Athas Major Races

Last 3 Edits

1st Sept, 2018

  • Detailed and compiled info for the elf.

30th Aug, 2018

  • Added several details & 1 drawback to the dwarf.

7th Aug, 2018

  • Added: elf, half-elf, half-giant, human, mul (no 5E D&D stats yet).
  • All races added still need details added, but the mechanics are there.
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These are the races that are found in numbers in the Tyr Region of Athas. They are the races that make up almost all of the numbers of the city states. For races of the wastes or surrounding lads, see the Minor Races page.

Table of Contents
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DWARF

(Information for roleplaying this race in Dark Sun: D&D 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting p25; D&D 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set Rules Book p5.)

Dwarves once ruled great mountain kingdoms, until the wars of the Red Age destroyed their holdings. They have fallen far from their ancient glory. (4E D&D Dark Sun Creature Catalog p40).

Proud of the Past

Despite the current absence of dwarven cities or strongholds, dwarves have a rich cultural history passed down from generation to generation in great sagas and secret traditions. Long ago, dwarven cities were the marvel of the world, and the dwarves keep the tales of their past glories and bitter defeats alive across the centuries. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p25).

Still Stone-workers

Although the dwarves of the present-day Athas carve no great citadels and retain few of their ancient holdings, your people remain the most talented stoneworkers and engineers in the world. Dwarf-made wells, cisterns, and canals are marvels of design, and dwarven metalwork - rare though it might be - is the finest to be found. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p25).

Life of Toil

A dwarf's chief love in life is toil. They are never happier than when they have a purpose and a cause to strive towards. An individual dwarf is working towards achieving a goal at any time in its life. They take the long term approach to these goals and many can be considered life-goals. There is a great sense of fulfillment when a dwarf achieves a life goal, for to fail has very dire consequences. A dwarf that never finishes a focus must wander the wastes as a banshee, haunting their unfinished works!

Anti-Arcane

Whilst most Athasians have a dislike of arcane magic, dwarves take their aversion to a higher level. They are so adverse to arcane magic in fact that they have developed a resistance against it and have trouble channeling arcane energies through their bodies and minds.


Common Traits

Age & Appearance

The dwarves of Athas have the stature of their kindred in other worlds - short, sturdy, and thickly muscled. Most dwarves have deep tans from lives spent toiling in the hot sun, with wide, callused hands and feet. They usually have little or no hair; the flowing beards that are the pride of male dwarves on other worlds are never seen on the Athasian variety. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p25).

Age as normal dwarves.

Height & Weight
Base height Height modifier Base weight Weight modifier
4' +2d4 170 lb. x (4d6) lb.

Athasian dwarves tend to be more muscular and stockier than standard dwarves.

Allies & Enemies

Dwarves are found in the company of humans, muls, elves (though they may not trust them) and other city-dwellers. They are skilled beast-handlers and train war beasts such as jhakars, drakes, cilopses and giant beetles. (4E D&D Dark Sun Creature Catalog p40).

Alignment & Outlook

Dwarves are typically lawful. Many are also neutral, though there are more good dwarves than there are evil.

Dwarves are known for their stoicism and single-mindedness. They fix their minds on a task at hand, whether it is a challenging feat of engineering, and intricate work of craft, a struggle for survival, or a quest for revenge. It's just not in their nature to abandon a task or leave work half done; dwarves set aside the object of their focus only after much grumbling and coercion. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p25).

As a dwarf you need to decide what is the object of your focus. it must be something that will take at least a week to complete. When you complete a goal, you choose another.

There is very little room for compromise in the mind of a dwarf. Anyone opposed to your focus will be at odds with you. Those that support your focus are sensible and dependable companions.

Classes & Concepts

Expert/artisan (engineer, builder, mason, smith, brewer, farmer, miner); guard/soldier; earth priest; oathsworn; gladiator; noble; site guardian; wilder; sun priest; labourer/slave; beast handler; reeve.

Language & Names

Starting languages: Dwarven and Common.

All but dwarven wizards are illiterate. Most dwarves view their illiteracy as a badge of honor, claiming dwarves need no magic or writing to survive the brutal world of Athas.

Names - as standard dwarves.

Realms & Regions

Dwarves have no lands of their own and are found living among other folk (particularly humans). They reside both in cities and in desert settlements. They tend to have a home base, rather than wander.

Religion & Deities

Dwarves favour the earth and fire spirits.


