Thursday, May 30, 2019

Dark Sun Survival - Water from Cactus

Barrel Cactus
I like making my Dark Sun games realistic, well, at least as realistic as a fantasy roleplaying game can be. With that in mind, I read up on getting water from a cactus. Is it possible? Yes, but it's not necessarily as easy as fiction might show.
First, you have to find the right kind of cactus, because not all cactus provides water. It'll differ on Athas, but here on Earth, there are two cactus that you can extract water from, the barrel cactus and the prickly pear cactus. There is no reason why these two cacti could not exist on Athas.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Athasian Elemental Planes Part Three: The Plane of Earth

Symbol by Vedeskaja.
The Elemental Plane of Earth

Aarakocra would go mad on the Elemental Plane of Earth. The only way to get around is through tunnels and not many of them are very wide. Anyone even slightly claustrophobic wouldn't be able to stand the enclosed earthen walls.
That is not to say that the Plane of Earth is nothing but unyielding rock, there is variation. Every type of stone and dirt can be found here. Of course there's granite, slate, and sandstone; but there's also marble, pumice, and obsidian. There's even soil that is so rich, the plants on Athas could thrive on it for a millennia. Of course that soil is slowly being replaced by dead, dry dust, or is being melted into molten slag.


If a traveler is not claustrophobic, the Elemental Plane of Earth is not too difficult to traverse; as long as one is willing to dig. Also, a visitor would have to bring their own source of air, as the Elemental Plane of Earth does not have native air to breathe. On top of that, the Plane of Earth actively tries to fill in the tunnels that are made through it. Tunnels will eventually close at a rate of one foot per Athasian day. Anyone trapped in a closing tunnel will be crushed by the earth of the plane itself and take 1d2 points of damage per round. It is possible to prevent the plane from closing these tunnels, but only the natives of the plane know the secret.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fear the Dragon, Hate the Tax Collector

Money is required to run a city-state and keep the populace in line. Armies require food and weapons, Templars have living expenses, and slaves need to be fed. Not to mention the cost of spell components and alchemy supplies. Citizens and non-citizens must pay taxes and fees to pay for these expenses, that's why they may fear the dragon, but they always hate the tax collector.
I wanted to help any DMs who don't know what kinds of taxes and fees a Templar might charge citizens, non-citizens, and especially player characters. Keep in mind that although taxes are listed in coinage, an equal value of goods is generally also acceptable in most instances. Taxes and fees can vary based upon the honesty of the Templar collecting them. These are guidelines only. DM's should decide what fees would be most appropriate for their games.
So, without further ado, I give you the taxes and fees of the city-states.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Athasian Elemental Planes Part Two: The Plane of Air

Symbol by Vedeskaja.

The Elemental Plane of Air 

Ancient writings say the Elemental Plane of Air was once clear and pure. That gentle breezes were common and the air was fresh and clean. They mention clouds rolling through the emerald skies, some even say the sky used to be blue. Today, the Elemental Plane of Air is much different.
Now, the air is stale and dry. Dust swirls through the plane and clouds are as rare as a cool breeze. While it is unlikely a traveler will suffocate, the air in the Elemental Plane is not as refreshing as it once may have been.
All natives of the Elemental Plane of Air have geared their societies and themselves in the battle for their home. This Elemental War rages across all Elemental and Paraelemental Planes. This war has been raging for untold millennia and is not going well for the Elemental Plane of Air.


Even though the Elemental Plane of Air is stale and listless, it is still the most inhabitable Elemental Plane for Athasian travelers. The most common dangers a visitor can expect, besides the inhabitants of the Plane itself, are storms, heat waves, and black blizzards. Storms are becoming more uncommon as the plane slowly gives way to the Planes of Sun and Silt. Heat waves and black blizzards are growing in regularity and strength.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Dwarves of Athas Part Five: Settlements (North & South Ledopolous)

Dwarves seem to be some of the very best builders in the Tablelands. Perhaps this is due to their focuses, or their long lives. I may not know why, but I know Dwarves build very sturdy structures that are beautiful in their simplicity.
Most Dwarves live alongside the other races in the various city states and tribal villages, but a Dwarf's focus may lead them anywhere in the Tablelands.
Although I know a great deal about the twin villages of North and South Ledopolous, due to the time I have spent there, I would rather have my friend and trading partner, Menodora, give more information about them. Menodora was born in South Ledopolous and spent much of her youth traveling between the two towns.

