The Bright Desert
|Pictures of The Bright Desert||Map of the Surrounding Lands||Items Found in The Bright Desert||NPCs of The Bright Desert|
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 pwerful being Sulm and Itar. 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 corrosponds to 576 CY.
In 584 CY, Rary betrayed the Circle of Eight at the Day of the Great Signing in Greyhawk, 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.
The Ghost Tower of Inverness
Know you that in the elder days before the Invoked Devastation and the Rain of Colorless Fire, when the ancient peaks of the Abbor-Alz still thrust skyward sharp and majestic and the Flan tribesmen were but newcomers to the land, there existed between the Bright Desert and the mouth of the river Selintan a great fortress called Inverness. The walls of this castle were said to be proof against enemies and all things magical or natural. Know you also that here was said to dwell the great wizard Galap-Dreidel at the height of his power and glory, and that he did lift the Castle Inverness from the very foundation of rock upon which it rested.
Most grand and terrible of all Galap-Dreidel's work was the keep's great inner tower; for it was there that the wizard's most prized possession, an eldritch jewel known only as the "Soul-Gem", was said to rest. Legend says that it was like a great white diamond and that it glowed with the brilliance of the sun. In years long past it had fallen from the sky and landed in the foothills of Abbor-Alz where Galap-Dreidel discovered it as it lay in the fires of its glory. Through magicks most arcane and knowledge forbidden to mortal men he did bend its power and shape the stone to his will. Stories say that the light of the gem dragged the souls of men screaming from their mortal flesh and trapped them within its many facets. Galap-Dreidel., it was said, harnessed this power and used it against those who opposed his will. They also say that he who controlled the gem could call forth the stolen souls of men and make them do his bidding.
For the stone Galap-Dreidel raised up the great central tower and filled his castle with many horrible creatures and deadly traps and using a great incantation, he did wrest the tower from the very fabric of time and set it apart so that those within would not be affected by the passage of years. Thus it was that his traps never faltered nor did his guardians age or need food. Townsfolk whispered that Galap-Dreidel would, at times, set a prisoner free in the tower merley for the sport of his beasts. Some legends tell that his power was so great that he even taught the gem to protect itself from those who would take it from him.
But despite his great power there came a time that Galap-Dreidel did leave on a journey northwest. over the river Selintan, and did not return. At this time there came a great multitude of superstitious peoples from surrounding lands who laid siege to the castle and threw down the great tower. And it came to pass that despite this seeming victory over their feared former master the people did shun the area and it was said that on fog-shrouded nights the great central tower of the Fortress Inveress could still be seen.