Nomads – people of the desert

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In search of secrets

In search of Tibian mysteries, we players often wander through countless SQMs. We read Tibian books from cover to cover looking for even the smallest clues. We observe the game environment and try to interact with it in every possible way. We have hundreds of conversations with NPCs, hoping that they will tell us even the smallest detail that no one has heard of before. But we don’t always go back to the past and read the archival news on tibia.com. Right? But this way can sometimes turn out to be really surprising – at the same time leading us to very interesting and mysterious places.

On November 9, 2007, the Tibia homepage published the following teaser: “Discover New Secrets Everywhere”. In the news item, we can read that the winter 2007 update, which was coming then, was rich in secrets and the game creators themselves encouraged players to discover secrets. Our attention was drawn to an image attached to the news item, showing Muhad saying the following sentence:

“I am not willing to tell you our biggest secret!”

This screenshot primarily tells us one important thing. The secret that Muhad is talking about is definitely not the quest or the Nomad hideout itself, as it appears in the image. Could it be that the Nomads, the people of the desert, are actually hiding a secret? Let us try to find out.

True Sons of the Desert

The secret hideout of the Nomads is first encountered during Arito’s Task Quest. Arito, as a former Nomad, is being pursued by his fellow Nomads. We help him make peace with them, so he reveals to us a secret way to enter the underground headquarters of the desert people. The leader of the Nomads – Muhad, with whom we talk on behalf of Arito, commissions us the main task, which is Nomad’s Land Quest.

In short, a group of thieves from Ankrahmun have stolen one of the Nomad treasures. It is a very unusual treasure and the very way Muhad describes it should get our attention:

“Recently a bunch of thieves have stolen something very valuable from us. It is a secret the true sons kept for aeons and I am not allowed to tell you about it.”

A secret hidden for millennia, for aeons. An amazing thing. Muhad won’t even explain to us exactly what it’s about. Interestingly, the thieves who stole this treasure that we are to recover for Muhad understand what they are dealing with. However, they did not know this from the beginning. They became painfully aware of what was in the stolen casket when they tried to open it:

We are not far from revealing the greatest secret in the lands of Darama that was kept by a nomad tribe so far. They call themselves “true sons of the desert” and we managed to obtain their sacred casket by accident. What a great day for us. The right people will pay huge amounts of gold for it.

So far I found out that the strange substance in the casket has something to do with the rotworm species. It is strongly advisable to keep the substance in the casket. I opened it once and minutes later it swarmed with rotworms and carrion worms. Many of my people died in this accident. We presume that we deal with an attractant of a rotworm queen. No one has ever seen one but we are pretty sure that this species is organised by a queen. Maybe it would be possible to lure a queen with this substance but we don’t dare to use it again. We need more time to figure out how this all matches and how to use the substance without being overrun by rotworms.

The contents of this scroll, which we find in the thieves’ lair in Ankrahmun, confirm that we have touched on a great mystery. It seems that the Nomads have somehow learned to obtain the pheromones of the Rotworm Queen and thus be able to control them to a limited degree. As described by the author of the scroll, simply opening the casket attracted enough rotworms to cause the death of many people. This means that this type of substance could successfully be used as a weapon. This is also an alternative way of controlling the rotworms, which is the opposite of the dwarfs’ method of simply training them. The various methods of using rotworms with pheromones could be multiplied. We will return to this later in this article. It is also worth considering who are “the right people” that the thieves write about. This could indicate that the casket could theoretically be offered to someone. We tried giving the casket to various NPCs in Ankrahmun shortly after recovering it from the thieves’ hideout, but none responded.

From the hand of the master of mysteries

Every experienced Tibian mystery hunter certainly follows the activities of some content designers or at least has heard about them. We are mainly talking about the legendary Knightmare, but also about Lionet and Chayenne, who no longer works for Cipsoft. But not many of you probably know that there is one person who remains in their shadow, but in our opinion deserves at least as much attention. Who, then, are we talking about? It is Denson Larika!

