People and Places

People

  • The Twin Moon Circus
  • The Jilin Order of Mages
  • The Brotherhood
  • The Voluca/The Shadows
  • Elfclans: The Songweavers and the Fireshapers
  • Elfclans: The Sand Dancers and the Cloudmakers
  • Sea of Silt Pirates
  • Places

  • An-pat - The Vanished City
  • Maharduk - The Leviathan Village
  • The Black Swamps
  • The Ancestor Lands
  • Storm-Giant City Ruins
  • The Rhulisti Caverns
  • Tar Honak - The Elven City
  • Rhaltivar - Dragon Hold
  • The Spitting Holes
  • The River of the Dead
  • People

    The Twin Moon Circus

    The Twin Moon Circus was inspired by a visit to the British Museum in London with Jon the Oracle & by a clip of the Cirque du Soleil show 'KA'.

    The Twin Moon Circus is a group of travelling artistes who perform colourful and mysterious shows against the backdrop of the Athasian nightsky. The group travels with an array of beasts, but the one that is the most important in their show is a gigantic mekillot. For the performances, the mekillot transforms from a mere beast of burden into a dramatically moving stage whose movements, according to a fixed script, are directed by Jhair, the animal trainer. In the past, the circus has also been known to use driks, especially retired war driks.

    The Twin Moon Circus is a very unique group on Athas. They entertain with non-violent, acrobatic shows which feature music and lots of 'alchemical' (non-magical - at least they say so...) effects such as spark rains or coloured smoke. The troupe is both revered and feared. Revered for their spell-binding performances, and feared, because the artistes are so supernaturally good that the superstitious Athasians believe that something must be 'not quite right' about them. Nevertheless, their shows always attract a large audience, especially from the upper castes.

    The troupe is directed by a half-elf known as Mareyis. Mareyis takes on anybody as long as the person is a brilliant performer - or has the potential to become one. Gender, race and origin are irrelevant - with one exception: no defilers. While Mareyis personally does not care about defilers, they have tended to get the troupe into trouble with authorities, audiences and druids, because, according to Mareyis's experiences, they cannot control their drive for destruction and follow it in the most inappropriate moments. Mareyis knows this best from his own experience - he is an ex-defiler (and bard) who is now taking a neutral path.

    Mareyis has two artistic directors, the half-elf Zaritha and the mul Kel. Zaritha is responsible for the stories and the costume and stage design, while Kel, an ex-jaszt, directs the physical movements of the artistes. The rest of the troupe consists of musicians, arcobats and a few special effects people from a variety of origins. Many of the performers started out as street children, slaves, thieves, or arena performers. Even the animals are 'outcasts' - either from herds or from the military. The animals are fiercely loyal to the troupe as they are well looked after (one could even say: spoiled rotten) by the performers.

    The cities tend to tolerate the Twin Moon Circus. Over time, it has built up a reputation for outstanding performances and none of the leaders of performers have shown tendencies to support controversial causes. In fact, the circus often performs for the regents themselves. The circus also hardly sees any attacks outside the cities. Despite having no visible defences, the members of the circus have been known to be quite capable fighters. This is not surprising considering the ex-gladiator, ex-street kid or bardic origin. These guys don't only have physical dexterity, but ropes, hooks, strange chemicals and poisons to hurl at you! And one mustn't forget the beasts!

    What is behind the circus? You decide:

  • Mareyis could just pursue his dream of providing entertainment with a difference and, through that, a refuge for outcasts like himself. It's about leaving a bad past behind and survive while taking your physical skills to a higher level.
  • The circus could support a good cause such as smuggling information or people for the Veiled Alliance.
  • Mareyis could be an bard with a number of enterprises for which the circus is but a tool. He could be the leader of a strange cult or bear grudge against one of the Sorcerermonarchs. He could also have a psionic mutation which requires him to feed of the emotions of the circus' audiences. Something to do with mass-hypnosis is another option. Or contacts to organised crime.
  • Mareyis could even be a deranged artist who takes on weak-willed subjects and transforms them into super-natural artistes through psionic/magical experiments or strange symbionts.
  • The circus could be affiliated with one of the Sorcerermonarchs and serve as spies. Oronis of Kurn would probably a good choice.
  • The circus hides - and is controlled by - undead who feed off the audience's minds - when it is safe to do so.
  • One day, Mareyis will draw such a big crowd that it is possible for him to advance a stage in his metamorphosis if he sacrifices it.
  • ...
  • The Jilin Order of Mages

    The Jilin was an order of druid-wizards that existed before the Great War. Allies of the druids, they were destroyed alongside them, but not completely. One could call the Jilin totemic mages: each of them practised magic according to their totem. Each totem had a 'school'. The most prominent schools were:

    The Scarab School
    The Scarab Mages were the most influential school. They were abjurers and enchanters. They were considered healers, and were often approached for the same services that earth clerics would be approached for.