GAME MECHANICS

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

As Dwarf in the 5e D&D Player's Handbook chapter 2, with the following adjustments and subrace:

Altered Dwarf Traits

  • Dwarven Combat Training. If using weapon groups, replace the weapon proficiencies listed with: Axes & Picks (Simple + battleaxe) and Hammers & Maces (Simple + warhammer).

Desert Dwarf Traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
  • Magic Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

And then choose ONE of the following:

  • Wild Talent. You know one random cantrip from a spell list of your choice. You do not need any components to cast this spell and Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it. All races of the Dark Sun setting typically have latent psionic ability.
  • Dwarven Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level. Use this feature for desert dwarves from standard settings. Dark Sun dwarves are free to choose this too if they do not wish to be Wild Talents.

Typical Desert Dwarf Drawbacks

(See our Drawbacks Page to see how these house rules work).

  • Clumsy (Minor) OR Stubborn (Minor). With their sturdy build, dwarves are not as dextrous as others and many dwarves have a stubborn nature.
  • Aversion - Arcane Magic (Minor). The -2 penalty applies to your spell attack rolls and the DC to save against your spells is reduced by 2. These penalties do not apply to spells cast as from your Wld Talent or spells selected from the cleric, druid, paladin, or ranger lists.
  • Honorable (Minor). Desert dwarves have a lot of racial pride to uphold.
  • Obsession (Minor). This obsession is your focus. When you have a chance to be toiling on your focus it is hard to get you to focus on anything else.
  • Primitive (Minor). This is typical for the dwarves of Dark Sun, where metal is very rare.
  • Illiterate (Minor). The secret of reading and writing is long lost; none can decipher the ancient runes of dwarven writing. Only dwarven wizards have a basic understanding of writing.

Bonus Proficiencies. For each minor drawback assigned to a desert dwarf, you select one of the following: Athletics, Endurance, History, Nature, Survival, Brawling (Simple), Clubs & Staffs (Simple), Spears (Simple), or any one tool kit or vehicle group that is related to your focus.

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ELF

(Information for roleplaying this race in Dark Sun: D&D 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting p26; D&D 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set Rules Book p6.)

Elves are tall, long-legged desert rovers whose tribes wander the face of Athas. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p26).

Tribes of elves roam the deserts of Athas and bring their wares to the scattered settlements. Though they are considered shifty and untrustworthy, the elves bring unique items to their travelling markets that ensure plenty of business. (4E D&D Dark Sun Creature Catalog p44).

Traders & Swindlers

Elven trade is the lifeblood of the Tablelands.

Stories of elves describe swindlers in elven bazaars and wandering bands of raiders that strip caravans of goods. Entire elf tribes have disappeared from city-states after a single member ran afoul of templars. Though considered dangerous by most other races, the elven markets of the various city-states are an important source of contraband, particularly that of the magical variety. However, most people know to be cautious when deal with elves, since being cheated in a deal is the least of what they have been known to do. Most elves simply seek to get the most out of every bargain, and the more cutthroat members of a tribe might use that motivation as an excuse to murder and steal. (4E D&D Dark Sun Creature Catalog p44).

Each of the great city-states hosts a branch of the Elven Market - a never-ending bazaar where elves (and others who deal in goods of dubious origin) sell their wares. Many elven goods are cheap baubles of little worth or were stolen from their rightful owners. Still, elves have a knack for being in the right place at the right time to peddle their wares, and even the most officious templar appreciates the selection of goods in the elven market. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p26).

Desert Runners

Elves run swiftly and with great endurance. Tribes can manage forty miles a day or more, day in and day out. Elves consider it shameful to ride an animal such as a crodlu or kank, and one does so only if ill or gravely wounded. Normally, such mounts are used as beasts of burden to carry the tribe's goods and tents. If a sorcerer-king sends his soldiers to punish an elven tribe for a brazen act of theft or lawlessness, he might find that not even kank-mounted cavalry can catch a tribe that has a mind to be somewhere else. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p26).


Common Traits

Age & Appearance

An Athasian elf stands between 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet tall. They are slender, lean and generally in terrific physical condition. Their features are deeply etched into their weather-toughened faces, and their skin made rugged by the windblown sands and baking sun of the wilderness. Elves typically dress to survive in the desert environment. Even when at an oasis or in the cities, elves tend to prefer their native garb, designed to wrap the wearer against the brutality of the elements. (2E D&D Dark Sun Boxed Set: Rules Book p6).

