Animal Butchery & Athas Specific Issues

So butchery is awesome (Chef/DM here). It takes focus, speed and skill… practice is a must. In the real world, we work cold and quick so we don’t get sick. And in a very hot setting the risks go up considerably. Time and temperature; wet and dry mediums; soft meats versus muscle tissue all have their place in providing safe food. The temperature danger zone, where most microorganisms thrive is between 40 and 140 degrees on the Fahrenheit. Well, Athas is hot. Ideal for spoilage and illness. A distinct lack of water to wash one’s hands and equipment; no refrigeration or ice commonly found. In Athas, it is even more important to avoid contamination of a carcass with fecal matter. So if intestines aren’t immediately used due to an inability to wash properly, perhaps other offal such as lights (lungs), liver, hearts, etc… would be immediately cooked into a bread or dough, especially in areas where production is possible. This would either we a rough chop/sausage mix or perhaps even whole. The blood itself could possibly replace some of the water or other liquid in the mix.

Salt becomes a must then, as it slows microbial growth and encourages preservation. Luckily, that is easy enough to come by. Immediate cooking is a good idea as well, as long as a fuel source is easily found. Ashes from fire could also be used as an antiseptic surface. I’ve described caravans using slates of obsidian left into the sun to form a plancha-like cooking surface, to be scrubbed done with fine sand or salt after use. While the natives wouldn’t be aware of microbiology, trial and error throughout the ages would probably mirror the real world.

The other thing that most production centers would value is the evening time. Butchery is a helluva lot more safe when the sun sets in Athas, and allows novice meat carvers the luxury of more time to practice their craft. This might even be a way to tell if someone has reached a Journeyman status - a day cutter being more proficient than a night cutter.

The other huge thing a butcher would worry about is the pests. Spilt blood would attract all sorts of things under the crimson sun. Not just flies, worms, or the general type, but scavengers and other predators. Also, keep in mind that the larger the beast being used for meat - the more organisms call the meat home - intestinal worms, ticks, bugs, mites… all the parasitic assholes that generally live the nomadic life. Any real life fisher knows that a large swordfish, shark or grouper should probably be cooked a bit longer than a small river fish - worms are often harmless, but not always. I know an old friend that ate some questionable ceviche in Central America and had a 6 foot tapeworm found growing in her - the only way they found it was she was getting incredibly sick whenever she drank alcohol, which apparently the worm did not like getting into it’s system. In Dark Sun, some of these things could be psychic drains as well…

The other key theme in butchery in Dark Sun is the utilization of hide for armor, clothing or to build necessary tools. Curing and tanning would be much the same - but perhaps sped up somewhat due to hot, dry conditions. Sand would be used in a lot of the scrubbing & washing steps, as it’s common, plentiful and easy enough to dispose of. (Just remember that some of it hides life as well.) Some of the indigenous plant life or animal life (ock’n) would have resins or extracts that could also be used in these processes.

In my current game, my players decided to butcher down a bulette - not only for the plates, but for the meat. Cowbutch
If you take in consideration that a steer led to slaughter is generally between 1100-1400#s this puts this pic into proper perspective. So a bulette, weighing roughly 3.5-4x that has a huge amount of meat - assuming a similar bone to usable meat ratio. I guess the other thing to consider is in the real world we raise the animal to be meat. We slaughter young to keep it from getting tough, make sure it’s generally from animals that aren’t subjected to excessive labor, etc… you can tell in beef especially, that muscles that are used more often are deeper red in color. That’s why veal is so pale. In fact, red veal is a sign the farmer or processor is cutting corners or not following procedure properly. In the case of the land shark, the meat would most likely be tougher. Definitely something that needs to be cut thinly or slow cooked over a great period of time. Taken from such a large beast that harbors possible parasites - long cooking would be safer… or better yet, the whole beast cut thin and made into jerky would be the most utilitarian approach.

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This is some good information. I’ll just point out that a lot of creatures on Athas have hard shells, or thick skin, that will decrease the weight of edible meat on an animal.

