MUMMY: The Return

by Lars Strobaek

The mummies of Egypt are creatures shrouded in mystery. They are halfway between life and undeath, but they are also torn by this very distinction.

The Shemsu-heru were the first of the Reborn to be created, and the Great Rite practiced by the Cult of Isis reinserted the ba and ka into the khat, thereby reviving it and returning it to its former glory. But at some point in time, the Rite was changed. The original Rite only worked on those bodies that were still warm, and had only been dead for a few hours. By changing the Rite the priests of Isis overcame that obstruction – the Rite would work as long as the heart and brain were intact and untainted by decay. But the mummies created by this Rite were different. Their flesh was cold, and they did not eat or breathe. Horus saw these creatures as tainted and drove them away, as he had done Ishmael, and they were seen as bastards by their living brethren. The Spell of Undeath, as opposed to the Spell of Life, was abandoned by the Cult of Isis, and was partly forgotten about. However, some members of the Cult, who did not have the same puritan standards as their fellows, still considered the tainted Rite superior. And so when Set attained the Spell, it was partly an attempt by the nameless one to keep the knowledge of the variant Rite alive. When the Spell of Undeath was combined with the dark sorcery of the minions of Set, the tragic result was the Children of Apophis.

The Secret Writings of Cabirus have also been based on the tainted Rite, and cannot create true mummies – only through some sort of reconstructive research could the true Spell of Life be replicated. Therefore almost all Cabiri are Thenemi, those of the dead flesh.


Those mummies that are created while their bodies are still warm, and their Corpora unhooded, return to the body of their mortal self. These are the most exalted of awakened beings, as their immortality is virtually ensured. All 42 recognized Shemsu-heru are Seshet, as Horus sees the Thenemi as unworthy to carry out his holy crusade. Despite having lived through several millennia, they retain their human nature. It can be eroded, however, and exposure to both death and Oblivion can drive his Humanity, along with his human morality and outlook, to a minimum. His Humanity cannot disappear completely, however, as he is essentially still human. If a Seshet, ever drops from Humanity 1 to 0, he gains an appropriate derangement, and has his Humanity restored to 1.


Mummies created through the Spell of Undeath are very different from their living brethren. The soul of such a being has been unhooded, and his Shadow has manifested itself, albeit briefly. When the soul rejoins the body the Shadow is subsumed into the Psyche, but the mummy’s soul has been permanently changed by the seed of Oblivion (the nascent Shadow, or Khaibit) that has been planted. The most immediate effect of this is that the body doesn’t revive upon the soul’s return – it remains a husk, now inhabited by the mummy’s almost human spirit. This "undead" mummy, or Thenemi, has all the powers and limitations of a Seshet, except his body is dead, an unaging shell. What keeps the body animated is the enduring magic of the Rite. The disadvantages of this state is that the mummy is pale and slightly cold to the touch, and the closer his Khaibit is to the surface the more twisted and deathlike he appears. The Thenemi cannot use more dice in a social situation involving mortals than their Humanity score. Animals are uncomfortable around them. In addition, Thenemi cannot use potions or essences – Alchemical preparations must be applied as salves to have any effect. The advantages are that the mummy need not breathe, eat or sleep, and halves all received bashing damage like vampires. A problem for most Thenemi is that they do not heal naturally. Still, with a successful Stamina + Medicine roll (difficulty 7) and intense concentration, a Thenemi is able to heal one health level of damage at the cost of one Sekhem. This can be done once per hour of concentration. A botch means the mummy loses a point of Stamina permanently.

The Khaibit

Unlike a human mummy, a Thenemi has the Shadow-like Khaibit gnawing at his soul. This part of his mind wants only to cause destruction and punish itself for being sentient. That is not to say that a human (and Seshet) cannot feel hate or despair, but they are his feelings, not those of an alien part of his mind he cannot control. The Khaibit is quite similar to the Beast of the Kindred – the difference is that the Beast is born from the vampire’s thirst for blood, where the Khaibit is the manifestation of Oblivion’s pull. A pull that, most likely, will never be completed.

