Masks of the Mummy King (Session 1/3) Play Report

I GMed Nathan Paoletta's Masks of the Mummy King this evening. It was the first in a linked series of 3 sessions. It's a pulp-action tomb-robbing adventure game, sort of a side-scroller imagined as a story game.

 This was an online game for the Gauntlet RPG community. We ran with 3 of the 4 registered players as we had a last-minute drop.

It was the first time I ran this game, so after explaining it and getting things rolling, it required a little bit of calibrating to get used to the pace and in particular the mechanic of slipping and struggling to accumulate tokens to THEN act on the Obstacles that are placed between the characters and the treasures of the Mummy King(s).

Everyone was game, though, and I had a lot of fun building traps that kicked off their flavor text and bits of origin story revealed at the start of play. This is a VERY loose bidding/resource management system that drives play, there's no dice rolls, just build and spend via narrative. If we ran into trouble, it's in that abstraction that I didn't explain clearly enough. Players spend action tokens to commit to actions in 3 different Arenas: Wits, Sorcery, and Might, but you need to make sometimes-significant cognitive leaps to connect how the Action is expressed to making an actual SPEND that helps defeat the Problem. I think we managed it pretty well! There were exciting scenes of daring-do, and by the time we were done I think we all understood the system a lot better than when we started. 

In the end, one of the characters retreated from the Ziggurat empty-handed, but furtively slipped on the first Mummy King's maksk before he retreated from the Tomb. The other two had a brief respite before climbing to the next section of the Ziggurat (and next week's game, where the difficulty level ramps up a bit and they face a bigger, badder Mummy King at the top of that level).

My favorite player moments:

Zahara pulls out a tambourine to play against the beat of the band of former tomb robbers trying to get the Rogues to join their eternal Danse Macabre!

Amunet  dances across an indoor pond across the back, then the head of a huge blind albino crocodile before using the swimming Zahara's head as her final stepping stone to dry land. 

Var the False sliding down the outside of the ziggurat clutching the Mummy King's Mask, muttering to himself about preferring the Hell outside to the one in the tomb.

Part two next week!

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