Aldus Huxley imagined a future where the masses were controlled by readily available doses of a drug called soma. The Cosmic Era is rife with drugs, some illicit and some marketed with the accuracy of laser guided weapons. The only thing he got wrong was that there isn't one happy pill, there are hundreds to choose from.
Ether, magical energy condensed into liquid form, is the fuel powering the magidustrial revolution on Ryngard.
Bringer of Oblivion, Reliever of Pain and Devourer of Souls - The Red Honey is the most popular narcoticum in Locastus, city of Mirrors
Even though the Gods struggle so, their achievements are temporary at best.
For all beings must dream, and within those dreams dwell the Dreamer.
Come then and succumb to the lord, come then and enter the realm of sleep.
Come then taste the nectar, made of the tears of the dreamer.
-The 5th verse in the Book of the Dreaming Cult
The desert is a curse from the Water God upon the wicked people who live in the South.
Said people offended the Water God in some way, and so the Water God placed water-trappers, bizarre, water-sucking beings, in the soil, and within years, the wilderness became a desert.
Thus, the desert folk shamans have special powers that allow them to find water-trappers so that they can be dug up and their water harvested.