I4 An Oasis in a sea of growing turmoil at TSR
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Today I’m going to take a look at one of my favorite module series by one of my favorite artists [and currently a client if anyone needs a commission].
Yes indeed, I4 Oasis of the White Palm is the second installment of the Desert of Desolation series written by Philip Meyers and Tracy Hickman. It is for characters 6-8th level, but I always found that it could be played with a bit under that if needed.
The adventure opens with such a fantastically fun quote, ‘How friendly the sheik is. How kind of him to hold this feast in your honor. You certainly want him to know how grateful you are. You do not want to offend him in any way. But your friend – what is he saying?’
Jim Holloway’s attached picture describing this scene is one of the finest pieces of gaming illustration ever done in my mind. Again, Holloway manages to show exactly what happens at a gaming table, well at least most gaming tables I’m at!
Oddly enough, Holloway would be on his way out the TSR door just as this module was being created, and his replacement got to try his chops at illustration alongside him. Indeed, 1983 was a time of continued change at TSR, with the ‘pit’ adding the talents of Keith Parkinson and Clyde Caldwell, and it is Keith’s very early work we glimpse inside. His art is raw, and yet show promise, probably why he was selected for TSR duty, and I can’t help by smile when I see it.
In all, as with the entire Desolation series, the artwork is very thin, probably in response to the company tightening its belt before the 1984 layoffs. Still, it is a classic, and Holloway’s cover is something remembered by most gamers who have been in the hobby since the 1980s.
Artistic Rating: 4 [out of 5]