as I recall.

Based on Tef-Naju's role in the RPG, I was actually really surprised that he was only a combat check to defeat and not a Charisma/Diplomacy as well. Odds are pretty good that unless your party is a bunch of murder hobos, they'll ally with him. (My party is almost there, but first they have to get over the symbol of insanity they all failed...)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Is it me or Trove of Tef-Naju is worthless?
In our 5 players group, in AD 5, we only rarely have 2 AD3 cards of the same type that we can spare to buy an AD4 one we want.
We very very rarely have have 2 AD4 cards of the same type that we can spare to buy an AD5 one we want.

Having 3 of those never happened.

So 4 of those? Actually it's already rare to have 4 cards on the same type in your deck (not everybody is called Mavaro), but we never manage to have 4 AD4 cards on a single type (there may not even be enough in the game for 4 people).
And someone had 4 AD cards, he wouldn't destroy that game for a single AD5 card.

So I must be missing something. Or are traders only for solo play or OP? If that is the case, I find it disappointing.

Or should the traders work differently for large groups?

Lone Shark Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Frencois, it is not intended that you need 2 (or 3 or 4) cards of the same type (ex: armor).

That is to say, you should be able to trade an item, armor, blessing, and/or weapon for that spell you really want. The cost is "boons" not boons of a particular type.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

OOOps I guess we misread the "To trade with the trader, the character must pay the trade cost by putting the appropriate number and type of cards from her cards into the box; these cards must have an adventure deck number no less than 1 less than the desired card's adventure deck number."

Still, 4 AD4 cards is more than I have in my deck at any time.

Lone Shark Games

Trove of Tef-Naju works particularly well for large groups. Only one character need choose it to see all its "wares" and a large group has a much easier time of pooling extra boons to turn in. Like Keith said, you can mix-and-match boons of different types as much as you like to meet the Traders' prices.

Frencois wrote:

Is it me or Trove of Tef-Naju is worthless?

In our 5 players group, in AD 5, we only rarely have 2 AD3 cards of the same type that we can spare to buy an AD4 one we want.
We very very rarely have have 2 AD4 cards of the same type that we can spare to buy an AD5 one we want.

Having 3 of those never happened.

So 4 of those? Actually it's already rare to have 4 cards on the same type in your deck (not everybody is called Mavaro), but we never manage to have 4 AD4 cards on a single type (there may not even be enough in the game for 4 people).
And someone had 4 AD cards, he wouldn't destroy that game for a single AD5 card.

So I must be missing something. Or are traders only for solo play or OP? If that is the case, I find it disappointing.

Or should the traders work differently for large groups?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Thanks A LOT Liz and Keith. Always impressed how fast you answer our concerns.
OK we definitively need to work on our English.

Lone Shark Games

Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Based on Tef-Naju's role in the RPG, I was actually really surprised that he was only a combat check to defeat and not a Charisma/Diplomacy as well. Odds are pretty good that unless your party is a bunch of murder hobos, they'll ally with him. (My party is almost there, but first they have to get over the symbol of insanity they all failed...)

We think he should have to do his job as literally specified in his mandate from the pharaoh. And then, y'know, whatever happens, happens.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I'm surprised people aren't talking about the Aegis of Recovery! That's some amazing drip healing!

Seriously, I'm a fan of drip healing, and Mummy's Mask has been very good to me.

Silver Crusade

Iammars wrote:

I'm surprised people aren't talking about the Aegis of Recovery! That's some amazing drip healing!

Seriously, I'm a fan of drip healing, and Mummy's Mask has been very good to me.

Hyenadon is SO GOOD.

Lone Shark Games

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Aegis of Recovery is quite possibly the best solo-game card we've ever created.

Lone Shark Games

Malcolm_Reynolds wrote:
If Drelm cast Vision, shouldn't Tef-Naju have escaped as if undefeated? ;)

I'm pretty sure Drelm examined the wrong location deck.


Playing mostly large group Guild play puts a different spin on card value. An Ally with Fortitude is a waste of an explore for our group, but the Item with two stats plus Knowledge and Craft is OK. The Weapon and Spell are pretty standard. An Armor with Divine is interesting...but it's an Armor. The Trader is completely worthless at 4 boons. (So far Sunburst Market has been the only Trader that we actually use.)


Parody wrote:
So far Sunburst Market has been the only Trader that we actually use.

This was true for us until we got the adventure 3 reward which reduced the cost of your favorite trader.


elcoderdude wrote:
This was true for us until we got the adventure 3 reward which reduced the cost of your favorite trader.

That'll be nice when we get there. (We just finished Adventure 1.)

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

elcoderdude wrote:
Parody wrote:
So far Sunburst Market has been the only Trader that we actually use.
reward:
This was true for us until we got the adventure 3 reward which reduced the cost of your favorite trader.

Probably should have spoiler-ed that for people who aren't huge fans of knowing the rewards ahead of time.


cartmanbeck wrote:
elcoderdude wrote:
Parody wrote:
So far Sunburst Market has been the only Trader that we actually use.
** spoiler omitted **
Probably should have spoiler-ed that for people who aren't huge fans of knowing the rewards ahead of time.

Yes -- mea culpa. You're right. (So where were you at 6:15 AM when I could have fixed this?)


My Feiya player wants the spell trader but the rest of us don't don't really care about anything other than Sunburst (and usually only care about Remove Curse or Cure)

Although I have to remember to enforce the >AD-1 rule on the cards too, which will probably sour people on the concept of trading in Guild play


We see Sunburst used mostly to get Blessings. Remove Curse hasn't been an issue because...

PACG SoPT:
...the only Scenario where it got used was the one where everyone starts with a Curse. Otherwise we just haven't been getting Scourged.

Interest in Traders was high before starting SoPT but died almost completely when we found out you don't keep Trader boons for deck upgrades. Off the top of my head, though, I'm not sure there's much better you can do with Traders in that format. (There's a very fine line between meh and easy to abuse. :(

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