Bright Desert

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The Bright Desert and environs, as depicted on the Paizo map (2005).

The Bright Desert is a desert located in the central Flanaess. The Bright Desert is independent of the control of any external nation, and has been significantly organized under the control of Rary the Traitor, though its enemies (among whom it counts the Free City of Greyhawk, the Duchy of Urnst, and the Circle of Eight) do not acknowledge it as a nation.


The Bright Desert extends from the Abbor-Alz to the north and east to the Woolly Bay to the west, and to the Sea of Gearnat to the south.

The desert itself gives way to scrub near the Abbor-Alz.

Temperatures in the desert can reach 120°F and can dip into the low 30s during the night. Sandstorms are not uncommon (Pryor, Rary the Traitor).

Prominent flora include the vampire cactus.


The Bright Desert is inhabited by Flan and Suel tribesmen, as well as centaurs, manscorpions, and dune stalkers.

Features and settlements

The Bright Desert contains only one major geographical feature, the Brass Hills in its south-western region.

Ulbakak, a neutral oasis and trade village, lies in the west.


The Bright Desert was once a fertile land occupied by a number of nations, the most powerful being Sulm and Itar. In -700 CY, the Kingdom of Sulm was destroyed by its last king, Shattados, who used the power of a dark artifact known as the Scorpion Crown in an attempt to gain perpetual dominion over his subjects. Instead, the crown turned Shattados into a gigantic scorpion, and his people into manscorpions and dune stalkers. The land itself was even changed, transformed into a vast wasteland now known as the Bright Desert.[1]

In the 1983 A Guide to the World of Greyhawk booklet in the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting boxed set, Gary Gygax writes only that the Bright Desert is the land that lies beyond the Abbor-Alz, and that its peoples are unfriendly. This note corresponds to 576 CY.

The Bright Lands

In 584 CY, Rary betrayed the Circle of Eight at the Day of the Great Signing in Greyhawk, which marked the end of the Greyhawk Wars. When his attempt to disrupt the signing failed, he fled into the Bright Desert with his co-conspirator, Robilar, and marshalled the local tribes to create a nation-state (Cook, Wars). Robilar went on foot with those troops that followed Rary while Rary transported his tower in Ket to the middle of the Bright Desert (Pryor, Rary the Traitor).

This new kingdom, the Empire of the Bright Lands (or simply Bright Lands), is held under the tyrannical control of Rary and Robilar who have systematically used their small army and mercenary soldiers to defeat tribes of local nomads and subjugate them under his rule. His armies are now large and powerful enough to defend this young nation. Rumors continue to spread that he seeks some artifact in the desert ruins (Pryor, Rary the Traitor).


  • Brown, Anne. Player's Guide. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998.
  • Cook, David. "History of the Greyhawk Wars." Wars. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1991. Available online:[3]
  • Hammack, Allen. The Ghost Tower of Inverness. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1980.
  • Mona, Erik. "Reflections in Silica: Sulm and Itar." Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, unpublished. Available online: [4]

External link