The Origin of Psionic Silt Skimmer/Ship Travel:The Truth of their original concept

Psionic Skimmers, Skiffs, Schooners and/or Caravels, Where did the idea of them come from? Well Books 4 and 5 of the Prism Pentad of course. Where does any rules for them exist? The only example of rules is on a Waterless Sea, A older Dragon Magazine Article. Are those rules good or a match of what was already written in Prism Pentad novels? Are they even talking about the same things? Can the Books and Mechanics as written match up? Is any of this even important?

Well this is a Discussion post and discussing things Dark Sun is what we do, Why? Why not? Feel Free to discuss it kindly and be civil to one another, thats all anyone can ask of each other. Im going to list several points on the concept of a Psionic Skimmer/Ship that can transit the silt sea. We are here to Investigate every angle of the unknown and known parts of Dark Sun. The When, Who, Why, Where, How, and what of Original Concept of Psionic Silt Skimmer/Ships?

Who Created Psionic Ships/Skimmers?

When we Speak on the origins of Psionic Silt Travel, We must go back to its initial creation. First we must Discern its First Appearances. Silt Psionic Ships first Show up in Book 4 The Obsidian Oracle and later as Psionic Skimmers in Dragon 237 article On the Waterless Sea. I think we can Safely say the Psionic Skimmer Inspiration for the Dragon Article was Derived from The Psionic Silt Ships of Book 4 The Obsidian Oracle of the Prism Pentad Series. We can Safely say this I think due to the Example of a Psionic Ship being the Balic Schooner which wasn’t mentioned anywhere else ive found other then book 4 and certainly never before book 4.Thus the waterless sea and its Psionic Skimmers is a product inspired by the original creation of the Psionic Ship from Book 4 Written by Troy Denning.

In fact They are never referred to as Skimmers that I can find but Rather ships, in the Prism Pentad Books 4-5.

Psionic Ships are The only Ship described in Books 4-5 other then the Ships of Ur-Draxa which are another beast to tackle.

Psionic Ships VS Psionic Skimmers

This takes us to our next point, That the Psionic ship is most likely the SOLE creation of Troy Denning’s mind. We can say this due to the fact that the OSB has NO psionic Skimmers mentioned and only a Wheeled Skimmer mentioned. More Evidence that the Wheeled Skimmers were more the love of Tim Brown is their heavy usage in Tim Browns book Dragon Kings. Yes they could’ve been a combined creation of Troy and Tim in the OSB but their only mentioned once there, and nowhere else in Troy’s writings. It is significantly different then how they were shown in Tim Browns Dragon Kings then in the OSB. I will note that the Wheeled Skimmers of the OSB use cranks and gears developed & used by dwarves and sold to others(Or others have figured out how to create them).This is different then the Wheeled Skimmers of the DK by Tim Brown & DM237 OtWS where slaves inside the wheels walk up stairs to move them. And so this is Quite the reverse with Tim who constantly writes about Wheeled skimmers and ONLY them in Dragon Kings. Never have I found where Tim writes on Psionic Ships. I think this Proves that the Psionic ships are Troy’s work solely and the Wheeled skimmers are Likely Tim’s brain child or Troy & Tim’s Work. Originally by Tim and Troy worked on the OSB, so i’m not 100% sure,. Guess we just need to ask Troy and Tim honestly lol .

Part 2 coming soon !


I like both concepts and would use both. Those who can afford the Psionic ships, would use them, the others would use skimmers. Also, the wheeled ones can only be used in rather shallow areas and might be dangerous, the psionic ships would be long distance, deep silt ready.


Some quick research will give you that Silt Skimmers are described (but not named) in OBS (Sep 91), then Dune Trader (Where they are first named as Silt Skimmers pg 17), Dragon Kings - where they are detailed. Then VoDaF, Dragon’s Crown (Mar 93’) then CbtSS (Sep 94). Defilers and Preservers make a brief mention in the Lens Crafting proficiency.

Both the Obsidian Oracle and Cerulean Storm were published (Jun/Sep 93’) Troy has mentioned that he was taken out of Dark Sun RPG and focused on just writing novels. So he had no interaction with the RPG side. Tim Brown did not manage or contribute much to DS by Early 94’. DJ Watry became the setting coordinator followed by Bill Slaviscek, who led it to the end of the setting line.

It is not included in nor mentioned in books you would expect like WatW (obsidian engine, shipfloater as psionic related) Psionic Artifacts of Athas or anything else. Even Revised DS (OCT 95) only mentions shipfloaters and schooners.

On a Waterless Sea was published in July 1997 - and attempts to codify what little has been published into a 2E product. Coincidentally Dragon magazine 237, was the first issue to be published after the WotC acquisition and came after a 7 month gap since the last published dragon magazine (December 1996 - #236).

4E books also make little mention of schooners.(2010-2012)

Sample Crank powered Silt Skimmer.


Yes wheeled skimmers are mentioned in OSB which I noted in the last paragraph. But Psionic skimmers not so much unfortunately. But it is mentioned that psionics can be used to leviates and cross silt I think. But no Psionic skimmer sadly it seems

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Dragon magazine 423 has a dark sun article that mentions navigation crystals and something else thats used for 4th ed psionic skimmers . Im pretty sure it did anyways, correct me if im wrong.
Odd place for it cause I didnt see nothing like that in the 4th ed DS books

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I dont recall that and couldnt find it in that issue. I found is in one of the adventures in Dungeon magazine (#202).

Obsidian Sphere: The Dusty Breeze levitates by means of a 5-foot-diameter hollow sphere of obsidian embedded in the top deck of the skimmer so that only its upper hemisphere is visible. The sphere rests in a bowl-shaped fixture and weighs 1 ton. The obsidian sphere is always active; its sole purpose is to lift the skimmer into the air. If the sphere is removed or destroyed (AC/Reflex 25, Fortitude 25; immune to fire, necrotic, poison, psychic, forced movement, all conditions, ongoing damage; hp 175), the Dusty Breeze will crash.


I was wrong about the issue , its blood oasis from 389 that mentions a navigation crystal. But its seems to be like a compass maybe related to that story. A interesting story as they ride a Psionic skimmer and its 4th ed. Not a lot on 4th ed Psionic skimmers

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Ah that story. I always enjoyed it, even though there are some inconsistencies in it.

The navigation crystal is basically a magic item that mimics the psionic Time Travel power. It uses lifeforce to power the time jumps in modern Athas. In the Athasian past, it seems to be a magic compass, which is a bit strange. The story mentions schooners, skimmers and dromonds all of which psionically float.