A long time ago, I made a list of the 10 D&D adventures that I think are the best. One of them is A Dozen an One Adventures, a 2nd edition Al Qadim supplement.
I saw that it is available in print on the DMs Guild and immediately ordered it.
The original version comes in a thin box. It has two booklets, a bunch of card stock maps, and a poster map. I wondered, how would DrivethruRPG smoosh that all into one book?
It pains me to say that DrivethruRPG screwed this up really badly. What I got in the mail was a reprint of just one of the booklets. Nothing from the other booklet. Nothing from the card stock maps. Nothing from the poster map.
That means that you get the main adventures, but you don't have the maps that go to the adventures!
|This is the second booklet that should have been part of the DrivethruRPG print book.|
The booklet they did include contains the 13 adventures that the box is centered around. They're fun. But I was really disappointed. How can they do this? How can they sell you less than half of what you paid for?
Setting that aside, let's check out what we did get.
The book itself is really nice. The cover is sturdy. I don't know why they used the cover of the "Muluk, City of Kings" booklet. They should have used the cover of the boxed set!
On the inside, they actually went out of their way to keep the gold ink, which is a very pleasant surprise. It really does look almost as good as the original!
|The new print is on the left.|
Flick of the Tail
Some jerk grabbed a guy's talking ruby-scaled fish and threw it in a well. The group's got to go down and get it.
There's more to it - the fish is actually a pahari, an Al Qadim mermaid variant. Where are her stats? On one of the sheets not included in this book.
The well connects to an abandoned bath house. The bath house is a bit of an "empty dungeon", but it's pretty interesting. Bath houses in D&D always make me laugh for some reason.
It turns out that this creepy old woman has the fish. She speaks backwards, and only understands people who speak to her backwards.
If the group attacks her, they're in big trouble, as she's actually a powerful monster. They might end up having to brush the old lady's hair.
This is a good example of an Al Qadim scenario - strange twists and an emphasis on non-combat solutions.
Nine Flawed Sapphires
This scenario completely changed my Al Qadim campaign that I ran as a kid. It's one of those landmark moments in my "D&D career".
The group is hired to steal some ledgers from a group operating in Sakina Falls. Sakina Falls is a secret cave complex hidden behind a waterfall. If you walk up to the waterfall and say, "Sakina, draw aside!" the waterfall shifts to the left and allows you to access the caves beyond.
The bad guy are making drugged, contraband wine. One of the leaders is Hanzala, a half-elf mage and member of the Brotherhood of True Flame. Hanzala became the most popular NPCs I ever ran. She stuck around for the rest of the campaign, which was 100+ sessions.
In my game, Hanzala was a villain who slowly became good thanks to the influence of the heroes.
The group needs to creep by these vats where hired goons are stomping on grapes. They'll need to find the ledger and get out of there alive.
Invitation to a Funeral
A bad guy needs a place to dump dead bodies, right? So he cuts a deal with ghouls - he brings them bodies, they keep their yaps shut. Al Qadim "ghuls" are a bit more intelligent and civilized than normal D&D ghouls.
Basically, the big bad guy tricks the group into being part of a funeral procession... but it's a hit! Once the group bring the coffin into a crypt, ghouls jump the heroes.
The crypt is a little dungeon complex with one room that smells so bad, you need to make a saving throw or temporarily lose 2-5 points of Strength and Con from retching.
Eleven Baneful Gates
The heroes must travel to the ruins where the scroll is said to be located. The ruins are now the home of a sort of generic type of genie known as the jann. There's 27 of them! The group will have to befriend them.
Then the adventures will need to make heir way through 11 magic gates, each with its own deadly challenge.
Every single gate is an awesome encounter. In addition to outright death, you might end up falling asleep for d10 days or becoming transfixed by your own beauty and dying of starvation.
At the end there's a very Al Qadim twist. This adventure kicks ass.
The Hermit's Riddle
The genie, a dao, is not so smart and he's very sensitive about it. The hermit has challenged the genie to solve a riddle. Each day, the genie gives an answer - always wrong. The hermit has been able to keep himself alive through this, and the group can exploit this flaw to defeat the dao and rescue the hermit.
