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I5 Lost Tomb of Martek (1e)

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Description:

Your sleek cloudskate skims across the Skysea. It is midnight. All day long, the glass sea soaked up the scorching desert sunlight. Now, that heat lifts your ship a few inches off the glass and fills its sails. The only sound you hear is the soft swish of the diamond-edged rudder as it cuts a path across the Skysea.

One thousand years ago, the wizard Martek knew that you would come to find his Sphere of Power. Now, one of his glowing Star Gems shows you the way. The starlight, reflected in the glass beneath you, flickers peacefully.

Suddenly, the Skysea before you bursts up into a thousand shards of splintered glass, showering into the moonlight! A horrible creature is silhouetted against the moon. You strain against the rudder to keep your ship upright.

Too late! Your cloudskate tips onto one runner, and then tumbles over, skidding to a stop on the glass. As your companions struggle to right the ship, you turn and face the monster. You must hold the creature back to give them time. Without the ship, none of you can get off the glass before the sun rises in the morning.

Martek's prophecy spoke of heroes, tests, and dangers. Are you the heroes? What are the tests? What dangers and riches lie ahead?

This adventure can be palyed by itself, or as the third and final part of the Desert of Desolation series. For character levels 7-9.

*****

Product History

I5: "Lost Tomb of Martek" (1983) was the third adventure in the Desert of Desolation trilogy and the fifth adventure in TSR's "I" series of Intermediate-level adventures. It was published in July 1983.

Concluding the Story of the Desert. The first two adventures in the Desert of Desolation trilogy - I3: "Pharaoh" (1982) and I4: "Oasis of the White Palm" (1983) - were published about a month apart from each other. "Lost Tomb of Martek," which concluded the trilogy, didn't appear quite that quickly, but it was nonetheless published within half-a-year of the start of the series.

This adventures continues the story of the Desert of Desolation by allowing the players to use their Star Gems to gain access to the Lost Tomb of Martek, and thus finally find a solution for the problem of the powerful efreeti that they accidentally released in "Pharaoh."

Recurring Tropes. As with the previous adventures in the Desert series, this one combines wilderness and dungeon adventures with an underlying storyline. Wilderness adventures were becoming increasingly common in the wake of the Basic D&D Expert Set (1981). As with his previous Desert adventures, Hickman uses the wilderness here to lead off the adventure and to get the PCs to the right place. A master map handily shows how the three wilderness areas of the Desert of Desolation fit together. 

While still writing for his own small press "DayStar West Media," Hickman published a manifesto to describe how the company's adventures would be written. Among other things, it called for dungeons with an "architectural sense." That's readily apparent in the beautifu dungeon levels of the Tomb of Martek -- especially the garden, crystal prism, and citadel. However, the highlight of Hickman's dungeon design here is clearly the Mobius Tower, whose levels are magically linked in a loop. The time-trapped inhabitants of the tower - who appear frozen because they exist in a different, slow-moving time-frame - also add to the "cool!" factor of the dungeon design.

Hickman's manifesto also called for "an intriguing story that is intricately woven into the play itself." Though the story of Martek and the efreeti is mostly in the background, it does provide some story foundation for the adventure.

Monsters of Note. This adventure introduces the "spectral minion," which Hickman would later use much more extensively in the Dragonlance series.

About the Creators. "Martek" was Hickman's first solo design effort. Most of his previous adventures had been co-authored with his wife, Laura, while "Oasis of the White Palm" had been a loose adaptation of an adventure by Philip Meyers.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

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Reviews
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August 18th, 2004
This is probably the weakest in the Desert of Desolation series because it is the most linear, and a lot is just grand-standing. However, the sea of glass is still one of my favourite concepts in a module, the tests are pretty cool (the Crypt of Al-Alisk [...]
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Product Information
Copper seller
Author(s)
Pages
32
Edition
1.0
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9054
File Size:
25.05 MB
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File Last Updated:
October 05, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on July 30, 2013.
Publisher Info
Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast
Publisher Average Rating