The desert heat is the cause of a damaging effect that players may suffer from while in the Kharidian Desert south of Shantay Pass. The heat causes players to dehydrate and to lose health if they do not drink from a waterskin or rehydrate from an enchanted water tiara. Wearing desert clothing helps to keep players cool, and reduces the player's need to drink water as often, while wearing equipment with combat stats causes the player to require a drink more often. If a player runs out of water while they are in the desert, the desert heat will begin to damage the player until they either die, get water from a cactus using a knife with a waterskin in their inventory, use another water source, enter a populated area (the sand is a deeper colour in these areas), or leave the desert. Engaging in a conversation with an NPC or opening any interface (e.g. world map) will momentarily pause the effect. This effect can be dangerous for lower-level players when travelling in the desert, but for players with a moderate to high Constitution level, many of the following precautions can be ignored, especially if one is not planning on spending an extended period of time in the desert. Damage taken varies randomly with life points values between 115 and 591 having been observed.
Completing the Crocodile Tears quest grants immunity against desert heat.
- Waterskins - Waterskins allow a player to survive the desert's heat effect, and usually come in 4 doses of water. Each time a player drinks, a dose of water is used up.
- Enchanted water tiara - Players who have completed Dealing with Scabaras may craft an enchanted water tiara which can be substituted as waterskins when worn.
- Choc-ice - Players who go to Nardah can buy choc-ice from Rokuh. They also heal 300 Life points.
- Tome of frost - The tome does not offer protection from the heat; rather, it greatly reduces the damage taken. The tome in conjunction with the Regen bracelet can render desert heat nearly negligible.
- Desert amulet - Provides two doses of water for waterskins from cacti when worn.
- Other items containing water do not work; instead, they evaporate without protecting from the heat.
The following sets of clothes protect against desert heat, by extending the time between drinks of water by varying duration of time.
- Desert clothing - The set consists of a desert shirt, desert robe, and desert boots. These clothes are completely white, and closely resemble Druid's robes. The robes can be purchased from Shantay at Shantay Pass, or from Ali Morrisane in Al Kharid. Not to be confused with the Robes of Elidinis, which provide no protection from the heat.
- Desert outfit - This outfit can be purchased from Ali Morrisane in Al Kharid during or after the miniquest Rogue Trader. The outfit differs slightly for male and female players.
- Menaphite clothing - The robes can be purchased from Ali Morrisane in Al Kharid during or after miniquest Rogue Trader. They come in two colour schemes: purple and red.
- Dervish outfit
|Desert outfit||+0||+12 top, +6 coat||+12 (both types)||N/A||N/A|
- Base time between drinks or damage is 90.6 seconds.
- Only items with combat stats are considered armour and thus deduct the timer.
- There once was a glitch where both free-to-play and members who stepped near the gates of Shantay Pass would take damage from desert heat. This glitch has been fixed.
- Before the quest Desert Treasure was released, players who walked in or out of the Desert area would receive a message, "Desert effect is now on", or "Desert effect is now off", respectively.