"The Mask of Anubis" - Adventure for Deadlands

Back to The Mask of AnubisThe Mask of Anubis

A Deadlands: Weird Wars Adventure

by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock

Locations: Part 1
Locations: Part 2
The Players
Scenery and Miniatures
Playtest Notes
Avatar of Anubis

Hieroglyphic Mural

The Mask of Anubis - Locations: Part 2

Canopic Chamber

"Dominating this chamber is a marvelous shrine, covered in gold. Along the top of each side are lined up multiple figures of cobra heads, each surmounted by the aton - or sun disc. Four golden goddesses stand as if guarding the shrine, one on each side, each with a different ornament upon her head. On the walls are more murals, and at the far end is a double doorway - different from the door plugs encountered up to this point. In the northwest and southeast corners of the room are the only items of treasure to be seen other than the canopic shrine itself: two gilded rods, each having a representation of a feather - the Ma'at - at its base."

The canopic shrine holds four jars that hold the organs of Aye - and which store revitalizing energies. Their purpose is that, if arranged properly around Aye's sarcophagus, they will awaken him, revitalize him ... and open up the sarcophagus while he is being rejuvenated. If anyone thinks to carefully observe the positions of the canopic jars in the shrine before taking them, they might think to put them in the same positions around the sarcophagus. Otherwise, there are clues on the murals.

To get to the canopic jars, any one of the goddess statues must be removed, and then a panel that the statue was "guarding". All four sides may be opened in this way, and all four statues removed. (The statues, incidentally, make great treasure items for greedy PCs.)

If it is observed which goddess is standing in which direction, the murals can provide a clue that each of the goddesses is associated with a different one of the Sons of Horus, and thus providing a link to which side of the sarcophagus each jar (bearing an image of one of the sons of Horus on each) should be placed.

Sons of Horus

There are four canopic jars, each of them topped with a decorative stopper fashioned into the shape of a head of man or beast:

  • Hapi (the Baboon) - guards the Lungs, and is located on the east side, along with Isis (who is identified by having a throne upon her head - though in later eras she's sometimes depicted wearing the crown of Hathor: a sun disc framed by cow horns).
  • Duamutef (the Jackal) - (sometimes confused with Anubis) - guards the stomach, and is located on the north side, along with Neith (who is identified by having a crown upon her head).
  • Imseti (the Man) - guards the liver, and is located on the west side, along with Nephthys (who is identified by having a cup upon her head).
  • Qebehsenuef (the Falcon) - guards the intestines, and is located on the south side, along with Selkis (who is identified by having a scorpion upon her head).
  • Murals on the wall show images of the goddesses and the sons of Horus in pairs, thus showing a relationship between Isis and Hapi, Neith and Duamutef, Nephthys and Imseti, and Selkis and Qebehsenuef.

    Here is a chart of the relationships - including the colors of the jars:


    Golden Motes

    In the northwest and southeast corners of the chamber, leaning against the walls, are two golden rods, approximately three feet long each, ending in a squat base, with a gilded "feather" (Ma'at) off to one side, attached to the base. These items were traditionally placed in the canopic chamber in this way, and were believed to be magical, conferring protection to the room and its contents. The rods do not actually possess any magical properties, per se, though they qualify as treasure/artifacts, and they also may be considered "holy items" - and thus can be used as clubs against the mummies, doing STR + 1d4 damage in close combat, plus another 2d4 damage for being "holy".

    Sample Times and Awards

    Sample Times Required:

  • Removing Jars From Shrine: 10 minutes
  • Deciphering Hieroglyphs: 10 minutes
  • Sample Awards:

  • Deciphering Hieroglyphs: 10 minutes

  • Burial Chamber

    "The walls of this chamber are covered with murals depicting the achievements of the Pharaoh, Aye, and also women mourning, weeping and casting themselves into pits in anguish over the loss of their beloved leader. In the center of the chamber is a sarcophagus that bears an ornamental representation of the departed's face, as well as a cartouche that bears his royal name. On each side of the sarcophagus, shallow circular indentations can be plainly seen. On the other side of the room, another doorway leads to yet another chamber."

    The sarcophagus holds the body of Aye, and it will defy most conventional means of opening it, save for brute force. If someone tries the brute force method, the sarcophagus has 50 structural points and an AV of 5. A strength roll beating 21 would be required to physically wrench the lid from the sarcophagus.

