A Couple Things I Need to Get Off My Chest


Gamer Life General Discussion


Deserts are NOT inherently hot. Deserts lack moisture, which has the effect of making the desert easily changed by other climate factors. So deserts near the equator are hot, but deserts near the poles are cold. Temperate deserts are hot during the day and cold at night. Just once, I’d like to see tropical monsters/spells/whatever be the focus of the fire-based theme instead of the desert. I’m sick of the usual ‘venomous amazonian snake women who wear garishly bright bikini tops’ tropical theme and the ‘burn baby, burn!’ desert theme.

Water is NOT inherently cold. Water has the second highest specific heat capacity of any known compound, which means that cold water takes a lot of heat to boil while hot water takes a lot of coldness to freeze. That’s why [unheated] pools are cold during the day but warm at night. Water is the earth’s moderating agent; it keeps the temperature relatively constant. That’s why desert temperatures are so extreme; because they lack water. Water has a few other peculiarities, but they’re not really relevant to this little rant.

TS

The Exchange

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Rant on!!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
stuff

I always found it interesting while watching Discovery shows like Survival Man and Man vs. Wild, how both guys went great steps to protect themselves against the cold at night in the desert. They used fire, shelters from the wind, heated rocks in the sand... I didn't think it ever got that cold.

Scarab Sages

Callous Jack wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
stuff
I always found it interesting while watching Discovery shows like Survival Man and Man vs. Wild, how both guys went great steps to protect themselves against the cold at night in the desert. They used fire, shelters from the wind, heated rocks in the sand... I didn't think it ever got that cold.

Oh yeah, hot in the day, cold at night...

Every had a rainy day when it was cold, but the clouds cleared before night time, so it was really cold that night? That's what happens every day in the desert, sun shrines directly down heating up to extreme temperatures, hottest around 3-4pm, then as the sun sets, all that heat just escapes up into the atmosphere.

Contributor

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Water is NOT inherently cold.

True, but it is much better than air at conducting heat away from your body. Stand 10 minutes in 33 degree air and you'll be cold; stand 10 minutes in 33 degree water and you might die, simply because there's more material touching your body to allow direct heat exchange. It's the same reason you can stick your hand into a 450 degree oven and not burn yourself, but if you touch the side of the oven, yowch!

Note that I'm not disagreeing with you. I've gone swimming in San Diego (where the air is warm but the Pacific is only 50 degrees), Washington (where the air may be warm but the water is bloody cold), Hawaii (where the air may be hot but the water is still Pacific-cool), and the Gulf of Mexico (where the air is sweltering and the water is like a bathtub). Trust me, any water = automatically cold stuff in books I work on is going to run smack into my chemistry degree and stagger away, reeling. ;)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Tequila Sunrise wrote:

Water has the second highest specific heat capacity of any known compound.

What's #1?

Dark Archive

Chris Mortika wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:

Water has the second highest specific heat capacity of any known compound.

What's #1?

Google says Hydrogen gas, with water vapour 2nd, and liquid water 4th.....


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


True, but it is much better than air at conducting heat away from your body.

Very true, sir. If there's one thing we learned from Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet...

Chris Mortika wrote:


What's #1?

Wiki says amonia. Personally I'd rather ask a geologist, but I don't have one handy.

TS

Liberty's Edge

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Just once, I’d like to see tropical monsters/spells/whatever be the focus of the fire-based theme instead of the desert. I’m sick of the usual ‘venomous amazonian snake women who wear garishly bright bikini tops’ tropical theme and the ‘burn baby, burn!’ desert theme.

I would be happy with a hot desert theme that was not Pharaonic Egyptian or pseudo-Arab.

Silver Crusade

There were some beautiful pics of some frost/ice-covered sand dunes on a National Geographic affiliated site some time back. I really wish I could find them now.

The Exchange

Samuel Weiss wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Just once, I’d like to see tropical monsters/spells/whatever be the focus of the fire-based theme instead of the desert. I’m sick of the usual ‘venomous amazonian snake women who wear garishly bright bikini tops’ tropical theme and the ‘burn baby, burn!’ desert theme.
I would be happy with a hot desert theme that was not Pharaonic Egyptian or pseudo-Arab.