    The Spider School
    The Spider-wizards were the mystics of the Jilin. They were interested in divination, and sometimes in benevolent necromancy. They lived a very withdrawn life and were very feared, although when one actually met one, they turned out to be rather kind, ordinary people.

    The Snake School
    The Snake Wizards specialised in transmutation magic. They were known for their eccentricity and had a fondness for altering their own bodies, e.g. the colour of their hair or eyes, or the patterning of their skin.

    The Dragon Fly School
    The Dragon Flies were illusionists and evokers. They were sought after by the nobility as entertainers, and, more importantly, as providers of illusions that would protect valuable goods. The money would then be invested in the Dragon Flies' research.

    The Jilin loved looking after plants and animals, especially exotic ones,so wherever they resided, you could find astonishing specimens from flora & fauna. The Jilin were rumoured to know the whereabouts of animals and plants long considered extinct. Despite their druidic side, many Jilin lived in rather ostentatious buildings (from a druid's point of view). Their ruins can still be found in remote locations, some giving shelter to mysterious plants and animals.

    The Brotherhood

    Once there was an allegiance of psionicists that were known as 'The Brotherhood'. Who they were and where they have gone is a mystery. Lor'Enar, a talented mutant psionicist, found records of this mysterious allegiance and tried to track them down. First he found nothing. But then he realized that there was a fortress where there was nothing. But he could not enter. After a long quest for the key to the fortress he managed to enter. It was just the right time - the Order was after him. They could not allow a mutant, a renegade in their ranks.
    Lor'Enar started to explore the fortress, but there was not much he could explore. Things had been taken, destroyed, hidden. But he had a space, a refuge.
    Alone in the fortress, Lor'Enar was getting old - and starved for knowledge. He wanted a disciple to inherit his knowledge and the secret of the fortress. A druid appeared. He had watched him all these years. He, too, wanted a disciple. He was going on a quest to look for one and he would think of Lor'Enar, too.
    After years had passed, the ancient druid brought him a little girl, Djarya. Like Lor'Enar, Djarya was a mutant. Lor'Enar was shocked at her young age. But the druid promised: she would be a disciple for both of them. And this is what she became...

    A few decades later...
    Lor'Enar is dead, the druid still lives. Djarya, white hair and purple eyes, has gathered people around her. She gives everyone a chance who does not fit. Mutants, half-breeds, wild talents, chaos-bringers. If they want to leave, they can go - but they cannot pass on the knowledge of the fortress...

    Djarya (Humanoid female)
    Djarya is the leader of a refuge of mostly mutant psionicists which she dubbed 'The Brotherhood' after the previous inhabitants of the fortress.

    STR 19 (mutant)
    DEX 19
    CON 22
    INT 20
    WIS 19
    CHA 21
    WEAPONS bone knife
    ARMOUR -
    NOTES

    The Voluca/The Shadows

    The Voluca are a prostitute ring working with illusions to satisfy their customers' needs. Countless scandals adorn the long history of this association.
    The Voluca offer their abilities exclusively in the city states. For each city there is an administrator. These administrators, who recruit new men and women and who see to their employees needs, meet once a year in a different city. The volucas' common method is to probe their customers' minds to look for an image of the person or type of person they desire most. This is done in a special reception chamber. When the customers enter the actual room, the voluca has already taken on an illusion of their desire.
    There are rumours that the Voluca are controlled by a sorcerermonarch or the Order or another Athasian power to gain information about influential people.
    Voluca could be of any race (since they work with illusions). Most of them seem to be human and half-elf, however.
    In reality, the Voluca are controlled by the Shadow elves who have been known to use the information they gain from their customers for other purposes than just finding the right stimulant. That danger does not deter people from using them. The promise is too great...

