Villain: The Ennead
The Shrine of the Ennead
- The Shrine of the Ennead (x1)
- Whenever a Villain Target would be destroyed, flip it over instead. This card and all cards beneath this card are indestructible and cannot be removed from the play area by any means.
- Art: An entrance to an Egyptian building
- Ancient Magicks (x2)
- Destroy minus 1 Hero Ongoing and/or Equipment cards. The Villain Target with the lowest HP deals any Hero with Ongoing and/or Equipment cards in play minus 2 Infernal Damage.
- Art: Ra: Horus of the Two Horizons caught in a magical circle;
- Flavor text: "You may have returned just in time to witness your demise!" - Isis, Ra: Horus of Two Horizons
- Blast of Flame (x3)
- Death's Grasp (x4)
- Elemental Storm (x3)
- The Villain Target with the lowest HP deals each Hero Target 1 Lightning Damage, 1 Fire Damage, and 1 Cold Damage.
- Art: Set in mid air with the elements surrounding him;
- Flavor text: "I bring you the elements in all of their awesome glory!" - Set, The War of Heliopolis #2
- Mass Overheating (x2)
- Rise to Power (x2)
- Move the top card from beneath the Shrine of the Ennead into the Villain play area. Play the top card of the Villain deck.
- Art: Silhouttes of the Ennead members with smoking and collasped buildings in the background;
- Flavor text: "They have returned, and are stronger than before! This day will be a long one." - Ra, Ra:God of the Sun #289
- Sun's Fury (x2)
- Taste of Immortality (x2)
- Move the top card from beneath the Shrine of the Ennead into the Villain play area. All Villain Targets regain minus 1 HP.
- Art: Osiris sipping from a cup with a beaten Ra in the background;
- Flavor text: "You have failed, and once again the Ennead grow in strength as you diminish." - Osiris, Baptism by Fire #1
- The Desert's Wrath (x2)
- Destroy all Environment cards. The Villain Target with the lowest HP deals each Hero Target X Projectile Damage, where X = the number of cards destroyed by this card.
- Art: Legacy being held by an Egyptian statue;
- Flavor text: "Don't worry - we're doing fine! Everything's fine!" - Legacy Freedom Five #541
- The Grave Beckons (x2)
- Destroy each non-Villain Target with 3 or fewer HP.
- Art: Shu stabbing his arm through a shocked Argent Adept;
- Flavor text: "Taste eternity." - Shu, The War of Heliopolis #4
|Aliases:||The Ennead of Heliopolis/Varies
|Power Source:||Infernal, Ancient Egyptian Relics|
|First Appearance:||Ra: God of the Sun #289
|Group:||The Ennead of Heliopolis
Meta: The Ennead
Main Episode: Episode 28
- The Ra pictured on "Ancient Magicks" is the "Horus of Two Horizons" version.
- The Ennead have the only deck in SOTM that is composed entirely of one-shots.
- When they first appeared, the Ennead defeated Ra in a massive battle, causing him to become amnesiac and wander the desert for years before eventually returning as Ra: Horus of the Two Horizons
- Notes from
- Roderick Ward and twelve other "treasure hunters" (read that as "grave robbers") were investigating this newly-uncovered shrine in the desert. It's full of traps (so many traps) and mummies - very similar to the Tomb of Anubis, but it's a separate place. Four members of the group die from the various hazards there, but the remaining nine make it to the central chamber easily after that (funny how it seemed to stop trying to kill them off once there were exactly nine of them left - that's probably a coincidence).
- In that central chamber there are nine statues present, each holding an impressive Relic. Like with Blake Washington Jr. and the Staff of Ra, each of the remaining people is drawn to pick up one of them. [Insert transformation sequence here.] They now have this great power, a desire for more, and a sense of entitlement. They have more power as a group, together, and that's what they wish to enhance.
- Atum - Roderick Ward, the leader of the thieves, but also now the leader of the Ennead. Relic - a jeweled bracer. As Atum he is accompanied by two golden scarabs - he's also a sun/fire god but it takes the form more directed beams ("sun lasers") than Ra's general fire everywhere approach.
