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Old 10-29-2021, 02:27 PM   #1
BaHalus
 
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Default Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

I am starting a campaign in the Great Desert.
The main plot is that the group is leaving Wallace in a caravan to reopen the old gold mine. They will stop at a oasis in the way and go to the mine, where strange things will certainly happen.

I am creating the details on the go and would appreciate some suggestions.

Anyone here ever had any adventures in the great desert (or in deserts in general)?

Any suggestions for encounters, events or even major plots to arise along the adventure?

In the way along the desert;
In the Oasis;
In the mine;

Alongside with that, I would appreciate for suggestions for weird magnet events, as one of the characters has this disadvantage.
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Old 10-29-2021, 02:57 PM   #2
ericthered
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaHalus View Post
I am starting a campaign in the Great Desert.
The main plot is that the group is leaving Wallace in a caravan to reopen the old gold mine. They will stop at a oasis in the way and go to the mine, where strange things will certainly happen.

I am creating the details on the go and would appreciate some suggestions.

Anyone here ever had any adventures in the great desert (or in deserts in general)?

Any suggestions for encounters, events or even major plots to arise along the adventure?

In the way along the desert;
In the Oasis;
In the mine;

Alongside with that, I would appreciate for suggestions for weird magnet events, as one of the characters has this disadvantage.

Caravan to Ein Arris, Gurp's only adventure that is both official AND free, has some fun "Desert trouble" material on page 10.
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Old 10-30-2021, 07:26 PM   #3
BaHalus
 
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Caravan to Ein Arris, Gurp's only adventure that is both official AND free, has some fun "Desert trouble" material on page 10.
That is a Good one, I was looking at it already.
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Old 10-30-2021, 08:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

The last two long runs of our Banestorm campaign took us into the Great Desert, and hijinks and shenanigans did ensue. See the blog for the TL;DR version.
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Old 11-01-2021, 01:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

We have a civil war in caithness, so the group may stumble over a old battlefield, or met either royalists or rebels. They may even be forced to "volunteer" int the war.

Just for flavour, the Great Desert was once a wood with big trees. The dunes and the wind may have given free the petrified rest of them, imagine wandering them trough a wood of tree trunks all made of stone.

The can stumble over a old elven dwelling, searching for this locations is hard because the elves were good at hiding them. The elves are great mages, and while they hadn´t money the made fine weapons and wrought wonderfull jewelery.

Finding the mine, it can be a place of hazards flooded tunnels, broken equipment, traps to keep plunderes away and so on. Not to mention a dark shady cave is a good place for the lair of a monster. Maybe the met the now undead owners of the mine? Speaking of owners, imagine the group walking out of the mine treasure ladden and surrounded by dwarfs angry about plundering their property and desacrate the burial place of their ancestors? or as plot hook let them find the mine empty but with the hint that it was once the home of a now important dwarfen clan, lost in history, let them travel to the dwarfes and haggle with them for the price of the location. The mine can also be crawl with certain insect man who are hinted in older publications.

Last but not least there are the lizard man, the group can always met them by accident, be ambushed by them ( lizard man can bury themselfes in the sand and wait for the heat to vanish ), the oasis can be belaguered by them and and and. By the way the shamans of lizard man can be mages sometimes powerful and will have no qualms to use dirty spells on something the call talking food. And they are fighting a war with the humans down south, or better to say have overrun a lording and are hard pressing a second.

Meeting a group of civilized lizard man can be of course a big surprise for the players.

You can met caravans, traders or people lost in the desert. The usual oasis and caravan adventures are covert in previous posts.

Edit since their is a weirdness magent under the players a banestorm victim, not necessarily human or a misguided conveyor is a possibility, a member of a race from one of the worlds which are the origin of the banestorm victims which is truly alien. Or just a genie as the desert nomads call them.

