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“I live in a world of fire and sand. The crimson sun scorches the life from anything that crawls or flies, and storms of sand scour the foliage from the barren ground. Lightning strikes from the cloudless sky, and peals of thunder roll unexplained across the vast tablelands. Even the wind, dry and searing as a kiln, can kill a man with thirst.” ―The Wanderer’s Journal

Athas is a world of many races, from the gith who wander the deserts, to the tareks, too stubborn to know when they have died. Giants terrorize the Silt Sea, while belgoi steal grown men in the night. The magic of the Pristine Tower produces the New Races; most never see a second generation. Despite the variety of intelligent life, only a few races have the numbers to significantly impact the politics of the Tablelands.

Though the races of the Dark Sun campaign setting resemble those of other campaign worlds, it is frequently in name only. The insular elves roam the Tablelands, trusted by no one but their own tribe‐mates. Halflings are feral creatures, possessed of a taste for human flesh. Hairless dwarves work endlessly, their entire perception of the world filtered through the lens of a single, all– consuming task. Unsleeping thri‐kreen roam the wastes, always hunting their next meal.

Core Races

  • Humans, While not the strongest race, nor the quickest, humans have dominated the Tablelands for the last three thousand years.
  • Aarakocra, avian freedom–loving creatures, but extremely zealous and xenophobic.
  • Dwarves, Stubborn and strong‐minded, dwarves make good companions, even though their usual focused nature can tend to be bothersome.
  • Elves, a long–limbed race of trading, raiding, thieving sprinters.
  • Half-elves, Unlike the parents of muls, elves and humans are often attracted to each other.
  • Half‐giants, a race that combines great strength, but dull wits, from their giant heritage; with the agility of their human forbearers.
  • Halflings, small, quick and agile creatures steeped in an ancient and rich culture that goes back far into Athas’ past.
  • Muls, a hybrid race that combines the natural Dwarven resilience and stubbornness with the adaptability from humans.
  • Pterrans, reptilian nature–worshipping creatures that are always in the pursuit of their “life paths”.
  • Thri‐kreen, insectoid creatures, these natural hunters roam the Athasian wastes in search for prey.

Athasian Racial Summary

Athasian Racial Ability Adjustments
Race Type Ability Adjustments Automatic Languages
Human Humanoid +2 Any Attribute Common
Aarakocra Monstrous Humanoid +4 Dex, -2 Con, -2 Str Auran & Common
Dwarf Humanoid +2 Con, +2 Wis, –2 Cha Common & Dwarven
Elf Humanoid +2 Dex, +2 Int, –2 Con Common & Elven
Half-elf Humanoid +2 Any Attribute Common & Elven
Half-giant Humanoid +4 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Int Common
Halfling Humanoid +2 Dex, +2 Wis, –2 Str Halfling
Mul Humanoid +2 Str, +2 Con, –2 Cha Common
Pterran Humanoid +2 Wis, +2 Cha, -2 Dex Saurian
Thri-kreen Monstrous Humanoid +2 Dex, +2 Wis, -4 Cha Kreen

Racial Physical Characteristics

Your character’s age is determined by your choice or race and class, as summed up on Table: Random Starting Ages.

Random Starting Ages
Race Adulthood Intuitive1 Self Taught2 Trained3
Human 15 years +1d4 +1d6 +2d6
Aarakocra 8 years +1d4 +1d6 +2d4
Dwarf 30 years +2d6 +4d6 +6d6
Elf 20 years +1d4 +1d6 +2d6
Half-Elf 15 years +1d6 +2d6 +3d6
Half-Giant 25 years +1d6 +2d6 +4d6
Halfling 20 years +3d6 +3d6 +4d6
Mul 14 years +1d4 +1d6 +2d6
Pterran 10 years +1d6 +1d6 +1d6
Thri-kreen 4 years +1d4 +1d4 +1d4

1 This category includes barbarians and rogues.
2 This category includes bards, fighters, gladiators, and rangers.
3 This category includes clerics, druids, templars, and wizards.

Aging Effects
Race Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum
Human 35 yrs. 53 yrs. 70 yrs. +2d20 yrs.
Aarakocra 36 yrs.4 +1d10 yrs.
Dwarf 100 yrs. 150 yrs. 200 yrs. +4d20 yrs.
Elf 50 yrs. 75 yrs. 100 yrs. +3d20 yrs.
Half-Elf 45 yrs. 60 yrs. 90 yrs. +2d20 yrs.
Half-Giant 60 yrs. 90 yrs. 120 yrs. +1d100 yrs.
Halfling 50 yrs. 75 yrs. 100 yrs. +5d10 yrs.
Mul 30 yrs. 45 yrs. 60 yrs. +2d10 yrs.
Pterran 40 yrs. 4 +1d10 yrs.
Thri-kreen 25 yrs. 4 +1d10 yrs.

1. –1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
2. –2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
3. –3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
4. Aarakocra, pterrans and thri-kreen do not suffer aging penalties
or gain aging bonuses until they reach venerable age, at which point
all cumulative effects apply.

Random Height and Weight
Race Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
Human, male 4’10” 120 lbs +2d10 x2d4 lb
Human, female 4’5” 85 lbs +2d10 x2d4 lbs
Aarakocra, male 6’4” 70 lbs +2d8 x1d4 lbs
Aarakocra, female 6’2” 60 lbs +2d8 x1d4 lbs
Dwarf, male 4’3” 130 lbs +2d4 x2d6 lbs
Dwarf, female 4’1” 100 lbs +2d4 x2d6 lbs
Elf, male 6’8” 130 lbs +2d6 x2d4 lbs
Elf, female 6’5” 110 lbs +2d6 x2d4 lbs
Half-Elf, male 5’ 130 lbs +2d10 x2d4 lbs
Half-Elf, female 4’10” 90 lbs +2d10 x2d4 lbs
Half-Giant, male 10’ 1400 lbs +2d12 x3d4 lbs
Half-Giant, female 10’ 1000 lbs +2d12 x3d4 lbs
Halfling, male 2’8” 30 lbs +2d4 x1 lbs
Halfling, female 2’6” 25 lbs +2d4 x1 lbs
Mul, male 4’10” 130 lbs +2d10 x2d6 lbs
Mul, female 4’6” 100 lbs +2d10 x2d6 lbs
Pterran, male 4’10” 130 lbs +2d10 x2d6 lbs
Pterran, female 4’7” 110 lbs +2d10 x2d6 lbs
Thri-kreen1 6’10” 450 lbs +1d6 x1d4 lbs
1. Thri-kreen are 48 inches longer than they are tall.

Region of Origin

In Athas, where you character comes from can help dictate his speech, clothing, world view, and values. In the context of the game, these cultural differences are expressed in the choices of class, skills, feats, and prestige classes that characters from different regions make.

This section describes the most common choices of game‐related options for several known regions of Athas. These choices are not meant to be restrictive, since exceptions always exist to such general rules. They simply offer guidelines for making a character seem like a true representative of his native culture.

See Region of Origin for more details