Sunday, February 2, 2020

The Armies of Chaos From X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads" (1983), by David "Zeb" Cook - Cha'alt/Godbound Campaign Commentary

To arms! To arms! The battle lines are drawn as desert men and inhuman tribes wait poised to strike on the fertile and rich lands of the east. The call has gone out through the civilized lands. The armies have been raised to match the invading foes from the west. Nobles and peasants have joined swords to greet the foes.

But Fate or Chance has decreed another role for a small few. No glorious banners will wave on their march. No squadrons of knights will charge at their word. Instead, they will fight the war through stealth, secrecy, and cunning. The risks they will take are great, but the fates of both armies lie with them.

It begins one night for your party far from the fighting. Suddenly you are entrusted with the most dangerous missions of the war. Can you cross the Sind Desert, occupied now by enemy armies, to find the Great Pass? Can you find the one known only as The Master? What will you do if your do find him?

One of the modules that I've been working with & going over from my uncle's notes is X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads" (1983), by David "Zeb" Cook. How can this module be incorporated into my current Godbound/ Cha'alt campaign. I started with the fact that there's a ton of material about the raiders from X4 that can fit the current mode of my campaign. So basically I'm taking the desert men along the inhuman tribes as the forces of Chaos for this campaign. Their another faction of the Slave Lords who have an alliance with the rulers of  Elysium. The nomads & humanoids don't belong on the Earth's deserts but their being whipped into a frenzy by the thought of conquest. Again this is an invasive army on Earth. All of this ties back into the  Rumbles from B2 The Keep on The Borderlands By Gary Gygax - Cha'alt/Godbound Campaign Commentary blog entry.    I really can't claim credit for these ideas this was something my uncle was working on back in '87 or so.
The idea here is that there are string of forts that keep watch against the invading hordes. So an old Spanish fort in the middle of the desert isn't out of the question. Now where have I heard this story before?!

"Scorpion-man brings down the house.  (Jeff Easley, from ad for Gen Con 18, Dragon magazine No. 100, August 1985; illustration originally appeared in D&D module X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, TSR, 1983.)"Totally taken from the Old School Tumbler here. 

Well it seems that the Adventurer,Conqueror, King rpg's 
AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara might be the perfect fit in with X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads" (1983), by David "Zeb" Cook. The micro dungeon is a perfect sideline as the PC's make their way to the dragon's city state. It also has the perfect base in the form of the old fort. This might give them a point 

 X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads" is keyed with an adventure locations happening in a point crawl fashion. These are set up in the fashion of happening when the PC's come across them. These are a totally invasive dimensional & planar order being imposed on the Earth. 
So what are the consequences of this?! According to my uncle's notes the Earth & Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings such as his Sword & Sorcery Greyhawk is Fey intrusion! This is where I start pulling out my free OSR 
 bestiary inspired by the masterful work of Henry Justice Ford. Ford's Faeries: A Bestiary Inspired by Henry Justice Ford is a perfectly suited for this style of monsters. Especially given that many of the monsters in 
 X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads" are Hindu mythology inspired. 

The interaction  of Cha'alt with Earth has created pockets & eddies within the planes. This causes bubbles & currents of Azoth to leak through. This creates micro gateways into the realm of Fey & Fairylands. This lines up with some of the guidelines we've seen in Castles & Crusade's 
The Codex Celtarum by Brian Young

The forces of Chaos here are represented by the humanoid armies & so forth. This planar contamination of the local time space continuum lines up with some of the ideas found in the Lion & Dragon rpg. 

The Fey are the foils of Chaos & there are certainly evident on my version of  Cha'alt in spades. The black pyramid continues to spin its dark influence across the Earth. Cha'alt's Lovecraftian forces are looking at this tasty morsel called Greyhawk now?! And there are already adventurers within California working for the royals of Hommlet.

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