Getting Started With ‘Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy’s Mask’

Reading Time: 8 minutes

PACG Mummy's Mask CoverThe fourth base set in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game series is now out. My friends and I have just finished Wrath of the Righteous, and we’re ready to dive into the Mummy’s Mask. Here’s a quick look at what’s new in this set.

I received a copy of the base set, the Character Add-on Deck, and the goblin promo character Tup the Terrible.

Let’s see the base set first:

PACG Mummy's Mask components
Mummy’s Mask components and box (with room for the additional decks). Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The box setup is the same as before: room for all of the deck boxes, slots for each of the types of cards, and room for 6 character decks. Gone are the mythic charges and the d20, so it looks like we’re back to a maximum of d12 for our rolls. As with previous sets, you get an assortment of cards: monsters, barriers, villains, henchmen, spells, weapon, armor, loot, items, allies, and blessings. Along with that are scenario cards, character cards, role cards, location cards, and a few support cards, which I’ll get into.

There’s one set of dice included: a d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12. Finally, there’s also a box for Deck 1: The Half-Dead City that includes a mixture of cards once you have finished the “Deck 0” adventure path.

PACG Read Me First
Something new: a quick-start guide. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

But there’s also something new this time: a Quick-Start Guide. For those who are just entering the world of PACG, this is a new feature that makes it easier to get started, with a shorter version of the first scenario, similar to what you’d play at a convention. One of the stacks of shrink-wrapped cards has a big “Open Me First!” label on it, and that contains all the cards you’ll need for this first play, if you choose to use it. It has starting cards for four characters—Alahazra, Damiel, Estra, and Zadim—along with the location cards and things that will get mixed into it. The Quick-Start Guide is only 4 pages long, including the card list on the back, so it’s a much simpler way to learn how to set up a scenario and get playing.

PACG Mummy's Mask starter set
These are the cards in the “Open Me First” set. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

We won’t be using this set, since we’re already familiar with the rules, but here’s a closer look at what you get. As you can see, there are the four character sets (in the center right area). The scenario itself and four locations are at the top, along with the villain and henchmen. Then there are monsters, barriers, various boons like weapons and items and allies, a blessings deck, and then some scourges (something new to Mummy’s Mask). There’s even a set of cards that go into the box for when you’re told to draw a random card of a particular type from the box.

The guide explains how you’ll assemble the locations from these cards: rather than the actual location deck list, you just use 2 banes and 3 boons per location, plus one of the randomized threats (villain and henchmen). In addition, the blessings deck, which serves as a timer, is only 12 cards instead of 30. It really is similar to the scenarios I’ve seen Paizo run at conventions, designed to walk you through the basics of playing but in much less time. The Quick-Start Guide explains your turn sequence, and then references the full rulebook to explain how to encounter cards, how to attempt a check, and so on. There’s a little bit of general advice and an explanation of what usually happens when you finish a scenario, though you don’t earn a reward for playing this partial scenario.

I do like this inclusion and I think it’ll make it easier for new players to get started.

PACG Mummy's Mask
Here’s how the box looks once the base deck cards are sorted. (This includes 5 built character decks.) Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

I won’t get into a full rules explanation of PACG here, since the bulk of the gameplay is still the same as the first set. If you’re new to it and want more details on how to play the game, feel free to read my in-depth explanation of Rise of the Runelords, the first base set. In this post, I’ll outline what’s new in Mummy’s Mask.

PACG Mummy's Mask
Some cards have trigger effects that happen as soon as you examine them. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

There’s a new type of effect called “Trigger” which can appear on many different types of cards—so far in the base deck I’ve spotted it on monsters, henchmen, barriers, items, and allies. Triggers take effect if you examine a card, which my party tends to do a lot, because we like to peek ahead so we can plan. Some triggers are good—for instance, the ally Kafar is actually easier to acquire using the trigger effect than if you encounter him normally, though there is a steep penalty for failure. However, in some cases they’re bad—monsters and barriers may do additional damage. It will be interesting to see how this will change our strategy. The trigger effect does not take place when you encounter a card normally.

PACG Mummy's Mask Scourges
Scourges are displayed in front of you and have negative effects. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Another new card type is the Scourge. Various things can cause you to draw a Scourge card and display it in front of you, causing negative effects. For instance, the Curse of Poisoning causes you to recharge a random card for each one you have, effectively reducing your hand size. The Curse of Daybane can prevent you from taking your free explore. Some cards will specify which Scourge to take, and others will just tell you to draw one, in which case you will roll a die according to the scenario deck number. The higher the deck number, the bigger the die, with (presumably) worse curses the higher you roll.

