"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

B/X Monsters - Mummy

Happy Halloween!

B/X does not have a ghost monster entry so instead you get the mummy.

The mummy is another great sword & sorcery monster in B/X. Two things I really like about the B/X mummy is the sparseness of the description and the sword & sorcery-esque fear mechanic.

The description on page X36 is very short and really only covers some basic ecology and combat mechanics, leaving the imagery up to the DM's own expectations. This will, of course, mean that most mummies will be of the wrapped in bandages style. Mummies are described to lurk near deserted ruins and tombs (presumably their own). However, their is no mention of deserts or ancient egypt style pyramids or flavour. For the devious DM, this means that a mummy could look like a normal person maybe with the stench of disease and decay enveloping them.

On seeing a mummy, characters must make a save vs paralysis or be paralyzed with fear until the mummy attacks someone or goes out of sight. I like this as a large part of sword & sorcery literature is the instinctive fear of unnatural things— magic and creatures that defy explanation. Such things are unwholesome and evil; therefore, they should be feared.

A mummy causes a hideous rotting disease with a hit. This is nasty as there is no mention of a saving throw and if you are paralyzed by fear the hit is a near sure thing unless someone is able to intervene. The disease causes all healing to take 10 times longer than normal and prevents all magical healing. This really hinders the management of one of the main resources in the game - hit points. The only way to get rid of the disease is with a cure disease spell which is a 3rd level cleric spell which requires an Elder Cleric (6th level) to cast. In my settings, 6th level clerics are fairly rare which sets up all sorts of possible adventure hooks.

Have a safe and happy Halloween and watch out for mummies as you don't want to be paralyzed by fear (as a Normal Man you only have a 25% chance of making your saving throw) or catching a terrible rotting disease.


  1. Another cool thing I always am reminded of when I think of mummies is the cool "Ring of Fear" item the mummy carries in the Boris Karloff movie. I know I wrote it up for 3rd edition at some point; I should draw up a B/X version.

  2. The mummy...yet another favorite PC basher. D12 damage! Woo-hoo! That is BRUTAL for low level (<5) characters!

  3. Not just low levels. Even at levels 7-8, the d12 damage and mummy rot drastically change the tactics and methods of adventuring, as few clerics prep many cure diseases and 6-8 mummies can make a mess of most parties.