Treasures That Lie Behind Closed Doors

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Liz continues her romance-novel preview of Mummy's Mask, here showing off the Character Add-On Deck and Adventure Deck 1: The Half-Dead City, which comes in the Mummy's Mask Base Set.

The land shifted from soft sand dunes to rocky hills that battered the feet of the caravaneers. With rhythmic plodding punctuated by errant grunts, the camels trudged at a lumbering pace and did not seem affected by the terrain. Though the morning breeze still held a breath of cool night air that kissed their necks, the cicadas danced in anticipation of the climbing sun.

Waving grasses sprung like soft hair from the verdant earth as the road descended toward the river. It would be hours yet before the weary travelers could rest, sponge away days of dried sweat, and luxuriate into silk cushions at the Tooth & Hookah. But now they could see the Half-City before them, darkly nestled between the legs of the Crook and Asp rivers. Morning light glistened through the linen-draped towers of the Sunburst Market, a brilliant sunrise of color, promising secrets behind the rainbow shadows cast. And carried on the wind, the chimes of the Pharasmin temple, luring treasure hunters to consign their fates to the lottery.


Spoiler: You win the lottery.

As the markets closed upon the hour of twilight, smoke from tall lamps of perfumed oil lazily swayed through the courtyard filled with an impatient throng. Travelers from every corner of Golarion jostled and joked in a dozen languages, stealing glances toward the yet-closed temple doors. Some were sun-touched and rough, apparent rogues and mercenaries experienced in the art of Osirion tomb-raiding.


The Quicksand Bunyip doesn't figure in Liz's story, but we couldn't help ourselves.

Others, such as a gracefully dressed woman—presumably a local by the fact she carried nothing but her heavy staff—seemed to be searching the crowd, seeking the fate-spark of companionship.

Her gaze landed on an unlikely target, a heavy man laden with a curiosity shop's worth of goods, his beard black as onyx. Their eyes met across the courtyard and, with a pounding of her staff, the sea of miscreants briefly parted, naturally, as if the perfect moment had been plucked from time. The conversation that followed was hushed, for the weight of the stories they carried was heavy and not easily shared. Mavaro, his name rolling with mystery of far-off places, made bold claims, but made them quietly. He promised her that he could do anything, given the right tools. This was the treasure he sought: not gold nor fame, but a wealth of memory.


Mavaro has an... interesting deck list.

He seemed so unlike her. Perhaps that is why she felt so intrigued, and caught herself licking her lips at his words. As his accoutrements were a jumble of worn hand-me-downs and stolen grave goods, deciphering the man beneath would be a challenge. "I can be anything you need—whatever you want me to be," he divulged with a low voice.

To demonstrate, he delicately untied a rusted khopesh strapped to his side. With a featherweight grace, he swung the blade, the bright steel edge glimmering with blue frost. "May I?" he gestured toward her elaborately-carved staff. His fingers brushed hers as he grasped it and the chill of the khopesh jolted up her spine. The sensation rushed upon her as if she were the sword itself, wrapped in a frigid enchantment. He glanced down and mumbled an apology.

As he held the staff, Mavaro's demeanor shifted, became aggressive. Waves of arcane power hummed from the staff as the world around them became somehow pliant to his whim. "Is it only weapons?" she chided. "A person can wield only so many." In answer, he returned her staff and pulled a scroll from a bag she hadn't noticed before beneath his coat. As the icon of Thoth unfurled, the uncertainty and fidgeting fell from his posture. His eyes grew old and cold with lifetimes of knowledge. Ahmotep could see the judgement of the dead upon his face. It reminded her of the Pharasmins.


The desert demands many different weapons.

As if called, the crowd fell silent and pressed close as the temple doors swung open, heavy with sculpted reliefs of birth and death in honor of Pharasma. The black-robed Pharasmin clerics poured out in two lines, followed by a large, simply decorated urn. The head priestess's face was a mask as she called out in a bell-like voice, "Attention. The first lottery begins now. Once all names are drawn, the gates to the necropolis will be opened." She paused for effect. "Heed well the laws, and remember how this came to pass."


There are three Laws. Don't break them.

The adventurers had found each other, and Ahmotep sensed soon there might be others. As the priest's hand descended into the urn to draw the first name, a palpable excitement buzzed between the two. Where would the will of The Lady of Graves take them? Ahmotep gritted her teeth and clenched her staff, ready to pull fate in her direction.

Liz Spain
Adventure Card Game Designer

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

OH. MY. GOD.

Mavaro.

*blink*

Sovereign Court

"Wow, Mavaro is totally worthless."
-Reads second ability-
"WHAT."

Sovereign Court

Also, screw Quicksand Bunyip. He doesn't have the basic or elite traits, so he'll just hang out and screw up deck ordering in all 6 books.

