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X9 The Savage Coast (Basic)
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X9 The Savage Coast (Basic)

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What sends you adventuring deep into unknown lands, across dark waters, around The Savage Coast? Adventure? The sincere desire to help others? Or greed?

Cartographers Guild members tell of lost cities and hidden treasures. Sailors tell of menacing beasts and cannibals to the west. They tell of savages along the shores who use gold nuggets for fishing weights. They also tell of great mounds of gold that collect at river mouths.

You must decide the grater lure; the safety of Slagovich or the glimmer of gold along The Savage Coast.

This adventure includes a map which expands the D&D game world, and a special expanded monsters section.

An Adventure for Character Levels 4-10.

Product History

X9: "The Savage Coast" (1985), by Merle Rasmussen, Jackie Rasmussen, and Anne C. Gray, is the ninth adventure in the Expert Series for Basic D&D. It was published in October 1985.

Origins (I): X = X + 1. "The Savage Coast" appeared a full year after its predecessor, X8: "Drums on Fire Mountain" (1984), but it continued in the tradition of wilderness-based Expert-level adventures — and like many of the later "X" adventures, it moved inexorably westward, away from the most civilized lands of the Known World.

Origins (II): Savage Sources. Merle Rasmussen records a few different real world sources for the locales of "The Savage Coast". He says that "the floor plan of a medieval monastery … became the Lawful Brotherhood Cleric Outpost" and that "Central American pyramids … became the Lost City of Risilvar". These links reveal yet more connections between the Known World and its real-world inspirations.

Adventure Tropes: Wilderness Adventures. Almost all of the Expert-level adventures focus on the wilderness to some degree. However, "The Savage Coast" goes back to the Expert-level source, X1: "The Isle of Dread" (1981), offering an enormous hex-crawl of wilderness exploration. It cleaves even more tightly to the Expert Set's original tropes than Rasmussen's previous entrant, X6: "Quagmire!" (1984). Whether it was as successful as its predecssors is another question, because many fans found "The Savage Coast" to be too sparse and scattered. Offering up a hex crawl that's an open sandbox but also an inspired setting can be a tough combination!

Exploring the Known World. "The Savage Coast" offers another major expansion to the Known World, detailing lands to the southwest of the X5: "Temple of Death" (1983) map of Hule and to the west of the X6: "Quagmire!" map of the Serpent Peninsula. The area is called "Southold" in the contemporary Master Rules (1985) and extends out to the Orc's Head Peninsula to the west.

This Savage Coast is very barren, mainly consisting of outposts of the Lawful Brotherhood and villages of a variety of humanoids. Those humanoids are one of the most interesting elements of this supplement, because they represent a concerted effort to bring together a variety of weird races from the Known World and place them in a cohesive ecosystem.

The barren lands of the Savage Coast did not go over well, and Bruce Heard ultimately decided to retcon the area into a more civilized set of lands more strongly peopled by the races appearing here. This retcon initially appeared in "The Voyage of the Princess Ark" (1990-1992), which was (mostly) reprinted as Champions of Mystara (1993). Even larger retcons appeared in Red Steel (1994) and related releases.

So where does that leave this original book? The general consensus is that "The Savage Coast" must depict the area in the past, but how far back is unresolved. The Savage Coast Campaign Book (1996) suggests that it depicts the area "several years ago", while fans have suggested it might have been set as recently as 900 AC or as far back as 550 AC. Whatever the case, the unsettled lands depicted here ultimately cannot fit in the modern-day Known World.

Monsters of Note. "The Savage Coast makes use of a number of humanoid races from past Known World adventures, including: the aranea, the phanaton, and the Rakasta from X1: "The Isle of Dread; and the lupin from X2: "Castle Amber" (1981). It also introduces the snappers and the tortles.

Future History. Not all of the Rasmussens' material fit into this book. Some of what was cut ended up in "Tortles of the Purple Sage", a two-part adventure in Dungeon #6 (July/August 1987) and Dungeon #7 (September/October 1987). They reveal the "Great Northway Lands" beyond the Orc's Head Peninsula.

About the Creators. Merle Rasmussen was just completing a successful run of Basic D&D adventures that included XSOLO: "Lathan's Gold" (1984), BSOLO: "Ghost of Lion Castle" (1984), and X6: Quagmire!" (1984). "The Savage Coast" wasn't a solo effort though; it was the first of two supplements that he wrote alongside wife, Jackie.

Anne Gray worked as editor on the entire BECMI series (1983-1986). This was one of her earlier development works; she would later be credited as Anne McReady.

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

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Simon W April 05, 2021 4:23 pm UTC
Please make a Print On Demand option for this book. :)
Customer avatar
Christian L September 08, 2016 10:46 am UTC
Is this just me, or is the right half of the map from page 20 missing?
Customer avatar
Zia M November 15, 2016 4:14 pm UTC
Yes, the other half is missing. It's basically the continent Map from the Companion Player's Guide, except the boxes are now labeled (Savage Coast, The Great Waste, Hule, Wild Lands, Norwold, Empire of Thyatis)
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