Jackie’s running an Egyptian-style mini-campaign called Necropolis. Since the campaign itself is fairly high-power to begin with, we had a little leeway for people to do interesting things with their characters.
How interesting? Dave’s doing an anthropomorphic elephant, the background of which is over here. Margie’s playing a young Astral Deva, Justin’s playing a half-dragon sorceress.
Me and Randy? Just plain old humans. (Actually, I’m playing two: Jepteth a’Ghul (Priest/Divine Agent) and Aziz, his cohort (your basic ranger and comedy relief).) I figured one of the more interesting things I could do with a ‘plain old human’ character in a group like this is make up someone who looks at such a powerful montage of beings and immediately thinks: “Obviously, I should be in charge.”
Khemet is a harsh land. In a place where the wind can kill a man (and learned to do so by watching its father-the-sun), only the goddess of Night is seen as kind by those who worship the Khemetian pantheon, and only the Dead are blessed with The Pharoah’s Peace. To live in such a harsh land is to struggle, and only the dead have left that struggle behind.
In Khemet, you can kill a man simply by stealing his waterskin — the laws that have been handed down by the gods (through their Son the Pharoah) are the only thing that seperate the Khemetian people from the barbarians and bandits that wander the sands — the only thing that keeps them from death themselves.
The gods decree the law, the Pharoah conveys the law, and the priests uphold the law.
Jepteth a’Ghul is a Priest.
Specifically, Jepteth is a priest who has been called into the direct service of Khebsenef, Son of Horus and Guardian of the Dead (though any priest of the Khemetian pantheon knows and venerates all of the gods). Jepteth has spoken directly with the god, in fact, taking on a holy task that calls him into the lawless lands far from civilization. Khebsenef’s command: Protect the Pharoah’s Peace, bestowed upon the Blessed Dead — let no man descecrate our burial sites, raid our tombs, corrupt our holy places, or upset the Law that allows Khemet to flourish.
Jepteth takes his task very seriously. To him, the Law is everything — the lifeblood of the land. That his god has chosen him to uphold the laws of the land means everything — enough that he would give up his role within the High Temples to don armor and stride into the wastelands. Where he comes, the Law comes; those who flaunt the Law are denied the barest solace of it’s protection. The Blessed Dead must remain undisturbed, but those that mock the Law will never know the Pharoah’s Peace; they will be punished to the point of death and beyond, denied (by Jepteth himself) the cool release of the Underworld.
Put another way: get in the way of the Task, and not only will he see you dead, but your shambling corpse will be forced back out of the sands to suffer further. He hasn’t gone so far as to bring an enemy fully back from the dead simply to kill them again in some other particularly hideous fashion (ed.: the Curse of the Hyun-da’i comes to mind :), but some think that might simply be because he hasn’t (yet) met anyone he felt deserved such a punishment.
(Some rumors suggest that Jepteth’s irreverent servant Aziz was once a tomb robber that the priest is personally ‘rehabilitating’… but surely that is mere conjecture.)
Yes, the priests of the Pharoah are harsh, and Jepteth is a priest.
The land they protect is harsher, and only the Law protects the people.
The Law is Life.
The Law must be obeyed.
Here ends the lesson.