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Desert of Desolation - your experiences?

Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Piratecat said:
Ad-libbing - but incredibly cool! I think in the module as written he's a lot less of an immediate threat.

I remember the scene where we met the Efreeti quite vividly.

"Don't open the flask!" we said.

He opened the flask. Whoompf! Big Efreeti. Much bigger than us. Lots of fire. Deep voice.

"Give me the flask," it said.

"Don't give it the flask!" we all insisted, horrified - it might be the only thing keeping us all alive!

"Meep," he said. He gave it the flask.

And I have a clear mental image of the DM miming throwing the flask up in the air, and doing the "six-gun fingers" thing to indicate blowing it out of the sky with fireball-at-will... :) It was a very cool moment

It promised to leave us alive today, and left.

"Oh yeah," we thought. "We're in trouble."

-Hyp.
 

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mgrasso

First Post
rogueattorney said:
It's probably been 15 years since I DM'ed those adventures, so I don't remember the details well. I remember that they were probably the most fun we had as a group. They were tough adventures. The group crawled out by the skin of their teeth four or five times.

I particularly remember the battle with the shadow demon and the ghouls. The entire party had been paralyzed or otherwise taken out of action except the halfling fighter/thief, played by my little brother, Scotty. The ghouls were all dead too. So it was just the halfling and the demon. The other players were yelling and screaming like it was a football game with each roll of the dice. When Scotty's halfling landed the killing blow they all mobbed him. It was awesome. Scott was 3 or 4 years younger than everybody else in the group and always treated like the little kid, so it was a really cool deal for him to get to be the hero.

Fun times.

R.A.

Best. War story. EVAR.

I remember a lot of great moments in Desert of Desolation, most of which I changed from the module... our gnome jester sliding the five teleportation cubes in a circle around the party in an effort to escape the deadly troll combat at the beginning of the game and thus kicking off the whole thing inadvertently, the random encounter with a yellow dragon that killed 1/4 of the party, and most of all, them coming back to the Sword Coast and realizing that the party leader's wife and unborn kid had been kidnapped by the cleric of Bane who was a former member of the party.

In character they hated being in the desert (because of the aforementioned distance from their home), but as players they loved the adventure.

Mike
 

diaglo

Adventurer
Hypersmurf said:
"Don't open the flask!" we said.

He opened the flask. Whoompf! Big Efreeti. Much bigger than us. Lots of fire. Deep voice.

"Give me the flask," it said.

"Don't give it the flask!" we all insisted, horrified - it might be the only thing keeping us all alive!

"Meep," he said. He gave it the flask.


are you sure you didn't play in my group? that is almost exactly what the players did when i was referee.
 

Kestrel

First Post
I ran it over ten years ago.

All I remember is a great rivalry between the party wizard and fighter. The wizard fired off one of the thunderclaps from the artifact pharoahstaff and gave the fighter a phobia for snakes. (Cant remember if this was adlibbed or not).

Later, the fighter charged into a room with a gorgon, got turned to stone. The wizard, hearing the noise from a room across the hall, fired a lightning bolt through both doors and the petrified fighter. The wizard then took the stone head and consulted with it mockingly from time to time. He also used it as a bowling ball.

I miss that group :)
 

Davelozzi

Explorer
johnsemlak said:
What are teh differences between the 3 modules (which I have) and the mega-module? Did the megamod add anything cool?

The megamodule places the adventure in the Forgotten Realms. The players start in Durpar (I think -- at any rate on the north side of the Goldenwater) and then head north into the Desert of Desolation, which is part of Raurin. There's some additional wilderness action, and I think some extra politics with the sandrunner's guild. I think there are a couple of extra mini-encounter areas simliar in scope to the one with th efreeti at the beginning of Pharoah, but I could be off on that.
 

PetriWessman

First Post
A wonderful set of modules, I remember running these years and years and years ago. Don't remember any details, tho', this was *way* back :).

I just realized that running a modified version of these using Adventure! characters and rules (either Storyteller or d20) might be a huge pile of fun. Hmmm. A set of pulp-era heroes stumbles upon ancient Egyptian cults, lots of Mummy-style action, mmm yes.
 

diaglo

Adventurer
don't forget they (SSI) attempted sort of an altered version of this for the computer.

it started in the FR and the PCs entered ala Ravenloft...
 


Qualidar

First Post
We ran this in high school, so....17 years ago? (yikes!) We had three alternating DMs at the time. Chris ran Pharaoh, and it was good. I ran Oasis of the White Palm, and it was good. And my best friend Todd, who excelled at his home brewed dungeons, tried to run Lost Tomb of Martek. It was not good :( He gave up half way through, and when I asked him for the module so I could give it a shot he revealed he threw it into the river in frustration!

