Bloat mages, Scorpion people and minotaurs- Adapting to Dark Sun

Still going through my RPG resources, finding good additions to Dark Sun campaigns. Here’s my newest round of ideas…

City of Strangers- by Paizo. Most the material in this book is wild, awesome and unsuitable to Athas. While elements could be adapted and altered, but if you are interested in playing in Kaer Maga, it makes a lot more sense to just play in Kaer Maga. The Godsmouth Heresy is a cool module. Excellent example of how to make an exciting adventure at level one.

There is one fascinating exception. The bloat mages. It’s a prestige class available to wizards and sorcerers. It’s an alternate way to power your magic. You use your own blood to power spells. The possibility of this existing in Dark Sun is a fascinating one. Arcane magic has always depended on drawing power from life in Athas. Would this be a good system to implement? Burning through your own blood supply to power magic?

Inner Sea Codex- Of the monsters in this tome, there are two of particular note.

Minotaurs- I mention them because they are a chimerical creature. Athas doesn’t have cattle or bulls. So minotaurs would need another animal head. I tend to think mekillot. They aren’t known for charging quickly though. Functionally, I would suggest a minotaur as a singular encounter, rather than a fully functional race. I am of the mind that keeping the races of the setting to a minimum helps emphasize the brutality of the Cleansing Wars…

Girtablilu- These are basically centaurs, but their lower halves are scorpion bodies, complete with pinchers and stinger laden tails. Looking at the history of Athas, we know there used to be centaurs and wemics, so the idea of these half scorpions is not out of place. One would have to question why Rajaat didn’t have a champion to kill them too.

What does draw my attention especially, is their culture. They guard ancient desert ruins, protecting them from outsiders. They do this mostly out of a sense of guardianship and territoriality. This can easily be shifted to something else, like an oasis. Girtablilu can be depicted as more hostile, or more reasonable, allowing outsiders to access their charge under supervision.

That element does make me wonder, could they have been made later by sorcerer monarchs?

Cyclops- In the Pathfinder universe, the cyclops are the remnants of a fallen empire. They are now degenerate and barbaric. While there is much that wouldn’t gel with Dark Sun lore, it does bring a question to mind. What culture did the giants have prior to the fall? Did they have kingdoms? Where did the beast head giants come from? At any rate, if you want to depict the giants as once having a civilization, the pathfinder treatment of cyclops in this and other books is excellent.

Derro- Makes no sense in Dark Sun. However, I just wanted to mention them because I love this version of Derro. Dero. Tero. Whoot.

I believe the existence of Centaurs on Athas is from Rise and Fall of a Dragon King. Lynn Abby had VERY limited feedback from the DS team, IDK if centaurs in Arhas is legit. I feel like Girtablilu could be “new” - rare in the Green Age and now running rampant in the global desert.

Cylops could definitely be just another isolated degenerate remnant of the Giant’s civilization.

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Desert Centaurs are present on Athas according to Dragon Magazine 185.

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DU 185 is 4e, and therefore is a suspect source. The 4e Campaign Setting adds Tieflings and Minotaurs…

If some folks can’t accept the Revised Setting Box as fully canon, Desert Centaurs in DU 185 are a HARD sell.

I’m not saying those races don’t make sense, but 4e threw out enough lore and background that it doesn’t deserve an assumption of correctness.

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Cyclops-kin have existed canonically in 2E Athas as well.


Tauric halfling-goat might work better than a standard centaur, can eat anything. Or even a tauric camel hybrid of some kind… elf maybe for the desert endurance running effect? Also would need less water…


Oh, I would never assume anything from a dragon magazine, or 4e, is canon. I was just putting the information out there.

We should clarify here.

Dragon 185 (DR185) was published in September 1992 and is 2e. The article in question is “Mastered, Yet Untamed” which was written by Tim Brown, one of the original authors of DS. It has a sidebar which states:

“Like those monsters presented in the DARK SUN Rules Book, these creatures can make their homes on Athas.”

It lists several other books and includes the desert centaur in a list of other monsters usable from Al-Qadim

Centaur, desert
Living idol (all)
Serpent, winged

Dungeon 185 (DU185) was published December 2010 and is 4e and has no reference to DS monsters that I can find.

*Edited for punctuation and minor clarification.


What if instead you burned the water out of your body? go too far and you end up a desiccated corpse.

Mountains of the Teeth and the Broken Butte are both home to minotaur.

I think the girtablilu is a good fit for Athas. While I’m not aware of any references of that monster in Dark Sun, I think it works well.

If you are looking for half-man half-scorpion, there is the manscorpion or tlincalli that was mentioned in Dragon Magazine 185 in a table of Dark Sun playable monsters by Tim Brown.


A major element of the bloatmages is using your blood and body to fuel your magic. Even in the original rules, there are major consequences to overusing your blood supply. To make it more Athasian, you could make it more about desiccation…

Very cool. Where are those described? Which book?

hmmm…I didn’t do a great job of tracking references on these - I’m guessing one was Ivory Triangle and the other Valley of Dust and Fire?

Minotaurs didn’t show up in any 2e or 3e products that I can find. They are mentioned in the 4e campaign setting book and Dragon 389

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Instead of a minotaur, you can have a Minosavra. Half man-half horned lizard. I like the idea of making it more of a creature and less of a race. Powerful, with psychometabolic psionic powers.

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Thanks for the reference!

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NICE! I even like the name. I do like the idea of it as a singular creature rather than a race. Definitely.

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Checked through those. Didn’t find either. I will admit, I might be overlooking them. Or looking in the wrong books

I’m not familiar with bloat mages being in any of the DS books.