Mummies: Brendan Frasier, is that you?

Before opening a sarcophagus, light a torch.

X the Mystic’s 7th Rule of Dungeon Survival

Alright! We’ve got an ominous opening quote and a terrible joke in the title! This week’s Best of the Bestiary is off to a wonderful start!

Lore: Eternal Lorekeepers and Undying Tyrants

Buried long ago in an extensive dark ritual, a mummy rises from its slumber in the ancient ruins of history. Imbued with necrotic magic by a priest of a dark deity (usually the death god), a mummy rises upon a condition set by the runes drawn upon its wrappings, such as to ward off intruders or protect a valuable artifact. Many corpses were used to make mummies, from the bodies of rulers who displeased powerful priests to common criminals or even slaves. None had a say in their fate, for how can a corpse say no to the call of another’s greater purpose?

Breaking the curse placed on a mummy is no easy feat. Rare magics are capable of it, but a more common method is to simply undo the crime against its orders that made it rise to begin with, such as by returning a sacred treasure. However, some offenses are not so easily forgiven, and nothing can sate the cursed creature’s wrath, not even revenge.

Unlike other undead, mummies are capable of speech, though they are slow to do so. Some are even used as keepers of ancient lore, made to pass knowledge down to the descendants of its creator. There are even those powerful enough who keep mummies hidden away for this specific purpose.

With a particularly powerful and dark spell, and the corpse of a particularly terrible tyrant, a mummy lord might be born. They retain their memories and personalities, allowing them to continue in their rule long after death, should their death god grant the priest-king their favor. Unlike other mummies, the mummy lord retains ownership of its heart, which it keeps in a jar. Only when that heart is destroyed can a mummy lord be truly defeated, and only by fire can the heart be stopped.

All of this together makes for some incredible storytelling potential! Perhaps the big-bad of your campaign is a powerful mummy lord who has ruled the land in tyranny for thousands of years! Or maybe the players stumble into an ancient tomb and accidentally awaken the mummy, who terrorizes a nearby town, thus forcing them to either beg its forgiveness or go and slay it. You could even use the mummy as an NPC for a bit of exposition, maybe even have it send them on a quest to fulfill some duty it needs completed. The options are incredibly versatile and all of them are fun and interesting!

Provided that you keep a lozenge on hand. The dry, raspy mummy voice is murder on the throat.

Design: A Zombie With Extra Steps

Okay guys, very funny. Now get that toilet paper off of the zombie.

Oh, you’re… so beautiful…

The core concept of this design is exactly what you’d expect. It’s a dried out corpse wrapped in bandages. Who could have guessed? It’s almost like it’s a mummy or something!

Luckily, it does some stuff to help it stand out from something you might see in other fantasy media. Small touches, like adorning it with the jewelry it was buried in, giving it long black nails, and showing the rot of the bandages to expose the corpse beneath. It looks more zombie-like than anything, which is absolutely fitting! They’re minor additions, but they give the design some much needed personality. Plus, they’re super creepy!

Overall, this is a decent design. Yes, it’s almost exactly what you’d expect. But it is still just unique enough to call interesting. Not bad.

Stats: Rot With Me

For clarity’s sake: we’ll be discussing the regular mummy and the mummy lord in this article. I was tempted to divide it into two, but I don’t want to drag this out for too long. Not when there are weird mushroom people on the next page!

Regular mummies are fairly strong for a relatively low-level monster. Its AC is pretty pathetic (don’t laugh; it’s armor is rotting cloth) and its HP is alright. It might not sound too bad, but it has a list of invulnerabilities and immunities. You can’t damage it with poison or necrotic damage, and nonmagical melee does nothing. On top of that, it is immune to most status effects. That said, it is highly vulnerable to fire damage.

Again: rotting cloth. Give ‘im a break.

