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 legend tells of a people living deep in the desert, they appear at first as ordinary human beings, sometimes impersonating someone familiar to the PCs, before causing their features to disappear, leaving a blank, smooth sheet of skin where their face should be.
A revolt or attack happens against a strong city/kingdom. All the losers of the battle that can be captured are brutally crucified along the roads that enter the kingdom to show their strength and as a demonstration of what happens to their enemies. ... a long road, decorated with hundreds of dying crucified soldiers... You see them bleeding, you hear them screaming and whispering for help. Do you really want to enter this reportedly peaceful kingdom?