Mummies are part of a legacy that dates back to Ancient Egypt, granted immortality by the Spell of Life. While they can be killed, they always come back after a sojourn in the Underworld; it's near-impossible, even in the World of Darkness, to finally kill a mummy once and for all. Such an ability is vital in their mission: they are warriors in the fight against Apophis, the Great Serpent, who seeks to devour existence. They also have potent Egyptian magics to assist them in their battle.
That much, at least, remained constant across Mummy's various iterations.
The truth behind Set's murder of his brother Osiris was that the various participants were - or became - supernaturals of one type or another. Osiris and Set were vampires, Isis and Nephthys magic-workers. When Set murdered and dismembered Osiris, Isis and Nephthys resurrected Osiris with magic, and he returned having learned secrets of life and death. Together, they pooled what they knew to create the Great Rite, the Rite of Rebirth, the Spell of Life, and used it to save the life of Horus, son of Osiris and Isis.
Set slew Osiris once more, sending him to the Underworld. Horus rose to avenge his father, driving Set into hiding, but he continued to manipulate Egypt from the shadows, expanding his influence into the wider world. Over the millennia that followed, Horus and his followers would use the Rite to create new immortals to assist in the battle against Set and the other servants of Apophis - the mummies.
Mummy second edition expanded and updated the original, bringing it in line with the WOD circa Changeling: The Dreaming.
Then, in 2002, as part of the "Year of the Scarab" (a Middle Eastern-themed year), White Wolf revamped Mummy, giving it its own hardback: Mummy: The Resurrection.
The final book for Wraith: The Oblivion had unleashed the Sixth Great Maelstrom, the Dja-akh, laying waste to the Underworld. Across the world, the immortals of prior ages saw that new champions would be needed to take action against the darkness heralded by the Maelstrom. Osiris roused from his dormancy to pass on a new Spell of Life, joining a shard of an ancient soul shredded by the Dja-akh to a modern mortal with a flawed spirit, creating the Amenti, the new Reborn. The mallki of South America merged with the souls of their descendants to create the Teomallki. The Eight Great Immortals of China, cast out of heaven, sought followers of the Tao, souls in balance, to be given the gift of immortality, forming the Wu T'ian, the family of heaven.
Resurrection was the first version to introduce splats, known as dynasties. Amenti dynasties were based on the type of soul-shard the new mummy had bonded with, Teomallki dynasties on which culture the mallki had come from, and the Wu T'ian on whether they were aspected to yin or yang.
The Resurrection corebook gave full writeups for the Amenti, with guidelines for the others; they received full writeups of their own in the Mummy Player's Guide.
Unlike the oWOD's main games, Resurrection didn't provide core rules in the main book, requiring a main WOD corebook to play. There was only one supplement, the Mummy Player's Guide.
Mummy elements have popped up in the New World of Darkness, notably the Osirans of Promethean: The Created, the Purified of Immortals, and Geist: The Sin-Eaters. A full Mummy gameline came out in 2013, Mummy: The Curse, providing a distinctly darker take on the mummy mythos.
This role-playing game provides examples of:
- Anatomy of the Soul: Primarily based on Ancient Egyptian belief: body (khat), heart (ab, the centre of consciousness), true name (ren), sekhem (spiritual energy), ka (protector of the body), khaibit (the shadow, the darkness in the soul), sahu (eternal aspect of the soul), ba (the psyche, the soul part that travels into the Underworld), and khu (link between body and soul). Five of these (ka, ba, sahu, khu and khaibit) were the basis for the Amenti's dynasties.
- Back from the Dead: Not all that quickly, though. In Resurrection, it could be anything from a year to a day, minimum, while in the earlier editions it took several Underworld adventures.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: In theory, the Amenti are supposed to uphold this. In practice, this is the World of Darkness, so evil never needs any help and good always needs lots of it.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: A positive example in Resurrection. Since the new mummies are created from merging a powerful soul fragment with a mortal whose soul had a weakness in the corresponding part, the result is a person who excels in the area that once used to be their greatest failing. Thus, an Extreme Doormat becomes a fearless warrior, a self-destructive person becomes a paragon of healthy lifestyle choices, a philistine becomes a visionary artist...
