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Pyramids

The Pharaoh is dead and has been entombed in his life's work: the Pyramid! Unfortunately for you, he needs souls to aid him in the afterlife. The Pyramid is a mystical place built to allow maximum alignment with the stars, you have heard rumour of strange happenings within its sloped walls. You awaken with a pounding headache deep within the complex. You must keep your wits about you and escape before Osiris can pass judgement on your souls.

Playing the Game

This game is an RPG for one to many players and a Pyramid Master (PM). Before starting players generate their characters using the rules below, while the PM generates a pyramid using the rules overleaf. The objective for the players is to escape the pyramid by using their skills to get through three chambers which contain various challenges.

The Golden Rule - The golden rule of Pyramids is to have fun and not take it too seriously. Don't be afraid to do silly voices or describe ridiculous situations and actions.

Actions and Skills - The PM will describe each chamber and it is up to the players how they will proceed, describing the actions they wish to take to the PM. If any actions are non-trivial, for example jumping a large gap or persuading someone you are in fact an estate agent, the PM will call on a player to make a skill check. Players have three skills with which they can do this:

To succeed on an action a player must roll equal to or under their skill's value on 2d4, adding the two dice together. A player's skills base values are taken from their profession determined below but can be modified up or down with items which are also detailed later. Skill values can never be larger than 7. The PM may decide that an action a player wishes to perform is abnormally difficult, for example backflipping while throwing a dagger or recalling every single Egyptian God in reverse alphabetical order, in this case they may ask the player to succeed twice in a row on a skill check to proceed.

Health - Every player starts with 3 health, the PM can inflict damage on you when you fail checks or trigger traps. If you fall to zero health you die and lose the game.

Items - Each player starts play with a single item chosen from the items table overleaf. Upon completing the first and second chamber each player will be rewarded with a single item determined by rolling on the items table. Some items will have an affect on stats which should be taken into account when making skill checks. Other items may not have a statistical effect but will allow the player to describe actions that would perhaps otherwise be impossible, for example using a bandage rope to swing across a river of mercury. It is up to the PM and player to agree on whether an item is useful in any given situation.

The d44 - Some of the roll tables in these rules require rolling a d44. To do so roll a d4 twice; once for the tens and once for the ones. For example Apophis first rolls a three and then a two when gaining an item, this means he should look at the row with 32 as the d44 roll result.

Star Alignment - When a player makes a skill check and both dice results are the same, i.e. double ones, twos, threes or fours, then the Stars Have Aligned. Pyramids are places of high strangeness and who knows what kind of mystical forces are at play. When the stars have aligned the player must make a d44 roll and check the result on the star alignment table. Alignments can have gameplay effects like stat changes or can introduce a new element role play element to the chamber that the PM will have to describe to players. The PM can ask players to reroll on the alignment table if an effect has already occurred once and doesn't make sense to happen again.

d44 Star Alignment Effect
11 The Golden Ratio - You are suddenly struck by the perfection of the architecture around you and have the urge to draw fractals all day.
12 Heady Days - In a flash of light your head turns into that of your favourite animal.
13 Time Travel - Your character suddenly ages 30 years.
14 End Times - The end times are nigh, a portal to the underworld appears and Osiris steps through.
21 Ancient Aliens - A lone alien teleports into the center of the room looking confused.
22 Horus' Lettuce - Feeling peckish? Some delicious looking lettuce appears with an enticing white salad dressing.
23 Set's Practical Joke - An ethereal leg appears to trip you over.
24 Pschent Party - All but one creatures in the room is now wearing a Pharaoh's crown.
31 All is Dust - Everything you are carrying turns to dust.
32 Scarab Pheromones - A steady stream of scarab beetles are attracted to you.
33 Cats - The Pharaoh's cat collection wanders in... and they're hungry.
34 Cats! - The Pharaoh's acting troupe dances in... and they're dressed as Cats!
41 Maahes Madness - You have a sudden lust for human flesh.
42 Mummy's Beauty Sleep - You have awoken a cranky Mummy, they will keep complaining until they are tucked back in.
43 Nile Trial - The room starts to fill with water, you have 5 minutes before complete immersion.
44 Gifts From The Gods - Immediately roll twice on the items table, these items appear in front of you.