In terms of damage, the mummy has two options, and it can use both in any turn thanks to Multiattack. Rotting Fist is an incredibly dangerous attack for a low-level enemy; not only does it do pretty strong melee damage boosted with necrotic, it can also curse the victim with, and I quote, ‘mummy rot.’ While under this curse, victims can’t regain HP, and they take damage, 10(3d6), every 24 hours. Should the target’s HP reach 0 before the curse can be removed via magic, their bodies will turn to dust.

Then there’s Dreadful Glare, which paralyzes the victim if they fail the save. Which isn’t nearly as intimidating as Rotting Fist, is it?

That is the normal mummy. It’s a fairly terrifying monster that truly forces the players to be careful and creative. How do they exploit the fire weakness? How do they avoid the Rotting Fist? What in the hell do they do if they get the mummy curse? It makes for a great encounter!

And then there is the infinitely more terrifying mummy lord. In other words: the real boss fight.

The mummy lord is far more durable than its regular counterpart, with a much higher AC and nearly twice as much HP. It has all the same resistances (and the same fiery weakness), only now it has Magic Resistance, giving it advantage on all saving throws related to spells or magic effects. Not only that, it’s Rejuvenation ability allows it to regrow a destroyed body 24 hours after its defeat, provided its heart remains intact.

It also has spells! A lot of them, in fact! They are:

  • Cantrips (at will): sacred flame, thaumaturgy
  • 1st level (4 slots): command, guiding bolt, shield of faith
  • 2nd level (3 slots): hold person, silence, spiritual weapon
  • 3rd level (3 slots): animate dead, dispel magic
  • 4th level (3 slots): divination, guardian of faith
  • 5th level (2 slots): contagion, insect plague
  • 6th level (1 slot): harm

God damn, that is one scary spell list! Give him Shield next, why don’tcha?!

On top of having all of the normal mummy’s attacks, the mummy lord has Legendary Actions! It can use up to three, and only at the end of someone else’s turn. It regains all of them at the start of its own turn. They are:

  • Attack: use Rotting Fist or Dreadful Glare
  • Blinding Dust: conjure a cloud of dust that can blind everyone in a 5 foot radius of the mummy lord
  • Blasphemous Word (Costs 2 Actions): all non-undead creatures within 10 feet of the mummy lord must make a save or be stunned until the end of the mummy lord’s next turn
  • Channel Negative Energy (Costs 2 Actions): all creatures within 60 feet of the mummy lord are unable to regain HP until the end of its next turn, regardless of cover or magic
  • Whirlwind of Sand (Costs 2 Actions): the mummy lord transforms into a cloud of sand and travels up to 60 feet before transforming back; during this time, it is completely immune to damage and cannot be halted in any way

And dear lord, we’re still not done! Because then there’s the mummy lord’s lair! Fight it in there, and it has access to three dangerous Lair Actions! These are:

  • Each undead creature in the lair can locate all living creatures within the lair, up until initiative count 20 of the next turn
  • Each undead has advantage on saving throws until initiative count 20 of the next turn
  • Any non-undead creature takes necrotic damage upon casting a spell, should they fail a saving throw; this effect lasts until initiative count 20 of the next turn

With all of this combined, the mummy lord is one of the best bosses you could possibly throw at your players! It has so many spells and effects that it could employ at basically any time during combat, making it an enemy that the players will need to constantly adapt to. They’ll need to bust out all of the stops and push their creative muscles to their limits in order to survive, let alone win!

Placement

Maybe this entry really is Brendan Frasier, because it’s awesome (I’m a big Brendan Frasier stan and I can’t let this terrible joke go)! The lore is rich and full of potential for fun sessions or full campaigns! The design, while predictable, is a cut above what you might expect. The stats for either version can make for one of the best possible boss fights in the entire game; whatever weakness the design might have, the fight more than makes up for it!

