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  • Writer's pictureMark S. Cookman

20 Desert Terrain Features

As we learned in a previous post, caravan masters make the big bucks because they can successfully navigate the desert and its numerous hazards. If you think that a desert is nothing but a bunch of shifting sand, then prepare to be enlightened. Deserts are complex places, often with multiple types of terrain. Truly, the desert is the "first step" of a desert-based campaign. While no desert may contain all of the geographic features listed below, all deserts have more than one of them. Enjoy creating your own deserts however you choose. Hopefully you will find the table below useful in that process.

  1. Rolling Sand Dunes

  2. Rocky Plateaus

  3. Mountainous Regions

  4. Salt Marshes

  5. Broken and Cracked Plains

  6. Dry Riverbeds

  7. Lakes of Soft Silt (effectively quicksand)

  8. Maze-Like Canyons

  9. Sudden Cliffs

  10. Geological Fault Lines

  11. Narrow Ravines

  12. Massive Buttes

  13. Tabletop Mesas

  14. Mysterious Hoodoos

  15. Flat Sandy Plains

  16. Rock-Strewn Hills

  17. A Mirage of an Oasis

  18. A Strange Landmark

  19. A Dried-Up Oasis or Well

  20. A Real Oasis

When creating your own desert, I recommend drawing a simple map and placing the geographic terrain features first, followed by cities, unique structures, dungeons, lairs or whatever other evils your mind can conceive. That simple map you created first, with maybe a few cities on it, is what the caravan master knows. Compared to what everyone else knows, that is a vast wealth of knowledge. That must be why they get the big bucks. :D

#desert #dnd #dmadvice #gmadvice

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