Races of Athas
INTELLIGENT CREATURES INHABIT EVERY harsh, desolate corner of the world of Athas. Giants roam the Silt Sea, gith wander the mountains and canyons, and braxats and belgoi stalk the deserts, but few of these cultures have made a lasting impact on the Tyr Region and its nearby environments as the eight races described in this chapter have. Common or uncommon, they are all prominent racial types, and thus are available as player characters.
If you are familiar with fantasy roleplaying games or literature, you will no doubt find many of Dark Sun's concepts familiar. But Athas is a world where the essential, fundamental nature of things has been twisted through years of unchecked, environmentally-abusive magic - many of the things you find familiar may be so in name only. Thus, your character will often meet single-minded dwarves, nomadic elves, brutish half-giants and sturdy muls among the bustling human settlements.
Mingling among these common races are the members of somewhat uncommon species: a half-elven hermit visits the city of Nibenay, after a long trip in the scorching deserts of Athas, carrying a bunch of ancient artifacts. A group of savage halflings roam the streets, befuddled by the human culture they have just met for the first time. And an alien thri-kreen stands guard outside a watering hole, silent and imposing, its insectoid eyes never blinking.
Athas is a world where the intelligent races come from a wide variety of species - humans and humanoids are very different than the instectoids and reptilians. Each intelligent race - with the exception of half-elves, half-giants, and muls - has its own language, sometimes even its own approach to language and communication. The three exceptions don't have their own societies or cultures to draw upon, so they speak the language of the society they live in. For example, a mul raised in the gladiator pits of Urik would converse in the language variety of that city. Thri-kreen, on the other hand, use a combination of clicks and whines that come naturally to their pincer mouths, a speech humans find impossible to imitate. Language barriers therefore present a major obstacle for adventures set in Athas. Characters must rely heavily on magic, psionics, or interpreters for communication.
Because knowledge is power, and the most efficient way of passing on knowledge is through literature, the sorcerer-kings have decreed that literacy is outlawed and punishable by death. No one but templars and nobles are permitted to read and write. Other people who gain access to that knowledge are considered threats to the stability of the system, and are hunted down. Most sorcerer-kings have authorized their templars to execute on spot anyone demonstrating any reading or writing skills. Merchants are educated enough to keep accounts, and thus they seldom face any repercussions, although some are fully literate. Slaves of nobles with artistic abilities may also have access to reading and writing, but when they are no longer needed, they are often disposed of prematurely.
|Common||All except halflings and thri-kreen|
|Primordial||Elemental creatures, drakes|
Your race indicates the languages your character can speak by default, and your background or social rank might give you access to one or more additional languages of your choice, or grant you proficiency in scribe's supplies. In that case, you are able to read and write the languages you know; you should pay great care though, if you don't belong to the noble class, for a mere sign of literacy among the lower classes is punishable with death.
Choose the languages from the Standard Languages table. With your DM's permission, you can instead choose a language from the Exotic Languages table or a secret language, such as the tongue of druids.
The Common Tongue
There is a standard language, known simply as common, common tongue, or trade tongue, that all dwarves, elves, half-elves, half-giants, humans, and muls speak. It is important to note that halflings and thri-kreen do not necessarily start speaking Common, it is strongly recommended though that halfling and thri-kreen characters select Common as one of the language they know.
It is also worth noting that each city-state uses a distinct variety of the Common Tongue. While mutual comprehension can be achieved easily between speakers of Common, it is often a mark of distinction between locals and foreigners, that can lead to potential trouble, especially if the natives distrust the type of people from a specific city-state. Citizens of Gulg and Nibenay, for instance, have a history of mutual hate, and upon noticing each other's common variety, a character from one or the other city can face various unfriendly reactions, from cold stares to aggressive behavior.
"REMEMBER THE INTENSITY OF YOUR FOCUS. Breaking or ignoring your focus will be detrimental to both your body and mind. There is no greater satisfaction than fulfilling a difficult focus. Be serious and sober, always. The only time to be festive is when you have recently fulfilled your focus, during the hours or days until you set a new focus."
Cities of the dwarves were once as numerous as the caravan forts guarding the trade roads, but today not one exists. Likewise, no more than a handful of dwarf villages remain in the Tyr Region. Kled and the twin villages of North and South Ledopolus are the most prominent. The rest of the dwarf population lives in the city-states of the sorcerer-kings or among the slave tribes that wander the desert wastes.
Dwarves of Athas have no lands on their own and live among the other folk of Athas. They reside both in cities and the countryside, and they tend to be builders and farmers instead of nomads or raiders. And despite the absence of their once marvelous cities and strongholds, they still possess a rich cultural history passed down from generation to generation in great sagas and secret traditions.
Stocky and Rugged
Short and powerful, dwarves stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and possess frames that are extremely massive; the average dwarf weighs in the vicinity of 200 pounds. Most dwarves have deep tanned complexions from lives spent toiling in the hot sun, with wide, callused hands and feet. They usually sport little or no hair; the flowing beards commonly found in dwarven societies of other worlds are never seen on Athas.
Life in the Athasian wastes has given the dwarves a rugged look. They prefer simple and practical clothing that is sturdy and unadorned, a set of clothes that shall be worn over and over again in their span of toiling in the harsh lands.
Dwarves embrace work with joy, often giving themselves over to a favorite cause of task. They are a stoic, single-minded people to whom compromise doesn't come easy. Dwarf soldiers, laborers, and crafters are common, though members of this race can be found among the templars, nobles, merchants, and slaves.
Dwarves are by nature industrious, skilled, and materialistic. They make excellent artisans and merchants, specializing in either the craftsmanship of handicrafts, weapons, and armour, or the trade thereof. While they can serve the city or their tribe as warriors, followers of the Way, or healers, their most important contribution to their community is as artisans or traders.
