D&D 5E Bag of Beans killed 2 PCs, solo bosses suck, and where to go from here....

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
Good point. Did the OP use the Mummy Lord's legendary and lair actions, I wonder?
I did. The lair action is nasty (near impossible to cast spells).
If a pyramid would be too off-putting in the campaign setting, I might have it appear as an "iceberg"... meaning just the very top might be visible with the bulk of it underground. The pyramid certainly creates a bit of a side quest but, IMO, that's part of the wackiness that can ensue when the bag of beans gets introduced into a campaign.
The bag of beans pyramid was really small (60') for a base, so Mr. Mummy has abandoned it for an upgrade.
 

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toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
As above - the mummy starts gathering minions, setting up traps to deter intruders, using divinations to orient itself, and determining what it's going to do next.

It's a mummy lord, an intelligent and OLD undead. What does it want, in the context of your game?
-Is it a researcher of some sort? Astronomy? Alchemy? Arcane symbols?
-Does it just want to kill people and make them undead?
-Does it want to shut down necromancy and secure dead bodies as dead?
-Does it want to become a new pharoah?
-Who does it worship? In past editions of D&D, mummies with magic often had clerical magic.
All good ideas. He or she is where they don't belong (forested setting) having just been attacked with a weapon from a gawd that hates undead.

In this world, the original ruling race eons ago were cyclops, and a weakened lich is planned to awaken in a year or so (game time). They enslaved the "lesser" races, and from this enslavement, sorcery and blood magic emerged as races found ways to free themselves. This mummy lord could be a devoted servant. The group has already had a taste of this several real-time months ago when they visited fey land and crossed paths with the spirit of a halfling servant who eons ago had served the cyclops empire. He had "drank the kool-aid" so to speak and was enamored with his former overlords.

I had dropped this in for future foreshadowing, so maybe this fits...
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
The Mummy Lord was the random result of a Bag of Beans.
Needed that reminder!

I didn't set this encounter up at all. The players were doing inventory on their "stash" and found a mysterious unidentified bag with beans. They sent off for a wizard and got it identified. When they talked about planting beans, the wizard wanted to write a scholarly paper about the effects, since so little was known about it other than the beanstalk legend and magical treasure in the skies.
 

MarkB

Legend
Needed that reminder!

I didn't set this encounter up at all. The players were doing inventory on their "stash" and found a mysterious unidentified bag with beans. They sent off for a wizard and got it identified. When they talked about planting beans, the wizard wanted to write a scholarly paper about the effects, since so little was known about it other than the beanstalk legend and magical treasure in the skies.
How long until they plant another one, under the principle of "there's no way we'd get two Mummy Lords in a row"?
 


aco175

Legend
Over the next few weeks, monoliths begin to pop up around the kingdom with strange writing. These are tied to the mummies plan to take over the kingdom or corrupts the land to form it to his homeland. The players may stumble upon one or hear tales about one forming not too far away. They can try and figure out the problem or deal with another problem first, but once they are all in place, the mummy's power is cemented and he is that much more powerful.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
As the Mummy Lord establishes his grip the lad around begins to wither and desertify becoming more an more like the Mummy's native land and if unchecked that area of the Feywild will begin to detach and drift toward the Shadowfell where eventually it becomes a Domain of Dread.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I just wanted to note for the record.... Mummy Lords suck. They are very bad monsters for their CR, straight up. I've used them a few times, and every time it was a waste of effort how quickly they died. I'm not surprised at all that your 5th level party almost took it out.

So I wouldn't base your thoughts on CR 16s vs 5th level players based on that monster. I agree with the premise that high level monsters are generally over CRed....but the mummy lord is not the monster to use as any evidence....its just bad.
 

Give the mummy some goals outside of terrorizing locals and amassing power. Maybe he wants vengeance on the people who mummified him and turned him into a magic bean. I’d also rip off The Mummy and have the ML steal the life force of his victims so he can reach full power.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Does the bag of beans still have any beans left? If so, perhaps the mummy lord knows for certain that two other beans are also mummy lords (or something), who happen to be more powerful siblings/friends/mentors of his. One of his goals could be to locate the PCs to get his hands on the remaining beans. In this way, he hopes to gain some familiar allies in this strange new world he's been awakened into.
 