- Geb - Charles Philips. Relic - a golden sickle. Giant serpent man, the largest physically of them. A god of the earth - creating earthquakes and whatnot.
- Isis - Jessica Douglas. Relic - a sun disk (associated more with the goddess Hathor, but also seen on depictions of Isis). She wears it on her forehead. She sprouts some big bat wings (even though historical depictions show her with falcon wings - that's odd).
- Nephthys - Anna Rochester. Relic - an obsidian ankh, which allows her to tap into funerary powers.
- Nuit - Diane Lawson. Relic - the Magic Orb of Nuit which allows her to control and be the sky itself.
- Osiris - Logan Brown. Relic - the crook and flail (a matched set of relics that always go together).
- Set - Steve Karr - the Typhonic Rod (Set being conflated with the Greek Typhon) - this is a large scepter/small staff with the head of the Set Animal/Typhonic Beast on it. He can control storms.
- Shu - Francis Li. Relic - a bronze khopesh (the type of curved sword that Mdjai wields in the Tomb of Anubis deck). He becomes the air itself.
- Tefnut - Winona Ross - a votive shield (kind of a mid-sized round buckler). She becomes a furred cat creature.
To Other Works
- The numerous grails in the background of "Taste of Immortality" is a reference to the climax of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- Like Ra, The Ennead are based on deities from actual Egyptian mythology (in this case the Ennead of Heliopolis). The Ennead gained prominence after a decline in the worship of Ra during the 6th dynasty, but Ra later saw a resurgence after a being conflated with Horus (which provides the source of the name Ra Horus of Two Horizons).
- Atum - primordial creation deity (his name is thought to derive from the word "complete" thus his title in the game "World Finisher"), his worship was conflated with that of Ra for a time. His children:
- Shu - god of the air.
- Tefnut - goddess of moisture/rain/dew/etc. Their children:
- Nut - goddess of the sky, her title in the game "She Who Protects" is attested, but she was the "protector" of Ra as the sun in the sky.
- Geb - god of the earth, associated with earthquakes and snakes (although not always depicted with a snake for a head). Their children:
- Osiris - god of the dead/afterlife/underworld/rebirth. Generally depicted with green skin holding the crook and flail like in the card art. Although the card has him without clothes above the waist (unlike typical depictions), the red sash/belt and white trousers do match the classical depictions.
- Isis - goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom. Also associated with magic and sometimes depicted with wings, although usually feathered falcon wings as part of her arms rather than the separate, bat-like wings in the card art.
- Set - god of the desert, storms, and disorder. There's no consensus on what animal Set's head is meant to represent.
- Nephthys - goddess of death, funerary rites, etc. Also sometimes shown with falcon wings like Isis and incinerating the pharaoh's enemies with her fiery breath. Her depiction in the game as wearing mummy wrappings is presumably a reference to her association with funerals, but doesn't match her classical appearance.
Questions Answered on The Letters Page
- Previously it was mentioned that the Ennead really only show up for their main story arc, but Nightmist was involved in a Vengeance arc before fighting Isis and Ra was involved in Vengeance and then fought the Ennead - what's the actual timeline going on here? The major plot (finding Relics, fighting Ra who then goes off into the desert, Atum going to Ethiopia) was the second time this story was actually told in Sentinel Comics (and was told by much better writers that time). The first time (decidedly pre-Vengeance), these 9 gods just show up and fight Ra, defeat him, and just go around being villains (no "taking over Egypt" plot). Eventually Ra regroups, teams up with other heroes, and they defeat the 9. The end. There was no gravitas given to the proceedings and not a lot of thought put into the implications of 9 other gods showing up - it just kind of fell flat. After Vengeance, somebody wanted to take this old story and rework it to make it better. This second telling is now retconned into the "canonical" version of the Ennead story and is the one that we deal with in the card game and whatnot - the other one is kind of ignored.
- What happened to the 4 members of Ward's group who died before the rest became the Ennead? They died for real due to the hazards of the Shrine explicitly so that there were 9 remaining. There have to be 9 to enter the chamber - a smaller group would never make it that far.
