Master of the Desert Nomads
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (June 2013)|
The cover of the module.
|Rules required||D&D Expert Set|
|X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, X8, X9, X10, X11, X12, X13, XL1, XSOLO, XS2|
Master of the Desert Nomads is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure module designed by David Cook for use with the Expert D&D set, and is the first part of a two-part adventure, with Temple of Death being the second part.
Tribes of nomad raiders from the Great Waste begin sacking a town, prompting the governor of the Republic to send out a call for help to fight these nomads. When the party joins the reserves to meet the main army at a recently liberated village, they discover signs of the nomads and encamp there for several days.
At the beginning of the mission the player characters must be stealthy to discover more about the Master of these nomads and report back to those who hired the party.
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads was written by David Cook, with art by Tim Truman, and was published by TSR in 1983 as a 32-page booklet with an outer folder. This module was the first in the "Desert Nomads" series.
Imagine magazine's Doug Cowie reviewed X4 favorably. Although he felt it featured a "scarcely original plot," the author had "built onto the stereotype with intelligence and imagination". As an example, Cowie noted that the players are hired, not as an elite force, but as part of the army reserve, consisting of "undesirables and unusables". According to Cowie, the module features a hazardous wilderness journey and several dungeon-style encounters. He thought that the designer "has done a good job of creating the atmosphere of a land at war," including encounters with patrols and even an enemy army. Cowie noted that the latter is "the kind of complicated encounter that most designers shy away from but David Cook handles it well." Another large-scale encounter involves 100 bandits and 40-50 caravan guards and, according to Cowie, Cook provides a "perfectly workable system which allows the whole battle to be fought in a reasonable amount of time." Cowie called the final encounter area a "classic corridors-and-rooms setting" with a "fine, threatening atmosphere and some good NPCs." He also praised "a lovely twist in the plot that could put an unwary party into a lot of trouble." The only drawback, Cowie thought, is that to progress to the end the players need to "make the correct deductions and choose the right courses of action at certain stages," so those who prefer completely free player choice should "look elsewhere." Calling it a "good module with some particularly noteworthy sections" he concluded his review by noting: "If you can accept the need for some player guidance and prompting, you will find it a worthwhile and enjoyable experience."
Rick Swan reviewed the adventure in 'The Space Gamer' No. 71. Swan felt that "Not only does 'Master of the Desert Nomads' provide welcome relief from the tedious dungeon exploration all too common in TSR 'D&D' modules, it's a genuine epic in every sense of the word." He complemented the encounters, saying they are "not only exciting in themselves, they also provide alert players clues and insights about the Master and his evil secrets," and that "the DM will have no problem keeping track of the action." He calls the ending "somewhat of a cheat," because the characters never encounter the Master in this adventure, and felt that "the entire module is really just a prologue" to 'Temple of Death' and "it isn't very satisfying just played by itself." He concluded by saying that, "Taken together, the 'Desert Nomad' series is one of the most imaginative and exciting adventures produced by TSR in quite a while."
- Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 149. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
- Cowie, Doug (August 1983). "Game Reviews". Imagine (review ) (TSR Hobbies (UK), Ltd.) (5): 16–17.
- Swan, Rick (November/December 1984). "Capsule Reviews". The Space Gamer (Steve Jackson Games) (71): 56.