Updates or Info on "Secrets of the Dead Lands" or "The Emissary"

Having skimmed through it, my impression is that SotDL would not have seen publication without major changes in the details. Certain aspects of it are just straight up implausible, like the SMs of the city states not knowing exactly what is going on in the Dead Lands. Put it this way - the medieval English may not have known what was going on in China, but they knew about France.

I view SotDL as apocrypha. A starting point, but in need of stern hand to bring it into proper accord with the Dark Sun setting. I’d like to see the 3.5 version by Athas dot org, or at least what has been done so far.


I see the Sorcerer Monarch as knowing the Deadlands. Although, since they are heavy defiler and the deadlands being heavily defiled, maybe some bad effects happen to them if they enter the area. As a base, they surely can’t cast any spell. So it’s dangerous for them even if they are psionist.

As for the Forgotten North, Peter (Brax) started to work on this last week after I sent him everything I could find on his project. He had lost everything when his house burnt. I didn’t have everything, but it’s a start.

Since someone shared the files, I will send what I have as soon as I can (it’s 2e, but separated in multiple files).


The Forgotten North should be much more playable than the Dead Lands and more useful to have completed.


Agree on the SMs avoiding the Dead Lands, but unlikely they wouldn’t know what’s going on there.

That said, maybe the nature of the obsidian plains makes it impossible to scry into or beyond the Black Basin. Would lend itself to the Dead Lords not knowing the conditions beyond their realms, or the SMs only having a vague idea on whats going on in the DL.


Thanks about the release!

And yes, the documents needs some editing, for instance Harkor & D’thul able to cast 10th level spells. But for a 3.5 conversion this elements can be easily used as a suggestion “give Improved Spell Capacity and/or Epic Spellcasting to those two guys”. Also Qwith imho seems quite low level (but nothing can prevent a DM to give her a bump to her level, as desided). For instance (thinking 3.5 rules) I’d put the SK at quite high level (level 35th for the 1st stage Dragons like Abalach-Re or Andropinis, Nibenay at level 40th and Dregoth and Borys at level 47th and level 50th respectively). So I’d put the Dead Princes in a 25th-30th level range.

I find interesting the element “the supply of corpses is dwindling, and all the dead princes know it”. Perfect setup for a plot “the Dead Princes will try to find more corpses, looking beyond the Black Basin”.

About the SKs and the Deadlands… on the Obsidian Lands it would be impossible to defile (no plant life) and even Dragon Magic would be hard to use (it would affect just their troops). So trying to conquer a land so far away without their greatest strength could be quite risky… no worth the issue… However I think they’d know about the Dead Lands


In my epic Athas work (an update to Legends of Athas), I make the the distinction between psionic enchantments and epic spells by creating a new skill, psiotheurgy, which stacks with spellcraft for the purpose of casting epic spells as psionic enchantments. Its the same as epic spells, just stronger.

Very good work, mate! You even have the Dark Sun formatting there.


On a side note, I found this in the Burnt World of Athas site (ie the host of this forum). It seems to be a 4e version of Dead Lands material. It looks like an update of Gerald Lewis old unofficial 2nd edition work of the same name (which I posted earlier).


Checking against the Dead Lands of Athas supplement you guys shared above, it looks like there’s only modest bits of overlap between these two.

I gather since the Dead Lands was never released, whereas Gerald’s Secrets of the Dead Lands has been floating around for more than a decade, nobody has ever thought of reconciling them.

Would reconciling them be too controversial to suggest? Heaven knows it would certainly make the map more interesting than just a flat endless plain of black glass.

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Just my two cents here, but I’d say the additional fan material that’s accumulated over the years can at least serve to help fill in the gaps and add extra flavor where needed.

In my experience fan material has a way of becoming more and more “canon” in any fandom when there’s simply an absence of material to cover the relevant topic. I don’t see why this would be any different.


