Excerpts Archive | 7/19/2010
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Races of Athas
Dark Sun Excerpts

Many of the more familiar races of the Dungeons & Dragons game roam the wastes of Athas. However, these beings have adapted over the centuries to their brutal home and bear little resemblance to their counterparts on other worlds. For example, the elves of Athas aren’t flighty forest dwellers who dance in the starlight and celebrate the living world around them. Athas has few forests to speak of, and its elves are thieving nomads and raiders who wander the deserts and wastes. Similarly, halflings aren’t good-natured riverfolk known for their amiability and pluck. They’re fierce savages and headhunters, primal warriors who are notorious for indulging in cannibalism. Other races have similar variations from their expected roles.

In today's Dark Sun Campaign Setting excerpt, we examine the Dark Sun races -- specifically looking at the half-giant thug.

"Until you learn otherwise, it’s best to assume that everyone you meet intends to rob you, enslave you, or eat you."
—Zandar, mul mercenary


Chapter 2 of the Dark Sun Campaign Guide looks at new character races, new approaches to familiar races, and new racial paragon paths. It includes the following sections.

  • Mul: A mix of dwarf and human bloodlines, muls combine the hardiness of the former race with the drive and flexibility of the latter race. Muls are phenomenally tough and enduring.
  • Thri-Kreen: Insectlike hunters of the wastelands, the thri-kreen are quick and deadly warriors.
  • Peoples of Athas: The world is home to cultural variants of familiar character races such as elves, dwarves, and halflings.
  • Racial Paragon Paths: The mul battle slave and the thri-kreen predator are the epitomes of the races they represent. In addition, a new goliath paragon path, the half-giant thug, provides goliath characters with a distinctively Athasian option for their paragon tier.

Racial Paragon Paths

Racial paragon paths serve as examples of unique, distinctive qualities of a character race.

Half-Giant Thug

"Oh, did I get in your way? This alley is too narrow for my bulk. I guess you’ll have to go through me to get where you’re headed."

In the city-states, some enslaved goliaths work as enforcers, and the other residents know better than to say no when half-giant thugs come looking for goods or money. The physical might of these thugs ensures that they receive better treatment than most other slaves do, and sometimes their children are set free (to appease the parent and guarantee loyalty).

Whether you serve as a slave or seek your own livelihood as a mercenary, violence and intimidation are your most useful tools. You get what you want by using your size, your attitude, and your keen knowledge of the back streets and seedy locations of your city-state. Anyone who has heard of you clears the way for you to pass, and thanks to your stature, they always see you coming.

(805 Kbs PDF)

Friday: "Noble, slave, templar, merchant—all are menaced by the sorcerer-kings. If we are to have any hand in throwing off the shackles of tyranny, we must not turn on each other first."

Excerpt Schedule

Monday Friday

July 12

An Introduction to Dark Sun

July 16

Ch 1: The World of Athas

July 19

Ch 2: Races of Athas

July 23

Ch 3: Character Themes

July 26

Ch 4: Character Options

July 30

Ch 5: Atlas of Athas: Tyr

August 2

Ch 5: Atlas of Athas: Sea of Silt

August 6

Ch 6: Running a Dark Sun Game