 

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20160406041423/http://www.tibiavenezuela.com/archivos/entrevistas/denson_larika

What is it about Denson that makes us call him a master of mysteries? Well, he is responsible for at least two great mysteries of Tibia, which still keep mystery hunters awake at night. For who of us hasn’t heard about the unfinished/hidden quest in Beregar? Or about a certain enigmatic troll who is looking for his Troll Lady? Yes, Denson is entirely responsible for Troll Sabotage and the Hidden City of Beregar! If you have any doubts that it’s not him, here’s the evidence below:

Hi Tibians, my name is Denson Larika and I am a content designer at CipSoft!
It was difficult to choose one certain place as I have positive feelings for so many things I created. The three dead bureaucrats, the dream sequence, the Nomads Hideout, the ‘Troll Sabotage’-Quest or Buddel who once was called Beorn and always makes me smile when I talk to him. 

Source: https://www.tibia.com/news/?subtopic=newsarchive&id=1951

Dens is really great at designing awesome areas with a high detail level and writing fun quests stuffed with complex scripts like everything in and around Beregar or the Treasure Hunt.

Source: https://www.tibia.com/news/?subtopic=newsarchive&id=1189

But this is probably not all that Dens created. Unfortunately, there is not much information about him. The only and at the same time the last interview with him comes from 2009. The creator himself is certainly as mysterious as his works. Unfortunately, Dens no longer works at Cipsoft.

For our part, we would like to add that each of his quests stands out for its high level of complexity and truly unique ideas. None of his quests, that we know of, hook into cliché. But what does all this have to do with Nomads anyway? Well, if you have read the above quotes carefully you will have noticed that he is the creator of the true sons of the desert, which in itself gives them a certain mysteriousness. Right?

In the footsteps of the sons of the desert

Have you ever wondered how far Nomad influence reaches in Tibia? Let’s try to find out. To start our research, let’s take a look at Nomad’s hideout. While looking around, we notice that there are no women among its inhabitants. Muhad is able to explain this strange phenomenon.

An extremely intriguing statement. So no doubt what we see in the hideout is not all there is. Perhaps the hideout is only a small piece of the kingdom of the sons of the desert. Is it possible to get to their real kingdom? Where is it located? Unfortunately, we do not yet know the answers to these questions. However, we can come across Nomadic women during the Mini World Change “Nomads”. But there are only a few of them:

Apart from the Nomad hideout, it is worth checking where else we can meet them. There is no surprise here. As befits the Nomads, they can be found in the desert on the entire Darama continent and in nearby locations.

 

But it is very interesting to note their influence in Yalahar. Isn’t it? It turns out that the Nomads occupy a certain building in the foreigners’ quarter in Yalahar. Due to the size of this building, it can be presumed that this is their foothold in this city.

What do these seemingly poor people seek overseas, far from their home? We think we know the answer to this question, and it is an extremely interesting one. Well, the sons of the desert also live in a small building in the commercial district of Yalahar.

And perhaps most telling is Nomad’s single respawn not far from Iriana’s stall.

So we have evidence that Nomads visit Yalahar for trading purposes. What do they trade? And why in Yalahar? It is hard to say, but if we talk about trading…

On October 7, 2011 an article titled “Rich in Detail 2.0” appeared on Tibia’s main page. Let us quote here an excerpt from one of the chapters:

 

Money for Nothing?

What might Rashid and the djinns be doing with the tons of items they are buying all day and night long? Rashid, for example, has been travelling around the world for years so he has a very big client base for sure. Ergo, he has already collected an unbelievable amount of all different kinds of weapons, armour, and so on. And the fact that he just buys stuff and does not sell anything makes this even more interesting. What happens with all the items? If you ask him, he says that he has to go to Carlin once in a while since the queen wishes to see his exclusive wares regularly. But it is quite doubtful that he is selling all the stuff to Queen Eloise in Carlin, isn’t it?

So, just a thought, but couldn’t it be that he has a bigger plan in his mind? Rashid is obviously one of the nomads. We all know that nomads are not such evil beings as many people want to believe. However, you have probably read about those embittered nomads between Ankrahmun and Darashia who would gladly give their right hand just to stack their knives between your ribs. Maybe Rashid is one of them and is collecting all those weapons and armour to equip his nomad friends with the aim to found an army. Then suddenly, one fateful day, he will try to conquer the Tibian lands, starting with Darashia and Ankrahmun… what a dark outlook.

