The Scorched Plains Geographic Location in Paracosma | World Anvil
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The Scorched Plains

Where no man dare tread

The Scorched Plains are one of the most dangerous and desolate regions of Paracosma. It consists of a vast expanse of flat gravel and sharp rock outcroppings. Its most prominent feature are the patches of flame springing up across the plain. Most are small and continually burn, others produce large bursts of flame that can reach 3,300 degrees Celsius. The fire is caused by a buildup of natural gas beneath the ground's surface. The gas reservoir spands the entirety of The Scorched Plains and makes life their virtually impossible. Beyond the smoldering heat, fire columns are known to appear without warning, incinerating everything near by. Also, sudden explosions are not uncommon from pockets of gas buildup. These explode just below the surface and shoot debris and poisonous gas into the air. The air itself is unsuitable for life. Leaking gas makes breathing difficult and fatal if one breathed it in for too long. The Scorched Plains could possibly be the most dangerous natural region of Paracosma.


The Scorched Plains is a barren wasteland. It is flat a far as the eye can see with only outcroppings of rock and patches of fire to break the horizon. There is no vegetation or wildlife. The ground is cracked rock and pebbles. Above lies a layer of soot. It is warm to the touch and sometimes glows between the cracks. This, coupled with tremors is a sure sign a fire column is about to erupt. The air is filled with poisonous gas which is more dense near larger pits of fire. The air is heavy with ash and embers. The sky is filled with grey clouds that block out the sun creating never ending darkness.


There isn't any. The fire and gas does not allow any life to survive. There is no source of water and if there were it would be quickly evaporated by the heat. If plants were able to spring up they would quickly catch fire or suffocate. The sun would not even be able to reach them due to the smoke layer. The only known creatures are bacteria and other microorganisms that aid in oxygen replenishment.

Localized Phenomena

The localized phenomena of The Scorched Plains are exclusively harmful. Large fire columns or flame geysers are the most immediate threat. They are caused by gas and heat buildup below the surface. Eventually the pressure becomes so great that the gas ignites and sends a jet of flame straight through the rock, into the sky. These geysers are incredibly deadly for a number of reasons. They can reach heats of 3,300 Celsius, giving off a white/purple hew. A large enough column is enough to incinerate anything nearby. If someone where to be within the range of one they would be instantly vaporized. Though it is unlikely to escape a flame geyser, they are often precluded by a localized earthquake and the area around the geysers slightly glowing. After this, a traveler has about 10 seconds to run from the blast. If the heat does not kill them then the sudden hypoxia bubble around the geyser would suffocate them. Though there are certain areas where flame geysers frequently occur, most happen randomly across the plains. The shift of gas under the surface is impossible to track.   Explosions are another unpredictable phenomena. They can occur above or below ground. Underground explosions are caused by the same build up of gas as a flame geyser. Instead of erupting in a strait line, gas builds up in a wide field under the surface. Unlike pressure which forces a geyser upward, an explosion is activated by a spark or other energizer such as lightning. It breaks apart the ground above it sending debris in all directions. The area is then lelt with a gaping crater and dense gas above it. Though not as common as geysers, they pose their own challenges. vaporization is not a factor but spewed rock is just as deadly. The release of poisonous gas can also cause additional expositions aboveground. An ember floating through the air that comes in contact with the gas cloud would light the air itself on fire.   While The Scorched Plains do not receive rainfall, storms are still frequent. Because heat rises, cold air is swept in from the north to replenish it. This causes violent winds that suck up patches of fire known as firestorms. These billow across the plains burning everything in their wake. Even worse, a fire tornado can develop. This is exactly what you would imagine with a spiraling vortex of fire. They eventually subside but leave the ground churned up and the gas underneath it unstable.

Natural Resources

Though the underground gas would be a good natural resource, it is simply to dangerous to harvest. No kingdom is willing to venture into The Scorched Plains much less disturb the gas bubbling beneath it.


The Scorched Plains were not always desolate. They used to be filled with an abundance of wildlife and foliage. It was a grassland like many plains are usually. The grass was able to thrive on a layer of soil above the now rocky surface. However, the gas below was a ticking timebomb. All it would take was a strategically placed spark to set the whole ecosystem ablaze. That is exactly what happened. Though it is unclear what that first spark was, it was most likely a natural catalyst such as a wildfire or lightning storm.   Yet, there are legends by the surrounding kingdoms saying that the plains were lit by a battle. The long forgotten solders of a long forgotten war were unfortunate enough to choose the plains as a battlefield. It is said a single cannonball caused mass destruction. It supposedly sored through the air and sailed straight into a rabbit hole. (Though the chances of that happening are extremely unlikely. If The Scorched Plains were from a battle, it was probably from the cannon itself firing.) Either way, a massive exposition was set off across the entire battlefield, the largest of the underground explosions previously stated. All the men would have instantly died. This, in turn, set off a wave of fire across the gas reservoir. It scorched not only the plants and animals but the top soil as well, leaving only the now cracked rock beneath. As the heated rock cracked it allowed more gas to seep through causing more destruction. It is hard to tell if their were any civilizations that got taken up in its wake, but it is unlikely since any settlers would have ignited the plains long before they could properly settle.  No matter the initial cause, the history of The Scorched Plains is a gruesome one.
Alternative Name(s)
Gateway to Hell; Fields of Punishment

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Author's Notes

I got the idea for The Scorched Plains from an actual location. It is called the Gates of Hell in Derweze, Turkmenistan. It is a flaming crater formed after an expedition of scientists reportedly lit the methane in the crater, trying to burn the gas up. Instead, the hole has been burning since 1971. I applied the idea of the crater to a whole plain and made up the science behind it. The phenomena like fire geysers and underground explosions never happened at the real crater. Even still, it is super fascinating. Here is a link to an article about it.

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