The Black Desert is one of the Vaults of Orv, deepest layer of the Darklands, and is located far below northeastern Garund. Like the other Vaults, it is a staggeringly large cavern filled with black sand deserts and toxic radiation hostile to all non-native life.
The Black Desert is located below northeastern Garund, roughly beneath the nations of Osirion and Thuvia. The Vault known as the Midnight Mountains is to the north, Doga-Delloth to the west, and Minos-Pashat to the south. There is a also a route up to the shallower layers of the Darklands.
Its landscape is dominated by the countless of miles of black sand that give it its name. The ceiling of the Vault contains lodes of blightburn ore that illuminate the cavern with a dim green glow. These large concentrations of blightburn give off a poisonous radiation, making the Black Desert fatal to most living, non-native creatures.
In the Age of Destiny, the Black Desert was called Vask, a primeval jungle with six tiny suns that warded away the radiation. The xulgaths who called Vask home viewed it as a sacred place: a mirror of Gluttondark, the Abyssal realm of their patron Zevgavizeb. In 1 AR, Aroden discovered the aeon orbs and, believing that humans could use them better, took all but one of them to the Isle of Kortos. However, Aroden was unaware that one aeon orb was insufficient to maintain Vask's ecosystem. With five of the six orbs lost, the radiation soon rendered the vault a black, irradiated wasteland, forcing the xulgaths to flee.
In 820 AR, the drow of House Shraen, exiled from their home city for their worship of Urgathoa, entered the Black Desert. Only a small portion of the exiled house survived to the end of its journey, and those that did all did so as undead beings. The undead drow settled in the ruins of one of the xulgath cities, which they named Shraen after themselves. The drow eventually established themselves as a major power in the vault, and despite their enmity with the urdefhan that roam the surrounding desert continue to rule Shraen to the present day.
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- James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 45–47. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
- Robert Brookes, Eleanor Ferron, Michelle Jones, Alex Riggs, and Nicholas Wasko. (2017). Heroes of the Darklands, p. 23. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-936-3
- Andrew Mullen, Patrick Renie, David N. Ross, and Michael Sayre. (2020). "Adventure Toolbox". The Show Must Go On, p. 71. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-201-3
- Andrew Mullen, Patrick Renie, David N. Ross, and Michael Sayre. (2020). "Adventure Toolbox". The Show Must Go On, p. 72. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-201-3
- Mikko Kallio. (2020). "Lord of the Black Sands". Lord of the Black Sands, p. 4–5. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-234-1