Somewhere out on the frontiers, in another age, in another time there was a desert, ruled by kings who were gods. The tombs they built to preserve their earthly souls after death survived the world they knew, and now this one stands still, just. A few individuals and defences still hang on too, destroying those who would defile the holy corpse of the King-Priest.
Terrors:1 - Sand-Sealed Soldiers: Trapped in sealed chambers, stood in their ranks, the sand poured in an eternal vigil. Opening certain doors will release them.
2 - The Scorpion Sisters: Spirits of the desert bound to the tombs by an ill-considered deal. Like a centaur only the horse parts are giant scorpions. Guard the Promenade of Heroes.
3 - Desert Hunger Spirits: They remain clinging to the edge of the tomb-complex, held at bay by the sun disk. Their prey end up husks, withered and dry.
4 - Curse-Seals: Hold fast the great stone doors of the tombs. If broken by intruders, they release the curses that are stored inside.
5 - Guardians of the Royal Souls: Canopic-Statue-Guardians, holding the sacred organs within their chests. Imbued with divine purpose.
6 - The Many-Lords of Rot: A rival power to the King-Priest, a hive mind of worms, locusts, beetles. They would feast on the royal souls.
Treasures:1 - The King's Riches: Much gold, animated servile statuary, gems, jewels, scepters, oh my!
2 - The Sun Disk: Blazes with golden light, the power of the sun. Blasts of incandescent flame blast and repel spirits and the inhuman, at least those without the seal of the King.
3 - The Moon Blade: Blazes with a cold blue flame, the power of the moon. Harms and subdues ghosts and other such otherwise immune undead.
4 - Preserved Remains: Alchemically potent through the weight of passing centuries, academic types would pay through the nose for them.
5 - Historical Information: Requires some serious translation work, but the context it would provide historians is invaluable.
6 - Salt: Just like loads of salt. Loads of it. It was valuable back then! Still worth something now.
Features:1 - Defeated Defilers: Blackened and twisted and contorted, held in place forever. The ghosts of some rage nearby. Some still clutch treasure in dried and oily hands.
2 - Small Shrines: Here there are ancient and crooked priests who can cleanse you of your sins, if you bring a proper offering.
3 - The Promenade of Heroes: Many columns depicting and retelling the tales and legends of ancient adventurers and heroes. Offer clues about the contents of minor tombs and the grand pyramid.
4 - Scarab-People Scavengers: They too seek the treasures and wonders of the city, travellers from the roving tent-city of their people. They have trinkets for sale, and would perhaps buy ones you find.
5 - Houses of the Dead: Here the corpses of the worthy underwent their journey to eternity. Now they are cold and empty of all but the many jars and urns of salt.
6 - Titan of the King's Judgement: The Doom of Sinners, but blind to the unblemished. The weak point is at the base of the skull; it is unguarded, but hard to access.
Ancilliary TablesThe Holy Souls of the King-Priest
First is the Soul, then the organ that it inhabited, then the head of the Guardian, and finally the power of the Guardian.
1 - The Name - The Teeth and Tongue - Jackal - Taunting and disorienting cackles and whispers.
2 - The Shadow - The Liver - Crow - A paralysing shadow, which animates and grapples you.
3 - The Soul - The Stomach - Hippo - A bite attack which grapples on a hit.
4 - The Mind - The Eyes - Ibis - Fights with a bow which fires feather arrows.
5 - The Breath - The Lungs - Hawk - Flight on great skeletal wings.
6 - The Body - The Spine - Crocodile - Armour, which it can partially shed to regenerate.
7 - The Blood - The Heath - Bull - Flaming Aspect, which intensifies as it bleeds.
1 - Swarms of Locusts pour forth from the shattered seal.
2 - The one that broke the seal magically ages a year each day.
3 - Each week, one of the family of the one who broke the seal is compelled to commit suicide.
4 - Creeping Petrifciation spreads from the limbs that broke the seal.
5 - Water turns into Sand in the mouth of the one that broke the seal.
6 - The one that broke the seal is always on the verge of heat-stroke, even in the snow.
7 - The eyes of the one that broke the seal turn to scarabs which will live in the sockets.
8 - The Black Jackal of Doom follows the one who broke the seal, it hounds them.
9 - A Creeping Flame sets in the air, spilling like mist from the broken seal.
10 - Water won't stop pouring from the broken seal.
11 - The Guardians of the Royal Souls always score critical hits on the one who broke the seal.
12 - The one who broke the seal becomes deathly vulnerable to sunlight.
