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D&D 5E Bnazic Desert analogue in 5e

Casimir Liber

Explorer
So always loved the idea of the Bnazic Desert from Lovecraft's Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath/dreamlands i.e a desert which looks like an underwater environment but is a desert - original vision is of plants and rock formations that look like coral reefs, nomads that ride blue-green camels. Blue green sand and terrestrial/flying critters that look like undersea thingies.

So far have scoured sources and considered the following from WoTC and other monster books.....

Giant crab (MM p324)
Belabra (ToH p33)
Sand Kraken (ToH p276)
Bone crab (ToB p40)
cactid (ToB p50)
rime worm (ToB p 327)
spider of Leng (ToB p 365)
Urochar (ToB p 393)
bearmit crab (CC p52)
lou carcolh (CC p257)

all input and thinking appreciated
 

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J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
What a great idea for a locale! I'm not too familiar with the Bnazic Desert, but off the top of my head I can think of a few things, if you're willing to repurpose some underdark monsters:
  • cloakers, which look like flying manta rays (CR8, MM p 41). Perhaps give them sky-blue bellies and mottled-green backs or something, maybe knock them down to animal intelligence if you just want a predator species. Envision a flight of aquamarine cloakers and their illusory doubles swooping in for the kill.
  • darkmantles resemble flying octopi (CR1/2, MM p46). Give them colors like pink or teal, so they can hide among the other weird faux-benthic vegetation; and maybe replace their darkness power with camouflage or blur or something. They could lie in wait along coral-lined gullies to leap down upon unsuspecting passersbys' heads.
  • grell (CR3, MM p) don't directly resemble any sea-creatures, but they are basically hovering betentacled blobs that could be reskinned as floaty jelly-fishy things, if given transparent rubbery bodies and maybe a paralytic poison attack.
Also many fungi resemble coral, so local myconids (CR varies, MM p 230) might take on an undersea aspect, coming in shapes of stony brain-like growths, shambling polyps, or smooth colorful branches. Their spore powers also sort of nicely play into the Dreamland theme, i think.

In DarkSun, there was also a massive monster called a cloud ray, which fits both the desert/sea and psychic/dream themes. I don't think it's officially statted in 5e, but would likely be a high-level sort of beast (a cursory google search for homebrew conversions turns up CRs from about 16 to 21).
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
There really isn't much on the locale at all. Lovecraft's novel just mentions a bunch of cool places in passing and not much actually takes place there, so in some ways it is like a really cool blank canvas to populate :) - love these ideas!
 


J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
Nice!
I poked around a little and you're right: there's precious little about it, not just in Lovecraft's writings, but pretty much anywhere. Definitely a wide open space to develop a setting or something. It got me thinking about such a weird locale to toss a party into sometime. ;)

Also had another weird thought: a vast "forest" of waving red feathery fronds, maybe 10ft tall or so, where all manner of brightly colored small fauna (like undulating flying snakes (in the guise of brightly colored sea sluggy things?), great insects or swarms [perhaps acting like schools of fish?], and weird birds) live among the tendrils. The catch is that a few of these red trees are actually breathing "gills" or sensory organs of great slumbering things (purple worm) beneath the surface, beasts that dart out to seize any large prey that strays within their reach-- stuff like camels, flying rays, or adventurers. I'm imagining a low-level party witnessing from afar a vast slithering form heave up out of a distant plain of reddish fronds, swallow a cloaker or three in mid flight, and rebury itself in a shower of turquoise sand.

Anyway, definitely interested to hear if/how you continue to develop this.
 




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