Silver Crusade

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Illeist wrote:
Also, screw Quicksand Bunyip. He doesn't have the basic or elite traits, so he'll just hang out and screw up deck ordering in all 6 books.

When I played ADB of MM, I found that these were the worst of the triggers. Deal me damage? Fine; I can take it. But undo my scouting? Oh, no no no.


Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Mavaro sure looks interesting to play.


Ahmotep looks really cool. She seems more on the wizard side of the magus (compared to seltiyel) and looks more versatile. I'm taking him through RotR right now, and she seems like she could use all the loot staffs to full effect that he has to skip due to his small item pool.
She is definitely going to be in my first party.

Looking forward to get the rest of SnS next week, which will help bridge the time until MM arrives next month.

By the way, this thread does not appear in the PACG forums currently, so I guess something went wrong somewhere.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, Mavaro is going to be in one of my first parties then.

Tomorrow can't come soon enough.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Mavaro's my boy. I absolutely loved playing him during playtesting. I cannot WAIT to get home and open my box that was delivered today!!!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait, does the Tooth & Hookah get allies you fail to acquire at other locations? That would be super annoying for my playstyle.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Iammars wrote:
Wait, does the Tooth & Hookah get allies you fail to acquire at other locations? That would be super annoying for my playstyle.

No, At This Location powers only apply at that location unless they explicitly say otherwise. The power does seem a bit strangely specific, but if you failed to acquire an ally at another location it would not be shuffled into Tooth & Hookah. It might be specifically "this location deck" because some allies shuffle into a random location deck when not acquired?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Man, I am so looking forward to getting this on Friday. Come on UPS, don't let me down.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
cartmanbeck wrote:
No, At This Location powers only apply at that location unless they explicitly say otherwise. The power does seem a bit strangely specific, but if you failed to acquire an ally at another location it would not be shuffled into Tooth & Hookah. It might be specifically "this location deck" because some allies shuffle into a random location deck when not acquired?

I believe it's supposed to affect powers like S&S Alahazra which can be at T&H and try to acquire an Ally she scouted in another location.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:
No, At This Location powers only apply at that location unless they explicitly say otherwise. The power does seem a bit strangely specific, but if you failed to acquire an ally at another location it would not be shuffled into Tooth & Hookah. It might be specifically "this location deck" because some allies shuffle into a random location deck when not acquired?
I believe it's supposed to affect powers like S&S Alahazra which can be at T&H and try to acquire an Ally she scouted in another location.

Oh, okay. That makes sense. I just found the "this" wording to be a little weird.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Wow, the bounded accuracy wil make things a bit riskier e.g. the Henchmen were you only get to close if you defeat by 4 or less
I tend to overkill roles (i hate to fail :-) ) so this will change my play style.
Makes the magus first power VERY useful

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Matsu Kurisu wrote:

Wow, the bounded accuracy wil make things a bit riskier e.g. the Henchmen were you only get to close if you defeat by 4 or less

I tend to overkill roles (i hate to fail :-) ) so this will change my play style.
Makes the magus first power VERY useful

It's really apparent at the outset that Mavaro's powers are interesting. I have a feeling, though, that once we've all started playing the set we're going to find that other characters (like this magus) are also really useful and cool.

Lone Shark Games

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I'm happy you're intrigued by Mavaro's powers. He was a really fun character to experiment with. As I played him, he started as a divine caster and transitioned over the adventure to a formidable ranged combatant and finally wielding a hefty arsenal of arcane artifacts. I fully expect people to find ways to use Mavaro to do astounding things.

Quick note: 100% armor Mavaro does not work very well at all. :/


Mavaro makes me wonder whether the cards in this base set care about derived skills more often than base skills, since the basic blessing of the elements includes every base skill (ST, DE, CO, IN, WI, CH) in its check to acquire.
Just having a single card in your hand to cover almost any check for a round seems too accessible to me.

Shadow Lodge

It's strong. But, he only has four Blessings in his starting deck, and once he displays one for a check, he can't use that same card again.

So, Blessings of the Elements seem strong for one single check, but they're not going to be reliable enough to be overly powerful I think.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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He gains the listed skills until the end of the turn, so it can easily be for more than one check.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Liz Spain wrote:
I'm happy you're intrigued by Mavaro's powers. He was a really fun character to experiment with. As I played him, he started as a divine caster and transitioned over the adventure to a formidable ranged combatant and finally wielding a hefty arsenal of arcane artifacts. I fully expect people to find ways to use Mavaro to do astounding things.

This is the most obnoxiously versatile character I've ever seen. I love him!

Also, Card Feat reward in a AD1 scenario? MM is truly the gift that keeps on giving!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I wish my box would finally ship. Are there any djinni around perhaps?