Fond memories include: pineapple bombs, the fighter types unable to break the chains on a slave girl, but the venerable wizard making the bend bars check, the fight with our first purple worm ever on the sea of glass, and most importantly the best line in any module, still vivid in my mind nearly two decades later: "Woe to he who is hit by a flying mummy!"

Good Times,
~Qualidar~
 

jasper

Rotten DM
yes the pine apples. I forget who but remember one pc falling into the water with the pineapples he survived the trip to the basement did not drown but then the pineapples cooked off. Fountain was spraying red water out of it.
One player reminded me of ??? with his silver spoon. The pcs had fireballed something taking it and him out. And the silver spoon fell on the party.
One person sky diving. Enjoyed until the sudden stop.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
I ran this a few months ago - and it was a disaster. I love the modules but unfortunately, I'm saddled with a bunch of other players who have zero imagination when it comes to "thinking outside of the Medieval Eurocentric box." I had successfully run the campaign, starting out by using B? Castle Caldwell, set in a tiny village in the Moonshae Isles - this led to UK2 and UK3 (also in the Moonshaes) followed by an accidental gating into Evermeet before being sent into The North - they promised to take a message to Lady Alustriel (I pulled on some of the plot hooks I established.)

Mind you, at this point, I had to fill about 24 straight gaming hours (bachelor party - yeah - we are geeks...) So I chose to use Desert of Desolation - the "run into the cave to escape the weather and deal with a horde of trolls - oh look - a way out of certain death teleportation device" beginning to it fit perfectly into my campaign. Immediately, the guys started bitching and moaning when I enforced the weather rules and they were getting burnt by their plate armor - and they bitched and moaned when I clearly stated that there is no way in hell I'm allowing them to buy magical cooling plate armor in Raurin or Durpar - the cultures simply don't make those types of armor, let alone magic versions (too hot and heavy for a desert, lower technology level than, say, Waterdeep or Lantan, etc.) . Around 2am in the game (when everyone was starting to tire), I think the maze got to them - it took like an hour of real time for them to finally figure out the maze and get out of it. At that point, they loudly protested that "we are getting the hell out of this desert Egypt crap as soon as possible - we don't care if the entire universe hinges on these stupid star gems or not." At that point, it was someone else's turn to rotate into the DM slot and he promptly miracled the party out of Raurin...

Then again - these are the same guys who absolutely refuse to play anything other than 3.x D&D - no AD&D, no OD&D, no Spycraft, no Star Wars - *nothing* else. They are otherwise good guys.
 
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rogueattorney

Adventurer
johnsemlak said:
What are teh differences between the 3 modules (which I have) and the mega-module? Did the megamod add anything cool?

The super-module was explicitly set in FR, while the originals were in a generic setting. The set up between the two is different. The originals have the PC's being exhiled for some political faux-pas, while the super-mod has the characters taking shelter in a cave full of trolls and using some sort of teleport device to get to the desert. I believe that there were some other differences as well, but can't remember what they are.

R.A.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
3catcircus said:
I ran this a few months ago - and it was a disaster.

I'm sorry to hear it didn't go well - maybe a thinking-man's module isn't the best for a bachelor party? :)

I played networked DOOM for 12 hours straight at my bachelor party - blasting each other to red paste over, and over, and over again, until I couldn't see straight, not a hooker or lap dancer anywhere...

Man, great times... :D


Some things about the module - Oasis of the White Palm, to be specific, weren't very congruous - maybe it was the artwork, what with half the natives in an area dressed in Euro-centric styles, with Euro-style buildings around - it gave the modules a unique flavor, but it wasn't a very consistent flavor.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
Henry said:
I played networked DOOM for 12 hours straight at my bachelor party - blasting each other to red paste over, and over, and over again, until I couldn't see straight, not a hooker or lap dancer anywhere...

Is it so wrong for me to insist on BOTH?
 

Style

Explorer
I've run this one under 1e a ridiculous amount of times in the trilogy version. I just downloaded the all-in-one so will have to give that a shot sometime. I find the release of the Efreet a little heavy-handed, but I guess it works. (Last time I ran this a PC of a player who had fallen asleep - he does this at every game - was frogmarched into the role of " Mr. I'm So Dumb I Wonder What's In here?" Wakey-wakey.) Amun-Re always gets the same reaction ("You want us to do what? Loot it?? And you won't, like, curse us and stuff???") followed by mad scramblings to reach the pyramid. Prit, the Gnome With A Spoon, makes for great comic relief, sinister paranoia, laughable cannon-fodder or whatever each time around and the maze always seems to drive at least half the group to the point of wanting to stop playing and go home.