What about the Cinderlands, in Varisia?

Or, for a real world example, you could have an Anasazi-like culture in south-western Aracadia! Snakes as messengers between the First World and the Other Worlds! Sinister flautist spirits! Holy painted-clay spirit masks! Those great Princess Leah hairdos!
I'm all for more cliff palaces like the Anasazi built! Kaer Maga whets my appetite for cliff-dwelling people and cities, and not just for dwarves! Those exclusionary xenophobes always make the lintels too low!

Contributor

Honestly, I don't have a problem with the depiction of deserts=fire.

The hottest place on earth, not counting the insides of volcanoes, is Death Valley, California. Or at least it was until I googled it and found that El Azizia, Libya, was recorded as 2 degress hotter, at 136 rather than 134.

The hottest major city, depending on the year, bounces back and forth between Phoenix, Arizona and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. All deserts.

There's also a little bit of old alchemical thinking behind this, which is important if you're going to be portraying anything magical.

(Puts on hat with moons and stars and prepares to address the Athenaeum.)

In addition to the Four Elements (fire, water, earth and air) and the Four Humours (black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm), the alchemists also believed in the Four Qualities (hotness, coldness, wetness and dryness).

Fire and yellow bile were both believed to be composed of dryness and hotness, but not in equal measure: Fire is hot and dry with dryness predominating; Earth is dry and cold with coldness predominating; Water is cold and wet with wetness predominating; and Air is wet and hot with hotness predominating--and contrawise with the four humors which have the same qualities but with the opposite ones predominating.

This goes back to Aristotle and probably before.

(Bows to the Athenaeum and removes pointy hat.)

From a magical perspective, for a place to be sacred to fire, having it be hot is nice, but what's more important is that it be as dry as possible. And dry generally means desert.

Liberty's Edge

Zeugma wrote:

What about the Cinderlands, in Varisia?

Or, for a real world example, you could have an Anasazi-like culture in south-western Aracadia! Snakes as messengers between the First World and the Other Worlds! Sinister flautist spirits! Holy painted-clay spirit masks! Those great Princess Leah hairdos!
I'm all for more cliff palaces like the Anasazi built! Kaer Maga whets my appetite for cliff-dwelling people and cities, and not just for dwarves! Those exclusionary xenophobes always make the lintels too low!

What about them?

A brief interlude in the Cinderlands and . . .

Yes, I would love to see an Anasazi-like culture featured in an adventure path.
Or any American-Meso-American desert cultures
Or an Australian desert culture.
Or a Kalahari desert culture.
Or even a Gobi desert culture for just a bit of difference.

And not just weak knock-offs, but something with creative additions.

Or even an entirely new and unique desert culture.

Contributor

Samuel Weiss wrote:


Yes, I would love to see an Anasazi-like culture featured in an adventure path.
Or any American-Meso-American desert cultures
Or an Australian desert culture.
Or a Kalahari desert culture.
Or even a Gobi desert culture for just a bit of difference.

And not just weak knock-offs, but something with creative additions.

Or even an entirely new and unique desert culture.

"Granted!" says the efreet. "You shall see the deserts of Araby no more!"

You find yourself in some sort of grand temple. The air hangs thick with smoke and around you is the cacophonous din of bells and cymbals.

Rows upon rows of ancient supplicants, withered crones with haggard expressions, hunch before mechanical devices, what appear to be some sort of prayer wheels. They tap the glowing disks on the devices again and again, watching the wheels turn, transfixed by images of bells and fruit and the omens they read therein.

Occasionally you hear a cry of elation, but most of the portents appear to be dire....

Liberty's Edge

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

"Granted!" says the efreet. "You shall see the deserts of Araby no more!"

You find yourself in some sort of grand temple. The air hangs thick with smoke and around you is the cacophonous din of bells and cymbals.

Rows upon rows of ancient supplicants, withered crones with haggard expressions, hunch before mechanical devices, what appear to be some sort of prayer wheels. They tap the glowing disks on the devices again and again, watching the wheels turn, transfixed by images of bells and fruit and the omens they read therein.

