Pellis Desert Geographic Location in Domen Aria | World Anvil
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Pellis Desert

"Pellis Desert"    
I couldn’t believe they only gave us one day to pack. Not that there was much to take with me. Just my journal here, some clothes, a doll my aunt made for me, some old sea shells, and some interesting pebbles I keep in and old black and silver trinket box that I found in a broken up shipwreck. Gerro says he is going to take the monitor eggs with us, but I’m not sure how he can safely pack them. I guess we’ll see.   They say the water ran out faster than expected, just like the last two Cavums we went to. Heral says there’s too many old people for the old wells to support. He’s usually right about these things, but needs to be nicer about how he says them.   Dustin says to pack light and take only what we can’t do without. We’re supposed to be heading way south and east, over the Serra Dens Mountains and past some big green swamp, to the lands beyond. They say we’ll never have to worry about food and water after that. That would be nice but I think I’m going to miss the desert. I’ve only ever seen the mountains from a distance, I wonder how big they are and what interesting things we’ll see there.   Well g’night journal, I’ll write you more later.
— Midi Falco


Ages ago, before The Sundering, this land was underneath the great Avertere Sea. It stretched from the southern Serra Dens Mountains, to the northern Sky Star Mountains. In the west its waves lapped on the shores of the Golden Flower Prairie and the governing city of Pellis Port. All sea trade crossing between the two mountain ranges and the western prairie, flowed through this prosperous port city. When The Sundering shook he planet, most people fled the city across the sea or road out into the prairie. Shortly thereafter the sea began to lower and drain east away from the port and temperatures began to rise. Those that could, took off across the wilting prairie, only the most stubborn remained to ride out the devastation.   Even after The Binding, the waters continued to drain away east, temperatures still rose, and in a short time there was no water left in the sea. Just a barren and desolate, sandy landscape remained, pocketed by random rocky outcroppings. The persistent few that had stayed, were faced with a daunting task of finding food and water. An intrepid group of dwarves devised a plan to dig down into the sandy seafloor where the sand was the wettest. Being experts at excavation, they were able to quickly dig down through the sandstone, to an underground freshwater spring. They also carved various chambers into the sandstone walls, creating many places to house the inhabitants of the once great Pellis Port. Hidden from the oppressive daytime heat and having shelter and access to fresh water, the people were able to manage a living.   As time went on many of the plants and animals of the mountain ranges slowly moved down and adapted themselves to the new environment. As the fresh water spring levels dropped over time, many other Cavums needed to be excavated throughout the newly named Pellis Desert. Soon a network of Cavums existed, in which the remnants of Pellis Port and their descendants became nomadic, traveling from one site to another as the water levels dropped and refilled.

