The Thirty-Three great Djinns--spirit beings of vast elemental power--created the Desert of Brass as an immense expanse of windblown sand, surrounded on all sides by an ocean that flows off of the edge of the world. Here is a land where the sun does not set; instead it transforms itself into the moon at the fall of night. Island chains surround the borders of the desert continent, and nautical explorers constantly seek out new treasures, despite the strange beasts that roam these places.

Humans in the Desert of Brass live in wondrous cities powered by arcane might and mechanical ingenuity. Positions of power in their society are given over to magic users, and all leaders are expected to be scholars first and foremost. Everyone can read in this civilized land, and most of its citizens live in comfort and safety. Merchants travel the world, explorers seek new locations, and magicians quest for power, but, despite all of this, many feel that the world has grown stale and complacent, and that humanity has nothing to learn anymore.

The magicians of the Desert of Brass practice a style known as the Naming of Things, for the Djinn gave mankind the ability to name the things of the world, setting them into form. The magic is focused on the subtleties of knowledge, truth, and history. However, this school has more obvious sorcerous effects such as the bringing of disease, transformation into wind, and speaking magical commands. The rituals of the Naming of Things focus on recitation, scholarly argument, and abstract patterns.

In a place where everyone is well educated, even common folk have their own pet theories and areas of research. Thus, citizens of the Desert of Brass receive a reduced cost for Scholarship. Metal is very common in the Desert (including the mythical Sky-Metal which falls at the whim of the Great Djinn), and machines of all types abound. Citizens of the Desert of Brass receive reduced cost for Tinkering, as a result. Finally, its warriors have developed an esoteric combat form that focuses on throwing knives and elegant, flowing movents, known as Sky-Cutting Style.