Oh geez, this is extremely interesting. Could it be that our old acquaintance was one of the true sons of the desert and was secretly arming them? Let us try to find out something about him.

Rashid does not value monarchs, and neither does Muhad…

Rashid refers to himself as a “son of the desert”. This is very telling.

When asked about Ankrahmun, Rashid points to this place as his family home. Here he raises some doubts about his connection to the Nomads, but at the same time does not rule them out. What do you think about this? Could Rashid be a true son of the desert and secretly arm the Nomads? Or is this just another twisted theory?

Casket, rotworms and an ancient secret

The fact that the Nomads obtained the pheromones of the Rotworm Queen is a clear indication that they know how to find this extremely rare monster. It is also possible that they have somehow managed to enslave and even breed the queen. Interestingly, we know that it respawns west of Darashia, while there is no record of it existing in the Kha’Labal desert (the area north of Ankrahmun). On the other hand, the Nomads certainly know the desert and its mysteries better than we do. The dense network of tunnels under the desert hides many mysteries.

The rarest and most valuable loot that the Rotworm Queen can give us is the gland –
One of the typical roles that such a body part can play is the production of pheromones. The description of the object also confirms this:

This is closely related to the suspicions of the thieves’ gang. One of the ingredients, or perhaps even the main part of the substance found in the casket must be a gland.

Let’s look at these two items from a different angle. Jewel Case was added in version 8.10, gland on the other hand in 8.20 – this cannot be a coincidence. Also, their weights: the gland – 0.50 oz and the jewel case – 1.70 oz, match. The gland would even fit in it entirely. The question is – what can we do with these items? They have no “use with” option and the casket cannot be opened in any known way.

We have done extensive research – mainly at Nomad HQ, but also in other places to try and find some use for them.

The most basic thing is to try to interact with NPCs while carrying the gland and casket. Maybe one of them (Muhad in particular) would be interested in the fact that we met the legendary Rotworm Queen and got a rare trophy from her? However, this did not affect any dialogue. Trying to get these items to interact with the rotworms also had no effect. We were especially hoping for a certain place in the Nomad hideout here. Perhaps this is the place Muhad describes as an arena where their young warriors test their strength against the rotworms.

It is a hole full of rotworms. I have been researching this mystery and revisiting it for 11 years, during which time I have personally collected 6 glands, hoping that maybe their number has some significance.

Lining them all up in this place had no effect on either the monsters or the surroundings. Queen could respawn here, by the way. It would fit the storyline perfectly – maybe it’s worth checking this place a bit? Discovering an unknown boss respawn would be quite an achievement.

Let us also pay attention to Muhad’s statement and look for potential clues in it. It is interesting that rotworms are fought with bare hands. Could this be a clue? Muhad emphasises that the rotworm is not allowed to die during such a fight. This testifies to the great respect that the Nomads have for these creatures and to the special role of rotworms in the society of the desert people. All this ties in perfectly with the facts that we will present in the next chapter.

It is also worth noting that the Nomad hideout must have been partly created by the rotworms. The corridors – such as the one in the picture below – have been excavated by them. The connection between the Nomads and the Rotworms is therefore greater than it might appear at first glance.

Nomads and Frank Herbert’s Dune

Warning, this chapter contains spoilers from the book. Nevertheless, there are so many connections between Dune and Tibia that it is worth reading. It may be part of a larger mystery that has not been fully uncovered.

The Tibian Nomad community, their customs or their main hideout – not all of this is a coincidence. Cipsoft, and Denson Larika in particular, have modelled themselves quite heavily on a certain well-known work. “Dune” by Frank Herbert is a science fiction novel, published in 1965. It was a huge success all over the world and has recently seen a very good film adaptation, which is currently being shown in cinemas.