Age - as normal elves.

Height & Weight
Base height Height modifier Base weight Weight modifier
6' +2d8 130 lb. x (3d6) lb.

Allies & Enemies

Elves might join others in a raiding band, but they have few allies in general. Even other elf tribes are competition at best - there is no racial unity. Only those that have passed tests of trust can be considered allies to an elf tribe. This applies to individual elves too, who will often set up tests of trust for any non-elf companions. If playing an elf you should fabricate these tests for your companions to earn your trust.

Alignment & Outlook

Elves favour the chaotic alignment with no particular leaning on the good-evil axis.

Most Athasians consider elves lazy and deceitful. It's true that many elves dislike hard work and prefer to live in the moment, avoiding unpleasant tasks and drudgery. They have little regard for anyone who is not a member of their tribe. Elves happily take advantage of, steal from, lie to, or misdirect outsiders, not out of malice so much as a desire to separate the gullible from their items of value. When it's important to maintain a valuable trading relationship, elves honor their word and barter in good faith. But the moment they perceive an opportunity that is too good to pass up, they abandon their previous deals. (4E D&D Dark Sun Campaign Setting p26).

Elves value their freedom above all else. Being adaptable and self-sufficient is also important. Elves do whatever they need to do to survive, be that trading, raiding, herding or stealing.

Classes & Concepts

Scout/rover; herder; merchant/trader/peddler; caravan guard; archer/sniper; ranger/dune strider; Athasian minstrel (rogue/scoundrel/charlatan/swindler); entertainer/bard; thief; raider; sorcerer; wizard (likely Veiled Alliance member); wilder; nomad; slave/ex-slave.

Language & Names

Starting Languages: Elven & Common.

Elves frequently learn the languages of the races they trade with, both in the cites and in the wastes.

Realms & Regions

Elves are nomads, so no place is called home for long. They can be found travelling the paths of the wilderness or in the cities' bazaars. Elves roam over all of the Tablelands.

Religion & Deities

Elves rarely take to religion, though many tribes have nature priests that honor the spirits of wind and earth. Fire spirits may also be appeased to keep the suns rays at bay and others may become full druids and tend to the dying flora of Athas.


GAME MECHANICS

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

As elf in the 5e D&D Player's Handbook chapter 2, with the following adjustments and subrace:

DESERT ELF

Desert Elf Traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
  • Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow and longbow. If using the weapon group proficiencies house rule, this feature grants proficiency with: Bows (Simple + Martial), Long Blades (Simple), Short Blades (Simple + Martial).
  • Desert Runner. Desert elf tribes move across the wastes at remarkable speeds. A desert elf can double all overland movement in desert, hills or plains terrain. Furthermore they can run for days on end. Replaces the word hour with day for Forced March, chapter 8 Player's Handbook.

And then choose ONE of the following:

  • Wild Talent. You know one random cantrip from a spell list of your choice. You do not need any components to cast this spell and Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it. Elves of the Dark Sun setting typically have latent psionic ability.
  • Fleet of Foot. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet. Use this feature for desert elves from standard settings. Dark Sun elves are free to choose this too if they do not wish to be Wild Talents.

Typical Desert Elf Drawbacks

(See our Drawbacks Page to see how these house rules work).

  • Frail (Minor) OR Unwise (Minor). Although good runners, desert elves have slight builds and their intellect is not tempered by common sense.
  • Outsider (Minor). Other races have to deal with the elves for trade, but that does not mean they trust them. This applies to anyone outside your tribe or people have passed your 'tests of trust'.
  • Loyal (Minor). Applies only to other elves of your tribe and individuals that have passed your 'tests of trust'.
  • Primitive (Minor). This is typical for the elves of Dark Sun, where metal is very rare.

Bonus Proficiencies. For each minor drawback assigned to a desert elf, you select one of the following: Deception, Endurance, Nature, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Survival, Spears (Simple), herbalism kit, or a musical instrument (one musical instrument group for our grouped proficiency house rules).

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HALF-ELF

Information for roleplaying this race in Dark Sun: D&D 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting p28; D&D 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set Rules Book p7.

Various Flavour Headings

Try to hit on 2-4 main points that best represent the race and give them catchy headings. These can inc notes on appearance, culture, common personality traits/quirks, outlook, likes/dislikes, what they are good at, where they live, myths, religion, what might lead them to adventure, where they fit into society, etc.


