In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, the Bright Desert is a fictional desert located in the central Flanaess. The Bright Desert is independent of the control of any external nation, and has been significantly organized under the control of Rary the Traitor, though its enemies (among whom it counts The Free City of Greyhawk, The Duchy of Urnst, and The Circle of Eight) do not acknowledge it as a nation.
Geography and climate
The Bright Desert extends from the Abbor-Alz
(a rugged range of hills) to the north and east to the Woolly Bay
to the west, and to the Sea of Gearnat
to the south. It contains only one major geographical feature, the Brass Hills
in its south-western region.
The desert itself gives way to scrub near the Abbor-Alz.
Temperatures in the desert can reach 120°F and can dip into the low 30s during the night. Sandstorms are not uncommon.
The Bright Desert was once a fertile land occupied by a number of nations, the most powerful being Sulm
. In -700 CY
, the Kingdom of Sulm was destroyed by its last king, Shattados
, who used the power of a dark artifact known as the Scorpion Crown
in an attempt to gain perpetual dominion over his subjects. Instead, the crown turned Shattados into a gigantic scorpion
, and his people into manscorpions
and dune stalkers
. The land itself was even changed, transformed into a vast wasteland now known as the Bright Desert.
In the 1983, A Guide to the World of Greyhawk booklet in the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting boxed set, Gary Gygax writes only that the Bright Desert is the land that lies beyond the Abbor-Alz, and that its peoples are unfriendly. This note corresponds to 576 CY.
In 584 CY, Rary betrayed the Circle of Eight
at the Day of the Great Signing
, which marked the end of the Greyhawk Wars
. When his attempt to disrupt the signing failed, he fled into the Bright Desert with his co-conspirator, Robilar
, and marshaled the local tribes and began to create their own nation-state. Robilar went on foot with those troops that followed Rary while Rary transported his tower in Ket
to the middle of the Bright Desert.
This new kingdom, The Empire of the Bright Lands (or simply Bright Lands), is held under the tyrannical control of Rary and Robilar who have systematically used their small army and mercenary soldiers to defeat tribes of local nomads and subjugate them under his rule. His armies are now large and powerful enough to defend this young nation. Rumors continue to spread that he seeks some artifact in the desert ruins.
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