Empty Graves (GM Reference)


Mummy's Mask

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Scarab Sages

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Thanks for reminding me of that section! It doesn't give any timing, unfortunately.


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I'm currently running this module for my group and looking ahead as they've just reached the Sepulcher. I'm wondering if anyone had an issue with the crypt thing, because I'm looking over the stats and unless I'm missing something, as written it can basically just dump the characters wherever, including potentially in the room with Nebta-Khufre which seems... I dunno, unintuitive for something that's supposed to be a guardian. Then there's the fact that the range on the ability is hundreds of feet.

Aside from the fact that underground, you could just handwave that into 'the first or last room in that direction,' is there something I'm missing? Am I overestimating the PITA factor for the encounter?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The teleport somewhere else is meant to be a problem for the players, should they fail the relatively low save. I even think there are a couple of victims on the obits thread from a bad telepo. The crypt thing died very quickly in my game so I can't really attest to how well it functions for a normal group, but if you've got a decent point buy or threw out the economy simulator of book 2, then your PC's shouldn't be in much danger.

And Nebta is never in danger. He's a beast. (Unless maybe a paladin gets teleported right next to him and wins initiative)


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Well, I'll admit I'm also a little concerned about annoyance factor a little more than sheer danger. Throwing off the pacing of the tomb and such.

Also, while I'm not exactly worried about Nebta's safety, I'm not looking forward to redoing the math on his stats in case one or more characters get dumped into his room before he's finished buffing himself.

That said, if people who've actually played/run the scenario say it's fine as written, I'll trust their judgement.

Silver Crusade

I cut the teleport because I was concerned about the problem you named. The dungeon worked fine without it. I don't use xp though, so I can cut where I want.

Scarab Sages

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At the Asetiti Estate they mention that the guards try to make awkward chitchat about surface topics they don't understand while they wait for Unwrapped Harmony. Has anyone come up with anything fun for their dialog?


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"So, you grow your own food, right? Like on farms? What's that like?"

"Hey, do you guys ride around on these things called... what is it? 'Harses?'"

I didn't go full comedy with it, but I drew a little bit of inspiration from the sewer mutants from Futurama.

Dark Archive

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I'm using snippets from this wikipedia page for the eye taker encounter.

I'm also leaving a book of law on the defendants' table (i.e. the players can look this url up on their tablet) and every snippet they manage to use in their defense *in a meaningful way*, results in a +2 bonus to their roll.

I hope to steer this towards an RP encounter, which most of the players seem up for anyway; fortunately I ended the last session with eye taker taking an eye and the players interrupting the court in session, thus automagically becoming the next defendants.


captain yesterday wrote:

my guess is its explained in Shifting Sands:)

I'm waiting until at least half is out before i run it:)

The answer you are looking for can be found in the character description of Meret-Hetef, page 57, of the Empty Graves module.


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You do realize captain yesterday posted that over 2 years ago, correct? :)


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I don't even remember what it's in reference to.

Thanks though, I'll totally check it out. :-)

It'll be fun trying to figure it out. :-)


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Did you end up playing through this?


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No, we had homework issues with a player, and never revisited it after our first TPK in the first dungeon.

Someday though...


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Definitely worthwhile.


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We're actually going to have an all Occult Adventures Classes Hell's Rebels, hopefully this week. :-)

Things have improved immensely on the homework front this year. :-)


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Our HR won't start till after we finish MM. Likely next spring or so. We're in book 4, now.

Dark Archive

increddibelly wrote:

I'm using snippets from this wikipedia page for the eye taker encounter.

I'm also leaving a book of law on the defendants' table (i.e. the players can look this url up on their tablet) and every snippet they manage to use in their defense *in a meaningful way*, results in a +2 bonus to their roll.

I had a law student friend play one eye, meanwhile I just sat back with a beer, watching the players lie and cheat their way through a pig-latin-lawyer speak encounter. "Here, use that!" "and this, pro bono's sake!"

Just had to slightly nudge the encounter once or twice. This is a solid entry in the top 5 of best encounters ever :D

meanwhile, I'm not too keen about the red herrings. Our play time is limited so we don't want to spend much time on arguing about next course, which is what this chapter is all about. That may be nice for a change of pace, but only for so long.

They already have a rough longitude, they'll probably want to get a latitude, however no encounter zones as written in neither West and East of the Necropolis. I guess I'll just randomly put one of the encounters wherever they point on the map.


