Shasahat Desert

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The vast, arid desert that lies between Padash and inner Shasahat. Although somewhat hostile, it is far from impassible for most parts of the year, with oases and way-stations usually well-supplied by Netherese trade companies that do business in Padash and other southern territories.


However, most canny travelers avoid entering the Shasahat Desert during the winter. Not because of climate, but because of dangerous predators. The "desert wasp", which is not truly an insect or related to more conventional wasps, has an unusual lifecycle. After mating, the male kills and devours the female and carries the fertilized eggs in an inner cavity. From that point on, the male forages and consumes almost without stopping, barely sleeping, and growing to massive size. In this stage, they eventually become cannibalistic, taking control of a range of territory and slaughtering other males and their eggs for further sustenance. By late winter, the creature's internal organs can no longer sustain its mass, and the wasp suffocates under its own weight, shortly before the eggs hatch, releasing the young who feed on their fathers' corpse and may safely grow in a territory that has had most of the potential predators already killed.

Young wasps are not particularly dangerous, though they do secrete a venom that is intensely painful to most humanoids. A late-stage murderwasp is bulky but surprisingly agile for its size, and equipped with numerous natural defenses, powerful crushing mandibles, bladed limbs, and venom known for causing one of the more painful deaths documented by those who document such things.