Best D&D adventures/modules in a desert?

Hi, I was just wondering what the best D&D adventures/modules are that are set in a desert, or at least in a city/oasis near a desert.

Looking for things other than Desert of Desolation, or in Dark Sun. I'm wondering what adventures could be added as supplementary material for DoD, much like the supplementary adventures in Ghosts of Saltmarsh 5e (the ones added that weren't originally the Saltmarsh modules).
 

Parmandur

Legend
Hi, I was just wondering what the best D&D adventures/modules are that are set in a desert, or at least in a city/oasis near a desert.

Looking for things other than Desert of Desolation, or in Dark Sun. I'm wondering what adventures could be added as supplementary material for DoD, much like the supplementary adventures in Ghosts of Saltmarsh 5e (the ones added that weren't originally the Saltmarsh modules).
X4, X5 and X10, collectievely the "Desert Nomad" series, off the top of my head. Anything Al'Quadim. Check out the following site:

https://www.adventurelookup.com/adventures/
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
If not Desert of Desolation, then I would second X4/X5 (not so much X10).

Absolutely love running those.

(Originally for the X in B/X, easy to convert to 5e)
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Other ideas-

B4 is one of my favorites, although primarily UNDERNEATH the desert.

Most Dark Sun adventures can, obviously, be used as Desert Adventures.
 
These are pretty great suggestions!

It looks like one could pretty easily put together a desert campaign if they string these together.

Maybe start with the Lost City (B4), then the Desert of Desolation modules, then cap it off with the Desert Nomad series. I'd set it in Mystara as it looks the B4 and Desert Nomads are there, while DoD is setting agnostic.

I'd have to redesign X10 a lot though, it looks more heavy on the "mass combat" system.
 

gyor

Hero
I'd prefer that they fill out DoD with something new. However Old Empires book had some small adventures. Alternately Imaskari were masters of portals, and extra demisional spaces, so it doesn't actually have to be in a desert. Still let me think on this.
 

gyor

Hero
These are pretty great suggestions!

It looks like one could pretty easily put together a desert campaign if they string these together.

Maybe start with the Lost City (B4), then the Desert of Desolation modules, then cap it off with the Desert Nomad series. I'd set it in Mystara as it looks the B4 and Desert Nomads are there, while DoD is setting agnostic.

I'd have to redesign X10 a lot though, it looks more heavy on the "mass combat" system.
DoD is not setting agnostic, the modules that inspired it are, but DoD is based in the forgotten realms, DoD is Forgotten Realms canon, and in fact DoD largely caused the reshaping of the Eastern Part of the Realms. Old Empires Source book was written because of DoD and between the two books there were massive implications for the Eastern half of Faerun. Mulhorand, Unther, ect... Were massively altered because of DoD from Ed Greenwood's vague idea of these places and fleshed out. There are references to Mulhorand, Imaskar, Durpar, and more. It was the first adventure in FR and I think it was the second FR book published after a novel. It has huge setting importance to FR.

I agree with starting with Lost City to fill in lower levels, then DoD, but then either make new adventures, the Book with no End (fits the history of the region) or connect it to Al Qadim adventures which are on the same world, and could connect easily using an old Imaskari Portal to Zakhara, but then you'd have to add the Zakharan Pantheon.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
DoD is not setting agnostic, the modules that inspired it are, but DoD is based in the forgotten realms, DoD is Forgotten Realms canon, and in fact DoD largely caused the reshaping of the Eastern Part of the Realms. Old Empires Source book was written because of DoD and between the two books there were massive implications for the Eastern half of Faerun. Mulhorand, Unther, ect... Were massively altered because of DoD from Ed Greenwood's vague idea of these places and fleshed out. There are references to Mulhorand, Imaskar, Durpar, and more. It was the first adventure in FR and I think it was the second FR book published after a novel. It has huge setting importance to FR.
Whoa, calm down there FR fanboy.

The original modules in the series I3, I4, & I5 very clearly tell you right on the covers that they are the Desert of Desolation series.
And I quote:
"The 1st module in the Desert Of Desolation series."
"The second module in the Desert Of Desolation series."
"The last module in the Desert Of Desolation series."
If you'd like pictures, Google it.
So one can very well talk about the DoD as being setting agnostic & be correct. DoD is the name of the module series, Pharaoh/Oasis of the white Palm/Lost Tomb of Martek are actually the chapter names/subtitles.
DoD existed before your precious FR.