Sin and the Titan
The titan is a vengeful guardian of the Great Pyramid. Its empty eyes see only the sins of trespassers, and the blameless are invisible to it. Every other round it makes an attack against a sinner, determined randomly, though it has double chances to target the most sinful individual it can see and reach. It rolls to hit with only a d20, modified by the amount of sin the target has accumulated.
Each sin is counted up individually, and each sin must be atoned for individually. For each category that you have 3 or more sins of, the titan gains +1 on to hit rolls against you. If you have 10+ sins in total, the Titan hits you automatically.
1 - Breaking a Curse-Seal
2 - Destroying one of the Guardians of the Royal Souls
3 - Stealing Funerary Gifts
4 - Trespassing in Sacred Spaces (i.e. the burial/treasure chambers of minor tombs, and any chamber on the third and fourth levels of the Great Pyramid)
First is the name of the Shrine, then the price that must be paid for atonement, finally the benefit it provides.
Each shrine only occurs once in the Tomb-City, further rolls of previously discovered shrines indicate another entrance to it.
1 - House of Names: A Tooth - Atones for all sins gained from destroying guardians of the royal souls.
2 - Pit of Unburdening: Only the pain of being thrown into the Pit (20 feet deep), and remaining there for 1 hour - Atones for all of one random type of sin.
3 - Table of the Feast: Salt for further meat, at least a pound - Merely a safe haven, laden with food.
4 - Shrine of Red Release: 1 constitution point's worth of Blood - Atones for all sins gained from breaking Curse-Seals
5 - Cells of Contemplation: A Day's worth of fasting and meditating - Reduces each count of each sin you have down to 2.
6 - Pools of Cleansing: A deep and jagged cut, dealing 1 point of damage for each hit die you have - Breaks a curse that affects your character.
7 - Temple of Judgement: 10% of all gold carried on your person - Atones for all sins gained from stealing Funerary Gifts.
8 - House of Confession: A penalty of 1 to all d20 rolls you make for the rest of the day - Atones for all sins gained from Trespassing in Sacred Spaces.
Defeated and Cursed Defilers
They are all black and shrivelled by age, their skin slightly sticky and greasy, and they are frozen in their current poses. Trying to rearrange any part of them will snap off the part in question.
Each has a 3 in 6 chance of manifesting its ghost, and a further 3 in 6 chance to have its treasure somewhere on its person. Ghosts can't stray out of sight of their body. If a defiler has both a treasure and a ghost, the treasure is almost certainly the cause of their suffering.
Each Defiler can be encountered multiple times, until it is encountered with either its ghost or treasure. It cannot be encountered again after that.
1 - Frozen in a convulsion of pain - ghost only wishes for mercy - treasure is a ruby carved like a fire
2 - Pinned to a wall - ghost fights to the bitter, bitter end - treasure is a masterwork spear-head, needs re-hafting.
3 - Face-down in the sand - ghost is a cruel thief - treasure is a pouch full of old gold coins.
4 - Curled up, feotal, wracked with fear - ghost cowers in the corner and waves a knife desperately at any who draw near - treasure is a golden ring, set with a tiny rat skull.
5 - Decapitated and dropped - ghost is headless, and swings a blade around wildly - treasure is a canopic jar with a preserved organ inside (roll on the Holy Remains to see which organ it is, though it is never the kings actual organs of course).
6 - Torn in half and discarded - ghost desperately tries to scoop its organs back inside its ruined form - treasure is a golden plate bearing mystical rites for burials.
7 - Bloated and disfigured by a scorpion sting - ghost spews poison and miasmas, it can't help itself - treasure is a cursed, lapis lazuli scorpion.
8 - Aged to a thin and broken nothing - ghost is an ancient old man, wracked with age-pains - treasure is a map of the (supposed) afterlife.
9 - Shrivelled and curled by the sun - ghost desperately seeks water - treasure is a beautifully adorned urn full of salt
10 - Nibbled and Chewed by Locusts - ghost is merely a mad swarm of ethereal insects - treasure is a scepter with the end carved in the likeness of a flying insect
11 - On hands and knees, as if desperately crawling away - ghost crawls, throwing up clouds of sand, fights more like a wolf than a man - treasure is an amulet depicting a prowling jackal.
12 - Knelt, sobbing, forever - ghost merely weeps - never any treasure.
Minor TombsEach tomb has a 1 in 6 chance of already having been looted floor to ceiling by Scarab People. They will be selling any of the treasure that would have been inside on a small mat just outside the entrance of the tomb.
Name of the Hero buried there
Each of these tombs can only be encountered once, further rolls of previously discovered tombs indicate another entrance to it.
