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Thread: Deserts?

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    Guild Novice Phill Devil's Avatar
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    Post Deserts?

    Hi, there
    I know I'm new here, but there is this question that have been bothering me since I got interest in fictional cartography

    Well, in many RPGS (most of them, online) The desert is locatad in the extreme south of the game.
    I mean... WHY?! why the south? it's always the south
    the only exceptions that I know are FInal Fantasy (wich the desert is loocated int he north) and Final Fantasy X (wich the desert is located in the west (and i think that Valkyrie Profile 2's desert is located in the center, though, I'm not sure)

    I mean... those deserts randomly put in the south of a continent doesn't make much sense, does it?

    but I can't say much, my fisrt idea for a continent had it's desert in the south XD

    anyways, discuss
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      LS-Jebus is offline
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    My guess is that's because most fantasy writers are in Europe or America. For them, the north is cold going to tundra, the people live in temperate woodland regions and steppes with rivers, and the south is dry and contains deserts. It seems to have become a convention among fantasy writers.
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      Ascension is offline
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    Agreed. On this earth the deserts are located on the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, for the most part (not sure about the Gobi) and the actual tropical climates are on the equator. So I always think of general climate bands as a color gradient going from white to brownish-gray to green to tan to dark green (over-simplified, of course). So I always chuckle when I see deserts on fantasy maps placed all willy-nilly. It might make for a good story and all but the physics of climatology doesn't really support willy-nilly placement...there are reasons for why deserts are where they are (temperature, wind, jet stream, rain shadow, ocean currents, precipitation and evaporation, above or below sea-level, etc).
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      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    Well, Ultima VII puts a desert in the northeast and tropical islands in the northeast, southwest, and in the middle. And everything else is temperate.

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      Aenigma is offline
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    In the story I'm writing, I'm considering to have a desert in the north, which was created in a gigantic accident by a half-crazy wizard who loved to experiment...
    Last edited by Aenigma; 01-04-2011 at 10:50 AM.
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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    There are Northern "deserts" on Earth, but, for the most part, they don't have the same appearance (great rolling dunes and what not) that we typically associate with deserts. Eastern Oregon might be a good example. Instead of dunes and the like, it is mostly arid land with either exceptionally high temperatures during the summer (well, exceptionally high for Oregon anyhow) and fairly cold temperatures during the winter. It really comes down to what you define as a desert, I suppose.

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    Guild Novice Phill Devil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greason Wolfe View Post
    There are Northern "deserts" on Earth, but, for the most part, they don't have the same appearance (great rolling dunes and what not) that we typically associate with deserts. Eastern Oregon might be a good example. Instead of dunes and the like, it is mostly arid land with either exceptionally high temperatures during the summer (well, exceptionally high for Oregon anyhow) and fairly cold temperatures during the winter. It really comes down to what you define as a desert, I suppose.

    GW
    Never Heard about those, but that's a nice information
    how are they created?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aenigma View Post
    In the story I'm writing, I'm considering to have a desert in the north, which was created in a gigantic accident by a half-crazy wizard who loved to experiment...
    I LOL'd XD
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      waldronate is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greason Wolfe View Post
    It really comes down to what you define as a desert, I suppose.
    The classical textbook definition is less than 10 inches of rain a year, making Antarctica the world's largest desert.

    My general rule of thumb is an area with relatively low rainfall and very high evaporation, typically with highly seasonal rains. Where I live, for example, we tend to get about 5-6 inches of rainfall annually with about 350 inches of evaporation.

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      Aenigma is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phill Devil View Post

    I LOL'd XD
    I'm glad you like the idea xD
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      njordys is offline
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    It can be fun to study climate maps of the real world, to get a picture on how to place climate zone in relation to mountains and such. Found these images with a google search.





    Deserts are often found far into the landmass, near mountains or where wind-currents drive moisture away from land.

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