Occasionally you hear a cry of elation, but most of the portents appear to be dire....

Woot!

XP!
GP!!!
New Magic Items!!!!!

*rolls init, calls dibs, and wades into the crowd until the blood laps at his ankles*

Liberty's Edge

You guys are forgetting Antarctica. Its the world's largest desert, afterall!

Liberty's Edge

Studpuffin wrote:
You guys are forgetting Antarctica. Its the world's largest desert, afterall!

Not forgetting it per se.

Just not embracing a penguin-based adventure path, Lovecraft's dire penguins notwithstanding.


Dire Penguin! Now that is a monster just squealing to be written up!


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Samuel Weiss wrote:


Yes, I would love to see ... an entirely new and unique desert culture.

"Granted!" says the efreet. "You shall see the deserts of Araby no more!"

You find yourself in some sort of grand temple. The air hangs thick with smoke and around you is the cacophonous din of bells and cymbals.

Rows upon rows of ancient supplicants, withered crones with haggard expressions, hunch before mechanical devices, what appear to be some sort of prayer wheels. They tap the glowing disks on the devices again and again, watching the wheels turn, transfixed by images of bells and fruit and the omens they read therein.

Occasionally you hear a cry of elation, but most of the portents appear to be dire....

Casino .... the hidden Gawd of Gambling perhaps ...

In Golarion, only the gnome gawd Nivi Rhombodazzle explicitly has "concern" on matters of gambling. I sense a theological possibility...


Isn't it also true that darkness falls more rapidly in deserts than elsewhere because of the low humidity?

I expect paizonians to be able to answer just about any questions.

Also, for those of you who want an non-Arab/Egyptian desert adventure look for "Fortune Favors the Dead" from Dungeon issue 78-80 or so.

Liberty's Edge

veector wrote:
Dire Penguin! Now that is a monster just squealing to be written up!

Of course it does.

What else are we going to feed the shoggoths?

Liberty's Edge

I still like my penguistirges.
They're stirges that followed the same evolutionary trail from flyer to swimmer as a penguin.
So the group comes up on the rocky desert shore of Antarctica and 200 (what they metagamingly reckon to be) penguins come hobbling up to them; then they skewer their shins with their proboscii, knocking them down and pwning them with hundreds of bloodsucking needlebeaks...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber
veector wrote:
Dire Penguin! Now that is a monster just squealing to be written up!

They will have to wait until the giant dire space hamsters are redesigned for pathfinder. (Or was it giant space dire hamsters? Well, ask a gnome for particulars.)

Stefan

Liberty's Edge

Tome of Horrors had some.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber
Bill Lumberg wrote:
Isn't it also true that darkness falls more rapidly in deserts than elsewhere because of the low humidity?

Hm, I thought that this has something to do with the proximity to the equator, which quite some deserts are close to. But if sunlight reflects in the water in the atmosphere, this might be a factor as well.

Stefan

Dark Archive

Stebehil wrote:
Bill Lumberg wrote:
Isn't it also true that darkness falls more rapidly in deserts than elsewhere because of the low humidity?

Hm, I thought that this has something to do with the proximity to the equator, which quite some deserts are close to. But if sunlight refracts in the water in the atmosphere, this might be a factor as well.

Stefan

Sorry! Couldn't resist. Yes, it does, and that's why you get twilight, so a different atmospheric composition, leaving to a different refractive index could should give varying lengths of twilight....then again IANAWM....

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Bill Lumberg wrote:

Isn't it also true that darkness falls more rapidly in deserts than elsewhere because of the low humidity?

I expect paizonians to be able to answer just about any questions.

Also, for those of you who want an non-Arab/Egyptian desert adventure look for "Fortune Favors the Dead" from Dungeon issue 78-80 or so.

I believe the fast nightfall is for those areas on the equator. Since the sun is more overhead, you do not have the angle of the earth causing the extended twilight you find in areas further north or south of the equator. It becomes more pronounced beyond the tropics and at the (ant)arctic circles, you can have perpetual twilights bookending the perpetual sunrise/sunsets.

On-topic, it would be interesting to mix it up a little. The mixed cultures of Tatooine from Star Wars comes to mind.