- How do the members of Ward's team feel about the 4 who died in the Shrine? Do they worry that Roderick will give them up for dead too? They're all shady people and don't really trust one another. There's no love lost between them, but a larger share for me! After getting the power, this stuff pretty much becomes of negligible importance.
- Are the gods always jerks? Do Discworld rules apply where gods have less power if fewer people believe in them? They're not really gods, just people with a lot of power - worshipers don't matter in terms of power (although in the distant past some incarnations certainly cared about their worshipers). They might be more or less benevolent, but as a group they've always opposed Ra and so in a world where Ra is a hero, they will by necessity be villains.
- In "Death's Grasp" we see Tempest in a bad situation, who saved him? Initially, Tempest was acting weaker than he was to get Nephthys to chase him as part of the whole Operation "Don't Fight All Nine of them at Once, Guys". She does eventually get the drop on him and drains a bunch of his life force, but Tempest does eventually turn the tables by himself.
- How did the other nations in the area respond to the Ennead? Militarily? Views from a religious perspective? In this world there are people with powers, so they were just more of that. As mentioned, Ethiopia was the first nation to speak out and we see what happened there - that kind of shut everybody else up (nobody knew that he was really drained after that and couldn't do it again).
- What went down vs. OblivAeon? There's not really a turn-by-turn, blow-by-blow description. You can basically just look at the relevant ARG page.
- They don't seem to get along (they're all nemeses by the game rules), but in myth many of them are related/married to one another; does whoever currently is, say, Isis have an attachment to the current Osiris? Does the power behind the relics care which gender the person who claims a relic is and/or does the god-form alter the body to conform to the "original" bearer's gender? Could non-biological entities (like, say, Omnitron) become empowered by them? Certain people are drawn to certain artifacts and the Relics do call to people whose gender matches the original bearer's as they are trying to find people who match them as closely as possible. The marriages in ancient history don't really have an effect on the relationships of current hosts. Non-biological entities could not be empowered.
- What about the Egyptian gods who aren't represented in the game? All of the other Relics are locked beyond the gate of the Underworld that Anubis guards - even the Ennead's were out there until Anubis sent them out into the world as described last week.
- Who's the most powerful member of the Ennead? They are all very powerful but each individual's "power" is largely different from the others so it's hard to compare apples to apples. Atum has the most direct offensive power, but used up the majority of it in the Ethiopia incident. It's hard to pick out anybody else as stronger than the others given the diversity in their approach to what "power" even means.
- Would it be possible for somebody good to pick up one of the Ennead's Relics and become a hero? More segues...
Comic Books: The Ennead
Small note: Items that are in bullets are from the Podcasts, so their form may not make sense, or feel like they are missing a part - its probably on another tab
Spoilers May Be Ahead - SCU and Miststorm Universe Tabs may contain spoilers for future products.
When Dr. Blake Washington, Jr. led his expedition into the Sahara that resulted in him gaining the Staff of Ra and becoming the avatar of the sun god, he left the bulk of his findings out of his published archaeological reports. However, the sudden appearance of this new hero, Ra, caused many to wonder as to his origins, and others to see opportunity.
Roderick Ward had long led a team of what he called “archaeological entrepreneurs”. He and his twelve comrades had seen more of the ruins of the ancient world than the top archaeologists and museum curators combined, and they had sold all their discoveries to the highest bidders. Ward paid little heed to those who admonished him and his team for their grave robbing and artifact peddling - the giant bags of cash he received paid for a lavish lifestyle which more than quieted whatever stirrings of a conscience he may have felt.
When Ward’s team heard about Dr. Washington’s successful discovery of a previously unknown pyramid, it sparked two ideas. First, that there had to be more to this story, and second, that there could be more treasure to be found. More importantly, there could be more treasure to be sold! Roderick Ward and his team of adventuring rogues spent years scouring the Sarahan wastes for other undiscovered ruins before finally stumbling upon a well-hidden structure, forgotten by time and buried beneath the sweeping sands. Not unfamiliar with hieroglyphics, Ward determined this to be the Temple of the Ennead, but what did that mean? Venturing cautiously through the temple’s traps and trials, they searched for valuable treasures.
