Fate Adventure: TOMB ENOUGH FOR TWO

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For this week’s entry, I was going to just go through my toy box and make a bestiary entry based on that one monster. However, I realized that my toy box includes a massive amount of plastic skeletons that I have not had the pleasure of using yet. They’re vaguely Egyptian themed and sand-colored, and that reminded me of Frank Turfler Jr.’s Stuff for Storytellers and Game Masters Patreon, Patreon, which just released an Egyptian tomb tile set. (I bought into it myself to get a set, and wasn’t disappointed!) Thus, this week, we give you a mummy-tastic supernatural comedy one-shot adventure!

Waiter? Can you top me off? (Offering_vessel_of_Pepi_I.jpg - credits see below)

Waiter? Can you top me off? (Offering_vessel_of_Pepi_I.jpg – credits see below)

TOMB ENOUGH FOR TWO

Preface

Rules: This setting uses our own mod of Fate Core, named Skeleton Crew. However, I’ve included side-by-side swaps for using Fate Core. Likewise, it shouldn’t be too hard to convert to FAE or your personal hack.

Characters: This adventure does not include Player Characters- it’s assumed that you can make your own, or just drop this adventure into your current campaign. We recommend at least one character that is good in a combat (fight, shoot) and/or physical tasks (athletics, physique). We also recommend at least one character that is good at gathering clues (translators and archaeologists are ideal). If your group does not contain one of the above, it might be a good idea to add an NPC bodyguard or a professor that they can control. If you need some, there are plenty of pre-made characters in the Skeleton Crew RPG rulebook, and there’s still time to sign up for the free open Beta test (just send us a note.) Simple NPC enemies are provided, but feel free to alter them as you see fit.

Humor: This is a comedic adventure, although it might not show it at first. Humor typically works in one of two different forms: Short Form and Long Form. Short form has the humorous premise established pretty earlier, and revisits it constantly. (Example: like telling a string of light-bulb jokes.) Long form jokes build to the comedy slowly, so the joke is not obvious until near the end. An impatient audience may lose interested before the payoff, but sometimes the anticipation sweetens the final, comical reveal (Ex. the knock knock – banana joke. http://jokes.cc.com/funny-food-jokes/panmgr/knock–knock—-banana) This adventure is a Long Form joke – we advise all GMs to read the adventure before starting, so they have an idea of what the payoff is- however, do not give too many hints, as you don’t want them to get the full nature of the adventure until at least halfway through.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW! PCS READ NO FURTHER!


FLUFF: A team of archaeologists in Cairo were investigating a newly discovered catacomb. On the midnight of March 1, the skeletons and mummies they were studying sprang to life and attacked, driving the archaeologists off. No one has been able to enter it since, although those brave enough to get within earshot swear that they hear the din of combat. Are they training for combat, to take on the mortal world? Your mission: investigate the threat and secure the tomb.

(Relocating: If you don’t feel like trekking your team to Egypt, you could move the site: maybe it takes place in a History museum, or in the secret tunnels beneath the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas.)

Waiter? Can you top me off? (Offering_vessel_of_Pepi_I.jpg - credits see below)

Waiter? Can you top me off? (Offering_vessel_of_Pepi_I.jpg – credits see below)

Egyptian_funerary_stela

Maybe people in ancient times didn't have any arms. Look at the Venus De Milo.  (Haute_Egypte_Sculpture_au_crépuscule - see credits below)

Maybe people in ancient times didn’t have any arms. Look at the Venus De Milo.
(Haute_Egypte_Sculpture_au_crépuscule – see credits below)

What’s Really Going On: GMs, go ahead at the “What’s Really Going On” down at the bottom of the document. It will put the rest of this mystery in context.

SCENE 1 – THE SCUFFLE

As you approach the main entrance hall, the murmur of battle becomes a roar. In the entrance hall, there stand over a dozen skeletal warriors, fighting viciously amongst themselves. They seemed to be divided into two factions: half are bedecked in red and turquoise, half in black and green.

Conflict- The skeletons are too busy in their scuffle to talk, and will drag anyone close enough into the fray. Have the players recommend situation aspects for the chamber, and then start the conflict.

SKELETON FANATICS
There are two or four mobs of Skeletons, each with 3 skeletons in it.
Skeletons are puppets of dried bone, controlled by a necromantic magic from the outside.

Skeleton Aspects

  • Undead—Skeletons are undead, and as such, might have weaknesses to holy magic, silver, and other magical purities
  • No Pain
  • Rattling Bones.
  • Fanatical
  • Infighting!

Stunts:

  • Autonomous Parts—It is possible for a skeleton’s body part to keep moving, even after it has been severed from the rest of the body.
AVERAGE (+1)
Physique +1 and Fight +1 (per skeleton)
Stress: One stress box per skeleton

Conflict Special Rules: The two sides are fighting each other, but don’t openly have them roll to attack each other. Instead, at the end of any exchange after all players and NPCS have taken their turn, roll one fate die for each side: on a -, that side has one of the mobs reduced by 1 skeleton / stress, as the other skeletons take out one of their number. If you roll a +, ADD on stress / skeleton to that mob, as a previously stunned fighter rejoins the fray. Remember, the skeleton mobs also have the aspect “Infighting,” which can be invoked or compelled against a mob, to demonstrate the other side getting in the way.