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: See above.
- Cain and Abel: Set and Osiris.
- Came Back Wrong:
- Some mummies are missing... pieces due to a flawed Spell of Life.
- Asekh-Sen are a sort of pseudo-mummies that can come back to life four times. Since they do so by merging with an evil spirit, each time they come back they're a little more monstrous.
- Chummy Mummy: The Amenti are pretty friendly, as mummies go.
- Creepy Crossdresser: In Muslim countries, Asekh-Sen of both genders find it useful to hide their deformed bodies by dressing up in burqas.
- Crossover Cosmology: Set firmly in the Old World of Darkness, primarily drawing on Vampire: The Masquerade, Wraith: The Oblivion, Mage: The Ascension and Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
- Evil Counterpart: The seven Bane Mummies, Set's attempt at creating his own immortals. Unfortunately for him, his version of the Spell of Life was flawed, and his candidates came back bonded to evil spirits known as Banes. They now had their own agenda, and it didn't include Set. He didn't try again.
- The Wu T'ian (the Asian counterpart to mummies) have the Wu Kuei.
- Functional Magic: Hekau (simply called magic in first edition), a form of Rule Magic that incorporated Alchemy, Device Magic (amulets and effigies), Theurgy, Necromancy, and True Names, all powered by sekhem.
- Immortal Procreation Clause: Averted in Resurrection, which also established that previous editions' mummies were infertile.
- Karma Meter: Humanity in the first two editions, Balance for the Amenti, Direction for the Teomallki, and Quest for the Wu T'ian.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to the rest of the cWoD.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: A major theme of Resurrection.
- Mutually Exclusive Magic: Subverted for the most part. Unless stated otherwise, Amenti, Teomallki and Wu T'ian can all learn each others Hekau (albheit costing more XP than their own). There are some exceptions though. For example Wu T'ian can't learn Naming (their magic is incompatible with it) and don't learn Necromancy (it's considered redundant as Lung Tan, their Yin aligned Hekau can achieve the exact same thing)
- Mummy: But of course. In addition to classic Egyptian-style mummies, the game provides Chinese and South American mummies.
- Never Found the Body: Averted; as mummies temporarily leave a corpse, there's even extra health levels to describe how badly the body is damaged, like Scorched and Pulverized.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: It takes losing the will to live, Anti-Magic, or being at ground zero of a nuclear blast to permanently kill a mummy. And even that last one doesn't fully worknote .
- Resurrective Immortality: Mummies can be killed just like anyone else. In the first two editions, they couldn't heal much better than humans, and occasionally needed to die to replenish their souls. In Resurrection, they healed much faster than humans, and could boost that further through magic. They didn't need spiritual replenishment.
- A quirk of Teomallki existence is that, unlike other mummies, they still age, albeit far slower than humans. When they die, they reset to the age they were at their original death.
- Ret-Gone: Forgetting the Person's Name erases the victim's True Name, removing them from existence and wiping them from the memories of all who knew them. It's believed to be the one way to kill a mummy for good.
- Shout-Out: The intro to Mummy second edition was written by a mummy called Kharis for his long-lost love Ankh-es-en-Amun, both originally from the 1930s/40s Universal Mummy movies (though they had no connection in the movies).
- Token Good Teammate: Among the other Old World of Darkness gamelines; In most of the gamelines (with the arguable exception of Mage) the creature types are generally assumed to be mostly evil, selfish or Well-Intentioned Extremist types at best with the (usually) more pleasant PCs being among the rare exceptions. While Good is Not Nice can sometimes come into play the Amenti are assumed to be generally good people focused on saving to world and not given to using methods that harm innocents.
- We Will Meet Again
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: A key issue in the first two editions, courtesy of their flawed Spell of Life. Averted for the Amenti, whose immortality comes without any real inherent drawbacks (though they're all new, only becoming mummies a few years ago at most, so whether they'll be able to handle immortality long-term remains to be seen).