    In our campaign, the Shadows are a bit more secretive and sinister than elaborated in the Dune Trader supplement. They have a history as an assassin guild/espionage ring in the Green Age and are the only elf tribe who has managed to carry their function, structure and influence through to the Age today. This worked as they had already been a guild/tribe in the Green Age and did not need re-structuring. Also, they had more ways to survive than any other part of elven society. On Athas today, the Shadows have more influence than even the most imaginary mind of an elven chief can imagine. To cover up their real power they maintain the image that the Night Runners are a competition or even a threat to them.
    The Voluca is just one of their covert operations. On the outside the people who run the Voluca seem to be humans or half-elves. In reality, they are puppets of the Shadows.

    Miseki (elven psionicist)
    Miseki is the Shadow elf in charge of the smooth running and the operations of the Voluca. He is quite old and has a dangerously sharp mind.

    STR 14 (+enhanced)
    DEX 17 (due to age, used to be higher)
    CON 12 (due to age, used to be higher)
    INT 22
    WIS 23
    CHA 21
    WEAPONS Miseki is proficient with most weapons.
    ARMOUR magical
    NOTES


    Typical Voluca Representative
    Human or half-elf (or in rare cases a Mul)
    in most cases psionicist or trader

    STR 13
    DEX 18
    CON 16
    INT 18
    WIS 18
    CHA 20
    WEAPONS specialised in at least one weapon
    ARMOUR magical/psionic
    NOTES Most Voluca representatives have no
    idea who controls the Voluca.
    If they do, it is concealed in their mind with
    powerful barriers.




    Elfclans: The Songweavers and Fireshapers

    The Songweavers and Fireshapers are two relatively small elfclans which both are the guardians of a peculiar kind of Athasian "magic". Those few who have dared to analyse the clan members' ablities which are genetically passed down from generation to generation have not yet come to a conclusion if this "magic" is a form of psionics or elementary magic - or something entirely different.

    The Songweavers

    The Songweavers are the smallest of the two clans. There are currently only nine Songweavers on Athas, four of which are children. Songweavers have the unique ability to manipulate sound. Their senses are extremely highly developed and the power they are able to wield is enormous.
    Luckily, the Songweavers are neither an aggressive nor an irresponsible clan. They rather focus on the study and of their inherent abilities than on the exploration of their destructive potential.
    Songweavers are confident, yet at the same time very sensitive people.
    Techniques: Songweavers are, amongst other things, capable of sonic attacks, the manipulation of speech and sound, and teleport at the velocity of sound.
    Commerce: Songweavers have a tradition of earning their living with the construction of muscial instruments. Some examples are the windchime, different kinds of flutes, subtle percussion instruments or ampliphication devices.
    Personalities:
    Ayala Songweaver became head of the Songweaver clan after her eccentric father, Khoran Songweaver left the hierarchy of the clan for a life as a Brown Elf. Calm and charismatic, Ayala is a respected advisor to other elf clans as well as to individuals of other races.
    Khoran Songweaver has had enough of elven tribe and clan politics and especially his own family which he sees as doomed. Instead he prefers to travel Athas and visit his "friends", for example the rhul-thaun "Birdmaster", the shaman Akaa of the Innik or many beautiful women from his turbulent past... Khoran is no typical Songweaver. That is probably why he gets on so well with Hakaar Fireshaper...
    Tayo Songweaver is a true Songweaver hermit who prefers to spend his time meditating and contemplating the decline of Athas. His most striking physical feature are his deep blue eyes.
    Shani Songweaver does not quite know yet where her place in Athasian society is going to be. She is committed to her studies and appears very positive and carefree, but inside she is very unhappy. This unhappiness is also a result of the pressure she feels from her family to save the Songweaver clan from extinction by producing an "heir".
    Arijan Songweaver, song of Ayala, also feels the pressure of his clan, but for slightly different reasons. Unlike Shani, he has turned his back on his clan and has become a healer. He has an uneasy relationship with his grandfather Khoran. One reason is that that his father was a human Nibenese noble and therefore his gift is not as strong as that of a "pure" Songweaver. The other reason is his presence for male lovers (which he shares with Tayo) which Khoran sees as a curse of Songweavers. Despite only being a half-elf, Arijan is a fully accepted member of the clan, which is probably due to the clan's paranoia of becoming extinct and to the efforts of his mother who truly loved his (now deceased) father.