Does the bag of beans still have any beans left? If so, perhaps the mummy lord knows for certain that two other beans are also mummy lords (or something), who happen to be more powerful siblings/friends/mentors of his. One of his goals could be to locate the PCs to get his hands on the remaining beans. In this way, he hopes to gain some familiar allies in this strange new world he's been awakened into.
Or perhaps to prevent those beans from being used so he has no rivals in his quest for [X].
 



Quickleaf

Legend
So yeah, I've got a CR 16 Mummy Lord very confused to be in a forested faery land in possession of a powerful artifact sacred to the gawd of the dead, who HATES undead in this setting. This Mummy Lord is in the middle of the PC barony, a rival monster kingdom about to invade, rival city states that fear expansion of their kingdom, a soon-to-be awakened cyclops lich in a nearby barony's ruins who will resume world conquest on behalf of his long-dead conquering race, and a supreme fey threat yet to be fully unveiled.

So, ideas where my poor Mummy Lord goes and does? I really wasn't expecting this...
You have lots of backstory for your campaign that sounds like fun! Could you find a way to make one of the ancestral dead either of the the PC's land... or the monster kingdom... or one of the rival city states... or related to the "supreme fey threat"... be the mummy? And if those cultures don't have a mummification tradition could you reskin it as a bog mummy?
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
You have lots of backstory for your campaign that sounds like fun! Could you find a way to make one of the ancestral dead either of the the PC's land... or the monster kingdom... or one of the rival city states... or related to the "supreme fey threat"... be the mummy? And if those cultures don't have a mummification tradition could you reskin it as a bog mummy?
Or instead of ancestral dead, what if the mummy actually is one of the current faction leaders... made undead and returned from some desolate future to seek vengeance for something that hasn't occurred yet? So that faction leader exists both in their current form, and in their dessicated mummy form from the future?
 


Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Even if the PCs dump the Bag of Beans, the Mummy Lord will track it down (and !ater them too). Somebody turned him into a bean - he wants to reverse-engineer that ... and maybe do it unto a particular foe. Plus, are the other beans somebody he can use as a minion or lieutenant or ally?
 

MarkB

Legend
Even if the PCs dump the Bag of Beans, the Mummy Lord will track it down (and !ater them too). Somebody turned him into a bean - he wants to reverse-engineer that ... and maybe do it unto a particular foe. Plus, are the other beans somebody he can use as a minion or lieutenant or ally?
Also, I hear you can trade them in for a whole cow.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Well, how many HP should a mummy lord have to make it a viable challenge for appropriately-levelled PCs?
I do not think there is a simple, one size fits all answer to this question. My rule of thumb (based on a blog post by Sly Flourish) is that if the CR of the monster is greater than half the total class level of the party then the encounter is deadly. In that there is a good chance of dropping and or killing a pc or two and an outside chance of a TPK. I have never tpk'ed a party this way and only outright killed characters twice in my current campaign.
However, this only holds up to about level 16 or so where it takes more to kill characters. There is a considerable variation. The factors are: how good are the party tactically? The exact composition of the party, and level of optimisation. Some parties are more vulnerable to certain types of opponent than others. Magic items are a significant factor and larger parties are naturally more resilient both by hp pool and the action economy swings strongly in their favour.
The OP's situation was the result of, essentially a random encounter. Personally I would not throw a CR15 encounter at a level 5 party unless I built the encounter with the party in mind and/or I would be inclined to give them the possibility of not engaging with the encounter.
Although from the description in the bag of beans entry they could have chosen not to go into the pyramid.
 

hairy stinkeye

Explorer
The 60’ base is only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the ground there is now a massive structure housing an entire necropolis for which the Mummy Lord is only a doorman. The powerful undead within immediately begin drawing arcane power from the feywild forest around them, turning it into barren desert wasteland. Rametep the Lich-King and his army of the dead will soon emerge to lay conquest to the feywild…unless the PCs can stop them.
 

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