Character Creation

A player must roll or choose a profession from the table below, this will determine their character's base values to use when making skill checks. They should then take a couple of moments to give their character a name and think of a personality.

d4 Profession Stats
1 Royal Guard Strength 5, Intellect 3, Charm 3
2 Architect Strength 3, Intellect 5, Charm 3
3 High Priest Strength 3, Intellect 3, Charm 5
4 Slave Strength 4, Intellect 4, Charm 4

The player should also choose or roll on the items table overleaf to get their first item.

d44 Items
11 Khopesh - An iron sickle sword, adds 1 to Strength when attacking someone.
12 Encyclopedia Aegyptus - Useful for pop quizzes on Egyptian history or culture.
13 Ankh - Symbol of life, ignore 1 damage then discard.
14 Sphynx Plushie - Poses a riddle when the tail is pulled.
21 Book of the Dead - Summon a skeletal companion.
22 The Light of Ra - A one use rod that emits a flash of light with the intensity of the desert sun.
23 The Anachronistic Fedora - Gain 1 Strength and Charm... and a fear of snakes.
24 Osiris' Wraps - A seemingly infinite roll of linen.
31 Crocodile Shoes - Allows the user to walk on water, befriend crocodiles, and cry at will.
32 Hathor's Kohl - Leaded eyeliner, gain 2 Charm, lose 1 Strength.
33 Thoth's First Abacus - Adds 1 to Intellect for any actions that may need calculations.
34 Pocket Rosetta Stone - Understand all languages! Can be thrown at people as well.
41 Ochre Dust - Apply to face to gain 1 Charm.
42 Apis' Helm - A horned helmet, roll a Strength check whenever you take damage to ignore it.
43 The Benben Die - A d4 resembling the top stone of the pyramid. Use once to roll on the Star Alignment table without a check.
44 Toolbox of Ptah - A handy box of tools for making quick pyramid repairs.

Pyramid Master Guide

It is the Pyramid Master's job to set the scene for the players and keep the game on track. Although you will often find yourself in an adversarial position to players, remember its about everyone having fun and not about winning.

Pyramid Creation - Use the tables opposite to create the pyramid that the players need to escape from, you can either roll (d6) or choose. Each chamber has a short description that should be used as a jumping off point for your imagination. At the start of each chamber take some time to describe the chamber and answer any questions the players may have about the situation they find themselves in, make sure to think of way that the players can "complete" the chamber if there is no obvious door or way through. You will definitely have to improv some answers! A more advanced PM may wish to ignore the tables and create their own adventure, just remember that each chamber should be slightly weirder and harder than the last.

Finishing A Chamber - Once the players have found a way through the chamber they will receive an item from the item table each. Ask them to roll and describe how the item appears to them, maybe an antechamber with a chest or just on the floor covered in dust.

Finishing The Pyramid - After the players have made it though the final chamber they have successfully escaped! Perhaps an explosion opened a hole in the wall to the desert, or a mystical force teleported them back to Cairo.

d6 Chamber 1
1 The Mercury Room - Many streams of toxic mercury divide up the room into a strange pattern. The fumes are deadly if exposed for long enough.
2 The Room of Reflection - You are met with your doppelgangers, their positions mirror yours so you cannot just walk past.
3 The Bee Hive - Sticky honey coats the walls of this chamber and hundreds of bees swirl around lazily before you enter.
4 The Senet Board - The room is some kind of giant board game and an old man sits opposite.
5 The Dance Floor - A host of a twirling dancers lays before you, it would seem the only way through would be to find a partner and join in.
6 The Giza Geezer - A beam of light shines through a small hole in the ceiling, a wizened old man is trying to illuminate a jewel with a series of mirrors and lenses.
d6 Chamber 2
1 The Sphinx's Lair - An empty room except for the giant mythical creature standing in the center. Answer his questions three to proceed unharmed.
2 The Molokhia Pot - The floor of this room is a bubbling cauldron filled with a tasty stew of giant ingredients. Oversized cooking implements hang from a rack next to the door.
3 The Lion's Den - This room contains hundreds of caged animals, each cage with a lock... except for the one open cage. There is a board with a hundred keys but which one will let you out?
4 The Man Out Of Time - A strangely dressed man sits in the center of this room talking into a rectangle. Where or perhaps when is he from?
5 The Snake Pit - Green drapes, brown ropes and for some reason cucumbers clutter up this otherwise normal looking study. Every now and then you hear a faint hiss...
6 The Cairo Pyro - You feel a rush of heat as a fireball explodes near you. A cackling wizard prepares to throw another.
d6 Chamber 3
1 The Pharaoh's Death Party - Now reanimated the dead pharaoh is holding a party to celebrate his death, you must excuse yourselves without offending him.
2 The Orion Correlation - The pyramid has finally aligned with Orion's belt! Three large aggressive looking Aliens appear atop the Pharaoh's tomb, you have only moments to hide.
3 The Pyramid Scheme - Turns out this whole thing was just about getting you to start selling the Pharaoh's new line of makeup. It's now easy to make money at home! You need to get out before exhausting your savings.
4 The Mecha Pharaoh - I guess the Pharaoh was planning a different sort of afterlife. He rises as the harmonic resonators kick in on his Sarcophagundam. Some machinery whirs in the corner.
5 The Hall of Maat - You have stumbled into the Pharaoh's final judgement. It becomes clear that if he is deemed unworthy, you will be too.
6 The Dimension Shift - The Pharaoh's ascension has caused a rift in spacetime. Roll once on the first and second chamber tables and meld them together to see what happens.