    The Fireshapers

    The Fireshapers are the most know of the two clans. They are more numerous than the Songweavers and have a stronger public presence due to their manufacture of excellent weapons and armour. Fireshapers, as their name already implies, are capable of shaping and "weaving" light. Their close relationship with the element of fire and the rays of the Athasian sun gives them the fire temper of an elemental fire cleric. Fireshapers are notorious for being stubborn, blunt, vengeful and fiercely proud of their clan. But their are also known for being honourable, charming and hospitable.
    Fireshapers are more generous with the use of their abilities, but refrain from openly displaying too much power, especially among "the superstitious humans".
    Techniques: Fireshapers can create fireballs or bundeled light rays, similar to laser rays, which they can direct at opponents. They can also weave light into a solid protective shield or use it to teleport at light speed. Some fireshapers even deal in lightning and radiance.
    Commerce: Fireshapers produce rare and expensive weapons. The most famous ones are the Sunblade, the Firedagger, and a type of heat-resistant armour.
    Personalities:
    Haakar Fireshaper is the eldest of the Fireshapers. He is the official head of the clan, but shares his responsibility with his twin brother Kassio. Haakaar is the archetypal Fireshaper and enjoys to deliberately enact every cliché of Fireformer behaviour. Hakaar is never seen without his fluttering red robe and his personalised golden scimitar.
    Kassio Fireshaper is a little bit more relaxed than his brother. His humour is not quite as shrewd and he is seen in other clothing than the typical Fireformer garb. Kassio and his brother compete with each other in a playful manner, especially when it comes to women and Fireformer tricks.
    Tamana Fireshaper is the daughter of Kiraya Fireshaper, the sister of Hakaar and Kassio who died while fighting a magical disease in a village in the Ringing Mountains. Tamana can be spotted at long distance by her wild, flame-red hair and her Fireshaper robe. Like a fire cleric she has coal black eyes and a strong presence. Her uncles absolutely adore and respect her and are proud of her immense talent. Despite her flamboyant appearance, Tamana is a great deal quieter and more rational than the rest of the clan, but otherwise is a true Fireshaper in every respect.
    Iniko Fireshaper Tamana's extremely charismatic son. He has earned himself a reputation for being the most prolific lady-killer the clan has ever seen and even Hakaar is worrying about him and the numerous off-spring he randomly produces.
    Ajani Fireshaper is Iniko's younger sister. She has inherited the appearance of her mother and the spirit of Hakaar. The two get on extremely well and love to play a game similar to poker together. Hakaar likes to take his grand-niece to the markets to drive poor traders insane with their combined haggling skills...

    Intermarriages

    Experimental intermarriages of the two clans have proven extremely fatal for the offspring of the couple. They usually resulted in the insanity of the Songweaver-Fireshaper. In some cases the consequences of the insanity were so severe that the children of such a unity had to be executed by the clans.

    Elfclans: The Sand Dancers and Cloud Makers

    The Sand Dancers (sometimes called 'Sand Shapers' or 'Earth Dancers') and the Cloudmakers are two near extinct elf clans who also make use of a strange kind of magic.

    The Sand Dancers

    The Sand Dancers currently are a clan of one. This may sound illogical as there is so much sand on Athas. The reason for this is that the clan was once made extinct by the Champions when they joined forces with the druids during the Great War. The current only member of the clan, Jarid Sand Dancer was only recently discovered by psionically gifted Fireshaper who managed to free the young Sand Dancer after centuries of being trapped in the shape of a sandstorm.
    After coming to his senses after spending half an eternity as a sandstorm, Jarid now has to come to terms with the current state of Athas, and with the fact that he is the only remaining one of his kind.
    Techniques: Sand Dancers, formerly called 'Earth Dancers', have their name because they shape sand/earth and manipulate gravity and other forces. They can also shapeshift into their element and teleport through it. In the past, Sand Dancers were feared for their ability to create unnaturally fierce sandstorms and deadly quicksands.
    Commerce: Sand Dancer deal with precious things such as glass and jewels. In the past, they used to trade these with the Fireshapers against metal.
    Personalities:
    Jarid Sand Dancer
    Jarid is slowly getting used to the new Athas. While he enjoys the abundance of sand, he also deplores that there is little variety of it. He is also mourning the destruction defilers have brought upon the land. After enjoying the hospitality of the Fireshaper clan, he is currenlty travelling through Athas to find a place for himself.
    Quite small for an elf, Jarid has shaggy sand-coloured hair, eyes and clothes. The Fireshapers have outfitted him with a symbol of his clan.

