That old chestnut? Mind Flayers on Athas

Since people are talking about canon, this is a good time to reintroduce this topic.

Could mind flayers exist on Athas? Could robots? What about a war forged? A White robed Wizard of High Sorcery from the Dragonlance setting? Sorcerers? What about binders or warlocks? How can you introduce these elements without warping the setting? This is the question.

Be introduced from outside or exist already within DS?

Well, each one would have to be handled on a case by case basis. Some could be integrated, some would be unique happenstance.

Sorcerers and Mind Flayets seem pointless to add to the setting lore-wise IMO, but I’d let a player run a Sorcerer in a game.

I 100% support random extra races in hidden pockets of Athas (like catfolk or whatever), as new Races, or un-Cleansed races from other continents/ lands.

Shardminds and Warforged seem like they’d break the resource management aspects of the setting - but i feel like they’ll fit in well otherwise.

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We’ve included Pennarin’s Hiramin Highlands a bit northeast of the Dead Lands at the end of the Great Salt Flat for the larger southern area map in Beyond the Dead Lands, we probably won’t be including it in any comprehensive detail but I do have a basic metaplot going back to the Blue Age and tying into the Silt Archipelago fan netbook- the basic idea is that Oshul and “Sigorthians” from the SA netbook are all connected to a massive Nature Bender stronghold stretching under the southern sea of silt, with its outer tunnels stretching as far south as Biga-Fe-Tye in the Dead Lands.

While maybe not their “capital” it was a major research center that produced lifeshaped horrors and was their major front in the war against Tyr’Agi. Leaving it open ended as to whether the Flayers are lifeshaped parasites that infested green age rebirth races, illithids from before the blue age who crawled up and repurposed the lifeshaping tech, ect seemed prudent. Making them another rebirth race just doesn’t mesh well with the known structure of the Champions, but by no means does that preclude their existence on Athas. My personal take is maybe a mix of both, that the Rhulisti accidentally recreated ceromorphs and a few flayers might have been on Athas to escape the Githyanki garrison at Yathazor. Tying into a larger idea that lifeshaping is somewhat derived from the “biotechnology” used by mind flayers and the old Spelljammer Illithid Empire, and that long, long ago the ancestors of the Rhulisti were “space halflings” similar to the Anadian Halflings in Faerun’s sphere, imprisoned on Athas as a “penal colony” (or just crashed there), being trapped due to its unique characteristics making spell jamming so difficult.

Looking at various fan attempts to map out the spelljammer lanes, Athas would probably be within the territory of the old Jua, which fits well given the implication the Kreen were ascended by them.


Have the Sorcerer Monarchs banned paragraphs? Come now, friend. Let there be paragraphs in your posts lest they look like a blob of inix dung.

In terms of lore, I wonder if we can chase up the developers/writers of the unreleased Dark Sun CRPG.


You could easily avoid the problem by changing the material their made from, I can see Hamanu’s research of the obsidian man producing obsidian warforged, or some mad druid creating bone-white worforged out of drake ivory to help guard whats left of athas forests.

But even if you don’t, it could result in a very intersting game. The warforged could be a leftover from the cleansing wars, a weapon project developed by the wind mages to combat the champions that was never completed, leaving the living constructs in stasis capsules to be awakened well after their creators’ demise. Now in this new metal-less age, they not only have to defend themselves from the dangers of the deserts, but also from those who would seek to harvest them for the steel they are made of, making even normal encounters in the city’s market a potential threat


These are all thoughts i had and you’re exactly right.

But what i meant was races that don’t eat or drink kinda break the whole survival aspect of Dark Sun.

There’s absolutely no reason Warforged have to be made of metal, necessarily.


Shades of Dune!

I think that if Illithid were trapped on Athas, they would evolve into desiccation oriented creatures, always thirsty for the moisture they constantly lack.

I think the idea of doppelgangers surviving on Athas is interesting!


Another side project of mine has been reconciling the CRPG lore and areas with 3E works and the map, specifically the ruined cities: Korbnor and Cedrilte from Shattered Lands being old Tanysh settlements in the Kreegil Mountains (also called the left gauntlet in 4e), and the Mindhome Folk being a mutated remnant of the Green Age gnomes from a colony in the same range. To match Brax’s take on the area around Draj actually being underwater and inhabited by lizardfolk during the Green Age, Wyrm from Shattered Lands is probably a beached, formerly undersea lizardfolk outpost/settlement like Draj’s Pyramid and Fort Ral.