Once the scuffle is over, the majority of the remaining skeletons don’t get up, having been returned to death or unconscious.

Any Investigation of them yields:

Physical Clues – They appear to be some form of militias, wielding cheap weapons like clubs and chains. The fighters have some cheap ornaments of bronze and clay, implying lower class.

Interrogation: If interrogating, see scene 2 for ideas about what they reveal.


SCENE 2 – The Locked Room

The next room is a dead end. Colorful murals decorate the walls, including two strong figures facing each other; the first, a female warrior, wears green & black; the male figure wears red & turquoise. Each carries a chalice. (Thorough Investigation yields: each figure is also holding an orb in their other hand.)

Very quickly, the group will realize that there is no obvious way through. There might be some sort of secret door… (spoiler: there is.)

Gathering clues: members can gather clues any number of ways, including:

  • Decipher the hieroglyphics on the walls
  • Communing with the dead
  • Interrogating any defeated fighters (assuming they speak Egyptian, have a high tech translator device, or are very good with reading body language).

When the players attempt to investigate (overcome rolls), they receive the following info:

Info A. Historical investigation – info about why everyone’s there, and what’s at stack. Depending on how well or poorly they decipher the reading, give them the Bad, Okay, or Good translation.

BAD TRANSLATIONS – Surface war fighters stork two. Victor eyeball control group cup of no death and army big-number [lost word] big-number.

OKAY TRANSLATION –There are two types of heroes must face fighters against each other . Victor have a cup of immortality and control the hordes 500 [lost word]

GOOD TRANSLATION – There are two champion fighters shall face off against each other. The victor shall possess the Chalice of Immortality, and control 500 legions [damaged word] 5000 years.

Info B. There is a secret door on one of the three walls.

Info C. Opening the Door – After they’ve slogged through the backstory info, they can find the info regarding the door. The inscription reads:

To open the door, one must speak the password.”

The password, of course, is Egyptian for “the password.” (If you’re interrogating someone, insert “Who’s on first?” routine here.) However, if the players struggle with this, you can also accept other passwords. Examples: “open sesame”; “swordfish”, “mellon,”etc. If players are STILL stumped, you can have them “discover” further hieroglyphics giving hints like, “the password is the password,” and “No, really, it’s password. Say password. Say it.”

Once they get through the door, they should arrive at:


SCENE 3. The Gates –

The next room is an antechamber of sorts, leading through a gate. On the other side appears to be a much larger chamber, perhaps an arena. Skeletons are lining up to get to the other side. [Inspection reveals: they are each holding crumbled papyrus papers.]

At the gate’s entrance are two MASSIVE figures: they are stone Sphinxes that have been animated through potent magic. They stand watch over the gateway, only allowing those with the papyrus papers to go through. If the players are to go through, they will have to get past the Sphinxes.

Getting past: It’s up to you and the players how they are to get past. If they attempt to get physical and fight or shove their way, we recommend you have the sphinxes beat them up for an exchange or two- after their butts are handed to them, quickly offer the chance for the players to concede, rather than be taken out. Players will have much better luck trying to bluff or talk their way through (mental conflict), try to steal tickets of their own (challenge), or try to slip past them (contest.)

SPHINX STATUES

Sphinx Aspects:

  • Stone-cold
  • No one gate-crashes ME!
  • Riddles? Better be a good one
  • Just doing my job

SKILLS

  • Physique +8, Fight +8
  • Will +4, Athletics +4
  • Empathy +3, Notice +3

STRESS
Physical: O O O O O
Mental: O O O

Stunts:

  • Shrug—May Use Physique to defend against any type of physical attack.
  • Nerves of Steel – Sphinx are immune to any Intimidation (Provoke) attempts from monsters trying to scare them with their appearance. In order to scare the sphinxes, you’d need some type of leverage.

If they can get past them in some way…


SCENE 4. The Arena –

Any groups that make it to the next area find themselves in a massive underground arena. Hundreds of skeletal forms sit in the stands, howling and cheering. In the middle stand half a dozen combatants, waiting patiently for the games to begin.

An announcer proclaims (in something that you can hopefully translate,) that the contest is about to begin. The winner of the contest will receive the Chalice of Immortality. The announcer also calls into the crowd to ask if there are in the audience brave enough to join in. (Hopefully, the players will willingly jump in; if not, it’s a great time to compel some aspect, ex. Having an angry PC get taunted by a combatant into jumping in; having a clumsy player slip over the railing into the ring.) Once you have a PC involved, ask if any other PCs want to jump in too.

The officiators divide the contestants into their own separate areas, and then hand them what they are competing with: BALLS & CUPS!! That’s right, the old children’s toy, involving getting the ball on the string to go into the cup.

This contest is held like a Contest between the pc against the skeletal contestants. The first side to catch the ball three times (3 victories) wins! The NPC contestants will not initiate any dirty tactics, but if anyone attempts to sabotage them, they will respond in kind.

SKELETON CONTESTANTS

Treat all skeleton contestants as one opposing force.

