Athas needs more bird poop

One thing I think about is what resources could Athas take advantage of? Water is scarce, usable iron, magic is alarmingly restricted (even if you don’t care about defiling you can only do so much). Many animal or plant products or byproducts are risky to harvest, due to dangerous creatures and hostile environment. Heck, even shade can be in short supply!

So what kind of resources could the average Athasian hope for? It is well established that psionics is extremely common, well integrated and immensely beneficial.

Bird poop. Guano.

A little research will show there is plenty of application and story possibilities.

  1. Entirely real world islands that were rookeries for the right bird poop. They would develop their own ecosystems. Sadly, so much of the acclimated guano would be harvested, that these islands would be devastated. Ties in well to the theme Athas has of ecological devastation through reckless resource use.

  2. Bird poop was highly valuable as a fertilizer. Even without Athas, the use of this to any civilization should be obvious. However, I would suggest that Athas has an entirely unique use for it. As a counter for the after effects of defiling. I can easily imagine them shipping in a lot of guano to try and fix the lifeless ash. We can debate how effective it is, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.

  3. Guano can be used in various alchemical preparations, which would be happily received by some.

  4. Bats also produce guano. Rather than islands, you would get mountains of poop in these caves. Unique ecosystems again.

Let’s take it to Athas…

  1. Kes ketrel birds are a possibility. Xerichou, silt skimmers, rocs and more qualify. For a really wild idea…

  2. An aaracokra village with another village of non-flyers at the base of their mountain. Guess who harvests guano from their neighbor.

  3. It would be a novel resource for a slave tribe, village, etc. Basically, we’ve got places with iron, wood, obsidian, water, tar etc. No one who traffics in guano.

Also, because I can be an evil DM, I love the idea of players fighting and dying, struggling, sweating and more… FOR BIRD POOP!


Have you been looking at my notes? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I’m currently developing this idea for a project!


This is the kind of thread I’m here for😂


The thread title certainly got my attention.
It’s an interesting idea. Natural fertilizers of all kinds, including animal droppings, would be a valuable commodity on a desert world.
I wonder if kanks, erdlu, and crodlu would have useful droppings. If my understanding is correct, the more inefficient a creatures digestion, the more useful their droppings are as fertilizer. For large creatures, such as mekillots and driks, to survive on Athas, they likely have a very efficient digestive process. This would be due to the lack of available vegetation. So their droppings probably aren’t the best for fertilizer.


Let it be forever put in the books then Andrew: you are an evil DM

On a side note @Rajaat99 all I remember from reading the PP novels there is much talk about the stench of kank offal. That would indicate some sort of gaseous content in them or not? I’m not a poop expert, and especially not for fantasy insects. :poop:

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Check City-State of Draj page 25 “Chao’s Dung Repository”

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Probably just a high sulfur content, or amines - depending if it makes you gag or makes your eyes water first.

There’s lots of other things that stink too, though. Buteric Acid is the main scent in vomit, body odor and stinky cheeses. It can be wildly unpleasant as well.

I’m a chemist, btw. :grin:


Don’t tell me a thing…I want to come up with my idea in complete and see how they compare!

Pleasure to be of service!

It reminds me of buffalo chips. Poop from American bison. They are basically reprocessed grass. People burn it for fuel.

I would argue that the average Athasian would be “waste not want not.” Regardless of the quality of the poop or guano, they will use it for something. Heck I could write a whole post on the qualities of urine.

Books nothing, I want it on my tomb stone.

Did you ever anticipate using your skills in a thread like this?


I always anticipate using my chemistry skills.

Isn’t that what we were supposed to learn from Breaking Bad? :rofl:


I literally posted a bit in my play-by-post concerning kes’trekel poop and it’s effect of soiling an abandoned warehouse in Celik within the last couple weeks.


This thread just kept getting funnier as it went along.

Now I’m picturing you as Walter White…


I agree that Athasians would have a “waste not, want not” attitude.
I’m no expert on fertilizer, this is just from my gardening knowledge and understanding.
Solid waste takes time to convert into fertilizer. There’s a lot of factors that can effect that time, such as animal species, diet, and climate. I believe certain animals waste would be more valuable, because it quickly converts to fertilizer.
Mekillots probably create a lot of waste, but it may take months to convert to fertilizer. While a critic might produce a little waste, but it could be ready immediately. So, the critic waste would be more valuable.

Ur-Draxa would have an abundance of roc guano courtesy of the Dragon Warriors.


What did you think was burning in that moat of lava? Like a roc sh*t tire fire.


Okay, with that last comment, I just lost it. :rofl:

Ladies and gentleman, it’s official: I share my 4 year old daughter’s sense of humour…


Dont forget Kenku. They have wings on Athas, and I’m sure they poop.

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Dried poop of any kind can be used as a substitute for wood as fire fuel, and since athas is rather lacking in wood, and what little that does exist is more valuable for tool making to be wasted on feeding campfires or ovens, you can be sure the dry poop industry thrives

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In several cities, it’s something in demand, particularly in Eldaarich. See Trade Lords supplement.

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I have two questions and am interested in your thoughts.

  1. How much fertilizer would someone need to restore one square foot of space that has been defiled?
  2. How much would fertilizer cost?

The first though I had here was taking a 50 lb bag and spreading it over a single square map tile which is a 25 sq ft area. Or 2 lbs per 1 sq ft. Maybe the others have an idea.

Cost is free in small quantities. If you have the right herd animal or if you can scavenge it, you may not need to pay for it ever. Or there is the option to go and make your own fertilizer. Remember Matt Damon growing potatoes on Mars in the movie The Martian?

Poo-tatoes. Yum.