5E Mythological Figures: Imhotep

In Ancient Egypt there once was a commoner who rose to the heights of mortal authority, acting as counsel to personages no less than pharaohs. So great were his deeds and esteem that he rose higher still after his demise, ultimately getting deified. You probably know him from The Mummy but to many throughout history he was the god of medicine and healing: I’m talking about Imhotep!

Imhotep BANNER 5e.jpg


This fellow initially served King Djoser, the first pharaoh to be entombed in a pyramid (purportedly of Imhotep's design), and then King Sekhemkhet (who was getting a pyramid built but that got curtailed due to an early end to his rule). The egyptians of the day didn’t credit him for that or for engineering the first building supported by stone columns, but there’s speculation those were also among his accomplishments. Two millennia after his demise Imhotep becomes deified, his cult of followers mixing with those of Thoth (the god of architecture, mathematics, and medicine, and patron of scribes) and exalting him as the (spiritual?) sibling of another deified architect by the name of Amenhotep and the Greek god of healing Asklepios. His mother gets some godly treatment, and he’s credited with bringing about the end of a 7 year famine sometime about three centuries before anno domini, but the cooler tale is definitely him sneaking about trying to save his sister from King Djoser, and more importantly his magical battle against an Assyrian sorceress.

Design Notes: So it’s been pointed out that there’s no evidence Imhotep here was a physician, which makes it odd he became the god of healing—unless he had healing magic! With that in mind I’m going to invest his levels into cleric, specifically the knowledge domain. Taking a look at the numbers: the DMG lands him at 6.25 and the Blog of Holding rubric puts him at 7.333, which averages out just under 6.8. If he had more hit points I’d probably bump him up, but as it is now he’ll go down pretty fast without someone else to get in the way and take hits on his behalf (you know, like a servant or guard or other underling).


Imhotep
Medium humanoid (human), lawful neutral cleric (knowledge) 8
Armor Class 18 (breastplate, shield)
Hit Points 44 (8d8+8)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
10 (+0)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
14 (+2)​
18 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
Saving Throws Wis +7, Cha +5

Skills Arcana +5, History +5, Insight +7, Persuasion +8
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Amharic, Coptic, Middle Egyptian
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Background: Scholar. Acumen or fate gently nudges Imhotep toward the answers to his questions. When he fails to recollect or discover more about a subject of lore, he knows where or whom can give him that information (usually from an athenaeum, library, institute of higher learning, another scholar, or mystical creature). The lengths to which he must go to acquire this information and the feasibility of doing so is entirely at the GM’s discretion.

Channel Divinity (2/Short Rest). Imhotep can channel his divine energy to fuel one of two magical effects.

Divine Knowledge. As an action, Imhotep gains proficiency with one skill or tool he chooses. This proficiency lasts for 10 minutes.

Peruse Mind. As an action, Imhotep forces one creature he can see within 60 feet to make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the creature is immune to this feature until Imhotep finishes a long rest. On a failure, for the next minute Imhotep learns the surface thoughts of the creature (what is most on its mind) whenever it is within 60 feet of him. During the duration, Imhotep can use his action to cast the suggestion spell on the creature, which automatically fails to resist the spell, without expending a spell slot. Upon casting suggestion in this way the feature’s other effects end.

Turn Undead. As an action, Imhotep presents his holy symbol and speaks a prayer censuring the undead. Each undead within 30 feet that can see or hear him must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. When an undead of CR 1 or lower fails its saving throw the creature is instantly destroyed. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from Imhotep as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of him. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.

Potent Magics. Whenever Imhotep deals damage with a cleric cantrip, he deals 4 extra damage.

Spellcasting. Imhotep is an 8th level spellcaster that uses Wisdom as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 15; +7 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following spells prepared from the cleric’s spell list:
Cantrips: guidance, light, sacred flame, spare the dying
1st level (4 slots): command, create or destroy water, cure wounds, identify, inflict wounds, sanctuary
2nd level (3 slots): aid, augury, hold person, spiritual weapon, suggestion
3rd level (3 slots): bestow curse, nondetection, sending, speak with dead, spirit guardians
4th level (2 slots): arcane eye, confusion, death ward, stone shape


ACTIONS
Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage.
 
Mike Myler

Comments

paladinn

Explorer
Curious.. as a cleric, who would have been Imhotep's deity? Ra? Osiris? Who would have been the main deity of healing? Or if he was a knowledge cleric, maybe Thoth?
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Curious.. as a cleric, who would have been Imhotep's deity? Ra? Osiris? Who would have been the main deity of healing? Or if he was a knowledge cleric, maybe Thoth?
I'd say his deity would be knowledge, but I'm a notoriously philosophical fellow and not everyone is into the worship of abstract concepts (preferring instead abstract concepts with arms and legs and very often beards).

Don't know enough about ancient religions to respond seriously though. Dude definitely seemed worldly so I wouldn't necessarily lock him into only the regional choices.
 

paladinn

Explorer
True, but he was the royal "Magi"/vizier/architect/advisor. In Pharoanic Egypt, he would have had to at least give lip service. Politics..
 