Shadow Lodge

Vic Wertz wrote:
He gains the listed skills until the end of the turn, so it can easily be for more than one check.

You're right! I totally forgot about that part.

That makes him even better. :)


Longshot11 wrote:
Also, Card Feat reward in a AD1 scenario? MM is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

I think starting in Wrath, Card Feat rewards aren't always tied to the adventure, so that doesn't necessarily mean you get two for the adventure.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Longshot11 wrote:
Liz Spain wrote:
I'm happy you're intrigued by Mavaro's powers. He was a really fun character to experiment with. As I played him, he started as a divine caster and transitioned over the adventure to a formidable ranged combatant and finally wielding a hefty arsenal of arcane artifacts. I fully expect people to find ways to use Mavaro to do astounding things.

This is the most obnoxiously versatile character I've ever seen. I love him!

Also, Card Feat reward in a AD1 scenario? MM is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

Even better, the base adventure gives you 1 of each feat (skill, power, and card)!


I start to suspect that either the progression will slow down later or that we might get the role card earlier than AD4...
I hope there will be a crazy reveal down the line like the bonus char in WotR.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Doppelschwert wrote:

I start to suspect that either the progression will slow down later or that we might get the role card earlier than AD4...

I hope there will be a crazy reveal down the line like the bonus char in WotR.

[baseless fearmongering]What if the crazy reveal were a bane that took away feats? The quickened feat progression might be nothing more than fattening us up for the kill.

It would be like the Umbral Dragon turned up to 11.[/baseless fearmongering]


Or maybe some enemy scales with the number of feats checked, that would be unexpected as well :)

But in all seriousness, I wouldn't mind if the traditional progression was changed around up a bit (even though I like it the way it is). It is a set about tomb raiding after all, so maybe we just get more loot and the feats take a backseat in the reward progression later on.

I still wonder what the new 'tech' (that they alluded to in the thread of one of the earlier blog entries about this set) is about.

Maybe someone that played the rpg has an idea of what crazy things could happen mechanically down the line?
I doubt it's going to happen, but I still think becoming a mummy would be cool.

Shadow Lodge

I'll just say that, as a fan of pulpy adventures, it's pretty great. :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Doppelschwert wrote:
I still wonder what the new 'tech' (that they alluded to in the thread of one of the earlier blog entries about this set) is about.

If you're talking about what I think you're talking about, where Mike said we needed to create new tech for reading cards, that's the Trigger trait: a color-coded trait that signals that there's something you need to do upon examining.


Yep, thats what I was talking about. Thanks for clearing that up!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

And here I was hoping for a special deciphering magnifying glass--like the red film thing they used to include with video game hint books. D:

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Dave Riley wrote:
And here I was hoping for a special deciphering magnifying glass--like the red film thing they used to include with video game hint books. D:

Using that might make the Trigger trait entirely disappear!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Dave Riley wrote:
And here I was hoping for a special deciphering magnifying glass--like the red film thing they used to include with video game hint books. D:

Using that might make the Trigger trait entirely disappear!

Or, you know... Explosive Runes!

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0317.html


I continue to worry about how much Triggers will actually be seen. My group always saw examining only as a need if you're up against the clock, but with a 3-4 person group in RotR and S&S we rarely had that issue (did not play WotR), so we rarely examined as it just seemed unnecessary and so didn't waste deck slots on cards that examine. Then again, it's a Catch-22 because we didn't value examine cards...so we didn't have them...and thus never examined...causing us to not value them....and so on. So maybe simply having cards in our decks that examine (as it seems there's going to be more multi-ability cards) may inspire us to examine more.

Of course, if the difficulty is much higher, examining may be a need to minimize combat and/or surprises, as i've heard about Wrath needing, but my gut reaction is it feels like one of those "oh, then i'll just not do it" things.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

In many cases you won't have the option. A bunch of blessings, including the Basic one, force an examine before you explore.


A clever scenario might either force you or really encourage you to examine.


Dave Riley wrote:
In many cases you won't have the option. A bunch of blessings, including the Basic one, force an examine before you explore.

Obviously Thoth doesn't allow straight-up exploring, but I figured the basic BotG and other non-basic blessings did. Alright. I guess they thought of that then.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

There isn't any blessing of the gods. Only Blessing of the Ancients and Blessing of the Elements, which are both basic. IIRC, Ancients is the examine one, and Elements is non-divine, and plays well with elemental traits (Acid, Cold, Fire, Electricity, maybe something else).

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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You may have noticed that the designers really like to present you with situational dilemmas that require you to regularly reassess risk and reward. "To peek or not to peek" is going to be a recurring question for players throughout the entire Mummy's Mask AP.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
You may have noticed that the designers really like to present you with situational dilemmas that require you to regularly reassess risk and reward. "To peek or not to peek" is going to be a recurring question for players throughout the entire Mummy's Mask AP.

