A common mistake when writing adventures set in deserts is to assume that the climate is too ferociously hot to wear armor. Historically, most battles in deserts involved troops dressed in protective armor. Although they would have been miserable during the hottest part of the day or the hottest part of the year, desert weather isn't intolerably hot 24/7.
People that live in cities no longer have any contact with the gods. There was a pact between the gods, humans, and animals. We could talk to the gods and the trees were the witness' to the pact. When the trees started getting cut down to make cities the pact was broken by the destruction of the witness'. So now only those that live with nature can speak to the gods and/or animals. Some trees grow tall creating darkness that scares men and they are not able to go near them. If they could they could again speak to the gods.