Instead, they were the ones discovered! Ancient guardian mummies ambushed the group, and Ward had to make a hasty decision. Leaving four of his team to be slaughtered by the enraged undead protectors, the remaining would-be grave robbers barricaded themselves in a sealed chamber, ringed with ornate sarcophagi. Each of the nine sarcophagi depicted a powerful Egyptian deity, holding a great artifact of power. Ward and his eight remaining companions quickly forgot the impending peril, entranced by the aura of power in the room. Each took a relic from the outstretched, golden hands before them, and the team was instantly transformed into the fabled Ennead of Heliopolis. In these new forms, they had vast power and knowledge, but they also harbored ancient memories and hatred.
They had defeated Ra millennia ago, taking his place as gods of all the civilized world. However, after only a few hundred years, a new deity appeared, calling itself Horus. It fought the Ennead to a standstill before ultimately revealing itself to be Ra reborn and imprisoning the Ennead in this temple beneath the surface of the Sahara, doomed to be forgotten.
The Ennead have returned, with Roderick Ward as their leader, Atum. They have little need for the riches of this world - now, they have power! They yearn for revenge and will have it! Ra’s days are numbered once again…
- There's not really backstory for any of these people as individuals. It's kind of a miracle that they even all have "real" names beyond their identities as members of the Ennead. There's never any flashbacks or anything about their previous lives.
- They immediately start their program of "We're in charge now" world domination and Ra shows up pretty quickly since he could sense their awakening. Since they're all together, and therefore augmenting one another, (oh and even without that there are nine of them to one of him) this goes poorly for Ra. He wanders off into the desert after his defeat - see last week's episode for more of what happens with him.
- Meanwhile, the Ennead take over Egypt and between the efforts of Nuit and Isis they create a magical shield over the whole country (more like a big hemispherical dome over most of the important parts of the country - it's not like it's following the modern borders exactly). Once their hold there is solidified, some members of the group will venture out to try to take over more parts of the world.
- The other heroes won't take this laying down. The Freedom Five head to the area, but they can't even get through the shield. Even as they get close things like giant statues will come up out of the sand or swarms of scarabs will fly in. Just all sorts of nasty precautions set up by the Ennead to keep interlopers away from their territory. They do manage to keep the members that leave the bubble from making any headway in the larger world-conquering plan, but that's the extent of their success - they can't make any assault on the Ennead's home base and the heroes see this as a major failure on their part seeing as a whole country is beyond their help.
- Nearby Ethiopia doesn't take this well. The country denounces the Ennead and what they're doing to Egypt and mobilize military forces to combat them. Atum makes an example of them, destroying the city of Isati Shelek'o (see the card "Sun's Fury"). The heroes show up afterwards, and Atum is drained from the effort, but Shu shuttles him back to Egypt. Isati Shelek'o (is Amharic, one of the predominant languages in Ethiopia - እሳት ሸለቆ) translates to "Valley of Fire".
They return, taking over egypt as their kingdom and handily defeating Ra in his arrogance. They place a shield around their area, protecting themselves and thwarting all attacks by the heroes of earth. Eventually Ethopia declares war on the Ennead, only to have their army and the city of Isati Shelek'o destroyed by Atum.
They are defeated by Ra was he returns as Horus of the Two Horizons, in the middle part of his day cycle of life. They flee, covered by a sandstorm created by Shu and transported wildly away by Nephthys.
Set has the most remaining power after all of this. He winds up in Tuscon Arizon, where he tries to go back to just being Steve Kaar. There is a 'Day in the Life' book for him, where everything goes wrong. His coffee is spilled, his dry cleaning has a hole burnt in it, and the Southwest Sentinels eventually show up while he starts to get angry. FILTER takes him away after his defeat, to the Block. He eventually breaks out, but has learned a bit about OblivAeon.
