This encounter is an excerpt from a Dark Heresy 2/Black Crusade hex crawl set on a planet called Vestitas. Nominally under imperial control, the Vestitas wilderness is still full of the remnants of ancient Chaos cults and Dark Age technology, and was the site of a penal colony gone horribly right several centuries ago. The wilderness proved to be much more welcoming than expected and escaped penal colonists proved ample fodder for criminal networks and cults throughout the jungles and mountains. Now Inquisitorial acolytes and Chaos cults alike search through the wilderness, looking for artifacts to destroy or keep for themselves. This encounter revolves around one artifact in particular, the sarcophagus and canopic jars of an ancient and immortal Chaos sorcerer.
Summary: An ancient Chaos cultist slumbers here in a sarcophagus, sustained for eons by the dark magics he worships. Before entering his slumber he sucked out the soul of his beloved, and when awakened from his sleep by the opening of the sarcophagus, he will seek to bring her back by breathing her into the body of a suitable host.
Discovery: The crumbling ruins of a temple are found in the wilderness. It’s thick with Chaos, and the Psyniscience difficulty for detecting that something psykery is going on here is Easy(+30).
Exploration: In the center of the temple ruins is the sarcophagus, easily accessible. The sarcophagus is fed by five statues of Chaos, each of which is home to a canopic jar containing one of the removed organs of the Chaos mummy in the sarcophagus. These five statues are located in five chambers throughout the ruined temple, many much harder to reach than the sarcophagus.
The red choleric jar contains the intestines and summons a bloodletter when opened or broken. The purple sanguine jar contains the liver and summons a daemonette when opened or broken. The blue melancholic jar contains the brain and summons a flamer when opened or broken. The green phlegmatic jar contains the lungs and summons a plaguebearer when opened or broken. Finally, the black undivided jar contains the heart and summons a Chaos fury when opened or broken.
If the sarcophagus is opened, the Chaos cultist awakens, however he will not immediately animate. Instead, he will wait for the chamber to empty and then leave his sarcophagus behind. He will only animate if dragged out of his sarcophagus and then directly attacked.
Confrontation: After being awakened and left alone, the immortal cultist will read the Chaos runes in his burial chamber to bring to life his army of clay servants, and then lead them on a hunt for the intruders to capture the prettiest female among them and return her to his burial chamber. Here, he shall chain her to the ritual dais in the center of the chamber and breathe the soul of his beloved, currently contained within his hollow and withered carcass, to give her a new body to live within. If the cultist successfully subdues his victim and brings her to the dais, he will need one full action to chain her into place, and then another full action to give her the kiss of death and reanimation. She can attempt an Hellish(-60) Willpower test to try and reject the invasive soul. This test becomes two levels easier for every canopic jar that no longer contains the cultist’s organs (Arduous(-40) if one jar has been sabotaged, Hard(-20) if two, and so on up to Simple(+40) if all five have been sabotaged).
When damaged, the mummy heals one wound per round per functioning canopic jar each round. Critical damage cannot be healed in this manner unless he lies in his sarcophagus and takes no actions for the round. Any amount of critical damage, including normally fatal results, can be healed in this manner provided that someone else is around to put his body back in its sarcophagus to heal. The cultist’s clay servants will seek to do this automatically if the cultist falls unconscious.
Each canopic jar can be sabotaged either by destroying it or else by taking a full action and making an Ordinary(+10) Agility test to scoop out the organ contained within (the jars are not made to be easy to add and remove objects from, but instead are curved, specifically to require significant effort to shake the organs loose). This test is automatically successful if made outside of combat.
When all five canopic jars are destroyed and the mummy hits lethal amounts of critical damage, he dies. His servants will return him to his sarcophagus and defend his body, but with no canopic jars remaining, he will not recover. The servants will not deanimate until the next sunrise.
