The desert seems to stretch out nearly forever, although there are known limits. To the north, eventually, there are mountains. To the east, there is a shoreline, and beyond that an expanse of water seeming nearly as limitless as the desert behind it. Nobody has yet found out what lies to the west and the south and returned to give word of it.
There are any number of small settlements, separated by a few day's travel along the network of roads (mostly just packed-down sand) that carve their way through the desert. Most towns range from a few dozen to several hundred inhabitants.
The one exception in the Great Desert proper is Hightown, a bustling city built almost entirely from wood, with the richest parts of town built up from stone and brick. Almost all roads lead to Hightown eventually, and the few that don't lead to a road that does. Almost any kind of thing made or grown or dug from the earth in the Great Desert finds its way to Hightown to be bought and sold, and traders come and go from the city daily, hoping to make their fortunes or at least scratch out a living.
Not as big as Hightown, but far more exotic, is the port town of Annin. Ships come and go from Annin but infrequently, as the seas are vast and treacherous, but in Annin, one can find things that even in Hightown are scarce to nonexistant -- but often at great price.
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