Lighthouse for the Blind
“I live in a world of fire and sand. The crimson sun scorches the life from anything that crawls or flies, and storms of sand scour the foliage from the barren ground. Lightning strikes from the cloudless sky, and peals of thunder roll unexplained across the vast tablelands. Even the wind, dry and searing as a kiln, can kill a man with thirst.”
―The Wanderer’s Journal
Athas is a world of many races, from the gith who wander the deserts, to the tareks, too stubborn to know when they have died. Giants terrorize the Silt Sea, while belgoi steal grown men in the night. The magic of the Pristine Tower produces the New Races; most never see a second generation. Despite the variety of intelligent life, only a few races have the numbers to significantly impact the politics of the Tablelands.
Though the races of the Dark Sun campaign setting resemble those of other campaign worlds, it is frequently in name only. The insular elves roam the Tablelands, trusted by no one but their own tribe‐mates. Halflings are feral creatures, possessed of a taste for human flesh. Hairless dwarves work endlessly, their entire perception of the world filtered through the lens of a single, all–consuming task. Unsleeping thri‐kreen roam the wastes, always hunting their next meal.
The five new races presented in this chapter are:
Aarakocra, avian freedom–loving creatures, but extremely zealous and xenophobic.
Half‐giants, a race that combines great strength, but dull wits, from their giant heritage; with the agility of their human forbearers.
Muls, a hybrid race that combines the natural Dwarven resilience and stubbornness with the adaptability from humans.
Pterrans, reptilian nature–worshipping creatures that are always in the pursuit of their “life paths”.
Thri‐kreen, insectoid creatures, these natural hunters roam the Athasian wastes in search for prey.
Table 1–1: Athasian Racial Ability Adjustments
Race Type LA Ability Adjustments Favored Class Automatic Languages
Human Humanoid +0 ― Any Common
+1 –2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, –2 Charisma Cleric Auran and Common
Dwarf Humanoid +0 +2 Constitution, –2 Charisma Fighter Common and Dwarven
Elf Humanoid +0 +2 Dexterity, –2 Constitution Rogue Common and Elven
Half-elf Humanoid +0 +2 Dexterity, –2 Charisma Any Common and Elven
Half-giant Giant +2 +8 Strength, –2 Dexterity, +4 Constitution,
–4 Intelligence1, –4 Wisdom, –4 Charisma
Halfling Humanoid +0 –2 Strength, +2 Dexterity Ranger Halfling
Mul Humanoid +1 +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, –2 Charisma Gladiator Common
Pterran Humanoid +0 –2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma Druid, telepath or
+2 +2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, –2
Intelligence1, +2 Wisdom, –4 Charisma
Psychic warrior Kreen
1 A half-giant or thri-keen’s starting Intelligence is at least 3. If this adjustment would lower a character’s score to 1 or 2, his
Intelligence is 3.
Athas is a place where members of different races are
usually found in the same city‐state, usually because they
are going to be used in gladiatorial games as an exotic
attraction, or to become slaves due to their physical
might. Even though they are not usually concentrated on
a specific area, these races are significant players in the
Tablelands. It is only fitting then, that belgoi, gith, jozhals,
ssurrans, tareks, taris, yuan‐tis, and a variety of other
creatures commonly viewed as monsters might appear as
player characters in a Dark Sun campaign.
All the rules you need to play a character belonging to
one of these races can be found in Terrors of Athas,
Expanded Psionics Handbook, and the Dungeon Master’s
Guide. Cultural information about several monstrous races
appears in Chapter 7: Life on Athas.