Common Traits

Age & Appearance

How they age. Height ; Weight ; Eye colour ; Hair ; etc.

Allies & Enemies

List.

Alignment & Outlook

Typical alignment. Common personality traits (like 4E) or see 3E MCAU for 'Outlook'.

Classes & Concepts

Multi-talented/Self-reliant; Loner/Exile; Ranger/Scout; Beastmaster; Herder; Hunter; Explorer; Merchant guard; Charlatan; Bard; Assassin; Mercenary; Psion; Wilder; Dune trader; Gladiator; Primal guardian; Wizard (and likely Veiled Alliance member); Nomad.

Language & Names

State main language spoken. Types of names. Example names.

Realms & Regions

Half-elves rarely find a home of their own, forever wandering from situation to situation or settlement to settlement, without a people, land, or village to call home. There are said to be some isolated half-elf communities in the deserts that act as havens for these lost people.

Religion & Deities

State which type they follow and individual gods if common.


GAME MECHANICS

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

As half-elf in the 5e D&D Player's Handbook chapter 2, with the following adjustments:

Typical Half-Elf Drawbacks

(See our Drawbacks Page to see how these house rules work).

  • Ability Score Decreases (Minor). You reduce one ability score by 2, or any two ability scores by 1. You may choose Charisma here, off-setting the bonus gained, to represent the non-diplomatic/outcast half-elf. If you do lower Charisma, you must also choose one of the following flaws:
  • Outsider (Minor). Choose a particular society/group that raised you (typically an elven tribe or human settlement). The penalties of this feat do not apply when interacting with members of that group.

Bonus Proficiencies. For each minor drawback assigned to a half-elf, you select any one skill, weapon group or tool sets/kits. (If the Short Blades weapon group is chosen, you gain Simple + Martial. For all other weapon groups it is Simple only).

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HALF-GIANT

Information for roleplaying this race in Dark Sun: D&D 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting p27; D&D 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set Rules Book p9. The are also written up in the D&D 3E Expanded Psionics Handbook p12.

Various Flavour Headings

Try to hit on 2-4 main points that best represent the race and give them catchy headings. These can inc notes on appearance, culture, common personality traits/quirks, outlook, likes/dislikes, what they are good at, where they live, myths, religion, what might lead them to adventure, where they fit into society, etc.


Common Traits

Age & Appearance

How they age. Height ; Weight ; Eye colour ; Hair ; etc.

Allies & Enemies

List.

Alignment & Outlook

Typical alignment. Common personality traits (like 4E) or see 3E MCAU for 'Outlook'.

Classes & Concepts

Soldier/Guard; Labourer; Servant of the State/Slave; Mercenary; Urban thug; Ranger/Scout; Hunter; Raider; Wilder; Gladiator; Primal guardian; Mountain barbarian; Battlemind.

Language & Names

State main language spoken. Types of names. Example names.

Realms & Regions

Half-giants were created by the sorcerer-kings long ago, and many of them still serve these masters. Most half-giants are found in the cities where sorcerer-kings have hundreds of half-giants in their service. Some half-giants serve nobles and free ones often become thugs if they do not escape to the wastes. Half-giants are more common the closer one gets to the Sea of Silt. In the wild they usually take to the mountains and often form tribes of their own kind.

Religion & Deities

State which type they follow and individual gods if common.


GAME MECHANICS

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

Half-Giant Traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Constitution score increases by 1.
  • Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern colour in darkness, only shades of grey. Your sight is a magical feature from the first bred half-giants.
  • Desert Born. You're naturally adapted to extreme heat, as described in chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. You also ignore movement penalties for sandy or rocky terrain.
  • Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag or lift. You are also counted as one size larger for opposed rolls where your bulk would be beneficial, such as resisting forced movement and being swallowed whole. Furthermore, when wielding a versatile weapon, you deal the damage listed for using two-handed.
  • Psionic Stomp. You can stamp your foot and send a psionic ripple through the earth. You can cast earth tremor as a 1st level spell (from the 5E D&D Xanathar's Guide to Everything or Elemental Evil Player's Guide) without needing a material component. After you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell. (If you do not wish to play a psionic half-giant, replace this with Stone's Endurance from the goliath race).
  • Size. Medium.
  • Speed. Base speed is 30 feet.
  • Languages. Common and Giant.

