Last time we learned about some of the animals that might await the PC's in the desert. This time we will examine the trade goods that might be carried by a desert trade caravan. Next time we will examine the elements that make up a trade caravan. Until then, make sure your PC's keep their grubby paws off the merchandise, as most likely they are caravan guards, not rich merchants who own the merchandise. It might be funny for them to learn that the merchants believe that losing all of the guards, but none of the goods is still a successful run. Most of the caravan masters don't value untested guards over even common trade goods, let alone something precious like water. There are few OLD caravan guards and they keep to themselves. It seems clear the PC's haven't "earned the right" to be called guards yet in their hard-squinting eyes. Without further ado, the list of items the NPC merchants view as more valuable than the lives of novice caravan guards.
Well-crafted steel helmets with and without visors
Looks like finely-crafted camel saddles, but really illegal contraband (alcohol, drugs, illegal texts)
Bags of spices, teas, and ground coffee beans
Beautiful, multi-colored, velvet brocades for the distinguising eye
Works of art, paintings and sculptures
Small knives and tools, thieves picks, tweezers, quills, small saws, ink pots, and other small sundries
Leathercraft in the form of pouches, belts, scabbards, and cloaks
Small boxes, buttons, and other items made or carved from wood. More rare than gold is wood.
Books and scrolls of knowledge, wisdom, and magic.
Brasswork in the form of bowls, statues, buckles, and lamps
Large Clay Jars of Water
Wait. Did I just list water twice on that list? That must be because it is the MOST important and valuable trade good in a desert economy. Pure, clean water is life and life is worth more than every other trade good on the caravan.