"Diving" for treasures in the Silt Sea

I am designing a Dark Sun adventure around the Ghosts of Saltmarsh book, except of course we don’t have seas anymore, although we do have lots of Salt marshes. I will be replacing the water seas with silt seas, and I remade and reskinned the town of Saltmarsh into a town called Harrow Spring. The town is all fleshed out and I will be able to use most of the adventures in the Ghosts of Saltmarsh book. But one adventure called “salvage operation” wants the players to dive into the seas.

I wonder how one would accomplish this in the Silt Sea? I’m pretty sure there are still ship wrecks at the bottom of the silt seas, possibly the wood is petrified or just some of the metals from the Green Age are left.

The Ssurran Lizardfolk I adapted to the setting are able to burrow in silt and sand, and hold their breath, so they would have an easy time exploring beneath the Silt Sea, but I think normal humanoids would need earth moving magic in order to do it. Perhaps another method is that there are pockets of water or caves that can be excavated under the Silt Sea.

Anyways, I’m looking for suggestions as to how to accomplish this.

Here is a link to the Ssurran race that I adapted from 5e Lizardfolk, by combining the attributes of the Asabi from Forgotten Realms that inhabits the desert. If you want to use it you are welcome to. Lizardfolk, Desert (Ssurran) (5e Race) - D&D Wiki (dandwiki.com)

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My players have thought of a way to do this. The 2E psionic power Magnetize focused on an item tied to rope as they troll the silt (like magnet fishing). They haven’t gotten the power yet, but I’ve been brainstorming items to find for when they decide to try it.

I suppose I should say, there ARE (very salty) seas left in Dark Sun, just not where I have put this adventure.

Magnet fishing is an interesting idea! I watch some of those guys on Youtube sometimes and they get all kinds of metal and just throw it away like it is nothing… I am always like, dude invest in a smelter or something… you’d be rich!!

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Isn’t there a psionic power that allows you to ignore the needs of food, water or air (Body Control? Mind Over Body?)? Of course visibility might be a bit of an issue unless you also had something like Clairvoyance, All Round Vision or Know Location.

Also, I’m pretty sure I remember some life-shaped equipment from Wind Riders of the Jagged Cliffs that might help with this.


You’d enjoy my game. Metamorphosis allows you to change into various creatures native to the silt. One of my players has already learned how to do so after observation of two carcasses (silt crab/spider and a white silt horror they killed). They’ve already brought one such stone ship out of the dusty deep.

I let them find a rudimentary astrolabe and they’ve read object on it already after using the proficiency to force a power score.

Be ready for that type of shenanigans if you bring such things into your game. I had to write a history of a petrified ship on the fly.

City by the Silt Sea (2e) had a Silt priest named Abdaleem that created modified free action spell rocks (like scrolls) that allowed you to spend 3 hours under the silt moving and breathing as normal. He used a silt weed called Draxis that repelled silt spawn at 10 feet, full grown horrors ignored it though.


That sounds really cool. I’m sure they will find a way to do it if we ever get to that, just want to have a few ideas on how to suggest them going about it.

One idea I had was that a huge sand/silt storm engulfs the area and afterwards the mast of a ship will be uncovered when the dust settles… This at least gives them the hook of wanting to see what is buried under there.

Where there any special rules you made for the petrified wood? I know that petrified wood makes a really good stone knapping material for weapons. Would unpetrify-like spells/abilities work on it?


Sure. My only limitation was the party wanted to molecularly rearrange the mast into metal over a stupidly long period of time. I made it more difficult to do so because the material was “transmuted” once already. It really didn’t matter - it was more about adding even more time so we could actually get to adventure hooks.

Not sure how my Obsidian Portal page is for non-users, but I’ll drop the links to the silt items if you want to make a profile and read through my campaign notes. I run the actual game on Proboards. Heck, I’ll drop a link to that too. There’s a lot you could mine from that with the right key searches.

