Sunday, July 23, 2017

Savage Worlds: Dark Sun - The Races of the Tablelands

The Burnt World of Athas
Dark Sun

A Savage Worlds Addendum

B.W. Mathers
Precis: This addendum are some quick notes for running Savage Worlds games on the burnt world of Athas.

What You Need: Savage Worlds Deluxe, Dark Sun Campaign Guide, Savage Worlds: Fantasy Companion

Conspectus: Through constant use of the powerful, but corruptive defiler magic, the once blue world of Athas has turned to a brown world, a dying world, a war world. It is a time when city states of sorcerer-kings sacrifice slaves to fuel their magic, where oases are guarded more feverishly than silver pieces. Water is so scarce that even the most noblest man will succumb to his base instincts when he is thirsty. In this time, mercenary companies and city-states fight constant wars over resources. It is in these desperate times that heroes are needed, but many a hero falls short to become yet another warmonger over Athas.


Brief: Aarakocra, also known as the bird people are a race of avians that live in the common realm known as The Tablelands. They stand at average size as a Human with a lanky build. Most Aarakocra resemble that of large carrion birds, such as vultures, buzzards, or black birds. There are a few nolbe Aarakocra that take the form of hawks. These birds are often held in awe and respect by their fellow birdmen.


Flight: Can fly at normal pace and can also 'run' by rolling a d6. Climb +1

Hollow Bones: -1 Toughness

Keen Eyes: +2 Notice when using Sight.

Talons: This natural attack deals Str+d6. Their talons also give them +2 on Climb checks, very useful when an Aarakocra has to climb due to damaged wings.

Odd Anatomy: Armor has to be custom made for an Aarakocra. This increases the price of said armor by 25% and decreases the sale of armor by 25%. Factors such as specialty buyers (such as Aarakocra merchants) can also modify the final price of an item.

Low Light Vision: Can see in low light conditions. They halve penalties due to bad lighting by half (rounded down).


Brief: Dray are breed of draconic warriors created in the image of a sorcerer-king who did not live long to see his creation. Now let loose upon the world, Dray fight as mercenaries, thugs, and scourges of the tablelands. Dray scale colors tend towards shades of bronze, brass, and gold. They have sharp teeth, claws, and foreclaws on their large feet.


Armor Scales: +2 Armor

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft. albeit in gray scale.

Claws: This natural attack deals Str+d6. Their claws also give them +2 on Climb checks.

Savage: Dray are savage warriors who are rarely known to take prisoners when the lust has them in thrall. They begin play with the Bloodthirsty hindrance. A Dray must make a -2 Smarts (-4 if a Dray has been wounded or insulted) to halt their bloodthirst. This hindrance can be countered if the Dray is under the supervision of a superior officer.


Brief: Dwarves are a squat, hairless people with deep tanned skin that inhabit the Tablelands. The idea of them having hair is looked upon with disgust, as well as the idea of marring their skin with tattoos (though some Dwarves are more willing to break the tattoo taboo over the hair part). Dwarves believe in clan honor, family blood, and will fight to defend both. The only time they deviate from such codes is the in the pursuit of their focus. The Focus is a quest or cause that is given to a Dwarf. When given said act, they must do all they can to achieve what sometimes are impossible tasks, less they wish to die and haunt the world as a banshee over a failed mission. The pursuit of the focus is often the reason Dwarves interact with other races.


Tough: begins play with d6 Vigor

Darkvision: Can see in the dark up to 60 ft. albeit in a grayscale.

Slow: Dwarves have pace 5.

Focus: Dwarves are given a life quest to fulfill. They begin play with Vow (Major). A GM and player are encouraged to work together to come up with a focus that suits the campaign. A Dwarf that dies before fulfilling his vow returns as a banshee, perhaps to haunt the party that failed them.

Resistance: Dwarves are naturally suspicious of all forms of magic. Part of what leaves them unimpressed is their natural resistance to it. Dwarves begin play with the Arcane Resistance edge.

Elf and Half-Giant

Brief: Elves are a tribal race that maintain a credo of keep up, or die. Elves are known for their tall, lean figures and angular faces. Their clothes emphasize protection from the heat, as they tend to be nomadic wanderers who lack long term shelters to survive in. Elves are known to be impressive runners and follow strict taboos about riding animals (it's viewed as dishonorable, only outcasts ride beasts). Elves that cannot keep up with their tribe are left to die.


Agile: Begins play with d6 Agility.

Frail: Do to their lack of body mass, Elves begin play with a -1 Toughness.

Low Light Vision: Can see in low light conditions. They halve penalties due to bad lighting by half (rounded down).

Keen Sense: Begins play with d6 Notice due to all-around keen senses.

Reputation: Begins play with the Outsider hindrance. Not that other races are particularly welcoming of each other, but Elves have a reputation of being untrustworthy and sly that dogs them among non-Elven communities.

Vow: Run or Die (Minor): Elves believe it is a mark of grave dishonor to ride an animal and have slated a vow not to do so. This is considered minor as outcasts more readily break this taboo than others. Those who do so are warned, if they are seen by Elves as riding a beast, word may or has already spread to other tribes, hurting the individual Elf's standing when dealing with these tribes.

