Oddities for an Ancient Pyramid

William T. Thrasher
Egyptians always get to the point.

This week the d-Infinity crew is taking a deep look at Egypt in tabletop gaming, and that inevitably conjures up images of god kings, creeping mummies, and massive pyramids arcing with supernatural energy. And when all those things collide with our twisted imaginations, we get an all new ever growing, ever evolving table of oddities! Forget Oddities for a Graveyard! It’s time for oddities for an ancient pyramid!

  1. A mummified Nile crocodile rests in a niche. The specimen is easily twice the size of the average crocodile. A faint ticking sound can be heard from within the creature’s belly. There is a 50% chance the crocodile will animate.
  2. Four canopic jars stand on a shelf. The organs within are not only perfectly preserved, they still live and attempt to perform their intended function within the jar (the lungs breath, the stomach churns, etc.) If the jars or their contents are interfered with, the organs will defend themselves however they are able (e.g., the stomach sprays digestive acid, the intestines uncoil and attempt to strangle, etc.).
  3. A mummified cat plays with a ball of gauze, batting it about and chasing it through the corridors of the pyramid.
  4. A massive ball of dung is wedged into the entrance of an adjoining chamber or hallway, blocking it off. Within the dung ball are fragments of human bone, as well as bits of cloth and jewelry. From this point forward, whenever the adventurer’s enter a new chamber, there is a 10% chance of encountering a giant divine dung beetle.
  5. Within a gilt sarcophagus decorated with quartz and jade rests a mummy with unnaturally thin limbs and an elongated head. This mummified alien is not dead, but is instead in a deep, self-induced hibernation. The alien is awaiting rescue by its own kind. If awakened early, it will be displeased.
  6. An animated mummy, in life the architect who designed and supervised the construction of this pyramid, paints complex diagrams and schematics on a bare wall. Continuing his work in death, the undead architect spends eternity designing grander and more perfect tombs. The mummy knows all the architectural secrets of the pyramid, as well as the locations of all traps and the means to bypassing them. He was loyal enough to the Pharaoh in life to be interred within the grand pyramid, so the adventurers will have to use great cunning to learn his secrets.
  7. Sand and dust swirl into the air as if blown by an unseen wind. The swirls and eddies suggest the form of a young woman. The debris drifts down a corridor, becoming the adventurers to follow. There is equal chance this is the work of a spirit, an illusion, or a trick of the light caused by subtle winds blowing in through gaps in the ancient stone. There is 50% chance following the swirling sands will lead the adventurer’s into a trap.
  8. A large hourglass decorated in arcane symbols and the likenesses of hideous gods sits atop a pedestal. The sand within is identical to the sand that surrounds the pyramid itself. However, the sand rests in the top if the hourglass in direct opposition to the laws of gravity. If turned over, the sand flows upwards into the top of the hourglass and a subtle transformation takes place. The pyramid itself shifts backward in time, eventually coming to rest on the day before the grand funeral wherein the Pharaoh was interred and the pyramid was sealed. There is a 50% chance that elsewhere in the pyramid is a companion hourglass that will shift the pyramid into the future, back to the exact time when the first hourglass was disturbed.
  9. A mummified priestess tends to animals in cages lining the walls of the chamber. Within these cages slither scorpions, venomous snakes, plague rats, and other foul creatures of the desert. The priestess’s eternal task is to breed animals so that various traps and hazards within the pyramid are kept fresh (e.g., restocking the snake pits, refilling poison dart traps with fresh scorpion venom, etc.). The mummy has extensive knowledge of all the traps within the pyramid, but is fiercely loyal to her Pharaoh and has trained every living beast within the pyramid to obey his commands.
  10. A mummified sphinx squats on a dais, an oversized canopic jaw gripped in its massive paws. There is an equal chance this is the mummified remains of a real sphinx, or the creation of a cunning taxidermist. Regardless, within the jar pulses the perfectly preserved brain of a sphinx, its synapses full bursting with cosmic wisdom. With the proper commands and rituals, the sphinx animates, allowing the brain to advise the Pharaoh in the afterlife.

And that’s only the beginning! If you have your own unusual encounters, items, and NPCs for an ancient pyramid, post them in the comments below. Let’s see how quickly we can build this list to 100 original entries!