Dark Archive

Draconic Mage wrote:
Bill Lumberg wrote:

Isn't it also true that darkness falls more rapidly in deserts than elsewhere because of the low humidity?

I expect paizonians to be able to answer just about any questions.

Also, for those of you who want an non-Arab/Egyptian desert adventure look for "Fortune Favors the Dead" from Dungeon issue 78-80 or so.

I believe the fast nightfall is for those areas on the equator. Since the sun is more overhead, you do not have the angle of the earth causing the extended twilight you find in areas further north or south of the equator. It becomes more pronounced beyond the tropics and at the (ant)arctic circles, you can have perpetual twilights bookending the perpetual sunrise/sunsets.

On-topic, it would be interesting to mix it up a little. The mixed cultures of Tatooine from Star Wars comes to mind.

I am probably miss reading that *really badly* but where are you that night falls with the sun overhead? :)

Or put another way, the sun is in the same plane as the equator, so the curve of the earth can't have anything to do with it, for that the sun would have rise/set in the north/south.....

edit: then again, wikipedia thinks I'm wrong.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Here's what I understand him to be saying:

Imagine to people, one at the equator, in northern Brazil, and her friend 23 degrees north of the equator, in Mexico. At noon on March 23rd, the sun is directly overhead the woman in Brazil. To the man in Mexico, it's south of true overhead, 67 degrees from the horizon.

To both people, the sun sets at 6:00 pm. But to the person on the equator, the sun needs to move a greater distance (90 degrees, instead of 67) so it needs to move faster. When it sets, it's going straight down. To the person 23 degrees farther north, it hits the horizon at an angle, and slides in obliquely.

Now, I admit, I'm confused. At the summer solstice, things are a little different. The sun is directly overhead of the man in Mexico at noon. What happens then? The planet is tilted with the Northern hemisphere pointing towards the sun, so the sun will set north of the equator, and the man in Mexico should see the sun drop straight east to the horizon. Is this not the same as the way it behaved for the woman in Brazil in March?


Heathansson wrote:
I still like my penguistirges. They're stirges that followed the same evolutionary trail from flyer to swimmer as a penguin....

Dude.

That is both sick and awesome in equal, huge, measures. I need to figure out a way of getting this into my games without upsetting my penguin-loving wife....

Peace,

tfad


tallforadwarf wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
I still like my penguistirges. They're stirges that followed the same evolutionary trail from flyer to swimmer as a penguin....

Dude.

That is both sick and awesome in equal, huge, measures. I need to figure out a way of getting this into my games without upsetting my penguin-loving wife....

Peace,

tfad

That'd be the point, to upset people whilst slurping the CON out of their characters! ^_^


Penguistirges you say...


Thanks for the responses on sunset. I had not considered the distance from the equator.

The one time that I was in a nearly equatorial country I noticed that darkness fell much more quickly that what I am used to seeing. The fact that I was in the tropics at the time made me wonder about whether humidity had anything to do with it.

Silver Crusade

Samuel Weiss wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Just once, I’d like to see tropical monsters/spells/whatever be the focus of the fire-based theme instead of the desert. I’m sick of the usual ‘venomous amazonian snake women who wear garishly bright bikini tops’ tropical theme and the ‘burn baby, burn!’ desert theme.
I would be happy with a hot desert theme that was not Pharaonic Egyptian or pseudo-Arab.

Wow, you mean actually creating a new civilisation rather than re-imagining an ancient, real world one!

You're expecting someone to actually do some work?!


As someone that once lived in Phoenix for many years I would definitely for the most part equalate desert with fire. Atleast most D&D culture in the deserts seem to follow the path of "It heats up so much during the day that it remains warm at night" which can certainly be true part of the year.

Liberty's Edge

tallforadwarf wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
I still like my penguistirges. They're stirges that followed the same evolutionary trail from flyer to swimmer as a penguin....

Dude.

That is both sick and awesome in equal, huge, measures. I need to figure out a way of getting this into my games without upsetting my penguin-loving wife....

Peace,

tfad

Use it to your advantage.

Err.....no, I need not meddle in affairs of the heart.

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