"Tired and sore, you struggle over the burning sands toward the long-forgotten city. Will you reach the place in time to save yourselves from the evil efreeti? The sun beats down, making your wounds stiff and worsening the constant thirst that plagues anyone who travels these waterless wastes. But there is hope - are those the ruins over there?"
Looking over the back title blurb of I4 Oasis of the White Palm I was immediately struck by the very weird pulp essence of the adventure. I wasn't the only one though. A couple of years ago back in 2010 I was involved in a modified version of I4 that tested my mettle as a player & a dungeon master. We were adventurers in the wrong place at the right time after an ancient weapon of mass destruction had been freed by some other adventurers an efreeti that had been freed from a room from G7 of "Pharaoh." And in a case of mistaken identity we were tasked with stopping it by the locals! The second part of 'I' series of modules is I4 Oasis of the White Palm (1e) By Tracy Hickman & Philip Meyers, my ex partner Peter had heavily modified the module.
In the midst of broken columns and bits of rubble stands a huge statue. This is the place! You've found it at last. Gratefully, you sink onto the sand. But there is no time to lose. You must hurry. So with a quavering voice you say the magic words. And then you wait...
A hush falls over the ruins, making the back of your neck prickle. Then, out of the east, a wind rises, gentle at first but quickly growing stronger and wilder, until it tears at your clothes and nearly lifts you off your feet. The once clear sky is choked with white and grey clouds that clash and boil. As the clouds blacken day turns to night. Lightning flashes followed by a menacing growl of thunder. You are beginning to wonder if you should seek shelter, when all of a sudden there is a blinding crash and a bolt of lightning reduces the statue to dust.
For a moment, silence. The, out of the statue's remains, soars a blue flame. Its roar deafens you as higher and higher it climbs, until it seems about to reach the clouds. Just when you think it can grow no larger, its shape begins to change. The edges billow and soften, their roar lessens, and before your eyes materializes a gigantic blue man. "
Yeah, we were tear assing across the desert with one very pissed offed Efreeti hot on our heels! We had made the ruined city and had no idea how much trouble we were in! On the trail of the 'star gems', we made the ruins of the city & summoned the genni to do battle with the efreeti. Not a good idea at all as destruction reigned around our heads!
Efreeti by Dave Trampier, AD&D Monster Manual, TSR, 1977.
We were in the middle of an Oasis which wasn't exactly what it appeared to be. We were smack in the middle of Iram of the Pillars of Lovecraftian fame. A tactic I would later use for my own modification of I4 in December of 2016.
The Black Man", artist Jens Heimdahl's rendition of Nyarlathotep.
We knew that these cultists had several artifacts two of which were connected to the Elemental Evil cult & we were trying to find out where the other Star Gem was?! We never made it, the insane so called 'Pit of Everfall' with its Cthulhu style star spawn guardian wiped out the entire party. It wasn't until much later on that we found out Sir Tristen the Bold wasn't a knight of Apollo after all but an agent of Hastur! The bastard set up the entire party for the fall! Even now we still can hear the mocking laugh of Nyarlathotep echoing off of the desert sands!
Ten Still Loose Adventure Hooks For A Mythos Modified
I4 Oasis of the White Palm Set Up
- The location of the "Mad Arab" wizard Abdul Alhazred & author of the Kitab al-Azif (the Necronomicon)'s tomb is know to certain members of one of these cults. The tomb has not been looted and is a sacred place to these people.
- The Star Gem is still out there & its location is highly guarded! It is a powerful artifact and sacred to Nyarlathotep
- A sword of the Knights Templar has been secreted away and is said to be able to slay certain types of ancient horrors. The sword is said to have mystic properties and only the devotees of the desert demons know its location.
- A desert locust demon is said to weep tears of gold & knows the location of a magical book in the city of Iram where it holds court.
- The beasts of Nyarlathotep prowl the city's ruins searching for the souls & ghosts of men who worship Apollo & other gods. They will torment & swallow these fools souls.
- A lost scroll of the Necronomicon is said to be in the hand of an ancient lich where it rests for it contains the last incantation of Cthulhu. Many wizards want it and it is rumored to be worth at least 70,000 gold pieces.
- The buzzing of the locusts sing of the treasures of lost Iram or the songs of the Outer Gods. PC's must save vs wands or be driven temporarily mad.
- The lesser gods of Hyperborea are said to walk the streets at night choosing the occasional sacrifice.
- The lesser councils of Cthulhu come here once every three years from other worlds to discuss the status of the cults of Cthulhu on many worlds.
- There are several ancient tombs of dangerous and mad wizards guarded by invisible stalkers and worse.