The Chaos mummy can be negotiated with, but only if he is immediately provided with a host for his bride. He will hear nothing of any offer that involves the party leaving without such a host. He will, however, hear out an offer in which his preferred host is left behind as hostage and the rest of the party leaves to acquire another, even more beautiful body for the mummy’s beloved to inhabit. This requires a successful disposition check, because the mummy would really rather just use a body now. The mummy has an aggressive personality and his initial disposition is 25 regardless of how Imperial the party is, and is reduced by 20 if they’ve sabotaged at least one canopic jar. He’s from the Age of Strife, he doesn’t know anything about the Imperium or the Long War.
Reward: If all five of the canopic jars as well as the sarcophagus are intact at the end, a Forbidden Lore (Heresy) test can be made against Very Hard(-30) difficulty to work out how to perform the ritual for a new mummy. If someone can translate the Chaos Marks on the walls (an Ordinary(+10) Linguistics (Chaos Marks) test), the difficult drops to Difficult(-10). Performing the ritual requires a Difficult(-10) Medicae check to remove the organs and a Very Hard(-30) Forbidden Lore (Heresy) check to keep the patient alive while you rip out their vital organs. If someone has already made the check to work out the ritual, they don’t need to roll again. If someone else is working out the ritual (say, because the guy who worked it out originally wants to be the recipient of immortality), then they only need to make a Difficult(-10) check if someone else explains it to them.
If both the Medicae and Forbidden Lore (Heresy) checks succeed, the ritual is successful. While within a hundred meters of all five canopic jars, the new immortal will recover one wound per round per functioning canopic jar, but cannot heal critical wounds. If lying in the sarcophagus specifically, they can also heal critical wounds, even if dead. If one of the two checks fails, something has gone wrong, and the patient takes Xd5 damage to their chest immediately, ignoring armor and Toughness, where X is the DoF on the failed check. If both checks fail, it’s Xd10 damage, and X is the combined DoF for both tests. Anyone attempting any part of the ritual takes 1d10 Corruption. The sarcophagus gives 1d5 Corruption every time it is used to heal critical wounds. If you lie in the sarcophagus for multiple rounds in a row healing critical wounds, it still only grants 1d5 Corruption.
Any remaining clay or stone servants who deanimate at sunrise can have the glyphic name of their original money scratched out and replaced with the name of a new master. They will be obedient to this master’s orders. Finding and replacing the name requires an Ordinary(+10) Linguistics (Chaos Marks) check and a Very Hard(-30) Forbidden Lore (Heresy) check. Once you’ve figured it out for one servant, you can repeat it on all the rest. If you pass the Linguistics check but fail the Forbidden Lore check, you’ve ruined the ritual beyond repair while erasing and replacing the name. If you fail the Linguistics check, the Forbidden Lore check doesn’t matter, because you can’t even find what part of the statue has the mummy’s name on it (it’s surrounded by various sorcerous writings that cause the statue to come to life at all). If succeed on the Linguistics check and even attempt the Forbidden Lore check, you gain 1d5-1 Corruption, regardless of its outcome.
The Chaos Marks on the walls of the burial chamber can be decoded to provide a 50% XP discount to learning Telepathic Link, Hallucination, Psychic Shriek, Terrify, and Invisibility (the powers known by the Chaos mummy). This requires the same Ordinary(+10) Linguistics (Chaos Marks) check as discerning the sarcophagus ritual (literally the exact same check, if you pass one, you’ve passed the other) and then a Challenging(+0) Forbidden Lore (Psykers) check to comprehend what you’ve read. If a translator wants to read the inscriptions aloud, they can, and anyone listening can make the Forbidden Lore (Psykers) check for the discount.
We have a Patreon which we’d like to use to buy Cityographer and Dungeonographer in order to be able to add some maps to our posts, and also to include in the finished .pdf once we’ve finished filling in every hex. Having a proper layout would be particularly helpful for this encounter in particular since exploring the ruins is meant to be part of the middle bit, wandering around and finding canopic jars at shrines to various Chaos gods and the like, so please donate if you’d like to see that particular cherry added to this post in the .pdf release. Or if you just hate money and want to get rid of it. That’s also an acceptable reason to donate.