Dwarves are known for their stoicism and single-mindedness. They prefer to occupy themselves with meaningful tasks, and often approach these tasks with an intensity rarely seen in other races. Once they fix their minds on the task at hand, be it a challenging fit of engineering, an intricate work of craft, a struggle for survival, or a quest for revenge, it's impossible to abandon it or leave the work half done. Dwarves will simply fail to listen to reason, and will treat any who hinder them as obstacles that must be removed. On the other hand, people who help a dwarf accomplish its task or share its goals are treated with respect and considered good companions.
The commitment to a single task is called a dwarf's focus. A dwarf will work to complete its focus above all else, for the compulsion to succeed is built into the dwarven nature. They literally live for their focus; if a dwarf dies without completing its focus, the need remains so strong that the dwarf may return as an undead to finish the task that drives it.
A dwarf receives its name by the community leader, who usually grants it to them after they have completed their first focus, in accordance to their ancient traditions. Thus, they jealously strive to honour their names and never misuse or bring shame to it.
- Male Names: Birgaz, Bontar, Brul, Caelum, Caro, Daled, Drog, Ghedran, Gralth, Gram, Hai, Jo'orsh, Jurgan, Kov, Krom, Lian, Lodo, Ltak, Lyanius, Murd, Nati, Portek, Rkard, Sa'ram, Sult, Veso.
- Female Names: Ardin, Erda, Ghava, Greshin, Gudak, Fyra, Kesi, Lazra, N'kadir, Palashi, Vashara.
Your dwarf character has an assortment of inborn abilities, part and parcel of Athasian dwarven nature.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Strength by 1.
Age. Dwarves mature at the same rate as humans, but they're considered young until they reach the age of 35. On average, they live about 200 years.
Alignment. Most dwarves are lawful, believing firmly in the benefits of a well-ordered society. They tend to follow the established hierarchy of their community, devoting themselves to the regulations it imposes upon them.
Size. Dwarves stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and average about 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. Your speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor.
Dwarven Focus. Whenever you make an ability check or a saving throw directly related to your focus, you are considered proficient and add double your proficiency bonus to the roll, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
Magic Resistance. As a dwarf, you are nonmagical by nature and thus have advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Tool Proficiency. You gain proficiency with the artisan's tools of your choice: carpenter, cobbler, mason, or smith.
Languages. You can speak Common and Dwarvish. Dwarvish is deep and throaty, composed of many guttural sounds and harsh exclamations. Dwarves value their language and rarely teach it to outsiders.
A dwarf's focus is the central point of its existence. Nothing is more rewarding to a dwarf than to complete its focus. But no simple job can be such a focus; anything taking a few days to complete is too simple a task to be considered a focus. While working to complete it, dwarves receive a morale bonus to any task, provided they are directly related to their focus.
Work with your DM to come up with a focus that your character begins with, and with a new one every time you finish yours. It shouldn't be an easy or mundane task and it should take at least one week to complete. It could also be linked to your adventures or be something different altogether.
At your DM's permission, you may be bound to earn inspiration whenever you successfully complete your focus.
THEY RUN ACROSS THE BURNING SANDS LIKE whirling dust sweeps across the baked dunes and parched steppes of the Tyr Region. By day they are untamed winds, blowing hot gusts of chaos from one end of the Tablelands to the other. By night they are swift shadows, always in motion, dancing beneath the light of Athas' twin moons. They are the elves of Athas, and the twisted path they trace over the landscape is fast, furious, and more than a little dangerous.
The elves of Athas are long-limbed sprinters who lead lives of thievery, raiding, trading, and warfare. As members of tribes that wander the sun-scorched lands, elves usually make a living as traders and herders and rarely stay in one place for long. Each of the city-states hosts an Elven Market — a never-ending bazaar where the elves (and others who deal in goods of dubious origin) sell their wares.
Most elf tribes make a living through herding, but merchants and raiders also ply the desert roads. Elf culture, while savage, is also rich and diverse. They have turned celebrating into an art form, and elf song and dance is some of the most beautiful and captivating in all of Athas.
Elves stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, with slender yet muscular builds. They have deeply etched features, with skin that has been made rugged by the baking sun and the scouring sand. Unlike the elves of other worlds, the elves of Athas are not pale-skinned, delicate beings. Their pigmentation is as varied as the flesh of other races and as affected by the rays of the sun. They grow no facial or body hair, but the locks atop their heads come in all colors — from sun-bleached blond to red and brown to darkest black.
Elves prefer to dress in garb designed to protect them from the desert and the elements but also to showcase their tribal customs and traditions. Some also incorporate plunder from raids to enrich their native dress. Song and dance play a major part in the elven life, and the music they produce is captivating and seductive to non-elves.
Elves are tireless desert rovers forged in the desert — burned dark by the sun, toughened by the swirling sand, and given strength and speed by the constant wind. There's no racial unity among them. Within a given tribe, all elves are brethren, but outsiders —even other elves— are regarded as potential enemies. Outsiders can be accepted and perhaps even become friends, but trust takes time to develop and it is often associated with tests and great sacrifice.
Elves crave free, open spaces in which to run, so elves slaves wither in captivity if they can't escape, a practice they always strive for, when captured. Travelers often see whole tribes runnings swiftly and with great endurance across the sandy wastes. Only rarely will an elf ride a crodlu or a kank as mount. To do so is dishonorable unless ill or gravely wounded. The custom of the elves is to keep up or be left behind, so those unworthy of following the elf runs are not considered to be strong and useful to the tribe.
Indolent and Unscrupulous
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. If work can wait for even another moment, then it will. For an elf, the future is a dark, deadly place, so it strives to make every now as enjoyable and full as possible. They also enjoy taking 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.
Still, elves do work. In some ways, they work harder than members of other races. While they detest hard labor and will never voluntarily set out to construct anything more durable than a tent or small hut, they will spend hours on end haggling and negotiating with potential customers. 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.
