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.
A dark necromancer has discovered a way of making the magical energy cost of resurrection less than the energy he can gain by draining their life force. Given a sufficient supply of mind-drained minions, ultimate power beckons.