Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Mummy's Hand 1940 For Your Old School Horror Campaign

 This film is one of the more accessible Mummy films from 1940 .  The Mummy's Hand isn't a sequel to the previous Universal Mummy film from 1932. This is complete remake from the ground up and allowed Universal to continue the Mummy films long after Im-Ho- Tep was dust.  
 It also happens to be one of the most accessible for use with old school horror table top role playing games.
 There are major Spoilers ahead! 
 The plot according to Wiki : 
The film begins with the Egyptian Andoheb (George Zucco) traveling to the Hill of the Seven Jackals in answer to the royal summons of the High Priest of Karnak (Eduardo Ciannelli). The dying priest of the sect explains the story of Kharis (Tom Tyler) to his follower. The tale closely parallels that of the original film, except that Kharis steals the sacred tana leaves in the hope of restoring life to the dead Princess Ananka. His penalty upon being discovered is to be buried alive, without a tongue, and the tana leaves are buried with him.
The leaves are the secret to Kharis' continued existence. During the cycle of the full moon, the fluid from the brew of three tana leaves is to be administered to the creature to keep him alive. Should despoilers enter the tomb of the Princess, a fluid of nine leaves will restore movement to the monster.
Meanwhile, down on his luck archaeologist Steve Banning (Dick Foran) and his sidekick, Babe Jenson (Wallace Ford), discover the remnants of a broken vase in a Cairo bazaar. Banning is convinced it is an authentic ancient Egyptian relic, and his interpretation of the hieroglyphics on the piece lead him to believe it contains clues to the location of the Princess Ananka's tomb.
With the support of the eminent Dr. Petrie (Charles Trowbridge) of the Cairo Museum, but against the wishes of Andoheb, who is also employed by the museum, Banning seeks funds for his expedition. Banning and Jenson meet an American magician, Solvani (Cecil Kellaway), who agrees to fund their quest. His daughter Marta (Peggy Moran) is not so easily swayed, thanks to a prior visit from Andoheb, who brands the two young archeologists as frauds.
The expedition departs in search of the Hill of the Seven Jackals, with the Solvani's tagging along. In their explorations, they stumble upon the tomb of Kharis, finding the mummy along with the tana leaves, but find nothing to indicate the existence of Ananka's tomb.
Andoheb appears to Dr. Petrie in the mummy's cave and has the surprised scientist feel the creature's pulse. After administering the tana brew from nine leaves, the monster quickly dispatches Petrie and escapes with Andoheb, through a secret passageway, to the temple on the other side of the mountain.
The creature continues his periodic marauding about the camp, killing a native overseer and eventually attacking Solvani and kidnapping Marta. Banning and Jenson set out to track Kharis down, with Jenson going around the mountain and Banning attempting to follow the secret passage they have discovered inside the tomb.
Andoheb has plans of his own. Enthralled by Marta's beauty, he plans to inject himself and his captive with tana fluid, making them both immortal. Jenson arrives in the nick of time, and guns down Andoheb outside of the temple, while Banning attempts to rescue the girl. However, Kharis appears on the scene and Banning's bullets have no effect on the immortal being. Marta overheard Adoheb tell the secret of the tana fluid and tells Banning and Jenson that Kharis must not be allowed to drink any more of the serum. When the creature raises the tana serum to his lips, Jenson shoots the container from his grasp. Dropping to the floor, Kharis attempts to ingest the spilled life-giving liquid. Banning seizes the opportunity to overturn a brazier onto the monster, engulfing it in flames. The ending has the members of the expedition heading happily back to the United States with the mummy of Ananka, and the spoils of her tomb.
Using The Mummy's Hand In Your Old School Horror Games 
The Hand of the Mummy allows a DM to grab the loose ends of the movie and run with it.
 We have a very powerful organization with world spanning members guarding both the tomb of an Egyptian princess and the secret of immortality. The Priests of Karnak are not an organization to be taken lightly. 
 This sect has existed for thousands of years at the  Hill of the Seven Jackals ruled by the High Priest of Karnak himself. The priest hood has guarded the tomb of Princess Ananka and her immortal guardian, Kharis.
The question of course is why? Her spirit in the rest of
the follow-ups being The Mummy's TombThe Mummy's Ghost and The Mummy's Curse her spirit seems to wander through each of the female leads. Perhaps the Priests of Karnak have another reason for guarding her? 

Maybe she's actually the monster and not simply her guardian.File:Under the Pyramids.jpg

Perhaps in ages past, Princess Ananka was part of the cult of the Black Pharaoh and her existence was ended for the good of all. According to legend,"Kharis steals the sacred tana leaves in the hope of restoring life to the dead Princess Ananka. His penalty upon being discovered is to be buried alive, without a tongue, and the tana leaves are buried with him.
The leaves are the secret to Kharis' continued existence. During the cycle of the full moon, the fluid from the brew of three tana leaves is to be administered to the creature to keep him alive. Should despoilers enter the tomb of the Princess, a fluid of nine leaves will restore movement to the monster." 

