Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Amazing Shifting Sands of The Beginning Of I3-5 Desert of Desolation By Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Philip Meyers, Peter L. Rice Part I

"Deep blue mists of the night swirl over the sands of Raurin, the incomparable Desert of Dust.

As the cool night air drains the heat from the sand, you & your friends huddle around your campfire, glancing nervously at the giant pyramid in the distance.

Gradually, the winds change direction, bearing a thin streak of white mist toward you from the pyramid.

It swirls & takes shape as a faceless man dressed in ancient robes & an ornate head-piece; moonlight shining through his ghostly body & robes, he lifts his arms toward the pyramid & speaks.

It was magic that conveyed you all to Bralizar, & an ancient map that guided you through the pass in The Dustwall.

But it was, after all, the tales that finally brought you to this place - tales of endless wealth, of spirit-guarded pyramids, of crystalline obelisks, of gemstones with mysterious properties.

Now, as the haunted voice of the spectre before you begins his tale, you wonder if the treasure & the quest are worth the price...perhaps your very lives.

Are you really the heroes of the prophecies, those who will overcome the foretold tests, & those for whom the treasure awaits?"

So begins the collected I3-5 Desert of Desolation  modules by Tracy HickmanLaura HickmanPhilip MeyersPeter L. Rice but to adapt them to a pulp style AA! game is going to take a bit of historical & dungeon master slight of hand. The Middle Eastern Theater of War WW1 is both very dynamic & down right terrifying.   The Egpytian style pulp themes with its lost ghost pharaoh wandering the sands is easily moved over to the edge of the Egyptian/African border enabling the PC's to encounter the spirit of Amun-Re, a pharaoh cursed to wander the desert until his tomb is robbed. Amun-Re begs the PCs to remove his staff of ruling and Star Gem from his tomb to break his curse.  The fact is that powers & abilities of capes or adventurers are not going to make a blind bit of difference to solving & playing this module. If the module can be adapted to Mystara then it can be adapted to WWI Earth. 

This adventure is going to be pre 
 the 1922 discovery by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun's tomb & the PC's are going to have to rely on the local Arab tribes for guidance into the wilds of Egypt's Empty Quarter or the The Rub' al Khali desert. This place has an occult history of touching many other worlds & its the perfect location for  I3-5 Desert of Desolation. In fact the PC's might be dealing heavily with the the British protectorate of the Sultanate of Egypt. Thieves, raiders, rangers, & all of the combat heavies along with druids are a must here. Make sure you've got a copy of Castles & Crusades handy. The module is going to take the player's party from their world into your pulp fantasy version of Egypt.  

PC's could get easily in way over their heads with the first part of this module. The two essential books here are the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters the C&C Monsters & Treasure book.  Why?! Because of something I noticed in a review of the module; Harley Bates reviewed the Daystar West edition of the adventure in The Space Gamer No. 54.[3] He commented that "It's a nice break from standard ongoing campaigns, and gives both players and judges attainable goals in shorter steps."[3] Bates added that "The inhabitants of the tomb are far from the ordinary fare and provide the players and the judge with fascinating role-playing. There are many clues and puzzles scattered throughout the adventure. All in all, it's a very tightly-woven adventure which should be enjoyable for all involved."The monsters of I3 are very dangerous & encounters could end a party unless their very careful. DM's should tailor things to their player's PCs as needed.. Notice I said as needed.

Once the players get a taste for I3 then they'll want to continue on & the DM is going need to familiarize themselves with the twists & turns of these modules coming up.  I3-5 Desert of Desolation  has some truly dangerous factions, twists & turns. This sets things up very nicely for a mega campaign by possibly adapting 2nd edition Ravenloft  

RA3 Touch of Death (2e) by Bruce Nesmith into a Gothic WW1 campaign. But for the moment I'm going to concentrate on   I3-5 Desert of Desolation.

 Player's PC's are quite literally going to be at the mercy of many of the internal adventure elements of  I3-5 Desert of Desolation. They'll have to do some strong role playing & really think on their feet to survive the machinations of the module.  The DM is going to be doing a balancing act between history & the weird realities of the module. The Raiders of the Lost Ark themes here are evident 

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