Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dark Sun Terrain: Scrub Plains

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
Although rare in the Tablelands, scrub plains are highly coveted by herders and defilers. Clumps of grass, thorny bushes, and occasional trees fill the landscape. Although scrub plains are not lush by any accepted measure, they do contain some of the most abundant foliage on Athas. Scrub plains are extremely popular for herders to graze their flocks, sometimes to excess. They are also a popular spot for defilers to cast spells, as there are plenty of plants to fuel their magic. Unfortunately, if overgrazed or defiled, scrub plains will become sandy wastes or stony barrens.
Life is very common in the scrub plains, after all, where there are plants, there is water. Small and medium sized creatures feed on the plants, while larger predators hide among the grasses and bushes. Water can generally be found inside certain plants, or pooled a few feet below the surface. The plants provide shade for the creatures that call it home and wind that blows through the scrub plains is sometimes cooled by the plants that grow there.

Fruitland, Utah, USA
An abundance of animals call the scrub plains home. Insects, small lizards, and small rodents feed on the plants and their seeds. The often dig burrows into the earth near these plants to protect their burrow from the heat of the sun. Large creatures prowl during the morning, evening, and night, searching for a meal. Erdlu, erdland, jhakar, lirrs, id fiends, and fire scorpions are a small sample of the creatures found in the scrub plains. In addition, travelers must be watchful, for many of the plants are dangerous as well. Besides brambleweed, there are zombie plants, rock cactus, hunting cactus, spider cactus, and burnflowers.
Traveling through the scrub plains appears to be easy, but like everything else on Athas, looks can be deceiving. Even if a traveler is able to avoid overly-protective herders, deadly creatures, and carnivorous plants, there are fanatical druids as well. Many druids will simply watch travelers and make sure they do not harm the land. However, some druids are fanatical in the protection of the land and will drive out or kill anyone who enters their territory. After all, they might be a defiler or a defiler in disguise.

Cedar City, Utah, USA
The scrub plains of the Tablelands are one of the most inviting and hospitable areas available. Water, food, and shade are plentiful compared to other terrain types. Shelter is often lacking if a sand storm blows through the area, however. The biggest worry when traveling through the scrub plains should be creatures and demihumans.

Official rules: All creatures move at their full movement speed over scrub plains.

House rules: Traveling through scrub plains decreases movement to one and a half miles per hour. Those in scrub plains using the set snares or hunting non-weapon proficiencies are awarded a +1 terrain bonus to their proficiency.

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