Thursday, November 8, 2018

Dark Sun Terrain: Sandy Wastes

Sahara Desert, Northern Africa
Vast expanses of yellow and orange sand. Dunes piled as high as large hills that change constantly, their size and shapes at the mercy of the hot winds that blows across the Tablelands. Most sand dunes are longer on the upwind side, or stoss, and have a shorter lee side, or slip face. Dunes may change location quickly, depending on the strength of the wind, which can bury travelers under tons of sand.
Strong, steady winds pile up sand into mekillot dunes, which resembles the roll on a  mekillots back. It is possible that these great dunes reach a height of seven hundred fifty feet high and several miles long. These dunes can be dangerous in a sand avalanche. If the wind is moderate and steady, the sand forms wave dunes. Wave dunes are much smaller than mekillot dunes, only reaching a maximum height of one hundred feet, and are evenly spaced.
Unidirectional wind that blows over the dunes low tips create crescent dunes. Crescent dunes are generally wider than they are long and tend to move quickly across the desert. Multi-directional winds create star dunes. Star dunes are pyramid shaped mounds with three or more ridged arms that stretch out from the central mound. These arms may stretch for many miles. Star dunes rarely change shape quickly or move very far.

Gobi Desert, Mongolia
A surprising number of creatures can be found in the sandy wastes, as well as a number of cacti and other tough plants. Oases are the most common place to find creatures and plants of all kinds, however many creatures live under the sand as well. These sand dwelling creatures swim through the sand as easily as humans walk through the air. Sink Worms and bulettes live under the sand and may attack unsuspecting travelers. Above ground, travelers are likely to encounter deadly creatures as well. Packs of thri-kreen, silt runners, id fiends, dune trappers, or even the terrifying so-ut can be found wandering the sandy wastes.
Traveling over the sandy wastes is extremely difficult. The Great Alluvial Sand Wastes are so vast, that it is difficult to judge distance accurately. The orange and yellow sands combined with the harsh reflection of the suns rays can trick the eye into seeing things that don't exist. Sand is difficult to walk through, as the feet sink below the surface. The wastes can be eerily silent, but sometimes the silence is interrupted by a thunderous roar. This roar can last for five minutes or more. It is said that this is the sound of sand avalanches, which is yet another hazard of the sandy wastes. Food and water can be very difficult to find, so travelers should be prepared to carry all that they will need.
Rub Al Khali, Yemen
The sandy wastes are not hospitable. Many travelers have been buried alive, but many more have simply died of dehydration. Sand storms are extremely common and can scour the flesh from a man's skin. It is not recommended to travel through the sandy wastes on foot. Kanks and crodlu can handle the sand more easily, but food and water must be carried for them, as well as the traveler.

Official Rules: All creatures move at their full movement speed over sandy wastes, but must rest for twelve hours a day.

House Rules: Traveling over sandy wastes reduces movement to one mile per hour and travelers must rest for twelve hours per day. Kank and crodlu use their full movement, but must rest longer as any traveler. Travelers using the water find non-weapon proficiency receive a -1 terrain penalty.

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