Skeleton Aspects

  • Undead—Skeletons are undead, and as such, might have weaknesses to holy magic, silver, and other magical purities
  • Infighting!

Stunts:

  • Autonomous Parts—It is possible for a skeleton’s body part to keep moving, even after it has been severed from the rest of the body.
FAIR (+2)
Athletics +2

Physique +1 and Fight +1

Consequence : One minor consequence box

If the players win, they move on to the next round! If they fail, they must either be removed from the field (but keep them close, if they want to crash the main event), or force them to give up something valuable to bribe the judges.


SCENE 5. THE FINAL ROUND

Afterwards, the players learn that the contest they just joined was the semi-finals. The finals will now start, between your players and the champions: two massive mummies. The first is Isit-Senaktemyet, clad in red and turquoise; and second is Neferfret, clad in Green and Black. The referees also roll out the Chalice of Immortality (which looks suspiciously like the Stanley Cup). If the players are eliminated, it might be good to repeat the part how the holder of the cup will gain control of 500 hundred legions.

For the final round, the ball-and-cup match has become full-contact! The champions wield giant ball-and-cup flails, with spiked metal balls. Technically, the rules are thrown out for this match, but the referees are a bit biased against the players, and can be compelled to get in the player’s way.

MUMMY CHAMPIONS
If life equals magic, than mummies are corpses with their internal life force preserved inside them by mystical rites. While some occur naturally, the greatest mummies are princes and princesses interred by dozens of powerful sorcerers, in the hopes they will rise again.

Mummy Aspects:

  • Undead—Mummies are undead, and as such, might have weaknesses to holy magic, silver, and other magical purities
  • Tougher than Jerky
  • Fire BAAAD!
  • Cup & Ball of Death (of Death)* – see stunts

Stunts:

  • Thick Skin—May Use Physique to defend against Shoot Attacks (except for fire or heat-based shots.)
  • Touch of Death (Good +3 only)—If the Mummy deals 2 or more Stress on an Attack, the defender must take a Minor Consequence, if it is not taken already.
  • Cup & Ball of Death – While the mummies are armed with the Cup and Ball of Death, they have Fight +5- if they can be disarmed, it’s lowered to Fight +3.
SUPERB (+5)
Physique +5, Fight +5* (see stunts)

Athletics +3;

Sixth Sense (Notice) +2, Intimidate (Provoke) +2,

Mythos (Lore) +1, Will +1

Stress:
Three stress boxes—a three shift hit is enough to take them out.
Consequences: Minor and Moderate Consequence each

Conflict Special Rules: Play to the crowd – While the whole “catch the cup in the ball” part is basically forgotten at this point, any character who still possesses a ball-and-cup may attempt, as their turn, to use create an advantage to catch the ball- if successful, it which drives the crowd WILD, resulting in a morale-based aspect. The first time this is used, the difficulty is only +2, but the difficulty increases each consecutive time by +1 (as the ball catches have to be increasingly fancy to catch the crowd’s favor.)


EPILOGUE – SCENE 6. THE CHALICE!

The last person standing receives the Chalice of Immortality-if several PCs still remain standing, have them decide amongst themselves who deserves it (by fighting or playing ball-and-cup if need be.) The winner is given the cup, with the entire stadium cheering. They will be a bit disappointed to learn that the gift of “immortality” is a figurative one- they will get their name engraved on the chalice and on the arena wall, and will thus “live forever” (except, not really.) Also, the 500 legions will follow the champion, should they still be around in 5000 years, when the skeletons next wake up. Even as that information is given to them, the skeletons of the area start falling back asleep, waiting until the next contest.

As a consolation price, the winner does get five skeleton fans, who stay conscious through sheer will power. These five will follow the new champion around, doing odd favors around the house, and carrying their equipment on adventures. The PC gains an aspect or stunt to reflect their new minions.


SPOILER:

What’s really going on: The skeletons and mummies have resurrected for a sports competition. The sport: ball and cup (the toy where you catch the ball in the cup.) Ball and cup might not have been an actual Egyptian game, but it’s still plenty old, so who cares? In this adventure, it’s as big as the Super Bowl or the World Cup, complete with diehard fans and football hooligans in the front room. (If this seems ridiculous, Rome actually had riots in the streets due to the fans of rival charioteers.) Tease this to the players without revealing it.


Join us next week- in honor of (Re)Generation Who convention, I’ll try a stab at something inspired by Doctor Who!


CREDITS

Offering_vessel_of_Pepi_I.jpg- by Hans Ollermann – from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Offering_vessel_of_Pepi_I.jpg – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The licensor neither endorses me or its use.

Haute_Egypte_Sculpture_au_crépuscule – by Kikuyu3 – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Haute_Egypte_Sculpture_au_cr%C3%A9puscule.jpg – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. The licensor neither endorses me or its use.

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2 thoughts on “Fate Adventure: TOMB ENOUGH FOR TWO

  1. Frank

    Thanks for the support!
    This looks like a really fun adventure.

    As someone still new to Fate I am surprised that my tiles would be useful; I understood Fate to be a very theater of the mind styled game. I’d love to hear how you use them.

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