City State Emblems?

Hey everyone.

I have an interesting question for the smartest book collectors and Dark Sun geeks out there.

In all the books in all of the editions, has anyone ever seen heraldic emblems for the city states?

Surely if these guys have armies, they must have flags with emblems on them! Similarly, such things would make obvious “holy symbols” for the templars. And considering most of the people in this setting are banned from reading and writing, such symbols would be even more important.


Not for the city-states, that I can recall, only the merchant houses.
I will say this, if we design some, the Tyr flag must have purple on it.

I’m happy with that. And you can already see where I’m going with this.

What are some suggestions for what should be in the motifs for each city state?


Depends what source you are using.

Tyr has one I know of : Star on purple background I believe in City-State of Tyr sourcebook

The novels of Urik describe a lion face clay (or gold for higher ranked templars) disk symbol for the holy symbol of Hamanu. Lynn Abbey novels.

The Veiled alliance also has an emblems description on each city state.

Nothing definitive.


But that’s a LOT better than nothing!

Do you have any links you could share to some of these? Or are they all books?

Veiled Alliance book gives the emblem descriptions for each city-state but no illustrations of them.

I actually gave each state their own emblems as an easy way of identifying them. These are based on nothing beyond what I thought of as fitting for the city state in question.

  • Urik: A crimson throne with bronze lions guarding both sides on a white field

  • Yaramuke: A golden sirrush guarding a gate on a blue field

  • Raam: A blue mekillot perched on a cushion, surrounded by crops, on a golden field

  • Tyr: A crimson phoenix on a violet field

  • Balic: A roc clutching a lightning bolt in each talon on a crimson field

  • Draj: A bloody jaguar gazing at the moons on a green field

  • Kalidnay: A jeweled scarab

  • Gulg: A kyre surrounded by blue leaves

  • Nibenay: A purple serpent on a black field

  • Eldaarich: A roaring dragon turtle surrounded by a silt grey field

  • Kurn: A petrified black tree with white leaves on a dark grey field

  • Giustenal: A black dragon rampant on a white field

  • Ur-Draxa: A crowned red dragon rampant on a gold field.

Edit: It’s worth mentioning that I adapted dragon turtles from default D&D to live in the sea of silt, they’re less common around the Tyr Region and more common around the northern coasts. The biggest difference is that their breath attack is flensing silt rather than scalding steam, so a successful saving throw avoids Grey Death as well as halving the damage.


Nibenay had a cilops emblem in the amber enchantress


There was a Polyhedron magazine article way, way back that described the coins issued by the city-states, with the gold coins bearing the emblem of the SK who ruled there.

Urik was a fire maned lion.
Nibenay was a cilops.
Balic was a sheath of grain.
Tyr was a ziggurut.
Gulg was an agafari tree.
Raam was a four armed man who was meant to be Badna, the fictitious god that Abalach-re tried to control her city with.
Draj was a mythical smoking obsidian mirror.


Polyhedron 99 is the one you are looking for.

Is has coins and banners detailed in there as follows:


Coins as follows

A further reading of the article may provide some of the other detail that @Crosswire has.


Brilliant! That gives us something to look at. Thanks guys!

One question though: Why a lion? Do lions still exist on Athas?
Could it be a manticore, perchance? Is there another leonine creature on Athas?

Because Humanu transforms into a half-man half-lion. See Denning’s Crimson Legion. Lots of references there about his lion banner. The lion is kind of Humanu’s “thing”.

Lions are mentioned as a monster in one of the tables in the first boxed set.


Hamanu is associated with the lion, and took were- lion like form during Rikus failed attack on Urik in the Crimson Legion.

As for why Hamanu is associated with lions in the first place, I believe it has something to do with the babylonian feel and imagery of Urik.

I dont no if lions exist in present day athas, and if they are I doubt that they resemble the normal lions of the green age, as they have probably evolved into a more dire form similar to how the athasian bear have. Either way the fact that Hammanu chose the normal lion lends itself well to the fact that he is an ancient being born of a bygone age.


You beat to the punch :sweat_smile:


Thanks everyone for the info.

Now I just need one more piece of information:

Wasn’t there some ancient world analogues to the appearance and fashions of the various city states, like one of them had stylings of Babylon, etc.?

Correct, I don’t think any sourcebook flat out spells it out, but there are is a general consensus on which cities states were based on what.

Balic = Greece

Draj = Aztec

Nibenay = China

Gulg = Congo

Tyr = Phoenicia

Urik = Assyria

Raam = India

Kalidnay = Egypt

Yaramuke = Babylon?

I think some folks would compare Uruk to Babylon, but Assyria was a more militaristic society while Babylon is more well known as a cultrual trade hub. That’s why I base Yaramuke off Babylon, doubly fitting since Assyria conquered Babylon. I don’t think we ever got any hints for cultural trappings assosciated with Kurn, Eldaarich, or Ur-Draxa.

I’ve also seen some claim Gulg has inspiration from Ethiopia and Nibenay was based on Angkor Wat (in which case I absolutely must add Athasian nagas to the Ivory triangle).


This is perfect! Thank you again!

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Bumping here.

Does anyone got a clue what the inspirations for Kurn and/or Eldaarich were in old human civilizations or historic periods?
Or anyone have homebrews on that? (yes I know about the BWOA Open Projects share)

Its a bit hard to get a grasp on any specific inspiration, based on the very unfinished states of City State of Kurn and Prison State of Eldaarich , but with the help of other sources such as Lost Cities of the Trembling Plains and Wisdom of Sorrow but here’s what one can go off of:

-Kurnans are descended from a sea-going people known as the Kel Tas or Kel Tan, who used a Wasp for their symbol and had a strong maritime tradition, such as decorating their graves with stylized ships and anchors. Whether the Clave system (a mix of kinship unit and artisan guild) existed back then is unknown.
-Some Kurnan words
Maliis (first day of the month)
Orrins (the tenth day of the month)
Nenthos, Anantos (two months of Coolnights)

Eldaarich is descended from the “Mountain Men”, a relatively non-complex nomadic hunter-gatherer culture which revered spirits of air and the snow and mountains. These people were convinced by Daskinor that Goblins, whom tended to live in caverns at the root of the mountains, were blasphemous, and they practiced gruesome ‘sky burials’ by flaying and suspending goblins as sacrifice to the air spirits. They buried their dead with a chevron-shaped gravestone to guide the spirit upward to the mountaintops. Daskinor corrupted this spiritual system into his current god-king religion. The symbol of Daskinor and his bureaucracy is a Seven-Pointed Star. The Eldaarich use a pict-based written language, and some words from their spoken language, Eldaarish, include:

Takrits (‘Handmaidens’ or ‘Daughters’ (there are male Takrits)

Neshtap (‘Red Guard’)

Haleban (‘Scholars’)

Per Brax’s Wisdom of Sorrow these two peoples are both distantly descended from the ‘Tanysh’ who occupied the area north of Draj, and were a militant chariot-driving plains culture. Both groups split off and lived on one of the three habitable continents, one known as the ‘Equatorial Continent,’ they would return to living in the Tablelands with Keltis and Daskinor area, as their homelands were ruined by war and desertification.