BTW, you want to know what other wildly popular module is setting agnostic?
...
wait for it...
...
Ravenloft. Y
ep, good old I6. Also written by Hickman.
Though I suppose the case could be made that it actually exists in whatever world the original I3-I5 does as on p.28 of I5, in Marteks treasury, on the Nonmagical scrolls table result #2 is: a poster: Visit beautiful Barovia :)
Me? I always read that (even as a teen) as a bit of cheeky marketing/humor by Hickman, not actual world building.
 
House on Griffin Hill is setting agonstic too, it also predates the Ravenloft setting. There is a desert themed Ravenloft adventure too. Memory is a bit dicky though, was it Stone Prophet? Or was that the CRPG version?

Personally, I would forget about playing the whole of Dessert of Desolution and just play Pharaoh (the first and only good bit), dropped into your own desert setting and fleshed out with your own stuff and stuff from other sources.

Edit: I've tracked down the Ravenloft adventure I was thinking of: RA3 Touch of Death: https://www.adventurelookup.com/adventures/ra1-touch-of-death. Stone Prophet was a computer game based on the same story.
 
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Jacob Lewis

The One with the Force
Don't forget about Pathfinder. You should look into the first two books of the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path. The plots and premise could be easily adapted and fits the theme of the overall campaign.

Also worth considering, I think the Golarion version of ancient Egyt (Osirion) is far more interesting and detailed than the Forgotten Realms version. The series was not originally intended for any specific world, so it wouldn't be difficult adapting the key elements of each module into whatever setting used.
 

gyor

Hero
Whoa, calm down there FR fanboy.

The original modules in the series I3, I4, & I5 very clearly tell you right on the covers that they are the Desert of Desolation series.
And I quote:
"The 1st module in the Desert Of Desolation series."
"The second module in the Desert Of Desolation series."
"The last module in the Desert Of Desolation series."
If you'd like pictures, Google it.
So one can very well talk about the DoD as being setting agnostic & be correct. DoD is the name of the module series, Pharaoh/Oasis of the white Palm/Lost Tomb of Martek are actually the chapter names/subtitles.
DoD existed before your precious FR.

BTW, you want to know what other wildly popular module is setting agnostic?
...
wait for it...
...
Ravenloft. Y
ep, good old I6. Also written by Hickman.
Though I suppose the case could be made that it actually exists in whatever world the original I3-I5 does as on p.28 of I5, in Marteks treasury, on the Nonmagical scrolls table result #2 is: a poster: Visit beautiful Barovia :)
Me? I always read that (even as a teen) as a bit of cheeky marketing/humor by Hickman, not actual world building.
The FR DoD is the only one that matters, the rest are just prototypes.

In 5e FR is the core setting, why would they shift it needless from their prefered setting when the fullest version of DoD is already set in FR?

Secondly part of what makes DoD interesting is it's impact on FR evolution/history.

There is no reason to set it in Mystara instead of FR, where the most recent version is set.

What does any of this have to do with Ravenloft?
 

Parmandur

Legend
The FR DoD is the only one that matters, the rest are just prototypes.

In 5e FR is the core setting, why would they shift it needless from their prefered setting when the fullest version of DoD is already set in FR?

Secondly part of what makes DoD interesting is it's impact on FR evolution/history.

There is no reason to set it in Mystara instead of FR, where the most recent version is set.

What does any of this have to do with Ravenloft?
This thread was about a home game, not any theoretical product. However, if they did do a Saltmarsh style book with DoD, it would probably be setting agnostic given the original nature of the module, with sidebars for adaption to specific settings like FR or Eberron.
 

gyor

Hero
Don't forget about Pathfinder. You should look into the first two books of the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path. The plots and premise could be easily adapted and fits the theme of the overall campaign.

Also worth considering, I think the Golarion version of ancient Egyt (Osirion) is far more interesting and detailed than the Forgotten Realms version. The series was not originally intended for any specific world, so it wouldn't be difficult adapting the key elements of each module into whatever setting used.
WotC doesn't own the rights to Osirion, Mummy's Mask AP, or Golarion, so they can't use them.

And Orision and FRs Mulhorand (and Bakar) are radically different settings, I mean both have Egyptian themes, but the history and story of the settings are hugely different.

Orision is a story of a nation that is rebuilding it's sense of self after regaining indepence from a being a colony of an Imperialist Power.

