The personality of the sorcerer kings/ dragon kings

Thank you for your replies, everyone!

Hm, I didn’t know that theory before, but… Isn’t every City-State an Oriental Despotism? The key characteristic is a tyrant who controls access to water. I think that describes every SM, no matter their inspiration.

Or, do you mean it’s an Asian-themed City-State? That could be pretty interesting. Sielba ruling by a ‘mandate of heavens’? A collective society with strong family hierarchies and filial piety? That’d be something to work with.

This is a very interesting idea, with chilling implications for the PCs. Any capable individual risks being stripped of their will?

I also like how it ties to what little I know of Sielba’s personality. It’d be interesting if she craved genuine mortal adoration, yet was doomed to only ever receive mind-slaves (thrallherds can’t even take Leadership feat). That’d create a deliciously deluded - and tormented - individual… Though it might be my inner Ravenloft fan speaking.

This, again, would work great with her vanity. I can see her deluding herself (and, possibly, her subjects) that she is ‘generous’ - she provides for others with bounties taken from her personal resource pool. Also, her Templars would get some extra Secular Authority. ‘Reclaiming’ property needs to be a new application.

@Kalakoftyr This is great, thank you. Porcelain skin would make her look otherwordly on a sun-baked world like Athas. Speaking of Japanese themes, I thought of a ‘social debt’ concept - every act, good or ill, needs to be repaid.That’d give Sielba a very strong power base, since every person in the city technically owes her their lives.


That social debt is based off of the eastern idea of Face I assume? I have a nearly identical idea for the culture of the reborn Yaramuke. Where every slight is remembered and every kindness must receive an honourable reciprocation. Of course this only truly applies to the ethnic Mukians. The other citizens are second class. Farmers and labourers while the true Mukians are the Knights ( based on samurai) wearing lacquered wooden armour. And other branches of nobility.


It is connected to the face, but was actually a Japanese-specific phenomenon. I think it’s best described as a social ‘credit ability’. Just as you said, every deed - good or bad - has to be repaid in kind. If you can’t (or worse, won’t) reciprocate it, everyone will think you’re unreliable. Why would they deal with you if they can’t trust your word?

This system is based on shame and social ostracism, so it can go against your actual feelings. You might hate the person you’re indebted to, but you still have to pay them back. You might not want to exact vengeance, but you’re obliged to. A lot of old Japanese dramas were based around this sort of conflict.

This creates something of an intricate web of favours and grudges. Of course, it’s also an amazing tool of control. Everyone venerated the Emperor because every person in Japan owed him; similarly, the samurai all owed their entire livelihood to their masters. Peasants owed their land to the nobles, etc. Doing someone a favour automatically makes them indebted to you - which opened a whole new stage for intrigue. Helping someone in their time of need was a great way of manipulating them to do your bidding. In particular, if they save your life, you owe them your life. Most importantly, your debts extend onto your relatives. If you can’t pay them off, they will have to.

I think this would work great in Dark Sun, where resources are so scarce. Sielba could control the whole population by making them ‘owe’ her; the freemen ‘owe’ the nobles for providing them with work. Not to mention the Templars, who could literally generate ‘social debts’ at will. Every time they do you a favour, you owe them; even if they accept a bribe, they do you a favour by accepting it.


I suppose the next logical step is to ask if Sielba herself believes in this concept of social currency? We know she would absolutely use it to her advantage. As the owner of all the fertile lands and water supply everyone in her city relies on her and therefore is indebted to her however would she feel.the need to repay those who perform a boon for her? In my campaign the porcelain lady is extremely lawful with her evil and as such would feel the need to obey her own laws so long as they don’t cost her too much. It might be different how you imagine her.


In mine, she rewarded those who assisted in freeing her and her sister. She’s always done as promised to the best of her ability even honoring the bargains made by new templars to secure new people for her city. She’s very careful about what she promises and is clear about the authority her followers actually have. I think that concept fits perfectly with mine at least.


In mine she comes across as a strikingly beautiful creature that triggers some strange fight or flight response in those around her. Like she has a predatory aura that others can sense. She says very little but what she does say is always to the point and efficient. Since she’s in the process of revitalizing her city she’s fairly hands on and deals with a lot of issues personally. I assume given time that will change.


I don’t know, but I’m certain she ascribes to it. It puts her at an unbelievable advantage. Every single person in the city is inherently indebted to her; this means she can never be indebted to them. When they do her a favour - or when she demands a favour - they simply repay a part of their debt. She would bestow favours or rewards for exceptional services, naturally. I’m pretty sure she would play an ‘honourable’ queen for her subjects.

Of course, this would heavily colour her ‘international’ relations. Her subjects would expect her to honour her debts towards other SMs… Unless she constructed some sort of narrative in which she’s the supreme SM on Athas. It’d give her a powerful propaganda tube. Every demand is justified; any SM who stands up to her is a dishonourable ingrate. Every war is vengeance or exacting due payment.

As for whether she believes in it - that depends on her personality. I like the idea that she actually does, since it would make her delightfully deluded and hypocritical. However, as you said, it’d also make her very lawful in her evil. She’d be the sort of person who believes herself to be strictly honourable and fair… And never admits it’s only because she’s essentially above that law.

Of course, I can also see her cynically exploiting the debt culture. Both ideas have their advantage, but I feel making her believe in it makes her a more interesting character.

This very much. I think this would be ingrained in the Yaramuke culture, actually: Everyone is very careful what they promise (because failing to fulfil a promise puts you at debt). Sielba would put it to the very extremes… Which could create an image that she’s fickle and capricious. At least, to those who don’t understand the Yaramuke culture.

