Great Desert Geographic Location in SanZera | World Anvil

Great Desert

West of the shattered peaks stretches hundreds of miles of sandy wasteland known simply as The Great Desert. Very little of the expanse of rock, dust, and oppressive heat has been charted, and it is generally avoided at great cost.

For centuries the Desert has been a frustrating and deadly obstacle for traders and warmongers alike. However, new, promising developments in airship technology may see it finally conquered.

Geography

"Out there, water turns to steam before it touches your lips."

It isn't called the Wastes for no reason. The majority of the Desert is flat, dusty scrublands. The scenery gradually becomes more rocky approaching the mountains, featuring some admirable arch formations.

The center of the Desert is known as the Scorch. It is a swath of towering red and gold sand dunes--some reaching over 400 yards in height. The Scorch is the hottest place on the planet, and it is empty save for a handful of resilient wildlife. Travelling through it is suicide. Anyone trying to get from one side of the Desert to the other has no choice but to go around.

Ecosystem

To survive in the Desert, one must be resistant to heat and not prone to dehydration. The plants and animals native to the Desert all have extremely specialized adaptations to allow them to survive. Many species use Lunar Aura to counterract the heat. Reptiles, insects, small mammals, birds of prey, and even dragons have all figured out how to make the Wastes their home.

Ecosystem Cycles

The Desert is most lively at night. Creatures that hid from the suns during the day emerge when it is cooler to go about their business. Other than at night, the suns also weaken during solar eclipses, allowing the wildlife to enjoy the daytime once every twenty days.

Localized Phenomena

Brightstorms--a variant of a sandstorm filled with bolts of Aura--are most frequently found in the vast plains of the Desert and the dunes of the Scorch. Normal sandstorms also occur and are sometimes many miles wide.

With no protection from the sky, areas in the Great Desert experience Skybleeds much more intensely than other parts of the world. The overabundance of Aura doesn't have many sources to absorb it, and so saturates the atmosphere until something Luminous--even something living--comes to absorb it. This can cause explosions or Combustion.

Alternative Name(s)
The Auzeran Wastes
Type
Desert
Location under
Included Locations

Watchers of The Scorch

Somewhere in the dunes, a monolith compound lies half buried in sand. Accounts vary on its location and its description, as so few inviduals have ever journied so deep into The Scorch and returned.

It is said that the compound's spires are dark in color. Some claim them to be pitch black, others say that they were a rich, navy blue. All agree that they had blazing golden veins. Another key detail of the compound is that it is lopsided--the monoliths jut from the dunes at an angle.

The accounts do not agree on the number of monoliths or their formation. No exact location has been found, either. It is unclear if the compound really exists or if it is nothing more than a mirage.

History

The Desert has always been a formidable obstacle for Auzera's inhabitants. Countless souls have been lost to the heat and lack of water. Likewise, communication across it has always been difficult.

As a result, the cultures on the north, south, and west of the desert all developed in relative isolation to one another. With the mountains cutting off eastward travel, Auzera is left with four distinct cultural quadrants.
"If it weren't for the dragons and the kindness of the Suns, our ancestors would have perished in the Scorch. Remember, your dragon is more than a steed, it is a partner. It is your personal divine link to the Suns and their will. Remember, when you fly with the dragons, you fly with gods."
Dragon Riding Academy commencement address, given by a Khetzali priest

The west, north, and south quadrants have been attempting to find better ways around the Desert for centuries. Sometimes these efforts are to establish stronger trade routes. More often, they are to wage war against one another. The first settlers of Khetzala fled Azhavin in the aftermath of the Cipher Schism. They had no choice but to attempt crossing the Scorch, knowing it was a death sentence.

Miraculously, a pack of Savanna Plains Racers came to the refugees aid. They guided them through the Desert, bringing them food and leading them to water, until they reached what is now Khetzala. Those dragons' descendants became the famous Khetzali War Dragons.

Ever since then, Khetzala and the Theocracy of Azhavin have hated each other. Each has attempted conquering the other multiple times, but the Desert has stifled their success. Until recently, they were neck and neck in the race to build large, long distance airships. Then, the war with Shef Razid crippled Khetzala's infrastructure and armies. At the same time, Azhavin's research and development stalled due to civil disputes. With the biggest players in the north and south quadrants busy with their own problems, the door is left open for smaller, more crafty organizations in the west to take the spotlight.

As for the Desert itself... the sands don't care what happens to the people bickering across them. Politics shift, alliances form, people die, and the suns beat down hot and unforgiving as ever.


Articles under Great Desert



Comments

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Jul 8, 2022 21:06 by Stormbril

I love that this massive desert has generally existed and been un-mapped for so long, and I REALLY love the mystery of those monoliths within the Scorch. Perhaps with airships, people might finally get some confirmed sightings of the things :O

Jul 8, 2022 21:13 by Aster Blackwell

Perhaps so... only time will tell~

Jul 10, 2022 16:03 by Alex

I read this as I was hiding in the basement because the upper level was over 80 degrees and I felt that last line in my *soul* - "the suns beat down hot and unforgiving as ever". It'd be cool to visit, but, y'know... with A/C of some sort

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Jul 10, 2022 19:22 by Aster Blackwell

Ah I'm so sorry about your heat situation! And I assure you, if 80 degrees is too hot, I don't think you'd enjoy visiting the Wastes ;P

Feb 12, 2024 18:50 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

That last line was just amazing. I love the idea of a desert that has still not really been conquered, so all of the cultures have developed in isolation.

Feb 14, 2024 00:02 by Aster Blackwell

Thank you so much! Big natural obstacles are how I create cultural rifts while simultaneously avoiding writing any real history! /hj

Feb 22, 2024 15:48

Thank you for the inspiring article and I look forward to learning more about the different cultures.

Stay imaginative and discover Blue´s Worlds, Elaqitan and Naharin.

Psst join the Copper-Party during Summer Camp 2024 and I would be very happy if you would celebrate my SC contributions with me.
Feb 22, 2024 16:18 by Aster Blackwell

Thank YOU for your kind words!