    The Cloudmakers

    The Cloudmakers are a clan of two, a young brother and sister. They are currently trapped in the Snow Crown Mountains (Snow Crowns) of Athas.
    The Cloudmakers are said to be the counter-pole to the Fireshapers, but they are not really. In this moment in time, the Cloudmakers see themselves as 'Ice Shapers'. They nearly exclusively focus on the utilisation of cold. In former times, they were a great deal more flexible in their powers - they focused on the manipulation of temperature and the weather. Now they are but a shadow of what the clan once was, as much knowledge is lost in the winds of time.
    The current Cloudmakers don't live as elves. They live as part of an aarakocra tribe in the Snow Crowns. The aarakocra shield them from the outside world as they fear that harm would be done to them (they remember well what happened to Naru's and Atami's mother). Also, should the cloudmakers leave the tribe, the aarakocra would lose their revered ice wizards.
    Techniques: Currently, Cloudmakers can only do a few things to do with cold, e.g. summoning snow clouds, cooling things or granting immunity to cold. They have only very limited power over storms or the weather in general.
    Commerce: Cloudmakers once produced artefacts such as everlasting ice, thermometers or rain bringers. They also hired out their services for court banquets where the nobles wanted to serve frozen delicacies. Traditionally they were good friends and trade partners with a number of aarakocra tribes. This has resulted in the current co-habitation.
    Personalities:
    Naru/Naaruuk Cloudmaker
    Naru is a very studious person. Despite his young age he appears quite wise and serious. Naru's main occupation is to teach himself and his sister their magic. But he also takes part in the tribal life, especially as he has taken over the council seat of his mother.
    Atami/Aataami Cloudmaker
    Atami thinks of herself as an aarakocra. She is deeply saddened by her lack of a beak and wings, and is trying to make up for this by wearing a masked cape that makes her resemble an aarakocra. She also hopes to one day tap into unknown powers that will enable her to fly and have a look at the exciting places her tribespeople go to. She is very talented. This is another reason why her brother is very worried about her.

    The Sea of Silt pirates

    Asteria Nadal (20th level female human gladiator) AL: lawful neutral
    STR 18, DEX 19, INT 17, WIS 16, CHA 19, CON 20

    Teznin Aossa (19th levelfemale human gladiator) AL: lawful neutral
    STR 16, DEX 14, INT 16, WIS 17, CHA 17, CON 14

    Y'trikk (16th level thri kreen ranger) AL: chaotic neutral
    STR 17, DEX 22, INT 15, WIS 16, CHA 12, CON 20

    Anrahu (14th level Male human druid) AL: neutral good
    STR 12, DEX 15, INT 16, WIS 19, CHA 15, CON 16

    The Cloud Ray is the bane of Balic. The silt skimmer, captained by the tough Asteria Nadal, sports a crew made up mostly of ex-gladiators. A few other escaped slaves and other misfits have joined as well. Their navigator is the female Thri-kreen ranger Y'trikk, who works closely with the ship's rather philosophical human druid Anrahu. The second-in-command is Teznin Aossa, who commands a lot of respect due to having single-handedly fought off an unknown monster that had paralysed most of the crew. She lost an arm, as well as some of her face, in this attack. The crew's leadership are very tight, and they have to be, because the huge contrasts within their crew, as well as their status as outcasts, lead to constant tensions. The two gladiators are also skilled orators from their time in the area, and their fearsome appearances ensure respect. The Cloud Ray has done some exploration of the Sea of Silt, in the hope of finding a better base than their current one, but they haven't been very successful. They have been successful, however, in building alliances with denizens in the area, notably the undead preserver Hakaar.

    The Cloud Ray is mostly after good they can consume or sell on, but they are also known for freeing slaves, especially when their crew has been depleted. The skimmer hasn't been destroyed yet due to their tactical variation. They are good at hiding, attacking at random intervals, using sea monsters, and generally avoiding detection.

