Tuesday, 30 August 2011

CROM!: Rise of the Mummy King - Part One

About 1½ month or so ago, Matakishi (of Matakishi's Tea House, and Lead Adventure Forum fame) announced his new simple rules system for scenario-driven adventure table-top games set in the world of Conan the Barbarian. CROM! Age of Hyborea was born.

The concept intrigued me, and instead of reviewing or explaining the rules, I'll point you to the very source: http://www.matakishi.com/crom.htm - and get on with the description of the game I played Sunday with my regular gaming opponent, Ulrik.

Story is as follows:
An ancient Sorcerer, mummified by his followers upon his demise centuries ago by the hands of some big angry Barbarian, has finally broken the chains of death and has returned to the world of the living, where he is now gathering an army of long-dead warriors from the Necropolis of Sekhemet, aided by a couple of nefarious Flesheaters he surprised at their ghastly feasting....

As inhabitants from the nearby town Sekhemet starts disappearing, the Citizens Guard has searched the desert area around the town, and finally they ran into a hunting band of Fleasheaters and some wild unnatural beasts in the vicinity of the Necropolis. The guards withdraw after a vicious fight, leaving about half their number at the dubious mercy of the Monsters.

It soon becomes clear to the fat, wealthy priesthood of Sekhemet, that they have a problem of great proportions, as their earnings come mainly from rich people wanting a safe home for the afterlife in the famous Necropolis of Sekhemet.

Then an unlikely couple of adventurers arrives with a merchant boat up the big river: An Elf an a Dwarf, traveling the world of men and demi-humans alike, sporting an unusula friendship forged in battle and adventure: Chwllurhwch and Thrombur - the Heroes of our Tale.

Soon, these two are more or less pressganged into solving the problems of the town - with the help of Palmtree Wine, and promises of vast riches buried beneath the sands of the Necropolis.

With greatsword and war hammer, our friends begin their arduous journey through the desert, towards the Oasis of the Kings, and the impressive Necropolis, not knowing that time is about to run out for the inhabitants of Sekhemet: The Mummy King is preparing a ritual for summoning a mighty Spirit that can take control over the minds of the living!

Scenario Rules/Objectives:
To invoke the Spirit, the Sorcerer must prepare and correctly place 5 enchanted skulls in a magic circle/pentagram.

To prepare a skull, the Sorcerer must roll a natural 6 on at least one Magic Die.

Also, to correctly set a skull in the magic circle/pentagram, at least one natural 6 must be rolled.

Finally, when the last skull has been successfully placed, to summon the Spirit, a Magic Roll of Difficuty 12 must be passed.

Minor minions can be summoned as per the normal rules.

The Heroes must prevent the summoning of the Spirit, ultimately by slaying the Mummy King.

To gain a Major Victory (only important if this scenario is played as part of a campaign), both Heroes must survive. Easier said than done, as we shall see...

The Game:
Here is the initial set-up of the playing surface:
Seen from the Heroes' perspective
And from the Necropolis - The Dragon Bones are not part of this...
I have some serious re-basing to do on all those old skellies if I am going to bring this to Horisont in Esbjerg this fall, but it is doable over a weekend, if I concentrate on the task.

A plethora of skulls in the ruined mastaba
To the right, you see the practically unlimited supply of skulls for the ritual. I made the based ones a couple of years ago, but the last two had not been painted, so a little speed was required.

The game starts with the Lesser mummies emerging from the buried pyramid.

Our Heroes, both played by Ulrik, while I donned the cowled robe of the Game Master, have not yet discovered anything, save the apparantly peacefully drinking beasts in the oasis
"There, me Elfish Friend, be Water for thee!"

The Undead approach
As the shambling silhouettes emerge, Chwllurhwch squints his eyes and readies his sword, while Thrombur gently pats his war hammer.

Them a lot of movement occurred in the Necropolis [this was a mistake - only the cards of the Mummy King and the minions in the oasis should have been in the deck from the start], before Chwllurhwch came up.

The Elf let lose a blood-curdling warcry and rushed forward to dispach one of the crispy corpses.

Already here, it became clear that the hot, dry climate did not become him well, as the first mummy successfully defended and drew first blood.

Snarling, Chwllurhwch shook off the pain, and maculated the parchment that held the bones and skin of the long dead servant together.

Chwllurhwch rushes in,
and with some difficulty kills an opponent

In the meantime, the Sorcerer prepared and carried the first skull to the magic circle [here represented by a cork coaster, usually used for dice-cup dice rolling, but I thought it only too appropriate to use a piece of cork for a game by Matakishi. Wanted to use an old CD with painted sand and a pentacle in blood, but I have not been able to locate my extensive stash of those...], then got ready to mutter the arcane words that would infuse it with the Power of the Book of the Dead.

"Massss-ter, can I have the resssst? Pleasssse..."

This conludes Part One, but not the first turn, but it is rather late now, and I cannot concentrate on remembering all the details....  More tomorrow, if the rain still prevents me from mowing the lawn, otherwise Thursday.


  1. Great game!! Love your terrain:)

    1. Oh, my... I completely missed your comment back then, probably due to all the stress from trying to find a new job, but still...

      Thank you, much appreciated!