1 - Ash-Kin-Pal: Master of the Armoury
2 - Sen-Wos-Ret: Conqueror of the Mishaninites
3 - Ren-Qo-Tet: Chosen of the Sun
4 - Fos-Mah-Ning: Breaker of Men
5 - Sir'ik-Toh-Pah: Beloved of Gods
6 - Xer-Man-Yung: Tamer of Crocodiles
7 - Sehk-Met-Hol: 100 Man Slayer
8 - Bah-Sing-Kir: Master of the Walls
9 - Far'aq-Mal-Dur: He who crossed the Desert and Returned
10 - Ihm-Ho-Tesh: Chief Priest of the Little Temples
11 - Seer-Et-Josh: Who died too Young.
12 - Anu-Bish-Shal: Keeper of the Moon-Blade (His Tomb also has the Moon-Blade as its treasure)
The Tomb's Defences
Each tomb will have d4+1 defences.
1 - Hidden Pits with spiked bottoms.
2 - A Curse-Sealed Door.
3 - A Maddening Labyrinth.
4 - An Animated Guardian Statue, each has a measure of power over either Fire, Sand, or Light.
5 - Sand-Preserved Soldiers, each turn an exploding d4, with a +1 modifier for each turn the chamber has been open, number of soldiers crawl forth from the sand before rising to attack. More emerge each turn until all 40 have been slain.
6 - A Great Mummified Beast, thrice the size of a Man, and has either immense strength, paralysing venom, or a hypnotic gaze.
7 - Acidic Mists in precariously Balanced Jars.
8 - Spring loaded blades and Spears hidden in the walls.
9 - Trapped Monsters, kept alive by ancient magics, use your favourite random monster table, or one of flaming desert wolves, fog-breathing vultures, or a crocodile-dragon
10 - A Door locked by a Perplexing Riddle.
11 - A Huge Serpent whose scales are miniature sarcophagi for mummified snakes. d4 are released and animate each time the Serpent is hit by an attack.
12 - A Spirit of the Sands, takes the shape of a desert jackal. Contact with it withers you for 1 hit point per level/hit die you have. Is willing to talk, will permit the pious to pass, if they can prove it.
Treasures of the Tombs
(Besides your usual compliment of gold and art objects)
These are the special contents of the final chamber, alongside the sarcophagus and remains of the tomb's owner.
Roll only a d6 to begin with, but cross out each treasure you roll except 'Much More Gold', effectively pushing each lower result one number higher. If you roll higher than you have results for, use the highest available.
1 - Much more Gold
2 - A Magical Blade, it can harm spirits and glows in their presence.
3 - A Sacred Spear, once per day it can be called upon to release light like the sun.
4 - A Statue of a Horse, it obeys the one who wears its amulet, and is in all regards, a stone, tireless, perfectly obedient horse.
5 - An Amulet of a Scarab, it is a brilliant blue. The next time the wearer is targeted by a curse, the amulet takes it on instead, and becomes a dull black, and the curse is nullified. Useless once this happens.
6 - A Pouch of Sand, when a handful is thrown, it creates a great gust of hot, dry wind. Enough for 2d4 such handfuls.
7 - A strangely curved Knife, it can cut apart water like clay; where the knife has sliced, the water cannot fly back, unless encouraged by a hand like reconnecting dough.
8 - A Mummified Crocodile, if ground up and snorted, you experience unsettling visions of the crocodile stalking and eventually killing helpless prey,
9 - A Scroll depicting many old and lost Gods. Worth much to the discerning collector.
10 - Scraps of ancient wisdom on the Arts of Alchemy.
11 - A Golden Crown, those who see you in it are filled with a minor admiration, until you perform an act that would go against their faint respect for you.
12 - A Jar of Ointment. Wounds washed in it will never go septic and heal in the hour. Corpses covered in it will never rot. Enough ointment for 100 wounds, or 10 corpses.
Rooms and Guardians of the Grand PyramidThe Courtyard of the Titan is the outer entrance of the Pyramid. Rooms 2 - 5 are on the first level of the Pyramid. Rooms 6 - 8 are on level 2, rooms 9 - 11 are on level 3, and room 12 is on level 4. Each level is Curse-Sealed, and has a number of Defences (from the minor tombs) equal its level in the corridors connecting each room.
The Sun Disk crests the very peak of the Pyramid.
First, the name of the Room, then a description, finally, any noteworthy contents.
1 - The Courtyard of the Titan: Wide and open, surrounded by pillars - The Titan of the King's Judgement keeps a careful watch for sinners.
2 - Hall of History: A long hall, many murals and depictions of the King-Priest's glorious deeds - a withered old priest who will explain it all to you, at great length.
