Adventure

Use Your Outtakes – The Curse of Sekhmet

June 27, 2020

One of my favorite pieces of movie trivia is that the famous mine car chase from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was originally planned for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

If you read the original Raiders screenplay, you’ll find the scene at the very end. After Indy and Marion recover the ark from the Nazis, they are forced to escape the island via a rollercoaster mine car adventure. While that scene was never filmed, it was repurposed years later, swapping Nazis for Thuggee cultists.

While I was writing the pulp adventure The Lost Jewels of Eire, I ended up with a strikingly similar situation. I had two scenarios I had outlined and couldn’t wait to include somewhere in the adventure:

Kinda like this…
  • A scene where the heroes fought Italian intelligence agents in an old 1930s plane — where the cockpit was entirely separate from the passenger cabin. To seize control of the plane, the PCs had to brawl the agents while one of them was forced to wing-walk and throw the pilot out. I couldn’t wait to see how my players would handle this dangerous – and very pulp adventure – situation.
  • While researching 1930s Italian history, I stumbled across an inspiring real-life story about the ancient cliffside city of Calcata. Mussolini forced the entire city of Calcata to be evacuated. The government “officially” claimed that the cliffs were unstable and the residents were in danger… but that clearly was not the case. This shockingly beautiful and exotic would have made the perfect location for a fascist heist.

In order to keep The Lost Jewels of Eire to a reasonable, one or two session length, that airplane set piece and Calcata story element got cut. But I kept thinking about them, and how fun it would be to revisit them.

Remembering the Raiders mine car chase, I eventually decided to write an entirely new adventure using those two cut elements as the pillars. The Uncanny Curse of Sekhmet, a sort of prequel to The Lost Jewels, swiped my outtakes above. The adventure kicks off with the aerial brawl and crash lands (maybe literally) in Calcata, just as a sinister heist is taking place.

I made a few changes to the original ideas to get the outtakes to fit into a new adventure. Bank robbers replaced my Italian agents, and Calcata became less of a big destination and more of a stopover. But these two outtakes became the starting pillars for a completely new adventure, which then sends the PCs tomb raiding across Egypt in a race to find a secret buried for thousands of years.

The lesson here is don’t throw away your outtakes. Keep them and reuse them — or even better, build an entirely new adventure out of them.

What are some great adventure hooks you’ve cut from your games only to use them later? Let me know below.

Download The Uncanny Curse of Sekhmet for both GURPS and Pulp Cthulhu here:

Get THE UNCANNY CURSE OF SEKHMET - GURPS Cliffhangers

Get THE UNCANNY CURSE OF SEKHMET - GURPS (Printer Friendly)

Get THE UNCANNY CURSE OF SEKHMET - Call of Cthulhu

Get THE UNCANNY CURSE OF SEKHMET - Call of Cthulhu (Printer Friendly)

Get THE UNCANNY CURSE OF SEKHMET - VTT Tokens & Assets

Related: Learn what makes a great pulp adventure – discover The Lost Jewels of Eire!

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  1. Just wow! I looked through the GURPS PDF and in my opinion the Curse of Sekhmet is actually even better than most commercial PDFs I have seen. Epic work! Many, many thanks for that 🙂

    1. Thank you! Let me know if you ever get a chance to run it for your group – would love to know how it turns out!

  2. I prepped it to run for this week only to discover one of my players had been in an accident that threw off the game schedule. We’ll come back to it when he’s in better shape but one thing I noticed is that Betty’s last name vacillates between Page and Sage. I’d suggest sticking with Sage consistiently.

    1. Hopefully your friend is okay and will be rolling dice soon again! I went ahead and fixed the Sage/Page mixup and added bookmarks to the .pdfs. Appreciate the editing catch!

  3. Hi there!
    This is really impressive but as a newbie DM, very daunting what with three-way clashes and such fabulous intricate detail in both the plot and the research.

    It occurs to me that there are few options to settle down and heal even though there are quite a few encounters. The whole thing feels like it’s time sensitive and therefore difficult to pause along the way. What are your thoughts?

    Also, I think the point is that at almost every encounter, the players are outnumbered. How do you suggest I get the players to steer clear of trying to confront all the enemies to the bitter death? Do I just make the enemy run away even if they are in a position to win?

    Thank you kindly for your thoughts and well done for writing such an exciting story.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! For pulp adventures, I purposely outnumber the PCs and don’t give them a lot of downtime (think Indiana Jones action movie pacing). Feeling like the odds are against you is a key part of a pulp adventure! BUT I always use the cinematic rules of whatever system I’m using. For Call of Cthulhu, the Pulp Cthulhu rules are great as they give the PCs extra survivability and let them spend Luck in clever ways. In GURPS, the Impulse Buy rules lets PCs spend points to avoid injury and failure and even change scene specifics to their advantage. And then I play the minions a bit one-dimensional, e.g. never taking full shots with their automatic rifles, giving up their defenses for clumsy all-out attacks, and then running away when they’re injured. If the PCs get seriously injured, I usually improvise some downtime in during the travel segments. In this adventure, I’ve given hurt PCs a few days of rest just when they arrive in Egypt, just before the City of Lions segment.

      As a new GM, you may want to take a look at the companion adventure to this one The Lost Jewels of Eire. I think it’s a bit more straightforward to run, since there are fewer bad guys and death traps, and more breathing room for the players at key points. But I find the key to pulp is to keep things fast and loose and not worry too much if things go wrong.

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