Last edited by Willy; 11-01-2021 at 01:37 PM. Reason: spelling error, added example
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Old 11-02-2021, 05:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

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By the way the shamans of lizard man can be mages sometimes powerful and will have no qualms to use dirty spells on something the call talking food.
While a GM of course doesn't have to follow canon but can adapt things as they wish, keep in mind that by GURPS Banestorm (p. 173): "The Great Desert, west of Caithness, is barren indeed – with no mana, no water, and very little life." So magic wouldn't work there.

That said, one possibility we entertained was that the Great Desert could be barren of mana, but--there's one spot, perhaps due to being a holy/unholy place, or being the site of a very powerful and ancient artifact, where mana does work. Perhaps that site is unknown, or maybe someone's already claimed it.

Another possibility is someone who has Mana Enhancer. They, and possibly others (if the ME has Area Effect), could use magic in a no-mana area.
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Old 01-30-2022, 08:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

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Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
That said, one possibility we entertained was that the Great Desert could be barren of mana, but--there's one spot, perhaps due to being a holy/unholy place, or being the site of a very powerful and ancient artifact, where mana does work. Perhaps that site is unknown, or maybe someone's already claimed it.
I've just had my Great Desert hit by a metallic meteorite of moderate size--about 200 yd. On top of the old elven capital.

So there's now a randomly-fluctuating mana zone in the crater that varies between normal and very high mana over a period of seconds to minutes, and fluctuating between low and normal to about 5 miles out.

Orichalcum has been discovered, so the race is on. There are other metals there, of course, including some never before seen by enchanter or alchemist. Some Underground Engineers may know of them, mind you.

The fun: it's about 2 weeks travel between the mana zones, and very few people have any expertise in mana-free deserts.

The PCs decided that's not their job--fair enough given they aren't miners or protective troops--and have gone elsewhere. The world has changed because of it, and will change further.

They did kill the Outer God that came with the meteorite, so there's that.
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Old 01-30-2022, 09:12 PM   #8
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

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Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
While a GM of course doesn't have to follow canon but can adapt things as they wish, keep in mind that by GURPS Banestorm (p. 173): "The Great Desert, west of Caithness, is barren indeed – with no mana, no water, and very little life."
These would be things the GM needed to modify.

With no water you can't even stay long enough to work the gold mine. Also, no water means you can't sluice the ore. I'm unsure what you'd use for fuel to smelt it either.

If some subterranean water source has flooded the lowest level of the mine that water might be more valuable than the gold. Knowing this ahead of time might be the only reason I'd even consider the trip.

Or maybe it's mana to be found in the lower levels of the mine.

If the desert has formidable inhabitants who are adapted to the conditions then the area belongs to them. You might go there on short expeditions to hunt them if they had solid gold gallbladdrers or something.

If the GM doesn't alter anything you've just got an awful desert at straight TL3 and very little way to overcome that..
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Old 01-31-2022, 01:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

Given that the Great Desert canonically has inhabitants, and the lizardmen (for example), per their template, need to drink just as much as a human, I would read "no water" as "very little water, and it tends to be well hidden"; I might be tempted to read "no mana" similarly, with the addendum that what rare mana there is may be awkwardly aspected or, if you have Thaumatology, Wild or Twisted. The native inhabitants, of course, are familiar with the local peculiarities of both water and mana, and can use this knowledge to make life easier for those they befriend or very difficult indeed for those who become their enemies.
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Old 01-31-2022, 01:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Adventures in the Great Desert (in Yrth).

For me the general description od the Great Desert as a barren place with no water and life is just that, a general description of the place.

There must be some oasis and some places with some vegetation or life.

Lizardmen live there and may know it's secrets, maybe capturing atmosphere humidity and collecting it in some moisture trap. Most of Caithneese rain comes from clouds that come from the orc lands, that cross the desert and drop in Caithneese, so maybe during the night the air is quite humid.

Maybe some grasses grow here and there, with thick roots that hold water and may serve as food too. Plenty of bugs and lizards must serve as food for the lizards too.

I do make the desert mana barren though, except in the fringes and near the Djin Lands, but if need be I will have any kind of mana in any part of the desert if it is good for the adventure.
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