And then choose ONE of the following:

  • Wild Talent. You know one random cantrip from a spell list of your choice. You do not need any components to cast this spell and Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it. All races of the Dark Sun setting typically have latent psionic ability.
  • Giant Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level. Use this feature for half-giants from standard settings. Dark Sun half-giants are free to choose this too if they do not wish to be Wild Talents.

Typical Half-Giant Drawbacks

(See our Drawbacks Page to see how these house rules work).

  • Dullard (Minor) OR Unwise (Minor). Although magically created, many half-giants inherit the weaker minds of their giant brethren.
  • Lumbering (Minor). Your bulk means you are not as agile or nimble as other races.
  • Primitive (Minor). This is typical for the half-giants of Dark Sun, where metal is very rare.

Bonus Proficiencies. For each minor drawback assigned to a half-giant, you select one of the following: Athletics, Endurance, Survival, or Clubs & Staffs (Simple + Martial).

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HUMAN

Information for roleplaying this race in Dark Sun: D&D 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting p29; D&D 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set Rules Book p13.

Various Flavour Headings

Try to hit on 2-4 main points that best represent the race and give them catchy headings. These can inc notes on appearance, culture, common personality traits/quirks, outlook, likes/dislikes, what they are good at, where they live, myths, religion, what might lead them to adventure, where they fit into society, etc.


Common Traits

Age & Appearance

How they age. Height ; Weight ; Eye colour ; Hair ; etc.

Allies & Enemies

List.

Alignment & Outlook

Typical alignment. Common personality traits (like 4E) or see 3E MCAU for 'Outlook'.

Classes & Concepts

Noble; Slave; Artisan/Expert; Merchant/trader; Escaped slave; Bureaucrat/Templar; Explorer/ranger; Scout; Guard/Soldier; Wizard (and likely Veiled Alliance member); Street thug/thief; Guild thief; Slaver; Landowner; Gladiator; Psion; Wilder; Athasian minstrel; Primal guardian; Nomad; Hermit; Sorcerer.

Language & Names

State main language spoken. Types of names. Example names.

Realms & Regions

Resourceful and hardy, humans are the most numerous and widespread race in the Tyr region. They can be found throughout the wastes and make up most of the population of the cities. Their appearance varies slightly based upon their home city-state.

Religion & Deities

State which type they follow and individual gods if common.


GAME MECHANICS

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

As human in the 5e D&D Player's Handbook chapter 2.

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MUL

Information for roleplaying this race in Dark Sun: D&D 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting p20; D&D 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set Rules Book p14.

Various Flavour Headings

Try to hit on 2-4 main points that best represent the race and give them catchy headings. These can inc notes on appearance, culture, common personality traits/quirks, outlook, likes/dislikes, what they are good at, where they live, myths, religion, what might lead them to adventure, where they fit into society, etc.


Common Traits

Age & Appearance

How they age. Height ; Weight ; Eye colour ; Hair ; etc.

Allies & Enemies

List.

Alignment & Outlook

Typical alignment. Common personality traits (like 4E) or see 3E MCAU for 'Outlook'.

Classes & Concepts

Battle slave; Gladiator; Freed slave; Escaped slave; Slave laborer; Soldier/Guard; Wilderness warrior; Street thug; Battlemind; Fighter; Raider; Rebellion leader; Wilder.

Language & Names

State main language spoken. Types of names. Example names.

Realms & Regions

Muls are typically found in numbers in the cities and wherever slaves are kept. Of course, many individuals have gained their freedom and taken to the wilderness, but there are no know 'mul settlements'.

Religion & Deities

State which type they follow and individual gods if common.


GAME MECHANICS

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

I haven't done these yet ;)

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RACE NAME

Intro paragraph. Very general statements that summarises the race.

Various Flavour Headings

Try to hit on 2-4 main points that best represent the race and give them catchy headings. These can inc notes on appearance, culture, common personality traits/quirks, outlook, likes/dislikes, what they are good at, where they live, myths, religion, what might lead them to adventure, where they fit into society, etc.


Common Traits

Age & Appearance

How they age. Height ; Weight ; Eye colour ; Hair ; etc.

Allies & Enemies

List.

Alignment & Outlook

Typical alignment. Common personality traits (like 4E) or see 3E MCAU for 'Outlook'.

Classes & Concepts

List common archetypes and actual classes backgrounds and subclasses for D&D.

Language & Names

State main language spoken. Types of names. Example names.

Realms & Regions

List lands where they are found in this setting.

Religion & Deities

State which type they follow and individual gods if common.


GAME MECHANICS

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

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