Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:57 am
Sea of Dust
The Sea of Dust is all that remains of the Suel Imperium, destroyed by the Rain of Colorless Fire as part of the Twin Cataclysms over a thousand years ago. It is a harsh and alien wasteland that still draws travelers due the ruins and treasure that lie under the dust that provides its name. The dusty remnants of the Suel and their lands is continually added to by ash from the volcanic Hellfurnaces to the east.
All parts of the Sea feature alien landscapes and creatures, and water is a challenge to find. Monsters roaming from neighboring regions are also a threat, including fire giants and fire newts from the Hellfurnaces. The Sea itself features thri-kreen, harpies, ankhegs, as well as tales of huge tunneling worms, giant insects, weird shambling fungi, and giant lizards that can run on the dust.
Country specific resources:
“Legacies of the Suel Imperium”, Dragon #241.
“Sea of Death” (1987) by Gary Gygax (Gord The Rogue Novel, published after leaving TSR and thus properly not Greyhawk canon)
Tim Beach & Dori Hein, “Thri-Kreen of Athas” (1995) (section on thri-kreen of Oerth).
Adventures in this country include:
- Exploring the Forgotten City, the ruined former capital of the Suel Imperium in the central waste with all the potential riches and dangers it contains. The central waste is the most alien and challenging land, with dust lakes that behave like water but which can be dived in down the ruins below, and glass lakes that used to be Suel cities.
- The northern regions contain more ruins but have been picked clean for the most part by the tribes that inhabit the Sulhaut mountains to the north. Adventures are more likely to begin in this less challenging area, coming via Slerotin’s Passage from the Yeomanry.
- The southwest is the most inhabited by Suel tribes of nomads and other peoples from further south, who guard their wells fiercely and value cattle and crops more than the jewels and treasure so commonly salvaged by them.
- The Sea is said to contain The Null, a place that is a universal gate to all known planes said to be guarded by golems, summoned extraplanar creatures, stone sphinxes that test the wisdom of those who would dare travel using its magic, and more.
- Adventurers could be caught up in factions’ schemes and plans in the Sea; such as the Scarlet Brotherhood (always interested in Suel peoples and treasures) and the Silent Ones of Keoland (notorious for trying to protect dangerous relics).
Adventures in nearby areas include:
- Sulhaut Mountains: These mountains provide a barrier between the Sea and the Dry Steppes to the north. Legends tell of Lo Nakar, the lost city of Suel saved by the goddess Wee Jas, that survives to this day.
- The Dry Steppes: The Dry Steppes to the north are what remains of the heartland of the Baklunish Empire after being laid waste by the Invoked Devastation called down by the Suel Imperium. Inhabited by the Paynim nomads, the Sea of Dust makes it look idyllic in comparison.
- Crystalmist and Hellfurnaces Mountains: To the north east and east lie these mountain ranges that form a natural barrier to the Yeomanry, the Sea Princes and Berghof, and Amedio Jungle. Each range on its own contains many creatures, treasures and dangers of their own, and crossing them to reach the Sea of Dust is a challenge on its own. Slerotin’s Passage lies under the Crystalmists to the Yeomanry, and is the most likely route for adventurers seeking to explore the Sea. The Hall of the Fire Giant King from Against the Giants also lies in the Hellfurnaces near Berghof.
- Southern Oerik: to the south and south west lies unknown realms and the Pearl Sea. The Suel fled there after the Twin Cataclysms and onwards, but some doubtless remained along with the native inhabitants unknown to the Flanaess.
The Sea of Dust is a harsh and alien wasteland suited only to the hardiest, most experienced and best prepared adventurers. It is, quite simply, one of the most dangerous and difficult places on Oerth to explore. However, the treasures and places that draw adventurers are said to be worth the risk. They will need to be, for the risk is tremendous.
Richard Di Ioia (aka Longetalos)