The Rainbow Wastes Edit
From a distance, this desert looks like most any other, save for what seems like a slightly iridescent sand blowing around. Once a person enters the rainbow wastes, however, they see something completely different. Upon entering the wastes, a person’s vision blurs for a moment, before they are greeted by a strange sight. The first thing most notice is the sky. During the day, the sky is a bright pink color instead of the normal blue and the sun seems to shine green instead of the usual yellow. The sand is bright orange, sparkles and creates rainbows as it is blown around. (NOTE: more than one explorer has been fooled by the change on color and thought the ground was some sort of delicious orange dessert, but were very disappointed to discover that this desert is, in fact, still composed of sand and not dessert) Many creatures encountered tend to have comically oversized or out of proportion bodies, having an almost whimsical nature to them. That is not to say that creatures here are not a threat, on the contrary, it almost seems that their whimsical looks are an attempt to take potential prey by surprise. In addition, many other creatures look as they do elsewhere, though these creatures would seem out of place in a desert like this. At night, the sky becomes purple, and the moon (when it’s visible) glows green bathing the landscape in an eerie green light. In this light, the whimsical looking creatures seen during the day, take on a menacing countenance in the shadowy night. It is because of this, that most travelers either avoid the desert entirely or make sure to leave before nightfall (not that people haven’t gone missing during the day).
The Truth of the Rainbow Edit
There are as many theories and myths about the Rainbow Wastes as there are stars in the sky. Some scholars believe that some magical catastrophe tore a hole in space itself, but was eventually sealed by powerful magic, though this theory is often discredited by the lack of any evidence of a tear, if something of that magnitude had happened, there would surely be some kind of portal nearby or other spatial anomaly. Other theories include influence of powerful aberrations or great old ones, the site of an ancient battle between powerful mages, the use (accidental or otherwise) of a powerful magical weapon that devastated the land and changed its very nature. Still other scholars claim that the sand has hallucinogenic properties and that nothing seen within the wastes is real, some claiming further that this substance unlocks psionic potential in people which accounts for the shared hallucinations that groups experience together. What is known for a fact though, is that this desert, while strange, is not some sort of portal to another plane (the existence of portals to other planes within the desert itself is up for debate though). Magical scholars have tested and verified their location as being on the material plane both before entering, while inside, and once they leave (the idea that the desert was some sort of gateway to another plane was a popular theory before being disproven through this method). While this desert looks whimsical and fun, it is no less dangerous than other deserts and is possibly more dangerous, thanks to the disarming looks and strange creatures that inexplicably live here. The one thing that is safer here, is the sun itself. Those with eyes sensitive to sunlight (like drow and duergar) can see without issue while in this desert no matter how bright the sun is. Additionally, even those with the fairest skin can spend hours basking in the sun without worry of acquiring a sunburn. That said, the sun still generates a lot of heat, and can cause issues, the same as any desert.
Myriad creatures can be found wandering the wastes, from normal (though deformed) desert dwelling animals to strange alien creatures not normally seen above ground. Normal desert dwelling creatures can be found throughout the wastes, though they tend to look a bit different from normal. From the scorpions (both giant and normal sized) with enormous eyes that make them look cute, to the beautiful and graceful forms of the buzzards that circle overhead, their magnificent plumage shimmering in the green sunlight. Despite these differences, these creatures are no less dangerous than their cousins living in other deserts, if not more so due to their disarming looks. In addition to the normal desert fare, creatures normally only found deep below the earth can also be found here, roaming the sands. This can range from grells, to xorn, to umber hulks (though their coloration looks a bit odd in the light of the green sun). The only creatures you won’t find here are slimes and oozes, as the desert sun while not harmful in any way to creatures normally hurt by the sun, still dries up such creatures (and anyone else who does not have enough water).