Athas House Rules

Last 3 Edits

May 16th, 2019

  • Changed Wild Talents to be actual psionic talents rather than cantrips.

May 13th, 2019

  • Added Illiteracy and adjusted wild talents.

Nov 30th, 2018.

  • Added some very quick ideas re Defiling & Wild Talents.


Arcane magic has led to Athas becoming the desert it is. When you cast an arcane spell (use the Bard, Sorcered, Warlock or Wizard list) you kill plant life within Near range (30ft). The amount of destruction depends upon the level of the spell. (You cannot use the defiling options with cantrips. Their effects are negligible on the life around the caster).

Spell level Plants Affected
1st All grasses and plants up to Tiny size.
2nd Plants up to Small size.
3rd-5th bushes up to Medium size.
6th-7th trees up to Large size.
8th all plant life
9th all plant life out to Short range (60 ft).

Plants larger than those destroyed still wither and are somewhat drained, just not destroyed. For plant creatures, see Defiling below.


Casters can choose to suck more life-energy from living organisms when they cast a spell. To defile, a caster simply announces this. They can even choose to do so after dice are rolled. Defiling is the 'easy' path to power, but it clearly is not a 'good' action. It drains the life from not only the plants, but all living creatures around the caster.

When a caster defiles, all creatures (other than constructs and undead) within Near range (30ft) suffer necrotic damage equal to the level of the spell cast. There is no save. Plant creatures take double this damage.

When a caster defiles they can do one of the following:

  1. Reroll one spell attack roll. This must be done immediately following the initial spell attack roll and the result of the reroll must be taken.
  2. Reroll all damage dice for one spell. This must be done immediately following the initial damage roll and the result of the reroll must be taken.
  3. Force one target of the defiler's spell to reroll their saving throw. This must be done immediately following the initial saving throw roll and the result of the reroll must be taken.

If any '1's are rolled on these rerolls, the caster choosing to defile also takes 1 necrotic damage per level of the spell being cast. (This includes any 1's on rerolled damaged dice from a spell, though the caster only takes the necrotic damage once).


There are those that are pure of heart and do not wish to seek power at the cost of the living. Any arcane spell caster can choose to preserve when they cast a spell. The caster uses their bonus action to cause no harm to their surroundings. (Of course this cannot be combined with defiling).


All characters may choose to have a wild talent.

Determining a Wild Talent

Roll a random Talent from those presented at the end of the mystic class at Unearthed Arcana.
At the time of getting the Wild Talent, the character selects either Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma as their spell-casting ability for that particular wild talent.


We already have rules for this on our expanded Weapon Properties page. All starting weapons are not made from metal and gain the Fragile property from that page.


The people of the world of Athas typically do not read and write. Unless you are the of the classes/backgrounds listed below, you cannot read or write, however, you can choose to be literate by spending a bonus proficiency from your drawbacks.

You are literate only if you are one of the following:
Classes: bard, warlock (with sorcerer king pact), wizard.
Backgrounds: noble, sage.

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