Fauna & Flora

Plants   The most glaringly missing organism in the desert are the plants. They do exist but are very far and few between. Mostly lichens growing on rocks or spikey cactus protruding in the shadow of a bolder. Sagebrush is more common in the slightly more humid locations and tumble weeds are known to roll through on occasion. Prickly Pear, Desert Gourd, Desert Thyme, and Barrel Cactus have also found their way into the region. In higher elevations can be found some palm trees, date trees, and smoke trees that are native to the desert and can flourish in extreme heat and dry conditions.     Insects   The most numerous of any creature in the desert is certainly the insects. Consisting mostly of beetles, ants, flies, and the rarer bees and wasps, with the occasional moth and butterfly as well.     Birds   Due to their ease of travel and wide range, several species of birds reside in or travel to the desert. Usually consisting of birds of prey such as, cactus owls, vultures, falcons, hawks, and eagles. The owls usually feed on the mice and rats, falcons and hawks take migrating song birds, vultures and eagles patiently soar on the heated thermal updrafts looking for fallen animals to scavenge on. When the few plants that live here bloom, hummingbirds can be seen flitting from flower to flower.     Mammals   Few mammals live here as the extremes of the desert environment are too much to handle for most. The few that do manage to survive are usually small burrowers, such as mice and rats and usually carry disease.     Reptiles   Reptiles are by far the most successful of the large animals in the desert. Most commonly the snakes, lizards and even a few tortoises make the desert their home. Sidewinders, rattlesnakes, horned lizards, Gila monsters, Boulder Tortoises and their relatives live here. Additionally several monitor species have moved into the region as well. It is not uncommon to see Wedge-Faced Monitor, Spiked Monitor, or even an escaped War Monitor roaming around.     Amphibians   Amphibians do not survive well in the dry desert environment, but a few have managed to make it. They are usually the burrowing toads that dig deep down into the rare moist layers of sand and hibernate until the short spring rains come. At this time they rise from their slumber and enjoy a feast of insects during their short mating season, before hibernating once again.     Fish   There are no fish present in any of the tiny streams that manage to wind their way down from the mountains before drying up. In a few of the more deeply dug nomad burrows, where there still exists shallow pools, can be found a species of blind catfish and the occasional transplanted eel.     Invertebrates/Worms   The armored Hooked Worm lives just below the shifting sand in the more humid areas, if they can be called humid. Usually about a foot long with a dozen hooked teeth encircling its mouth and tough outer skin. It hunts its prey during the cold night, finding them with its heat vision. The occasional weary traveler awakens in horror to find one snacking on an exposed arm or leg. Many spiders, centipedes, and scorpions can be found under old tree stumps or in rock piles.     Humanoids   While occasional raiding parties of goblins, orc, bugbears, or kobolds come down from the mountains, the most common humanoids that actually live in the desert are the nomadic tribes made up from the descendants of Pellis Port. Those stubborn enough to stay and fight to survive here are usually the dwarves, humans, and occasional half elf, who banded together when the sea began to dry up.     Rumored Organisms   In addition to the expected plants and animals living in the desert, occasionally giant versions of each can be found there as well. There are also many rumored but unsubstantiated creatures hidden in the far recesses. Tales of Rocs, Pteradons, Mummys, Behir, Elementals, and even a Brass Dragon have been told around the campfire. Where there are deserts, there usually seems to be some unknown creatures or undead as well.

Natural Resources

At first sight, there appears to be very little natural resources available in this desert, but with a little knowledge, luck and perseverance, a few natural resources are can be harvested from the land.   A few culinary spices and herbs can be found growing in the more sheltered parts of the desert. The sparse Date Trees produce seasonal sugary fruits, that can be kept for long periods of time when dehydrated properly. Although a tricky process, these dates can be used to make rum as well.   When harvested, the meat from many snakes and lizards are available and also produce decent hides with decorative patterns. The eggs and young from various monitor species are collected and chiefly sold to those in The Pythos Empire. For the more unsavory shopkeeper, many kinds of snake and lizard venom can be collected here as well.   The rare tortoises and hibernating toads are also used for higher end products. The decorative Tortoiseshell strips are used to inlay and decorate many extravagant items, and equally sought after are the Toadstones, known for their poison immunity qualities.   Known only to most apothecaries, healers, and spell casters, the desert lends itself to having many ingredients known for remedies, potions, and spells.   Remnants of shipwrecks and things lost overboard can on occasion be found, particularly near the higher rocky outcroppings.   For those willing to brave this barren and hostile land, the Pellis Desert holds a few plant and animal species that offer unique opportunities.
Included Locations
Dangers   The desert is a hard and unforgiving place with few plants or animals, most of which can hurt you. Although some beauty does spring up from time to time. Those that manage to eek out a living here, have reported on the many dangers of the Pellis Desert. From intense heat and dehydration, to sandstorms and blinding sun, heat stroke and infectious diseases, poisonous plants and animals, magical creatures and various races of humanoids.     Diseases   Those that manage to survive their time in the desert are often killed much later by forgotten and overlooked infectious disease. Grey Scale, Pellis Fletus, White-Eye, Desert Fever, and Hanta Virus just to name a few. Many are warned to cover their eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent any foreign agents from entering the body.

Cover image: by by Dmitry Glazyrin


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