3 - The Champion's Chamber: A circular chamber, ringed with chest-high braziers, still burning, the floor is covered in sand - The King-Priest's Champion, a master swords man whose blade commands the sands.
4 - The False-Door: A great door-way, only it is no door at all, and is merely solid rock - the False Door is flanked by Animated Guardian Statues.
5 - The Corrupted Chamber: Walls are covered in rot and putrefaction, leaking from a cage in the centre of the room - in the cage is a Many-Lord of Rot, bound in place with mystic sigils.
6 - Shrine of Contemplation: A small altar, bearing a replica of the Sun-Disk, and ringed with incense burners, still full - no other contents, it is a sin to trespass in this sacred space without leaving an offering, or if you make any sound beyond your footsteps.
7 - The Pristine Pools: 5 pools, one inside a ring of the other four, cleanses curses from those who bathe in them - a white-scaled Water Spirit in the shape of a serpent desires fine music and proper respect to allow entry to the pools.
8 - The Cult Chamber: At the centre of the room is a huge statue of the King-Priest, a place to worship his departed divinity - an Invisible Sand Spirit attacks those who do not show proper respect to the shrine and leave suitable offerings.
9 - The Model Chamber: A grand table sits at the centre of the room - on the table rests a miniature model of the city, any change made to the model is physically reflected in the real city over the next hour, as if an army of invisible servants carve it away or build it up (which is in fact, exactly what is happening).
10 - The Treasure Chamber: Vast piles of wealth, stacked as high as a man - as soon as even one coin is removed from its pile, 3 Sand-Sealed Soldier chambers open.
11 - The Queen's Tomb: Plainer than you might expect, a reasonably sized sarcophagus lies in the centre of the room - the Ghost of the Old Queen dwells in this chamber, she is quite friendly, and is not angered by tomb-robbing, just very, very disapproving of it. She knows all about the Grave-City, as she helped design it. Can (and indeed, is eager to) tell you any secret about it if you stay on her good side. A bot touchy about being dead.
12 - The Burial Chamber of the King-Priest: Huge, and high roofed, many opulent murals - the King-Priest's Sarcophagus, and the 7 Guardians of the Royal Souls. Should all the Guardians be destroyed, and the King's Corpse revealed, there will be One More Complication.
The King's Corpse bears: a Royal Scepter, 6 Holy Rings, A Might Amulet, and its left hand is clad in gold and heals at a touch of the fore-finger.
One More Complication
1 - A Many Lord of Rot emerges from the shadows. It has followed you for some time now, and it demands the holy organs and flesh of the King-Priest, as revenge for an ancient wrong.
2 - The Tomb has started to collapse! There's only time to grab one thing each if you don't wish to risk death.
3 - The Corpse of the King rises, ready to interact with the party.
4 - Each individual member of the party is inflicted with a Curse as if they had broken a Curse-Seal. Curses that would pour out of a broken Curse-Seal, instead tear holes in the palms of the PC's hands, and pour forth from that with a great deal of pain.
5 - The Desert Shadows, an order of Mystic-Knights devoted to the old line of King-Priests will not rest until the Party have atoned for their trespasses and returned any the stolen Royal Souls, or been butchered to a man.
6 - A section of each of the four walls drops away, revealing a chamber each of Sand-Preserved Soldiers. They will fight until totally destroyed.
Random Encounters in the Tomb-City (2d6)Roll every 10 minutes of searching. Do not roll at any other time, even night. The city is utterly dead.
2 - Scarab-People Scavengers (roll reaction with advantage), they seek to plunder one of the minor tombs
3 - A Friendly(ish) band of high-born "Archaeologists", hopelessly inexperienced and under-equipped. They will probably die if they remain without help.
4 - A Wandering Ghost, of either an old priest, a tired soldier, or a murderous defiler.
5 - A Minor Shrine (there are up to 8 of these, rolling a duplicate shrine indicates you have stubbled across another entrance)
6 - 3d4 Bone-thin Wolves (1d4 less each time it is encountered, when no d4 are left, it is only a single, dead wolf)
7 - A Defiler
8 - An Animated Guardian Statue, each has a measure of power over either Fire, Sand, or Light. There are 12 wandering the Tomb-City, further rolls indicate only a pile of rubble.
9 - A Minor Tomb (there are up to 12 of these, rolling a duplicate tomb indicates you have stubbled across another entrance)
10 - A Rival Band of Adventurers, experienced, equipped well, and armed to the teeth. There are as many as 2 in the Tomb-City at any one time. They can change over time.
11 - A Spirit of the Sands, taking either the shape of a Sphinx, A Great Serpent, or a Giant Skeleton.
12 - A Many-Lord of Rot (roll reaction with disadvantage)