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On p83 of the adventure, it lists the chance of a random encounter in the necropolis as 35% per hour, and 65% after the dead begin to rise. Once the dead have risen what is the chance for an encounter in Wati outside of the necropolis?

Also, the table on p83 goes up to 140%. Is that because we add the panic level of the city to the percentile roll?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

drsparnum wrote:


Also, the table on p83 goes up to 140%. Is that because we add the panic level of the city to the percentile roll?

You add the "Danger" modifier to the percentile roll. Each panic level, will tell you what the specific danger level is. For instance panic 25+ has danger of 40 (which allows you to roll up to 140%)


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Grumpus wrote:
drsparnum wrote:


Also, the table on p83 goes up to 140%. Is that because we add the panic level of the city to the percentile roll?
You add the "Danger" modifier to the percentile roll. Each panic level, will tell you what the specific danger level is. For instance panic 25+ has danger of 40 (which allows you to roll up to 140%)

Thank you Grumpus! Any thoughts on the possibility of random encounters outside of the Necropolis?


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Event 4: The Right Hand of Death states the combat will last until the majority of combatants on one side fall unconscious. So the PCs can win the fight if they knock out the two esobok even if Ajin Ra Baqa is unscathed. Is that how others played it?

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drsparnum wrote:


Thank you Grumpus! Any thoughts on the possibility of random encounters outside of the Necropolis?

On page 83:Once the dead begin rising,

the chance of a random encounter increases to 65% and
the results on this table are not restricted to just the
necropolis.

So I would go with 65% both in the main city and necropolis.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

drsparnum wrote:
Event 4: The Right Hand of Death states the combat will last until the majority of combatants on one side fall unconscious. So the PCs can win the fight if they knock out the two esobok even if Ajin Ra Baqa is unscathed. Is that how others played it?

I played it this way as a GM, but I do not recall exactly how that encounter panned out. I think my party defeated all 3 anyways.

I would maybe not tell the players the terms of fight, and see how it goes and if it looks to be going against the PCs, have someone step in and stop the fight if they can at least take out the esoboks.


I didn't really like this encounter as the concept felt a bit forced to me. I decided to remove the Esoboks and have them attack Ajin Ra Baqa until he was satisfied that they'd proved themselves to him. Made it less about pure damage and a bit more about tactics, which seemed to work out quite well.


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Black_Cat wrote:
I didn't really like this encounter as the concept felt a bit forced to me. I decided to remove the Esoboks and have them attack Ajin Ra Baqa until he was satisfied that they'd proved themselves to him. Made it less about pure damage and a bit more about tactics, which seemed to work out quite well.

I also think it looks a bit forced. The audio book for Empty Graves does a nice job acting this scene out and it makes it seem plausible. Both Ptemnerib and Sebti are telling Nakht his plan is madness. Somehow having the other NPCs in the scene saying it is madness makes it all seem less mad to the players - it just becomes that this Nakht guy is unhinged. I plan to draw on how they did it when my PCs reach this section.

My sessions vary between 4-6 PCs. I think if I have 4 PCs I'll set the rules so they just need to take out the esoboks, and if I have 6 they will need to take out all 3.

Silver Crusade

I ran this scene twice. The first time, the players felt railroaded. They were perfectly happy to skip town if the higher ups didn't want them there, so being asked to prove that they were worthy to save the city didn't go over so well. My second group was more good aligned, and I did a better job of displaying how the psychopomps were a menace to the city, so they behaved as the module expected.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

After hitting some esobok random encounters, my group was nearly ready to skin the Voice of the Spire guy alive. Killing his scythe wielding Buddy was even better.


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Regarding maps and some are not included; I was surprised the Shiny Bauble encounter didn't have a map. Since the creature encounter there is such an iconic encounter of the game as a whole I was expecting it to be played up more. I've since found an alternate underground map to use and bumped the stats a bit to make it a bit more challenging to my PCs.


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archmagi1 wrote:
After hitting some esobok random encounters, my group was nearly ready to skin the Voice of the Spire guy alive. Killing his scythe wielding Buddy was even better.

We're almost to this encounter. When the PCs engaged the Esoboks they handled it well and quickly but they were surprised at the church's callousness of sending the psychopomps into the city. A local teenager guide the PCs use is a devout follower of Pharasma and the encounter quickly role played into where the teen was disillusioned by the church's actions and turned to Desna. (One of the PCs is a cleric of Desna.)