Names are very important to elves, and they take a great deal of time and care before selecting one. Much thought goes into the selection of names, and tribal leaders consider naming young runners as one of their most solemn duties. Elven names are derived from two sources, the name of their tribe, and a given name based upon the elven tradition of a child's first interesting thing while learning to run. While this might seem an easy task, tribal leaders watch for occurences that are both significant and that fit the child's personality, for traditions hold that names help shape the elves they are given to. With the proper name, a young elf can grow to become a great elf. With the wrong name, the same elf will disappear in the wastes. Some childhood names are changed because of extraordinary actions undertaken during a youth's rites of passage, but such changes do not happen very often.
- Male Names: Abyuuk, Botuu, Coraanu, Dukkoti, Eevuu, Galek, Haaku, Ikan, Jaarati, Kathak, Lobuu, Mutami, Nuuko, Quaar, Radurak, Sorak, Traako.
- Female Names: Alaa, Areela, Celba, Deryssa, Ekee, Elas, Enala, Esylk, Grissi, Guuta, Hukaa, Ittee, Jeila, Katza, Keelorr, Nuuta, Nysia, Tala, Utaa, Yalana.
- Tribe Names: Clearwater, Night Runner, Shadow, Silt Stalker, Silver Hand, Sky Singer, Swiftwing, Water Hunter, Wind Dancer.
Your elf character has a variety of natural abilities, the result of centuries of constant struggle in the Athasian harshlands.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Intelligence by 1.
Age. Although elves reach physical maturity at about the same age as humans, they must pass the tribe's rites of initiation, before they can be considered adults. An elf typically claims adulthood around the age of 20 and can live to be 120 years old.
Alignment. Elves value freedom, variety, and independence, so they lean strongly toward chaos.
Size. Elves range from 6 to over 7 feet tall and possess slender, muscular builds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 35 feet.
Elvensight. Accustomed to the vast expanses of the wasted lands, you have superior vision and can see at double distance than normal humans do.
Elf Run. By inducing an extraordinary state of grueling endurance, you gain the ability to travel long distances, over a number of days defined by your preparation. If you spend one minute of special warm up, you may make a Constitution check, consulting the following table for the number of days you can run.
While under the elf run, you can cover as much as 40 miles per day, and you are considered to be traveling at normal pace. You cannot travel at fast or slow pace while under this condition, but you ignore any difficult terrain.
At any time you end your elf run, you immediately gain one level of exhaustion and must stop running. You cannot use that trait again unless you finish a long rest.
|9 or less||1|
|20 or above||7|
Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longbow, longsword, shortbow, and shortsword.
Elven Resilience. You have a natural resistance to extreme temperatures and aren't adversely affected by the heat of the day or the chill of the night. You never need to make a saving throw when exposed to extreme heat or cold.
Nomadic Life. You have proficiency in the Survival skill.
Languages. You can speak Common and Elvish. Short, clipped words make up Elvish. It is spoken in a rapid staccato pace that is difficult for novices to pick up.
THERE IT STOOD, A TOWER OF MUSCLE AND BONES, a hulking beast let loose to rampage on its enemies. As the horns blazed over the walls, this creature of mythical size and strength reached the field of battle, swinging a bloodied stone maul at every side. No later than a few minutes, the enemy lay dead, and this half-giant warrior was back at its cage, slightly winded and smiling at its owner. Confounded, I watched as the half-giant's attitude switched from a bloodthirsty beast to a peaceful creature in an instant. What twisted magics had brought such an unpredictable monster into life?
In some lost millennium, as a bizarre experiment or perhaps as some sort of curse, giants were magically crossbred with humans, producing a hardy race of towering creatures known as half-giants. Most of them are enlisted as gladiators or in the armies of the sorcerer-kings, while others are cast away and become thugs or mercenaries. Whatever their backstory, they more often than not prove to be mighty warriors.
Though no one knows for certain, half-giants seem to be a fairly young race. In the city-states, they serve as soldiers, guards, or laborers. In the wilderness, they attach themselves to charismatic leaders or communities demonstrating tendencies that they admire. Wherever they are, half-giants have to deal with the fact that they are somewhat big for the world around them, for things built for the use and convenience of humans don't work in their hands.
A half-giant is an enormous individual, standing between 7 and 8 feet tall, and weighing about 450 pounds. Simply put, a half-giant has inherited its size and massive strength from its giant parent. Its human background, along with human features, has provided it with curiosity, and willingness to learn and cooperate.
Half-giant skin ranges from light brown to deep tan, like certain tones of sand. They either shave their heads or wear long knots, usually in black or brown colors, though paler half-giants can be found with sandy blonde hair.
Of No Culture
There is no half-giant culture common to all of their kind. On the contrary, having insufficient history and overall intelligence to have their own culture, half-giants tend to readily adopt the cultures of other creatures they admire or associate with. Half-giants are very imitative creatures, eager to fit into new situations as they present themselves.
Half-giants, however, aren't as emotionally attached to objects or work as are other races. Whenever presented with a new situation, they examine the roles of the people there, determine where they might best fit in, and then start performing the tasks necessary. But if a situation isn't beneficial, or if a half-giant can't perform well in a given environment, it won't imitate the nearby culture, prefering to moving on when it sees fit.
Half-giants switch attitudes very quickly, taking on new values to fit new situations. A half-giant whose peaceful farming life is disrupted by marauders may soon adopt the morals of the very renegades who sacked its village. Goals and lifestyles switch easily, usually based on the charismatic individual that crosses paths with the half-giant or as a reaction to a significant change around it.
Such attitude may present half-giants as unpredictable folk, but more often than not this is not the case. Given the right circumstances, an influential personality can turn a half-giant into an obedient and predictable follower.
It will demonstrate friendliness and eagerness to help its companion, and remain loyal most of the time — that is, until some powerful personality seizes the opportunity to influence it, or a major event occurs that shakes its behavior.
A half-giant's name depends on whether it's free or enslaved. Free half-giants are likely to borrow the naming conventions of the people they interact with, whereas enslaved ones are usually given a human name.
- Male Names: Crag, Den-du, Doorub, Gaanon, Gall, Garchom, Ghurs, Gigus, Hurgen, Jaryx, Junnai, Pegen, T'sor, Tah, Tak, Tutoc.