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For sure. Thus the assuming a similar bone to usable meat ratio comment. When my players hacked it, I took the plates and bones into consideration. This is more a rough framework for those not particularly as hands on. I imagine that large worms - like sink worms, would yield the most usable “meat” or fat. I had scrabs hacking and eating rancid blubber from one in one encounter. Bulette are a lot of tough, muscular pieces that require a greater amount of time to get any real yield.

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This is from my netbook I am working on.

Ice Obsidian

Aura Faint universal (or faint indeterminate); CL 1st (or ML 1st); Slot —; Weight 1 lbs.
Market price 1000 Cp; Cost to create 500 Cp, 40 XP.
Requirements Craft Magical Trinket (or Craft Psionic Trinket), prestidigitation.

Ice Obsidian is a two-inch-long bar of obsidian that is chill to the touch. While outside of an enclosed space it does not manage to make anything cool, but inside a tightly closed bagg or box, it can chill the other contents inside. A single bar of ice obsidian can chill up to 0.2 cubic meters (200 litres) of enclosed space (like a modern fridge). It chills but does not freeze. Additional bars of ice obsidian can be used to allow chilling of larger enclosed spaces.

In the incredible heat of Athas, ice obsidian keeps foodstuffs fresh for they quickly rot in the heat. The price of ice obsidian is beyond the ability to afford for most Athasian families. Fortunately, many food merchants are able to afford ice obsidian, so Athasian city dwellers will usually buy their perishable foodstuffs on a daily basis.

New Feats

Craft Magical Trinket [Item Creation]

You can craft magical trinkets of a minor sort. This feat is the foundation of magical item creation. All Athasian spellcasters get this feat at 1st level as a bonus feat.

Prerequisite: Caster level 1st.

Benefit: You can create magical trinkets just like the Craft Wondrous Item feat, except you may only craft magical trinkets based on 0th level and 1st level spells, with a caster level not exceeding 3rd level. The costs are the same as the Craft Wondrous Item feat.

If you do not know the spell to craft the magical trinket, can substitute a Spellcraft check to craft the item. As this is a trained skill, you must have at least 1 rank in Spellcraft to use the feature below.

A divine caster makes a check of DC 15 + spell level for divine spells in place of a required spell he doesn’t know or can’t cast. A divine caster can make a Spellcraft check of DC 15 in place of a required 0th level arcane spell but cannot make a check emulate arcane spells of 1st level. Emulated arcane spells are simply divine versions of the arcane spell.

An arcane caster makes a check of DC 15 + spell level for arcane spells in place of a required spell he doesn’t know or can’t cast. An arcane caster can make a Spellcraft check of DC 15 in place of a required 0th level divine spell but cannot make a check emulate divine spells of 1st level. Emulated divine spells are simply arcane versions of the divine spell.

A spellcaster with at least 1 caster level in both arcane and divine classes make a check of DC 15 + spell level for arcane spells or DC 15 + spell level for divine spells in place of a required spell he doesn’t know or can’t cast.

If the check succeeds, you can create the item as if you had cast the required spell. If it fails, you cannot complete the item. You do not expend the XP or GP costs for making the item; Your progress is simply arrested. You cannot retry this Spellcraft check for that spell until you gain a new level (in any class).

Craft Psionic Trinket [Item Creation]

You can craft psionic trinkets of a minor sort. This feat is the foundation of psionic item creation. All Athasian manifesters get this feat at 1st level as a bonus feat.

Prerequisite: Manifester level 1st.

Benefit: You can create magical trinkets just like the Craft Universal Item feat, except you may only craft psionic trinkets based on 1st level psionic powers, with a manifester level not exceeding 3rd level. The costs are the same as the Craft Universal Item feat.

If you do not know the psionic power to craft the magical trinket, can substitute a Psicraft check to craft the item. As this is a trained skill, you must have at least 1 rank in Psicraft to use the feature below.

