Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dwarves of Athas Part 1: Forged in Fire and Stone


Dwarf, hair removed.
 I am Karpos, human merchant from Balic. I have traveled the Tablelands and learned much of the various races that live here. I trade a great deal with the villages of North and South Ledopolus. In that time, I have learned a great deal of the Dwarves. Dwarves usually won't answer questions, unless it has to do with their focus. However, if they trust you and you buy them a few drinks, you may hear a story of two.
My friend Kallias is considered quite the beauty by her fellow Dwarves and she gets quite talkative after few mugs of mead. Seven mugs to be exact, which cost me more than I was wanted to spend, but after a long journey, I found her company pleasant and her tale fascinating.

Forged in Fire and Stone
Athas was created by a powerful being, simply called the creator. The creator was both male and female and had hold of all of the elements. This creator created the sky, the stars, the moons, and Athas itself, but it wasn't like Athas today. It was a bitterly cold wasteland. There were no cities, or even villages, as no intelligent race existed. The creator looked upon his creation and wept a single tear, for there were no other beings to enjoy his creation.
This one tear fell into a volcano. The tear was changed by the molten mixture of rock and fire, it became life. This new creature crawled from the molten lava and was cooled by the cold air. The creator called this creature, which was made of all four elements, Dwarf and named him Torran. Because of the cold, however, Torran had hair to keep him warm. Torran had a love of creation, like the creator itself. Together, they created more.
They created more Dwarves and then the other races. Dwarves had a greater portion of Earth, to make then strong and resilient. Humans were crafted from equal amounts of each element to make them balanced. Elves had a greater portion of air, to make them swift, and Halfings had a greater portion of fire, to make them fierce.

It was here I interrupted and asked her what about Thri-Kreen, Pterrans, and Nikaal. She dismissed my questions with a wave of her hand. I suspect she did not know the answer, but was too proud to admit it.

The creator looked upon all he Torran and had created and was again disappointed. These new creations had life, but no sentience. The creator sat and thought for hundred years. During this time, Torran built the first city to house their creations. When Torran had laid the last stone, the creator told him why the other races were not sentient. The creators tear had a portion of the creator themself and imbued Torran with the sentience of the creator. If their creations were to have true life, then the creator must give their own life force to them.
Torran begged the creator not to die, so their creations could live, but the creator was driven. The creator explained that it's purpose was to create and give life. Without this, the creator would have no purpose. Torran understood and bowed to the creators will.
First, the creator breathed another portion of it's life upon the Dwarf and explained that Dwarves alone would be blessed with a life purpose. The other races would simply wander aimlessly through life, but all Dwarves would remember the creator through their life focus. Then, the creator blew on the other races and on Athas itself. The other races slowly began to gain sentience and Athas warmed with the creators breath.
So, you see, the creator died so we could live. The creator blessed us Dwarves with a purpose driven life. We feel sorry for you other races, because you have to always wonder if you have a purpose in life.

I tried to ask how Dwarves lost their hair and other questions, but she refused to answer. Other Dwarves told me that Kallias was wrong and Dwarves have always been bald, or that Dwarves cast away their hair when Athas become too hot. I even had some tell me that Dwarves are not bald, they shave everyday. Although I think the last explanation was just Dwarves having fun at my expense.

Note from Rajaat99: I know I am not much of a writer, but I hope this was enjoyable. I plan on writing various articles about the Dwarves of Athas and combine them into an ebook. I feel that Dwarves really should have got their own book. Comments and criticism are welcome and encouraged.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Elemental Lords, Living Vortices, and Sorcerer Kings

This is the history of Athas from the point of view of the elemental lords. I know it's not the best writing I have done, but did I miss anything? Feel free to criticize.