- Female Names: Atrocla, Astara, Baraka, Camla, Er'the, G'rshun, Hezze, Katid, Mura, Ot, Romla, Tal, Vun, Zambia.
Your half-giant character has certain trais deriving from your giant ancestry.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2 and you Constitution score by 1.
Age. Half-giants mature a little slower than humans, reaching adulthood around age 30. They age similarly
slower and usually live longer than 150 years.
Alignment. Due to their fickle nature, half-giants
do not lean toward any alignment. Most start out
as neutral, but soon switch to a new alignment,
depending on who or what is around them.
Size. Half-giants are quite taller and bulkier than
humans. They stand between 7 and 8 feet tall and
weigh about 450 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Colossal Resilience. Your immense body mass
grants you the ability to occasionally shrug off injury.
You can use a bonus action on your turn to reduce
any damage you receive for 1 minute by an amount
equal to your Constitution modifier.
After you use this trait, you can't use it again until
you finish a short or long rest.
Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight
you can push, drag, or lift. On the other hand, you
need four times the amounts of food and water a
human needs to sustain yourself.
Giant Heritage. For all game purposes, you are
considered to be a giant.
Brute Strength. You strike with exceptional
strength and brutality. You deal an extra 2 damage
every time you hit with a melee weapon attack or
an unarmed strike.
Mercurial Behavior. A half-giant's nature is
to switch an aspect of its alignment to imitate or
otherwise react to a significant change around it.
Choose an aspect of your alignment that will be fixed,
such as Lawful or Neutral. Whenever circumstances
rise that your DM deems appropriate, you may change
your non-fixed aspect. Either choose or roll randomly
at the following table:
|1-2||Lawful or Good|
|5-6||Chaotic or Evil|
Languages. You can speak Common. You speak in a low-pitched voice, and occasionally people find it difficult to understand you.
Although a half-giant's alignment change isn't mandatory, it should certainly be invoked in role-playing situations as a reaction to extreme changes in the character's environment. Of course, there needs to be a good reason for your character's alignment aspect to change, and your DM may disallow any change that doesn't fit the current storyline.
Your DM will state how often this shifting alignment happens. You might have to choose a new aspect every morning or every week; whenever an event leaves a lasting impact on your character; and when a charismatic person influences you. Whatever the case, an alignment change should prove beneficial as often as it serves to hindrance your character.
YOU SEE THOSE POOR SODS, STROLLING ABOUT, minding their own business? All those people around you, in their various garments and colorations. A foolish lot they are, for they outnumber every other race, yet they can't control their very lives, instead choosing to live under the tyranny of those sorcerer-kings and their lackeys, the templars. But just because they accept this oppressive life doesn't mean they don't have goals or ambitions. This mass of unclean bodies you see can topple their superiors just as easily as they bow their heads at them. You only have to give them motivation, or the promises or wealth and power.
Humans are the predominant race on Athas. They are a versatile breed, brilliant and exceptional as often as they are unremarkable and mundane. A resourceful and hardy race, they can be found in every social stratum and situation: city dweller or desert villager, herder or trader, noble or slave. Humans' drive, ambition, and ingenuity help the race survive on the dying world and thrive under the rule of the sorcerer-kings.
Diverse in Appearance
There is no typical human in the Tyr Region. An individual can stand a little over 6 feet tall and weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. While they come in all shapes and sizes, they tend to reflect certain traits common to particular city-states. Humans in Draj, for example, have broad chins, bronze skin, and black hair that hardly ever grows on their faces. Humans from Gulg have dark brown skin and rounder features with thick, curly hair. And humans hailing from Balic bear tanned complexions, dark eyes, and grow finely-trimmed beards.
More diverse are the humans that have been subject to the abusive magic that devastated the land and twisted its appearance. These people show unusual physical traits — odd skin or eye color, lack of body hair, webbed fingers, or exaggerated features. While unusual, these traits are not uncommon and rarely elicit more than a glance.
A Multitude of Personalities
Humans are the most adaptable, ambitious, and individualistic people among the common races; even the tyranny of the sorcerer-kings hasn't stamped out their diversity. Other races often don't know what to expect when meeting a human for the first time, because predicting their behavior based on cultural norms is difficult. Their widely varying tastes, morals and customs is linked to their various different cultures, which are based around the seven city-states. Individually and as a group, humans can be adaptable opportunists, and they stay alert to changing political and social dynamics.
Bereft of Past
What generally passes for the history of Athas is actually a jumble of folklore and propaganda. Prohibited by the sorcerer-kings and templars from keeping written histories, most humans know only the stories told in their communities. These tales paint the despots as saviors, gods, or anointed champions who, through selfless actions, saved Athas from certain destruction. Many humans scoff at these tales, however, being more concerned with the problems of the present than devoting themselves to the lessons of the past.
Still, there are those who chafe against tyranny's chains, but hold their tongues, seeing no reason to jeopardize the shelter, water, and food they receive in the city-states they usually live in return for their loyalty. The most daring, ambitious, relentless, or even foolish among them are usually the ones who defy the comforts of a city-state to choose the life of adventure.
Many humans learn at an early age to get along with everyone, defusing hostility and finding common ground. Since humans are generally more tolerant of other races, they can easily adapt to situations involving elves or dwarves, and even more exotic races such as halflings and thri-kreen. Where other, less tolerant races come into contact with one another, humans often serve as diplomatic buffers.
Humans generally adopt the culture of the city-state they live in or close by. Since they are a race in constant motion, however, and due to their diversity, it is all too common to meet humans of different ethnic groups living behind the walls of the same city. As such, their naming conventions have been mostly blurred, and humans welcome any names suitable for themselves or others.
