Hidden Chambers and Lost Knowledge
Unseal the Secrets of Dashur in Omens of the Pharaoh for Elder Sign
“On one side I could view the entire city as it sloped from the plaza down to the old river-bank; on the other side, in startling proximity, I was confronted by the richly ornate and perfectly preserved facade of a great building, evidently a temple, hollowed from the solid rock. Of the original workmanship of this titanic thing I can only make conjectures.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Temple
Flexing your fingers and cracking your knuckles, you desperately try to steady your trembling hands. From the little that you’ve learned, you know that the last sigil must be precisely placed on the door at just the right time, or all that you’ve endured this night will be for nothing. Blinking the sweat from your eyes, you try to ignore the sounds you hear emanating from other tunnels that stretch off into the dizzying darkness around you. A thin shaft of light travels at an agonizingly slow pace across the stone relief of the door. Finally, the thin moonbeam aligns with the single eye of the intricate carving, and you quickly jam the artifact into place. Immediately, you hear the inner workings of the mechanism begin to whir to life as the door swings quietly inward. A pale green light strikes your face and spills into the hallway. You take a deep breath and steel your nerves as you cross the threshold—this night’s work is far from over.
In Omens of the Pharaoh, the newest expansion for Elder Sign, the investigators must work to stop the rise of despotic and otherworldly Nephren-Ka as he seeks to break free from his eldritch prison. In our last preview, we discussed how the investigators can race back and forth from Cairo to Dashur in an effort to build up supplies and then take on the horrors that consume the area around the ill-fated archaeological expedition. As the investigators seek out any advantage against the encroaching darkness, their ignorance of their enemy may be their undoing. Though the expedition surrounding Dashur is what led to this disaster in the first place, the secrets that can be gleaned from the dig site could be used to seal away the Dark Pharaoh once and for all.
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Dig Up Powerful Secrets
One of Nephren-Ka’s greatest weapons is the world’s ignorance of the threat that he poses. The history of the Dark Pharaoh’s reign was purposefully destroyed in an effort to seal his horrific rule in the past. Now, the investigators would do well to try and recover some of that lost knowledge in hopes of finding some key to stopping, or at least slowing, this advancing doom. The investigators can use what they find in the ill-fated excavation to fight back by winning expedition tokens when they complete adventures. These valuable tokens can be used to unlock advantages in the game by placing them on The Expedition scenario card.
Perhaps you’d like to crush the masked monsters that torment you once and for all. By allotting an expedition token to the correct place on The Expedition scenario card, you can gain these pests as trophies instead of letting them terrorize your team over and over again. Conversely, the investigators could make midnight a little less ominous by using expedition tokens to let investigators gain stamina or sanity as the clock strikes twelve. Should the Ancient One wake into this world, the team could gain a brief respite from the onslaught by discarding a token dedicated to negating its attack.
The quest for knowledge has led to the very madness which you now must face, but gaining careful access to a bit more more information about the lost history of Nephren-Ka may be worth the cost. The expedition tokens that can prove so valuable can only be purchased or gained from adventures undertaken during your time in Cairo or from the occasional mythos card. Taking the time to retreat and study your enemy can help you gain an edge before you plunge back into the horrors that swarm the ruins of Dashur.
Power Sealed in Sepulchers
Once you’ve learned more about the secrets hidden in Dashur, the investigators will have to bring themselves to return to the ruins that now teem with otherworldly creatures. With the little information that the investigators have been able to cobble together from artifacts and hastily scrawled notes, they know that the key to sealing away Nephren-Ka lies in the Elder Signs that can be found around the dig site.
The greatest fonts of this particular power sit in specific chambers secreted about the seat of the Dark Pharaoh’s prison. There are four Hidden Chamber special adventures that can be unlocked to give the investigators a chance to gain a large number of Elder Signs.
In order to win these sigils of power from these sealed sites, the investigators will need to be especially resourceful. Where most locations are entered by simply moving an investigator to an adventure, Hidden Chambers must be unlocked before the investigators can enter and face the challenges within. Upon failing the test to unlock the adventure, players cannot simply discard and reroll their remaining dice. If an investigator fails to pass the test, they must simply wait for another chance to open the hidden chamber on their turn as the clock ticks ever closer to another midnight!
Entry to the chamber is only the first step on your path to reclaiming the powerful Elder Signs within. Upon successfully besting the lock, Chamber effects allow the beleaguered investigators to sacrifice relics and more to wield long-dormant arcane forces in their fight to stop Nephren-Ka. For example, upon entering the Chamber of the Sun, the investigator that has gained entry may actively push Nephren-Ka’s presence back to the other side of the veil by giving up a relic in order to remove a doom token from the doom track. You must complete the Hidden Chambers' tasks to gather the Elder Signs that you need to seal away the Dark Pharaoh, but beware the terrible price of failure in these long-sealed spaces.
The Faithful and the Fallen
There are not many who would tread lightly in these spaces that are somewhere between this world and whatever may lie beyond, but a few have learned to live with what they’ve seen on the other side of the veil.
Father Mateo has always been a devoted man of the cloth. Mateo felt called to serve a higher power at a young age, and followed his divine inspiration by enrolling in the small, but devoted, local seminary that had been a central fixture in his town for as long as anyone could remember. As Mateo grew into his calling and settled into his role within the church, he gradually felt some force had warped the faith of his peers into unholy worship. Praying for a sign, Father Mateo remembered that a missionary had sent along a particularly ancient text from his assignment in Cairo roughly one year prior.
The small voice that Father Mateo has always trusted has now brought him to Egypt, and he has faith that he will find the source of that which has corrupted his parishoners. Father Mateo’s unwavering devotion allows him to walk unscathed in even the most unholy of locations. Once per day, Father Mateo can ignore an Entry effect or discard three trophies to ignore the effects on the back of an adventure. Father Mateo is a perfect choice to take point on exploring the dangers of Cairo or Dashur.
While Father Mateo has followed his faith to Egypt, Calvin Wright has been driven to the desert by a darker purpose. Everything Calvin loved was taken from him, and in a moment of desperate madness, he made a bargain with a force he didn’t fully comprehend in order to have a chance at vengeance. Little did Calvin know, he was now in league with the very horrors that had taken his life from him. As the fog of rage and madness cleared, Calvin learned the truth behind his terrible deal. Now, he seeks some way to strike back at the things that have both damned and saved him.
Calvin has felt a stirring of the very darkness he knows too well in the heart of Egypt, and he has followed the wrongness to its source. Finding the other investigators trying to stop the Dark Pharaoh, Calvin now throws himself into the fight with little regard for his own safety. Calvin Wright can sacrifice any amount of sanity and/or stamina to restore another investigator. After all, what more can Calvin do than die fighting the darkness? As far as Calvin is concerned, he’s already dead.
Into the Tomb
Study the scraps of arcane knowledge recovered from the expedition and prepare yourself for the mysteries of the Hidden Chambers in Dashur. Gather the tools the investigators so desperately need by unlocking Hidden Chambers and using these long sealed seats of eldritch strength to strike back at Nephren-Ka.
Can you stand against the Dark Pharaoh? Pre-order Elder Sign: Omens of the Pharaoh (SL20) from your local retailer or from our webstore here!
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