    Reviving Aye

    The depressions in the floor mark the places where the canopic jars can be placed. If someone tries, they will fit perfectly into the depressions. Hapi (the baboon) belongs on the west side, Duamutef (the jackal) belongs on the north side, Imseti (the man) belongs on the east side, and Qehbehsenuef (the falcon) belongs on the south side, though it's possible to fit the canopic jars in place in any combination.

    If the jars are put into place in the proper order, a low and hollow-sounding moan will echo through the chambers of the tomb, and a stream of vaporous "energy" will issue forth from each canopic jar and toward the sarcophagus. The mortar seal around the lid of the sarcophagus will immediately turn to dust and blow away. At this point, if someone so wishes, the sarcophagus lid can be removed. At this stage, the Posse should be considered to be in rounds. Over the next six rounds, Aye will be rejuvenated by the energies of the canopic jars. Any of his traits and aptitudes will be at 1 die to start with, rising one die each round, until they are either at their maximum, or they reach 6 at turn 6, at which point Aye's characteristics are restored to their listed maximum.

    A number of things will happen over these 6 turns, provided that the heroes don't interrupt the process:

  • Plaster will start to fragment back in the Antechamber, around images of Aye's acolytes that appear in the wall murals. The mummies are awakening.
  • The mummies will burst out of the walls, and make their way to the middle of the chamber, forming a processional line to march up toward Aye's chamber. Any mummies that are not attacked or inhibited by the Posse will ignore them, but any mummy attacked will go after its attacker, and if the Posse stands in the way, the mummies will attack until the way is clear.
  • The sarcophagus lid, if not off already, slides off and hits the ground with a heavy boom that echoes through the tomb.
  • Howling voices echo through the tomb, making it evident to anyone anywhere inside the tomb that something supernatural is going on. Members of the Posse must make Terror checks against a TN of 7. If the Nazis are giving the PCs trouble at this point, they're likely to retreat and regroup outside.
  • Aye's body continues to reconstitute, and the Posse should be given hints that it looks like the unholy process is nearing completion.
  • Aye's body is more or less intact again, though he's still obviously undead, and he spends this round climbing up and out of his sarcophagus.

  • Rude Awakenings

    Events may not necessarily progress this way. While Aye is still "regenerating", someone could opt to swipe the sceptre from his bony hands, making an opposed Strength test against whatever Aye's current Strength is (1d6 at turn 1; 6d6 at turn 6).

    Another thing PCs can do to throw a monkey wrench into the works is to kick over one of the canopic jars - or all four of them. This will prompt Aye to start howling in anguish, and the rejuvenation process will halt. He'll be stuck at his current statistics (which may already be formidable). If someone should grab the sceptre while he's howling, Aye should be considered distracted, and the Marshal should let the PC yank it away without having to make a Strength test.

    Another possibility is that the PCs could just break into the sarcophagus without setting up the canopic jars. In this case, Aye will be awakened, and he won't be very happy ... but he won't be terribly strong, either. The mummies will still be awakened, however, and they will do their best to swat aside intervening members of the Posse, and to find the canopic jars and put them in their proper places so that Aye can be properly refreshed. If the Posse takes out all the mummies, however, then Aye is just stuck in a bind.

    The Shrine Doorway

    There remains another doorway to open, and the Posse might well try tackling it before they bother with Aye. It does not present any easy means of opening, since it is locked. However, anyone who examines the door will discover a hole in the floor right in front of the doorway. Either of the "holy motes" will almost fit into the hole, and a pole or stick might be able to fit there, too. Anyone who makes a TN of 3 or better on tinkerin' or lockpickin' can figure out, upon examining the hole, that this is actually a fairly simple locking mechanism ... no doubt meant for the sceptre to be inserted here, but the sceptre wasn't originally made to be a key. The lock can be easily "picked" with another tinkerin' or lockpickin' roll against a TN of 3. Failure means that the PC can try again - Given enough time, it's easy enough to open, after all.

    If the PCs have the sceptre, it can be fit into the hole, then turned to open the lock, without any rolls required.

    Sample Times and Awards

    Sample Required Times:

  • Fitting canopic jars into depressions (right or wrong combination): 5 minutes
  • Picking door lock: 1 action
  • Wrenching lid off sarcophagus: 10 minutes
  • Sample Awards:

  • Figuring out canopic jar puzzle (even if players are too smart to actually try it): 1 red chip
  • Getting Staff of Osiris: 1 red chip
  • Defeating Aye: 1 blue chip

  • Shrine of Anubis

    "With a grandeur dwarfing that of the burial chamber of Aye, stands a grand sarcophagus topped with a statue of a reclining jackal. Before the shrine is a balance, with a stylized image of a heart on one side, and a feather - the Ma'at - on the other. There are images of Anubis and Thoth on either side. Before this balance, there is a slightly recessed floor tile that obviously looks like some sort of trap, bearing the image of Ammit - the Devourer."