- Male Names: Agis, Astemba, Azzer, Banoc, Brevit, Canth, Daclamitus, Dote, Etheros, Evrim, Faldar, Frayne, G'rshun, Gammeg, Grak, Hargat, Ibl, Jedra, Kargash, Kilay, Kyuln, Leoricius, Limrick, Maetan, Marut, Morlak, Nylorac, Ojoba, Paxitus, Quay, Ragoner, Raka, Rathoras, Salust, Sizzkus, Styan, Tabaros, Taiy, Thanik, Thaxos, Toth, Varnag, Weom, Xamres, Ydris, Zaethus, Zeburon.
- Female Names: Amandia, Astara, Averil, Buris, Camla, Catrion, Damras, Dorjan, E'la, Faria, Haarna, Jaseela, Jun, Katid, Kelira, Korla, Lestria, Llunet, Nadia, Nanda, Nauhyotl, Ode, Rasia, Rayne, Sa-rea, Shallin, Sycia, Talara, Tamar, Tara, Tella, Temmnya, Tierney, Ular, Veeshte, Ves.
It's hard to make generalizations about humans, but your human character has these traits.
Ability Score Increase. Your ability scores each increase by 1.
Age. Humans reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
Alignment. Humans tend toward no particular alignment. The best and the worst are found among them.
Size. Humans vary widely in height and build, but most range between 5 feet and 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Languages. You can speak Common and one extra language of your choice. Humans typically learn the languages of other people they deal with, including the various city-state dialects.
Mutated Human Variant
If you wish to play a magically deformed human character, you may instead select these variant traits, all of which replace the human's Ability Score Increase trait.
Appearance. Rather than having the physical characteristics described here, choose one or two of the following features: small horns; fangs or sharp teeth; a forked tongue; catlike eyes; pointed ears; red or black eyes with no whites; green or blue hair; six fingers on each hand; webbed fingers; spiny ridge on back; hairless body; leathery or scaly skin; green-, blue-, or red-tinted skin; small, vestigial wings.
Ability Score Increase. Two different ability scores of your choice inrease by 1.
Skills. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
Feat. You gain one feat of your choice.
WHO AM I? I AM DARUS, ONCE A SLAVE SERVING A patrician in the city of Balic. The noble raised me to battle in the Criterion, to spill the blood of my enemies, revel in the cheers of the crowd, and fill the pockets of my master with silver and gold. But now I am free of my bonds, outlawed in Balic, and a member of this slave tribe. Do I believe in the dream of freedom? I cannot answer that, for in truth I do not know. I know that I have tasted freedom and it is very sweet. I never want to thirst for it again, toiling for a master while my spirit withers beneath the hot sun of bondage.
Sterile crossbreeds of humans and dwarves, muls are well-known for their outstanding stamina. Accordingly, templars, noble families, and merchant houses breed them as slaves.
Combining dwarven toughness and human ingenuity, muls inherit the best features of both races. Although muls can serve in many ways, most find their lives shaped by a noble's desire to create a worthy champion or a merchant's calculated investment in a gladiator for the arenas.
Squat and Brawny
Muscular and fit, muls resemble powerfully built humans. Standing between 6 and 7 feet tall and weighing about 300 pounds, these half-dwarves bear heroic proportions — broad shoulders, powerful thighs, and thick arms. Both genders are hairless and hint at their dwarven ancestry, with strong, stern features and small, swept-back ears that come to subtle points. Mul skin and eye colors are as varied as they are in humans, but many muls have a copper or deeply bronzed complexion, and few have noticeable gold flecks in their eyes.
Muls have little collective racial identity and adopt the dress and fashion of their homes. As products of the city-states where they are bred, they have no culture of their own. Some escaped slaves make a home for themselves among the desert tribes, but because no mul can start a family, they have no place to call their own.
Born into Slavery
All muls begin their lives as slaves. Slaveholders throughout the Tyr Region have long known that tremendous hardiness and stamina result from mixing human and dwarven lines. Since muls make outstanding gladiators, slave warriors, and heavy laborers, enduring toil and hardships that would kill lesser folk, they are often most-sought.
Born to the slave pens, the taskmaster's whip takes the place of loving parents and family. For this reason, muls develop violent reactions. But when they perform well in the arena, they receive the most pampered treatment of any slaves. Consequently, some don't see slavery as that a great hardship. However, those who have tasted the sweet air of freedom will fight to retain it.
Lust for Freedom
Muls who set their hearts on freedom are difficult to keep in chains. Some escape to the wilds and become raiders or join tribes of ex-slaves, wheras others who escape become mercenaries and sell their fighting skills to whomever they can. Muls who don't flee captivity can win their freedom in the arena or by completing a dangerous task for their masters. A few highly prized gladiators receive so many privileges and comforts that they are effectively free, enjoying great latitude to go where they want and do as they wish.
Gruff and Taciturn
Muls are hard, driven, pragmatic folk with little remorse or sympathy in their hearts. Many grow up under the lash, subjected to brutal training for the arena or grinding toil in fields or quarries. As a result, muls have a hard time offering friendship and trust to anyone. More than a few muls, scarred by the hardships of their upbringings, spend their days as bitter, violent misanthropes. Others are suspicious, grasping mercenaries who have learned never to lift a finger on behalf of another person without establishing what they will gain from providing aid. Despite their tendency to be sullen or
self-centered, muls don't have a particular enmity for any people and can learn to work alongside others. Growing up in the slave pits and the underclass of society taught them how to figure out who to trust, who not to, and how to gain favor and reputation among others, slaves or free people; their survival demanded nothing less.
Muls favor one simple name, generally a human one or variants. They don't have families, so they don't get to pick
a last name, but sometimes they use placenames to denote their place of origin, like "Mersten of Nibenay" or "Tomak
- Male Names: Aram, Borthomar, Bost, Darok, Darus, Durn, Eben, Erekard, Gard, Harask, Marok, Morg, Rikard, Sanozar, Tomak, Uskan, Zedath, Zorus.
- Female Names: Aisa, Aivel, Brithis, Callia, Demosis, Elina, Faivel, Himithis, Laivi, Mersten, Narisel, Raina, Reshel, Saditha, Tirshel, Uisel, Zerima.
