Jack & The Dungeon #2 - The Minions of Set
Samurai Jack the TV show may have finally reached its epic conclusion but I have only begun to turn Aku's minions into terrors of the tabletop battlefield!
Today's offering comes from Samurai Jack Episode XXXI: Jack In Egypt. During the prologue of the episode we see Jack as a child playing with some other students in an Egyptian temple. He falls through a weakened floor into a secret chamber where he reads about 3 minions of the evil Egyptian deity Set who have been imprisoned there. When we cut back to the future, Aku has released these 3 demonic entities from their imprisonment as Samurai Jack approaches the now ancient ruins of the temple he once played in as a child. There the minions of Set await him.
Armed with black weapons that glow with an evil fire, unbelievably fast and strong, and protected by powerful regeneration abilities. These 3 anthropomorphic badasses can only be defeated by "summoning the protector and calling the sun". The sun is of course the egyptian god Ra who gets a sweet cameo at the backend of this episode once Jack manages to summon him. In the show this is accomplished by Jack searching out 3 pieces of a scarab hidden around the temple complex. Each piece contains a clue pointing to the next.
When statting these guys out I decided to go all out. Jack flat out states that these are the strongest enemies he has faced to date in the episode - which takes place in Season 3 after Jack has faced incredibly powerful enemies in the future already. They are Challenge Rating 20. Each of them. If you want to use these fiendish warriors in your game I think there are two ways to do it.
One way is to put them up against a party of very high level players and make the fight more of a straight duke out. Somewhat boring, but as these are some of the most powerful warrior of an ancient god, maybe context could lend some weight to the combat. I think the better way is to throw them at a group of lower level ("low" as in 12-16) and include this concept of an item designed to banish them. Playing out a high stakes chase in an ancient pyramid trying to find the pieces of the scarab before the minions bring the players down.
One of the neat things about Faerun is that because of TSR's idea to import the mythology of the worlds various cultures into the Forgotten Realms, Set the Egyptian god pretty much already exists whole cloth as a member of the Mulhorandi pantheon. Mulhorand is known as one of the "Old Kingdoms" of Faerun, along with Unther (which has more of a Mesopotamian vibe). It's to the south and east of the sea of fallen stars and is a land of god-king pharoahs, pyramids, and bizarre fantastical creatures. Dropping in an ancient pyramid dedicated to Set, with these 3 minions locked away inside doesn't take a lot of envelope pushing for the Forgotten Realms.
The thing to remember about the stats I've drawn up here is these guys are not intended to be fought head on. Just like in the episode, make your players run for their lives! This should be an absolutely desperate encounter at high levels with the minions beating on the players at every turn. To make this fun it will require some creative DMing and players, allow them to come up with ways to slow them down. Jack spends some of the episode hiding, sometimes he's knocking buildings down into their path, etc. A deadly game of jackal-fiend and mouse!
Placing the pieces of the scarab of Ra in hidden places with clues is the second part of making the encounter work. Once assembled, adventurers will be able to turn the tide on the Minions. I didn't include anything about a gigantic avatar of Ra coming down like at the end of the episode but don't let that stop you.