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ALQ1 Golden Voyages (2e)
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ALQ1 Golden Voyages (2e)

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Who among you dares to challenge the high seas? 

Inspired by the tales of Sinbad, Golden Voyages provides the source material and adventures needed to run a mini-campaign on the Crowded Sea. Detailed backgrounds, perilous locations, and wondrous NPCs populate the enchanted seas. Player characters will discover wildly different adventures as they sail from place to place.

Golden Voyages includes six booklets filled with mini-adventures, an overall framing adventure, expanded rules on ships and sailing, details and background concerning topography, tribes, and new locations, and plenty of maps and player handouts. Recommended for use with the Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures rulebook.


Product History

ALQ1: Golden Voyages (1992) by David "Zeb" Cook is the first in the series of "ALQ" supplements for Al-Qadim. It was published in October 1992.

Sources. According to Dragon #219 (July 1995), Cook called Golden Voyages "Sinbad in a box." Much like the Voyages of Sinbad, this supplement presents a series of picaresque adventures set within a nautical landscape. It includes mysterious islands, great treasures, amazing coincidences, and fearsome monsters—all just awaiting the adventurers.

Beginning the ALQ Series. When Jeff Grubb and Andria Hayday put together Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures (1992), they also carefully prepared a two- or three-year supplement line. It kicked off with two other core books, MC13: "Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix" (1992) and setting box, Al-Qadim: Land of Fate (1992). After that, Golden Voyages represented the beginning of the longer-range support for the line.

Golden Voyages was published in a thin box that contained several smaller books as well as a DM's screen. This would be the standard format for the ALQ series, though the later releases would replace the DM screen with six cardstock sheets. Although Golden Voyages was primarily an adventure, it also acted in part as a sourcebook for the Crowded Sea. At the time, TSR was dividing its product lines up between sourcebooks and adventure book, but the "ALQ" series instead provided support for the Al-Qadim line without worrying about what category it fit into.

About Nautical Adventuring Nautical adventures had been a focus of D&D adventures since Cook's own X1: "The Isle of Dread" (1981) for Expert D&D. Thus it's no surprise that Golden Voyages includes tons of rules for ships, ship building, navigation, hazards, repairs, castaways, crews, mutiny, cargo, and more. Interestingly, though, here it's all very pragmatic and adventure-oriented—which is a bit of a change from the nautical rules found in other supplements, which tend to provide stats for ships and rules for ship combat.

Golden Voyages was released just as AD&D 2e began to increase its attention to the sea, as seen also in the release of FOR3: Pirates of the Fallen Stars (1992) earlier in the year. The trend culminated a few years later with the publication of two major nautical rulebooks: Naval Battle Rules: The Seas of Cerilia (1996) and DMGR9: Of Ships and the Sea (1997).

Adventuring Tropes. Golden Voyages is essentially a big sandbox (or maybe "aquarium" is a better analogy) that players can traverse as they see fit. It's also quite customizable. GMs can choose which quest-item treasure to use as the goal of their campaign and can also choose where to put clues to push players onward. Some reviewers at the time found the format quite innovative.

Expanding Al Qadim. The Crowded Sea of Al-Qadim is extensively detailed in Golden Voyages, including al-Sartan, al-Hazan, the Djinni's Claws, and the Steaming Isles. This marks a major expansion of Zakhara.

About the Creators. Cook had previously authored Oriental Adventures (1985) and The Horde (1990); Golden Voyages gave him yet another opportunity to investigate "Eastern" lands. At the same time, Cook was also working on the first Dark Sun adventures, DS1: "Freedom" (1991) and DSQ1: "Road to Urik" (1992). 

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

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April 1st, 2014
I admit to being a "Voyages of Sinbad" nut. That helps make this one of my all-time favorite RPG supplaments. The voyage begins with a quest for the "ultimate treasure". The authors then discuss different styles of role-play [...]
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