The Run Away, Part Two – The Oasis of Ket-Septi (A Short Scenario for Cthulhu Invictus).

The investigators must journey to the Oasis of Ket-Septi, located about four days travel from Alexandria, in the hope that this is where the runaway Pet-Amen is heading. Investigators must arrive at there within six days (of the start of the scenario) for on the night of the sixth night Pet-Amen will marry her Father/Uncle Heri-Baset.  Should this happen she’ll be lose much of her humanity in exchange for power and near immortality.

Rumors About the Oasis – Investigators can learn rumors about the Oasis of Ket-Septi or may already know of it (with a successful Know roll if they are native to the province of Egypt). The Oasis of Ket-Septi is a cursed place, but also a haven of sorts.  It is said that people who are doomed to die of illness go to the Oasis and live out the rest of their lives in comfort.  Some say that the progress of diseases is somehow halted at the Oasis of Ket-Septi, so that those suffering from various plagues can live a normal lifespan here.  This has made the oasis little more than a plague camp.

Some whisper that great evil is behind this boon, granting extended life, food, and shelter to these poor wretches in exchange for their service to The Black Pharaoh.  This dark god is said to have once ruled over Egypt as an unholy tyrant, the embodiment of destruction and chaos.  One of his temples is rumored to be at the Oasis of Ket-Septi but no one knows for sure.  No one but the damned go to Ket-Septi and none who enter never leave.

 

Getting to Ket-Septi – Investigators can choose between routes to Ket-Septi, four days by land or three days by river.  The land route takes them along well traveled roads for two days before turning west into the wastelands for another two days. Those traveling by land can purchase a maps (50 sestertius) and must make a successful Navigation to reach the Oasis in four days (failing the roll adds a full day to the trip). Without a map the Navigation check must be made with a -20% penalty.

The river route requires investigators hire a boat (unless they own their own).  No boatman wishes to travel anywhere near the Oasis of Ket-Septi, so they demand a payment of 500 sestertius (20% discount with a successful Bargain roll).  Fast Talk won’t work to convince the captain the investigators are traveling elsewhere as nothing but Ket-Septi lies along that particularly dangerous waterway.  They boat and bargemen working the river say that many vessels are smashed apart and their crews drowned after turning up that particular waterway.

Investigators traveling by river save a day’s worth of travel. They are dropped off half a day’s walk (west) from the Oasis of Ket-Septi.  However they cannot bring any sort of mounts or pack animals with them on the boat. Lastly the boatman will NOT wait for them to return.  Even if they “convince” the crew to remain they are abandoned them as soon as they travel out of sight. The crew does not fear retribution for they are certain the investigators will never return.

 

The Land Ambush – The magi Heri-Baset has set obstacles along the paths leading to the Oasis of Ket-Septi.  The Black Pharoah has giving him power over beasts. Packs of Spotted Hyenas (see Malleus Monstrorum page 266) patrol the overland route leading to Ket-Septi and try to kill any travelers they encounter.  While these animals usually hunt alone or with a mate these packs number 2D4 individual animals. Investigators are sure to be attacked by at least one pack of these vicious, magically charmed predators.  These animal’s eyes are pools of swirling shadows dancing atop blackness, a mark of their enchantment that vanishes upon death.

 

Spotted Hyenas, ensorcelled minions of The Black Pharaoh (2D4)

STR    19          CON   10          SIZ     10

POW  10          DEX   15           Move 12

HP     16          Damage Bonus: +1D4

Weapons:       Bite 30%, damage1D8+db

Armor:             2-points tough hide and fur

Skills:              Sneak 75%, Track 30%.

Sanity Loss:   0/1 Sanity point (for observing their eyes)

 

The River Ambush – With dominion over beasts Henri-Baset has also set guardians along the waterways closest to Ket-Septi.  This time the animals are a pair of large male Hippopotamus (see Malleus Monstrorum page 265) with the same shadows upon darkness eyes as the Spotted Hyenas (see The Land Ambush).  They attack the boat, smashing it apart and sinking it after inflicting 75 HP worth of damage (Keepers should roll their Attack Boat 40%, with successful hits doing 1D8+4+3D6 points of damage). If the boat sinks investigators must swim for shore (2D4 rounds away; Swim check needed for anything above four rounds).  The hippos try to kill anyone in the water (may target the crew of the riverboat).  The animals follow their targets onto land but end any pursuit 100 yards beyond the riverbank.

 

Hippopotamus, ensorcelled minions of The Black Pharaoh (*2)

STR    36          CON   20          SIZ     36

POW  10          DEX   7             Move 7 / 12 swimming

HP     28          Damage Bonus: +3D6

Weapons:       Bite 40%, damage1D8+4+db

Armor:           3-points thick hide

Skills:              Attack Boats 40%, Hide in Water 85%.