When the Ennead begins to come back together at the Shrine, Set attempts to convince them something horrible is about to happen. Just then Anubis and Ra show up, demanding that the Ennead aid them. They refuse and fight, but eventually information about OblivAeon comes out and Set confirms it as what he has learned as well. They all journey to fight OblivAeon, cracking his shield but being destroyed in the process. Their relics are scattered to the wind.
- When Ra returns, newly empowered after his deal with Ammit, he uses the bulk of the new power he's acquired to destroy the magic shield (this happens in a crossover event between his book and the Prime Wardens, and other heroes - primarily magic-aligned ones). The trick to this fight is the heroes' ability to isolate individual members of the Ennead to take them on individually.
- Shu's last ditch effort is to whip up a giant sandstorm to draw everybody together. Nephthys uses the last of her power to teleport them all out, but it's largely undirected and scatters them all over the world. Now that they're all separated and weakened they can't readily refill their "reservoirs" of power.
- Set has the most remaining power after all of this. He winds up in Tuscon, Arizona (where Nephthys drops him) and goes back to living as Steve Karr. He uses his power to get the things he needs to live, but is really trying to lay low. There's a comic issue that's a "day in the life" of a guy named Steve Karr (some observant comics fans might have recognized the name before the reveal) - he picks up his dry cleaning, gets a coffee, trying to order food at a drive through, and there's just nothing going right. He has enough, turns to Set, and starts wrecking the city. Then the Southwest Sentinels show up to stop him, and they succeed (go team!). F.I.L.T.E.R. shows up and locks him up in the Block. While (an even weaker) Set is there, outside of time and space, he can't recover power at all (and neither can the other members of the Ennead). During a "Prison Riot", he manages to escape back into reality and everybody perks up as they can feel their power returning again.
- The Ennead start to congregate again, meeting up back at the Shrine of the Ennead in Egypt. So, what's the plan now? Set tells them about what he learned in the Block, which includes the end of all realities/multiverse stuff. This is right around the time that Ra and Anubis show up to recruit them for the whole OblivAeon thing that's going down. There's a big, knock-down drag-out fight between them (because nemeses), but Set understands that this is the same stuff that he's been talking about. Eventually Ra manifests the full extent of his power in his Setting Sun aspect, Anubis recognizes this as the real deal "We need to do this thing" moment, and the others are overawed by this and now everybody's on board. They go to fight OblivAeon and they all die as discussed previously.
This information is from the Miststorm Universe, one of two branching timelines. Products in this timeline are: Sentinel Tactics (and expansions). Prime War (and expansions)
Since this deals with a (confirmed) future expansion, Spoilers here in Tactics instead of RPG for once. The expansion is 'The Rise of the Ennead' - the Relics are scattered all over the world after OblivAeon destroys them. Atum's is the first to be recovered, by Roderick Ward's son Alexander, who knew what his father had become. He set out to find the Relic and does. He becomes a villain right away, fighting the heroes, but he also knows that having more of them together will make him stronger. Geb and Shu are the next to show up as a duo of adventurers, Preston Hess and Bertrand Frye respectively - they're not 'bad guys' per se, but they still use their powers for personal gain. Yasmin Rassar, a native Egyptian, finds Nuit's orb and becomes a hero of Egypt, even fighting against Atum occasionally. Julia Salazar finds Tefnut's shield and is a hero in Brazil. Because there's only five of them, however, they don't get the increase in power that you'd expect. Then the Kincaid siblings, whose parents were collectors of antiquities, acquire the remaining four. Olivia becomes Isis, Charlotte becomes Nephthys, Isaac becomes Osiris, and Liam becomes Set. At this point everybody knows that the whole team is accounted for and are drawn together. There's a big fight, alliances are formed and broken etc., but eventually they all come to terms and decide they need a place to isolate themselves. They raise the Ruins of Atlantis and use it as a base, even if they're not all buddy-buddy yet. There are more of them interested in not being villains than otherwise, but Atum's position of authority plus access to magical goodies in Atlantis might be able to sway them.