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5E Desert adventure help

Gilladian

Adventurer
I am running a campaign loosely modeled on ancient Egypt/Nuria Natal (Kobold Press setting). I am plotting a murder mystery set in a camel caravan in the desert. I need some “authentic color” to add to my plot. Can anyone suggest Npc descriptions, attitudes, activities, etc... that would be particularly fun and evocative?

Also, are camels nasty like llamas can be? What dothey sound like? There will be a scene where the camels are attacked by a monster. Would they scream? Defend themselves? I know they can bite.
 

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Bilharzia

Fish Priest
What do you mean by "Nuria Natal"? Donkeys would be more common than camels in an Egyptian desert, llamas are more of a high altitude creature than strictly desert. A monster might be a Manticore or Scorpionman, or an Ant Lion if you use a sand trap.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I fixed a spelling error in your thread title. I hope that's okay.

What do camels sound like?


Camels are often ill-tempered, and can be nasty when provoked. Humans mishandling a camel may pay for it with their lives. That said, like most herbivores, they tend to run and scatter when faced with a serious predator.
 


Gilladian

Adventurer
I fixed a spelling error in your thread title. I hope that's okay.

What do camels sound like?


Camels are often ill-tempered, and can be nasty when provoked. Humans mishandling a camel may pay for it with their lives. That said, like most herbivores, they tend to run and scatter when faced with a serious predator.
Thanks! This video helped. Now I just need NPC color... I find that advice from other people is so helpful in avoiding falling into blah or predictable patterns of my own.
 

Eltab

Hero
Lawrence of Arabia's The Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Revolt in the Desert if you have the time to read / take notes from whole books beforehand. Also the biographically-titled movie (which admittedly is Hollywood-Epic-ized)
 





aco175

Legend
I was thinking this, but see it was part of the setting to start with. Perhaps raiders/pirates sail up and attack.
1605564003046.png

I was thinking of some colorful NPCs, but mostly come up with stereotypes from movies and such. I would think that caravans have a lot of followers and commoners. Some of the old movies had a train of porters for just the main 10 movie stars.
 

MarkB

Legend
I was thinking this, but see it was part of the setting to start with. Perhaps raiders/pirates sail up and attack.
View attachment 128584
I was thinking of some colorful NPCs, but mostly come up with stereotypes from movies and such. I would think that caravans have a lot of followers and commoners. Some of the old movies had a train of porters for just the main 10 movie stars.
A few years ago I put together bits of a setting based entirely upon the idea of sand-ships plying the deserts, which I nicknamed Pirates of the Arabian.

One concept I had in that setting was the Rainbow Oases, a desert trail intersecting several oases, each named for the colour of either their water or surroundings. I only heavily detailed the Indigo Oasis, named because its waters would sometimes take on that colour.

The ranchers who lived near the oasis knew the meaning of the colour - they farmed the native giant scarab beetles, harvesting the intense indigo dye that could be extracted from their carapace. The oasis only took on that colour when a beetle was unfortunate enough to die and decay within its waters, and they knew to avoid the waters at such times, as the decaying corpse would poison them.

That's probably too literal a form of "local colour" :) - but it might serve as a flavourful location.
 


Marc Radle

Adventurer
I was thinking this, but see it was part of the setting to start with. Perhaps raiders/pirates sail up and attack.
View attachment 128584
I was thinking of some colorful NPCs, but mostly come up with stereotypes from movies and such. I would think that caravans have a lot of followers and commoners. Some of the old movies had a train of porters for just the main 10 movie stars.

Yep, that's a sand ship from Southlands :)
 

Perun

Mushroom
Is that really Jelly baby? Wow. Gotta love it 🙂
There's this ancient river, Djel, that flows through the desert, and whose annual flood cycles are the cause of a strip of fertile land along it. Naturally, the land thus blessed is called 'the Child if Djel', or in the native language of the area, Djelibeybi ;)
 

Marc Radle

Adventurer
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I am surprised that no one refered to : Desert of Desolation. At the Oasis, you have a good murder/stop the assassination's attempt and the secret lair of cultists. You could inspire yourself from this classic.
 

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