Once a continent spanning wetland filled with lush plant and wildlife, millennia long drought has reduced this land to a barren desert. Journeying into the heart of this waste land is a death sentence for most. The Parched Marshes are the hottest and driest places on Etape. This does not stop many brave adventurers from daring to challenge the hellish landscape. Legends speak of ancient ruins from lost civilizations, rare tropical oasis teaming with undiscovered resources, and artifacts hidden by the gods themselves.
People of Red Earth Edit
Long ago, far before the recorded history of any intelligent race, a great civilization spread across the Parched Marches. Back then, the land was still lush and vibrant. Great cities where built on the banks of rivers and the shores of lakes that criss cross the otherwise dry land. The records left behind that have been found show a rich, powerful nation with a highly advanced culture. These are the people of the Red Earth.
Surviving paintings depict them as red skin humanoids. Where they came from and what happened to them has been lost to history. They mysteriously vanished around the same time when the Parched Marches dried up.
Their language consists of highly elaborate pictographs. To date, no one has yet to truly decipher their meaning. Some have gleamed some degree of insight from the less abstract hieroglyphs, but nothing approaching the actual lost language. Arcane and divine magic also fails to allow scholars to learn the language completely, leading some to believe that the writing may be supernatural in origin.
The Forbidden Library Edit
Lifewater Oasis Edit
Many hardy adventurers journey into the Parched Marshes seeking fame and fortune. Few return to tell the tale of how their comrades died. Not in glorious battle against mighty monsters or matching wits against cleaver dungeons. Thirst is the number one killer in this desert. So any party that stumbles upon an oasis might see it as a blessing of the gods.
In fact, there may be an oasis that truly is blessed. Legends say that deep within the Parched Marshes is an oasis that is Paradise on earth. Delicious fruits of every verity grow from every tree and every bush. The desert wind that blows through them becomes cool and refreshing. One can lay on the soft grass under feet and sleep on it like a bed. Tropical birds sing beautiful songs. Bees that never sting feast on the endless flower fields, honey flowing from their hives like rivers.
More than all these wonders is the miraculous water the bubbles from the ground: Lifewater. It is said to seep directly from the plane of water itself. Many amazing things are said to happen to those who drink the Lifewater. It's said to do anything from heal the sick and infirm, great incredible physical and mental prowess, enhance ones physical attractiveness, restore youth, and even raise the dead or grant eternal life.
Though like many treasures said to lay in the Parched Marsh, the desert has claimed countless lives of those who seek it.