For simplicity’s sake, I merged the museum and “chandelier gallery” from Wake of the Ravager with the tunnels under Grak’s Pool- all part of a destroyed Green Age settlement made up for City State of Bodach, called “Tyraard”, which changed hands a few times between Tyr, Balic, and Bodach.

Anyways, regarding the Gray Isles, going by them having to be relatively close to draj to make sense given the game’s setting, that series of islands in the Bay of Maray, northwest of Guistenal, seem the best fit. I was thinking of going with Athasian Dopplegangers being a lifeshaped/psionic creation of the Remaan Pyreen as the assassins enforcing the psionic hegemonies of the Green Age, and the ones on the Gray Isles were survivors of a hit team sent to kill Rajaat and his students, as well as other arcane magic users. before the Cleansing Wars started. Linking the Isles to the “vacation destinations” mentioned in City by the Silt Sea also works, maybe they hid among the anit-rajaat elites on Giustenal’s colonies.

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Maybe they don’t eat or drink, but repairs can be very problematic, or that they need oil instead of water

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Mind Flayers - if they would be as travelers, I think, that in this “strange world”, by long-perspective, can be very prone to depression. First, they lost own essence of identity - aren’t unique here in terms of psionics, genius, predation, etc. Under these conditions, they lose the foundation of their ideology of “why the Illithids should rule the worlds”. Next source of depression can be prolonged lack connection with Elder Brains, Ilsensine (or Thoon or other gods) or whole mental network of MF etc. General big alienation problem for more sensitive senses of Illithids.

For me - MF as migrants shouldn’t work in this world, as long-period function with interesant influence on world or economy. BUT beings similar to MF’s as effect of evolution or experiments with ancient lifeshaping, would be interesant. Ofc this should not be simple copy-paste with other origin.

Robots… even as relic from rhulistic civilization, without maintenance, should survive to current times. Collapse and degeneration of ancient halflings should be next step, why robots shouldn’t exist in times of SK’s tyranny.

Migrated mages from other settings - if they come here, they lost own magic. No exceptions - he has to re-learn new magic or go to collaborate with the elements, spirits of the lands or SK. Similar with any function with non-natural long-lived - this is broken and very fast this person die. Even migrated undead can rapid lost own “immortality” - in “normal worlds” false-live of undead is connected with plane of negative energy. Here lack connection with negative energy, so main source “why this still live” is inaccessible. For every spellcaster Athas should be last point in they interplanar travelers.

Sorcerers? IMO in DS can only be combined with genies (form of genasi? IDK), but as a result - these people will be predisposed as elemental clergy. You have magical blood of genies, so you have to serve to elemental spirits. If not - your connections with elemental planes will be too weak, so death will be similar like a death by thirst. Or killed by some elementa spirit. Nobody (except SK and they templars) shouldn’t take super-natural energy of elemental planes without any services for elements.

Warlocks? Any non-wizard spellcaster in DS is de iure warlock :smiley: Elemental priests have pact with elements. Druids with spirits of land. Templars with SK’s. If you broke pact - you can have big problems, similar like a warlocks in other settings.

Overall, I am in favor of Athas being strict and restrictive of “news from other settings”. Inspiration yes, but not copy-paste and change origin.


Elans do this too. Yeah, a warforged would have a distinct survival advantage, but it’s also pretty important to point out that warforged aren’t a race. They don’t breed and they don’t compete for resources with real races.

If you are speaking of actual gameplay instead of setting versimilitude, the warforged survival advantage exists at low levels only. After that, the survival game rapidly breaks down.

I’d allow a few alien robots and whatnot, but it would be a one off thing, a kind of whacky sidetrek. A warforged would be a unique character. A drow elf would just be a mutant elf with none of the baggage from other settings (and probably make it adapted to the sun as well).