Placing this one is gonna be tough! While it is definitely top five material, I’m not sure if even it can surpass the players in the top four. Those guys are just way too good, and it’ll take a special kind of monster to usurp their current places. As good as the mummy is, and it is a spectacular monster, it just isn’t quite that good.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Mummy on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Mummy/Mummy Lord <—————-
  6. Green Dragons
  7. Red Dragons
  8. Blue Dragons
  9. Black Dragons
  10. White Dragons
  11. Silver Dragons
  12. Couatl
  13. Behir
  14. Aboleth
  15. Sea Hag
  16. Lamia
  17. Bronze Dragons
  18. Brass Dragons
  19. Copper Dragons
  20. Gold Dragons
  21. Chuul
  22. Kuo-Toa
  23. Gibbering Mouther
  24. Kraken
  25. Intellect Devourer
  26. Chimera
  27. Death Knight
  28. Fomorian
  29. Bone Devil
  30. Dracolich
  31. Faerie Dragon
  32. Lich
  33. Magmin
  34. Kobold
  35. Kenku
  36. Hobgoblins
  37. Night Hag
  38. Green Hag
  39. Ankheg
  40. Hook Horror
  41. Storm Giant
  42. Hill Giant
  43. Empyrean
  44. Efreeti
  45. Grimlock
  46. Minotaur
  47. Dao
  48. Cloud Giant
  49. Manticore
  50. Drow (all four of ’em)
  51. Shadow Demon
  52. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  53. Marilith
  54. Drider
  55. Aarackockra
  56. Azer
  57. Demilich
  58. Spectator
  59. Hydra
  60. Marid
  61. Harpy
  62. Werejackal
  63. Half-Dragon
  64. Cambion
  65. Fire Giant
  66. Animated Armor
  67. Banshee
  68. Basilisk
  69. Yochlol
  70. Bulette
  71. Cloaker
  72. Darkmantle
  73. Doppelganger
  74. Ghoul and Ghast
  75. Ettin
  76. Medusa
  77. Pit Fiend
  78. Erinyes
  79. Chain Devil
  80. Bearded Devil
  81. Barbed Devil
  82. Spined Devil
  83. Ice Devil
  84. Mimic
  85. Djinni
  86. Merrow
  87. Nalfeshnee
  88. Glabrezu
  89. Chasme
  90. Grell
  91. Barlgura
  92. Horned Devil
  93. Balor
  94. Shadow Dragon
  95. Werebear
  96. Lizardfolk
  97. Vrock
  98. Dretch
  99. Gnolls (all three)
  100. Goristro
  101. Hezrou
  102. Manes
  103. Frost Giant
  104. Weretiger
  105. Werewolf
  106. Duergar
  107. Quasit
  108. Dryad
  109. Flumph
  110. Goblin
  111. Wereboar
  112. Wererat
  113. Githyanki
  114. Planetar
  115. Imp
  116. Clay Golem
  117. Flameskull
  118. Displacer Beast
  119. Carrion Crawler
  120. Githzerai
  121. Grick
  122. Invisible Stalker
  123. Rug of Smothering
  124. Bugbear Chief
  125. Bugbear
  126. Flesh Golem
  127. Vine Blight
  128. Twig Blight
  129. Needle Blight
  130. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  131. Bullywug
  132. Hellhound
  133. Ettercap
  134. Gas Spore
  135. Cockatrice
  136. Lemure
  137. Homonculus
  138. Merfolk
  139. Solar
  140. Deva
  141. Gorgon
  142. Hippogriff
  143. Griffon
  144. Cyclops
  145. Centaur
  146. Ghost
  147. Fire Elemental
  148. Water Elemental
  149. Air Elemental
  150. Stone Giant
  151. Deep Gnome
  152. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  153. Iron Golem
  154. Stone Golem
  155. Earth Elemental
  156. Galeb Duhr
  157. Helmed Horror
  158. Flying Sword
  159. Crawling Claw
  160. Violet Fungus
  161. Shrieker
  162. Gargoyle
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