   The ghost of the princess continues to hover as a disembodied spirit throughout the films. A phantom tortured beyond mere existence in this world and the limbo of the other. She is tied to both Kharis and her own body locked in a sort of hellish immortality.
 How do the Priests of Karnak keep attracting new members to this occult brotherhood with its forbidden secrets?
Why the promise of immortality of course and command over the forces of life and death itself.
Its really all about the Tana leaves. 

The Full Movie The Mummy's Hand 

 The Tana Leaves 
HandMummy.jpg (117744 bytes)

"For thousands of years those bodies rested gorgeously encased and staring glassily upward when not visited by the ka, awaiting the day when Osiris should restore both ka and soul, and lead forth the stiff legions of the dead from the sunken houses of sleep. It was to have been a glorious rebirth—but not all souls were approved, nor were all tombs inviolate, so that certain grotesque mistakes and fiendish abnormalities were to be looked for. Even today the Arabs murmur of unsanctified convocations and unwholesome worship in forgotten nether abysses, which only winged invisible kas and soulless mummies may visit and return unscathed.
Perhaps the most leeringly blood-congealing legends are those which relate to certain perverse products of decadent priestcraft—composite mummies made by the artificial union of human trunks and limbs with the heads of animals in imitation of the elder gods. At all stages of history the sacred animals were mummified, so that consecrated bulls, cats, ibises, crocodiles and the like might return some day to greater glory. But only in the decadence did they mix the human and the animal in the same mummy—only in the decadence, when they did not understand the rights and prerogatives of the ka and the soul.
What happened to those composite mummies is not told of—at least publicly—and it is certain that no Egyptologist ever found one. The whispers of Arabs are very wild, and cannot be relied upon. They even hint that old Khephren—he of the Sphinx, the Second Pyramid and the yawning gateway temple—lives far underground wedded to the ghoul-queen Nitocris and ruling over the mummies that are neither of man nor of beast.
It was of these—of Khephren and his consort and his strange armies of the hybrid dead—that I dreamed, and that is why I am glad the exact dream-shapes have faded from my memory. My most horrible vision was connected with an idle question I had asked myself the day before when looking at the great carven riddle of the desert and wondering with what unknown depth the temple close to it might be secretly connected. That question, so innocent and whimsical then, assumed in my dream a meaning of frenetic and hysterical madness…what huge and loathsome abnormality was the Sphinx originally carven to represent?"
 HP Lovecraft and Harry Houdini

 At the very center of the Universal Mummy movies is the Tana Plant. The plant has been known to necromancers throughout the cycles of Earth's past. The plant normally only occurs in a few places on Earth and within. 

Grown in the sacred gardens of the Hill of the Seven Jackals. This plants origins stretch back into the mists of time to the gardens of Atlantis and Mu. Even further back to the very shores of Valusia and to the time of the serpent men. 
Only the priests of Karnak know its secrets and the twisted rites to create mummies such as Kharis. 
The scroll of Thoth contains the secrets of these leaves and the warnings of trifling with secrets from beyond the very ken of the gods themselves. One misstep in preparation using the dried Tana leaves potion and you will end up with a mindless shambling corpse or something worse. 

"The leaves are the secret to Kharis' continued existence. During the cycle of the full moon, the fluid from the brew of three tana leaves is to be administered to the creature to keep him alive. Should despoilers enter the tomb of the Princess, a fluid of nine leaves will restore movement to the monster"

The Tana plant is only found in a few Earthly locations and the preparation for its use is lengthy and dangerous. The plant is found within the Planteu of Leng, The gardens of K'n-Yan, the wilds of the Inner Earth, and several extra dimensional locations.The Tana plant is related to the Black Lotus family and can often be found along side the dangerous flower. There are legends connecting the two plants together as sacred plants to gods such as Yig,The Faceless One,and Nylathotep.
 The plant must be harvested during certain times of the lunar cycles. Then dried with a specially prepared taciturn of human corpse dust, blood, and several very dangerous chemicals. The resulting leaves once brewed within certain potions can restore the dead to life but also prolong their very existence into a mockery of life. However the least little deviance from the proscribed rites and a mindless corpse of incredible destructive power will result.
Only the Scroll of Thoth contains the rites and rituals for the potions of the Tana leaves. The rites are laced with soul shattering dangers. There is a 40% chance of something going wrong during the animation process. Please roll on the table below for any mishaps.

