Dumnonian Landscapes

from

On Dumnonia

by

Shane of Corin

Plateau

by

L.A. Malcor

When most Daethians think of Dumnonia they think of "desert" in the sense of "a waterless wasteland." But anyone native to the country would be appalled by such an oversimplification of their landscape. Dumnonians are quick to point out that their seemingly barren dunes support a wide variety of flora and fauna that are completely unknown in a true wasteland, such as Cinnamar.

Seif Dunes

by

L.A. Malcor

The open desert itself consists largely of seif, star and whaleback dunes. The seif dunes, with their sword-sharp peaks formed by the gentler desert winds, are the most common of the dunes. They can extend for over five thousand dragonlengths, that is roughly the distance between Tor and Krillion. Gassis, rocky paths, form between seif dunes. Star dunes are essentially seif dunes that have formed in a star-pattern, but they are generally shorter and far less extensive. Heavier sand forms whaleback dunes. The Dumnonian Bronzes prefer to lay their eggs on the smooth tops of such dunes at the mouth of the Valley of Ancients instead of on the softer seif dunes near the main Camp. (All anyone has been able to tell me concerning this phenomenon is "Corin's magic will protect," which sounds more like an article of faith than an astute observation of the nature of Corin's magic.) Caravaneers warn of patches of quicksand, which often mimic seif or whaleback dunes in appearance, large enough to swallow entire cities. This sand is exceptionally fine and can engulf anyone straying onto it within a single heartbeat (hence, the name "quick" sand). Barchan dunes form only at the desert's edge, where tough grasses cause the wind to drop the sand in crescent shapes. Longtime observers claim that even the largest of these dunes can be made to "creep" across the desert, driven by the fierce winds.

Karaif's Oasis

by

L.A. Malcor

Kavirs, which provide most of the salt on Centuria, are generally found near wadis, flood plains that channel rain water during the proverbial "tenth-year storms" that plague the desert. Rock salt veins may extend as much as a dragonlength beneath the hard surface. Generally hazardous only because of the extreme temperature of their surface at midday, kavirs turn treacherous after a tenth-year storm, with thin, apparently solid crusts of salt concealing vast pools of mud that can swallow an unwary traveler like the swampy-form of quicksand familiar to Daethians of the Great Woods. Badlands, with their eerie eroded features, also form near wadis. Harams, that is "holy sites" such as the Valley of Ancients, tend to be marked by the presence of at least semi-permanent camps, the main Camp being the most famous example of such an installation. Mountains, plateaus, canyons and valleys appear unexpectedly, rising out of and sinking into the sea of dunes. Experienced caravaneers claim that harrats--extensive sections of volcanic debris--and hogbacks--rocky breaks in plateaus--mark the location of permanent warps on the ground. Such features are reportedly created by the use of major magic in the War against the Dark One. Caravan trails wind between the main Camp and the Daethian border, always passing close to the massive plateau known as the Anvil where the Dragonriders go to Train. Oases and wells provide semi-reliable sources of water along these trails; some of these watering holes are also used as sites for the base camps of the Dragonlords.

Visit Me'ira's Clip Art For Dancers, the source for this image.

Brushland is uncommon except near the Daethian border and along the northern coast of Dumnonia, although a fairly extensive stretch is purportedly located near the Valley of Ancients and is rumored to support the herds that keep the Hatchlings fed. Forests and grassland are reported to hug the northern coast as well, but such features figure primarily in the storytelling landscape of the desert dwellers rather than in their everyday lives. Legends also tell of coral reefs, jungles, lagoons, swamps, and rivers, but no living Dumnonians can attest to the existence of such wonders.

Terrain Chart

Having trouble coming up with a description for the terrain that your character is traveling through? Here are some ideas. You can either roll randomly with a d100 on the following chart or you can pick what you like.

01-05 badlands 67 non-magic zone
06-10 barren 68-69 oasis
11-12 brushland 70-75 plateau
13 camp, remains of 76-77 qal'at (fortification)
14-19 caravan trail 78-81 quicksand
20-23 cliff 82 river
24-31 desert, open 83-84 ruin
32-34 dune, barchan (crescent-shaped at desert's edge) 85-90 gassi (path/trough of rocks between seifs)
35-42 dune, seif (sharp peak, large, parallel to wind) 91-96 wadi (seasonal flood area)
43-46 dune, star (star-shaped) 97-98 warp
47-55 dune, whaleback (huge, smoothe, parallel to wind) 99-00 well
56 flatland    
57 grassland    
58-59 haram (holy site)    
50-52 harrat (volcanic debris)    
53-55 hogback (rocky break/or ridge in plateau)    
56 hot spring    
57-60 kavir (salt flat)    
61 labirynth    
62-64 lake, alkaline    
65-66 lake, seasonal    

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