You must make a check of DC 15 + psionic power level for the psionic power that you do not know or cannot manifest. A psionic manifester can make a Psicraft check of DC 15 in place of a required 0th level divine or arcane spells but cannot make a check emulate divine or arcane spells of 1st level. Emulated arcane or divine spells are simply psionic versions of the arcane or divine spells.

If the check succeeds, you can create the item as if you had manifested the required powers. If it fails, you cannot complete the item. You do not expend the XP or GP costs for making the item; Your progress is simply arrested. You cannot retry this Psicraft check for that spell until you gain a new level (in any class).

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I have some serious issues with magic item creation rules in Dark Sun in 2E. Who the Hells is going to drop a CON point to make a +1 datchi club? I have a list of notes that I’ll eventually put up here… but I love the idea of low level item crafting that you have going on here… I might incorporate some of those ideas into what I have already.
.

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5All good points, I guess among the very few advantages of Athas with regards to food preservation is lack of humidity and availability/abundance of salt when compared to similar cultures. Dehydrating by heat is of course an option, along with sugaring, pickling and preserving with alcohol.

One additional leverage I give regarding food preservation is spells. Every village and tribe has a low level elemental cleric, usually level 1, since no group of humanoids can survive long in Athas without one. I make 1st level priest spell Purify Food & Drink available to all elemental spheres but not a cosmos spell, since it makes sense to me that all elemental priests can purify using his or hers. Furthermore, I allow using the spell ex ante to preserve food. Of course a single level 1 priest cannot preserve all of the food for a village and other meansare still needed, but it helps.

While I was nitpicking over the cheap animal prices in DS on the Facebook page considering the meat and leather they would yield, I tried to figure out the amount of edible meat on Athasian animals. I thought gators may be comparable to most animals of Athas such as Inixes, and learned that about 40% of the weight of a gator raised on a farm was edible meat, and about 10% was fat. Even if you deduce that only 30% of an inix, an erdlu or a mekillot was edible, raising and butchering one for meat would be extremely profitable regarding the 2e mount prices, even if you don’t use the exorbitant Athasian Emporium prices for meat.

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I think that the commoner would have very little benefit from cleric preservation spells. That would most likely be used in templar grain or production processes, perhaps with a major trading house even. The elemental clerics aren’t always treated well by the SKs, as it’s a form of power that can contest theirs. In smaller communities, they would have a better niche - and most likely have less constraints imposed upon them. The templars would most likely want a control on this.

I agree gator is a good standard to measure a lot of animals in Athas against, as well as ostrich. I’ll try to find some yield pics somewhere. That’d be a trip.

The inix using a lot of graze/forage might affect the prices a bit, depending on the locale. I think it’d be cool if they regrew lost tails - and that could be the main form of inix meat… the other cuts being more expensive as they’d require the beast to be slain.

Also, when considering dry sausages, you generally get a 30% loss in weight due to the drying process… over at least 3 weeks to a number of months depending upon the size of the casing (intestine). This can be equated to jerky production as well. The culinary term is green weight if you want to search for even more technical detail. There’s a good chance saltpeter or a nitrate/nitrite salt is used in these preparations, those sausages would be pink or reddish in color when cut.

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The village priest and shamans maybe helpful for desert tribes and villages, like I said. Shamans of animist tribes had -and still have in some cultures- such roles. I don’t say there may be an elemental cleric in every corner of a city state, though I guess low level clerics will be ignored, or maybe even tolerated for the good of their cities- by most sorcerer kings. Daskinor, Tec or the Oba may not tolerate them, but I guess Kalak and Andropinis wouldn’t care, Nibenay and Abalach-Re wouldn’t even notice, Oronis and Hamanu may let them as long as they do not interfere. Of course they must mostly do their thing underground, like the earth cleric living in Urik in one novel, but I gueess they won’t be hunted down and killed like the preservers. But of course, they may be enslaved and put to work in the fields if they are water or earth clerics, or they may be forced to work as healer in the arenas. Patronship of a major merchant family may of course give them some exemptions.

