Starting Mummy's Mask - Any Tips?


Mummy's Mask


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group just finished Kingmaker (which ended with a TPK in book 6), and we are planning on starting Mummy's Mask in two weeks.

I'm reading through the books to prepare, but I wanted to come here and ask this awesome community if you have any tips or advice for GMing this AP?

Thanks in advance!


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It's a great campaign that can be rather deadly. There's one particular monster that appears in book 4 and again in book 6 that nearly killed my party both times.
Honestly, I thought it would be easier the second time, many levels later, but I was wrong.

There's some things you learn about the BBEGs family and companions in book 6 via Knowledge History or Nobility rolls (or something). Try to include those things in the research during book 3 and 4! It seems weird that you could learn them later through rolls rather than research earlier in the campaign.

After having run Kingmaker and Hell's Rebels I found Mummy's Mask to be very black and white. Bad guys are bad, good guys are good (with, like, one or two exceptions). And a whole lot of "kill all of the monsters all of the time". It was a huge shift for me, but my players have thoroughly enjoyed the game.

Traps are frequent enough that after the first or second book I started using either passive perception for the trap finding character or told them that I'd assume they're always searching and I'd let them know when they needed to make a roll. (Otherwise they were constantly looking and rolling and it was taking up a lot of unnecessary time.)

Scarab Sages

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First off, this is my favorite AP I have ran. Be sure to check out the respective GM Reference threads for each book. Tons of helpful info.

For party info, you *WILL* need someone who can handle a trap. There is no avoiding this. I don't necessarily advocate for a full divine or full arcane caster, but a party where 6th level casting is peak will raise book 5 and 6's difficulty significantly.

I will kind of half-disagree with Warped Savant slightly as far as moral ambiguity. Through books 1 and 2, there is no clear antagonist. You have some A-Holes here and there (mysterious cult, some N Pharasmins with a capital N, and some adventurers), but nobody outright bad ('cept maybe the shadow demon thing in Book 2). Book 3 and 4 give some nice antagonists (Tephu Government in book 3 and the Cult in book 4), but really until the Sightless Sphinx, you're not dealing with anything really *BAD*, just some apparent anarchists. Book 5 and 6 have clear goals against an antagonist, who's methods are decidedly more evil-with-an-E than Forgotten Pharaoh's drug dealing suicidal cultist. A self-serving party of greedy bastards will be able to profit just as nicely as a goody two-shoes party wanting to save Osirion.

Here are some of the more prolific topics in this AP's forum.

Bossfights: Harder Hakotep

Complaints: Dissapointed?

Deserts: Easy Desert?


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OH! During the research in book 2 the group learns about an object in a major city!
Which can easily lead the group to think they're supposed to head there.
To prevent that, I had newspapers (technically "Broadsides") as something that was printed in Wati. For the first book, the group used it as a source of information about the other adventuring groups (and I used it as a way to give updates on some of the groups as well). They also appreciated the fact that their exploits were being talked about.
In book 2, I used it to report on the theft of said object being stolen from a major city. It got rid of that red herring as I really didn't want to have to deal with them going there and learning that there was nothing to be gained. (That being said, if they had their heart set on going there I probably would've added in an adventure against cultists and dropped some hints about who stole the thing.)

archmagi1 wrote:
I will kind of half-disagree with Warped Savant slightly as far as moral ambiguity. Through books 1 and 2, there is no clear antagonist. You have some A-Holes here and there (mysterious cult, some N Pharasmins with a capital N, and some adventurers), but nobody outright bad ('cept maybe the shadow demon thing in Book 2). Book 3 and 4 give some nice antagonists (Tephu Government in book 3 and the Cult in book 4), but really until the Sightless Sphinx, you're not dealing with anything really *BAD*, just some apparent anarchists.

This is very true. Not all of the enemies are black and white. There are some people that are going against the PCs goals that they can't just kill. (Book 2 is an amazing example of that).

