|Release date||14 April 2003 (Update)|
|Also called||The Desert, Kharidian Lands|
|Members||Mostly, besides Al Kharid|
|No. of banks||7 (5 members only)|
|No. of altars||11 (counting the Ancient Magicks altar)|
|Inhabitants||Human, Clay Golem, Scabarites, Camel, Crocodile, Wolf, Mahjarrat, Wyrm|
The Kharidian Desert is an expansive region located south of the nations of Misthalin and Morytania. The desert becomes a dangerous region south of the Shantay Pass, requiring a player to drink from Waterskins or other sources of water to avoid dehydration unless Crocodile Tears has been completed. Failing to drink will cause the player to lose Life points.
The Kharidian Desert is a vast land found south of the wooded kingdom of Misthalin and Morytania. The desert is the home to some of the oldest civilisations in Gielinor, ranging from the Menaphites that built the cities of Ullek and Uzer to the bandits that are all that remain of the followers of Zaros. As a result, it is amongst the most history-rich and treasure-filled areas in the world. It is this that has attracted so many archaeologists and explorers to the area, but not without consequence.
The most modern settlement in the desert is Al Kharid, having been built in around 1950 in the Fourth age by settlers crossing the River Lum in Misthalin. East of Al Kharid is the even newer Abbey of St. Elspeth Citharede, which was founded around 99 of the Fifth Age by Saradominist nuns.
Most of the peoples of the desert are worshippers of Tumeken and the Desert Pantheon, although in recent times the population has started to abandon the old Gods and begin worshipping other entities. This is demonstrated in the greedy, mercantile spirit of Pollnivneach and the destruction of the statue of Elidinis in Nardah. The plagues in Sophanem have been blamed on this, as well as incorrect burial practices.
The Kharidian Desert is largely open land, seemingly untouched since the God Wars. Here the scorching desert winds blast the sand, turning the dunes into a sea. The blazing sun watches tirelessly from the sky, slowly draining the life of all that walks beneath it. The vultures circle overhead, eating the corpses of those that the desert bested, and packs of starving wolves search endlessly for prey, their hunger never sated. Many have entered the desert, never to return.
Indeed, the Kharidian Desert has earned its reputation as dangerous, merciless, and unyielding. Yet even here civilisation has emerged, and great rewards await those with the courage and ability to travel into its wastes!
First and Second Age
The Kharidian Desert has the oldest known human civilisation from the midpoint of the Second Age or even earlier, descending even from the time when the human first came to Gielinor.
When the god Guthix shaped the realm of Gielinor, he also shaped the area which is now known as the Kharidian desert at the south. At least the Eastern Kharidian was heavily wooded and rich in resources back then. Although Guthix brought many races to Gielinor, Kharidian was uninhabited and unnamed until the second age. When Guthix finished his work, he fell in deep slumber to regain his power.
Years later, many other gods entered Gielinor. One of these gods was called Tumeken, god of Sun and heat. Many human tribes chose their own god to follow. Those who joined Tumeken later became known as the Menaphites.
Somewhere around the beginning of the second age, Tumeken blessed the southern lands with his deity, called it Kharidian, and brought his followers into the area to live on. The small menaphite tribe later grew into an enormous kingdom ruled by a pharaoh king or queen. The kingdom contained enormous cities. The biggest of them were Uzer and Ullek. Sophanem also originates from that age, but was only small Menaphite camp at the time.
Tumeken later married Elidinis, goddess of fertility and growth, and they shared their rule over the Kharidian Lands. They later got two children, Icthlarin, god of the dead, and Amascut, goddess of rebirth.
During the reign of the Menaphites, the heavily wooded menaphite kingdom slowly started to change into deserts. The blessing of Tumeken might have caused this. Or it was because of the Menaphites, who were gathering far more resources than they ever needed.
But the menaphite kingdom was not the only kingdom of the world. Other kingdoms and civilisations existed north of the Desert. The biggest of them all was a kingdom ruled by the god Zaros and lied straight north of the Kharidian Lands. When Zaros wanted to expand his kingdom, he sent his armies south into the Kharidian Lands in an attempt to conquer it. The Menaphites fought back, but Zaros' armies were far stronger than those of Kharidian Lands, and the Menaphites were likely to lose the Kharidian-Zarosian War.
Icthlarin saved Kharidian from his doom when he brought the Mahjarrat from Freneskae into Gielinor. The Mahjarrat were an extremely powerful and destructive race, and with the aid of these Mahjarrat, the menaphites were easily able to defeat Zaros' forces and drive them back to the north.
Unexpected things happened after the war with Zaros. Amascut, seeing the death and destruction the Mahjarrat caused, was driven insane and became obsessed with destruction. This caused Icthlarin and Amascut to become each other's worst enemy. Tumeken became tired of the hassle between his children and decided to sleep. He chose Icthlarin to rule the kingdom instead of him, and fell asleep. During the sleep of Tumeken, he had a dream where he created other gods: Apmeken, Crondis, Het, Scabaras, and possibly even more. They all formed the Desert pantheon and were worshipped by the entire Kharidian civilisation.
Also, after the war with Zaros the Mahjarrat believed that Zaros would be a better god for them to follow. And soon, they left Ichtlarin and joined Zaros' forces. Now that Zaros' had the Mahjarrat in his possession, he was more powerful than he had ever been, and he would now be able to conquer Kharidian without any trouble. However, an agreement took place between other gods to help each other, should Zaros attack one of their areas. This also saved Kharidian Desert from the destructive war.
So before Zaros was able to open another war with the Menaphites, he was betrayed by Zamorak, a Mahjarrat general who decided to rebel against Zaros. Zaros was forced to leave Gielinor. All other gods, including those of the desert Pantheon, were furious of Zamorak and banished him from Gielinor, but he later returned and declared war upon the gods, and the God Wars broke out.
Third Age and the God Wars
Many of Zaros' followers, including some Mahjarrat, switched to Zamorak and destroyed all of Zaros' remaining fortresses and settlements.
The god wars and the death of the Kharidian Lands' current pharaoh queen Senliten caused hard times for the Menaphites. The groups who stayed loyal to Zaros were forced to exile into the Kharidian Desert from the northern regions to escape from Saradominists and Zamorakians and the two groups had to somehow survive each other. Still, throughout most of the Third Age, the desert was relatively free from the God Wars.
A climate change took place in the middle of the Third Age in the eastern part of the lands, turning wooded areas into deserts like the rest of the area had been.
In the last millennium of the Third Age, the first major battles of the God Wars finally reached Kharidian areas. The Kharidian Desert Campaign started when other gods sent their forces into the desert in attempt to conquer the kingdom for themselves. The vampyre overlord Drakan was also involved in this campaign when he was trying to expand his kingdom Morytania into the Desert.
During the god wars the desert was a site of many battles. Where many settlements, most notably Uzer and Ullek, were destroyed by Zamorakian forces. Uzer, a city defended by clay golems, managed to survive throughout most of the god wars. It fell into the hands of Armadylean, Saradominists and Zamorakians, until finally the Zamorakian demon Thammaron managed to destroy the city (at that time held by Saradominists). However, he was mortally wounded and died after making his escape to his dimension. Soon Ullek fell to the hands of Balfrug Kreeyath who later became a bodyguard of K'ril Tsutsaroth. A few survivors managed to escape through a tunnel network into Sophanem.
A lot of the of Zaros' remaining followers were killed or imprisoned in the Kharidian Desert during that time, like the Zarosian Mahjarrat Azzanadra.
However, not all the settlements fell. Menaphos and Sophanem, much smaller than they are now, managed to survive the wars. They accepted the refugees from destroyed cities. Former inhabitants of Ullek, for example, influenced the city greatly, making these twin cities to be some of the oldest surviving human settlements.
One of the cities was even created in the desert during the wars, called Nardah. Saradominist follower Nardarine fled from the wars from the northern settlements but ran out of supplies. Saradomin did not listen to her prayers but Elidinis heard her and brought water to Nardarine. Around that spot, an oasis was created and eventually, Nardah was founded.
The god wars ended when Guthix woke up and set up the Edicts of Guthix. The Desert pantheon was also bound to the Edicts and were, like all other gods of Gielinor, forced to leave Gielinor for eternity, although Amascut and Icthlarin both got permission to stay on Gielinor, still continuing their "hassle".
The God Wars ended and the Fourth Age started, but the Menaphite kingdom was changed into nothing more than an enormous desert, becoming heavily corrupted with almost all of its enormous cities ruined and abandoned. Most Menaphites now reside within the twin cities Sophanem and Menaphos. Many human groups, who no longer had a home, became nomadic tribes travelling around the world to survive, but the Kharidian Desert was one of the few places where many humans lived on permanent settlements, although large parts of the Kharidian Desert were also inhabited by nomadic tribes. Menaphos and Sophanem continued to grow. The human groups quickly recovered and many other settlements were created. New kingdoms were found and new settlements were built in the desert. Like Pollnivneach, Nardah, and most notably Al Kharid, which managed to achieve political independence from the rest of the desert. A very few of Zaros' worshippers still reside in the Bandit Camp today.
Not all the trouble was gone though, as Amascut was still active during the current Fifth Age and she has pointed her attention at Sophanem, where her brother Icthlarin still rules. She created a deadly plague which affected all of Sophanem's citizens and animals. To avoid the plague spreading across the rest of the Desert, Sophanem was separated from Menaphos and the citizens of Sophanem were locked up within their own city.
Amascut also took control over the Scabarites, a new race of insect like humanoids who were loyal to the desert god Scabaras. Most scabarites resides now within the ruins of Ullek, and Amascut forced them to attack Sophanem through the ancient tunnel once used by Ullek citizens during the God Wars, making the life in Sophanem even harder.
In year 99 or 100 the Abbey of St. Elspeth Citharede was founded by the followers of Saint Elspeth near Al Kharid. In year 169, a brutal murder occurred within the abbey, and an adventurer arrives in time to investigate in the quest, One Piercing Note.
The body of Tuska crashed just off of the western coast of the Kharidian desert, leaving debris strewn along the shore, and creating a large sandbar south of the crash site.
Kharidian desert is roughly separated into three regions - the Northern, Middle and Southern parts. The River Elid also divides the middle and southern regions into eastern and western parts.
Also called Al Kharid Desert. This place is the safest of the three and also the only part open to non-members. It is politically independent from the southern parts of the desert, with the centre being Al Kharid. The northernmost part of Al Kharid Desert has a mine with a wide variety of rocks. It also has the Duel Arena, Mage Training Arena and ends with the Shantay Pass on the southern edge. The Northern Kharidian Desert is the coolest region (temperature-wise), hence its inhabitants and tourists suffer no desert heat effect. This is also the place once you finish Diamond in the Rough, you can start the Sorceress's Garden minigame.
Shantay Pass divides the northern and middle region where players can buy supplies to venture further into the desert. Prior to April 2005 desert updates, anything south of the Shantay Pass was called Shantay Desert by many. The middle region of the desert is more dangerous than the northern one due to many monsters who are aggressive to low-level players. However the most notable danger in this region is the desert heat effect which is absent only in a few settlements. Fortunately, Kharidian Cacti grow in this region, which can be cut with a knife to refill waterskins.Also completion of the Quest Crocodile Tears also provides immunity to desert heat. The middle part of this region of desert contains the Kalphite Lair, Desert Mining Camp, Bedabin Camp, ruins of Uzer, Dominion Tower, a hunting area, and on the southern border there lies the Bandit camp and Pollnivneach.
The southern region is the Kharidian Desert proper. The transition between the middle and southern regions, especially in the eastern part is smooth. Pollnivneach, the Bandit camp and a mountain range approximately divide the middle and southern regions in the west. In most of the southern region, players may notice slightly darker sand colour and a lack of Kharidian Cacti. This is where extra waterskins or an Enchanted water tiara come in handy, especially when being away from settlements for extended periods of time. The monsters in the southern part are also stronger than those found in the middle part. For example, the River Elid is full of level 63 crocodiles. The south-eastern areas near the Ullek ruins and the reed swamp are particularly dangerous places due to the much larger crocodiles and scabarites residing there. The most important landmarks in the southern part include Nardah, the twin cities of Menaphos and Sophanem, several pyramids, a mining quarry and the ruins of Ullek underneath the swamp area.