You know, I think it’s kind of sad about the state of this site that not a single Templar, much less a member of the Overcouncil, appears to have noticed what’s going on in this thread, for good or ill. I was honestly half expecting to wake up the morning after posting Secrets to a permanent ban or something. The flip side is that this means that nobody is paying attention to all of the enthusiasm and desire to finish these projects that has showed up here.


Release what has been produced is the only way forward. I had a vision of the future while drinking coffee the other day. A few years from now when the Athas dot org projects are still not released, a hard drive dies, someone moves house, and the documents are permanently lost.

Its time to accept that the projects are moribund and release them as is. As a community we’ll figure out a way to polish it and get it into a form that can be published on the front page. But for now, release here on the forums so that we fanatics here can take care of it.


It could be the desire to preserve this as a secret has finally died after two decades of neglect.

Well, I’ve started formatting the document in my enclosed pcloud link above. Who wants to join me in finishing this? We can fill in the gaps with Gerald Lewis’ book and the comments and ideas we’ve generated here, finish the map with data from the Athasian Cartographer’s guild, ask permission for using some of the mountains of dark fantasy concept art floating around out there, and just complete it all.

Let’s finish this! Who’s with me?


Well, I’d be happy to pi6in with proofreading/ editing. But I’d like to see the 3e version before we go hog-wild on this.

Give it up, Templars!


Considering how so many before have abandoned this, I feel if we wait to get the previous action committees onboard, nothing will ever happen.

I’m inclined to just release it in original 2e form, and then adapt it to 3e and later after the fact. Let’s get the lore and geography straight, then we can argue afterwards for the mechanics.


I am willing to throw in my 2 cents on this project.


Brilliant. I’ll PM you, and we’ll start organising what to do next.

For anyone else who is keen to help-- send me a direct message, and we’ll divvy up the work.




lets see how this goes.


Folks, coupla things.

First, yes. Hi. I’m here. I’ll get to that … in some other topic.

Second: SotDL was given to athas.org in a very raw, unready form, with the rule that: We cannot post the raw 2e rule in any way, shape or form. That’s Wizards copyright, and the deal was, we’d work on it and post a polished version in the new rules set. Any publication of has to occur on athas.org. That means no open dropbox, no self-hosting fileshares, nothing without access control while it’s under development.

We did get some things polished on it, such as Terrors of the Dead Lands, but this has also been a project that’s burned out more than one team of contributors over the years.

This burnout has, at various times, lead to disappearing copies and work.

Looking through the things that I do have it … actually looks like the most recent version I have is dated 2017, and was actively being worked on for a time there. It’s still draft, but it’s also draft with layout so it may be much closer to a beta release than thought. I’m going to reach out to Daniel and see if I can get his thoughts on it’s state. That could either wake him up, or get a better grounding of what’s left for a handoff.


Hi Flip:

Thank you for that information.

I’ll keep it locked down then, and only keep it on private share for the moment. I’ve deleted the fileshare above.

And the final official release will be through you guys.

Let me know what edition you’d like to see it for, and we’ll set it up for that.

PM me directly if you need anything else, or if you have an update on your colleague Daniel.


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The status of Secrets of the Dead Lands is that it is down to the last 3 maps needed, and then it should be ready for release. So anyone with mapping skills are welcome volunteers.

I can try to get more information on the Emissary adventure, but have not seen what has been done on it for many years.

Meanwhile, if we have a number of people would like to volunteering to work on a project, Faces of the Dead Lands could use a lot of work. Even though Secrets is a 3E project there are no stats other than race and class for each NPC. All of the stats are intended to be included in Faces of the Dead Lands. I will create another topic and post a list of the NPCs and if the community wants to run with the project let’s see how far we can get.


I started a discussion with Austin Butcher. He asked me to bug him about this project on a regular basis so things move. I don’t know if you had any discussion lately with him. Just tell me if I need to stop bugging him :slight_smile: