Clever Hobbitses: Mummy Curse

“Clever Hobbitses” is what one might say when the players at their table address a problem in an unforeseen way.

These are NOT session reports. These are short anecdotes from my game about problem design and interesting solutions.


The players are in the Perilous Pyramid, having just learned that the whole place is cursed by the mummy within! The Withering Curse attacks items and then the players themselves.

The curse works like so: an item from each player is randomly determined. That items crumbles to sand. If that player has no items, then a limb turns to sand and leaving nothing but exposed bone. It’s a sand timer for players to get to the mummy before all of their valuable treasures are destroyed.

So, I rolled for each player. One lost a sword, another a polymorph potion with two uses left(!). They howled with rage. How to address this problem?

In my mind, it was fairly straightforward: take out the source. No more mummy? No more mummy curse.

That’s not what the players did.

They thought about their items like, well, items. The items weren’t grafted onto them!

“I bury my armor in the sand. And my handcuffs. And my coins. We’ll be back for them later.”

Few items, fewer risks. Right on.

“Okay, but what about surviving the dangers ahead? There are more monsters lurking about…”

“We’ll have to use worse items to attack.”

I’m totally onboard with this.

“But what if those items are destroyed by the curse?”


“Can we?… Can collect rocks?”

“Whaddya mean?”

“I put a rock in my inventory. Write that down please. Actually, fill all of the rest of my slots with rocks. Now when the curse happens, there’s a lower chance it’ll destroy our weapons!”

“That’s… That’s… Huh.”

“Clever Hobbitses.”

I guess this is also a reminder to threaten the players’ assets.

When a young player takes damage or hits, they tend to say “I shrug it off! I don’t care! I keep going!”

But treasures and limbs? Those are to be protected by players at all costs. They will suddenly care a lot more…

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