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Reunion (2e)
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Reunion (2e)

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Once, the Tribe of Altair roamed the sands, free as the great eagle on the wind. Now, caged by an evil mage, these desert riders yearn for their lost freedom. But Fate takes a hand as a noble djinn seeks to fulfill an ancient wish....

In this unusual three-part scenario, players take the roles of the men of the tribe, who stage a revolt after being enslaved in the Pit of the Laughing Efreeti and then try to battle their way to freedom. In the second part, the PCs are the women of the tribe, who must escape the evil flame mage's harem and use all their wits to win free of a strange city. Finally, the children of the tribe have to slip away from an evil temple before they can be sacrificed, which calls for them to embark on a magic carpet ride that promises to be the adventure of their lifetimes.

Product History

"Reunion" (1998), by Jackie Cassada & Nicky Rea, is an RPGA adventure for the Al-Qadim line. It was published in April 1998.

Origins (I): Return to Al-Qadim. Al-Qadim was a limited-run setting line. It began in March 1992 with Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures (1992) and ended in October 1994 with Caravans (1994).

So why did a new Al-Qadim adventure appear three and a half years later!?

Origins (II): It Began with the RPGA. The RPGA had been running D&D tournaments at conventions since the early '80s. By the '90s, they were producing "network modules", which were adventures created by the RPGA that were then made available to be run at various conventions.

The RPGA began producing Al-Qadim adventures when the line was still live and continued afterward. "Comes Now the Comet" is known to have run at Glathricon '93 (1993), Where Are the Children?" ran at Concentric '94 (1994), "The Sacred Camel" ran at Gen Con '94 (1994), and "Pearls of Great Price" ran at Cruise Con '95 (1995). Just before the publication of "Reunion" (1998), Winter Fantasy 22 (1998) featured "A Marriage Made in Paradise". Many of these adventures were probably run at other conventions, and there were probably other Al-Qadim modules as well, including "Sands of Fire" and "A Bottle of Djinn", which are less well documented. The trend would even continue for a few years more, including "And Pearls Do Not Dissolve in the Mud", which was run at the 1999 Gen Con Game Fair (1999) and was still being considered by local conventions after the publication of D&D 3e (2000).

"Reunion" appeared as part of this healthy tradition of Al-Qadim tournament gaming.

Origins (III): Writing a Tournament. Cassada and Rea played in one of the earlier Al-Qadim tournaments, and felt like the authors didn't know the setting well enough. So, they decided to design their own tournament, but to do it right! Their goal was to make a three-round tournament that could also be run with just one or two of the rounds and still remain a fulfilling experience.

Their "Reunion" tournament premiered at Gen Con — though the exact year isn't currently known. Either 1995 or 1996 seems the most likely, since it was a few years before publication.

Origins (IV): Publishing a Module. That still begs the question of why Wizards of the Coast decided to publish "Reunion", years after the tournament adventure ran, and years after the Al-Qadim line was dead. Perhaps they did because it was a well-received tournament, perhaps because its inclusive design appealed to the new publishers of D&D in the progressive Pacific Northwest. Probably they did because they were giving more attention to RPGA adventures at the time, with publications like "The Star of Kolhapur" (1997), "Moonlight Madness" (1998), "The Lost Shrine of Bundushatur" (1998), and The City of Ravens Bluff (1998).

Origins (V): Many Future Returns. After this brief return, the Al-Qadim line once more faded into the desert sands. Its only real returns in more recent years have been in the pages of Dragon magazine, particularly the well-known Dragon #315 (January 2004), which featured "The Return of the Sha'ir" as part of its "Campaign Classics", but also "Champions of Fate" in Dragon #321 (July 2004) and "Magic and Intrigue in the High Desert Tribes" as part of the "World Serpent Inn" focus of Dragon #351 (January 2007). The continent of Zakhara continues to be referenced as part of the Forgotten Realms as recently as the "Elemental Evil Player's Companion" (2015) for D&D 5e (2014).

Adventure Tropes: Musical PCs. The most interesting aspect of Reunion is that each of its three parts has a dramatically different cast of characters and a dramatically different style of play. In chapter one, the players play men, to "challenge the players’ tactical and problem-solving expertise", in chapter two they play women, focusing "more on negotiation skills", and in chapter three they play children, allowing for "the most varied and innovative range of approaches".

It's easy to see how this would work well as a tournament adventure, which typically featured pre-generated characters, and it's also easy to see how it would meet the goal of just one or two chapters being playable on its own. (It was a bit more troublesome for a printed adventure, which did not include pregenerated characters … and which didn't even include guidelines for what levels those characters should be!)

Adventure Tropes: Encounters. "Reunion" is otherwise entirely encounter-driven, with each encounter having a neat beginning, middle, and end, leading to the next one.

Exploring Al-Qadim. "Reunion" has a strong Al-Qadim feel, but it's set somewhat generically in the "Zakharan desert". Other locales such as the town of Tujul, the Pit of the Laughing Efreet, and the Oasis of the Midnight Waters don't appear elsewhere in the lore.

About the Creators. Cassada and Rea may be must known for their work on White Wolf's World of Darkness games in the early '90s. Cassada worked more extensively on White Wolf's books, while Rea wrote more TSR books, including Corsairs of the Great Sea (1994) for Al-Qadim.

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 shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Andreas J July 12, 2017 7:57 pm UTC
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Horrible quality - the back of each page shines through, obviously badly scanned. At least it has been OCRed.
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Product Information
Pages
32
Edition
1.0
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TSR 9584
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File Last Updated:
January 16, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on January 17, 2017.