Scarab Sages

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After book 2 we had a few drop the game, and the gmpc I was running was a voice of the Spire who took serious offense the summonings. Post game he deposed both sebti and the voice guy and assumed high priesthood at wati. Rng7 Sentinel 10.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow, I really hurt them last night. The blue tiles did massive damage until I nudged one of them into baseballing them to bits. Then, half the party failed the crypt thing's frightful aura save. A quickened Dimension Door right in the middle of the party, followed by a teleporting burst sent two very scared characters into two even scarier rooms.

I changed the negative energy creature, so that it was obsessed with healing magic; imagine a person alleric to grapes who is obsessed with wine - he has gathered a decent collection of healing potions!
I figured they may need quite a lot of healing soon ;)

Dark Archive

Rule #13: When you're down to your last spells, you don't push on - but you take time to rest.

Because if you DO keep exploring, you get your party gnome snatched by the foul Ghast barbarian thing (I shuffled some feats around for improved grapple and run) and your gnome is taken down to the map room, where the pretty gnome gets eaten alive. The party wasn't as fast so they couldn't do anything but give chase. The nasty ghast, covered in gnome sap, belched loudly and bounced the pretty head towards the PCs.

(The player had voiced interest in a new character - sooo I thought I'd oblige)

Grand Lodge

She who waits encounter, they had killed klefri(sp? the cleric) and left valerian Hypaxis to make her way back to the edge of the city on her own. The two divs from the first book had both survived, and had been plotting their revenge. So when they saw the PCs leave the Sanctum, and then shortly thereafter a revenant emerge, they put two and two together and started following the revenant around. (The doru div scouting invisibly from above, and then giving directions to the Aghash.)

So when the party left a hard encounter, they encountered klefri as a revenant. Then, shortly after Klefri hasted-charged-power attacked, they saw *another* revenant come around the corner, Valerian, inspiring the following conversation:

"Wait, we didn't kill her, we let her leave alive."
"To be fair, if she did get killed, it is kind of our fault."

Fortunately for them, they did not know that Valerian was one of Imannish, the Doru Div's illusions.I was able to spend the first round having her "cut wide" around the party to get to the back, where she would be in position to attack the casters, forcing people to waste resources and actions to get away from her, while the real revenant ripped their front liners to pieces.

This whole time, the Aghash div was sitting on a roof top 130 feet away, firing off bestow curses...

It was a truly epic encounter.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The gap between Half-Dead City and Empty Graves.

p.7 says that Ptemenib invites them to the auction in "3 days".

I'm thinking of lengthening the gap between the books to 2-4 weeks. Does anyone see any problem with that? I figure Nebta-Khufre can take his time figuring out how to use the Mask. Is there anything time sensitive that mandates a short gap between the two books? Or am I more or less free to lengthen it?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The only downside I can see is that it opens the way for the party to skip town over the river to An, Tephu, or even down river to Sothis to get rid of their lottery gains at full market value. Having the gap be only a couple of days is a lure to keep them there (where the AP institutes economic shenanigans) rather than being somewhere else entirely and missing the hook for the rest of the AP.


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In my game Qasin the Nosoi died to the Tekenu prior to the party actually finding Ptemenib. What happens to Qasin now? Is she dead dead or just back to her home plane? If the latter does she have limitations on coming back to the material plane?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I would have to double check, but if Qasin was called (conjuration (calling) spell) she would be dead dead. If she was here through a summoning spell, then she would just be back in the Boneyard waiting another summons.


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Samy wrote:

The gap between Half-Dead City and Empty Graves.

p.7 says that Ptemenib invites them to the auction in "3 days".

I'm thinking of lengthening the gap between the books to 2-4 weeks. Does anyone see any problem with that? I figure Nebta-Khufre can take his time figuring out how to use the Mask. Is there anything time sensitive that mandates a short gap between the two books? Or am I more or less free to lengthen it?

If you allow crafting it could change your game dynamic a bit, but they get soooo much loot before it's all said and done it might not matter.


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archmagi1 wrote:
I would have to double check, but if Qasin was called (conjuration (calling) spell) she would be dead dead. If she was here through a summoning spell, then she would just be back in the Boneyard waiting another summons.

There was no duration on her visit. I believe that implies a calling and not a summoning.


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The Observatory of Truth and Wisdom says a PC who knows ancient Osiriani can make a DC 10 religion check to find the phrase that is not a common Pharasma prayer. If this phrase is spoken it opens the secret door.

