Desert of Desolation (1987) is another supermodule, collecting the well regarded trilogy of Egyptian adventures, I3: Pharaoh, I4: Oasis of the White Palm and I5: Lost Tomb of Martek. These were initially conceived as a trilogy by Tracy and Laura Hickman and Philip Meyers, so collecting them together under one cover was a good choice. Sticking them behind that gorgeous Keith Parkinson cover painting was another inspired decision. William John Wheeler, who compiled the book, also took great pains to increase its usability. Not that the originals were bad, this book just makes conscious decisions about organization that I don’t think were on folks minds back in ‘82 (and really, as some of the first narrative-focused modules, the originals broke plenty of ground already).

What’s weird is that this book is retrofitted into the Forgotten Realms. It is, in fact, the first RPG product to bear the FR logo (Darkwalker on Moonshae, Douglas Niles’ novel, debuted the label; the box set would appear a month later). Even if the logo is on the back (and bears the lie “designed for use with” above it). To accomplish this, a pretty sizable amount of work went into renovating the original modules. For starters, you never got a real view of the setting region as a whole, which is rectified here. There’s a lot of lore and history added in to connect it to the Realms as detailed in the soon to emerge campaign box. Is that necessary? Ehhhhh. Probably not. But it doesn’t really take anything away, not even space — this book feels pleasingly overstuffed. Coupled with its overhaul of scenario presentation, that probably makes this the best of the reprint supermodules.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *