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The Desertification of the Dwarven Homeworld - a result of their sun getting hotter?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Patrick-Leigh, Jul 9, 2021.

  1. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    In my flintlock fantasy story setting, each of the nine Core Races (Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Gnomes, Halflings, Faeries, Draconians, and Kobolds) has a Homeworld, a Planet in its own Solar System located in its own Galaxy. Travel between these Planets is accomplished by following routes through the eight Transitory Planes. You bypass the many, many lightyears of space (and the need for space-faring vessels) by taking a shortcut through another universe.

    I don’t have a name for the Dwarven Homeworld, but I do know that the reason my Dwarves migrated underground on their Planet and also expanded into the Plane of Earth was because, during the Divine War, the fighting of the gods caused their Homeworld to undergo extensive desertification. Well over half of the Dwarven Homeworld has become a desert. This forced the Dwarves to start building underground, both to escape the heat and desert winds and to get closer to what few sources of fresh water remained. However, I’ve never actually worked out what caused the Planet to undergo so much desertification.

    It occurred to me that the answer might not be in the Planet itself but the Star that it orbits. What if the reason so much of the Planet turned into a desert was because the Dwarven Sun started giving off more heat, grew larger, or some combination of the two, which meant that the orbit of the Dwarven Homeworld changed from the optimal part of the habitable zone of the Dwarven Solar System to a much hotter (but still survivable) section of the habitable zone? To put it another way, this would be akin to Earth relocating closer the orbit of Venus. The temperatures on the Dwarven Homeworld increase but not to the point where water cannot condense into liquid in some regions.

    I’m sure there are some factors I’m overlooking, which is why I could really use some feedback. Is this idea a sound one and what would be some of the ramifications of the Dwarven Sun getting hotter and/or larger?
  2. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    Hmmm.... I'm not sure about the ramifications, but this might be an occasion where less is more? They did something to the sun and over the centuries the deserts have grown to swallow the planet. A bit of mystery ya know?
  3. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Troubadour

    Before I give you my suggestion, Patrick-LeighPatrick-Leigh , I'd like to point you a few things out:
    • In a planet with an active core like Earth, you don't escape heat by going underground. As a rule of thumb, the deeper you go in the crust, the hotter it gets. And it can get really hot, up to 30ºC per Km you go down. Check the following links for more details:
    • Don't forget that your dwarves' underground activities will also generate heat and possibly toxic gases (carbon dioxide for instance), and both will get trapped in their tunnels and living spaces. And the more dwarves you have living in those same spaces, the worse it'll get. To give you an idea, read this article about the London Undergound:
    • Another thing that I think gets overlooked frequently in fantasy with underground kingdoms is that, in a planet like Earth, tectonic events are going on constantly. In the crust surface we don't really feel most of them (except with special equipment), but deeper underground they'll be felt more strongly. Good luck building big stable structures in a planet's bowels with frequent shakes, while getting used to the constant risk of cave-ins, underground vulcanism and fractures. So, places like Moria from the Lord of the Rings are highly unlikely to be possible.
    • Venus is an inferno not because it's closer to the Sun (although obviously that's also a factor), it's mostly due to it's seemengly intense volcanic activity that fuels with its fumes the extreme greenhouse effect the planet is in. And, of course, the heat radiated by Venus' volcanos also compounds that effect. Truth is we still don't know much about the planet but, from what I've read, I think that's a good approximation to why Venus is the way it is now.
    • Not because a star somehow gets hotter, that necessarily means doom to a biosphere. Our own Sun goes through cycles of higher and lower activity and that hasn't meant massive desertification on our planet. Yes, its an important factor influencing Earth's climate, but you also should have into account the composition of the planet's atmosphere, plant life, humidity (rivers, oceans...). In other words, climate dynamics are really complex and one factor usually is not enough to explain why certain climatic events happen.
    Said all that, let's try to make your dwarves go underground more or less properly, shall we?
    • Their planet is an Earth-like one, but larger (a super-Earth as they call them). This implies stronger gravity, a detail that could explain why your dwarves are, well, dwarf. The gravity could be only about 1.2 times stronger than Earth's, meaning that you don't need a extremely different gravity to explain the aspect of your dwarves. Also, your dwarves have evolved in the surface of their planet.
    • During the Divine War, the dwarves fell on the side of one god or a group of them for whatever reasons.
    • The warring side, after the war ended or close to that moment, wanted to punish the dwarven race because they became a thorn to their side or something like that. But this god or gods didn't just want to exterminate the race, there's no suffering in death. They wanted them to go through a long and painful struggle towards extinction. Also, after the war was over, it wasn't convenient to stir hostilities again by obliterating one of the favorite races of the rival faction in a noticeable way. It had to be something concealed, sneaky and irremediable, like an odorless and tasteless poison with no known antidote. So, nothing more subtle than killing the "heart" of the dwarven planet.
    • Assuming the gods of your worldbuilding have the power to do so, the ones who wanted to punish the dwarves froze the core and mantle of the dwarven planet, effectively killing all tectonic activity in it. The main consecuences of such action were the following:
      • Without the planet's natural internal heath, the temperatures at the surface dropped noticeably almost immediately. Here, it could be argued that natural radiactivity could keep some warm, but probably nothing comparable as it was with the core alive.
      • With the core effectively gone cold, the planet lost its magnetic field that protected the atmosphere from stellar phenomena like the solar winds coming from the dwarven sun. The effect is not immediate but, in a process that lasts thousands of years, the air becomes increasingly thinner, harder to breath in, and the sunrays reach the planet with more energy. Also, this implies loss of water to space, which compounds the increasing surface desertification.
      • No tectonics means the crust doesn't get renovated, so present landforms won't change beyond the natural effects of erosion: certain mountains won't keep on growing in height (like it happens with mount Everest), continents won't move from where they are, etc.
      • To sum up, the planet will become a dead desert husk like Mars.
    • The god or gods that liked the dwarves would eventually notice that something is wrong with the dwarven planet, and would go there to check things out. They'll realize what's wrong with the planet, but they'll find themselves unable to help in restoring the planet to what it was. To their eyes it seems nothing more than an unexpected natural phenomena, and even for them restarting the core is a task too big.
      • The god or gods that froze the core have some secret technique that allows them to perform prodigies like freezing planet cores. But the technique comes with a very high cost, so it cannot be used on a whim.
    • The dwarves, after generations and with the help of their gods, build new underground cities to scape the increasingly harser surface environment.
      • This explains why the dwarves look humanoid. They didn't evolve to live like moles, the circumstances forced them to do so.
      • With the help of their gods, they manage to have greenhouse farms and some livestock underground.
      • Other problems in which they'll need help or show a great degree of craftiness is with the illumination, ventilation and refrigeration issues.
      • For their water needs, they'll have to get ice from the coldest regions of their planet or look for underground reservoirs. And they'll have to learn to be very efficient in the use of water since rain will become an increasingly rare phenomenon over the centuries.
      • In theory, they can go as deep as they want, since there's no lava in the planet anymore, although they don't do it unless is necessary. Mining is dangerous business, specially with just flintlock technology.
    • On the other hand, they also send teams through the eight transitory planes to look for a new planet to migrate to or, even better, for a possible solution for rekindling their planet core and mantle.
      • This gives you a good dramatic opening for the dwarves, and a very good excuse to put them on any planet of the other core races.
      • Over time, many dwarves migrate to the other planets and their descendants may end not really caring about their dead homeworld. Also, by settling on different planets, their cultures and biologies will diverge from their "original" stock.
    Letting the main point of this thread aside, I just want to comment you that, in a multi-planetary and multi-species setting, I would find strange that all the races happen to be on the same (flintlock) level of development. I mean, I could understand that some are still in their bronze age, others in some sort of medieval era, and the remaining few in something akin to flintlock or preindustrial age. And, of course, this is an oversimplification of what could be going on on each planet with their own different societies, kingdoms or what have you. Of course, you really haven't explained further your worldbuilding, so I'm just saying based on what you've detailed in your first post.
  4. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Inkling

    Doesn't take anything happening to the sun to turn a planet into desert. The most likely way for that to happen would be changes in the planet's atmosphere. Like the climate change we're dealing with on earth. That could make the sun hotter from the perspective of the planet's surface without having any effect on the sun itself.

    Legend could have it that it was an act of the gods, but that wouldn't preclude the scientific reason being human (or, rather, dwarven) activity. Deforestation, over farming, water diversion, production of greenhouse gases, and the like can turn previously green land into desert.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    While temperature does rise if you go far enough down, your dwarves could simply go ten or twenty or a hundred feet down. Caves are used the world over as places to store whatever needs to be kept cool. As examples: Carlsbad Cavern is about 53 F year-round. Over in Mammoth Caves, it's 54. Here's a link that might give you some ideas.
    Geothermal gradient - Wikipedia
    You might also think about how fast this change happened. In one generation? Spread over a thousand years? The dwarven response would vary.
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  6. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    So, the thing is that desertification doesn't really happen with planets becoming hotter. It happens with planets becoming colder. Colder planets have water being sequestered into ice sheets. Hotter planets have less ice coverings, hence more water goes into the water cycle, more heat means more energy driving the water cycle and it also increases the amount of humidity that the air can hold, it encourages the growth of forests which also increases the amount of humidity in the air through transpiration. Even if the star changed such that the planet's orbit became the equivalent distance as Venus, this wouldn't change much. You might be as surprised as I was to learn that in actual fact, Venus probably had a habitable atmosphere with seas long ago. It's current state is most likely due to a runaway greenhouse effect, which basically means the greenhouse emissions reached a positive feedback loop that superheated the planet to such a degree that it's actually hotter than Mercury.
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  7. Aldarion

    Aldarion Inkling

    Unlikely. In fact, Roman Empire thrived during the Roman temperature maximum:
    Mediterranean Sea was 3.6°F hotter during the Roman Empire, study claims | Daily Mail Online
    Roman Warm Period - Wikipedia

    If a planet gets hotter, this will actually result in atmosphere with more water vapor - which will even out the temperature across the planet, and may result in something akin to Tropical Antarctica period.

    TheKillerBsTheKillerBs explained well why it happens.

    Personally, between the above and the dwarven physiology (short but stocky), I would propose planet getting colder - as in, going through a little Ice Age. That would easily explain why they had to go live in the caves. Patrick-LeighPatrick-Leigh
    TheKillerBs likes this.
  8. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    Ok, a TON of great stuff to unpack thanks to you guys!

    From what I'm getting, if I'm to have the Dwarven Homeworld experience widespread desertification (which is the goal,) then the sun getting hotter may not be the best way to go about it, or, at the very least, there has to be more going on than just that. There need to be other factors at work as well. As I've been reading over all this great feedback, one thing that has occurred to me is that, whatever the exact explanation, it should be tied to the sky in some way so that my Dwarves view the sky as something oppressive. Going underground or building strong shelters could be a result of that mindset. To the Dwarves, the sky is a thing to be feared and shunned, for it is cruel, merciless, and unstoppable. But the earth, though by no means a coddling protector, is a shield and a refuge from the unrelenting sky. That doesn't mean my Dwarves never come to the surface or are too afraid to venture out into the open, just that you do so with your guard up. You watch the sky closely, for it is deceptive and treacherous. (Which makes me think that meteorology could have been developed by Dwarves originally because you watch your enemies closely and the sky is an enemy.)

    Anyway, the points about going underground raising the issues of air supply, heat regulation, and the threat of tectonic activity are all very good. There's also the issue of keeping things illuminated underground and the more subtle threat of radiation from certain minerals. I live in the American Midwest, and one issue we have with our basements is radon. Then there's the factor of the water and food supply, waste disposal, and so forth. These are not the focus of this thread, however, so while I will be touching on them, I think the main point should be on the desertification of the planet, though these things would logically be intertwined, so completely ignoring them wouldn't be prudent.

    Firstly, let's clarify a few points regarding the gods whose fighting created this mess. Two of them were the Matron and Patron Deities of the Dwarves (who are also in charge of blacksmithing, stonemasonry, and other crafts.) They not only created the Dwarves but the Dwarven Homeworld and had a hand in the creation of the star it orbits. They were fighting against various evil gods who were targeting them and the Dwarves themselves (some of whom worshipped the evil gods - the Divine War was fought among mortals as much as divine beings.) Now, the thing about the gods fighting is that any distortions of Reality that result from it cannot be reversed unless all the gods who caused the distortion work together. The evil gods were not going to do that, obviously, so the best the Dwarven Deities could do was mitigate the damage. They couldn't fully reverse the effects of the distortions but they could adjust the effects and influence other things to further reduce the destruction.

    Secondly, while the goal is to have large portions of the Dwarven Homeworld turned into deserts, that doesn't mean they're deserts in the conventional sense. In the real world, we define a desert as a region that gets less than 10 inches of rainfall annually, but another defining attribute of deserts is a lack of vegetation that results in elevated denudation. But, what if you had a "wet desert," that is, a place with more than 10 inches of rain per year but a lack of vegetation? In such a place, rainfall would only serve to accelerate water erosion. Now, let's suppose that the plant life on the Dwarven Homeworld began to die off in large numbers. Even if the increase in heat was enhancing the water cycle, that would actually be a bad thing because the soil would be washed away even faster by the water. There's nothing to hold it in place, so rain would lead to flash floods, landslides, and a bunch of other problems. Then, due to things being hotter, clear skies would cause the mud to rapidly dry, heat to rise, causing air to circulate, resulting in winds that would pick up the dirt, creating dust storms that would make the Dust Bowl look like a mild breeze by comparison. True, the rain would bring that dust back down to earth, but then the cycle will just continue once the sun comes out again. What you have, in essence, is a "wet desert." There's plenty of water, but it's just as oppressive as the heat and probably more destructive.

    So, how do we get to such a situation and how would this force the Dwarves to move underground to survive?

    Well, I think that the increase in heat from the sun could have been accompanied by something else that caused large areas of the planet to lose vegetation. One possibility is that the distortions from the gods fighting caused the microorganisms in the soil to die, reducing it to dirt, which cannot support plant life. Another is that the ozone layer was affected in some way so the surface was getting irradiated by higher levels of UV light. The heat waves caused droughts in large areas, killing the plants, then the UV irradiated the soil, resulting in our "wet desert" scenario. I think that the desertification probably didn't happen all at once but was more like a domino effect. A region dries up, turns to dust, then the winds pick up the dust and dump it onto another area, choking out the plant life, which starts the process again in a new location. The only places where this wouldn't apply would be those where the dust storms were unable to reach enough to smother the plant life, which would primarily be valleys surrounded by tall mountains.

    Of course, irradiating the surface of the planet isn't just a problem for the plants, is it? People would be directly affected by it. Going out into the sun would be incredibly dangerous and buildings might not be able to provide adequate shielding from the UV. So, where do people go to escape these effects? Into mines and caves where thick layers of stone can protect them from the now deadly sunlight. The earth is the only refuge available.

    And this is where another idea comes into play. The Dwarven Deities could have seen that the surface of the planet was not going to be recovering anytime soon. Even if they addressed the UV problem, the damage was already done. Large swaths of the ground could no longer sustain life on a significant scale. But that didn't mean the planet was entirely doomed. It just needed to be modified so life could not only survive but thrive beneath the surface.

    To that end, the Dwarven Deities may have set off a chain of events that altered the structure of the planet in various ways and helped to prevent life from being irradiated out of existence. First, they may have triggered a spike in volcanic activity. By filling the atmosphere with ash, they would have reduced the amount of heat and UV reaching the surface. Any groups of people who had not yet been able to get underground would thus have been given more time to do so. Next, they could have done something which opened up expansive networks of large caverns in the crust of the planet, giving life room to live without things getting too crowded. Once this is done, tectonic activity would be suppressed, reducing the dangers of collapses brought about by earthquakes. Finally, plants and animals that live and thrive in subterranean environs are brought in from the Transitory Plane... shortly before it gets closed off as it is fragmenting into the eight current Transitory Planes. As the Dwarves migrate underground, they find not barren caves but vast chambers filled with life (and glowing crystals that simulate daylight.)

    While the surface is ravaged by all sorts of problems, the Dwarves adapt to their new way of life. But even after the sun has cooled, the threat of UV irradiating the surface is gone, and the clouds of volcanic ash have cleared, much of the world above ground is unable to sustain life. There's not enough soil to support plant life, just lots of irradiated dirt. The Dwarven Homeworld is now mostly a "wet desert." The water cycle continues, but it actually hinders the return of life to large swaths of the surface rather than helps it. What few plants can grow get washed away by flash floods. The Dwarven Deities promise that the planet will not be like this forever, but the recovery process will be long and difficult. So, the Dwarves remain beneath the ground. They face plenty of hardships there, but compared to the trouble on the surface, they're a minor inconvenience.

    Oh, one other thing that occurred to me: The Dwarves may not have moved beneath the mountains initially so much as inside them. The interior of a mountain would offer some advantages over going beneath the ground on a flat plane. You can build vents that bring in cool air and expel hot air, have access to water from melting snow on the summit, and have a good vantage point of the surrounding area. Plus, a mountain can have more entrances and exits for people to use than an underground facility. The Dwarves would be protected from irradiation inside of a mountain as much as deep below the crust. I was already thinking that the Dwarven Homeworld was fairly mountainous, so I think this would be a logical approach.

    Anyway, that's what I'm considering. What do you guys think?
  9. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    Something to go along with the sky being oppressive might be deadly sand and dust storms.
    Patrick-Leigh likes this.
  10. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    The dust storms are definitely going to be a thing, especially if I go with my "wet desert" concept where there's still rain, but the dirt is devoid of any of the microorganisms that turn it into soil, so it just dries quickly and gets blown around by the wind.
  11. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Troubadour

    I kind of see where are you trying to go with your "wet desert" idea, but if you increase dramatically the water cycle, even if it ends evaporating from the soil, more water will filter underground, making even more difficult the task of building subterranean structures. Other detail you must take into account is how your dwarves are going to build their mines with, at most, flintlock tech. If there are no trees, that means that they won't have logs to use as supporting pillars or scaffolding. And I don't know if powder-based explosives will be powerful or just practical enough to help them in building the enormous structures they'll need to hold their population. Also, think that creating underground cities will be very costly, and much more if they lack resources for just the most basic mining operations (again, that lack of plant life aka trees).

    What I don't see at all is that irrational fear of the sky. One thing is to worry about the weather and certain phenomena, but fearing the sky itself... It seems a bit too much to me. Take humans for instance, although we are afraid of the dangers of the sea we've learned to deal with it and profit greatly from its use. And if you were considering that the dwarves gods could have infused their creation with that fear for some reason, ok but then those gods would seem rather cruel giving such silly fear to their "beloved" creatures, right?

    About all the things you say the dwarven gods would do on the planet to help their creatures, I think that it would more practical for them to just create a brand new planet and get over with it. Or "dwarveform" some other one or moon in that same solar system. Heck, they could create an entire new solar system if I understood your settings properly. I mean, you're talking about the gods starting "a chain of events that altered the structure of the planet", but reforming sometimes is more costly than just building something from scratch, and here you're talking about trying to save people by keeping them in a sinking ship while you are patching it up!

    Taking refuge within the mountains would be a valid and less risky proposition, but it would contradict their fear to the sky. I mean, they would have to build more upward rather than downward. If you get rid of this fear, the mountains would be the choice for them I think, and not just to build inside of them but also around them (minarets, towers and so on). Now, if there's no tectonic activity because the gods have stopped it on the planet, either the gods "renovate" somehow the mountains or they'll eventually erode due to sandstorms, rain, changing temperatures, etc. Just another detail for your dwarves to deal with.

    I'll give another option for the disaster that could have desertified your dwarven planet. Let's suppose the evil gods couldn't attack directly the dwarven solar system, but they had under their control a close-by giant star. They could have made that star go supernova so the gamma rays projected by the explosion would reach the dwarven planet. A direct impact of a supernova gamma ray beam (within a certain radius) on a planet like Earth is an extinction event, period. The atmosphere gets completely blown out like a candle, water boils away and the surface is totally scorched, all in less than a second. Of course, you want your dwarves to survive and being able to somehow keep on living in their planet, so let's say their gods noticed the supernova going off but couldn't deploy a full protection in time. The partial protection proves enough to avoid total obliteration, but the damage is terrible. The ozone layer is mostly gone, with part of the atmosphere (and humidity), to space. And from then on, the weather becomes more extreme, the air somewhat rarer, there's also less CO2 for plant life... Well, you can imagine the chain of events from there.
  12. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    Firstly, I should clarify that the desertification of the Dwarven Homeworld happened thousands of years ago, so they didn't have flintlock level technology at the time. What they did have was more powerful Arcane Technology which facilitated some pretty big building projects. A lot of this Arcane Tech got fried over the course of the Divine War as there were some changes to how Arcane Magic worked (but that's a topic for a different thread.) But, between their tech and magical abilities at the time, carving out spaces inside of mountains or below the bedrock wouldn't have been beyond the means of the ancient Dwarves. The main difficulty would have been doing it quickly.

    Secondly, I could see a star within a certain proximity of the Dwarven Solar System going supernova being the main source of... let's call them "The Troubles," or, at the very least, the star discharging a blast of cosmic radiation that would be a serious problem. Whatever the case may be, the Dwarven Deities could not fully counteract the effect on their own. As I believe I've mentioned, when a distortion of Reality was created during the Divine War, the effects could only be completely reverse if all the gods who caused it worked together. Thus, the Dwarven Deities had limited options at their disposal.

    Perhaps I need to explain this with an analogy of a domino effect. You have two gods fighting each other directly. One god punches the other god. This creates a Distortion. The Distortion knocks over the first domino. The only way to stop that domino from falling is if both the gods who created the distortion grab it together. If only one of them does, he can't stop the domino from falling but he can reduce how fast it topples, slowing the chain reaction that's taking place. Because the chain reaction originated because of a Distortion, the god trying to mitigate the situation has limited control over the rest of the dominos out to a certain point. So, for a small Distortion, he won't have full control over the dominos until the fifth domino down the line. For a larger Distortion, it will be the tenth, and for a big distortion, it will be the fifteenth or twentieth. The point is that the bigger the cause, the more limited the response unless the other god helps out.

    Now, how can the god trying to mitigate the situation affect the domino effect if the only domino over which he will have full influence is further down the line? Well, he can adjust the dominos in various ways, turning them enough that when they get hit and topple, they don't hit the next domino down with as much force, nudging them to different sides so there's a chance that one falling domino misses another, and so forth.

    This is the situation in which the Dwarven Deities found themselves. They couldn't stop whatever was heading the planet's way, but they could adjust some of the dominos that whatever would affect once it hit. And, if we go with something like a supernova in a neighboring part of the Dwarven Galaxy, then they'd have time to make those preparations. However, the gods opposing them would be trying to interfere.

    For instance, let's say the Dwarven Deities decide to modify the planet so there's a magical field that boosts the ability of the magnetic field to shield the surface from all those gamma rays. The opposing gods would try to sabotage that effort in various ways. If the Dwarven Deities tell the Dwarves to evacuate, the opposing gods will tell them that it's a trick and they need to stay. If they try to target the wave of gamma energy approaching the solar system, the opposing gods will counter their efforts. The Dwarven Deities have to be careful with how they respond because they want to avoid having their enemies attack them directly again, which would create another chaotic Distortion. They've already got one row of dominos starting to topple; they don't need a second one.

    And that's all the time I have to respond for the time being. Bottom line: The Dwarven Deities had to get very creative in how they responded to the threat posed by the Distortion. In fact, it's possible that the desertification could be a solution rather than a problem, but only if you're looking at things from a divine perspective. Or, perhaps, the desertification was a result of the solution.

    Oh, before I get back to work, a quick idea: What if the reason the amount of water decreased... was because the Dwarven Deities separated the hydrogen from the oxygen and then turned the oxygen into ozone in anticipation of the oncoming bombardment of cosmic radiation?
  13. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Troubadour

    I think that manipulation of the atmosphere could lead to other severe consecuences beyond a potential drought, like saturating the air with so much oxigen that it could turn into a firestorm with just a spark! Also, that increment in oxygen would affect all the living beings on the planet that breathe it, making all of them high on O2 with who knows what consecuences to their biologies (like accelerated metabolisms that could lead to shortened lifespans).

    On the other hand, a supernova's gamma ray burst is not something you shield against by just increasing the ozone on the atmosphere. The dwarven gods would need to create some sort of incredibly strong magnetic field around the planet to protect it, or some sort of gigantic shield aimed properly at the direction the blast is coming. On the other hand, an ozone layer works essentially against UV radiation, not so much for other forms of cosmic or solar radiation, which are more or less deflected by a planetary magnetic field like Earth's.
  14. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    Changes in the size and heat of the sun would take place over so many millions of years, I am not sure it would have any real impact on dwarves during the span of their existence. Planets that get hotter evaporate more, thus water would move into the atmosphere and probably not down. If the planet core was to cool, water may sink further underground. However, its possible the planet is in a transition, and the transition takes place over so many years as to not change so much during the lifespan of a dwarf (assuming they dont just live forever).
  15. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    This change would be a result of fallout from the gods having a slug fest, so the usual rules are being violated in some pretty significant ways.
  16. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    Ok, perhaps I'm approaching this the wrong way. In trying to find an explanation for the widespread desertification, I'm only creating more problems to solve, so maybe a different line of attack is in order. I need to have some idea of what caused the widespread desertification of the Dwarven Homeworld thousands of years ago so I know 1) how this affected their cultures in the past so I can 2) have a solid idea of what they're like in the present age of my story setting. I don't need to know every step in between, obviously, but I do need the most significant details nailed down. So, the goals are:

    1. Determine what set the widespread desertification of the Dwarven Homeworld into motion
    2. Determine how that relates to the Dwarves moving underground and/or inside of mountains to survive
    3. Determine how they survived underground and/or inside of mountains
    So what do I know for sure?

    I know that the desertification was connected to the Divine War.

    I would prefer that it be connected to the sky in some way, but this is not 100% necessary.

    I know that during the migration underground, access to the Transitory Plane was cut off as it was in the process of fragmenting, which cut off any escape for the Dwarves still living on the Dwarven Homeworld.

    It is possible that desertification was actually a blessing in disguise as forcing the Dwarves to move underground or inside of mountains was necessary to their survival.

    It seems logical that some of the means to survive underground, that is, the presence of subterranean light sources, flora, and fauna, were already in place and were expanded upon in order to facilitate the migration from the surface to the regions below it.

    And, finally, I know that the end result was that a majority of Dwarves were living underground when access to the new Transitory Planes became available and this led to them primarily having access to the Plane of Earth, which is where they mainly expanded in the aftermath of the Divine War.

    Sadly, this is all I have time for at the moment, but I'll try to come back to this later today. But, if you have any thoughts on any of these points, please share them. I'm all ears.
  17. ButlerianHeretic

    ButlerianHeretic Minstrel

    Ironically, the best way to get more desert is lower temperatures. That means more water gets frozen into ice at the poles and is unavailable to water the land. Shallow caves are generally about 1 degree higher than the annual average temperature on the surface, and gets warmer as you go down, so if the surface was cold that might encourage digging down.
  18. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    Since you're already explaining this as the consequence of a supernatural event, why not lean into it more? The natural laws of the planet are broken and only barely holding on so nothing works as it should. The damage is lesser underground so that's where they went
    ButlerianHeretic likes this.
  19. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

    The Natural Laws can be broken during the Divine War but after its conclusion, they have to be put back into effect, though, by that point, the damage will have already been done, not just to the Dwarven Homeworld but the entire Multiverse. Essentially, during the Divine War, things were getting screwed up left and right. I'm still working out the details, but I do know that there was a god who was in charge of making sure the Natural Laws were not violated. The Prime Evil attacked him and... I'm still not sure what, exactly, happened. One possibility is that the god overseeing the Natural Laws was fragmented in the fight, with some of those fragmentary gods becoming the Eldritch Lords, the Lovecraftian-style members of the Dark Pantheon. This event is what caused the original Transitory Plane to start to fall apart and resulted in the creation of the Echo Planes... Wait a minute...


    Oh, I am so stupid! That's where the water could go! It gets Plane Shifted to one or more of the newly forming Echo Planes! Heck, that could also be where the microorganisms in the soil go, now that I think about it. The Echo Planes are like warped mirror images of the life-bearing Planets on the Celestial Plane. Every hill, valley, and mountain has a counterpart on each of the Echo Planes, and on some of them, artificial structures will even be duplicated once they've existed on the Celestial Plane long enough. Even bodies of water will be replicated on some of the Echo Planes, though on others, you just get the riverbed or ocean basin but none of the water. Some Echo Planes are very similar looking to the Planets on the Celestial Plane while others are dark, twisted duplications, like the Otherworld of Silent Hill or the Upside-Down of Stranger Things. Others are bright, cheerful-looking replications, though all of the Echo Planes have their benefits and dangers, no matter how deadly or pleasant they may appear.

    Up until now, I was thinking that all of the matter of the Echo Planes was just a reflection of the matter on the Celestial Plane, but what if some Planets lost some of their water, atmosphere, and other things as they were getting duplicated? The creation of the Echo Planes was a result of a MASSIVE Distortion created during the Divine War, so it'd make sense that the way life-bearing Planets were copied wasn't always the same. In a majority of cases, the matter on a life-bearing Planet was only replicated but in some cases, there could have been a certain amount of transfer of matter from a life-bearing Planet to its counterparts on the Echo Planes while they were being formed. The Dwarven Homeworld could be one of those instances were there was matter transference in addition to matter replication. Water and microorganisms from the Planet could have been transported to one or more Echo Planes, to the point where desertification was the result.

    But why stop there? Maybe the Dwarven Deities perceived another threat approaching - a wave of cosmic radiation or something else that would make the surface of the Planet the last place the Dwarves would want to be - so they took advantage of the transference of matter by directing the effect so pieces of the crust and the interiors of mountains were transferred, leaving hollow spaces where there would be plenty of room for whole civilizations to set up shop. If this was done before access to the Transitory Plane was cut off, then various subterranean plants and animals native to it could have been coaxed into these newly opened spaces to make them more survivable for the Dwarves. This process would have been interrupted when the original Transitory Plane started to fall apart and had to be sealed off for about five centuries (possibly one millennium, I'm still working out that detail,) but enough had been relocated into the subterranean regions of the Dwarven Homeworld that surviving Dwarves would have had the means to get by and repopulate.

    Now, another factor that could have maintained the effects of desertification could have been that the mountains were raised (and probably new mountains created) which enhanced the rain shadow effect that mountains, especially tall mountains, tend to have. The water cycle hasn't really been changed, it's just that rain clouds have dumped most of their contents by the time they reach the open spaces between mountain ranges. Those regions lost a lot of their water supply during the Divine War. While some of them may have been replenished as Water Portals opened, bringing in liquid from the Plane of Water, this may have only resulted in oases in the deserts and some riverside ecosystems like you have with the Nile. After all, the majority of Egypt's ancient civilization was set up along the shores of the Nile, not in the Sahara. It could be similar with the Dwarven Homeworld - only the oases and shores of rivers have fully recovered from the desertification while the bulk of the land is bone-dry thanks to the mountains blocking most of the rain clouds from moist regions and the oceans from reaching them.

    Ok, so, the sequence of events should probably go something like this:

    1. The Divine War triggers the upheaval of mountains and increases volcanic activity. The clouds of ash would have caused temperatures to drop, resulting in the onset of an ice age.
    2. The creation of the Echo Planes caused large areas of the Dwarven Homeworld to have their water supply and the microorganisms in their soil to be transferred to its counterparts on the Echo Planes, removing both from the equation. The loss of water would have reduced the already slowed water cycle for those areas and turned the previously good soil into dirt.
    3. The Dwarven Deities perceived another threat approaching the Dwarven Homeworld, one which would necessitate the Dwarves moving underground, so they took advantage of the Echo Planes leaching matter from the Planet to create networks of expansive chambers inside of mountains and in the crust of the Planet.
    4. The Dwarven Deities use various Earth Portals they open into the new chambers to have subterranean plants and animals migrate from the Transitory Plane into the underground regions of the Dwarven Homeworld. This may have also been accompanied by them cooling the top layers of the mantle to thicken the Planet's crust, which also reduced the level of tectonic activity the Dwarven Homeworld would experience in the future, thereby making the underground regions less prone to collapses resulting from earthquakes.
    5. The Dwarves migrate underground as the Dwarven Deities use various methods to discourage them from living on the surface while they prepare the Planet to withstand... whatever it is that's headed its way. Some of the Dwarves move onto the Transitory Plane, however, believing that their Homeworld is a lost cause. They are therefore trapped on the Transitory Plane when all the entrances and exits are closed, resulting in many of them being transformed into other races (such as the Aqrabuamelu.)
    6. The wave of cosmic radiation or whatever finally hits, but, thanks to the steps the Dwarven Deities have taken, the damage, while extensive, is not enough to wipe out life on the Planet, as large pockets of it have been preserved in the underground chambers. The Dwarven population adapts to the new way of life, increases, and expands throughout the crust of the Planet. Meanwhile, most of the surface of the Planet is inhospitable and completing its transition into deserts.
    7. After the eight new Transitory Planes are stabilized, Portals to the eight new Transitory Planes begin to open on the Dwarven Homeworld. In particular, some Water Portals open to create oases and rivers that allow for travel and survival in the expansive deserts that now dominate the Planet's surface.

    I think that this is a more solid synopsis, though I still need to figure out what the threat was to the Planet that would necessitate the Dwarves moving underground to survive. I suppose I could still use the irradiation idea, but it might not be a traditional form of irradiation. Instead of gamma or UV, it might have been a magically charged form of light that would simply vaporize anything organic. Perhaps a star in the neighborhood of the Dwarven Solar System was hit by a Distortion and, while not going supernova, let out a burst of energy that carried a life-destroying effect, on that could only be negated by thick layers of stone.

    Actually, that could mean that most other life-bearing Planets within the area of effect of this blast would have been affected, not just the Dwarven Homeworld. Those other Planets wouldn't have had sapient life on them, yet, as they were created to be place the Dwarves could migrate to and populate in the future, but those potential homes were taken away while their Homeworld was forever changed. The desertification was more or less permanent in most places where it had happened.

    That's all I have for the time being, but what do you guys think of the scenario I've devised at this point? Where do you think it works and where do you think it needs some adjusting? Let me know!
  20. Trip Williams

    Trip Williams Scribe

    It is an interesting sequence of events. I did not follow all of the thread from the beginning, but I tried to keep up, especially with the last post. Some concepts to consider is what these events would do to the dwarven culture. Did they lose massive amounts of lives, cultures, and diversity during the divine war? did they have any hand in the destruction or take sides or did they fight against both sides, and what lessons were learned from that effort or lack thereof? With such great upheaval and dramatic change from apocalyptic-like historic events, I would imagine the culture of those who survived would have kept very strict, authoritarian-type governance, at least at first. Major attempts to preserve culture (a question to ask is whether the dwarven culture was diverse before the divine war and if it continued to be after), traditions and strong aversion to change - or the opposite of wandering survivalists who have lost all records of their past and only know oral traditions that emphasize flexibility and survival. After the many years of living underground, have they learned to flourish, or do they still struggle living underground. Are they united in their struggles or do they have infights and diversity struggles with different ideologies? As an example of a potentially conflict in ideology, did the divine war lead the dwarven culture to fear and revere the dwarven gods more, or did it push the dwarves to hate and revile the gods? Another question I have would be, after so many years underground, do the dwarves still desire to live above ground, if given the chance, or even if the ground recovers from desertification, would they still prefer living underground?

    It is intruiging for you could take it so many ways. Perhaps it was one single family (or small group) who 'discovered" the way underground and all "modern-day" dwarves descend from that family/group, or you could have whole cities escape and different cultural hubs revolve around the survivors of those different cities - like dwarven clans, each with their own particular culture, style, and ideology.

    Oh, and as far as cause - if you have gods fighting, perhaps as you said, you could use supernatural events. Some ideas I have are firestorms, asteroids, acid rain, poison fog.... another idea is that perhaps the world desertificated because plant life died off. In example, ancient warfare, they used to sow salt into the ground after they razed it and burned everything down - and the large quantity of salt in the soil will cause the land to remain barren for a very long time - - - perhaps something akin to salting the land occurred globally in the divine wars. Akin to that idea, perhaps the atmosphere became thicker, perhaps due to the increased dust in the air that along with dust storms and higher temperatures, the air flow of the planet dwindled down or stagnated, which led to rain not traveling much further than where it originated. These are just a few ideas shot in the wind, however, I do not know how solid the science would be behind that - especially since it's on a global scale.
    Patrick-Leigh likes this.
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