Sunday, February 7, 2016

Nefret, Chapter 8: Secrets of Peraten

Nebta-Khufre, necromancer and accessory to murder, has been captured; the Mask of the Sphinx God he'd recovered from Wati and used to raise an army of undead against you has been confiscated.  Now you stand poised in the Servitor's Court on the lower level of the Sepulcher of the Servant, before a stairwell descending even deeper into the Valley of the Princes.  Ibankhkhnum and Meret-Hetef await your return on the upper level of the Sepulcher.

Desert City by Concept-Art-House on deviantart

Important Locations


The city is composed of three districts, one for each of the dominant races of the Three Kingdoms:
  • Elf (Northern) District is located between the Great Temple of the Sun and the Palace of the Pharaoh. It is here that the most powerful nobles of the city live; it is also includes the central market, which attracts the largest percentage of visitors to the city. Some catfolk and cattlefolk also makes their homes here.
  • Dogfolk (Western) District is located south of the Great Temple of the Sun, and includes the Lesser [or Funerary] Temple of the Sun. Funerary processions for the royal family begin at this temple, then pass through each other district before continuing on to the royal tombs. Some grippli, humans, and lizardfolk also make their home here.
  • Tengu (Eastern or Upper) District is located east of the Great Temple of the Sun, and rests on a hill above the Peraten. Some dwarves, nagaji, and vanaras also make their homes here.

The Valley of the Princes

The Valley is a dynasties-old burial ground for long dead, non-royal nobility. It is located across the river from Wati and Peraten, equidistant from the two sites. This necropolis was unearthed more recently than the Dead City. The majority of the tombs have been carved out of the rocky cliffs in a natural valley near the pyramid, while others exists outside the entrance of the valley. The only free-standing tomb is a pyramid outside the entrance to the valley. Parties thwarted by the pyramid have sought to plunder the smaller, outlying tombs--but many of their treasures have long decayed, consumed by the kas of those interred. Few, if any, have entered the valley proper.

The valley consists of three, connected corridors; each with distinct features:
  • The Entrance Corridor, running from the Pyramid of Sekh-pa-Mefer to the the Central Junction, the tombs in this area are the youngest--dating to approximately the same time period (give of take 75 years) as the Pyramid.
  • The Northern Corridor extends north from the Central Junction; this region is the most densely populated of the Valley.
  • The Eastern Corridor, extending east from the Central Junction, is the least populated region of the Valley; an avenue running town the center of this corridor is lined with sphinx statues, alternating through the various known varieties of that creature.
The Sepulcher of the Servant is located in the Eastern Corridor of the Valley of the Princes, beyond the tomb of Fen-Ra-Shep.


Wati is a walled-in, long-dead city that was recently uncovered by a sandstorm. Petty nobles who make their home in Peraten, such as Lady Sebti and Lord Oshep, have warrants from the Pharaoh to commission further expeditions into the Necropolis. The murder of two guards at the gates of this city has led to the current investigation into the Order of the Medjay and the Embalmers' Guild.

Important People

Ibankhknum (or simply Iban; male ramfolk fighter) is a captain in the ranks of Phararoh's guard. He had asked the party to investigate a possible lead related to the murder of two Wati guards.

Meret-Hetef is a captain in the Order of the Medjay.  She is the only survivor of a patrol of that Order who joined the party at the Sepulcher of the Servant, and awaits delivery of the Mask of the Sphinx God.

Nebta-Khufre is a necromancer, and a member of the Embalmer's Guild (and possible associate of Nephethus). A letter from Nebta-Khufre to Oshep confirmed that he was looking for a particular object in Wati--the Mask of the Sphinx God.

Session 8.1

After knocking Nebta-Khufre unconscious and tying him to a stone altar, the party decided to descend into the next level of the Sepulcher.  The first long stairwell ended at a landing, with another stairwell descending at the right; the second stairwell was half as long as the first, ending in another landing with another stairwell to the right.  The stairwells continued half as long as the next, one after the other.  It was Pleebit who recognized that this architecture was particular to temples dedicated to the ancient snake gods of old.

The bottom of the stairs opened into a small antechamber.  At the far end of the chamber, a pair of columns flanked a light as bright as the desert sun.  Beyond the columns, a balcony overlooked a massive cavern, artificially lit.  The cavern contained a miniature replica of the local river region, dating back thousands of years:  Wati was un-walled, and missing many of the sites the party explored.  The Pyramid of the Pharaoh of  the Sphinx is under construction.  The Valley of the Princes only contains tombs in the Eastern Corridor.  Most surprisingly, on the cliffs above the floodplains where Peraten would later be built is a grandiose, sphinx-scale city.

While Aloysa referenced the history texts she recovered from Nebta-Khufre's chambers, Cecil and Pleebit climbed into the cavern to explore the model close-up.  The details in miniature are exquisite.  The only magic in the chamber is the lighting, and a recurring illusion of a stormcloud with talons flying over the grand city, and disappearing into the chamber wall.  Though unable to find a name for the city, Aloysa was at least able to learn that this site is one of three possible capitals of the ancient Sphinx Empire.

Ready to return to the surface, the party makes a last minute decision to keep the Mask of the Sphinx God--specifically, to keep it away from the Order of the Medjay.  In order to accomplish this, they kill Nebta-Khufre, and quickly decompose his body; they hide the Mask away, and plan on telling Meret-Hetef that the necromancer escaped.  Kiji and Cecil worked together to successfully convince the Medjay captain.

Unable to learn more about the Sphinx Empire in the limited library at the Great Temple of the Sun, Aloysa is told by both Sebti and Esphe to take her search to the Great Library in Tem-Akh--the old capital, whence the specialists embalmers had been recalled.  In order to remain with her new companions, Nyala sells her shop in order to open a travelling freak show in a bone wagon.

As the party prepared to leave for Tem-Akh, they are approached by Ibankhkhnum and his jackal, Pawet.  For his investigation into the actions of the Order of the Medjay--who are meant to be above the law--he has been discharged from the Pharaonic Guard.  He asked to join the party, and his presence was freely accepted by all.

Session 8.2, The Road to Tem-Akh

The road between Peraten and Tem-Akh is rarely traveled--typically only by poor pilgrim who cannot afford passage on a barge.  Or by large groups of pet-friendly adventurers with custom-made bone wagons.  By foot, the journey takes 8 days.  On the journey, the party was plagued by a small pack of sha, Cecil's fish-roasting skills, a swarm of beetles, and a pilgrimage--all of which were faced and overcome with bravery and skill.  Along the way, Iban gave the group a lesson in local politics, explaining how a captain of the Medjay could oust him from his long-standing position in Pharaoh's Guard.

No comments:

Post a Comment