Inventory: Water and Equipment
Waterskins can be refilled by three methods: using a waterskin on any water-filled item such as a bucket, jug or bowl or any water source such as a sink or a fountain; with a knife in their inventory, players can cut healthy Kharidian Cacti to fill waterskins; or players with access to the Lunar spellbook can cast the humidify spell, completely refilling all Waterskins in the players' inventory. Cutting a cactus will not always give the player water, but if it does the player will also receive 10 Woodcutting experience. Many parts of Kharidian Desert, especially the southern part of the desert, do not have cacti to get water. You can also drink from other sources of water such as water in bowls. You cannot drink from water not labelled on the map as a water source such as the River Elid.
Wearing desert clothing, available from Shantay at the Shantay Pass, will cause the player to drink less frequently. Without desert clothing, a player needs water about every 90 seconds. With a full set of clothes, a player needs water about every 120 seconds. The Desert outfit and Menaphite robes also provide protection like desert clothing. Other clothes protect against desert heat, such as Slave robes or the Dervish Outfit.
If the tome of frost is worn the damage taken from the desert heat will be reduced and time between the hits will also be longer (still needs to be tested if it stacks with desert robes).
All those methods are rendered redundant upon completing the Crocodile Tears quest, as it rewards permanent immunity against desert heat.
Although the desert houses many beasts, there are three common creatures that can be found in great numbers and that players should be prepared for. Desert Wolves, though only level 27, can be dangerous to lower-lever players. Ugthanki, level 42 desert camels, are aggressive and potentially dangerous, especially if the player is only wearing robes. In addition, along the River Elid the player can encounter level 63 Crocodiles which will attack the player if they stray too close to the river. There are also Desert Strykewyrms, but as they attack the player only if they have been assigned as a slayer task (requires 77 slayer) and only if they are provoked, they are not a danger for the inexperienced.
There are four major cities in the desert. The player does not need to drink water in most cities.
- Al Kharid: Al Kharid is the only non-member city in the Kharidian Desert, and is located at its northern edge. Several quests can be started here including The Feud, Stolen Hearts, Diamond in the Rough and Shadow of the Storm. In Al Kharid there is a bank, crafting shop, tannery, furnace, platelegs shop, plateskirt shop, scimitar shop, some stalls and a palace. Other notable features are the Al Kharid Mine north of the city and the Duel Arena to the north east. Previously if players wanted to enter from Lumbridge, they would have to pay a toll of 10 coins, however a fee is no longer required to enter Al Kharid. You may also enter Al Kharid by walking through Lumbridge swamps to get to the docks where a boat takes you Daemonheim.
- Menaphos and Sophanem: Players are granted entrance to Sophanem if they have started the Itchlarin's Little Helper quest. Upon completion of the Contact! quest, a bank and several other features become available for use in Sophanem.
- Nardah: The city of Nardah is located in the south-eastern-most area of the desert. It is located near the Agility Pyramid. The player may buy a waterskin (full) from Ali for 1,000 coins. The reason of the high price is because the city is under a curse, featured in Spirits of Elid quest, which has dried up the fountain. The city also has a Choc-Ice stand, where the player can buy choc-ice for 30 coins each.
- Pollnivneach: Pollnivneach is a desert city located on the banks of the River Elid. A substantial amount of the quest The Feud takes place here. The city is divided between the Bandits and the Menaphites. The player can purchase water here from the shop. There is a well, a kebab shop where the player may buy super kebabs and Red hot sauce, a tavern, where drinks can be bought, and a camel merchant. The player can fill waterskins from the well by filling a bucket and transferring the water.
Other locations include:
- Bedabin Camp: Located south-west of the Shantay Pass, the Bebabin Camp is used in Quests such as Tourist Trap.
