Braving the Desert


The deserts of Katapesh are a vast wasteland of varied threats. Heat, exhaustion, thirst, starvation, fell beasts, and roaming slavers all look menacingly on those that wander the wastes, awaiting their chance to claim new victims. The ruins of ancient Osirion and the remains of attempted settlements call to brave and hardy adventurers, but so too do the sun-bleached bones of travelers lost to sand and wind. Courage is not nearly so important as planning and wisdom when attempting to brave the wild lands between Katapesh and Sothis.

Natural Hazards
Living Threats
Badawi: Desert Natives

Prepare Yourself
Deserts are harsh and survival is difficult. A lifesaver is the create water spell, which gives you 2 gallons of drinking water per caster level. Unless you have multiple characters in your group that are capable of casting create water, a group with one 1st-level caster is limited to 6 gallons of water per day (unless you start using higherlevel spell slots on the spell), so you’ll need to provide other means of finding drinking water—which probably involves carrying it on your back.

If create water is your right hand in the desert, then endure elements is your left. A single casting of endure elements allows you to exist in most desert conditions as you would in the rest of the world, which means you don’t need extra water, don’t need to make Fortitude saves for very hot or severe heat conditions, and can wear whatever clothing and armor you like without concern for how the environment affects you.

While these two spells are immensely helpful, keep in mind that they also take up spell slots, and can easily sap your party’s combat strength just to stay comfortable. Potions, scrolls, and wands of these spells allow you to travel in relative comfort and still be ready for battle.

Gear and Magic Items
When traveling to the desert, you should select that gear which is best suited to the task: clothing and armor that keeps you cool, packs that support the most weight, and as much water as you can possibly manage to carry.

A bag of holding can carry water, but the amount of water it can hold is limited not so much by size as by weight. A type I bag can hold 250 pounds of water—about 30 gallons. A type II bag can hold 60 gallons, a type III bag 120 gallons, and a type IV bag 180 gallons. If you’re willing to use all the pockets of a handy haversack, you can manage about 14 gallons of water. For a cheaper alternative to the largest bag of holding, consider a decanter of endless water, which is a more efficient means of obtaining more water than a typical adventuring group needs for survival.

Aside from food and water, you should bring a tent to shield you from wind and sandstorms, empty waterskins or other containers to gather water, and (if you can spare the weight) extra arrows for hunting—there is no useable wood for replacing spent arrows in the desert.

For minor magic items that aid desert survival, see the Magic chapter.

Braving the Desert

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