When a Thenemi feels angst or despair, when eternal life is more a curse than a blessing, his Khaibit may take momentary control. The Storyteller may call for a Joy roll in such a situation (remember that neither Seshet nor Thenemi can roll more dice for a Virtue roll than their Humanity score). The difficulty should be about 5, but may vary according to the situation. One or more successes means the character does not give in, and can act as he pleases. Failure results in his Khaibit sending him into a frenzy aimed at destruction, in which the mummy is immune to wound penalties and attacks all in sight. A botch also subtracts a Joy point and inflicts a derangement, as normal. Only the expenditure of Willpower can end a frenzy in progress. Humanity rolls are often required after frenzies, during which the Thenemi blazes with the black light of Oblivion.

If a Thenemi’s Humanity reaches zero, his Khaibit assumes full control and devours the mummy’s soul, and with it his ba. Such a creature is an undead horror controlled by the Storyteller. If the twisted killing machine is slain in the Skinlands, or if the Khaibit assumes control in the Underworld, it becomes a malignant and insane ka-spirit, that lasts until it runs out of ka points or is destroyed. Nearly all the Thenemi that have met Final Death fell to their Khaibits first.

Note: Mummies cannot follow a Path of Enlightenment. Their sanity is too reliant on their memory for them to be able to completely abandon their mortal sensibilities and still function in either the Shadowlands or the Skinlands.

The Underworld

While dead, the viewpoint of the Reborn is drastically changed. One part of their soul, the ka, is charged with protecting the khat, while the ba must secure future rebirth by attaining sufficient spiritual vigor to reemerge into the world of the living.

For the Thenemi, however, an additional dilemma presents itself. The ba is the seat of intelligence and memory, where the ka represents instincts and passion. While the ba seeks fulfillment in Amenti or the Tempest, it is close to the reason for its Khaibit – The Void. But the Khaibit can assert itself not through the cool reason of the ba, but only the impulsive and physical nature of the ka. Thus, when the ba feels the force of Oblivion, it must make a Joy roll to avoid frenzy as normal, usually at a higher difficulty than in the Skinlands. If the roll is failed, the ka, not the ba, flies into a frenzy on the closest object, human or wraith. If the mummy has a ka vessel, the effects can be quite devastating.

The Children of Apophis

When Set stole the secret of Rebirth, it was inherently flawed. In addition, dark mages in Set’s employ tried to strengthen his new warriors by invoking spirits of Apophis. The subjects came back from death stronger than anyone expected, but their souls had been devoured – not by their Khaibits, but by powerful bane-spirits. They chose to serve Apophis, their true master, rather than Set, and have wandered the earth spreading corruption in the name of the Wyrm ever since.

Humanity has never existed in these creatures. Instead of a real soul, they are ruled by two factors – their Khaibit and their Bane-spirit. The Khaibit is their drive and mindless ferocity, a pure vessel of Oblivion. The bane-spirit is temper and cruel intelligence. In effect, the Children of Apophis are fallen mummies enslaved by a higher force – Apophis, in the form of his bane servitors. Instead of the standard Virtue of Integrity, they posses Unity, which represents how well the two parts of their soul act together. In order start or end a frenzy, a Bane mummy must roll Unity. Otherwise, their Humanity count as zero for all purposes.

In the land of the dead, the two parts of a Bane mummy’s soul completely separate. In fact, only one part of it remains in the Underworld. That which would be a mummy’s ka becomes the bane mummy’s Khaibit. It still remains with his khat, but it is a mindless beast just like the last part of a fallen Khaibit-mummy, and cares only for destruction. The Bane-spirit retains its original evil sentience, and is detached and cynical. Most Bane-spirits travel not to the Underworld to collect ba energy, but rather to Malfeas. The only one who normally goes to the Underworld is Saatet-ta, who travels the Labyrinth and is rumored to be connected to the Hive-mind of the spectres. The other Children of Apophis are still able to enter the Tempest, and will do so if they have sufficient purpose. Most of them have twisted, demonic forms in the spirit worlds, and will be recognized for what they are: vessels of entropy and corruption.

Seshet Only Merits & Flaws:
Light Sleeper/Sleepless, Offensive to Animals

Thenemi Only Merits & Flaws:
Smell of the Grave, Monstrous, Flesh of the Corpse

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