Religion Under a Dark Sun

So we know there are no gods in Athas (or living ones depending on the edition you play). But that’s never stopped organized religions from forming and we know the Green Age had temples to gods now forgotten. So I was curious to see what religions you’ve inserted into your own campaigns or seen your DM use. Religions formed around one of the four elements/paraelements, druidic orders that have formed around specific regions, psionic schools of philosophy, or even the false faiths formed by the SKs.

I created one powerful religion for each element, with there being room for plenty of others while unaffiliated clerics remain the majority.

Cult of the Phoenix: The cult of the phoenix reveres the legend of the great phoenixes of Athas who died only to be reborn and saw life flourish around them. Also known as firelords, the cult wishes to see the world rise from the ashes as well and believe that the only way for this to happen is to see civilization spread and advance. They hold the secrets of working metal as well as burning away plagues and often serve as protectors of smaller communities they have deemed worthy. Their symbol is a flaming bird.

Keepers of Life: The keepers of life focus on the protection and cleansing of wells and oases, however there are just as many who focus on finding new sources of water and recording them. The keepers of life believe the best way to better Athas is to protect those natural sites abundant with life and nurture them to ensure not only that they aren’t destroyed, but that they also spread, reseeding the world with the kiss of water. Their symbol is a mermaid.

Levante: The Levante are wandering air priests that spread information across the world, holding great renown as navigators and guides. They enjoy a close relationship with dune traders and nomads. Not only are they a source of information from the wider world they are also famous cartographers and crafted the art of reading the stars to navigate the world. They also are famous oracles reading the stars as well as the skies for future events and weather patterns. Their symbol is the compass rose (>.>)

Sons of Geb: The sons of Geb are known to assist prospectors in collecting from the ruins of ages past and believe the secrets of the ancients will offer the best chance of pushing the world forwards. They are known to translate and record ancient writings as well as study old ruins and artifacts. Still they are most valued among Athasians for aiding in salvaging resources from old ruins, helping establish quarries and mines, as well as enjoying a reputation for some of the most fortified sites and temples outside the cities, serving as potential safe havens. It is said the Sons of Geb can even commune with the stones themselves to learn of past events. Their symbol is a stone eye.

Edit: I have also added in one dangerous organisation for each Paraelement. None are objectively evil and each cult has its own virtues, but I also made sure the paraelemental faiths were easier to see in an adversarial light.

Solari: A zealous religious order that is promised a utopian civilization and the power of the mightiest god of Athas, however they must convert all in their path to their faith. The more who serve Sol the greater their civilization will be and the more power Sol will grant his servants for their faithful actions. Service to the Solari provides the faithful with the protection of the church and reprieve from the punishing heat of day. Those who rebuke the Solari learn why the church of the Sun rivals the largest churches of the Tyr region. None shall deny Sol its due. The symbol of the Solari is a red disc. Here’s my original post discussing these guys.

The Sons of Dis: A secretive cabal of magma clerics that seek to harness ancient powers once forgotten for their own ends. All is fair in love and war and the primeval secrets of yore belong to those with the will to seize them. Cast vengeance upon your enemies and shape the land, nay the world, to your liking. Such is the promise this offshoot cabal of the Sons of Geb declare to those who serve the Blood of Athas. Their symbol is an eye wrought of iron with burning magma for its pupil.

The Keepers of Dust: A secret society of silt witches that seek to control the coastal realms of the Tyr Region and the potential wealth that follows from them. By bending silt to their will they hold the ability to make or break coastal civilizations and islands. This allows them to potentially dominate an entire region from behind the scenes, sorcerer kings be damned. Safe travel through the silt, navigation, even allowing coastal realms to endure the Gray Death. All of this can be granted by the Keepers of Dust to the nobles who are willing to give Silt its due. And of course the silt witches of the Keepers of Dust speak for Silt. Their symbol is a Silt Horror.

The Cult of the Thunderbird: This sect of rain clerics seek to reseed life back into the world, often aiding druids in tending to the well-being of the lands. These so called “thunderlords” are guardians of mountain ranges, but wandering thunderlords are not unheard of. The only way to truly heal Athas is to destroy any who would worsen the world’s state. The Cult of the Thunderbird must wash away these scourges under a deluge of death and strike with the wrath of lightning. Those lands which languish under the gaze of Sol deserve the Thunderbird’s mercy, rain cults and rituals must be established to help lessen their suffering and bring rainfall to their benighted lands. Their symbol is an eagle clutching lightning.


Love stuff like this and the inspiration and creativity that went into each cult.
Still trying to decide the role religion plays in my current DS campaign but what you’ve shared here will be a great resource regardless.


I think this is a good idea. If someone plays a Shaman, they could follow these “gods.”


Those are very cool ideas, i might use a couple of those.

In the campaign i am running right now, i am trying to make every ‘cleric’ unique. Each of them, in one way or another, hears the voice of his elemental Spirit, and interpret it in his own way.
A very powerful Cleric may form a small cult of followers, usually outside the City-States. And those Cults may be in opposition with each other.

Druids, i treated them differently. There was ONLY ONE order of Druids (wich i never call that way, in game i refer to them as “Guardians”). They tried to oppose the SKs when they waged war on the races…but failed. The ruins of their fallen Empire (roughly north of the Tablelands) are haunted with the memories of a desperate battle to protect races and spirits.
The remaining Guardians went into separation, each and every one of them taking care of a single Spirit, in a separate place, to avoid total destruction.


Cult of Weeping Sinkladies: half-organizet cult leading by water priestesses. Basis of their faith is that water-giving sinkholes are inhabited by Weeping Sinkladies. Water in this place are in real tears. Why Sinkladies weep? Because in ancient times they were In antiquity they were to be bride of righteous and good kings. Unfortunately, but good kings turned into monsters. Ambitions fueled their hearts to evil. Spiritualistic fire of destruction took hold of their heart and mind. Spiritualistic fire of destruction took hold also of natural order. Brides fled, not wanting to be tainted by them. They dug pits deep enough to protect themselves from former lovers. They weep incessantly. Deep love gives them energy to live, and despair gives them water. But evil kings still can seize and defile they, because the psionic powers of monarchs are sensitive to emotions. Priestesses must calm the Sinkladies. Abomination sacrifices stimulate curiosity and intelligence. Male sacrifices satisfy their erotic thirst. Treat sacrifices fill the void. In return, ladies give the priestesses power, because they provide hope. Hope are mixed with despair, therefore still and still some sinkholes can give water. When evil kings return to good way - Weeping Sinkladies will stop weep, return to the wedding with monarchs and nature will rebuild.