Borys collecting his tithe


My understanding is that every year the dragon of Tyr collects 1,000 slaves from each city-state to power his ritual. My question is: HOW does he do this? 1, 000 people is a lot to transport, does he teleport them? do the sorcerer-kings set up a collection site outside the city for Borys to collect them? People know about the dragon and are rightfully frightened of him, but do they know he generally only ‘kills’ slaves? Does he always come at the same time each year? Has anyone figured out where the SKs are sending these slaves every year? I know that logistics aren’t that exciting, but I’m still curious.

(Rasmus Aaen) #2

Dragon’s Levy
Every year, the cities are expected to pay the Dragon’s Levy, 1000 slaves are sent out in the desert from each of the seven cities.
Only once has a city (Balic, millennia ago) failed to pay the levy, gathering only 900 sacrifices.
The Dragon then came to Balic, destroyed a quarter of the city and took away 100 templars to fill its “quota”. Since then, no city has failed to achieve the quota. However, Tyr looks like it won’t make it this year.:wink:

Daskinor of Eldaarich, did have a run in with the Dragon many ages before Andropinis, I believe it was levy related as well.
He was always something of a loner, that Daskinor, but after that incident, you could be tempted to consider the King quite strange, if not actually totally mad. Well let’s not ponder on the Dim lands, they are all but forgotten.

Spoiler don’t read, if you are not a DM…
As far as I remember, the Dragon used part of the levy to keep Rajaat the warbringer sealed in the Hollow.
You could say, do a bad thing to stop a bad thing.

Dungeon issue 80: Eye on Dark Sun: Dragon’s Altar by Rodney Thompson
(Sheds light on the subject of how, and where)


The dragon doesn’t have to do any mass transportation of slaves. He is able to drain (defile) them, and store the resulting life energy in the obsidian orbs located inside his torso. So all it takes is for the SKs to take the slaves into the desert where the dragon is waiting for the levy.

Some of the useful slaves with skills are taken to Ur Draxa where they serve the dragon’s people as slaves.


That’s very helpful, thank you!

(Rasmus Aaen) #5

Any time :slight_smile:
My theory is, that this kept the tension, but peace between the monarchs many centuries.
I also believe that after the fall of Kalidny, Guistinal and Yaramuke, the quota must have been increased for the remaining city states.
Maybe this led to the conflict’s mentioned above.
How Hamanu evaded paying extra toll, after the desolation of Yaramuke I don’t know.
Maybe he didn’t, maybe that’s why he is described as the most warlike “outgoing” of the sorcerer kings.
To fetch the extra levy.
Just a thought.

(Mr Eco) #6

Wasn’t 7,000 slaves a bit too much? Considering the city-states’ total population was around 160,000 (Veiled Alliance stated 159, Revised raised it to 165, and 4th edition dropped it to 154).

(Rasmus Aaen) #7

Yes, you are quite right Zontoxira
l think the sum, was taken from the Troy Denning’s book, or the first Box set.
Gulg, with a population at around 8000, as far as I remember, would have been pressed to fill it’s quota.
Either the math wasn’t in focus when this sum was made out , or you would have the Oba’s Templars raiding every Klein village, in the Tablelands to fill her quota.

Don’t know if the Veiled Alliance , had the full overview, if they counted the Klein village’s?
They probably didn’t include the dimlands.
Daskinor rooted them out and killed every one of them, in one of his paranoid fits, at least one kings age before present time.

(Mr Eco) #8

No, they probably didn’t include the client villages; it was only the population within the walls of the city (and the outlying farms).
Then again, the Original campaign setting series of adventures started off with a rebellion against Kalak, so I’m guessing until his ultimate demise, the Dragon was significantly diminishing the already struggling society. Had it been not for the heroes of Athas, the Dragon would have consumed everyone and everything.
As a side note, the Dragon in the Original setting was depicted as a roaming beast, feasting upon trading caravan and even villages.


If I recall correctly, the original boxed set doesn’t give numbers. It does describe complex societies that cannot be supported by small numbers. The Veiled Alliance accessory gives numbers, which I believe are too low to be correct, and should be ignored.