The elemental planes; earth, air, fire, and water, have existed since time began. The inhabitants of these realms are elementals, they can be both powerful and feeble. They were born of the substance that surrounded them and made up their homes. They battled each other for dominance for countless millennia and these clashes created the battlegrounds of the paraelemental planes, magma, sun, rain, and mud.
Then something happened that they did not expect, the paraelemental planes gave birth to their own forms of life. These paraelementals were not as powerful as their elemental cousins, but they were recruited as fodder for the elemental wars, lead by genies and other true elementals. As time passed, the paraelementals grew in power and intelligence. They threw off the yoke of the elementals and began warring with them.
These battles caused the combatant's respective elements to drift into the prime material plane as scattered matter. These pieces of matter did not concern the elementals, for their planes were vast and endless. However, a powerful sun paraelemental visited the prime material plane and used the pieces of scattered matter to create an azure orb of pure paraelemental sun.
"He looks better in red." - River Tam
This organized sun matter imbued the paraelemental and the paraelemental plane with even greater power, creating the first paraelemental lord. The other elementals saw what the paraelemental had done and were quick to organize their own matter on the material plane. For the first time since time began, the elementals stopped fighting and began working together to organize the matter in the universe. Water, air, and earth quickly worked together in the process of creation, with fire joining them reluctantly later.
The culmination of their joint efforts was the creation of a world with living things. Plants and animals thrived, each imbued with a little of each of the four main elements and some with portions of the paraelements as well. There was no sentient life on the prime material plane, as the elemental lords had no reason to create it.
One day, things changed. The new elemental lords noticed other creatures encroaching into their domain. They quickly sealed off these entrances, but allowed a small group of these curious creatures to live on one of their creations. The creatures were small and, when compared to the elemental lords, weak. Once the inhabitants discovered they could not return to their homes, they settled and adapted. Some of these inhabitants, who called themselves Halflings, discovered the presence of the elemental lords are offered their servitude in exchange for small portions of the elemental's power. The Halfling's named the world they lived on Athas, which meant "joy or gladness" in their ancient tongue.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Nushki - Small Psionic Cat

The Nushki has fur that is of a pale, sandy, light brownish-yellow color. Markings vary, but most are lightly striped. There are dark brown bars on the limbs, and the tail has a black tip with two or three dark rings. It stands one to one and a half feet at the shoulder. From nose to the base of its tail, it is twenty inches long with an additional foot of tail length. Nushki weigh about ten pounds.
An adult Nushki
Nushki are solitary creatures, except mating season. Females give birth to a litter of three to five kittens seventy to seventy-five days later. The parents will stay with their kittens for eight months to a year. After that time, they part ways and each claim separate territories. Both parents will fight to the death if they feel their kittens are in danger.
Nushki live in burrows, but do not dig them. They will generally take over the burrow of another creature. They are crepuscular and nocturnal. Their diet is made up of small rodents, lizards, snakes, and insects. They are able to get all their required moisture from their prey, but will drink if water is available. They have been known to attack small children, but only when other prey is unavailable.
The Nushki does have claws and sharp teeth, but the cat's psionic powers are the creatures most useful weapon when stalking prey. They will generally use their ecoplasmic form to approach their prey, usually through solid objects, and adrenalin control to attack.
Stats after the jump (Some of the information is duplicated for ease of reference.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Day in the Life of Kassem of Tyr

Athasian life is hard, even in the relative ease of the city-states. The average laborer has the difficulty of competing with slaves, who work for free. Due to this competition, an unskilled laborer only earns two bits per week, which is fifteen days on Athas. Even a skilled laborer, which most free citizens are, only earn a single bit per day.
Working ten hours for a single bit is better than being a slave.

A gallon of water costs two bits, and a pound of rice, or a loaf of farro bread, is a single bit. With these costs, it seems a city dwelling citizen has a difficult choice of either starving to death or dying of dehydration. Then, there is the problem of getting clean on a world where water is scarce. So, we'll follow a young adult citizen of Kalak ruled Tyr, Kassem, as he goes about a normal day.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Greater Paraelemental of Rain

Second edition AD&D failed to make paraelementals for Dark Sun, so I will be creating some. I started with the lesser paraelementals and now it is time to end with the greater paraelemental of rain. I hope they were found useful.  Feedback is welcome.
Rain Elemental by HoiHoiSan
 Stats after the jump.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Greater Paraelemental of Sun

Second edition AD&D failed to make paraelementals for Dark Sun, so I will be creating some. I started with the lesser paraelementals and now it is time to introduce the greater paraelemental of sun. Feedback is welcome.
I got six at the sun stare.

Stats after the jump.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Twelfth Session: Swift as Wind, Formed as Wood.

Note: For those unfamiliar with Dark Sun, psionics are called the Will for wild talents and the Way for trained psionicists.

Red Bipedal Lizard
The red bipedal lizards attacked Julius and Shade with their claws. Julius backed off and allowed Alaxander to take his place. They were able to wound the front lizard badly, when Jessel came down the hallway behind them. Alaxander was injured, so he had Jessel change places with him. Alaxander and Julius then began using the way against the lizards, while everyone else just used weapons.
The lizards showed animal level intelligence in their fighting techniques. The final lizard breathed a gout of flame at Shade, The fire singed Shade a bit, but he was able to dodge most of the attack.
They finished off the last of the lizards, then harvested their teeth to use as arrowheads. Alaxander wanted to skin them, but decided they had more pressing matters to attend to. The group welcomed Jessel back, then chose to investigate the lava pool, but found nothing else. Back at the hallway intersection, they chose the east corridor.