Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Non-Dark Sun Creatures in Dark Sun - Centaur, Desert

There are many creatures from the various monstrous manuals that have been officially added to Dark Sun. I added some unofficially for my game and I'm sure a lot of other DMs do the same.
There is no inherent problem with this, although the flavor text often doesn't fit with the Dark Sun setting. My goal is to list the various monsters that "don't fit" and rewrite their flavor text to make them fit.
I often add a new Athasian variant as well.

Athasian Centaur (Centaur, Desert)
These are the only centaurs present on Athas, so there would be no need to differentiate them from other centaurs. I added Athasian, so there's no confusion with dungeon masters and players, but on Athas, they would simply be called centaurs.
Also, they would not be descibed as "half-horse," because horses don't exist on Athas. They would be "half-sygra."

Jesse Heinig created rules to play a desert centaur in your dark sun 2nd edition AD&D game. Here ya go.

Centaur Centaur, Priestess
Climate/Terrain Hinterlands Hinterlands
Frequency Very Rare Very Rare
Organization Tribal Tribal
Activity Cycle Night Night
Diet Omnivore Omnivore
Intelligence Low to Average (5-10) Very to High (11-14)
Treasure Q, U 1d4 gems
Alignment Neutral or Chaotic Good Neutral
No. Appearing 1-8 (70%) or 4-32 (30%) 1
Armor Class 6 6
Movement 21 21
Hit Dice 3, Leader 4 3
Thac0 17, Leader 16 20
No. of Attacks 3 3
Damage/ Attack 1-4, 1-4, and weapon 1-4, 1-4, and weapon
Special Attack Missile weaponsSpells/ Missile Weapons
Special DefenseNil Nil
Magic Resistance Nil Nil
Size M (6' tall) M (6' tall)
Morale Elite (13-14) Elite (13-14)
XP Value 120, Leader 175 175

Athasian centaurs are the ultimate fusion of mount and nomadic tribesman – tough, slim, fast and stealthy nighttime raiders who slip into enemies’ camps and then depart like shadows before the dawn. They are as reclusive, but very defensive of the lands they claim as their own.
They have barrel-like chests and long, thin legs. The males generally grow long beards which they elaborately curl and oil into perfect form. The females wear veils, but take few other cares about their appearance. When traveling they carry their goods in packs or drag them along in litters.

Athasian centaurs are always armed, half of them with light lances, the other half with short composite bows and scimitars. In melee they make three attacks each round, two with their sharp hooves for 1-4 points of damage each and one strike with a hand weapon.
Their excellent night vision puts them at an advantage relative to other desert dwellers; they suffer only a -1 attack penalty in darkness, even with missile weapons. They can see clearly up to 200 yards under moonlit conditions.
Centaurs are wary and prefer to strike from a distance whenever possible. They are great at riding forward from ambush to fire missiles and then melting into the grasslands, only to return later and strike again. They are willing to strike again and again over a period of hours or even days to bring down their prey and their foes. When the final assault comes it is preceded by a hail of arrows and followed up with a full charge of lancers.
The priestess centaur may cast spells according to her level as a water cleric. The following spells are for a 3rd level cleric: Entangle, Cure Light Wounds, Spiritual Hammer. In addition, the priestess has the quench thirst minor power found in Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Priestesses attack with slings, instead of bows.

Athasian centaurs are most active by night. Their relatively large bodies and rapid movement make it easy for them to overheat and suffer sunstroke when carrying heavy loads, and thus they prefer the cooler nighttime temperatures. The territory of a tribe of centaurs generally extends across hundreds of miles, and they are glad to steal carru, aprigs, or erdlu they come across, as they consider domestication of animals a crime. Oddly, they see no contradiction in the fact that they usually immediately butcher and eat the animals they “free” from their owners.
Each tribe has a priestess who functions as a waterfinder and reader of oracles. She is, at least, a 3rd level cleric of water. The priestess rules in all matters of justice among tribe members and in all matters of diplomacy with other dwellers of the hinterlands. She usually speaks several languages other than her own, occasionally she'll speak one of the city-state languages.
Raiding and hunting parties of centaurs are led by experienced trackers who have 4 HD. They track as rangers. These leaders make the final decisions as to where the tribe roams and where it raids.
All centaurs are polygamous; both males and females may have up to four mates. Generally these families are centered around either a single powerful male or an influential female. Young (1-3 HD) centaurs only fight if directly threatened. They lash out with their hooves for 1-4/1-4 points of damage.

Centaurs are constantly seeking new hunting grounds, new water holes, and new sources of resources for bows and fletchings. They treat other tribes with respect and are willing to make peace or raid them as circumstances demand. Centaurs avoid and fear genies. They rarely enter villages except to trade for goods they cannot produce themselves. Centaurs are not found east of the Ringing Mountains.


  1. A friend and I were just earlier talking about the viability of centaurs in Athas, since we've recently revisited the setting ourselves. Incidentally, we also discovered this blog mere moments after, so we can settle our discussion with this as a reference point.

    I will also be digging through the rest, because I like what I'm seeing. Thanks for putting your work out there.

    1. You are welcome and I'm glad it came in handy.