Thursday, January 23, 2020

Now THIS is gameable - the Mummy's vocal tract

Just saw this on a CNN report: "Voice of a 3,000 year old mummy reproduced by reprinting a vocal tract." Look, if THAT isn't gameable, we should all sell everything now and switch to golf for a hobby. Surely, this must inspire a new item of treasure to be hunted down by your enterprising tomb robbers semi-professional for-hire archaeologist PCs.


Stored inside a small clay pot, this dry, spongy, acrid-smelling object is an embalmed human vocal tract. If held in the hands and squeezed gently, it will groan out speech and can converse with its holder.

Every time the vocal tract is asked a question, before answering it will ask the questioner: "In the past year, O adventurer, hast thou plundered a resting-place of the dead?" Whether or not the PC answers, if the truthful answer would be "yes," the PC immediately must pass a Saving Throw (vs Death) or be transformed into (1d6):

1) a toad
2) a jackal
3) a horned viper
4) a cat
5) a scarab beetle
6) a human, the renewed embodiment of Amenkhesaren, Dread Sage-Enforcer of the royal necropoleis of Khemetesh (character becomes an NPC bent on slaying tomb-robbers everywhere).

The transformative effects are permanent barring other mystical solutions, but the transformed PC remains conscious of their true identity, unless option 6 is rolled (relevant scholarly anecdotes are contradictory, but some suggest that the Library at Farasumakhen's lower archives hold a partial tablet capable of reversing these effects. The text which reports this happy information also claims that there are habitable lands beyond the mountains that hold up the sky, so you should take what it says with significant skepticism).

If the holder passes this test, the vocal tract will give truthful answers to the following questions:

+ Is there a tomb or burial ground within ____ (width of a standard overland map hex in your campaign)?
+ [Edit: let's add this one too!] Where is that tomb located?
+ Is there unlooted treasure in that tomb?
+ (the vocal tract can also answer questions about the distant history of the Khemetesh Kingdom).

Happy gaming!