Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Commandments of Desolation - Using I3-5: Desert of Desolation The supermodule by Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, & Philip Meyers, With Additional OSR & Old School Resources - Session Report Ten

Among the sands of 'The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes' — an 18 miles (29 km) stretch of coastline dunes on the Central California Coast, from southern San Luis Obispo County to northern Santa Barbara County a brand new set of pyramids & strange ruined peusdo Egyptian style cities have emerged! Tales of ghostly riders,spectres of pharoahs,  strange ancient ships sailing along coast, & even adventurers who speak of  the sands of Raurin, the incomparable Desert of Dust!  The 'Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes' are now the home of a small ancient military outpost of an empire that never existed here!

The Gates of Rameses
Cecil B. DeMille - The Ten Commandments (1923) Public domain 

All of this was brought about by a storm that lasted three days. This seemingly supernatural storm brought with it tons of new sand & hidden Egpytian city ruins that were seemingly used as set pieces  by Cecil B.Demill during the filming of his magnus opus film 'The Ten Commandments'. But something was very wrong. There were over night the appearance of villages, strange travelers, camels, & even monsters in the confines of a stretch of eighteen miles of California desert & national park beaches!

Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt
Cecil B. DeMille - The Ten Commandments (1923) public domain

There have already been clashes between the settlers here & those of the world of Cha'alt. 
 The spirit of Amun-Re, the last pharaoh of Bakar, cursed to wander the desert has come to this world looking for adventurers skilled enough to free him from his curse. The desert itself is multidensional & those who wander into its ancient sands are whisked away to another world. But there are rumors that there is a death lord named Queen Tera who has designs upon the otherworldly location. Her cult grows among those who dwell outside of the  'Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes'.

The coming of the Cha'alt warp's planar energies have brought with it another casulity of the events of Ragnrok in the form of I3-5 The Desert of DesolationI3-5: Desert of Desolation the supermodule collection , by Tracy Hickman, & Laura Hickman, Philip Meyers, and others, is a supermodule for AD&D. It was published in May 1987. It happens to be a particular favorite among the supermodules  of mine. I've been wracking my brains as to how to incorporate it into the Godbound/Cha'alt campaign mix. But then I remembered a story from 2015 on the Smithsonian website by 
 entitled 'There's a Fake Egyptian City Buried in California'.

A bit of imgination & some campaign notes later & the ' I3-5 The Desert of Desolation' was adapted into my on going Cha'alt/Godbound campaign.

So does the black pyramid of Cha'alt call other megadungeons to it on the California coast?! This isn't an ordinary megadungeon & there are other death gods that have interest in this seemingly endless planar desert that has appeared within the confines of the national state park. In fact wizards, adventurers, guides, etc. have begun a cottage industry of exploiting the megadungeon, villages, & other exotic places within the park as a sort of 'exotic Egypt of California'. While the state of California coffers have expanded with taxes the frustration of pharoah's ghost has grown in response.  Other deathlords have taken full advantage of this situation expanding the planar desert realm for thier own benefit while the confines of 
'The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes' national park remain the seemingly the same at least in the daylight. 

The attentions of the lords of Cha'alt have not been unruffled by the appearance of this new hazard to their operations in California. Operatives & agents from both the Black Pryamid & Elysium are trying to penatrate the mysteries of this new developments.

So there's got to be an Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg angle here? And there is the 
Lairs & Encounters book which has some fantastic desert encounters that can be put in & some solid mummy style lairs with all kinds of neat sideline adventures to add to the play  mix. This book has a huge number of monsters & encounters with maps & all the other information in a high quality package to run everything outta of the gate! 

Another AD&D book that we seldom hear about today that could also be of use when fleshing out a desert or any adventure or campaign environ is REF3: The Book of Lairs (1986),by James M. Ward and Mike Breault. REF3: The Book of Lairs (1986), by James M. Ward and Mike Breault, is the third AD&D REFerence and the first of the Lairs books of short adventures. It was published in September 1986.
So this book takes some of the iconic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons monsters & gives the dungeon master a range of mini encounters or side adventures for the monster. All of this with cover by  
D&D artist Clyde Caldwell. 

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