Beware, there are spoilers ahead. I modified the adventure a lot, but if you are interested in playing this module or this COC campaign, don’t read any further.
Following the only clue they have (a Yemini coin found in a dead man’s pocket), the party returns to Cairo to the Egyptian National LIbrary and Archives, to conduct library research. The year is 1929. They learn that Yemen is divided into north and south. Southern Yemen is under the Idrisids, backed by the British (since 1850s) and by Ibn Saud (since the late 1920s). The north is under Imam Yahya Hamidaddin (1869-1943), who is backed by the Italians (since 1926). Imam Yahya rules the Zaydi northern highlands but constantly presses against the south. Zaydis are followers of Zaidiyyah, a Shi’a sect, and oddly the southerners are also followers of that sect, but since the southerners came from Morocco, the northerners do not accept them true Yemeni.
The players don’t know it, but the Idrisids will soon regret allying with ibn Saud, who wants their lands for himself. They will break with the Saudis in 1932, and instead bend the knee to Imam Yahya, who will rule Yemen for many years.
The players learn that there have been recent earthquakes in Yemen, unusual in itself but felt as far away as Jerusalem, which signals their intensity. The quakes were centered in the northern Yemeni desert, near a New World Industries (NWI) mining site. NWI spokesmen told reporters that the earthquakes were minor and that there were no injuries.
The players are distracted by an earlier reference to G’harne, and they attempt to locate it. They learn it is said to be a pre-human city in the south Sahara, but they can learn no more. Nikolas gains entry to the rare book collection, and actually locates a bound set of rubbings from the actual G’harne fragments, but he fails repeatedly to decipher them. The party takes long enough for the Great Crash of 1929 to begin. They interpret this as the beginning of the end of the world, prophesied to them in an earlier adventure and leave Cairo for Yemen. They forget about the three holy relics they carry (The holy bag would have allowed them to steal the rubbings and look at them later).
The players easily obtain passports with Sir Reginald’s help, and land at Jazan (جازان) in Saudi Arabia. They catch a ride in a sheep truck for many miles, crossing the border and arriving at Almalaheeth (الملاحيط) in Yemen. They all purchase jambiya with the green sheaths of the coastal people. Gabriel pays far too much for his, but as a result is treated with great respect throughout Yemen. Billy and the others buy cheap ones, and receive suitable respect thereafter.
Sir Reginald realizes that the British are hated in Yemen and abandons his pith helmet for a French outfit. The rest also go native. Billy and Nikolas purchase thoobs, while Annabelle buys a zina, a comely and colorful dress. Angie decides to be more conservative, and buys what she learns is traditional dress — a black all-covering robe with a ridiculously high straw hat. She fumes about this for the rest of the trip.
They purchase sickly camels at an enormously inflated price and head up into the Sarawat Mountains. Once in mountains, they discover that their jambiya make them stand out (as if Sir Reginald’s French outfit did not!), as mountain people use brown sheaths on the jambiya.
Alkhiyam (الخيام) is the last civilized city in Yemen, and beautiful stone terraces cover the valleys, which receive rich rainfall. To the east, the land remains mountainous and rocky, but grows much drier. The party hires a guide to take them to Khab (خب), a small village in Al Jawf, which is near to the NWI experimental mining station that is their destination. The guide successfully avoid bandits and they arrive in Khab, where they discover an old French man in a leather jacket running the local store. They discover that he is Victor Gavin, an old friend of Gabriel’s father. As a child, Gabriel stole his watch and Victor remains impressed. Victor steals his watch again to please the old man.
There is a murder outside the building, and the party is too late to investigate. They learn from Victor that not only are there bandits in the area, but also Saudi Bedouin who often raid the region. Victor ended up here after a life of adventure, married a local woman, and settled down. He furnishes the characters with lodging, food, and drink, and after looking at their camels (one of whom has a heart attack and dies in front of the store), sells them six new camels that are not only better, but much cheaper. In the morning, his brother in law, Hassan al-Gharsi, guides them to the NWI station.
The mine is based on an escarpment in the desert to the east. The area is notable only for the number of serpents in the area. Billy is thrown from his camel when it is spooked by a puff adder, and Billy is bitten as a result. The party takes him to the NWI base, where he is treated with antivenom. Angie is filled with concern for Billy, but after learning he is married, she turns away in frustration. The rest of the party is shown around by Johnathan Harris, who also beds the willing Angie, and then just as quickly dumps her. Angie can’t catch a break. The party does some breaking and entering, and begins to discover data about the mine that disturbs them. There have been other attacks by serpents, some fatal. While the party is there, two bandits are killed by the NWI guards, who also try to hide the guns the bandits were carrying. The party is now trying to get a closer look at them, but Melvin Peale, the head of security, is keeping increasingly close tabs on them. Below are a few of the new minis for this adventure. Angie’s unfortunate outfit is in the center.