Stony barrens dominate the Tablelands. Most barrens are bedrock shelves exposed by windstorms. These weathered plains are covered with rocks that range in size from pebbles and gritty dust to huge piles of standing boulders. In places, the bare rock gives way to hard-packed red earth, and yellow sand collects in crevices, forming dunes or drifts. Huge mesas and pointed buttes dot the plains, a testimony to the erosive powers of the elements.
Cacti proliferate in stony barrens. Hundreds of species grow throughout, appearing in all shapes and sizes, from small, thorny buttons to towering saguaros. Some cacti are edible, making suitable fare for travelers low on supplies. Others are stealthy predators that can kill careless travelers; in the Athasian wilderness, one can never be certain who is the hunter and who is the hunted.