This is an Al Qadim version of a dragon's lair. In Al Qadim, there are things called vishaps - wingless dragons. In this adventure, a disguised vishap recruits the group to kill her sister, Fakhira, of whom she is jealous.
In the lair, Fakhira has a few tricks up her sleeve. If the group has Fakhira hurt, the jealous sister reveals herself and goes in for the kill. The group might realize that they've been duped, and that maybe Fakhira isn't so bad after all.
The Djinni's Lover
A really attractive genie tries to convince the heroes to help her friend to escape its magical imprisonment in an astrolabe.
The group can haggle with her and agree to do it if the genie will serve them for 1,001 days, which is pretty awesome.
This is all linked to a plot where a sha'ir (a spellcaster with power over genies) is trying to get a genie to build a tower. The sha'ir has a desert giant and shapeshifters working for her.
The group will need to either break in and steal the astrolabe or attack. The astrolabe has a spell called "aversion" cast on it, causing it to flee from anyone who isn't the caster.That ill make for a really chaotic final encounter!
This one is about the bond of salt. In Al Qadim, once you sit down with someone and share a meal that has salt in it, a special deal has been struck. The host is responsible for your welfare for three days. You, in turn, agree not to bring harm to the host.
The group enters this bond with a dude, and it turns out the guy is a magnet for trouble. Over the next three days, shapeshifters and pyromaniac wizards show up, and the group has to protect their host from them.
A Boasting Contest
This one is short, but I love it. A genie challenges the group to a boasting contest! It will wager one of its magic items against one that the group has. It's got a list of things the genie will brag about and everything.
Weave of the Carpet
A guy who makes magic carpet has been robbed. The group must do some detective work to track it down. This leads to a situation where the bad guy is making gallons and gallons of "liquid star" (elemental fire) so that he can blow up the main palace in the city!
Dead Bearing Witness
Zarastro's Three Daughters
This guy Zarastro tried to summon and bind a water genie, but he failed miserably. The genie killed him and did terrible things to his three daughters:
- One was turned to stone, but only from the waist down.
- Another was turned into a green hag.
- The last one became a naga.
Basically, the group has to deal with all the bad guys and organization from the other adventures in this book at the same time.
That's it! Each adventure is short, easy to read, and full of fun ideas.
What's in the other book, you may ask. Check it out...
Muluk: A chapter detailing the city of Muluk, a "fiercely independent martial state". It is ruled by Caliph Aswiyah al-Muftahir, who is grooming her daughter, a powerful sha'ir, to take her place.
The city has a number of secret societies causing problems - fire mages, assassins, and beggar-thieves.
The Haunted Lands: A description of the "Haunted" Lands" near the city. This area includes a huge swath of land that is essentially a desert with salt instead of sand. The nearby Weeping Desert is full of undead giants (!).
There's a bunch of Haunted Lands encounters. My favorite one involves the group entering into a bond of salt with a sphinx, who hangs out with them for three days.
There's another one where the group comes upon a genie who is buried up to its neck in sand. It is cursed and is magically bound to stay where he is until he can convince someone to help him. Branded on his forehead is a word: "LIAR".
Krak al-Niraan: A description of the fortress that the Brotherhood of True Flame calls home. There's a genie named "Three-Seeing Eye" who guards the treasury. This is the part of the box that I like least. It's pretty dry, and kind of a waste of a poster map.
Then there's a list of items, some magic, some not. Here are my favorites...
Dreambliss: A drug/poison that can put you into a euphoric "sleep of bliss" for 24 hours.
Astrolabe of Entrapment: This is 12 genie prisons in one! Only one prison is active per month. The astrolabe is keyed to the constellations.
Roses of Forgetfulness: Sniff the rose, gain amnesia!
Wand of the Sun: A magic weapon often used by members of the Brotherhood of True Flame. This thing casts sunscorch spells. "The luminous beam strikes its target unerringly."
So, there you go. I used this boxed set constantly! I built my entire Al Qadim campaign around it.
I really do think it is one of the greatest D&D products of all time, and I hope you check it out.