Saturday, July 25, 2020

Using X4 Master of the Desert Nomads By David Cook For Your Old School Science Fantasy Game Campaign

"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?"

 'X4 Master of the Desert Nomads' By David Cook is one of my all time favorite B/X Dungeons & Dragons modules. I've taken it numerous times & adapted it for any number of Science Fantasy games. But the release of Venger Satanis's Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise .

Its time to take that Cha'alt goodness back where it belongs into the old school! There are several reasons why  'X4 Master of the Desert Nomads' By David Cook works for a Cha'alt/Carcosa crossover as we can see from the X4;"This scenario opens in a small village on the border of the Republic of Darokin. The party has answered the call to defend the Republic against the recently unified human and humanoid tribes of the vast Sind desert, bordering Darokin to the northeast. Having missed the departure of the main army, they are tasked with seeking out more information on the mysterious figure behind the enemy armies (the titular desert nomads). In the adventure that follows, the adventurers must tackle a series of wilderness encounters, including journeying up a sluggish river to its source, passing through a dismal salt marsh, crossing an inhospitable desert, and searching for a pass through the high and forbidding mountain chain on the far side of the desert. If successful, the adventure ends at an abbey situated on a mountain spur above the alpine meadows, after which the player characters may proceed with the second module in this series, the Temple of Death."
Its not only the desert action but the religious/battle aspect of 
 'X4 Master of the Desert Nomads' By David Cook but it fits with many of the adventure elements that Venger has outlined in Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise . From the down turns of the religious & technological sci fi factions to the machinations of the Old Ones. The deadliness of encountering a 100 desert nomads all fits in with many of the tones that have been set down within the first Cha'alt book. 

This sort of an adventure path could also  take the adventurers into the deep wastelands of Barrens of Carcosa by Geoffrey McKenny.  Many of the elements of 
Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise  could add the extra bit of kick for a mini campaign within this game set up. 

Swords & Stitchery - Old Time Sewing & Table Top Rpg Blog ...

Just last night I was researching for today's blog entry by reading through Imagine magazine's Doug Cowie review of X4 & a mini summery on the X4 wiki entry has the highlights;"he felt it featured a "scarcely original plot," the author had "built onto the stereotype with intelligence and imagination".[2] As an example, Cowie noted that the players are hired, not as an elite force, but as part of the army reserve, consisting of "undesirables and unusables".[2] According to Cowie, the module features a hazardous wilderness journey and several dungeon-style encounters. He thought that the designer "has done a good job of creating the atmosphere of a land at war" including encounters with patrols and even an enemy army.[2] Cowie noted that the latter is "the kind of complicated encounter that most designers shy away from but David Cook handles it well."[2] Another large-scale encounter involves 100 bandits and 40-50 caravan guards and, according to Cowie, Cook provides a "perfectly workable system which allows the whole battle to be fought in a reasonable amount of time."[2] Cowie called the final encounter area a "classic corridors-and-rooms setting" with a "fine, threatening atmosphere and some good NPCs."[2] He also praised "a lovely twist in the plot that could put an unwary party into a lot of trouble."[2] The only drawback, Cowie thought, is that to progress to the end the players need to "make the correct deductions and choose the right courses of action at certain stages," so those who prefer completely free player choice should "look elsewhere."[2] Calling it a "good module with some particularly noteworthy sections" he concluded his review by noting: "If you can accept the need for some player guidance and prompting, you will find it a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.""  
Its the fact that within
 the city of A'agrybah in  Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise the PC's could become a part of the army reserve, consisting of "undesirables and unusables". This plugs events within  'X4 Master of the Desert Nomads' By David Cook easily! This takes the whole affair to another level! 
It point of fact this adventure path could be used with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperboreas's 
THE BEASTS of KRAGGOTH MANOR for the shattered post apocalyptic yet alien aspect of this campaign. 

But this might just be really pushing the whole cloth adventure aspect of X4 Master of the Desert Nomads making things too complicated. It might be better just to stick with X4 instead. 
This mix of desert adventures might be perfect to really bring home some of the serpent men  action that we hear so much about in many OSR games but rarely do we encounter them? Serpent men are perfect NPC antagonist for PC's to encounter & plug right into many of the elements present in both X4 & 
Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise

Serpentman mini from Moonraker Miniatures 

Classic desert adventures can bring home many of the alien & weird aspects of H.P.Lovecraft's work especially the Nameless City. 
Would the PC's even survive the experience?! 
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads could make a fine set up to a weird wasteland campaign. 
Really thinking of trotting X4 out for this campaign coming up. But like always there are so many choices. But I certainly don't agree with the owner of the Vintage Tumbler in that its a BS adventure. The artwork below is from there. 
X4: Master of the Desert Nomads is kind of a BS ...

More thoughts coming up. 

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