Tunnels & Trolls : Gristlegrim Room 698--The Desert World

This is another of Gristlegrim's miniature worlds. This one is modelled on the desert of the American southwest, and is a collection of hills, mountains, and valleys with high heat and sparse vegetation. Although there is no sun in the sky inside Gristlegrim, the brightness and heat of the place does issue from above. At night the sky is black with neither moon nor stars.

The desert is populated by animals and monsters in sufficent quantity to keep the delvers entertained. There are venomous reptiles modelled after rattlesnakes and gila monsters, but bigger. There are vultures that don't wait for their prey to die, but help it along by attacking in flocks. There are pumas in the crevices. And there are Uruks.

Once the delvers have entered the desert, they can only escape by making a 5th level Luck saving roll and discovering another door.

The desert offers temperature extremes to test the hardihood of the delvers. By day it may be as hot as 130 degrees Fahrenheit, by night it gets as cool as freezing. The G.M. may call for a Constitution saving roll on the second or third level after the delvers have spent a few turns within the desert. Missing a CON saving roll should should cost the delver CON points equal to what he missed it by.

If the delvers seem unwary, the G.M. should call for first level Luck saving rolls to see if they are bitten or stung by anything poisonous. At the very least such poison calls for delirium, and the worst result is an agonized death--whatever makes for a better storyline at the moment.

There is little treasure, as such, to be found in the desert, though Dwarves may find outcroppings of gold or silver ore by making a level 3 saving roll on Luck, followed by a level 3 saving roll in Intelligence to see if they recognize it, and know how to mine it.

While the delvers are within the desert, the G.M. should use his imagination to provide adventures appropriate to the setting. Examples might be: encountering a band of Uruks or Lizardmen, getting caught in a thunderstorm with lightning and hail, the search for food, dealing with heatstroke, one or more members poisoned by scorpions, spiders, insects, snakes, lizards, or the filthy talons of attacking vultures, legends of a lost city of ruins, etc.

The desert is not all sand and barren rock. Many parts of it have considerable vegetation in the form of cacti and shrubs like sagebrush or mesquite trees. There are grasses and flowers. Since you are on Trollworld, the G.M. is encouraged to use his imagination to describe the landscape with statements like: "Before you lies a large open area sloping downward to the west. There is a sandy arroyo to your right with a clump of three light green spiny trees only twenty feet away. To your left is a rocky slope dotted with patches of small orange flowers, and in the distance is a line of cactus that almost seems to define a border with another region." Make it up--the practice of creating on the fly is good for you.