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DSM1 Black Flames (2e)
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DSM1 Black Flames (2e)

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A simple trip from Urik to Raam: What could be easier? But unexpected encounters and freakish sandstorms conspire to make this journey more dangerous than imagined. Lost and dying of thirst, your characters unwittingly involve themselves in a strange mission-the motivation behind which lies hidden. 

On the adventurers' trail are enraged dragons, desert fiends, and a curse that threatens to drive them mad-or make them one of the walking dead. Their only hope is to enter the ancient ruins of Yaramuke, site of a great battle between sorcerer-kings of ages past.

Yaramuke?City of Black Waters. The very name curdles blood.

Designed for four to six characters of 3rd to 6th level, Black Flames is set in and around the remains of Yaramuke and the cities of Urik and Raam. Let your Dark Sun game characters experience new adventure among the ancient ruins of Yaramuke!

Product History

DSM1: "Black Flames" (1993), by Sam Witt, is the sixth Dark Sun adventure and the first in the new "DSM" series of "Dark Sun Missions". It was released in March 1993.

Continuing the Dark Sun Series. In February 1993, TSR finished up their five-module DS/DSQ/DSE adventure sequence. The next month they followed up with something new: "Black Flames".

Most obviously, "Black Flames" used yet another module code, "DSM"; TSR was constantly changing around their module codes in the early '90s, as shown by the confusion of three different codes used for their "Freedom" sequence. However, "Black Flames" was also something totally new for Dark Sun: a standalone adventure.

Like most of the previous Dark Sun adventures, "Black Flames" is composed of Flip Books: there's one for the players, one for the GMs, and a book of short stories. Though most of the previous fiction had been written by TSR writers, this adventure's short story, "Service", was written by fantasy writer Lynn Abbey — probably best known at the time for her work on the Thieves World novels (1979-1989).

Adventuring Tropes. In general, the Dark Sun adventures were quite different from the dungeon crawls that dominated D&D in the '80s. However, "Black Flames" showed that Dark Sun was starting to develop typical tropes of its own. It includes: a journey across the desert wilderness; a ruins crawl; and the investigation (and defense) of an oasis.

The entire adventure is laid out using Dark Sun's innovative Flip Book format, which divides it up into short, individual encounters. This format ran somewhat at odds with the ruins crawl that dominates the middle of the adventure. "Black Flames" manages the disconnect by dividing up the ruins of Yaramuke into numerous small subsections that the players can attack one at a time. It is the exact same solution used by Wizards of the Coast two decades later in "Dreams of the Red Wizards: Dead in Thay" (2014), an encounter-based dungeon crawl.

Expanding Athas. "Black Flames" expands the world of Athas through its focus and detailing of two desert locales: the ruins of Yaramuke and the Black Oasis. Of the two, Yaramuke is the most iconic. It had previously been mentioned in the Dark Sun Boxed Set (1991) and DSR1: "Slave Tribes" (1992) and has continued to be a prominent place in Athasian lore ever since.

During the course of the adventure, the players can cleanse the Black Oasis, turning it into the beneficial Cool Spring. Though this isn't as important as some of the events in the DS/DSQ/DSE sequence or in the Prism Pentad, it still shows that adventures could change the world of Athas.

Monsters of Note. A few new undead are introduced: the cursed dead and the hungry bodies.

About the Creators. Witt got his start freelancing just a year earlier. Black Flames was his second major RPG product and his first publication for TSR.

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. Thanks to Robert Adducci for Dark Sun advice. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Author(s)
Artist(s)
Rules Edition(s)
Pages
122
Edition
1.0
ISBN
1-56076-580-1
Publisher Stock #
TSR 2417
File Size:
22.27 MB
Format
Scanned image
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File Last Updated:
May 19, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on May 20, 2014.