Your dwarven heritage manifests in a variety of traits you share with other muls.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases
by 2, and your Constitution and Wisdom scores each increase by 1.
Age. Muls mature at the same rate as humans, reaching adulthood around 18. They seldom live past 85 years, though.
Alignment. The taskmaster's whip has instilled a lawful attitude in most muls, although those who have fled from slavery are usually chaotic.
Size. Muls are taller and broader than humans, and they range from 6 to 7 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Relentless Endunrance. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. Once you use that trait, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
Mul Exertion. Through dodged determination and sheer physical hardiness, you shrug off an effect that would daunt a lesser person. If you spend one minute to focus, you can either remove one level of exhaustion or gain advantage on any Constitution checks made for the next 4 hours. Alternatively, when you roll and fail a Constitution saving throw, you may use your reaction to reroll the saving throw.
Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
Languages. You speak Common and one extra language of your choice. You can pick the dialect of the city-state that you were taught in the slave pits, or a language that you learned from another slave.
SHE KEPT SCOUTING AHEAD WITH THE CRODLU riders, at times sniffing the air or examining the hard, baked ground. It seemed like she lived in the deserts her whole life, for there wasn't a single day where we took a wrong turn or faced any nasty raiders. Such a lonely and tight-lipped person, I couldn't figure out her whereabouts; even when I tried to approach her, she reluctantly welcomed my effort. Only during the end of our trip did I manage to glean the truth about her. And it was at this moment, when the morning wind brushed her hair, and I suddenly glimpsed a pair of pointed ears.
Humans and elves must deal with each other from time to time, and in some cases – whether by force or through genuine love – children are born of mixed parentage. These are the half-elves, beings who combine features of both races, creating something different in the process.
Born from two worlds but welcome in neither, half-elves struggle to find their place in a hostile land. While being the offspring of two races, they face prejudice and unwillingness from both sides. That, in conjuction with the lack of culture, has turned the half-elves into lonesome, self-sufficient folk.
Of Two Worlds
Half-elves generally grow taller than their human parents but rarely approach the height of their elf side. They average well above 6 feet tall, though they tend to inherit some of the bulk of their human half, averaging at 140 pounds. In most cases, a half-elf can pass itself off as a human, though telltale features can be spotted that hint at its elven heritage.
Half-elven coloration and features tend to lie somewhere between their human and elven parents, and thus show a variety even more pronounced than that found among either race. Half-elf men can also grow beards.
The half-elves, the halflings and the thri-kreen are uncommon. While they belong to the predominant races of Athas, they are less widespread in the Tyr Region than the races mentioned earlier. Still, most people hardly look twice when members of these unusual races show up.
When visiting one of the seven city-states, one is sure to happen upon an individual or even a group of these uncommon races. Beyond the city-states, however, each race can be encountered only under certain circumstances or in certain locations.
Half-elf. Rarely one would meet a half-elf outside the cities of the Tablelands, and that's because half-elves are a secluded folk, often keeping to themselves.
Halfling. The halflings stick to the Forest Ridge and rarely venture out. Those individuals or groups that are encountered are either filled with wanderlust and curiosity, or have been hired to deal with a personal issue.
Thri-Kreen. The thri-kreen roam the deserts of the Tyr Region, always hunting and never resting. Occasionally, one would encounter a group of thri-kreen hunters, but care should be taken when approaching them, lest they become food.
A half-elf’s life is typically hardened by the intolerance of others. Neither fully human nor fully elven, half-elves rarely find acceptance with either race. Elves are especially intolerant, going so far as casting out the mother of a half-elf child, while humans are more apt to welcome them as allies or partners, although they seldom accept them into their homes. More often than not, half-elves remain outsiders, forced to endure on society’s fringes.
Half-elves don’t form their own communities. Instead, they live either among or on the fringe of human society. They are most often encountered in the cities of the Tyr Region, though some can be found in the villages and tribes of ex-slaves that inhabit the wilderness.
Intolerance and social rejection has given the half-elf its greatest attribute – self-reliance. As a loner, usually without permanent residence, a half-elf survives the rigors of life in the wilderness completely on its own. The skills involved in survival are only half of the challenge they face – half-elves must also learn to deal with the absence of companionship, the complete lack of conversation and basic friendship. Consequently, these lonesome folk turn for companionship to the animal world, training beasts of the air and sands as servants and friends.
Half-elves hold self-reliance as their most valued trait, never expecting or asking for help no matter what their situation. Self-taught and naturally adept at learning, half-elves dabble in a variety of areas, mastering the skills they need to survive on their own. Some half-elves are bitter and sullen, but most seek to make the best of their circumstances. More than anything, half-elves take pride in defeating expectations.
Half-elves usually pick human or elven naming conventions. As a result of social rejection from both races, they often come up with twisted forms of human and elven names, or invent their own.
- Male Names: Boaz, Brazin, Ero, Fyrian, Gathalimay, Laban, Lafus, Luris, Melestan, Mirch, Navarch, Poortool, Regg, Ruach, Solzak, Vok, Wek, Wheetan, Xutan.
- Female Names: Alie, Arya, Aso, Drewet, Feera, Feykaar, Krysta, Lorelei, Mila, Ranis, Sareka, Thania, Vaerhirmana.
Your half-elf character has developed some qualities that set it apart from both humans and elves.
Ability Score Improvement. Your Wisdom increases by 2, and two other ability scores of your choice increase by 1.
Age. Half-elves mature at the same rate humans do and reach adulthood around the age of 20. They can live to exceed a hundred years.
Alignment. Being self-sufficient and having spent most of their time in the wastelands has turned half-elves away from the extremes. Most of them lean toward neutral.
Size. Half-elves are taller than humans, standing well over 6 feet tall. They are on the lean side, however, averaging almost 150 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Nomadic Life. You have proficiency in the Survival skill.
Skill Versatility. You gain proficiency in two skills of your choice.