- Bandit Camp: Used mainly in the Desert Treasure Quest.
- Citharede Abbey: A small Abbey where the followers of Saint Elspeth live. It was founded in 99 or 100 of the Fifth Age.
- Desert Mining Camp (AKA Slave Mine):Used mainly in the Tourist Trap Quest, it is located in the middle of the Desert.
- Uzer: This city was destroyed hundreds of years ago. The ruins have a part in The Golem, Shadow of the Storm, Do No Evil, and Dishonour among Thieves quests.
The main form of transportation in the desert is by Magic carpet. They can take the player to a variety of places in the desert, such as:
The normal cost of such travel is roughly 200 coins. However, doing the Rogue Trader activity or wearing the activated Ring of Charos will decrease the price to 100 coins, and combining them both lowers it to 75 coins.
There are also several Fairy rings located in the desert.
Wearing armour of any kind is not advisable, as due to its metallic nature the player will overheat faster and thus use up their supply of water quicker.
Kalphite Queen: The Kalphite lair is located west of the Shantay Pass, surrounded by bones. A rope is required to enter the Kalphite tunnels and another to enter the Queen's chamber. Also, on the first level of the dungeon, there is a tunnel leading to the Dorgesh-Kaan south dungeon.Kalphite King: The Exiled Kalphite Hive is located south of Azzanadra's Pyramid. The Kalphite there are more powerful than the traditional ones, and so is the "King of the Desert". The Kalphite King is the third-most powerful boss of the game, having a combat level of 2500, he can be killed by only one person but it is extremely hard. He is very rewarding, providing valuable random drops along with the drygore weaponry, which is immensely expensive and some of the most powerful weaponry in the game for players. The Exiled Kalphite Queen also resides there.
Agility Pyramid: Located just north of Nardah, this Pyramid is one of the more popular methods of training Agility. Players must negotiate each level of the Pyramid to reach the summit, where they can retrieve a golden pyramid exchangeable for 1,000 coins.
Pyramid Plunder: Located in Sophanem, this Thieving activity allows the player to advance based on your Thieving level.
Goats: These level 10 monsters, and the level 22 billy goats that are found with them, are the only source of the desert goat horns used to make combat potions. They are found near Pollnivneach, Nardah, the Kalphite lair and the Shantay Pass.
- Al Kharid Mine
- Desert Mining Camp
- Granite and sandstone quarry
- Kharidian Desert gold mine - west of Nardah - 5 gold ores
Soundtracks unlocked in the region
- A Song for Khnum
- Above the City
- Al Kharid
- Arabian, Arabian2 and Arabian3
- Bandit Camp
- Breaking In
- Citharede Requiem
- Cool for Ali Cats
- Copris Lunaris
- Desert Heat
- Desert Smoke
- Desert Voyage
- Dominion Lobby I, Dominion Lobby II and Dominion Lobby III
- Dominion Tower I, Dominion Tower II, Dominion Tower III, Dominion Tower IV and Dominion Tower V
- Duel Arena
- Everything in its Right Palace
- Final Showdown
- Insect Queen
- Kharidian Bustle
- Kharidian Nights
- King of the Desert
- Monkey See, Monkey Do
- Over To Nardah
- Palace Above
- Pharaoh's Tomb
- Sands of Time
- Shantay Pass
- Simian Scuffle
- Spirits of Elid
- The Desert
- The Plundered Tomb
- Traveller's Tale
- Troubadour Dance
- Under the Sand
- Valerio's Song
- Although unknown, there may be a capital to the Kharidian Desert. Possible candidates for capital of the Kharidian Desert are: Al Kharid (possibly the capital to the north), Menaphos (possibly and most likely capital to the south and the whole desert respectively), and Sophanem being a large city occupied in the desert.
- In real life, the regions that the Kharidian Desert is based on (Southwest Asia and the Sahara) do not actually have any cacti. Cacti is native to North and South America.
- The Kharidian Desert was graphically updated on 5 June 2017, to coincide with the release of Menaphos.