Anyone who hasn't forced themselves to sit through the classic Universal monster-movie version of The Mummy, with Boris Karloff, should really make another attempt. ;) It is plodding by modern standards, with unthinking sexism built in, because it's from the 30s, but it's still an interesting thing to take in. If you've also paid attention to the classic Universal version of Dracula, with Bella Lugosi, you just might feel the first Mummy movie was rather derivative of, that, as well.

Universal did several sequels, and the mummy became more and more the do-not-place-near-open-flames, staggering, groaning monster that eventually made it into D&D.

Then, of course, there was the Brendan Frazier version in 1999, which should really be the Arnold Vosloo version, since he played the title role, and wasn't just wrapped in bandages the whole time. ;) But it did get back to the original, with the Mummy walking about as a person, wielding magical powers, just, with a lot more F/X.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Anyone who hasn't forced themselves to sit through the classic Universal monster-movie version of The Mummy, with Boris Karloff, should really make another attempt. ;) It is plodding by modern standards, with unthinking sexism built in, because it's from the 30s, but it's still an interesting thing to take in. If you've also paid attention to the classic Universal version of Dracula, with Bella Lugosi, you just might feel the first Mummy movie was rather derivative of, that, as well.

Universal did several sequels, and the mummy became more and more the do-not-place-near-open-flames, staggering, groaning monster that eventually made it into D&D.

Then, of course, there was the Brendan Frazier version in 1999, which should really be the Arnold Vosloo version, since he played the title role, and wasn't just wrapped in bandages the whole time. ;) But it did get back to the original, with the Mummy walking about as a person, wielding magical powers, just, with a lot more F/X.
Absolutely love the Boris Karloff version, the make up of those old Universal movies was outstanding


1576553422114.jpeg


1576553422114.jpeg
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
I'd say his deity would be knowledge, but I'm a notoriously philosophical fellow and not everyone is into the worship of abstract concepts (preferring instead abstract concepts with arms and legs and very often beards).

Don't know enough about ancient religions to respond seriously though. Dude definitely seemed worldly so I wouldn't necessarily lock him into only the regional choices.
I would say he was a Cleric of the Egyptian Pantheon.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Apparently some believe that he was the original author of the Edwin Smith surgical papyrus, though I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion since the copy we have is from 1000 years after he lived.

From what I can find on his titles, he was the royal seal bearer, great of seers, priest of Heliopolis (so in this case, he's be a priest of Ra), and overseer of sculptors. There seems to be very little information about him from the time that he actually lived. Most of the information seems to come from later sources. It sounds like his legend grew as dynasties rose and fell.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Apparently some believe that he was the original author of the Edwin Smith surgical papyrus, though I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion since the copy we have is from 1000 years after he lived.

From what I can find on his titles, he was the royal seal bearer, great of seers, priest of Heliopolis (so in this case, he's be a priest of Ra), and overseer of sculptors. There seems to be very little information about him from the time that he actually lived. Most of the information seems to come from later sources. It sounds like his legend grew as dynasties rose and fell.
Yes the real Imhotep was a Priest of Ra, and there are inscriptions of the time that refer to him as an advisor to the Pharoah. The first major reference to him after his death are a part of a funery text referring to the cleaning of a body. Its possible that this ‘cleaning of the body’ ritual was something that Imhotep started for Djosers burial which was later picked up by his followers to be proxy ‘Medical’ practice.
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
Ah yes the real Imhotep as opposed to the fake one. However, I would love to see you do the actual Mummy (the Boris Karloff one) that we all love! Karloff was born scary!
1576600843248.png
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
What was different about Boris Karloff's character in The Mummy when compared to the standard Mummy/Mummy Lord statblocks?
Like...everything! It's Boris Karloff's Mummy! It should be really epic. Just like Bela Lugosi's Dracula! You know Bela was buried wearing his cape from Dracula, so I have to assume he rose from the dead as a vampire after he died.
1576602801491.png
 
What was different about Boris Karloff's character in The Mummy when compared to the standard Mummy/Mummy Lord statblocks?
While he started out wrapped in bandages, he was able to assume a passable human form, master English fairly suddenly, and had magical powers, mainly Dracula-like hypnotism.
It was rather like the 1999 Vosloo portrayal, though in that the magical powers were turned up to 11.

So, you could take a D&D mummy, give it shapechange capable of assuming a single humanoid form (that it had in life) - thus not appearing undead - and, y'know, since it's 5e, some spells, probably Cleric or necromancer. Though some charm/dominate/hypnosis powers would be good for the classic, and weather control and insect plague for the more recent one.
 

Anoth

Adventurer
How does one put "like...everything!" or "buried wearing his cape" into a monster statblock?
how is this for a monster stat block?

buried wearing his cape: the individual buried wearing this cape will arise from his grave on the third day as a master vampire. All Vampire he creates will be under his control. However, every 20 years after he creates a new vampire it will get a will save versus 8 + proficiency bonus + charisma modifier to break free of the control and become a free willed vampire

Like... everything? I am still working on 😉
 

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