Across the Overlook Plateau mountain pass lies Searing Sands, a white-hot sea of death. Save for the Dune Sloth Oasis in the north, the Searing Sands is nearly devoid of plant life. Its main inhabitants, the Dredgers, have built massive dwellings underground in order to escape the scorching sun, only hunting for food at night. Most of the creatures here are extremely aggressive and carnivorous; because there is such a lack of plant life, the indigenous beasts of the sand dunes must simply eat one another.
The warmongering Stonefangs from the east have recently begun attacking Dredger settlements, which has pushed the Dredgers into a retaliatory war march. The eastern half of Searing Sands has become a battle-scarred and blood-stained war zone, and the Stonefangs push ever closer to wiping out the Dredgers at their settlements near the Overlook Mountain Pass.
Meanwhile, turmoil within the Dredger's tribal elders has caused a rift between two factions within the tribe, and half of the Dredgers recently abandoned the underground safe haven and have migrated north to the Dune Sloth Oasis. This has left the remaining Dredgers in a precarious military position.
The Ascendants living in the mountains to the South are attempting to avoid conflict with the Stonefangs and the Dredgers and have been playing the middle-men, trading with both factions and dumping resources into whichever race seems to be winning at any point in time. If they are lucky, their strategy will prevail and the winning faction will spare them. But the Stonefangs don't believe in luck, and the Dredgers disfavor double dealing.