I thought my roommate and fiancee were going to kill me when I acquired and kept Locate Object in my deck...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

We banished Locate Object in a closed location deck and I shed tears of jealousy. Imagine a situation where you cast it and skim past 2 or 3 barriers or monsters that force you encounter them, essentially getting 3+ encounters for one recharged card! <3

Silver Crusade

As a perennial Alahazra fan, I was very nervous about triggers. But after playing the B set of Mummy, I actually think they're kind of fun. They make scouting more interesting, and as Dave Riley says, you can get extra explores at the cost of scouts.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm sure Triggers will ramp up as the set goes on, but a penalty of 2 combat damage or a +3 difficulty to a combat check is usually worth the free encounter, to say nothing of The First Law-type cards that are the same whether you explore or examine them. We've found the benefits of examining outweigh the costs, most of the time.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This has been mostly my experiences, although I ran across Geniekin a bunch of times which was annoying. I'm honestly more worried about bounded accuracy cards than I am about triggers.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I definitely agree with Eliandra. Also, there's another thing about the exploration and triggers that I think makes a huge difference in improving the set. Mummy's Mask is similar to Skull & Shackles in that the focus is more on the non-combat checks than on combat (which was definitively the case in RotR and WotR).

In S&S this was frustrating to me because it led to bad sequencing. No matter how prepared once character was, if they ended up flipping the wrong barrier (your Survival expert flips a current-adventure trap e.g.) then they're probably going to lose, and there wasn't really anything to do about it. That made the explorations feel so random, and frankly made Alahazra OP, because she allowed you to be prepared for what was coming so you actually lined up your combat people with combats, Wisdom people with ships or survival, and Con people to drowning, etc. I remember whenever anyone talked about how much they liked Selytiel in the AP, they inevitably also had Alahazra in the party, and thus he only ever had combat. It was made worse by the fact there was almost no other scouting in the AP (Spyglass, Lookout, maybe scrying really late?) so Alahazra was almost the only way to actually be prepared.

Now Mummy's Mask comes along and there is examination everywhere. At least 3 characters have it as a power, half the basic blessings include it, Augury back in the base set, and a very high number of items involve examining. Obviously the main reason for this is interaction with Triggers. However, it also means that you're doing substantially less blind explores, so you're far more prepared for the barrier with the funky check to defeat, or the monster with the crazy before you act power, etc. Triggers, in a way, are essential just to keep all of the examinations in check, since without them deck stacking would be way too easy. And I feel that triggers were balanced fantastically, since there's a mix of bonus triggers (giving you a free encounter, e.g.) versus all downside triggers (summon random monster, take damage) which means that you are still encouraged to examine regularly, but there's still a risk that makes it a choice. I think this interaction has put Mummy's Mask on track to being our groups favorite set (though obviously there's a lot more to prove).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Dave Riley wrote:
I'm sure Triggers will ramp up as the set goes on, but a penalty of 2 combat damage or a +3 difficulty to a combat check is usually worth the free encounter, to say nothing of The First Law-type cards that are the same whether you explore or examine them. We've found the benefits of examining outweigh the costs, most of the time.

There's also scenarios like Sandstorm of Malevolent Will, where examining can be incredibly dangerous because of the Henchman Trigger. Also, the risk of an encounter means you can't empty your had on examining, which is something S&S Alahazra would do constantly.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Iammars wrote:
I'm honestly more worried about bounded accuracy cards than I am about triggers.

Based on preview blogs only, I share this sentiments. Our group style has always been "if it's worth killing - it's worth overkilling", so bounded accuracy is making for an interesting change of pace. Bad or good, I don't know yet, but I guess it will heavily depend on if going overboard predominantly means "really bad stuff happens" or just "you miss out on some cool stuff".

At the very least, I expect this will put a premium on the "+1d4" cards that we otherwise wouldn't bother equipping.

Silver Crusade

Iammars wrote:
This has been mostly my experiences, although I ran across Geniekin a bunch of times which was annoying. I'm honestly more worried about bounded accuracy cards than I am about triggers.

Agreed. Though there hasn't been tooo much of this so far. I have taken to playing my Pathfinder Adventures app practicing for this, though. "Do I really need that blessing? Nah, 2d8 is enough."


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Nah, 2d8 is enough."

Famous last words. *Especially* in the app...


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Longshot11 wrote:
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Nah, 2d8 is enough."
Famous last words. *Especially* in the app...

2d8 is enough maybe if you have armor/Ring of Protection/Sihedron Medallion, etc. Having the ability to absorb the inevitable awful roll makes it easier for me to play less conservatively on kill vs. overkill.

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