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Desert of Desolation

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Desert of Desolation is a compilation adventure module published by TSR in 1987 for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game. It combines the three previously published individual modules Pharaoh, Oasis of the White Palm, and Lost Tomb of Martek, which were produced for use with the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. Pharaoh was created by Tracy and Laura Hickman soon after they were wed in 1977, and published by TSR in 1982. Oasis of the White Palm was a collaboration between Tracy Hickman and Philip Meyers, while Tracy Hickman wrote Lost Tomb of Martek; both were printed in 1983.

Each module is an Egyptian-styled adventure. The individual modules were well received by critics at the time of their release, and the compilation has garnered accolades in the 2000s.

Plot summaryEdit


Pharaoh is an Egyptian-styled adventure that includes a pyramid map and a trap-filled maze. Cover art was provided by Jim Holloway.[1] In Pharaoh, the player characters are driven into the desert for a crime they did not commit. The characters journey to the sunken city of Pazar, and from there they travel to the haunted tomb of an ancient pharaoh. While in the desert, the characters encounter the spirit of Amun-Re, the last pharaoh of Bakar, cursed to wander the desert until his tomb is robbed. Amun-Re begs the PCs to remove his Staff of Ruling and the Star Gem from his tomb to break his curse. The tomb was built to be thief-proof, and has so far lived up to its reputation. While in Amun-Re's pyramid, the characters can use an item called the Dome of Flight to control or reverse gravity; carelessness can cause them to fall upwards, and the palm trees in this room bear exploding fruit. The module contains wilderness maps, and includes a number of smaller adventures which complement the main one.

Oasis of the White PalmEdit

In Oasis of the White Palm, the characters arrive at the Oasis of the White Palm, which is on the brink of turmoil. Shadalah, who is to be the bride of the shiek's eldest son, has been kidnapped. The shiek believes her to be held by his enemies somewhere in the oasis. The player characters must solve a mystery before they can progress further. Once the characters make the contacts they need at the oasis, they continue to the Temple of Set and the Crypt of Badr al-Mosak, and the adventure concludes in the City of Phoenix; there, the PCs must obtain the three Star Gems (the one from Amun-Re's tomb in the previous adventure, and two more introduced here) and free the djinni if they plan to move on to the next module.[2] The Oasis of the White Palm module contains wilderness maps, and includes a number of smaller adventures which complement the main one.

Lost Tomb of MartekEdit

The goal of the player characters is the tomb of the millennium-dead wizard Martek. The tomb lies in the vast Desert of Desolation, and the majority of the adventure takes place within Martek's tomb.[3] The adventure is organized into seven parts, taking the party from the desert through a number of planes on their way to the Citadel of Martek. They must use the Star Gems to revive the dead wizard. When they have done so, he lets them choose from a variety of magical treasure, and leaves to defeat the efreet.[3]


  1. Tracy and Laura Hickman. Pharaoh (TSR, 1982), ISBN 0-888038-007-1
  2. Meyers, Philip and Tracy Hickman. Oasis of the White Palm (TSR, 1983)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hickman, Tracy Raye. Lost Tomb of Martek (TSR, 1983)

External linksEdit

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