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Geist / Mummy Crossover hack: Dominions of Duat [ST content]

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  • Geist / Mummy Crossover hack: Dominions of Duat [ST content]

    For a chronicle I’m currently running, I’ve been working on uniting the metaphysics Duat with the Underworld as described in Geist - and I’m sharing here in case anyone else finds it interesting, or wants to give feedback.
    I understand that there is no canon material to support this, and that many of the developer comments straight-up say this is not the case. This is just a hack that I am using for my specific story.
    Spoiler alert: This thread discusses content from the “Storyteller sections” of Mummy, in case you care about that divide.

    The idea behind this crossover hack is pretty simple - making the Underworld the same as Duat, and incorporating the associated metaphysics. The are two main reasons that I’m working on this idea: First, the chronicle I’m currently running in part involves rescuing a soul from the true afterlife, so figuring out how to and what that looks like is part of my onus as ST; but the main reason is that I gorram loved “Dreams of Avarice”, and I wanted to use it more directly.
    So, here’s what it looks like:
    This metaphysics hack posits that someone, deep in the underworld, well guarded on hidden paths, there is a place where souls are drawn to be Judged.
    “The Settlements of Outer Duat” are the Autochthonous Depths and Dead Dominions.
    The Dead Dominions, specifically, is where the Shan’iatu are trapped - having been able to, in part, drag their empire into Duat and retain their pleasures as masters of the dead, but with their aspirations of supplanting the Judges & seeing Aaru crushed. They now feed off of offrendas and the torment of ghosts. Essentially, the Kerberoi are the Shan’iatu - bitter, deranged, and twisted after being trapped so long in the depths.
    The Thing About Souls:
    This hack does not suggest that ghosts are (or have) souls, but rather that they are 1/5 of a soul - the Sheut. As described in “Dreams of Avarice”, when you stray from deathlessness, your soul flies to its 5 separate destinies, the Shadow lingering in [Twilight], howling silently, cursed by the living. This seems an appropriate description of ghosts to me. The souls who do not accept death and do not journey to be Judged unwravel, leaving behind a ghost (among other stuff). Because I like to include a tinge of hope to my games, the soul can still be Judged and move on to the true afterlife if all the ghost’s anchors are resolved.
    Resolved ghosts, and souls who embrace death, are taken down a secret path through the underworld, past gates and demons, to the City of Black Spines, to be Judged. The worthy enter Aaru; the unworthy are broken down by Ammut until their sekhem returns to the world as raw material - ie they get reincarnated.
    Ghosts who cannot move on slowly drift to the bottom of the Underworld, into the Ocean of Fragments, where they’re forcibly scrubbed of every last shred of identity, until that last drop of Sekhem can be fed to Ammut and returned to the world.
    An Orphean Journey:
    This conception of the underworld means that Player Characters have the possibility of actually finding the City of Black Spines, interacting with true gods and souls, and learning the secrets of death and the afterlife. This is the whole purpose of the hack, as I actually want to do that over the course of this chronicle. Of course, it should be neither easy, simple, nor widely known, but possible. Varying rumors might exist about seeing souls wander down winding paths, resolved ghosts getting discorporated and blown down paths into the Depths, and bizarre gates hidden in the tunnels, guarded by psychopomps and chthonians.

