Archive for the ‘Mummy: the Curse’ Category

Mummy: the Curse, the latest “4th Game” from the World of Darkness is now publicly available in DriveThruRPG!

A complex game with heady themes of memory and the self, Mummy: the Curse presents an interesting take on the Mummy of pop culture with the Arisen. With a complex backstory, interesting powers and freaky opponents, Mummy: the Curse is an excellent addition to the new World of Darkness.

For more information check out the Let’s Study series I put up for Mummy: the Curse here.


Mummy: the Curse is the latest of the “4th Game” limited run series of the World of Darkness and breathes new life to the Hollywood-defiled idea of Mummies as monstrous creatures. Once left to the world of cheap comedy and action-adventure pulp, Mummy: the Curse applies a new spin on the Monster that gives them back their place in horror fiction.

How the Onyx Path team does this is to take on the inspirations of real-world mummies and apply their own origin mythology. Much in the same manner as the rest of the nWoD, the Arisen as this particular strain of mummies are known, hail from a lost empire which enacted one of the greatest feats of magic ever performed by mortal men: the Rite of Return.

This gives the team a lot of leeway with regards to forming a setting and situation where the Player Characters have something to do, and enemies to face. The Arisen struggle to fulfill their Purpose, while simultaneously discovering the nature of free will… all while their time on earth is ticking away.

Mummy: the Curse presents an interesting setting for players to explore, complete with secrets that can certainly color the way that stories go. I can see Mummy: the Curse moving onto tales that focus on self-actualization, making the most of the time we have, and the struggle of free will versus duty. These themes are central to the game, and have a lot of potential to be extremely rewarding.

The way the book was written is somewhat less… formal as I expected, with an almost conversational style that I can imagine is a bit of a shock to some readers. I had no problems with it, though I will admit that perhaps the writing is a little less atmospheric than say, Changeling: the Lost.

There’s also a certain complexity to the mechanics, but nothing approaching Mage: the Awakening. Character creation is easy enough (with careful reading and a bit of page flipping) and the powers are interesting and evocative. The rules on Cults and the secrets of the setting all add depth to the game, and the various Guilds and Decrees are useful to getting players into the game with more than just a fuzzy sense of what to do.

The Storytellers also get an extra bit of help with regards to the Frameworks for the campaign, allowing for a mix of character types to work in the same game. The villains presented in Mummy: the Curse are fearsome, and certainly appropriate to the power level of Mummies who can command some of the most potent abilities in the World of Darkness.

Overall, Mummy: the Curse is a unique game which tackles some very heady themes without losing it’s horror roots. The backstory is compelling and relevant, giving the kind of storytelling glue necessary to orient the players towards the same direction. While not quite so compatible for crossover games with the other Supernaturals, I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t want to mix it up. The Arisen are an awesome supernatural group and their themes are uniquely suited to them.

I would definitely recommend Mummy: the Arisen to those who are looking for something new in both horror and potential for stories. The Onyx Path has definitely struck gold with this one.

Mummy is different from a lot of other games in the World of Darkness in the sense that it knows that it has a tiny population. There aren’t that many of the Arisen, and the way that the setting is put together makes it very difficult to justify the idea of having a team of Mummies all get up and do something together. As such the game goes on to present several campaign frameworks which could serve as different configurations for the game.

Without going into too much detail, these frameworks are:

  • The Allied Dead – Where all the player characters are Arisen that share the same (understandably powerful) Cult
  • The Rival Dead – Where the player characters are the Arisen of differing Cults, leading to the possibility of more conflict
  • The Pyramid – Where only a single player is Arisen and the rest take the role of the Arisen’s subordinates or allies.

It’s an interesting take on the standard, and I’ll have to admit that I am actually interested in seeing how a Pyramid game (or better a Rotating Pyramid, which emulates the old Troupe-Style of play in which each player gets a chance to play the Arisen) will work. Certainly there’s a disparity of power between the characters, but the allies of the Arisen can do all sorts of things that the Arisen might not be able to do due to lack of information or understanding of the modern world.

With regards to crossovers, this pretty much means that a Mummy would make for a strange opponent or ally in other games. Immensely powerful and active for a short period before disappearing for a long time. I imagine Vampires will be the most compatible as they live long enough to actually manage running into the same mummy again twice if the fates dictate it. But for most others, including mages, a Mummy is most likely a one-time event.

Right, so today we’re taking a look at one of the possible endgame goals for Mummy: the Curse. While not all stories should revolve around this, it makes for an interesting thing to aim for. I won’t talk about this too much outside of the jump for the sake of those who don’t want to be spoiled so I’ll see you guys in a bit.


One of the core struggles of Mummy: the Curse is the conflict between power and freedom. These two forces manifest as Sekhem and Memory. Forever in conflict, Arisen who wish to retain Sekhem must give up many of their freedoms to obey the wishes of the Judges of Duat, while those who value their freedoms to act according to their own humanity find their Sekhem slipping away.

The Descent is the term used to describe this eventual loss of potency. All Arisen experience this, as they often arise with Sekhem 10 and almost no Memory at all. As they grow into their humanity, they begin to lose their Sekhem, an unpleasant experience, but one that some Mummies feel is the price for their freedom and self-determination.

The system behind the Descent is handled by a Descent Roll. Unlike most rolls in the nWoD, this is one that the player wants to fail. Normally, Descent rolls kick in according to a schedule. This lends a certain sense of urgency to the game as the Arisen try to fulfill their purpose (and then perhaps realize that they want to do something more than that) and then look for ways to extend their days.

ASide from this schedule, it is also possible for the Arisen to hasten their Descent by acting against the will of the Judges of Duat. On the other hand, it is also entirely possible for the Arisen to extend their stay by performing deeds that please the Judges, or by cannibalizing Relics. This last option is one that is not recommended by Arisen society based on the fact that the Judges want them. That said, doing so can give Mummies precious time that they might need to fulfill their goal.

More than anything, I think this might be one of the more uncomfortable truths of playing Mummy. Your character starts off not remembering much, and by the time they start getting an inkling of who they were, it’s often when they’re running dry of Sekhem.

Much like the saying goes, “Youth is wasted on the young” and the game sticks to this concept admirably. It took me a few reads to get the idea of Descent, and I think that it lends an interesting sense of urgency to the game.

At this point it becomes pretty clear that working under the Judges is a bad deal. They’re unforgiving, and you’re pretty much a tool… and that’s the whole point. Players are meant to chafe under such conditions, and the act of gaining Memory is their victory against the Judges of Duat. This is where you realize that the entire immortality thing really is a Curse.

Now to go find out if there’s something you can do about it.