This is also great, especially to the outsiders. Characters with good sense motive would feel like she’s trying to ensnare them in something… But unless they understand Yaramuke culture, they can’t put their fingers into it.

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For people who’ve brought Sielba back, when did she re-found Yaramuke? Did the events of the Prism Pentad play out as written? And did she restore Yaramuke to it’s original site or move elsewhere?

Only asking as I’m trying to see how that would work on a geopolitical level and how the return of Yaramuke and its SQ would impact the Road of Kings.


Long time since i visited my thred.
Happy to see ts still living. :blush:


Well, this is an Athasian board, so it could have died and been reanimated to serve again and again Rasser :wink:

It is a good thread!


In mine she refounded the city, people were grabbed from outside the tablelands, an alternate plane via her unstable gate, and some displaced folks. It was a secret at first but within a couple years the secret was out. Hamanu nearly went to war with her again but stopped just short of the city when Urik (and every other citystate) was attacked by Gensai armies from across the see in retaliation for Dregoth’s god spell. By the time the cities were safe he didn’t have the means to directly attack her any longer. As trade is starting to open back up, the remaining SMs are having a difficult time keeping things under control.

The Age of Chaos I’ve got my groups in right now have hit the Tablelands pretty hard, a high level timeline is below in case it sparks any ideas.

Free Year Event
FY 1 Kalak’s Death
FY 2 Tyr Defends against Urik
FY 3 Sun Wizard, Rkhard born
FY 4 Psionictix, Avangion killed
FY 5 Black Waters cured
FY 6 Gith Invasion halted
FY 7 Messenger doesn’t appear, ForestMaker
FY 8 Selbia’s spirit recovered
FY 9 Dark Lens found, Selbia and Ceilbia released
FY 10 Abalach-Re killed, Dregoth sends templars above ground, Dragon killed, Rajaat reimprisoned, Androponis sent to black, Tek killed, Tithian bound to Cerulean storm, Great Earthquake
FY 11 Yaramuke refounded in secret, Wraith Borys begins to gather his people
FY 12 God spell, Dregoth lives again, Elemental Spheres fail (Arenek, Egendo)
FY 13 Elemental Realignment, Dregoth moves to the surface and reclaims Guinstental, Tithian’s return, Genasi Invasion, Yaramuke discovered, Druid council reformed
FY 14 Sacha begins dragon transformation, Avangion council formed, Nanda takes control of Raam
FY 15 Astral Invasion (Githyanki boats), Sadira takes the throne in Tyr
FY 16 Abalach-Re returns to Raam in secret
FY 17 Tec’s throne takes over Atzetuk
FY 18 Return of Kaladnay

Who is Arenek? Or is it misspelled

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Kalidnay? Oof. Was it made a Ravenloft domain in your continuity, or just met some other disaster?

All my notes have it spelled that way. I don’t remember where the name originally came from but there used to be a theory that Kalak was not in fact a Champion. A bit of backstory can be found here:

Student of Rajaat.

It was trapped in the Grey, you can see what my plan was here, I haven’t completed the adventure yet, at this point it’s taking between 2 and 4 years earth years to 1 on Athas but we’re still early in the year:


That’s probably for the best. Tearing it out of RL would make RL collapse, and possibly let some really nasty things into DS. Athas is ruined enough as it is, it doesn’t need to get any worse :wink:

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I know it probably doesn’t matter that much to an established campaign, but the 4e reboot actually fixed Kalidnay’s lore by shifting it to the Gray instead of Ravenloft, and tweaking the events a little to work everything together. I’m not opposed to Ravenloft per say, but I much prefer to keep it out of Athas in my own games (besides, if the Gray can shut out gods and divine magic, I see no reason Ravenloft’s mists could make it through)


Trying to catch up with this thread a little:

Man, all this stuff on Sielba and Yaramuke is great. It seems odd to me that at no point in multiple editions of Dark Sun have we gotten any useful official lore on either.

I like this. I’ve always thought that Dark Sun has always had the problem that there are almost no important woman around. Obviously not unique to Dark Sun, but it is rather severly notable in such a small world.

Agree with this. If the SM’s couldn’t keep their domains capable of supporting their own spell casting, and that of their pet defilers, without minimal to no long term harm, they would have been cast down or rendered their cities barren long ago.

I agree. I suppose I stand corrected on a number of counts.


The only thing that we can be 100% certain about is that Sielba was a peerless conjurer.

What does “success” mean in this context? Calling an elemental from the elemental planes, a creature from the Black or Gray should be a trivial matter for any Sorcerer Monarch. Rather, this artifact tier summoning chamber is designed to facilitate calling creatures from the Great Wheel (the standard D&D cosmology).

Of course, any caster that can call creatures could make the same attempt using their ordinary magics. Without the such an artifact to facilitate callings from beyond the Gray, there is a stiff Spellcraft DC to determine success.

Spellcraft DC Task
100 If you succeed in this spellcraft check when casting a spell that calls a creature, you can breach The Gray to reach the dimension containing the planes of the Great Wheel to conjure forth the creature.

I had rather thought the opposite : Lalali-Puy and Abalach-Re? not to mention the all female Templerate of Nibenay, the Villichi and the Maenads.


We can make a new thread to discuss this, but let me clarify that the quality of the writing and thought put into any characters, male or female, matters more than the sheer number or supposed importance, though both matter. The differences in between how men and women are portrayed, written about, and interact with the world are stark in every d&d setting (and most fantasy settings), Dark Sun included. Several of the examples you just listed are more than a little problematic, to put it mildly.