And although the antagonists aren't clear in the first two books, it's fairly clear which enemies to kill and which ones you can't.
(I should've said that it's much more straightforward than the games I'm used to running.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you very much for the advice! I will take that to heart.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

This was the only Pathfinder AP I ran, but I’ve run APs in 3E and played a handful of Pathfinder APs. We rotate DM in my group. I ran the AP straight through.
1. I ran it for a party of 6-7 experienced players (varied by session). I boosted the number of mooks in the first half, then under-leveled my party and boosted mooks in the second half to keep some level of challenge. I highly recommend Harder Hakotep as others say above, but you’ll know long before your players get there if you need to juice the enemies.
2. This AP ranks medium on most lists ranking APs. I think it is better than it ranks. It is an AP that is better to play than to read, and what counts is how it plays.
3. Many APs suffer from introducing a new, stronger villain that has been there all along pulling the strings, but the party just did not know about that person until voila, we’re starting a new book. Mummy’s Mask does not suffer from this and it all plays very smoothly. Amazingly, although it does not suffer from this problem, it is possible to early exit the AP after the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th books. I still recommend running it all the way through, but it is an option you have and the story will seem coherent.
4. The toughest story parts to manage: 1) your treasure hunters have to become at least somewhat altruistic in book 2. It should not be hard to get a party to fight undead, but if your party is really mercenary, they could balk. I think this concern is more theoretical. 2) there is a possible red herring that could lead your party off the path to Sothis, as noted above.
5. I found it very helpful to print a black and white copy of every map and on that map pencil in any enemies, pencil in any traps (and DCs) and pencil in any skill checks needed to gain additional information on the map.
6. I had a player really invest in finding traps. To make traps more interesting I tried to add a trap to 1 room in each dungeon and add it to a room with a battle. So I had the rogue racing to disarm traps that were doing some harmful effect to the party in rounds until disarmed. For example, in a room where monsters are immune to fire add a column that shoots gouts of fire out during the fight until the rogue rushes there to disarm it. I wanted more dynamic traps …. More like Indiana Jones, and I did not want exploration/traps to be a thing where I’m talking to the player of the rogue and everyone else spaces out. And the DC varied based on the action (free, swift, move, standard, full-round) so a rogue with a very high disable device still benefits from that high skills as mid-fight he’s disarming traps very easily. Rogue feels good.
7. My favorite fight is easy to miss when you just read through…it’s the fight in the chasm at the end of book 3. I used blocks to indicate the three dimensions and the bridges, and had waves of enemies coming out as they prepared for the fight. It was a 19 round battle – very cool.
8. I also recommend reading the thread for each book. Lots of tips there. One person suggested making the end of book 5 a “hold the line” battle over 50 rounds. I did that and it also went well. People who make durable characters occasionally like to see a combat reward durability.


drsparnum wrote:
2. This AP ranks medium on most lists ranking APs. I think it is better than it ranks. It is an AP that is better to play than to read, and what counts is how it plays.

Totally agree! I really enjoyed reading it but wasn't sure how the play-through would go but it ended up being my favourite "classic style" AP.

drsparnum wrote:
6. ...I tried to add a trap to 1 room in each dungeon and add it to a room with a battle...

Amazing idea! I wish I had seen this advice before I ran the AP!

drsparnum wrote:
7. My favorite fight is... the fight in the chasm at the end of book 3...

My groups most memorable fight too! Very dynamic fight with interesting terrain. Keep in mind that enemies not immediately involved / placed where the fighting starts will hear the sound of battle and join in when you, the GM, finds it to be most appropriate and dramatic.

drsparnum wrote:
8. ...One person suggested making the end of book 5 a “hold the line” battle over 50 rounds...

I did the same thing. My group set up a few walls and would recast as required. They also summoned a planar ally. After about 15 rounds their tactics were so well set up that I ended to narrating how the rest of it went. (Group was a paladin, life oracle, arcanist, and Relic Raider rogue. They were disgustingly amazing.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@drsparnum or @Warped Savant - Where can I find the thread about the 50 round hold the line encounter? That sounds great, but I can't seem to find the thread. Do you have a link to it? Thank you!


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KingGramJohnson wrote:
@drsparnum or @Warped Savant - Where can I find the thread about the 50 round hold the line encounter? That sounds great, but I can't seem to find the thread. Do you have a link to it? Thank you!

Here it is: Leedwashere's "Hold the Line" changes


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you!

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