Reasons for Chariots

Athas needs soooOOOOooo many more chariots.

Make no mistake. The setting does have chariots already. For example, Dragon Kings details chariot units in warfare. In our world, chariots went the way of the dodo when people figured out cavalry. Lots of reasons, but the big one is mobility. Even if one argues that they would be impractical in warfare, chariots actually saw use for a long time in sports and civilian use. Want to be transported somewhere, and don’t feel like a mount or a howdah? There’s chariots!

In some ways Athas is great for chariots. Inix and mekillots mostly have howdahs, wagons and argosies. However, crodlu and kanks can quite handily use chariots. Also, there’s a lot of terrain out there that is flat or otherwise conducive. Also, terrain that is nice and flat. That helps. Armies would sometimes even agree on the battle field of choice. Then flatten it out and dig tracks for their chariots.

However, there’s nothing to indicate that warfare in Athas would nearly be so nice. I imagine most sorcerer kings would regard chariots as antiquated. Think Rome vs Boudicca. Commanders might ride them around for convenience and/or good line of sight.

Here are my big thoughts on why we need more chariots in Athas…

  1. Chariots in battle can be used as stable platforms for magical spell casters and psionics. They are mobile and level. You can have a driver handling the beasts, so the caster can concentrate on the fireworks.

  2. Nobles would be using these quite a bit. Hunting, social events, going around town.

  3. I can easily see a psion dispensing with beasts altogether. Instead, hook up a giant obsidian ball. Use some telekinesis and just drive around with that.

  4. CHARIOT RACES! We need coliseums some we can have some Ben-Hur styled mayhem! So many different, crazy possibilities there! Many different kinds of chariot styles to compete. GLADIATOR! Red vs Blues vs Green! Riots of Byzantium! Whooo!


Historically, chariots became obsolete as weapons of war in the early Iron Age (they were used after that but to poor effect). But it wasn’t metallurgy that caused their obsolescence; humans managed to breed horses that were strong enough to carry a rider, making cavalry a possibility. Cavalry are more maneuverable and able to cope with rough terrain than chariots.

Obviously chariots continued to be used for other things long afterwards - like racing. And I wouldn’t deny the dramatic potential of using them in the setting. But I’m also enough of a geek to find the military history compelling.


I like them for flying.

From Dragon Kings pg 5


Thorlin flew into the sky with a magical device of some kindvariously, a jozhal-drawn chariot, a net carried by air elementals, or (one of the most bizarre touches in Athasian mythology) a spoon.


Flying chariots should totally be a thing. Use obsidian disks or orbs instead of wheels, and fly around on those. Even ground-based chariots could float (as the scorn earth effect) instead of using wheels.

Use it with the Stronghold Builder’s Guide rules and apply a single Stronghold Space to a chariot (which can be smaller than the total volume as that is a max volume, not a minimum… or just build a 20’x20’ chariot, lol) and add psionic enhancements to taste.

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I toally agree. I have five of the raider chariots from the old 2nd ed miniatures which I can expand on when needed. I am only limited by the number of crodlu I have. If I could get another 10 crodlu I could quickly take my chariot total to twenty which is a pretty sizeable contingent for battle system.

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Spoon. Hence forth it shall be my battle cry!

They require so much forage…

Very cool idea!

Oh heck yeah! It’s a great thing to geek about!