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Raurin, known as the Dust Desert and the Desert of Desolation, was once the center of the ancient empire of Imaskar, but it was transformed into a wasteland in -2488 DR[2] by the battles between the Imaskari and the avatars of the Mulhorandi pantheon and Untheric pantheon.[3]

After the fall of Imaskar, the ancient city of Solon sought to carve itself a new empire from the desert wastes. It succeeded for a time, gaining control of most of the land south of the Raurin Alta. It traded with Ra-Khati and Durpar. Slowly, however, as the desert spread further and as Shou invaders cut Solon's ties with the lands to the north, Solon lost its grip on its territories. After a succession of weak kings over a period of centuries, Solon was only left with the city itself.[1]

Since that time, many other desert kingdoms have risen in Raurin; the most recent and perhaps greatest of these was Bakar, although even Bakar is a pale shadow of the Imaskar Empire before it.[4].

In approximately 357 DR, the wizard Martek, called "The Greatest of Mages," served as Bakar's grand vizier. He imprisoned an efreeti of great power and, knowing it would one day escape, he set up a magical quest allowing heroes to resurrect him when the time was right.[5]

At this time, the River Athis flowed through the Dust Desert from a magical fountain in Terbakar, the capital of the kingdom of Bakar.[5] The River Athis ran generally northward, creating a fertile corridor that ran by the garden city of Pazar, the Oasis of the White Palm, and Carthag. Then the nation's last pharoah, Amun-Re, called down a curse on his people that caused the River Athis to dry up, the river valley subsequently becoming barren. The trade routes once used by the people of Durpar to travel to Mulhorand and Semphar were covered by sand.[5]

Eventually, though, the demand for trade grew great enough for caravans to attempt to make the crossing from Durpar to the northern cities of Mulhorand and Semphar once again. The journey to the dry valley of Athis was deadly, but it could be made, and subsequently the Sandvoyager Guild has made it their business to run caravans through the desert.[5]


Raurin is a waste of sand, which blows into great dunes, and round hills. The hills and dunes are cut with gullies terraced with strata of pinks, reds, and browns. Salt crystallizes on the surface, giving northerners the impression of snow. What few pools of water exist are too salty to drink. It is consistently hot, and there is very little rain.[6]

Inhabitants of Raurin include two-humped, shaggy camels, centipedes, gophers, desert jackasses, lizards, rats, mice, sheep (near oases), falcons, hawks, Raurin horses, vipers, sand cats, foxes, vultures, jackals, scorpions, and tortises. More fantastic creatures include cockatrices, brass dragons, brown dragons, blue dragons, copper dragons, dragonnes, dustdiggers, firenewts, hill giants, jackalweres, lamias, pyrolisks, rocs, sand boas, sandlings, giant tarantulas, thri-kreen, giant striders, giant bats, fire toads, ogres, purple worms, manticores, thunderherders, skriaxits, desert wraiths, hieracosphinxes, dracosphinxes, dao, and a handful of djinn, jann, and rogue efreet.


Al Qahara: An elven town hidden in a cavern in the south of the desert.



  1. 1.0 1.1 David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-0880388689.
  2. Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  3. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 170–171. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  4. David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 978-0880388689.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman, Philip Meyers, Peter Rice, Wm. John Wheeler (May 1987). Desert of Desolation, p. 4-5. TSR, Inc.
  6. David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 124. ISBN 978-0880388689.

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