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I might have thrown a nod to the Athasian Warforged article in Faces of the Dead Lands :stuck_out_tongue:
Mostly a throwaway line about Abelech Re depleting Waverly’s coffers on some hair-brained scheme to fuse magic and guardian orbs. I used the Waverlian-Bodachite War mentioned in the fan City State of Bodach netbook as baxkdrop for some of the characters who were in Uyness’ army, and were native Waverlians: Even though it happened well before the Cleansing Wars started (between 5-200 years), Waverly never fully recovered, militarily or economically, from losing its Maritime Empire to Bodach, and had a deep stigma against losing its native daughters and sons, while also blaming the southern orcs for :“interfering” in a largely human vs human war and “stealing” its trade and fishing lanes. Uyness was one of the last scions of the Lawgiver/Royal Line, and emerged as a revanchist, reactionary figure who actually did manage to rebuild Waverly’s economy and military (by taking out massive debt she had no intent on repaying). She may have toyed with the idea of psionic “robot soldiers” at some point, one of her unifishished schemes to ensure the Waverlian master race didn’t waste a drop of blood, depleting a lot of the island’s silver bullion. (She was bad with money even back then). It might be that a few prototypes were dumped off the coast and woke up under the silt.

Waverly’s direct role in the Cleansing might get some more attention in Beyond the Dead Lands, as its “Silver Fleet” was responsible for the massacre of Biga-Fe-Tye and subsequently wiped out by the Fleets of Ebe, which initially joined the war opposed to Rajaat under Borys’ brother. Their involvement saved a lot of demihuman lives and enabled the orcs across the Sunrise Sea on Anattan and Elven colonies along the southern coast of the Tablelands to better prepare/evacuate. The remnants of some of the naval battles are found in the Black Silt and up in the center of the Vanishing Lake (per Silt Archipelego netbook).

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I’d actually imagine, given the climate, the “drow” in context of dark skinned elves, would be the dominant ethnicity on Athas. It’s rather irksome how Athas is a baked wasteland where 120 degrees F is a cool day, yet you have people like Neeva depicted as like, near albinos.

I believe the pitch is a low UV content to Athasian sunlight, leading to light skin, as melanin is expensive for a body to make. Same reason everyone runs around half-naked and not garbed like Bedouin.

But yeah, its probably just a Caucasian bias. :frowning_face:


(Joking) What do natives of the Cacaus region have anything to do with it? (/joking)

For those who are not aware of why that is a joke, the term Caucasian actually refers only to the natives of the Cacaus region of Georgia (the country, not the state) who were famous back then for their unusually light colored skin compared to the surrounding nationalities, which historical reasons for that happening are a rather interesting story, for another time.

The term was later conscripted to erroneously refer to anyone of light colored skin regardless of origin… using the classic “ignore the inconvenient facts, steal and repurpose whatever grammar and vocab we want” nature of the English language.

As a side comment, people who are actually Caucasian appreciate being recognized for their unique heritage and origin, based on my own experiences of conversing with people of said origin, and successfully recognizing them.

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Huh, fun. I knew Caucasians were related to the Caucas mountains, but iys my understanding that English was generally spamming everyone NW of there as Caucasian.

Facts aside, i feel like the phrase “white people” is a good way tonstart a fight so, IDK, whatever: pseudo-European Athasians maybe? :man_shrugging:

The low-UV-band element is a good point- I sort of have it in my notes that Green Age Athas was probably pretty dark due to the earthlike golden sun, with “european” people mostly limited to up north past Saragar (Saragar being analogous to southern france or spain, climate wise).

Very few rebirth beings lived in the far south- I wanted to reconcile Brax’s Wisdom of Sorrow with the Steve Bell/ACG maps by having those large interior areas of desert on the Bell Green Age map be desertified by the lingered scars of the Brown Tide: the Brown Tide initially desertified much of the now exposed seabed but between a mix of the Pristine Tower encouraging seed dispersal, wind patterns, ect, areas greened into plains and forests quite rapidly, while the forests and fauna that were on the Blue Age islands that became mountains migrated into the lowlands. The desert areas were sections of now-exposed seabed where the lingering corruption of the brown tide and/or unfavorable wind patterns made life untenable for the rebirth races. These included much of three entire continents (the other bell continents), the peninsulas south of Ulyan (methvezem’s brown lands and the southern peninsula by Brian Sanchez), and most of the southeastern Anattan continent.

As the Green Age went on, grasses and forests made inroads, and in the area south of Ulyan, various elemental cults and druidic communities, primarily Giants, Tari and Centaurs, cultivated life to both expand livable areas and bury the poisonous effects of fossilized/dead brown tide (basically powdered stromatalite).

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The toxic jungle extracts the poison from the land and dies, turning the poison into harmless sand… the equally toxic bugs protect the jungle until it finishes the job…