Is that all PCs need to do to open the secret door? Get to this room and make a DC 10 religion check if they know that language?

I ask because the room also has DC 20 religion checks, DC 25 perception checks for other things.

The adventure on p29 says, "The PCs must track down all three leads [elegiac compasses, mysterious strangers, and the star chart] to find the necromancer's hideout. My PC are on course to investigate the star chart and get to this room without dealing with compasses or mysterious strangers. The bard will make that religion check no problem.

Is that good enough to move on to part 3?


By the time my players got there they wanted to get into the area. I misled them a bit by drawing mini-maps of the entire building, so they climbed up to the top all cautious-like.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

In encounter C (the Necropolis gates/Bal Themm) the party fights an advanced shadow.

The advanced template gives +2 natural armor, but the shadow's incorporeal trait says, "An incorporeal creature has no natural armor bonus". Which do I apply first? Give it +2 natural armor, then eliminate it because of incorporeality, or first eliminate the +0 natural armor, then give it +2 natural armor? This affects the AC by 2 which might make a difference.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The lack of natural armor is washed out by the CHA bonus to AC that incorporeal creatures get. So the +4 DEX and +4 CHA give the shadow +4 AC, even if the NA bonus never occurs.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Good catch, I would've missed that. Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

p.25 states that Ekram Iffek is willing to pay the PCs to leave. He apologizes for Ptemenib's imprisonment, but the text does not comment on whether he's willing to let the PCs leave *with Ptemenib*.

Would he allow the party to leave with Ptemenib, or would taking the priest with them be a deal breaker that would make any deal impossible?

Dark Archive

Here is how those events played out with my group (we are currently in Book 4).

Spoiler Alert! - GMs ONLY!:

- PCs find the Silver Chains' hideout
- PCs find Ptemenib and left, returning him to the Grand Mausoleum
- (Ekram realizes Ptemenib has been rescued, prepared for PCs return)
- PCs run into Ekram
- After "pleasant" conversation where Ekram pays off the PCs with gold, they leave to allow him to continue his work
- PCs return later to Ekram's room later after clearing the rest of the hideout only to find Ekram and his allies gone
- PCs return to Grand Mausoleum (never found the secret door)

In my mind with the events that played out, Ekram wanted the PCs gone than fight them with them discovering his plans before he can complete them. He later returned with Meret-Hetef as her ally in that later fight (Ekram dies in that fight, Meret escapes to join the Cultists in Book 4).

Hope this helps.


Need a bit of advise.

One of my players has expressed interest in wearing the mask. That's no the problem. Problem is that I'm using Automatic Bonus Progression(ABP), which removes bonuses such as Ability bonuses.

So the Mask would give a bonus to a Mental Score doesn't.

Ideas to help fill in this missing gap or let it play out without any changes?

Grand Lodge

MerlinCross wrote:

Need a bit of advise.

One of my players has expressed interest in wearing the mask. That's no the problem. Problem is that I'm using Automatic Bonus Progression(ABP), which removes bonuses such as Ability bonuses.

So the Mask would give a bonus to a Mental Score doesn't.

Ideas to help fill in this missing gap or let it play out without any changes?

Make it like a circlet of persuasion, but better. Instead of a bonus to the stat, give it a bonus to the stat's checks instead. If the PC is a spellcaster, give them a +1 DC bonus as if they had Spell Focus.


kevin_video wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

Need a bit of advise.

One of my players has expressed interest in wearing the mask. That's no the problem. Problem is that I'm using Automatic Bonus Progression(ABP), which removes bonuses such as Ability bonuses.

So the Mask would give a bonus to a Mental Score doesn't.

Ideas to help fill in this missing gap or let it play out without any changes?

Make it like a circlet of persuasion, but better. Instead of a bonus to the stat, give it a bonus to the stat's checks instead. If the PC is a spellcaster, give them a +1 DC bonus as if they had Spell Focus.

Hmm those are good ideas. Thanks.


I'm confused by the Forgotten Corpse in N4. He was sent to the Pyramid of Arithmetic Bliss to search for the Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoh, ran past the allips but died due to wounds from the mummies.
But N3 says Nebta-Khufre and followers made camp there while looking for the mask.
And the allips and mummys are still there.

So the first guy investigated and died in N4, the rest came and camped out with the mummies, and left the body of their friend in the other room?

Does anyone have a way that this makes sense?
Or did anyone have a different backstory so that it makes sense?
(Players might not notice the issue, but I'd rather avoid it altogether.)

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