Desert of Desolation Series (I3 - I5)           HomeUp
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Another highly-popular series of modules for Advanced D&D, set in a fantastical desert Egypt.

Pharaoh (Daystar West Media) by Tracy and Laura Hickman
I3 Pharaoh
by Tracy and Laura Hickman
I4 Oasis of the White Palm
by Philip Meyers and Tracy Hickman
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek
by Tracy Hickman

The entire series was later combined into supermodule I3-5 Desert of Desolation.

Pharaoh was first printed as part of the "Night Ventures" series by Daystar West Media (a privately-owned company of authors Tracy and Laura Hickman).  It was later purchased by TSR and modified into I3 Pharaoh

Contributor Adam Shultz writes: "Daystar West's introduction is exclusively Amun-re's dream-like chant that the adventuring party hears as they traverse the desert. This chant appears later in the TSR version (page 9).  Daystar's and TSR's chant sequence have all the same elements but Daystar's is about 10 times longer.  It's like reading a book!  As a whole, the TSR version spends more time developing the characters through wilderness adventuring (in the desert).  I think the Daystar West version assumes these details are handled on the gaming table.  Another difference to keep in mind is the concept of the 'Night Ventures' line; Daystar West intended for the adventure to be played out in a single evening session, and this translated to keeping the adventure within the tomb itself." 

I3, I4, and I5 each come with a double cover (module booklet nested inside two covers of maps).  Thanks to Eric Pass for this info.

Printing Information  Logos

Some astute collectors have noticed that the band across the top varies from a yellowish to a deeper orange color, and often varies slightly in size.  This happens to be true of all TSR modules -- it does indicate a different printing (sometimes the inks used from print to print were not a perfect match, and sometimes the module was "cut" differently, leaving a larger border at the top or bottom).  However, such differences are often difficult to discern (even when several of the same modules are laid side-by-side), and attempting to put any sort of sequence together based on these differences would be futile (and fairly pointless).
I3 Pharaoh Foreign

  • First (1980):  Monochrome.  Entitled "Pharaoh", and printed by Daystar West Media.  The cover is a heavy brown cardstock, bound with staples covered by an adhesive black-tape spine.  Cover art is by Hickman himself.  While compatible with AD&D, the module makes no mention of TSR or D&D (certain terms are carefully changed to avoid copyright infringement).  Being a small company, the print run was also small (and probably not distributed on a national scale); author Tracy Hickman has stated that less than 200 copies were printed, perhaps as few as 100.  67 pages.  Originally came shrinkwrapped.  See also the only other Daystar West module, Rahasia.

  • Second (1982):  Color cover.  Cover art by Jim Holloway.  This edition, by TSR, was heavily edited from the Daystar West version.  Most of the beginning of the module is totally unrecognizable from its predecessor (though the latter part was kept fairly intact, and the flavor and intent of the module as a whole remains the same).  The maps on the inside of the module cover are printed on a solid blue background.  Thanks to Bill Willet for the scan.

  • Third (1983):  Color cover.  Interior-cover maps are now on a brown background.  Thanks to Michael Deaton for this info.

I4 Oasis of the White Palm Foreign
  • First:  No cardboard header.  Thanks to Adrian Newman for the scan.

  • Second:  Contents identical to First, but has an orange cardboard header glued to the top of the module, with the D&D logo and some other advertising.  The module itself, separated from the header, is indistinguishable from a First printing.  Thanks to Michael Deaton for the scan.  Further info on header modules is here.

I5 Lost Tomb of Martek

Auction Commentary

It is possible that fewer than 20 copies of Pharaoh (Daystar West) remain in existence.

The Second printing of I4 Oasis of the White Palm, with the header intact, is fairly rare.  SW condition assumes the header is present.  The Estimated Value on this print is highly subjective, since only recently have we realized its rarity.

Current eBay Auctions

Pharaoh (Daystar West)

Pharaoh (2nd/3rd prt)

Oasis of the White Palm
(1st prt)

Oasis of the White Palm
(2nd prt)

Lost Tomb of Martek