    An-pat - The Vanished City

    During the time of the Great War, Halea was the ruler of the city of An-pat that was threatened by Rajaat and his Champions. When the resistance failed, Halea decided to take a drastic step, in consultation with the city's inhabitants. She moved the entire city onto the boundary between the elemental planes of earth and air. The only thing left of the city is a tiny hidden earth temple that Halea uses as as a gateway to Athas. She periodically appears on Athas or sends 'scouts' to check on the current situation. While she does not want to return the city to Athas - the city's inhabitants have started to feel at home in the planes and have taken on genasi traits - she likes to keep informed about potential threats to the city or to the elemental planes from Athas. Also, she is still willing to support a budding resistance.

    Halea appears as a middle-aged dark-skinned woman with a bald head. She likes wearing simple, but beautifully woven cleric robes. Halea is very wise and charismatic. In contrast with many earth clerics, she enjoys conversation, perhaps, because she is also still a politician, although most of the city's affairs are dealt with by an elected council. She has a number of students across all levels, and also makes sure to develop her own skills. She particularly enjoys forming new primes, which she sometimes leaves to further develop on their own, or sometimes as new homes for refugees.

    You can use the Vanished City the following way:

  • The PCs either come across the temple, the crater or an ancient map which indicates the existence of An-pat. They might try to contact someone through the temple.
  • The PCs encounter Halea's 'scouts' or Halea herself, for instance while trying to find a home for large numbers of refugees.
  • Maharduk - The Leviathan Village

    Many moons ago, a tribe of fierce halflings lived in the oasis of Maharduk who prided themselves in being the best hunters. To become part of the circle of great hunters, an aspiring halfling had to kill a particularly large and fierce beast that he would carve out and preserve as a home for his family. Thus, the oasis of Maharduk became populated with numerous 'leviathan huts' ranging from mekillots to sandworms.

    You can use this oasis the following way:

  • One day, a halflings drew the wrath of Hamanu upon them by killing one of his precious war driks. The oasis got raided and all of the halflings were killed. At first the army wanted to destroy all the huts, but as the huts were large enough for humans and even half-giants, they decided to re-use them and turn the oasis into a trading post.

  • The oasis now stands empty or is populated by another tribe.

  • The original tribes still lives there and is after the players and their mounts for food.

  • The halflings drew the wrath of a druid upon them by killing some of his or her proteges/companions. The oasis is now empty apart from some strange halfling stone or wood sculptures and leviathan spirits.

    The Black Swamps
    (blatantly stolen from 'The Neverending Story')

    The site of an ancient battle between druids and defilers, the Black Swamps are one of the spookiest places on Athas. No one in their right mind would venture into their fogs if it wasn't for the rumour that an ancient oracle resides there, protected by a herd of giant drik. It is said that visitors to the swamps will be tested, so that only the pure in spirit can reach the oracle.
    The swamps radiate and aura of darkness and sadness. PCs must make regular, increasingly more difficult saving throws or be affected by it.
    Characters entering the swamp must also make constitution rolls (the place stinks) and saves against Fear. The area is very difficult to navigate.
    Much of the ground is extremely sticky and unstable, but it is possible to travel by stepping on or clinging to the tree stumps and roots that are sticking out of the morass. There are also occasional patches of hardy moss or other vegetation. An additional danger comes from the nature of the plants in the swamp. Many of the are dead or... undead.
    Magic is also negatively effected as an after-effect of the ancient battle. Spell energy gets absorbed by the swamp, and immediately, the caster will be attacked by seemingly dead vegetation.

    Any characters who manage to find the oracle will find out that she is actually a drik. An ancient drik who once was a druid/psionicist.

    You can use the Black Swamp the following way:

  • Good-aligned characters are forced by a Sorcererking/-queen to enter the swamps to ask the Oracle a question. So far, the other minions of the evil monarch have failed.

  • The PCs need to find out where a particular ingredient for the avagnion metamorphosis is kept.

  • A druid PC is going into the swamp, accompanied by a party maybe, to find out about strange occurences on his/her protected lands. Alternatively, the druid is sent there by some elder druids.

  • The PCs are forced to flee into the swamps. If they are non-evil, the oracle might decide to help them.