Stone Boat: Stone Boat | Dark Sun: North & South Tablelands Games | Obsidian Portal

Astrolabe: Tablet Contraption - Blue Age Astrolabe | Dark Sun: North & South Tablelands Games | Obsidian Portal

Gameplay (all silt stuff is in South Tablelands group): https://adanddbobdru.proboards.com/

Very cool. This “Stone Boat” is nonmagical. But it does say that you can get it to move with the right crew. What was your thinking on that? Can you possibly make it into an magical ship with the astrolabe, like Ebberon? Or was there another purpose for the astrolabe? I will probably give the characters a small silt skiff early in the campaign for sailing across the silt seas, but I haven’t though further than that for transportation.

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That was actually a dry humor joke (the Stone Captain comment).

They’re on a somewhat cursed silt boat currently, it’s under the Tyrian Gambit item and the NPC Lilim (the persona from the psionic helm). It’s essentially a plot device to get them to traverse the silt - it always needs a psion with contact activated to move. I love how it ties up a PC since none of the current NPC crew have psionic training. I have more notes on that, but a few of my players are on Arena every so often. If you want to know more of my thoughts on it, feel free to message me off the public board.

The Tyrian Gambit - The Tyrian Gambit | Dark Sun: North & South Tablelands Games | Obsidian Portal

“Lilim” - Lilim | Dark Sun: North & South Tablelands Games | Obsidian Portal


I remember reading about this in the 2e Revised books I think. People just sink into the silt and quickly drown. It cannot hold much of any weight at all, being much finer than dust.

Some options:
-Silt druids can pass through the silt effortlessly without drowning. They can literally walk along the bottom.
-Some psionic powers and magical powers can tunnel through sand.
-If you could find a way to shut down breathing magically or psionically, then you’d only need to worry about being able to sense objects around you without any use of your sight. And of course avoid the big bastard Silt Horrors which commonly roam the silt sea.

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2e Body Equilibrium allowed characters to walk on silt.

The 5e spell Float could be house ruled to work the same in silt as it does in water. That may be a bit OP. I’d limit it to just allowing up or down movement (i.e. levitate) while in silt.


Good idea, just need a homebrew spell or class feature to achieve it. I will be having an artificer in my group so that seems like something I can give her later.

If you wanted to go for engineering geekery, a broad enough buoyant tank would still work on silt. This is how I believe Silt Skimmers function, effectively riding on multiple fat buoyant wheels.

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Silt skimmers just use big wheels to connect to the rock at the bottom of the silt. It’s why they need to remain in the shallows. The Obsidian orbs that let you “float” on the silt require psionics to power and is the way they deal with deep silt.


The silt is more fluidized than a fluid. If you blew it away (with a Gust of Wind spell, for instance), it wouldn’t flow back in. It would slowly settle back into the hole as the wind agitated it.

In various places (books/advetures), they talk about silt getting blown off/away from ruins & wrecks.


This is how I am going to solve it I think, just a large silt storm uncovers a small part of an old ship.

I’ve watched videos of people sailing on sand, so sailing on loose silt doesn’t seem that far fetched, the main problem engineering wise is friction on the bottom of the vessel, perhaps this is solved by adding a very smooth overlaid shell on the bottom, which makes it easy to go forward but hard to go backwards. Snakes use a similar type of propulsion, without the wind of course.

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Just tagged you in the thread on the Dark Sun FB group about this.

Oh ok? I just joined that group. I’ll take a look.

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I will have only one note to this text.

Connection reptilian god to Athas, or any other external god, would be destructive to nature of Dark Sun. Why?
Almost all classical super-natural energies in DS was weakened to amplification of world catastrophe. Even “silent gods”, because in develop of DnD any form of real god in Athas would give power to easier repair of world - will be needed only faith. Tons of faith and good priest can please of own god about goods. Eg. food, water etc. With this elementar goods you can recutivate land from badlands, drylands and others to good soils. This will be free and easy elements to recultication. And even with weak contact, in long time perspective, this would be very reliable source of hope and ecology improvement.