Mulhorand IS the Imperial power, but one that arose by overthrowing a far more evil one. It was argueably the most important human nation in FR, and multiple FR nations descend from it, Thay, Semphar, Mulgolhm, and other nations rose to power after dealing with it as mercinaries, and learning magic from it, like Narfell and Raunthium (misspelled that).

Mulhorand caused the Orc Gate wars, was victim of the first deicide, and so much more. It's ruins and cities dot like a third to half the Forgotten Realms.
 

gyor

Hero
This thread was about a home game, not any theoretical product. However, if they did do a Saltmarsh style book with DoD, it would probably be setting agnostic given the original nature of the module, with sidebars for adaption to specific settings like FR or Eberron.
A home game is totally different, place ot wherever you want. I thought it was about an official product which is very different.
 
This thread was about a home game, not any theoretical product. However, if they did do a Saltmarsh style book with DoD, it would probably be setting agnostic given the original nature of the module, with sidebars for adaption to specific settings like FR or Eberron.
The thread did start as a home-game idea, it has kind of morphed into a "how would WotC remake DoD," which I'm totally ok with.

I had no idea DoD was set in FR, that's interesting. It's a little unfortunate too, because Lost City and Desert Nomad are set in Mystara.

Has anyone played modules from Dungeon/Dragon magazine that were set in a desert? That was the format WotC took for Ghosts of Saltmarsh, and I think it worked well.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Kobold Press has an excellent series of adventures in their Southlands setting, particularly those taking place in "Per-Bastet, the Eternal City of the Cat." It's very Egyptian in flavor (which means their take on undead is rather different from most settings), with a dash of Arabian Nights. Most of these are available for both 5E and Pathfinder.

https://koboldpress.com/kpstore/product-category/all-products/adventures/

Here's a list, though it may not be complete:

Cat and Mouse (a Maltese Falcon-type "noir" adventure with lots of social interaction opportunities; I've run it twice, and it's lots of fun)
Tomb of Tiberesh
Grimalkin
Last Gasp
Tomb of the Scorpion Prince (in the "Book of Lairs")
Three Little Pigs (a three-part adventure appearing in Warlock Lair 30, 31, 32)
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
The thread did start as a home-game idea, it has kind of morphed into a "how would WotC remake DoD," which I'm totally ok with.

I had no idea DoD was set in FR, that's interesting. It's a little unfortunate too, because Lost City and Desert Nomad are set in Mystara.

Has anyone played modules from Dungeon/Dragon magazine that were set in a desert? That was the format WotC took for Ghosts of Saltmarsh, and I think it worked well.
That's because it's not.

When most people discuss "DoD,"* they are talking about the classic I3, I4, I5.

Pharoah (later I3) was first created by Hickman in the 70s, and then expanded to the I3-I5.

It is setting-agnostic, although, if it had to have a setting, it would be Greyhawk, because all modules from that era were either explicitly Greyhawk (like Saltmarsh, Tsojcanth) or had to be considered a part of the setting.

After the ouster of Gygax, TSR first published FR in 1987- AFTER the publication of the individual I3-I5 modules (five years after).

At the same time, they put out a compendium book (I3-I5 combined into a single volume called "Desert of Desolation") that did the following:

A. Slightly expanded the material, and made it worse.
B. Shoehorned the setting into the FR.


This was the first, and earliest, example of how everything good and fun and happy eventually gets pushed into the FR and becomes sucky. ;)


...IMO. Anyway, don't use the 1987 material! Use the good stuff. And don't forget- you can easily set the generic 1983 stuff in Mystara, or whatever homebrew you want ....


At least, until the FR gobbles that up, too. There has to be a blank space on the map of Faerun, somewhere, and if not, I'm sure we can just Plague Sunder one, right? :)



*To be clear, and to put aside the jokey aspect for a second, the confusion naturally arises because IMO the majority of people use DoD as a way to refer to classic modules, which explicitly are a trilogy that refer to the Desert of Desolation ... in fact, even the covers of the module would say. "The second module in the DESERT OF DESOLATION Series"; however, other people can, in good faith, refer to DoD as the first compendium that was called that. There isn't a wrong way to look at it.
 
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EpicureanDM

Villager
The Oasis of the Golden Peacock, by Tim Eagon in Dungeon 169 is a classic desert adventure for me. It reminds me of a miniature Caves of Chaos location filled with well-designed encounters and opportunities for RP. It's a gem.
 

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