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Pathfinder Adventure Path #81: Shifting Sands (Mummy’s Mask 3 of 6) (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #81: Shifting Sands (Mummy’s Mask 3 of 6) (PFRPG)
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Chapter 3: "Shifting Sands"
By Richard Pett

To learn more about the ancient Pharaoh Hakotep I and the secretive cult that wants to revive him, the heroes travel to the city of Tephu to explore the vast archives in its Great Library. This is no small task, as they must contend with those who wish such knowledge to remain forgotten. With the clues they discover, the heroes venture deep into Osirion’s uncharted deserts in search of the tomb of Hakotep’s master pyramid-builder. There they face not only dangerous denizens of the desert, but the cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh—cultists who will stop at nothing to ensure their god-king remains undisturbed.

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path and includes:

  • “Shifting Sands,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 7th-level characters, by Richard Pett.
  • A gazetteer of the city of Tephu, the City of the Reed People, by Richard Pett.
  • A study of the rituals of mummification, by Russ Taylor.
  • Ancient secrets and deadly kidnappers in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Amber E. Scott.
  • Five new monsters, by Benjamin Bruck, Adam Daigle, Thurston Hillman, Michael McCarthy, and Patrick Renie.

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world’s oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-590-7

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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Product Reviews (6)
1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 6 ratings)

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Osirian Gold


This is an interesting and well-written adventure. Even though there is a linearity to the plot, it allows for a lot of player decision and choice. In fact, one of the sections is a kingmaker-style hex exploration. Original, small dungeons with cool enemies, and a huge potential for role-playing make this one a winner. In my opinion, one of the best works from Richard Pett.

This is to me the quintessential RPG adventure: light dungeons with interesting combats, lots of role-playing, investigations and plenty of decision-making and choices. You can't ask any more than this. Outstanding, Richard.

Overall, a fun adventure with lots of player choices in an interesting locale. The only negative I can see is the same as kingmaker. The exploration part can be tedious for some groups that need to be led a bit more clearly. In this case, there is a clear objective - To find the tomb - so this is less of an issue but it could be a tad repetitive.

My rating: 5 stars. I loved the setting, the role-playing, the story and the possibilities that this adventure has to offer. Good job.

Read my whole review here

****( )

Not unlike THDC, this game has some connection problems. The first part, when we were set in the city of Tephu had a distinctly different feel from the other parts. We constantly had to go in and out of various libraries, while constantly keeping track of which of our opponents (and allies) did what; as players, we had to balance between making the game too hard and too simple; but anyways...
The other two parts had a distinctly different feeling to them - they were more like the more ordinary varieties of RPG. We had to go through the Parching Sands to find the tracks of the cultists, and if you don't mind that this section covered a really big section of the desert and we constantly tried to go in different directions, it was good.
The same can be said about the last part. Sadly, it felt more connected to the part 2 than part 1; this is an improvement over THDC, where all three parts were almost separate from each other, but otherwise, this is the same problem.
Beyond that, however, SS was still a fun game and a good installment in the exciting saga of MM.

A bit of a mixed bag

***( )( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

There’s a lot to like in Shifting Sands, but I must admit, it’s left me with something of a mixed opinion. I absolutely love certain aspects - in particular, its ingenious new method for handling research, which makes the research far more interesting than just a few Knowledge checks. It also has some great opportunities for roleplay, as the PCs must secure for themselves permission to use the library in the first place. Unfortunately, much of that roleplay is with a rather one-dimensional NPC whose actions vary little regardless of what the PCs do. The concluding part of the adventure allows the PCs to do some exploration of the desert, and works pretty well, but does feel a touch tacked on.

Spectacular Shifting Sands


The 3rd part of the Mummy's Mask adventure was excellent! Thankfully this AP is climbing rather than dropping by the third adventure, which is typical for an adventure path, but not this one! Slightly Spoilerific.

The adventure starts off with a variant research mechanic which points the spotlight on everyone's favored class: the bard, who can do whopping amounts of research if you have one.

Next, the PCs are introduced to the RP element of the adventure and a part that I think is very memorable. Part of this RP includes a variant chase scene, which is actually a race (Why haven't we thought of this sooner!). Awesome fun for all. They must also RP their way into more time to research.

Third, they must search and find all the libraries to do more research (might seem tedious at this point but I think it flows smoothly and puts the spotlight on the bookworms rather than hack and slash-ers [so break out them reading glasses]).

After all research is done, the PCs are sent to a desert to search from the tomb. They are placed on a hex-map and must search (like the kingmaker rules) for the lost catacombs. This allows for some awesome encounters that are quite memorable.

This adventure has everything skill checks, RP, and awesome fights. Everything of which is memorable and unique. All these put together makes this one of my favorite APs of late.

Researching the Past

***( )( )

I was presently surprised with this month's volume. Everything presented here is well thought out, and descriptive, which has been a problem in previous volumes. They also introduce a new "research" encounter, and and though it is somewhat heavy in the first part, they spread it out a bit, and also provide various additions to it, so your sessions won't just be endlessly researching in a library. They also bring in very memorable npc's who the PC's must interact with, either because of necessity, or because their forced to. The only thing that really holds this back is that there isn't a lot going on in this volume. Doing the research and finding out more about the background of the adventure to come is fine, it's just kind of dull. When you do finally get out of the library and into the desert, once again it's well written and varied, but there just isn't a lot, so by the end you don't feel like you've accomplished much in this short time. Also, though the npc's are memorable, they are immediately removed after the adventure, even though one of them really should react to the PC's after learning what they have discovered. So overall, this is a well written, descriptive adventure, it's just very dull, and you don't feel like much has happened by the end. I find it weird that this almost seems like the reverse of previous adventures where there was less description, but much more going on. I feel there somewhere between these books, there is an amazing adventure here, but still buried in sand. I guess like the PC's, I'll have to keep on looking until I find it.

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