Mummy the Curse: 2e review

Mummy. A game of immortal servitude, fleeting memories, and being powerful enough to call down meteors from the sky.

If you’re not already familiar with the game, I recommend checking out the primer post I have on this blog. You can find it here: https://theladylarper.home.blog/2020/02/27/what-is-mummy-the-curse/

I’m going to be giving a general overview of the 2nd edition, what changes stand out from the 1e, and the bits that really grab my attention. Personally, I enjoyed reading the first edition a lot but it was a little messy at times. I’m expecting to see a lot more clarity in this edition, as well as the boost in power that other splats typically receive in their 2e books.

Disclaimer: a review copy was kindly provided by Onyx Path Publishing.

The Guilds

Five Guilds made up the workers of Irem and each mummy belonged to a Guild in their life. By and large, these remain similar to their 1e counterparts though reading 2e makes it a lot easier to imagine what a Guild member might look and act like. There’s more flavour and character here. They took the pleasant meal of first edition and added some spice. From the flavour text to the sample character concepts, this section is overall more enjoyable to read and will provide players less familiar with the system a better impression of the purpose of the Guilds – both in Irem and after the fall of the empire.

The Decrees

If the Guilds reprsent who the mummy was in life, the Decrees mark what they devoted their soul to during the Rite of Return. The Decrees correspond to the Five pillars of the soul, which pillar the Risen built up when they were broken to nothing in Duat. If the Guilds improved on what was written in first edition, 2e Decrees took a piece of writing and made it art. There’s so much emotion here. It’s crystal clear how the various decrees tie into the themes of the game. They all have their own strengths and passions and weaknesses.

The Decrees are given reasons to keep on living and serving. They all carry their own “curse”. Some mourn the loss of their mortality (not that they’ll ever admit it). Others can’t bear to remember; they loathe the realisation that nothing is new for an immortal. It hurts knowing that all civilisations crumble to dust with time and your work will similarly disappear. I enjoy Chronicles best when it’s about personal pain and struggles and reading this section makes me imagine all the growth and loss you can put a character through. It’s delicious.

The Judges

Good grief, an overhaul was needed here. The first edition offered a lackluster list, each Judge getting a sentence or two to describe them before it was time to move onto the next. Here, we see the Judges fleshed out. We’re told why and how they are worshiped, and what crimes their servants judge. It’s a fun little section and some sections really resonant with current moods. Who doesn’t want to be an immortal being with a vendetta against lying politicians or mega-corporations that exploit their workers.

Affinities and Utterances

Wow.

1E mummies were powerful. That’s their shtick. For a while anyway. Their power wanes but while it’s there, it’s god-like. While the original had its share of awe-inspiring powers, there were admittedly some that were… just a bit less impressive than others. 2E introduces the idea of Blessed and Blighted actions. For a Blessed action, you roll twice and take the best result. For a Blight action, roll twice and take the worst result. To be blunt, this is just cool. It feels thematic. It really fits the idea of being a servant of a powerful God, receiving some sort of divine blessing for your work.

Affinities

Affinities have been tweaked and streamlined in subtle ways. Compare Falcon Soul Aloft in the two editions. 1E granted a dice bonus to keeping balance, 2E grants the mummy perfect balance. Instead of a dice bonus for jumping, you are simply able to just do it. Of course, I appreciate that this affinity is somewhat more powerful in 2E but what I enjoy the most is that it’s just easier to understand. No fiddling about with rolling or something that will possibly work. It just does. It’s much more cinematic to know that you’re going to jump across that chasm and give your character an unassailable confidence in doing so.

If I had one criticism of the Affinities, it’s that some seem a lot more useful than others. Blessed Panoply, like in first edition, protects your items from decay and damage. You can clean them and yourself with an instant action. That’s a neat little trick. Your treasures can’t be damaged and your weapons will never suffer the test of time. Now in 2E, the power also grants 9-again on any rolls that use tools – including an attack that uses a weapon or a drive roll with a vehicle. Additionally, their clothes offer an extra point of armor. This jumps out as something you’d be foolish not to take. Sure, some will resist the allure of such a nice power, and there are other powers out there that will help brawlers but… it’s just so much more appealing than some of the more situational powers.

Source: Mummy the Curse, 2nd Edition Kickstarter page

Utterances

Now this is where the real power lies. Utterances are extremely powerful acts of magic and no one can look upon them and mistake them to be a simple mundane occurrence. Each Utterance is split into 3 tiers, higher tiers growing progressively more powerful. Like with Affinities, there are many Utterances here that are streamlined, more powerful versions of their 1E counterparts. And it works!

Utterances are meant to be flashy and powerful. If I’m calling down a meteor from the heavens, I want it to land in an inferno of fire and cause aggravated damage to those unfortunate enough to get hit by my divine wrath (hellooo Secrets Ripped from the Skies!). When I read the Utterances section, I imagine facing down another supernatural. They’ve underestimated me. They’ve never met a Mummy before. They don’t know what they’re in for. That’s when I grapple the werewolf, turn them into an ivory statue, and display them in my tomb.

Utterances are the biblical plague of locusts. They’re the river running red with blood and the sky turning black in the middle of the day. They’re not something you’re going to use in every session but that makes them all the more special when you announce you’re going to tear apart the fabric of reality and channel the power of some ancient, forgotten diety.

Conclusion

If I had to pick my favourite section, it would have to be the Decrees or the Utterances. The Utterances are so very cool. They’re cinematic and are sure to make for great “remember that time when-” stories. The Decrees are less flashy but they’re ripe with the potential for emotional stories.

I cannot wait for the physical release. I want to run a campaign of this game and I’ll be buying a hard copy as soon as I possibly can. It’s rare that a book makes me audibly exclaim “holy shit” as often as this one did and really, what more can I say?

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