26 December 2017 | Elder Sign

Cairo, Dashur, and the Threat of Nephren-Ka

Nowhere Is Safe in Omens of the Pharaoh

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“The moon was gleaming vividly over the primeval ruins, lighting a dense cloud of sand that seemed blown by a strong but decreasing wind from some point along the cliff ahead of me. [...] Soon it grew fainter and the sand grew more and more still, till finally all was at rest again; but a presence seemed stalking among the spectral stones of the city…”
   –
H.P. Lovecraft, The Nameless City

You listen carefully, huddled behind some shipping containers in a dark alley. Whatever else the thing following you may be, it isn’t stealthy. You can hear it slithering along the broken pavement, dragging itself along the dusty streets. Whatever creature drove you from the ruins at Dashur seems to have followed you to Cairo. At least there were so many people around that you wouldn’t be alone in facing this grotesquery for long. You freeze as the familiar scraping comes to you from the mouth of the alley, and you hear the monstrosity pause for a moment before it continues past your hiding spot. You’ve scarcely caught a breath before you hear the sound of footsteps coming from the direction the creature had gone. Relieved, you step out from behind the crates… and freeze. Whatever is walking toward you is doing a very good job of pretending to be human, except for the face. Human mouths simply cannot stretch that way. As you turn to run, the slithering sound reaches your ears again, accompanied by what you can only assume is the creature’s perverse excuse for laughter.

An expedition into the lands surrounding Dashur has unearthed that which should have remained forever entombed in Omens of the Pharaoh, an expansion for the cooperative dice game Elder Sign. An ancient evil named Nephren-Ka, also known as the Dark Pharaoh, is straining against the bonds that cast him from our world, and it's up to a few stalwart investigators to stop this terrible presence from returning to Egypt.

You can pre-order your copy of Omens of the Pharaoh at your local retailer or online through our webstore today; then, read on for more information!

Shelter in Cairo, Danger in Dashur

During his reign, Nephren-Ka performed unspeakable acts that brought the entire land of Egypt to its knees. This monstrous ruler channeled otherworldly forces that should never have been brought to bear on the fabric of our reality. As Nephren-Ka once again gathers strength in Egypt, you and your fellow investigators would be wise to prepare yourselves before venturing into the heart of the Dark Pharaoh’s power and attempting to force him from the world once more.

In Omens of the Pharaoh, your team of investigators can travel back and forth between two locations in Egypt: the relative safety of Cairo and the terrifying lands surrounding Dashur, where the Dark Pharaoh stirs. Each location has its own set of Egyptian Adventure Cards with different rewards and levels of difficulty.

Cairo is by no means completely safe from the threat of Nephren-Ka, but it is far enough from the dig site that the Dark Pharaoh’s presence is somewhat diminished. Investigators can complete adventures in Cairo to stock up on clues found among the creatures that have begun to stalk the darker corners of the city. The Cairo entrance sheet also provides a wealth of options that may assist your investigators in the expedition or in regaining their strength.

The sepulchral excavations at Dashur have unearthed spectral horrors that grow in numbers and strength with every passing moment. Unfortunately for the investigators, the keys to defeating the Dark Pharaoh are secreted within these ruins. Elder Signs and powerful Relics are much more abundant in Dashur’s adventures, and your team will need to risk spending time among the ruins to stop Nephren-Ka’s return.

The investigators can always retreat to Cairo if Dashur is getting the better of them, but time is of the essence as the Dark Pharaoh draws ever closer to our world. The cost of the trip between locations ticks the clock one step closer to midnight, so plot your travels with care.

The Hand of Nephren-Ka

As the clock strikes midnight and the moment of the Dark Pharaoh’s return draws nearer, Nephren-Ka’s touch on the land will be felt through the barrier between worlds. These threats will loom over the investigators in the form of Dark Pharaoh special adventures. These tasks can be brought into play by a new icon on the Doom Track, or they could be called into play by a card from the Mythos deck.

Dark Pharaoh special adventures are a direct threat from Nephren-Ka himself, and they cannot be allowed to gain a firm foothold in reality. There are only four of these special adventures in the game, but they will always return, even after being defeated. If all four of the Dark Pharaoh special adventure cards find their way into play at the same time, the Dark Pharaoh immediately breaks free, and the beleaguered team of investigators must battle the awakened Ancient One! Savvy investigators will work to stave off the battle as long as possible by striking down the Dark Pharaoh’s forces whenever they rear their heads.

The Millionaire and the Butler

To help battle this overpowering evil, new faces are making their way to Egypt to stand against Nephren-Ka. One of the backers of this dangerous expedition is Preston Fairmont, a millionaire born into his money. After adding a particularly lovely piece of Egyptian origin to his own personal collection of antiques, terrible nightmares have kept Preston from sleeping. During his waking hours, Fairmont is consumed by the idea of traveling to Egypt and seeing the pyramids for himself. The only discomfort that Preston Fairmont has ever known is that peculiar boredom of the obscenely wealthy, so when the request to sponsor an archeological dig in Egypt surfaced, he saw a perfect opportunity to set his mind at ease while spending lavish sums of money to travel in style.

Even among the wealthy elite, few are able to truly enjoy being rich with the flair and abandon that Preston brings to the simple act of spending enormous sums of money. After all, money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy everything else, so that’s where Preston Fairmont focuses his energy. Preston can regain sanity or stamina once per turn when he gains a common or unique item. After all, nothing soothes Preston Fairmont’s soul like a good purchase.

Preston has also brought along his relatively new butler, Carson Sinclair. Unbeknownst to his new master, the piece that Preston purchased at the estate sale, which has now driven him into the desert, once belonged to Carson Sinclair’s former master. When the same bejeweled item made its way into the possession of Carson’s former employer, Carson watched as his young master slowly lost his mind, eventually chartering a ship to Egypt and vanishing alone into the desert. A faithful servant even after death, Carson has followed the relic and its new owner into the desert in the hopes of unraveling the mystery that killed his friend and benefactor.

Few millionaires remain wealthy for long without the help of a frugal and resourceful hand at some level in their household. Carson Sinclair is excellent at saving a bit of money here and there, and he reduces the cost of all of his purchases made with trophies, making him a valuable addition to the investigators as they gather supplies in Cairo and search for relics in Dashur.

The investigators must carefully judge where to spend their time while forcing the Dark Pharaoh’s presence from this world over and over again. Will the sanity of investigators old and new be enough to force Nephren-Ka from the world once more? Or will the Dark Pharaoh succeed in pulling Egypt and the earth into an age of darkness?

Explore the ruins, stop the Ancient One, and save the land of Egypt in Omens of the Pharaoh (SL20), a new expansion for Elder Sign! Pre-order your copy today at your local retailer or online through our website.

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