In the cities, they may be areas dedicated to butchering of the animals, or entire satellite villages again like the one in a novel (I’m trying not to give spoilers :slight_smile: ), and the process will most likely be supervised by templars.

So, after alli what do you think about the mount and meat prices? I guess even if it is hard to feed, noone would sell a two 1500 kg inix for 100 cp. I prefer to use much higher 4e prices, and limit the prices of most meats to 1-2 cp per kg.

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@lykos I think there’s a few ways to deal with the pricing. The inix one buys for a mount is trained for riding, so you can simply add an untrained mount for a cost at a fraction similar to the trained an untrained kank prices and use that to scale differently. Maybe the meat is bland (or bitter or iron-y, etc…) and common as well, lowering the cost as everyone exclaims, “Inix? Again? Ugh.” I would also think with their eating habits that they might be too harsh in any great numbers in one area.

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Erdlu are the chickens of Athas, aren’t they? Or maybe Athas does in fact have chickens.

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@redking they’re like larger ostrich. In real life, they’re (ostrich) bonier than all Hells. The bones can actually be used to mimic veal stock. It’s a red meat, very iron-y and steak-like.

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We should come up with a list of real life animals that actually exist in Athas.

IIRC, Trade Lords here at Athas org has a list of Athasian animals and prices, but are not exclusive, which means that earth animals could exist. Athasian Emporium also has real world fruits and vegetables.

Also, just like we have “meat chickens”, I’d expect Athas to have meat lizards and other animals bred for high meat content. Those animals you mentioned with low meat content are either not animals for slaughter or are game animals. Any animal bred for slaughter is going to have better returns. They have to or Athasians won’t have sufficient food.

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@redking pretty sure there’s a list or two running around out there. Lemme see if I added any of that to my list.

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From Dragon #178 Sage Advice

Q. Since the “normal” animals on Athas would be considered pretty nasty monsters on most other worlds, how useful on Athas are speak with animals and the various spells that can affect or summon animals? Will they also work on most “monsters”?

A. In the strictest terms, a speak with animals spell will not work on many of the most common Athasian “animals”, as these really are fantastic creatures. Nevertheless, Athas does have small lizards, snakes, mammals, and birds that are true animals. Athas also has great cats, bats, and an assortment of other mundane animals, enough normal fauna to make the various animal-affecting spells worthwhile. Speak with animals also works on commonly domesticated creatures of Athas, such as mekillots, inix, kanks, and erdlus.

Q. Why are there so few creatures included in the Dark Sun world? The list in the rules, even when augmented by a Monstrous Compendium many times larger than the volumes TSR has been putting out recently, is pretty small for players and DMs accustomed to the hundreds of creatures available in the regular AD&D game. Is such a volume coming out?

A. Athas has very few species because it is a site of a worldwide ecological disaster. A dying ecology means lots of extinctions and very few surviving species. There is a Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium in the works. Look for it in February 1992; it will be 96 pages long.

According to the interpretation in Sage Advice, I rule that several animals in our world which are not much larger than a house cat and which would be able to live in such a world do live in Athas. The ability to live can mostly be deduced by the animals’ survivability in a desert. Therefore, sand cats, desert foxes and such animals can be seen in my Athas. They, of course, usually have one or two beneficial mutations. Larger animals may be considered on a case by case basis, and will probably be subject to more drastic mutations.

Another thing I take account is whether the animal’s niche is filled by an Athasian creature. For example, although vultures are among common residents of the deserts, and have appropriately sized subspecies even we hard limit the size, have their place taken by the remarkable survivors, kes’trekels.

For stockbreeding, Athas has aprigs and carrus, as well as the erdlus you mentioned and small lizards that replace fowl. I don’t think chickens and turkeys are resourceful enough to survive Athas.

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Definitely no chickens or turkeys in my game. Goats are, as they’re brought up as dwelling in the mountains and if I remember correctly by giants in one of the novels. I like this, as goat’s milk allows for cheese production.

