Between Sturm and Z’ael’s determination to explore the Necropolis and what all lies within, the odd assortment of allies managed to cobble together an effective crew for doing just that. Once you all agree on a name, it is time to register for the lottery that will provide the assignment you are awarded as to where you have permission to explore. Singing up under the title ‘Architects of Fate’, the priests of Pharasma scrawl the name on two matching tokens, they hand one to you, and the other is placed within an urn between them. They then ensure that you all hear and understand the three basic rules of the Necropolis exploration.
After explaining the rules, they finish with a word of warning, ”Failure to comply with these rules can result in, but is not limited to, expulsion from the necropolis, a ban on continued exploration, seizure of recovered valuables, and arrest and prosecution by local authorities.”
The Pharasmins wait until after all registrants have applied before they begin the ceremony of drawing lots. The lottery’s opening ceremony takes place in the Sunburst Market in the center of the living city of Wati, between the Grand Mausoleum and Abadar’s Sanctum of Silver and Gold. The bustling desert city of Wati is near bursting with excitement. Adventurers from every corner of the Inner Sea region have assembled here beneath the hot Osirian sun to explore the tombs of the city’s necropolis, waiting only to be assigned their first sites for exploration. Surrounding the participants, the public has gathered to observe the ceremony as well. There is a festival-like quality in the air, and numerous street vendors are hawking goods and refreshments to participants and spectators alike. Some merchants have even brought what can only be considered adventuring gear to sell as last minute convenience items to explorers, while others advertise that they’ll buy recovered treasures and antiquities from those who visit their establishments.
In front of the imposing edifice of the Grand Mausoleum, an immense awning has been erected between decorated pillars in the market to provide shade for the priests of Pharasma overseeing the lottery. Beneath the awning, two urns sit atop a table elevated a few feet above the ground on a wooden stage constructed for the event. The high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, sits behind the table, while two acolytes confer with her at either side.
Numerous adventuring groups stand in small clusters near the stage, made up of multiple nationalities and races. Most keep to themselves, but some teams engage in quiet conversation with other teams, mostly speculating about what they’ll likely face in the necropolis.
The ceremony begins when the high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum rises to her feet and looks over the crowd. Sebti seems surprisingly young to hold such a distinguished position, but she has a confident air of authority. After calling for silence, she begins with an invocation to the Lady of Graves, followed by a brief history of the founding of the necropolis. Sebti concludes by saying the following.
“Let the lottery begin! Although many of you have requested specific sites to explore, we must leave these matters to fate. The Lady of Graves is a far better judge of destiny than we of this mortal sphere. The gates of the necropolis will open at sunrise tomorrow. Use this evening to prepare yourselves for the task ahead. Let these rules guide you in your endeavors in this holy place: remember how this came to pass, every slave’s hut is a memorial, and honor the departed. May you go with the Lady’s blessing.”
After Sebti returns to her seat, the two acolytes accompanying her each draw a wooden token from one of the urns on the table. The first token identifies the adventuring group, matching the token that group received when it registered for the lottery. The second token determines which tomb is assigned to that group. A single representative of the chosen group is then summoned to the stage to present the token his group received at registration to one of the acolytes. Once the group’s identity has been confirmed, Sebti shows the representative the location of that group’s first exploration site on a map of the entire necropolis. She also gives the representative a smaller, sketched map that shows the site’s location in relation to the necropolis gates. Once a group has received its assignment, the process repeats with a new group.
The process seems to take forever, as every token drawn fails to result in your group being called. Eager ears listen intently, only to be let down when the name does not belong to your hodgepodge group. Finally, it comes, the call rings out so that it feels like the only sound in the raucous throng of adventurers, merchants, and citizens, ”Architects of Fate! The Tomb of Akhentepi!”
Now that your name has been called, a representative is expected to approach the stage to receive your assignment. Who will be the representative for the Architects of Fate?