Tana Leaf Random Mishap Table 1d20 
  1. The corpse twitches and spasms but nothing happens. 1d4 rounds later the corpse sits up possessed by malevolent spirits. The thing attacks as a zombie and only a blow to skull shattering the brain will put this monster down. 
  2. The corpse decays rapidly and the resulting awfulness crawls toward you intent on devouring you and adding your body to its mass. 
  3. The corpse twitches and comes to life possessed by a spirit of mayhem. The thing babbles becoming prophesier of the Old Ones and spews curses of soul stripping insanity. 
  4. The corpse remains dead and you are out of one shot of Tana leaves. 
  5. The corpse twitches and its muscles spasm.It reacts with a hideous scream and lunches for the nearest person. The thing howls with a hunger born not of this world and it must feed now! The thing is blood thirsty corpse zombie with a hunger for the flesh of the living. 
  6. The corpse sits up looks around and has the intellect to realize what is happening to it. The thing will commit suicide at the nearest opportunity. It will destroy itself utterly. 
  7. The corpse twitches with energies from The Outer Darkness within 1d6 rounds a dimensional hole will open within the corpse's stomach and it will suck everything around it into a black hole like dimensional door. Anything lost within this abyss is gone forever. 
  8. The corpse is possessed by one of the Egyptian gods who will try to destroy the necromancer creating this monstrosity. The corpse will become a sacred thing and pursue the caster relentlessly. Nothing will stay its hand. 
  9. The corpse will be animated but there is a 70% chance of one of its limbs being completely useless. 
  10. The corpse will use twice the normal dosage to keep it animated. The caster must feed it the potions 4 times per day. 
  11. The corpse will have an unhealthy obsession with one of the casters relatives and seek to bring them with it for all eternity. 
  12. The monster created will decay with 1d4 rounds and the the resulting  pile of flesh will scream non stop for days to come. 
  13. The corpse is possessed by the spirit of a  former necromancer/priest of Karnak who will stop at nothing to complete the rites to come back to full life. He must consume the caster as part of those rites. 
  14. The corpse explodes in a shower of internal organs and goo. 
  15. The corpse begins to build a fiery chemical reaction and is consumed in a gout of hellish stellar fire. The corpse twitches in a mockery of life the entire time as it burns. 
  16. The corpse animates as normal but is completely free willed and will destroy the caster at the first opportunity. 
  17. The corpse knows of its former life and begins to build spiritual reserves and a hidden agenda against the caster. It waits for the right opportunity to break free and begin a new life away from you. 
  18. The caster and the corpse become locked in a battle of spirits. The loser will be locked into the decayed flesh of the mummy or corpse with the winner in total control for eternity. 
  19. The caster is cursed by the gods and the corpse mocks the caster as the curse begins to take hold. Welcome to eternity! 
  20. The caster is able to animate the corpse for 1d8 days but must re role on this table at the end of this time. The corpse will look on satisfied that something has gone wrong. 

     The Many Worlds of the Universal Mummy Movies 
    According to wiki: 
    The Universal Mummy series boasts of a parallel-earth kind of timeline. The Mummy's Hand was made and set in 1940; The Mummy's Tomb takes place 30 years later in 1970; The Mummy's Ghost is also set in 1970, and The Mummy's Curse twenty-five years after "Ghost." That means if the timeline is taken seriously, this film is set in 1995. Although the previous two films in the series take place in New England, with no explanation being given for the change, The Mummy's Curse moves the action to Louisiana.
    These movies form a weird 
    that over the years various friends of mine have used for Call of Cthulhu And Kult as a type of world where the loosing of the various Universal monsters has caused the very forces of darkness to throw man into a type of low grade Dark Ages. Player characters from these games visited or were drawn to this world by vast occult forces. They got a chance to experience as well as to see the grip that forces besides those of the illusion and the Mythos held this world in. 
     For Call of Cthulhu the Priests of Karnak is world spanning cult with the promise of a mockery of eternal life at its heart and its very much tied in to the Mythos through the incarnation of Nyarlathotep known as the Black Pharaoh. 
     For Kult  The Hill of Seven Jackals has been taken from the illusion long ago. Tana leaves grow within Gaia and within the gardens of Metropolis. The Tana leaves unbind one from the illusion and the process of death. However the pains of death are still felt and experienced. The world of the Mummy is simply another world beyond the illusion locked within a prison all its own that is breaking down on its own terms. 

 Kharis and his princess might be forgotten gods within their own right dependent upon Tana and the rites of the priesthood.
In OD&D terms The world of Kharis is one where the dark fantastic exists right along with Cthulhu and the rest. This is a world locked within the cycles of the Earth. A world of high adventure and high horror. Only clerics and necromancers of sixth level and above can cast the rites of preparation of the Tana.  The scared walking corpses of this world are going to have many of the same characteristics as mummies from the various D&D sources. However the Egyptian gods are going to be still active and very vengeful in these worlds. 
This is a world similar to Ravenloft where evil and mayhem has been loose for millennia and the common man may well be aware of it through folklore and urban legend.
Any DM knows instinctively that the Priests of Karnak haven't simply created one set of sacred corpses and possibly have over the centuries created countless other royal corpse guardians just waiting to be awoken in a new world of danger and horrific adventure. 
Want To Know More Then Go Here 
File:Under the Pyramids.jpg

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