    If anyone inspects the murals, they depict various images of Egyptian mythology, focused on Anubis ... For instance, according to myth, Anubis' mother was Nephthys, wife of Set, but she was enamored with Osiris, and had a son - Anubis - by him. (Set wasn't too pleased about this, and murdered Osiris, cut him into many pieces, and scattered them. Isis traveled the world in the form of a falcon, gathering the parts, then, with the aid of the grown Anubis, reassembled them and brought Osiris back to "life", after a fashion, whereupon the mummified Osiris took over the role of rulership of the underworld.)

    Anubis' primary task is to judge pharaohs who wish to enter the afterlife, by weighing their hearts on a balance, with a feather at the other side. If the heart is lighter than the feather, the pharaoh may pass. If the heart is heavier, however, it is tossed to Ammit, the devourer (a giant crocodile), and the pharaoh is doomed. In either case, Thoth, the crane-headed god, dutifully records the results.

    The Mask of Anubis is deep within the shrine, which is sturdy enough that only truly destructive means would be able to access it ... and those means would probably bring down the tomb around the Posse's ears anyway. The shrine is opened by solving the "puzzle" of the balance.

    The symbols of the feather and heart are on slides, so that they can be moved further in toward the center of the balance, or further out away from it. The heart is on the left side, and the feather on the right. Right now, the heart is all the way to the left, and the feather is in to the center - moved to the left as well.

    If someone steps on the floor tile depicting Ammit, the balance will be released from its stable position, and tilt whichever way is heavier. Presently, that would be toward the left, indicating that the heart is heavier. If that happens, the floor tile drops out, and the victim falls into a spiked pit trap, 18 feet deep.

    If the heart and feather are moved on the slides to the right, however, the feather will be "heavier", and the floor tile will not drop out. Instead, the shrine will open up, revealing the mask. It is possible for the person on the floor tile to read forward and take the mask, or else someone else can reach over and do it. As soon as the person steps off the floor tile, the shrine will close again - though it is not that difficult to jam open if the Posse should desire to do that.

    If the heart and feather should balance (i.e., feather is moved right, heart is moved left), then nothing will happen.

    This trap is fairly easy to thwart. For one thing, weight sufficient to simulate that of a person could be put on the tile to depress it, rather than actually stepping there. Furthermore, someone could just reach forward and tip the balance in the desired direction.

    Alternate Solution

    For the convention game, I used a wholly different purpose for the scale, and you may find it interesting to use it this way, too - though it's more on the mystical side of things, and requires a bit more work on the Posse's part. (If the Posse manages to slay Aye, if you use this route, then perhaps his body should waste away, leaving only the still-beating heart, thus giving the Posse the tool they need.)

    The Posse had succeeded in pulling Aye's heart out of his ribcage, at which point his body disintegrated, and they stuck the still-beating heart in a jar ... lamely trying to justify that this was some sort of amazing case of rigor mortis, and not the supernatural at work. They then stuck the heart on one side of the scale, and a feather on the other, expecting to enact Anubis' judgement ... though the archaeologist in the group, casting aside any rational explanation for this anymore, rightly determined that Aye was a nasty fellow, and might need a helping hand, so he physically forced the scale to tip in the desired direction.

    Since the heart proved to be "lighter", the shrine opened up, revealing the mask. If it had been "heavier", then the pit would open up, and the heart would be supernaturally hurled into the pit, where by some sort of mystical means, it would be presumed that Aye would at last get his due, with his heart being devoured by Ammit.

    Hieroglyphic Mural

    Locations: Part 1
    Locations: Part 2
    The Players
    Scenery and Miniatures
    Playtest Notes
    Avatar of Anubis

    Deadlands Logo

    Deadlands, Deadlands: Hell on Earth and Deadlands: The Weird West and characters and features thereof are trademarks of Pinnacle Games, and their use here does not constitute a challenge of trademark status. This site is by no means official, and should not be considered representative of the quality of the products of Pinnacle Games. With the exception of the "Deadlands" logo, and except where otherwise noted, all artwork and all articles on this page are (c) by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock, and may not be reproduced without permission.