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Yep, there were giant goats and sheep in one that one, I forgot about that. Although goats roaming Ringing Mountains and giants’ islands, sheep seems a little off to me. That reminded me the list below, and it says that the Veiled Alliance book says that they breed turkeys in Draj, but still I can’t see turkeys hanging around in Athas :slight_smile:

Turkeys specifically in one area is viable. Bet the Draji’s make a mean mole.

Any farmed animal is viable regardless of whether they can survive out in the wild. I can see chickens and turkeys raised in Athasian farms, even if I can’t see them surviving out in the wild.

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This is a food list, including meat.

And here’s an animal list, which includes the different types of animals, meat, laying, pack, etc…

I’ve never read anywhere about chickens on Athas. However, ostriches and emus are official according to the revised rule book.

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Here are some of the other trinkets I’ve made. Its been pointed out how hard it is to survive on Athas. Well, Athasians do have some help.

Trinkets

Craftsman’s Skill Charm

A craftsman’s charm comes in an eclectic number of forms but are often amulets in the shape of a tiny mock tool. These minor charms provide a +1 to +3 to a specific skill check and require at least 1 rank in the skill (netting the charm a 10% discount to craft), and a level in the expert class (another 30% reduction in costs).

On Athas the struggle to survive even reaches the craftsmen, professionals, and freemen of the city states. Competition is harsh, and Athasians, who rely on their skills to survive, seek out any edge they can to give them an advantage. For that reason, most of them will buy a competence enhancing charm as soon as they are able to afford one. Around half charms are psionic due to the prevalence of psionics on Athas. The rest are produced by elemental clerics and even templars, and selling these charms provide excellent income for those producing them. Rarer are charms of arcane origin, although most of the users of the charms are not aware of whether the charms are arcane, divine, or psionic in nature.

These charms are often used in conjunction with masterwork tools, which provide a +2 circumstance bonus. At first glance the +2 bonus provided by masterwork tools at 50 Cp seems more economical than a charm, but that is the cost for a single masterwork tool. A complete set of tools used in a profession costs as many times 50 Cp as there as the number of tools are used for that profession or craft. Any master craftsman worth his salt owns both masterwork tools and a master crafts charm, providing a total of +5 to his crafting or professional skill checks.

The example below is a charm for brickmakers, but any profession or skill has charms. If the charms provide the same numeric bonus and have the same skill restriction, they all have the same pricing.

Lesser Brickmakers’ Charm

Aura Faint divination (or faint clairsentience); CL 1st (or ML 1st); Slot Throat; Weight —.

Market price 100 Cp; Cost to create 31.5 Cp, 2 XP. Cost reduction Class limitation x70%, skill limitation x90%.

Requirements Craft Magical Trinket (or Craft Psionic Trinket), guidance;

This charm is an amulet in the shape of a tiny flat-head trowel. It gives the wearer a +1 competence bonus on Profession (brickmaker) whenever a check is made for that skill. To benefit from this charm, the wearer must have at least one rank in Profession (brickmaker) and must have at least one level in the expert class.

Greater Brickmakers’ Charm

Aura Faint divination (or faint clairsentience); CL 2nd (or ML 2nd); Slot Throat; Weight —.

Market price 400 Cp; Cost to create 126 Cp, 10 XP. Cost reduction Class limitation x70%, skill limitation x90%.

Requirements Craft Magical Trinket (or Craft Psionic Trinket), guidance;

As lesser brickmaker’s charm. It gives the wearer a +2 competence bonus on Profession (brickmaker) whenever a check is made for that skill. To benefit from this charm, the wearer must have at least one rank in Profession (brickmaker) and must have at least one level in the expert class.

Master Brickmakers’ Charm

Aura Faint divination (or faint clairsentience); CL 3rd (or ML 3rd); Slot Throat; Weight —.

Market price 900 Cp; Cost to create 283 Cp, 22 XP. Cost reduction Class limitation x70%, skill limitation x90%.