Run: Begins play with the Fleet-Footed Edge.


Brief: Half-Elves are the result of a union between Elves and Men. Typically when Elves and Humans have met in mutual barter towns, only for one party to be seduced by the other. The resulting progeny is never truly accepted by either community. Half-Elves, regardless of which parent they may favor, share the same traits.


Agile: d6 Agility

Low Light Vision: Can see in low light conditions. Halves penalties (rounded down) due to bad lighting.

Outcast: Half-Elves are born to suspicion and hostility. Half-Elves typically grow up in Human villages, as Elves will leave such weak offspring to die in the sand. While their home village may eventually (if begrudgingly) accept the offspring, other villages will be wary when they see the ears and build. Half-Elves begin play with the Outsider hindrance.


Brief: Created by a sorcerer-queen, Half-Giants begin life as part of a warrior-slave race. They are a massive race, taller than any others who either dwell on the Tablelands or on the shores of the Silt Sea. Half-Giants lack any true custom or culture due to their artificial origin. Instead, they imitate the culture of whoever they happen to live near (such as Human or Dwarf communities that take them in).


Dull: Smarts costs 2 points to raise at Character Creation.

Scale: Due to their great size and build Half-Giants begin play with the Brawny edge.

Strong: Begins play with d6 Strength.

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft.

Outcast: Created by a sorcerer-queen to be a powerful warrior-slave. Half-Giants past is one of magic and is seen with suspicion and dislike by most of the populace (except for their starting location). Half-Giants begin play with the Outsider hindrance.


Brief: Dwelling in the few jungles that ring the northern mountains of Athas, Halflings are rightfully feared when encountered in the jungle. Though they are small, their diets include a great emphasis on raw meat either taken from each other as a form of cannibalism or from the bodies of trespassers into their forest. Halflings paint their flesh in shades of red and green and allow their hair to grow into wild manes. Halflings are organized along tribal lines and the few that join non-Halflings are curiosity seekers.


Small: -1 Toughness due to size.

Agile: Begins play with d6 Agility.

Eating Habits: Halflings penchant towards consuming humanoid flesh and cannibalism does not endear it with fellow humanoids. Halflings begin play with -2 Charisma.

Stealthy: Begins play with a free d6 in Stealth due to size.


Brief: Humans are still the most numerous race on Athas. The major city-states of the tableland are Human in origin. The Sorcerer Kings who helped cleanse the land of various races and defile the world into dirt is due to Humanity. Humanity on Athas is typically tan, favoring brown hair, though a few with shades of blonde, red, or black have been found too.


Talent: Begins play with a free Novice edge.

Skilled: Begins play with 16 Skill points instead of 15.


Brief: Muls are the off-spring between Dwarves and Humans. This relationship is unlikely, but typically occurs due to slave-sellers force breeding the two races to create this warrior-slave offspring used for gladiatorial games, combat, or labor. Muls maintain the size and speed of a Human, the Toughness and Darkvision of a Dwarf.


Tough: Begins play with d6 Vigor.

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft. (albeit in grayscale).

Slaveborn: Muls begin life in captivity and even those that escape have a combination of reputation, look, and composure that inspires little respect from others. They begin play with -2 Charisma.


Brief: Pterran are a slender built Saurian race that dwell on the Tablelands. They are convinced they are the chosen, having survived the cleansing wars. Pterran scale colors range from shades of brown or bronze with dark stripes or black with orange stripes. Their backs typically have two hard stumps where their wings were originally located.

Spirited: D6 Spirit

Poor Hearing: Begins play with 'Hard of Hearing' (Minor) Hindrance.

Natural Weapons: Combines a combination of claws and teeth that deal Str+d4 damage.

Clumsy: Agility Costs 2 points to raise at character creation.

Missive: Begins play with 5 power points and the Telepathy power. This power is specialized, allowing the Pterran to send only send messages to others and enabling them to communicate back-and-forth with other Pterran. These power points are kept separate from any power pool a Pterran may have.


Brief: Said to be one of the original inhabitants when the world was young and blue, Thri-Kreen are an insectoid race that dwell in the Tablelands. Their chitinous covering is typically a faded yellow or dark orange and strong enough to deflect blows. They have multiple limbs, making them deadly combatants on the battlefield.


Armored: +2 Armor due to chitinous flesh.

Appearance: Due to their alien looks and mindset, Thri-Kreen suffer a -2 Charisma.

Dull: Smarts costs 2 points to raise at character creation.

Natural Weapons: Has a combination of claws and pincers that deal Str+d6 damage. They also gain +2 to Climb.

Darkvision: Can see in total darkness up to 60 ft. albeit in grayscale.

Multi-Limb: Has an extra limb that allows them to make two non-movement actions without penalty.

Odd Anatomy: Due to their size, shape, and scale, equipment has to be custom made for a Thri-Kreen. All items costs 25% more and sell for 25% less. Certain aspects, such as working with Thri-Kreen traders can counteract these penalties, but that is not always the case.


  1. Excellent post! The Odd Anatomy hindrance is interesting

    1. Thanks! I sometimes keep in mind certain races that have wildly alien proportions. Especially when you're trying to make armor for a 3 armed insectoid like the Thri-Kreen.