White Palm is fun if the players get into the factions, otherwise it's a rather odd series of dungeons. It holds the record for the fastest PC death in my games, though. I think it's the Crypt of Badr-al-Mosak that has the shaft leading into the enormous cavern, with the scything blade trap halfway down the shaft. Poor Pjotr Dubovsky. 15 minutes in the game and one failed Find Traps roll later... The scything blade cut his rope and he fell some 200+ feet into the cavern below. Splatter.

Lost Tomb of Martek is my favourite for the series. I just love the alternate planes, subdimensions and epic coolness of the Star Gems prophecy. The first time that I ran the Black Abyss I finished the session on a cliffhanger with the PCs having just fallen into the Abyss - that became a regular feature if I could manage it. Once resurrected, Martek became a campaign fixture for many years (his daughter featured as a PC in my "Next Generation" campaigns) before departing for planes unknown. His tomb/palace was eventually taken over by the former high priestess of the death god in the body of a rogue athasian dragon. As you do.
 

JediOre

First Post
The Desert of Desolation

My group just finished it. We started back in October and ended the series in June. Overall we had a wonderful time. I DM'ed it and my wife & two of my friends adventured. I loved when they released the Efreet, they had reations similar to others in this thread. "Uhh, I don't think that was a good idea. Let's give it some time to leave before we poke our heads out of the Sunken City."

They didn't have as much fun with the Oasis as with the first and third parts of this adventure. But we had a blast all the way through it! I loved the falling mummies. I had them act as skydivers when one of them had the bright idea of "shoot an arrow into that mummy when it falls by again." Famous words "What could possibly happen?" make it hard for a DM to keep a straight face.

They loved the fact they got to meet Martek & enjoyed seeing him defeat the efreet.

I'll see if I can get one of my friends to post his thoughts about the adventure.
 

DarrenGMiller

First Post
I have never had the opportunity to run this, but played in it once. Some of the encounters were devastating, but we made it through. The skysea was a neat feature.

I am REALLY hoping to find a conversion of this one to run it after Sandstorm comes out!

DM
 

This is probably my all-time favorite series. Great set of adventures, and quite well designed. Pharaoh is my favorite. The introduction to that module is absolutely hilarious.

And to think my group missed the teleport trap that was going to take them there ...
 

Byrons_Ghost

First Post
I actually do like this series- I'm fond of Arabian Nights type stuff, and the modules are both creative and well done. BUT...

(spoilers follow)





This series had a pretty dark reputation among my college group, because we had a DM who kept trying to run it, and failing, over and over again. First with our primary PC group- which wasn't even from Faerun, but that was nothing a random plane shift effect from nowhere couldn't fix! I guess it's no worse than the faux pas or teleport device entries, but it's sort of irritating to leave a bunch of plots on your own homeworld for something completely different (this DM did this sort of thing constantly, why he couldn't adapt the modules to the setting, I'll never know).

So, we made as far as the temple of Sekur, with the specters and the altar and all that. It has the offering bowl on the altar, you toss in a treasure and get the Hand of Sekur, everyone remember that? So, our well-meaning party paladin makes an offering of ONE OF THE STAR GEMS, and it promptly vanishes and is replaced with the Hand of Sekur (which went to my illusionist character, who was ecstatic to finally have a weapon against the undead). So, no opening the Tomb of Martek for us, as one of the gems had gone Zagyg knows where.

And we all went home. About a year later (IRL), the DM tried to start up the module again, with a different group, picking up where we'd left off. Somehow we ended up with the rest of the star gems, I don't remember how. And eventually we got sidelined again, and so a while later had an entirely new group thrust into the last part of the campaign. I think we actually finished it, but we were so worn down by this point that I remember very little about it. I'd actually love to go through it properly sometime.

So, among our group (except for the DM) this series was known either as "The Module Which Shall Not Be Named", or "The Neverending Campaign". Good lesson about how not to railroad groups here. Especially since the DM was fantastic in so many other ways- he played great NPCs, kept interest levels up, and engaged both the players and the characters. But he just couldn't get around running the modules exactly as they were written, and kept trying to do it when it didn't work over and over again. In short: good module, but bad experiences...
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
It's been about a decade since we last played it but I did learn one thing. The dervishes are easier to deal with if some wag of a player doesn't use an erase spell on pages of their sacred book.

And that was just the beginning of troublesome players constantly messing things up. There was Fleezer the halfling with a giant-sized chip on his shoulder, Gordo the <expletive deleted> gnome, and Cal the homicidal wizard. By the end of it all, Fleezer was dead, Gordo was turned to stone (and an iron spike put in his head in case the stoning was temporary), and Cal had floated down a pit and ended up on some infernal plane. That finally left us with the productive party members to actually finish the modules.
 

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