Ledopolous was founded a hundred years ago by a group of Dwarven merchants from Balic. This was the village that would become South Ledopolous. The Dwarves wanted to build a faster route from Balic to Gulg and Nibenay. They decided that merchant houses and dune traders would pay for the ease of access. The giants that lived on Ledo, however, saw the Dwarves as invaders. The Dwarves tried to explain their plan and even promised to share their wealth with the giants, but the giants believed that the Dwarves were going to steal their flint deposits. Dumb brutes. So, the giants attacked us and have been attacking us ever sense.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Session Nineteen: Bringing Home the Dead

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

Ral on the left and Guthay on the right.
The group set up watch and slept under two waning moons, Ral and Guthay. Julius kept the first watch, followed by Shade, then Alaxander, and lastly Kalino.

Day 15, Week 2, Dominary, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

They awoke after a quiet, peaceful night. Checking on Vashti, it was obvious she needed more time to heal. They fed and watered the group, the children, and the livestock. Kalino and Julius worked on Kalino's chitin khopesh. Shade played with Spike. Jamil watched over Vashti and fed her tiny bits of water. Alaxander decided to go look for water in the sandy wastes.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Freeman and His Bits. A Dark Sun Fable.

Not long ago, there was a freeman who used to hide his bits at the base of a boulder outside his home. Every week he would go to the boulder and dig up his bits to gloat over his hoarded wealth. An Elf, who noticed this, went and dug up the bits and ran away with them. When the freeman came to gloat over his treasures the next day, he found nothing but the empty hole. He tore his hair, and raised such an outcry that all the neighbors came and asked what was wrong. He told them how he used to bury and then come and visit his bits.
"Did you ever take any of the bits out?" asked one of them.
"No," he said, "I only came to look at them."
"Then come and look at the hole again," said a neighbor; "it will do you just as much good."

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Athasian Elemental Planes Part One

The Elemental Planes of Dark Sun.
The Elemental Planes of Athas are separate from the Elemental Planes in the rest of the Multiverse. This series of articles will attempt to explain the differences and give dungeon masters some ideas, as their players characters take part in the battle for the survival of all creation.

The Elemental Planes are the physical, tangible, material that birthed Athas and all of its creations. Due to the tampering of defilers, life-shapers, and nature benders some of the elemental planes have been altered. Possibly forever.
When most Athasian residents think of the elemental planes, they often only think of just the four elemental planes. They picture the raging inferno of the Elemental Plane of Fire or the endless emerald skies of the Elemental Plane of Air. They envision the unfathomable depths of the Elemental Plane of Water and the crushing stones of the Elemental Plane of Earth. Such thinking is limited in scope, for there is a lot more to the Elemental Planes than these four.
The Elemental Planes are very different from Athas itself. Everything in the Elemental Planes appears and feels more real. The Elemental Planes are raw, powerful, and deadly. They care little for the inhabitants of Athas, save those who can help or harm the planes themselves.
The Elemental Planes consist of four major planes and four minor ones. The major planes are the elemental planes of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The four minor planes are the paraelemental planes of Silt, Sun, Magma, and Rain. Although they are called minor, it does not mean the power in those planes is weaker than the major planes.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Review of Dark Sun Vignette: "Bad Bits"

Jesse Heinig wrote this short adventure for AD&D 2nd Edition Dark Sun. I am going to review it. Just to let readers know: I do not know Jesse Heinig and have no reason to have an opinion of this vignette before reading it. You can read it yourself: Download it here.
Calling "Bad Bits" a vignette is, in my opinion, incorrect. This is a short adventure. The TL;DR version of this review is: "Bad Bits" is fantastic, download it now.
Read the full review after the jump.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Thank you to everyone who takes the time to visit and read my blog entries. I apologize for not posting new material this past week. I had some vehicle troubles, college finals, and sick children.
I am currently working on a few articles, including: a review of a Dark Sun fan adventure "Bad Bits", Dwarves of Athas, I was asked to write a couple more articles about terrain, and will be starting a new series of articles about how genies fit into the Dark Sun setting.
I am still very active on this blog, but unfortunately real life gets in the way sometimes. Thank you all for your patience.

Edit 05/07/19: My idea for Genies of Athas has expanded to a treatise on the Elemental Planes of Athas.