    Some details about the Domains
    About those Kerberoi:
    One of the most fun parts of this hack, from a world-building perspective (at least for me), is the idea of using the Shan’iatu as the Kerberos of Dead Dominions. This gives an active, tangible link in the setting to some of the ancient secrets. As Kerberos, the Shan’iatu are immediately accessible - if you know how to ask the right questions, and are willing to piss off a semi-divine king of the dead by reminding them of their failures.
    This leads to the fun project of linking already published Dead Dominions and their Kerberoi to the Shan’iatu and the Judges that made them. [Again, I know this is in no way canon, and against the intent of the writers and developers. But there are some themes that are present throughout the CoD, and by liberally twisting and reinterpreting things, you can draw links and do something fun.]
    My working assumptions [which are unsupported and YMMV] is that each Judge only created one Shan’iatu. I just find this to be the simplest way of handling it, and it gives the chronicle room to explore their diversity without over cluttering ther setting. It also means we can take the descriptions of the Judges from the Mummy core and “Dreams of Avarice” and directly correlate them to a specific Shan’iatu and a single Dead Dominion.
    So there are 42 Shan’iatu. 7 of them, the Deceived, are trapped in the mortal world and never made it to Duat. Thus, 35 Dead Dominions, corresponding to 35 of the Judges.
    Of the already published realms, Mictlan and the Ocean of Fragments seem better left under the auspices of Azar and Ammut.
    It may be possible that other entities found a way to carve out a Dead Dominion and turn themselves into a Kerberos without being part of the originally established order (see Plenty and the realm of Oppia). Perhaps this is just a possibility of the Underworld, or perhaps there is “metaphysical room” for 7 more realms - those the Deceived would have created.
    There are also the possibilities of Kerberos being destroyed and replaced, or supplanted and merged with other entities (hinted at with El Diablo and the Clockwork Hive). My explanation for this is that, whether destroyed or supplanted, the former Kerberos merges with the new entity - some of its purview (as commanded by the Judges), bleeding over, but its personality, consciousness, and interpretation being radically changed by the transition. Some essence of the Shan’iatu carries over, but the degree that’s expressed can vary wildly - from creatures similar to the Deceived, with the temankh trapped in the back of a new mind, to a complete suppression with only impressions of the former being’s original purpose.
    Here are the connections I drew after a first pass at this concept.
    • Domain of Seloi, ruled by the Clockwork Hive (formerly the Scissorman). Created by a Shan’iatu, maybe in the Guild of Second Hands, ruled by Ta Retinhu: “I command my temankhs to torture for the tribe, but punish those who torture for themselves”.
    • Domain of An-Shot-Ka, ruled by the Tripych. Created by a Shan’iatu who might have been ruled by Neb-Imkhu: “I bind my temankhs to whisper, but punish eavesdroppers”.
    • Dead Man’s Hand, ruled by El Diablo. Created by a Shan’iatu, possibly in the Guild of Engravers, ruled by Ser Tihu: “Teach that the tribe is glorious, but punish those who hate others”.
    • The Killing Fields, ruled by Clockwork and Dominus. Clockwork was a Shan’iatu, possibly in the Guild of Second Hands, ruled by Tem Sepu: “punish those who subvert authority”. Dominus was ruled by Akhi: “teach rage, but punish its unleashing”.
    • Lowgate Prison, ruled by Yama. Created by a Shan’iatu, definitely a Guildmaster of Scribes, who was ruled by Bastu: “punish those who seek to cheat justice”.
    • The Junkyard, while technically ruled by whichever machine is strongest, is maintained by the Crushers. These are broken pieces of a Shan’iatu, likely a Guildmaster of alchemists, who was ruled by Unem Besek: “send humans to conquer, but punish those who steal land”.
    • The Forge, ruled by Orcus. Created by a Shan’iatu, who was definitely a Guildmaster of Alchemists, who was ruled by Hepet Khet: “send the strong to take from the weak, but punish looters”.
    • Athenaeum, ruled by Enoch. Created by a Shan’iatu, definitely a Guildmaster of Scribes, who was ruled by Sekhiru: “those who utter secrets first heard them in guarded chambers; silence those who cry forth words heard in closed chambers.”
    • The Dead Dream, ruled by the Dark Man. Created by a Shan’iatu, likely a Guildmaster of the Second Hands, who was ruled by Her Uru: “rule by fear, but punish those who terrorize others”.
    Going off the assumption that the Judges only created 1 Shan’iatu, that would mean that the 7 Judges ruling over the Deceived are not (directly) represented in the Underworld. But if you say that there is room for 7 more realms to be created, as the Deceived had intended to create kingdoms for themselves, then those realms made by outside entities might align in some way to those missing Shan’iatu and their Judges. We only have one published realm to use as an example of this:
    • Oppia, ruled by Plenty. This aligns to Maa-Nantuuf, who ruled The Dancer: “awaken pleasure in mortals, but punish the indulgent”.
    By looking at the other Deceived Temankhs and trying to relate them to a Judge, we can start to imagine what the other Shan’iatu were like compared to the original laws they represented, and how that might be twisted into an underworld domain. It may also suggest which Judges are not reflected in the Underworld - or which ones there is room for, depending on how you want to interpret that portion of the metaphysics.
    The Deceived were hard for me to link with Judges - harder than the Kerberos, actually, which was an odd thing, but here were my ideas:
    • The Musician (Am-Henuset) was the one to hear the music of the cosmos, the voice of Truth. This reverence for the source of life seemed to me to align with Heraf-Het: “he who contemplates mysteries feels the answer beyond his grasp; I bind my temankhs to demand curiosity, yet punish error”.
    • The Poet (Nephir Un-Ankh) taught poetry that became magic, giving names to the nameless and unnamed, which became the power of Utterances. This might align with Neb-Abitu: “teach the art of speech, but punish its frivolous use”.
    • The Philosopher (Neshebsut) sought the truth that existed within, the divine will inside each soul; in so doing, he taught to question the truth outside of oneself, violate vague ideas of “sacredness”, and to end blind faith. This could align with Kenemti (not everything religious is holy, but that which is must not be defiled), but I think it fits more with Shet-Kheru: “teach refinement of the Self, but punish those who believe they have great souls”.
    • The Painter (Tutkepertanu) taught to reveal the innermost truth through images, painting pure symbolic expressions of emotions, spirits, and gods. This might align with An-Afkh: “tech how a thing might be defiled, and punish those who defile”.
    • The Singer (Siranuthis) heard music in primal howls and pure emotional expressions, the echo of an echo of Truth’s music, and in that song found inspiration and power. This seems to align with Unem-Sef: “I bind my temankhs to conceal high secrets in their hymns, yet punish those who bend plain words”.
    • The Keeper (Hakkar-Zozer) taught that the natural order was superior to man-made reason. This seems to align with Nekhenhu: “sing the harsh laws of creation, and punish those who deny them”.
    • The Dancer (Kehetkhat) tried to embody the emotional glory of the cosmic song in the movement of the body and physical expression. This almost seems to line up with Maa-Nantuuf: “awaken pleasure in mortals, but punish the indulgent”.

    That was a lot of stuff, and I feel pretty iffy about most of the details I came up with. What I know is that I like this idea, since it lets me play around with some really interesting lore and parts of the setting more directly, and it lets me tell a particular type of story which I intend to use for my chronicle. I know its not for everyone, and actively breaks canon, but I thought it may be of interest to some other people on the forums.
    If you have any thoughts about how to refine this idea, I'd love to hear them. I do ask that people continue to use spoliers for any parts of their post that discuss "storyteller content". I'm not a fan of the divide myself, but I want to respect the people who are (and who, for some reason, accidentally looked at this thread).

    Hope you enjoyed,
    ~Seraph Kitty
    Last edited by Seraph Kitty; 02-18-2018, 06:27 PM.

    Second Chance for
    A Beautiful Madness

  • #2
    This might turn out to be not so ‘heretical’ to what the canon Underworld in 2E turns out to be, with all the mentions of Chthonic Gods, Reapers, and the malevolence of the Underworld itself.

    (Well, it does go against Mummy lore, but you did point out that it specifically does...)

    MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E