Sanity Loss:  0/1 point (for observing their eyes)

 

The Sand Storm – As the investigator approach within a league of the Oasis of Ket-Septi an unnatural sand storm seems to erupt all around them.  Each investigators must make a successful Navigation roll in over to stay together and keep moving in the correct direction.  Those who fail their roll wander back out into the desert and may be separated from their companions (unless measures to prevent this were taken as soon as the storm began). The sandstorm begins to subside to manageable level (but does not cease) once any investigator successful reaches the oasis.

 

The Oasis of Ket-Septi – The Oasis of Ket-Septi is a small body of black stagnant water surrounded by dead trees and the scattered ruins of ancient buildings, monuments, and statues.  A small village lies before the largest, most intact ancient structure (with is 85% buried by sand).  This was once a vast temple complex but now most of it is buried by or was intentionally destroyed when the Cult of the Black Pharaoh was cast down many centuries ago.

 

The Village of the Damned – Once the investigators arrive at the oasis they realize the village has been built at the base of the only relatively intact ancient structure. The village is a ragged collection of about a dozen huts and tents, with shrouds of rags for doors and windows. Slowly a collection of robbed and bandaged figures shuffle out of their hovels.  They move to block the investigators path and make gestures of warning.  They motion for the investigators to depart, shaking small bells attached to staves or wooden rings. None of them speak and the still blowing sand obscures the investigator’s vision like a stinging mist.

If the investigators don’t leave the area the figures come forward, extending their hands forward.  More villagers join them, crawling and shambling out of the huts.  As they come forward the investigators are confronted with the stench of rotting flesh and see maggots writhing about under their bandages.  It becomes horrifyingly clear that villagers have been dead for some time and investigators must make a Sanity Check for 1/1D8.

The dozen villagers are zombies (see Malleus Monstrorum page 260), under the control of Heri-Baset and the Cult of the Black Pharaoh. The creatures attack until destroyed. The zombies don’t kill the investigators; instead they knock them unconscious by reducing them to zero HP via blows. The unconscious investigators are then bound and taken to the temple of the Black Pharaoh for sacrifice.

Cunning investigators can lead the slow moving zombies away from the village and then double back.  As they can outpace the zombies the investigator can then enter the Temple of the Black Pharaoh unmolested.  The zombies only enter the temple if they have a captive, they won’t chase anyone into it.

 

Villagers of the Damned, zombie minions of The Black Pharaoh (*12)

STR    15          CON   16          SIZ     12

POW    1          DEX     7           Move 6

HP     14          Damage Bonus: +1D4

Weapons:       Flailing Blow 30%, damage1D4+db

Armor:           none, but impaling weapons do 1 point of damage, and all others do half rolled damage.

Skills:              Obey Command 99%, Pursue Human Flesh 99%.

Sanity Loss:  1/1D8 Sanity point to see a zombie

 

Optional, The Spear of Amun-Ra – Before the investigators enter the temple they are startled by the cry of a falcon.  They turn to see a majestic looking bird of prey perched atop a nearby stone, toppled from atop a tall monolith.  If the investigators move towards the bird it begins flapping its wings, moving aside the sands below the monument before flying off.  Investigators making a successful Spot Hidden Roll below where the bird was perched notice an item of black lacquer peeking out from below the sand.

If the investigators dig the object out they uncover a beautiful spear in perfect condition decorated with the symbols of the sun and a falcon. The weapon is held in the skeletal grip of an ancient warrior who seems to have been crushed by the monolith block when it fell.  Investigators making an Occult roll realize that bird and symbols of the sun on the spear are symbolic of Amun-Ra, the god of the sun. This weapon causes 1D8 points of damage and is enchanted, which can be employed with good effect against used Heri-Baset, the Undying Magi.

This scene is provided in case Keepers wish to allow their investigators a means of destroying Heri-Baset, should they not already know spells or possess an enchanted weapon.

 

The Temple of the Black Pharaoh – This dark chamber lit by flickering torches is a single massive hall dominated by a huge black statue.  The statue depicts a Pharaoh in royal regalia but its face is a featureless expanse of darkness. The statue’s face appears to shift and swirl like oil atop water, the shadows of dark infinity shimmering atop a pool of midnight.  Investigators may recognize this from the eyes of the enchanted animals they likely encountered on their way to the oasis (see The Land Ambush or The River Ambush).  Anyone looking upon this statue must make a Sanity Check for 1/1D4 points.

