Ah the desert! It’s such an under-used yet engaging adventuring environment. The endless, trackless wastes. The glaring sun. The day time heat, the night time chill. And the sand. Always the bone-dry, undulating dunes of gritty, chafing sand.
Tremors In The Sand is a very versatile adventure module. Designed for a party of around 4th level, it could easily be scaled down for less-experienced PCs, and it contains the seeds for a creative DM to use it as the launching point for an extensive desert-themed campaign arc. Equally, it’s beautifully self-contained and would work excellently as a one-off adventure, for new players or experienced campaigners alike.
There are multiple starting hooks to help the DM bring the PCs into the module, none of them forced or implausible. The boxed text narratives interspersed throughout are a terrific aid for newer DMs to learn the story-telling trade, but are by no means necessary for an experienced DM to use verbatim. And the storyline and setting successfully walk that narrow path between providing a fully-fleshed environment and allowing the DM the agency to insert the module into any world. Old-school Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, any home-brew setting with arid parts, you could drop Tremors right in.
Along with the helpful boxed narratives, the module includes evocative artwork and easy-to-navigate internal and external maps, and is attractively laid out (I’ve noticed that beautiful layouts are something of a trademark for PB Publishing products).
Tremors has got a little bad guy, it’s got a big bad guy, and it’s got urgency. The module includes an event tracking system, to assist the DM in maintaining the required quick pace that the adventure moves through. Constant short and long rests to top up HP and spells would bring disaster here. The authors have found a clever way to ensure that the scenario contains just the right sense of urgency. There's a reminder of the (all-too-often under-used) 5e Exhaustion mechanics as well, a must-have inclusion for the desert environment.
If you’re already a fan of PB Publishing products, adding Tremors In The Sand to your collection is an easy choice. If you haven’t run a PB Publishing adventure before and you were about to skim past this one, you should reconsider. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
[5 of 5 Stars!]