PACG Mummy's Mask overkill
Some cards have penalties for rolling too high. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

This is something I’d heard about back when Mummy’s Mask was still in development: overkill penalties. In some cases, rolling as high as possible isn’t ideal, though I haven’t spotted many in the basic deck yet. For instance, the Yellow Jelly does acid damage if you hit it too hard, and the Collapsing Scaffolding does combat damage if your first attempt is higher than the second attempt. But I’m pretty sure there will be more: Ahmotep, one of the characters in the Add-On Deck, has the ability to decrease the value of a check, which we’ve never really wanted to do in the past.

PACG Mummy's Mask Traders
Traders give you more flexibility when rebuilding your deck. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

In past sets, after you finish a scenario, you and your teammates rebuild your decks the available pool of cards, which consists of the cards you have in your possession at the time. You only get to take cards from the box if there are specific types of cards you need but there aren’t enough of them across the entire party, so sometimes you may end up having to take a weapon you didn’t really like because that’s what your teammate picked up. The Traders give you the opportunity to get something else. At the end of a scenario, each player may choose one of the available Traders to visit. (The available Traders are tracked on the Bazaar card, so you’ll earn access to more Traders as you play.) The Trader will display cards of its specific type—one more than the number of players visiting it—and each player has an opportunity to trade 2 boons for one of the cards.

One fairly minor change that seems mostly like a terminology change is “invokes.” From the rulebook:

A check invokes a trait if it has or is against a card that has that trait. A card invokes a trait if it has that trait. A bane invokes a trait if it deals only damage of the type that matches that trait.

There are various powers and abilities that affect cards that “invoke” a particular trait, like Fire or Magic or Acid—I think this is just to make it a little more clear what traits are involved in a check, because previous sets would say things like “if a check has the Magic trait” but it wasn’t always entirely clear how to figure out if it did or not.

One last new rule mentioned in the rulebook is tokens in location decks. Your token is the card representing your character, which you usually move from location to location. In this case, there can be some effects that will cause your token to be shuffled into a location deck. It comes back out to the location as normal when it’s examined, encountered, or would be returned to the box. Until it’s returned, though, you can’t move. You can still explore that location and encounter cards, but any banes you encounter must be evaded. I suppose this may simulate getting stuck in a location, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

PACG Mummy's Mask
Base set characters. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Let’s take a look at the characters: there are a few familiar faces, and a lot of new ones.

  • Alahazra the Oracle can peek ahead, and can also heal those dreaded scourges.
  • Damiel the Alchemist has several abilities tied to alchemical, acid, and poison cards.
  • Estra the Spiritualist can peek ahead and protect herself from damage. Oh, and she has a ghostly knight as an ally.
  • Ezren the Wizard can use spells to explore and ignores many immunities on banes.
  • Simoun the Rogue is great with knives and traps, and has a particular affinity for electricity.
  • Yoon the Kineticist is an orphan with a talent for fire and the ability to get blessings back.
  • Zadim the Slayer can scout ahead, is good with poison, and can help other characters with their combat checks.
PACG Mummy's Mask
Add-On Deck characters. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The optional Character Add-On Deck adds four new characters, along with a little more of all the other types of cards so that you have enough for 6 players.

  • Ahmotep the Magus is an expert with the staff, and can manipulate the results of a roll.
  • Channa Ti the Druid is good with animals and elementals, and has powers tied to acid, cold, liquid, and magic.
  • Drelm the Cleric is good against obstacles and has a way with Traders.
  • Mavaro the Occultist is a Jack-of-all-trades who can apply his intelligence to almost anything.
PACG Mummy's Mask
Tup the Terrible. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

And, finally, I give you Tup the Terrible, the newest goblin promo character. He was shipped with Mummy’s Mask for subscribers, but is also available to purchase from the Paizo web store for $3.99. Although Tup is marked with the Rise of the Runelords logo, he is playable with any set, and is sure to cause a bit of chaos wherever he goes. He can banish cards as fire spells for a fight, and “help” other characters in fights—though you might get a little burnt if you stand too close to him. He comes with a cohort: Deliverance, a ram, who lets Tup move, but then gets lost for a while before he comes back.

The Mummy’s Mask base set retails for $59.99, and the Character Add-On Deck retails for $19.99. There will be a total of five additional adventure decks for the entire adventure path, at $19.99 each, so the entire game can be quite an investment, but I’ve gotten so much out of playing PACG nearly every week.

We’ll be getting started with Mummy’s Mask this week, so next time I’ll introduce you to our characters. Stay tuned!

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