 

What is the novel about? Let me paste a quote from wiki:

The novel is set in the very distant future. The most important planet in the universe has become Arrakis (Dune), the only one on which there are deposits of melange – a substance which prolongs life and also enables the clairvoyance necessary to avoid the dangers of interdimensional space travel. The formation of melange is connected with the development cycle of the sandworms – giant creatures living in the sands of Arrakis.
Dune is given as a fief to the Atreides. Duke Leto I, his concubine Lady Jessica, his son Paul and their army arrive on the planet. Soon after the arrival of the Atreides, the Harkonnen family, aided by imperial troops, stage a coup.
Lady Jessica and Paul manage to escape the onslaught. As they flee, they find themselves in a sietch inhabited by nomadic warriors – the Fremen – led by Stilgar. “The Beast” Rabban Harkonnen exploits Arrakis with terror, creating widespread hostility among the Fremen towards their new masters. Paul, under the influence of the Water of Life (the transformed secretions of a drowned sandworm), awakens prophetic powers, proving to be the expected element of the Bene Gesserit natural selection – the Kwisatz Haderach. Taking the name “Paul Muad’Dib”, he leads the Fremen into battle against the Harkonnens. After defeating the Harkonnen and immobilising the armies of Emperor Shaddam IV, the seizure of power over Arrakis by the Atreides family occurs.

We highly recommend this book, it belongs to the canon of fantasy classics, which you should know.

But let’s focus on the influence of Dune on Tibia. At the very first glance, we can see a number of similarities in both universes.

First of all, we can definitely say that our Tibian Nomads are the equivalent of the Fremen from Dune. Both peoples originate from the desert, and have their hiding places mainly underground, where the influence of the environment is no longer so negative. If we want to look for more tangible proof, let’s ask Muhad – the leader of the Nomads, about his name:

As you can see, he introduces himself as Muhad ib Lisan al-Gaib. Lisan al-Gaib is a term from Dune, which in the language of the Fremen means messiah. This is how they called Paul Atreides, the main character of the book. So is Muhad our Tibian equivalent of Paul? Perhaps, like the main character of Dune, the Tibian Muhad has a much more important role than we think? After all, Paul, masterfully trained in combat and possessing a powerful mind, takes over the planet and even becomes emperor.

Let’s analyse further similarities, or more precisely one of the most interesting ones – sandworms vs. rotworms. Sandworms are legendary creatures in Dune, crucial to the planet and especially to the Fremen. The Fremen hold them in reverence, bordering on worship, as giant sandworms are for them not only a means of fast travel (they ride on their backs) or raw material for making weapons (knives made from their tusks). Sandworms produce the so-called melange, which is, as described in the aforementioned quote, a substance that prolongs life, gives limited clairvoyance abilities but is also highly addictive. In the entire universe, it is only available on Dune which makes this planet very important for the entire empire.

This, in turn, sheds new light on the strange connection between the Tibian Nomads and the rotworms and their presence in the hideout under the desert. We have this strange quest casket with a substance that summons rotworms. We mentioned in an earlier part of the article that this is a great secret of the Nomads, kept hidden by them for millennia. This is very interesting. With the knowledge from the book, we can make new hypotheses about the usefulness of rotworms. Perhaps they are not only helpful in digging tunnels but for example in finding underground water sources? It is difficult to imagine Nomads riding on carrion worms like Fremen on sandworms, but it is not impossible either. There is also no doubt that the Rotworm Queen, for example, is quite similar to sandworms.

It is also important to note the dialogue with Muhad described above, where he talks about how their young warriors train in fighting rotworms. He emphasises that the rotworm never dies during such fights. This proves that the rotworms are valuable to the Nomads and they do not allow themselves to die uselessly. There is more mystery hidden here and perhaps through the right set of keywords Muhad could reveal more to us.

Another interesting fact is the water sources. The Fremen stored water in large underground reservoirs, with the aim of terraforming the planet and mitigating its desert climate, after accumulating a certain (very large) amount of water over generations. There is also an underground reservoir under the Nomad hideout in Tibia, and interestingly enough, there are quite a few rotworms there.

 

The correlations of sandworms with underground water reservoirs were also significant in Dune.

