YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF THE WATER...
When the sun sinks low, the sea devils rise dripping from the dark waves. They swarm like sharks, lethal and unstoppable. Death glints like a promise in their rabid eyes, and the blood of their prey paints their claws and teeth scarlet. Night after night they come, slaying all who stand in their way. Their sudden raids have devastated the island, bringing fishing and commerce to a halt as the people cower in their homes, dreading the next sunset. Desperate, the Potentate of Angleburg has sent for help from daring adventurers willing to face the devil men of the deep. But more secrets lurk beneath the waves: this is no passing attack but part of a more sinister, secret design by the most dangerous and capable race to inhabit the dark seas.
Evil Tide is the first of an adventure trilogy (continuingwith Night of the Shark and concluding in Sea of Blood) that pits brave adventurers against the evil race called "Sahuagin" by the air-breathing races. The sahuagin adventure trilogy can be played seperately or linked together to form a seamless epic-length adventure. The sahuagin trilogy supports Sea Devils, a MONSTROUS ARCANA source book providing invaluable, fascinating, and immediately applicable supplementary information.
"Evil Tide" (1997), by Bruce R. Cordell, is the first Monstrous Arcana adventure for The Sea Devils (1997). It was published in July 1997.
Origins (I): The Arcana Adventures. TSR's Monstrous Arcana series of the late '90s was carefully structured, with each annual monster sourcebook linked to a trilogy of adventures about that monster. The Sea Devils (1997) marked the start of that sahuagin arc, which then continued into "Evil Tide" (1997), the first adventure.
The sahuagin adventures were also supported by DMGR9: Of Ships and the Sea (1997), a nautical sourcebook on the horizon, scheduled for publication in September 1997.
Origins (II): The U Adventures. The Monstrous Arcana sahuagin arc was actually the second major series of undersea adventures for AD&D, following the "U" adventures (1982-1983) of the early '80s, which also focused on the popular sahuagin. Bruce Cordell says that he "did a bit of research looking at Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh [U1], but ultimately decided to go entirely [his] own way."
TSR published one other major undersea adventure for AD&D in the intervening years, GA1: "The Murky Deep" (1993), so the sahuagin adventures were the fifth through seventh such books — not including a few for Basic D&D, which tended to frequently go nautical in its "X" adventures (1981-1987).
Adventure Tropes. "Evil Tide" includes a bit of a sandbox for the home base of Angler Island, but after that it's a pretty traditional cavern crawl.
Expanding D&D. Both The Sea Devils and Of Ships and the Sea featured rather extensively rules on underwater adventuring. "Evil Tide" nicely compresses those rules down to just half a page in a "quick water rules" sidebar that would be used throughout the adventure arc.
Exploring Neverness. "Evil Tide" is a generic adventure, but it's set in a very well-defined locale: the village of Angleburg on Angler Island. The next adventure, "Night of the Shark" (1997), would reveal how this small island fit into a larger pseudo-campaign world called Neverness, anchored in Bruce Cordell's The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996) and continuing through several of his '90s adventures.
Monsters of Note. The big baddies of "Evil Tide" are of course the sahuagin. There's even a nice sidebar on "sahuagin abilities and strategies" that discusses how to use them as fierce opponents. There are also hints in the book about the elder elves ("a blend between a High Elf and a Drow") and the anguiliians (an "ancient submarine race"), though these hints wouldn't be fully explored until "Sea of Blood" (1997), the final adventure in the arc.
Artifacts of Note. The sahuagin baron has a trident named Surge, which is said to be a companion to Wave, from S2: "White Plume Mountain" (1979). This implies that Bruce Cordell's Neverness adventures take place in Greyhawk … and it's not the only such connection in the various Neverness adventures. However, the locale names in the Neverness adventures don't seem to have any place in Greyhawk, so it may be better to presume that some artifacts (and people) made the jump from Greyhawk to this mini-campaign world.
About the Creators. Cordell started working at TSR in 1995 and would stay with Wizards of the Coast until 2013. His major previous work was The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996). His successful work on the sahuagin adventures would lead to him being picked to write The Illithiad (1998) and its three companion adventures.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.