As we go through the potential list of favored undead enemies for Holy Knights, we’ll start categorizing them as minor, major, and critical threats. In the last class we talked about ghouls. They’re manageable except in large groups, so we’ll classify them as major threats. Next up, we’ll cover the mummy. And it’s definitely a critical threat. If you come across one without a bit of preparation, you’re not likely to survive the encounter.
Why is the mummy a critical threat? Let’s just say that the magical powers used to create them, whether arcane or divine, are more than a drop in the bucket. We’re talking impressive rituals, components, and will as the major ingredients for creating them. The good thing is that they are not usually meant to awaken, so there’s a chance if undisturbed they will continue their eternal slumber. It’s when they awaken that you will run into trouble.
Let’s start with the mummy’s strength and invulnerability. When mummies are created, they essentially are turned into immortal guardians for protecting a tomb or other holy place. You may encounter them elsewhere, but usually they are found at specific holy sites and set to guarding such sites from tomb robbers and other invaders. The secrets to creating the mummy were lost long ago, but there are some scholars who believe that some of the newer mummies are actually victims of the Mummy Rot, which may slowly turn sufferers into mummies themselves.
With their mortality stripped away, they lose the ability to feel pain, get scared, or feel tired, and gain the ability to fight off any invaders for all eternity. This results in an incredible strength. A few mummies have been seen to retain their weapon skills after death, but most mummies seem to be even more effective with powerful fists.
That same inhumanity that grants them significant strength also grants them an amazing resistance to physical damage. Normal weapons will not penetrate their toughened wrappings or skin and even magical weapons only do half damage. Though vulnerable to fire, it also only does half damage against their toughened exterior.
If you encounter a mummy, be prepared for a tough fight. These creatures do not back down once engaged and will continue to fight until you take them out or they take you out. Bring friends with many weapons.
Your biggest ally is the mummy’s lack of speed. Use that to your advantage with simple hit and run tactics. Stay out of its reach and you have a better chance of surviving.
The best part about these creatures is their relatively solitary nature. Though you may encounter as many as four of them in a single location. If you find such a group, they are likely protecting something of high value and we recommend extreme caution.
Unfortunately that does not make the issue of Mummy Rot any easier.
Mummy Rot does not follow any laws of nature. Its origin is a mystery. And it affects its victims differently. Some will be infected with barely a scratch. Others will be beaten severely by a mummy and walk away without contracting the disease.
Those who are affected will slowly waste away in mysterious ways. Muscle mass will slowly recede until a limb at a time is rendered useless. Others will find the rot begin within, finding their internal organs slowly dissolving.
The only known cure comes from a divine source, through Cure Disease cast by a friendly Cleric. This can stop the disease in its tracks and begin the healing process, but it’s not an instant cure. It may take more than one casting and additional time to reverse the effects fully, making even survival a long and painful process.
If you start exhibiting symptoms, make sure you seek help immediately.
Lastly, the rumored paralyzing stare is definitely a danger. If you encounter a mummy, try to avoid looking directly at its eyes. As with the paralyzing effects of a ghoul’s attack, there is only one race among us unaffected by this paralysis: elves. If you are paralyzed, you can do a Save vs. Paralysis roll each round until you are released from its effects or the mummy manages to kill you.
The best defense against this paralytic gaze is the traditional “safety in numbers”. Parties of five or more will gain a +2 to their Save vs. Paralysis rolls to more easily shake off its effects.
Next time we’ll talk about the lowly skeleton…