    The Ancestor Lands

    Landscape-wise, the Ancestor Lands resemble the Grand Canyon (or the Bad Lands). Unlike the rest of Athas this place has a rather cool climate. The wind howls around the huge stone shapes that cover everything with their shade. Everything looks to bland and quiet that the ignorant adventurer would assume that hardly anything grows or lives there - at least nothing intelligent. But, just as in the desert, there is plenty of "hidden" life. A particular characteristic of this region are the Birdmen or "Innik": they are a race of humanoids with feathers clinging to their skulls instead of hair.
    Birdmen can transform themselves into a small type of birds. This way they can scout out the area for game or visitors. The Birdmen dwell in caves or clay-and-stone-buildings integrated into the rock. They have a tribal society led by a chief and a shaman. Most Birdmen are latent mages (preservers/druids) rather than psionicists.
    On special occasions Birdmen celebrate or have rituals on top of the rocks they live in (see races).
    Other "monsters" (suggestion): In our campaign we make use of the Shadowrun-Compendium "Paranormal Animals of Europe", especially for this area. One of the dominant creatures is the "Wild Minotaur".

    Storm Giant City Ruins

    In the mountains near the Last Sea lies a gigantic ruined city. The majority of buildings are actually inside the rock. Huge entrances lead visitors into halls of enormous size. Artistically sculptured stone pillars are more decoration than a support. From the stone furniture in these "rooms" it is obvious that the people who lived there must have been at least 20-25 feet in hight.
    The most elaborate building is a temple dedicated to the element of Earth. Other temples can be found which are all dedicated to one element.
    Nobody has lived here for centuries, but still intelligent beings can be found within these ruins. There are raaigs, krags and guardian spirits, for example. Also, various kinds of animals have made their homes within the ancient city.
    Sites of interest: Inside the water temple a magical well can be found. It is protected by Lyena, a raaig. Although she used to be a water cleric she was transformed into this strange being after her death. She will let friendly and peaceful people drink from the well which also has some healing abilities (judgement of the DM). Lyena knows all about the city which was called Urgath. The city was deserted by the giants during the War in order to fight the armies of Rajaat. Only few stayed who later had to flee to the Last Sea.

    The Rhulisti caverns

    A great mystery remain the Rhulisti caverns underneath Athas. Do they really only cover the Jagged Cliffs region or do they expand to all of Athas?
    Our suggestion: The caverns are an ancient underground/subway system. They might have worked like psionic portals or there have been life-shaped vehicles which transported the ancient halflings around Athas. Most of the entrances (or station) lie hidden under tons of sand.
    Maybe a party once discovers a strange entrance in a ruin and takes the irresistible invitation to follow the channel (or staircase or pit...) and ends up in a new hidden part of Athas?

    Tar Honak - The Elven City

    It is not known if anybody in the table lands area of Athas has ever heard of the last elven city of Tar Honak. It was the first non-rhulisti city to be built and the last to remain. Its history can be traced back until the 8th World Age over 14,000 years ago. How the city survived the Cleansing Wars and elven wars:
    Here are some possibilities. Feel free to use any which are suitable for your campaign if you like this city.

  • The Earthdawn:"Parlainth" idea: Any knowledge about the city was erased by one powerful spell developed by a group of preservers and/or psionicists. In addition the city was hidden.
    Should one of the Sorcererkings ever hear what happened they will a) want to have their revenge and b) be determined to get hold of this spell and certainly nobody (well, almost nobody) would ever wish to see a Sorcererking with a copy of that scroll!
  • "The site has moved": The city was moved to a different location by a powerful spell. In this case the only people who know about Tar'Elon for sure are the Sorcererkings. Amongst the elves the city is only a legend.
  • Tar'Hoank was hidden by a druid or was secured with help of magical traps like mazes, maddening illusions, neverending roads etc.


  • The city of Tar Honak is incredibly big and incredibly beautiful. Its huge population consists solely of elves. In the beginning of the Vanishing there had also been a few humans and half-elves, but after thousands of years of interbreeding hardly any traces of human characteristics are visible apart from a slightly stouter built of most Tar Honak elves and less sharpened senses which can also be a consequence of city life.
    From above the looks like a spiral. Because of the spreading population the city had to be expanded century after century. This was not accomplished by setting up new quarters or adding "rings", but by building an open ring of buildings around the old city centre so that buildings can be added. This way, the main road is a spiral though it is crossed by smaller roads which go out like rays from the spiral's heart. This way you are literally able to follow the city's history.
    Government: Tar Hoonak is governed by a the Council of Eight, which was only recently called The Council of Nine. To understand this one has to know that the city has a system of guilds. These guilds elect their member for the coucil. The Eight are: The preservers (called mages), the clerics, the druids, the bards, the merchants, the psionicists, the soldiers and the workers. And the ninth guild were the nobles. The nobles faction was abolished because more and more people were suspicious of the nobles growing influence on other factions. The nobles used to be the only faction which was allowed to join different factions than their own and were steadily increasing their power by having more and more candidates in other guilds.