Animal Companion. Once you reach 3rd level, you gain a beast companion that accompanies you on your adventures and is trained to fight alongside you. Choose a beast that is no larger than Medium and has a challenge rating of 1/4 or lower. Add your proficiency bonus to the beast's AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills it is proficient in. Like any creature, the beast can spend Hit Dice during a short rest.
The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative, though it doesn't take an action unless you command it to. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action.
If you are incapacitated or absent, the beast acts on its own, focusing on protecting you and itself. It never requires your command to use its reaction, such as when making an opportunity attack.
If the beast dies, you can obtain another one by spending 7 days bonding with another beast that isn't hostile to you and that meets the requirements.
Languages. You can speak Common and an extra language of your choice.
"YOU HAVE DESECRATED OUR SACRED PLACE," A wispy voice called from behind. Just in front of the stand of trees, there stood a halfling, looking wild and primal with his painted body and forest-decorated hair, and pointing a crude, bone sword at the party. "The ancient nature-masters cannot forgive you for trespassing, and neither can I! I will raise up the forest itself to destroy you!" All of a sudden, a rain of arrows exploded out of the trees, splintering on the ground all around the surprised group, while the feral cries of halfling warriors echoed from the darkness of the forest.
In the ancient past, halflings were the masters of the world. According to their myths, they were the original inhabitants of the old times, and all other folk are descended from them.
That said, today's halflings bear little resemblance to their supposedly ancient forebears. Where once halflings filled the land in every direction, today they inhabit the slowly disappearing forests and jungles, like the Forest Ridge. Where once they were civilized masters of an advanced society, today they are feral, savage creatures as wild as the arid winds. They are more willing to eat a stranger in their lands than to welcome him.
Small and Primitive
Halflings are diminutive in stature, standing about 3 feet tall. They are muscled and proportioned like humans, but they have the faces of wise and beautiful children that never succumb to the rigors of age. They weigh between 50 and 60 pounds and are virtually always in peak physical condition. Their skin ranges between pale to tan and their hair is usually a brown or black mane. They have brown or hazel eyes, though blue are rarely found; such halflings are said to bear the life of the oceans inside them.
The appearances of the halflings are considered primitive by most of the other Athasian races; while their garments are usually a plain loincloth and occasionally a vest or shirt, halflings fancy painting their skins in various colors. They rarely tend to their hair, instead letting them grow in great lengths, and keeping them unkempt and dirty. Halfings sport no body hair.
Solidary and Ritualistic
Halflings possess a great deal of racial unity. Though divided politically into separate villages and communities, halflings have great respect for their race as a whole. Disputes between members of communities are most often settled peaceably, through ritual and custom. These custom are often directed by each tribe's shaman, the spiritual leaders who hold positions of honor and respect above all other halflings.
On a personal level, halflings relate very well to one another, well enough to have built a considerable culture rich in art, song, and other expressive communication. Ritual and custom control every aspect of halfling life. Such is the diversity of their culture, that the rest of the races find it difficult to comprehend. More than a few times, a halfling will be frustrated by outsiders who can't seem to grasp their abstract thinking and complicated concepts. Fortunately, halflings who have travelled widely outside their traditional home have a much greater tolerance toward those of "lacking" culture.
Halfling culture cares for each individual's inner well-being and spiritual unity with race and environment. They have little concept of conquest or monetary wealth, and vices that other societies take for granted — such as greed and avarice — are particularly discouraged.
Treasure that appeals to other characters holds
little interest to a halfling. It is more concerned with promoting halfling culture, its own knowledge, or
its inner well-being. A halfling will never lie to or
betray another halfling.
Halflings face at first difficulties in adjusting to other
customs and points of view, but as a generally open-
minded race, they tend to be curious or confused by
the actions of others rather than initially combative.
Halfling adventurers will attempt to learn all they can
about other cultures, but will almost never adopt those cultures as their own. Their shamans teach that the
customs of others are no threat to their own, so a
halfling adventurer will welcome the chance to learn
another point of view, rather than instantly try to
Halflings have a given name, provided to them by their community. They stick to that name as a mark of their heritage, even though they might adopt many different
names from the other cultures.
- Male Names: Cha, Derlan, Fullgrin, Lokee, Nok, Pauk, Pletaw, Purhas, Urga-zoltapl, Zivlil.
- Female Names: Alansa, Anezka, Dokala, Grelzen, Horga, Jikx, Joura, La, Nasaha, Tar, Vensa.
All Athasian halflings share a number of traits common to their race.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Wisdom by 1.
Age. A halfling reaches adulthood at the same age as humans and generally lives a little longer than a century.
Alignment. Most halflings are lawful. They are very orderly and traditional, leaning heavily on the support of their community and the comfort of their old ways.
Size. Halflings average about 3 feet tall and weigh between 50 and 60 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Halfling Nimbleness. You can move through the space of any creature that is of larger size than yours.
Halfling Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.
Halfling Training. You have proficiency in Stealth, slings, and all weapons with the thrown property.
Savage Attacks. When you score a critical hit with a melee attack, you can roll one of the weapon's damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.
Languages. You can speak Halfling. The Halfling language isn't secret, but halflings loath to share it with others. Since they only have oral traditions, their literature is nonexistent. Those who travel to the lands of other races usually pick the Common Tongue as well.
WE ARE NOW IN THE BROWN TIMES, THE AGE OF
our kind, when the world is dry. The kreen are matchless in the dry times. The dra, those-who-sleep, used terrible forces and killed many plants and animals, and the world withered and turned brown. But the kreen were wise and skilled, and could hunt and find prey where others could not. So the kreen stayed with the dra and lived among them, to work and share knowledge. We are the kreen of the south, and we run free, caring for little but the hunt.
— Klik-Chaka'da, thri-kreen scout
Alien to most people of Athas, thri-kreen are mantis-like creatures that hunt in packs throughout the wastes of Athas. They have adapted to the harsh climate and are experts at surviving with only scarce resources. Being exceptionally nimble, they live for the thrill of the hunt.
