Explore environments that can challenge even the most experienced desert dweller in Sandstorm, the latest supplement in the environmental series of D&D books. Information for both players and Dungeon Masters includes new races, spells, feats, magic items, prestige classes, and monsters associated with deserts and other wastelands. Also, as with Frostburn, read about specific types of terrain (such as supernatural wastes) plus the hazards associated with them. Our sneak peek includes a look at the formation of waste environments, races and feats, prestige classes, spells, and a new creature.
The gray mounds of the desert roll into the distance, baked by the blazing sun. Not a single stone shows through the powdery plane, nor does a single insect scurry across its surface. There is no landmark to steer by across the burning silence of the sand sea except the sun. Dust billows with every step, choking parched throats.
Dryness, ash, dust, heat, and sand: These are the elements that make up a waste environment. The presence of any one of these elements might be sufficient to qualify an area as a waste environment. The presence of two or three elements is usually a sign of a fairly inhospitable place, while a locale that features all five elements is an environment that can test the strongest will.
The scale of what can be classified as a waste environment extends from the very small, such as a single dry spot in an otherwise temperate location (even a single chamber in a dungeon), to the enormous -- a region, continent, world, or perhaps an entire plane of existence. The conditions, hazards, and effects of these zones vary in type and severity, depending upon the specific cause and location of the given waste. The possibilities are endless.
The Waste in Your Game
The methods by which you can introduce waste elements into your campaign are, like waste environments themselves, nearly endless. The simplest method is the inclusion of an extremely hot or arid room or chamber in your next dungeon scenario, or as an obstacle through which your player characters must pass to move on to the next phase of the campaign. Mixing mundane threats with an environment that carries its own challenges is a way to inject variety into the game. Encounters with "ordinary" monsters could prove more deadly than they would be in areas where the environment does not come into play.
Every waste environment is different. While one warm environment might threaten dehydration in rounds, many others become dangerous only after several hours of trekking through them. For instance, anyone can stand outside on a hot summer day without real risk. However, force someone to walk for miles carrying a hundred pounds of equipment on that same hot summer day, and the possibility of heat exhaustion becomes a real threat.
Experienced characters might choose to journey for months through hot and sandy regions in search of any adventure that finds them, or for a specific purpose. Perhaps they seek to uncover the entrance to the lost City of Dar, where artifacts of the ancient pharaohs must be found before a terrible curse fulfills its ancient promise. Eventually, adventurers gain the ability and the desire to travel the planes, enabling them to brave the perils of lava-filled regions of the Elemental Plane of Fire, Baator's hoary layer of Stygia, or any other plane of heat and sand.
However you choose to introduce the waste elements of dryness, ash, dust, heat, and sand into your game, this book is designed to be your first and best resource. Here, you will find rules for extreme heat and malignant deserts, new races and touchstone feats, equipment, spells, monsters, and more.