In the Verdant Passage, Tithian was expecting 40,000 Tyrian city dwellers to pack the arena. Obviously that’s not going to happen if the population of Tyr is less than 40,000.

On the old wizards forums we went over this quite a bit. TSR was notoriously bad at demographics. At the tiny populations given to Athasian cities, we are looking not at the kind of cities described in the original boxed set, but clan based or tribal societies, of which many citizens would be relatives of the Sorcerer King.

So the choice is easy. Go with the meaningless number, or go with the description and flavor. For me the choice is easy.

So the population of Tyr is 250,000 at the very least. Probably more.

(Rasmus Aaen) #10

That’s true, your average local Pc.
probably wouldn’t, sit around and count heads anyway, if he even could, gathering 99% of the Athasian population being an alpha bets.
Let’s just say, You look out the window, you se a lot of unfortunate souls, driven threw the night out into the wastes, in a singular line past the eastern gate.
Do you want to follow and se where they are going?:wink:

Found an ancient post discussing the same subject

And found the post on Eldaarich

171st King’s Age Silt’s Reverence (Free Year -1469)
Daskinor Goblin Death slips into insanity following this year’s levy, and builds an army to slay the Dragon upon his return the following year.
Borys learns of his plot, and not needing the levy to maintain Rajaat’s prison never returns.
Keltis, Lizard Man Executioner, has an attack of conscience and denounces being a sorcerer-king. Over the next centuries he strives to become something more noble.
Because of the actions of nearby Daskinor, Borys never returns to Kurn and both cities become isolated from the rest of Athas.


Hamanu did not evade paying extra after destroying Yaramuke. Per the timeline of Athas:
To appease the Dragon’s wrath for killing a sorcerer-queen, Hamanu presented Borys with a levy of Yaramuke’s riches-which pleases the beast and spares Urik.
And later a few years later:
Borys used the booty gained from Yaramuke to build Ur Draxa, which became the greatest city on all of Athas. At the center of the city Borys placed the Black Sphere for him and his city to protect.

(Chris Flipse) #12

There’s a little bit of a hack to be had here as well, to attempt to make the numbers work out a little better: the Dragon gathers a levy of 1000 souls from a single city each year. Each year, a new city fills the levy, while the rest have an opportunity to recover and rebuild.

1000 is a suspiciously round number to arrive at after accounting for adding a few lost cities burdens to everyone else’s levy. This way, the effect of a city gone is to reduce the time a given city has to recoup it’s population.

Another option: It’s not 1000 souls he needs, it’s 1000 Hit Dice. A bit gamest for my tastes though.


The idea of a rotating donation seems to make sense to me. This would also make the dragon’s actions appear a bit more ‘random’ to the average citizen of the tablelands. With a constantly changing roster the dragon would seem to come to a different place at a different time each year, making it difficult to draw a pattern.
The levy being based on hit dice is an interesting idea. This could explain the Gulgans’ competitive and war-like nature: while their population is small, they need strong (high hit die) individuals to compensate for this.


OK, that is a potential fix, but it obviously isn’t how it went down in the books. In fact the Dragon going from city to city was a major plot point.

The obvious fix is increase the populations. Otherwise the types of societies described in the fluff don’t make sense.

(James) #15

You have to remember that the sorcerer kings would have slaves likely breeding all the time, and nowhere says the dragon needs adults! so the levy can easily be managed if all the tithe given are babies.
This was all done behind the peoples backs. I think every SK knew that if the public became aware that the young, sick and elderly were being handed over to be killed they would have civil revolt on their hands.

(Mr Eco) #16

But what about Raam? Abalach-Re could barely hold her city from falling apart, let alone control, how could she raise a thousand souls to offer? For all I know, she didn’t have any armies to go raiding, and all nobles, the best source for slaves, had turned against her.

(James) #17

She may have been struggling at the time, but I would not be surprised if any of the SK’s had contingencies for such things. Hidden caches of slaves working in other areas that weren’t part of the main city?