    The current council consists of

  • Andin Taahar (preserver(+fighter), lawful neutral)
  • Chimitii Iphsha (earth cleric, neutral good)
  • Dayanuu So'al (psionicist, lawful neutral)
  • Airaan Yinek (merchant, lawful neutral)
  • Cassis (bard, chaotic neutral)
  • Kainaan Osakis (soldier)
  • Haaya Ima'iin (druid)
  • Siyana Kaih'al (worker)
  • The leader of the officially abolished 9th faction is Riial Dabuu (noble (fighter/wild talent)).

  • Since the beginning of the Cleansing Wars the Tar Honak elves have become paranoid about the outside world - after they had witnessed what was done to the city of Tar Elon (see The Valley of Dust and Fire: "The Sea of Silt"). Even after decades of isolation they did not dare to leave their city. However, the council has always had spies. It is not that the paranoia results from ignorance but from the certainty that as long as the former Champions are alive the city cannot be safe. Therefore, nobody is allowed to leave the city apart from the Watchers. This used to be a problem especially with the young people.
    Therefore (you may chose from these or take your own idea)...
  • ...the council decided to remove all knowledge about the outside world with another powerful spell to keep the people from making their escapes.
  • ...magical traps and barriers were formed around the city. They make an escape almost impossible...but only almost (GDR syndrome)! The players might encounter a Tar Honak elf who has made his/her escape and now wants to go back/is in the custody of an inquisitor/tells people about the city to bring it freedom.
  • ...the people are fed up with hiding and determined to defend their city.
  • ...The elves have constructed an underground adventure and leisure park or links to other hidden settlements.
  • ...

    Rhaltivar - Dragon Hold

    Rhaltivar is a city constructed by Athasian gnomes. It is more like a mighty fortress than a city. Its massive obsidian walls form a pentagon with three sides melting into the stone.
    Rhaltivar is a masterpiece of organised chaos. Completely illogically constructed to strangers and enemies - at first sight - it embodies protection for thousands of inhabitants.
    From its peculiar functions it is obvious that the architects of the city knew of the Dragon, but misinterpreted its existence: Rhaltivar can entirely seal itself from the outside world. Should an ordinary dragon ever attempt to fly an attack on the city it will encounter a rather annoying surprise: The Guardians of the City will initiate a mechanism to bring out thick sheets of obsidian or simple stone. These sheets will cover up the entire city. Normally they are hidden within house walls or gangway-like connections between important buildings. Unfortunately Dragons are not ordinary reptiles...
    The Sealing is not the only security measure. Rhaltivar was mainly built for war and hides countless functions from repeating canon-like weapons to underground tunnels and emergency supply halls. Even inside the buildings the inventions of the paranoid gnomes does not stop. If enemies managed to enter the city they would probably be driven insane by mazes, traps, illusions etc.

    The Spitting Holes/The Spitting Mouths

    The Spitting Mouths are hot mud wells located near the Valley of Dust and Fire. The are continuously bubbling with a greyish strange-smelling substance that is spat out every couple of minutes. If a person is covered by the slime the he/she suffers damage not only from the heat but also from its aggressive acid.
    This area is not only dangerous because of its geographical peculiarities, but also because it is the site of a war between a magma cleric and a powerful defiler. The wells originally result from a dormant volcano, but were modified as deadly traps.

    The River of the Dead

    The river of the Dead is a black oily "stream". It really only appears as a river, because of its shape and its shiniy surface. But it does not move. The phenomenon of the River occured after a life-shaper vs. defiler duel. A rumour that it is "semi-intelligent animated EVIL matter" has never be proven right. It could literally be anything from harmless life-shaping waste to a strange evil intelligent life form which requires huge amounts of positive energy to neutralise.

    One thing is certain: Occasionally smaller life-forms separate itself from the river and return to it...after they have consumed a person's magic powers...