As the investigators enter a half dozen cloaked figures emerge from the shadows and move to intercept them (see Guardians of the Black Pharaoh).  Beyond them, at the foot of the statue of the Black Pharaoh, are two figures dressed in ancient Egyptian royal regalia. One is a beautiful young woman who stands stiffly, chanting in a monotone voice as if in a trance (which she is). This is Pet-Amen.  The figure beside her wears a full face mask of featureless black.  This is the undying Magi Heri-Baset. Pet-Amen’s father / uncle, and unless the ritual is stopped, he also become her husband.

 

The Guardians of the Black Pharaoh – These men, human cultists of the Black Pharaoh, try to prevent the infidels from approaching the royal couple.  They toss off their dark cloaks to show they are dressed as ancient royal Egyptian guards and drawl long, curved Khopesh swords. They defend their master and his daughter / niece / bride-to-be, to the death if need be.

 

Guardians of the Black Pharaoh, Minions of Heri-Baset the Undying (*6)

STR: 14           DEX:  11         INT:  10          CON:  15        APP:  10          POW:  13

SIZ:  14           EDU:  12         SAN:  0           Luck:  65         HP:    14          Age:  20’s

Damage Bonus:  +1D4

Skills:              Dodge 40%, Hide 85%, Listen 50%, Sneak 50%, Spot Hidden 45%.

Weapons:       Khopesh 50% 1D8+db, Knife 45% 1D4+db.

Armor:            2-points of leather metal ringed breastplate.

 

Confronting Heri-Baset; The Undying Magi of the Black Pharaoh – If the investigators begin to break through the guardians, Heri-Baset turns from his prayers to the Black Pharaoh to deal with them personally. While standing before the statue the magi can draw upon its power, granting him an additional 20 MP for spell casting.  If forced into physical combat (which he is loath to do) Heri-Baset defends himself with a scepter.  He is no longer a natural human being, having been granted both immortality and immunity to non-magical weapons by The Black Pharaoh.  He can be harmed by fire (shown by his scarred appearance), spells, and enchanted weapons.

If forced to take action he pulls off his mask showing his face to be a mass of charred flesh, missing lips, nose, and eyelids (giving his face a grinning skull like appearance). His eyes have been replaced with large opals, which seem to swirl with darkness like the face of the statue.  Investigators may notice that his palms contain wide open holes. Seeing Heri-Baset without his mask requires investigators make a Sanity Check for 1/1D6.

 

Heri-Baset, The Undying Magi of the Black Pharaoh

STR: 12           DEX:  10         INT:  18          CON:  13        APP:  03          POW:  16

SIZ:  15           EDU:  20         SAN:  00         Luck:  80         HP:    14          Age:  235

Damage Bonus:  none

Skills:              Dodge 30%, and any desired by Keeper.

Weapons:       Scepter 45% 1D4.

Armor:           -1 of charred, scar covered flesh

Defenses:        Cannot be harmed by non-magical weapons.

Spells:             Alter Weather (sandstorms),   Breath of the Sands (Sand based version of Breath of the Deep), Cause Blindness, Charm Animal (Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyena), Create Zombie, Curse of the Putrid Husk, Death Spell, Dominate, Stop Heart, Vanish.

 

Resolution:  If the investigators fail to rescue Pet-Amen before the dawn of the seventh day (after the start of the scenario) the scenario ends in failure.  Pet-Amen weds Heri-Baset and becomes an unnatural, corrupted being; an undying magi in the service of The Black Pharaoh.

The investigators can succeed without killing Heri-Baset by slaying the defenseless Pet-Amen as she stands motionless before the statue of the Black pharaoh.  Without a bride to continue the bloodline Heri-Baset’s goals are thwarted and he flees (via the Vanish Spell).  However, such drastic measures earn the investigators no reward or thanks from Saho Hirrus or his wife Ritho.  At some point in the future Heri-Baset attempts to abduct and marry his other daughter, Ritho, and the whole nightmarish ordeal begins anew.

If the investigators rescue Pet-Amen, likely slaying Heri-Baset in the process, the scenario ends in success. The investigators return her to her family without further incident. Thanks to the spells placed upon her she has little memory of the horrors she witness.  She awakens vaguely remembering that she was nearly forced to marry her father in a perverse ancient ceremony dedicated to The Black Pharaoh.  She is quite happy to have been saved from such a blasphemous fate. Pet-Amen gladly married Nonus Junius Crispin, eager to depart Egypt and join her husband at his posting in Germania.  She never returns to her homeland.

 

Sanity Awards

For Destroying the Villagers of the Damned                                     +1D8 Sanity Points

For Destroying Heri-Baset, The Undying Magi                                 +1D4 Sanity Points

For Rescuing Pet-Amen and returning her alive to Alexandria          +1D6 Sanity Points

For Killing Pet-Amen                                                                         -1D6 Sanity Points

 

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