In the Tyr Region, thri-kreen aren't common in the city-states. They gather in packs devoted to the hunt that roam the wastes and have little understanding of human society.
Thri-kreen resemble large insectoids, standing about 7 feet tall and weighing between 300 and 350 pounds. They have six limbs, wedge-shaped heads with compound eyes, two antennae, and powerful mandibles, and are covered in tough, sandy-colored chitinous plates. The two hindmost limbs are designed for walking and leaping, while the four forward limbs are divided into a pair of strong, fighting arms and a pair of small, dexterous arms. In combat, thri-kreen hold weapons or shields in their upper limbs, while the middle, smaller pair lacks the strength for this purpose, and are used instead for fine manipulation.
Thri-kreen behavior may seem bizarre and alien to members of the other races; after all, they never sleep, they don't collect wealth or possessions, and they sometimes eat other intelligent creatures. As for the latter, they have a particular taste for elves, which keeps both races at an uneasy situation.
Despite their fierce appearance and weird habits, though, the insentoid people can be loyal and courageous companions. Most importantly, thri-kreen judge others solely on physical and mental ability. The lazy and weak deserve contempt, regardless of race; likewise, strength and cleverness merit respect no matter who demonstrates these qualities.
Thri-kreen view everything through the lens of the hunt and the predator-prey relationship. Their basic social units are the clutch, a small group consisting of members in the minds of "team", "friends", and "family", and the pack, a larger social unit that consists of any number of clutches. If deprived of a clutch, a thri-kreen is biologically compelled to seek out a new group to join.
Obeying their pack insticts, thri-kreen try to find their place in any group. When they join up with potential clutchmates, they seek to establish dominance through a series of challenges, that can be subtle and secret like puzzles or, when necessary, demanding like a trial by combat. Thri-kreen seize leadership of groups in which they are the strongest members, but they are willing to accept subordinate roles in the presence of powerful allies. They take orders from the pack or clutch leader without hesitation, eager to fulfill the duties of their position.
All thri-kreen are obssessed with the hunt, the daily ritual that makes up much of their life. They strive to become skilled and wise hunters, capable of stalking and catching what they need and then moving on before a region is depleted of game.
Nonkreen sometimes view this preoccupation with gathering food and maintaining traveling supplies as a bit strange, especially considering that thri-kreen hunt throughout the night while other races "lazily lie around". Being strict carnivores, thri-kreen will look toward other intelligent races as sources of food in extreme emergencies,
but they won't turn to other members of their clutch or packs for food — no matter how desperate the situation.
Combat is just another kind of hunt. Thri-kreen rarely fight out of malice and see no need for aggression unless it is the best means of obtaining the resources they need to survive, or where under self-defense. After a victorious battle, a thri-kreen's first instict is to collect any useful possessions that belonged to the enemy or to harvest the body for food.
Thri-kreen begin their life and given a simple name related to something they are observed doing. When the thri-kreen reach adulthood, they take a name that reflects goals or some other aspect of the life path to be pursued. There is no difference between male and females names; both genders use the same names.
- Thri-Kreen Names: Cha'ka, Chuka-tet, Drasna, Drik-chkit, Hakka, Ka'cha, Ka'tho, Klik-chaka'da, Lakta-cho, Qhak'cha, Qhik-ik-cha, Sa'Relka, T'Chai, Tak-tha.
Many of the thri-kreen's survival traits come from racial memory, a collection of insticts passed on to the young at the time of conception. The other traits develop due to the race's unique physiology.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Strength or Wisdom score increases by 1.
Age. Thri-kreen live quite short lives; they are fully developed, albeit tiny in size, a day after hatching, grow to childhood by the age of 1, and reach adulthood around the age of 5. They seldom live more than 25 years.
Alignment. The pack mentality is deeply ingrained in thri-kreen culture, so most tend toward lawful.
Size. Thri-kreen are taller than humans, averaging about 7 feet tall, with abdomens extending about 5 feet from the torso. They are also bulky enough to average between 300 and 350 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40 feet.
Alien Nature. Your alien physiology sets you apart from humanoids. The following rules apply to all thri-kreen characters:
- You only require one gallon of water per week.
- You cannot wear any armor or use any items specifically designed for humanoid forms, like clothing and jewelry.
- You have disadvantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling), Charisma (Deception), and Charisma (Persuasion) checks when interacting with nonkreen.
- You cannot swim.
- When you are within the area of ranike smoke, you must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until you leave the area.
- You are prone to unique diseases, like lung infection and chitin-rot, when in humid areas.
- For all game purposes, you are considered to be a monstrosity.
Natural Armor. Your body is covered by tough, chitinous plates instead of skin. You have a natural Armor Class of 13.
Standing Leap. Starting at 3rd level, your legs grow powerful enough to grant you with great leaps when standing. You are always considered as running when jumping.
Hunting Minds. You have proficiency in the Nature and Survival skills.
Thri-Kreen Training. You have proficiency with the gythka and chatkcha, two weapons crafted exclusively by your kind.
Sleepless. Thri-kreen don't require sleep and can rest while remaining alert and performing light tasks. You only need 4 hours of light activity, such as eating, talking, or standing watch, in order to gain the benefits of a long rest. You usually spend the remaining time observing your companions in their sleep.
Deflect Missiles. Starting at 7th level, you can use your reaction to deflect a missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier.
Thri-Kreen Claws. The claws of your upper limbs are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal slashing damage equal to 2d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
Venomous Bite. Starting at 5th, you develop a venomous saliva that can paralyze your prey. As an action, you can attack with your bite as an unarmed strike. If the attack hits, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike, and the target must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the target is also paralyzed while poisoned in this way. The poisoned target can repeat the saving throw on each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Languages. You speak Thri-Kreen. Thri-Kreen is a language composed of clicks and whirrings, antennae movements, and pheromone emissions that nonkreen find too difficul to interpret and impossible to duplicate. When you speak other languages, you use a high-pitched voice.