It is also possible that the Nomad attacks on Ankrahmun are symbolic of the situation in Dune. The Fremen, led by Paul Atreides, attacked cities ruled by the Harkonnens after the Harkonnens staged a coup. This leads us to believe that the Nomad attacks do not have strictly robbery objectives, but aim to weaken the city’s defences and eventually conquer it. In our opinion, the desire to regain the casket itself is neither the main nor the only reason for the Nomads’ interest in the city.

And finally, 4 more interesting facts/similarities:

  • Nomads specialize in 1 type of weapon – scimitar. The Fremen in Dune also have their preferred type of weapon – knives made from the tusks of sandworms.

  • The women and children of the Fremen on Dune are mostly in seclusion from the rest of the community and the warriors. In Tibia we learn analogous information from Muhad:

As you can see, the Tibian Nomad hideout is not the only one. We simply don’t know about the others or, according to the plot, they are so well hidden that an uninitiated seeker won’t get to them.

  • Paul, Lisan al-Gaib from Dune, has some ability to predict the future, meanwhile, when we ask Muhad for news, he declares to us that:

He knew we were coming. Could he, like Paul, have foreseen the course of events?

  • The hidden entrance to the lair of the Tibian Nomads is located in the rocks:

This looks exactly like the entrances to the Fremen sietches (villages), which were usually hidden among the rocks in the desert. Also, to get there, you have to use a scimitar and water at a certain place. These are symbols of the nomads and an example of an interesting and unique mechanism that may have been the idea of Denson himself.

  • During the Mini World Change “Nomads” we may come across not only Nomadic women but also unusual Nomads in blue clothes. This may be a non-obvious allusion to Dune, where the Fremen were characterised by the completely blue whites of their eyes.

Strange but interesting facts

  • We don’t know if this is a bug or a deliberate mechanism, but we don’t have to give the casket to Muhad at all to complete the quest. We just need to get it. You don’t need to carry it with you, and Muhad will still acknowledge that you’ve completed the quest and then thank you and reward you. On the other hand, we can also give more than 1 casket back after completing the quest.
  • The text that Muhad says, which we mentioned at the beginning of the article (“I am not willing to tell you our biggest secret”), is not that obvious to trigger.

 

However, we managed to discover what you need to do to get this answer from Muhad. You should ask him about the casket, but during the quest – before you retrieve it from the thieves.
This text was used in one of the teasers for the update introducing the Nomads story expansion.

  • It is worth mentioning that one of the most powerful necromancers of Drefia, who can still live (or live after life as an undead) despite its demise, Gha’Zuul, is of Nomad origin.
    As a child, he was kidnapped during a raid by the undead, who sensed the evil in his heart and considered him a suitable candidate for a necromancer. Are you interested in this story? We recommend you to read its continuation in the books: “Legends of the Kha’labal III – Gha’Zuul the Necromancer” and “Legends of the Kha’labal IV – Drefia’s Downfall”

Muhad has his say about the undead. I wonder what fate befell Gha’Zuul…

  • Unfortunately, we don’t have a randomly respawning Nomad boss in Tibia. However, we can face Achad on Svargrond arena, difficulty Greenhorn.
    There is no doubt that he is Nomad. However, he is not a strong opponent – he is only slightly stronger than his tribesmen.

The nomadic storyline in Tibia is undoubtedly a piece of good work, a field for both content designers and developers and an interesting plot. Their biggest mystery still remains undiscovered, but whether it’s a result of Denson’s unfinished work, some kind of bug or a simple dead end – we know what to do. We never lose hope and we never stop looking for answers. The truth is out there.

Mogh & Bosst

 

Sources:

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diuna_(powie%C5%9B%C4%87)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(novel)

https://art.marcsimonetti.com/dune-by-frank-herbert

https://tibia.fandom.com/wiki/Muhad

https://www.tibia.com/news/?subtopic=newsarchive&id=611

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7lca9BpjYb/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

https://tibiamaps.io/map#32368,32198,7:1

https://web.archive.org/web/20160406041423/http://www.tibiavenezuela.com/archivos/entrevistas/denson_larika

https://www.tibia.com/news/?subtopic=newsarchive&id=1951

https://www.tibia.com/news/?subtopic=newsarchive&id=1189

http://www.clker.com/clipart-475446.html

 

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