Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
Sea of Dust
A territory of unknown extent exists west of the Hellfurnaces, south of the Sulhaut Mountains.
This bleak desert is the Sea of Dust, the former Empire of the Suel. This was once a fair and fertile realm extending a thousand miles west and south, but its rulers were merciless and haughty, and the Rain of Colorless Fire that the Baklunish mages brought down upon it was a fitting fate for them, if not for their peoples. The terrible, nearly invisible fiery rain killed every living thing it struck, ignited the landscape, and burned the hills to ash.
To this day, the place is a desert, choked with dust and dry ash in gentle rises and shallow valleys that resemble waves in the ocean. It is far less picturesque when the winds howl and tear the surface into choking clouds that strip flesh from bone, making vision impossible and life hazardous in the extreme. Added to this are rains of volcanic ash and cinders blown down from the Hellfurnaces.
Mountain tribesmen from the Sulhauts sometimes scavenge the ruins of old Sue1 cities along the northern rim of the Sea of Dust, but their pickings are meager after a millennium of pillage. If buried riches exist, they must lie within the central body of the Sea of Dust, a place so inhospitable that survival there is an achievement in itself. The handful of accounts that exist from searchers for the legendary Forgotten City of the Suloise remark on lakes of dust that are magically affected so that they have almost fluid qualities. These dunes of caustic, white ash are so adverse to breathing that after an hour of inhaling without a wet cloth over the mouth, one coughs blood and suffers other strange symptoms. These travelers do not tell of great wealth, although they stress the perils of having to “dive” through layers of dust to explore any ruins below.
There may be some underground springs below the Sea of Dust, as well as places where water tables have risen and seepage into the choked surface has occurred, for there are reports of life below the surface of this terrain: huge tunnelling worms; 20-foot insects that look like crosses between a mantis and a centipede; weird shambling fungi with surfaces hard as stone to prevent loss of water by evaporation; and chitin-beaked giant lizards with vast webbed feet that allow them nearly to skim the surface of the dust. Rumors that harpies flock in old ruins and that degenerate remnants of Sue1 stock survive in some areas are, however, distinctly more implausible and are discounted by reliable and wise scholars.
Ancient Suloise documents in Greyhawk mention a magical portal named The Null somewhere in the Sea of Dust-a place that is a universal gate to all known planes. It is said to be guarded by golems, summoned extraplanar creatures, stone sphinxes that test the wisdom of those who would dare travel using its magic, and more
Tales and Whispers
Late 585 CY: A tale of the wild mage Horris has circulated around The Free City of Greyhawk that he will be heading southwest with a small party of hirelings. 1st to the Principality Of Ulek to verify or dispel rumours that The Deck of Many Things was last seen being used in the Pomarj or that it is being taken south, deep into the Sea of Dust.