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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5: The Asmodeus Mirage

The Asmodeus Mirage

Deep in the Katapesh deserts a vast, insidious illusion of diabolical power and horrifyingly seductive visions appears, just once every hundred years. It's called the Asmodeus Mirage, and is powered by a strange crystalline skeleton. The Pathfinder Society has long wanted to know more and at last they've managed to both discover its location and figure out its schedule. Now all they need is for someone to go take a look...

The introduction explains how the Mirage works and what else is to be found there for the DM, then it's off to the adventure which opens with the party being briefed by Venture-Captain Rafmeln, the head of the Katapeshi Pathfinders. He's been researching the Mirage for years and can convey - in a breathless academic rush - virtually all the information in the introduction, before sending them off with guides and camels to the remote valley in question. Oddly, it's written as if it takes a scant day to get there, leaving you to 'handwave' the trip or add your own details. The guide is quite delightful, though, and convinced that all Pathfinders are quite mad!

The party will have to contend with the environmental hazards of a deep desert and with the time pressure imposed by the fact that the Mirage, when it does appear, only remains for 24 hours. Once it makes an appearance, you have a set of encounters to run - you can run them in any order and most in any location as well which gives the whole thing a dissociated random air that fits well with its otherworldly nature. They can also repeat, which makes it even stranger and more confusing. Some of the encounters automatically result in a brawl, others can be approached with role-playing and interaction (although the creatures encountered are good for a fight if the party doesn't want to talk!). The final encounter poses some interesting restraints as the crystal skeleton itself is fragile...

It's an interesting adventure, the sort of tale desert dwellers tell one another over their campfires. It's a bit mind-bending too, and if the party fails to leave before the 24 hours are up (there are several different ways in which they can accomplish this) they will be stuck there for the next one hundred years!

Return to The Asmodeus Mirage page.

Reviewed: 31 January 2016