Requirements Craft Magical Trinket (or Craft Psionic Trinket), guidance;

As lesser brickmaker’s charm. It gives the wearer a +3 competence bonus on Profession (brickmaker) whenever a check is made for that skill. To benefit from this charm, the wearer must have at least one rank in Profession (brickmaker) and must have at least one level in the expert class.

Other Skill Charms

While the brickmaker’s charms above use the throat slot, other charms may use other slots – they could be gloves, spectacles, boots, capes and so on. The list below is non-exhaustive.

  • Forger’s charm. Competence bonus to Forgery. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Middleman’s charm. Competence bonus to Appraise. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Ostler’s charm. Competence bonus to Handle Animal. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Mountebank’s charm. Competence bonus to Bluff. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Chiurgeon’s charm. Competence bonus to Heal. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Cat Burglar’s charm. Competence bonus to Climb. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Survivor’s charm. Competence bonus to Survival. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Actor’s charm. Competence bonus to Perform (Act). Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Spellcrafter’s charm. Competence bonus to Spellcraft. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Psicrafter’s charm. Competence bonus to Psicraft. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Locksmith’s charm. Competence bonus to Open Lock. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Driver’s charm. Competence bonus to Ride. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Scribe’s charm. Competence bonus to Decipher Script. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Slave-maker’s charm. Competence bonus to Use Rope. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Overseer’s charm. Competence bonus to Intimidate. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Trapper’s charm. Competence bonus to Craft (Trapmaking). Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Cutpurse’s charm. Competence bonus to Sleight of Hand. Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Farmer’s charm. Competence bonus to Profession (Farmer). Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Gambler’s charm. Competence bonus to Profession (Gambler). Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.
  • Bureaucrat’s charm. Competence bonus to Profession (Bureaucrat). Lesser +1, greater +2, master +3.

Somnolent Waterfall

Aura Faint illusion (figment) and enchantment (compulsion) (or faint telepathy); CL 1st (or ML 1st); Slot —; Weight 1 lbs.

Market price 200 Cp; Cost to create 100 Cp, 8 XP. Cost reduction N/A

Requirements Craft Magical Trinket (or Craft Psionic Trinket), ghost sound, lullaby.

This trinket resembles a snow globe. Encased inside glass, water flows down a representation of a waterfall. When activated, the trinket produces the sound of a waterfall that can help an individual that wants to sleep to get to sleep. It has no effect on unwilling targets whatsoever.

Slave’s Mop

Aura Faint universal (or faint indeterminate); CL 1st (or ML 1st); Slot —; Weight 2 lbs.

Market price 200 Cp; Cost to create 100 Cp, 8 XP.

Requirements Craft Magical Trinket (or Craft Psionic Trinket), prestidigitation.

A slave’s mop is just that – a magically or psionically enhanced mop that is very effective at cleaning the surfaces it touches. A slave’s mop (and items that do similar things and cost the same to create, such as an animal handlers brush or tool) is deployed when there is great need for cleanliness, such as in a bath house or slave latrines, so as to prevent the outbreak of disease. The cleaning ability of the slave’s mop is subject to the cleaning limitations of the prestidigitation spell, that is the user of the slave’s mop can clean items or areas in a 1-foot cube each round. To deploy the abilities of the mop, the user must still go through the motions of cleaning with the mop. The magical or psionic ability of the slave’s mop can be used for one hour per day and must be used up in one session.

Thief’s Boots

Aura faint transmutation; CL 1st; Slot Boots; Weight 2 lbs.

Market price 360 Cp; Cost to create 126 Cp, 10 XP. Cost reduction Class limitation x70%.

Requirements Craft Magical Trinket, expeditious retreat.

These boots are prized by rogues operating in the markets and streets of the cities of Athas. Rogues try not to get caught in the act, but if they do, they need to flee the scene with alacrity. Once per day as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, the wearer can speak the command word to activate the effects of an expeditious retreat spell on himself for 1 minute.

To use the magical ability of the thief’s boots, the wearer must have at least one level in rogue.