Dark Sun Races


Dwarves are short but extremely powerful. Athasian dwarves average 4½ to 5 feet in height and tend to have a very large muscle mass - a full grown dwarf weighs in the neighborhood of 200 pounds. Lives of hard work in the hot sun leave them with a rich tan and rugged, calloused hands and feet. Dwarves can live up to 250 years.

A dwarf's chief love is toil. A dwarf is never happier than when there is a cause to work or fight for, something he can approach with stoic singlemindedness for weeks, months, years, or even decades at a time. Once a dwarf's mind is committed to a certain task, he'll only set it aside after a great deal of grumbling and coercion. The fulfillment he achieves upon completion of a lengthy, difficult task is what he strives for.
• Low Light Vision: Dwarven eyes are accustomed to the dark of the underearth. They ignore attack penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
• Slow: Dwarves have a Pace of 5”.
• Tough: Dwarves are stout and tough. They start with a d6 Vigor instead of a d4.


The dunes and steppes of Athas are home to thousands of tribes of nomadic elves. While each tribe is very different culturally, the elves within them remain a race of long-limbed sprinters given to theft, raiding, and warfare.

An Athasian elf stands between 6½ and 7½ feet tall. They are slender, lean, and generally in terrific physical condition. Their features are deeply etched into their weather-toughened faces, and their skin made rugged by the windblown sands and baking sun of the wilderness. Elves typically dress to survive in the desert environment. Even when at an oases or in the cities, elves tend to prefer their native garb, designed to wrap the wearer against the brutality of the elements.

Elves are all brethren within their own tribe, but regard all outsiders as potential enemies. There is no racial unity among the elves - an elf from outside the tribe is just as much a foe as a human, halfling, or thri-kreen. Acceptance of an outsider by an individual elf can be achieved, but trust will only develop over time. Acceptance of an outsider by an entire tribe is also possible, but rare. It is usually only awarded after some great sacrifice has been made on behalf of the tribe-many outsiders have been accepted posthumously into elven desert tribes.

Individually, tribal elves are swift, sure, and selfreliant in the extreme. An elf is conditioned to run quickly over sandy and rocky terrain, sometimes for days at a time - an elf warrior can cross better than 50 miles per day. An elven war party on the move is a deadly force of endurance and maneuverability. Elves use no beasts of burden for personal transportation, though they do sometimes engage kanks and similar creatures for baggage or raw materials transport. It is dishonorable among elves to ride on an animal unless wounded and near death - even pregnant women and old elves are expected to keep up with the tribe or be left behind.
• Agile: Elves are graceful and agile. They start with a d6 in Agility instead of a d4.
• Light Frame: Elves are especially fine-boned and suffer a -1 to their Toughness.
• Elf Run: For overland movement, an elf may add his Vigor die to his Pace when determining his actual movement in miles per day.
• Low Light Vision: The character’s eyes amplify light like a cat’s, allowing him to see in the dark. He ignores attack penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.


Elves and humans travel many of the same roads on Athas - elven tribes have at times encountered human mercenaries, just as elven warriors have found gainful employment in the armies of the city states. The merchant class, too, is overrun with traders of both races, so it is not at all unusual for children of mixed parentage to be born into the world-the half-elves.

A half-elf is generally tall, between 6 and 6½ feet tall, but more meaty than his elven counterparts. His facial features are clearly more deeply defined than those of a human, but based solely on his countenance a half-elf can usually pass for either an elf or a human.

A half-elf's a life is typically hardened by the intolerance of others. Neither fully human nor fully elven, half-elves rarely find acceptance with either race. Elves are especially intolerant, at times driving mothers of half-elven infants from their camps into the desert. Humans are more apt to accept halfelves as allies or partners, but seldom accept them into their homes, clans, or families. Rarely do half-elves congregate in great enough numbers to form communities of their own, so they remain outsiders, forever wandering from situation to situation without a people, land, or village to call home.
• Heritage: Some half-elves retain the grace of their elven parent. Others gain the adaptability of their human ancestry. A half-elf may either start with a free Edge of his choice (as a human), or a d6 in Agility instead of a d4 (as an elf).
• Low Light Vision: The character ’s eyes amplify light like a cat’s, allowing him to see in the dark. He ignores attack penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
• Outsider: Half-elves aren’t true outsiders (as per the Hindrance of the same name), but neither are they ever quite comfortable around humans or elves as one of their own, so the effect is the same.


Giants dominate many of the islands and coastal areas of the Silt Sea, wading across it to plunder the communities of smaller races where they find them. In some lost millennium, as a bizarre experiment or perhaps as some sort of curse, giants were magically crossbred with humans. Half-giants are now fairly common, especially to human controlled lands at the edge of the sea of dust.

A half-giant is an enormous individual, standing between 10 and 12 feet tall, and weighing in the neighborhood of 1,600 pounds. Their features are human, but exaggerated.

Simply put, a half-giant gains terrific size from his giant heritage, but also inherits that race's dull wits. His human background, however, provides him with an interest in communication and cooperation, not to mention more reserved traits such as curiosity, a willingness to learn, and a general tendency toward kindness. At any rate, half-giants are capable of far more kindness than their often tyrannical, bloodthirsty giant kin.
• Mighty and Resilient: Half-giants begin with an impressive starting Strength of d8 and a starting Vigor of d6. Furthermore, their natural maximum Strength is d12+2. They can reach this rating with normal Advances without applying the Professional or Expert Edges.
• Slow and Pliable: Half-giants have limited Smarts and Spirit. These Attributes require 2 points per step to raise during character creation.
• Size +3: Half-giants add 3 to their natural Toughness due to their great bulk. However, all personal items such as clothes, armor, weapons, food, etc., cost double for half-giants. Other considerations, such as transportation or lodging, are also considerably more expensive when they are available at all.
• Great Strides: Half-giants have a natural Pace of 7" instead of 6".
• Monstrous Size and Appearance: Half-giants suffer a -2 Charisma due to their appearance and bearing.
• Dull Wits: Half-giants suffer a -2 to all Common Knowledge rolls as if they had the Clueless Hindrance.
• No Culture: Half-giants are friendly and eager to please whoever they meet, as they have no culture to call their own. If they are accepted in turn, they quickly adopt the lifestyles, skills, and values of those they’ve come in contact with. They begin play with the Quirk hindrance.


Beyond the Ringing Mountains are jungles that flourish in rains that never reach the tablelands or the Sea of Silt. There life is abundant, the foliage thick and untamed. The undisputed rulers of these jungles are the halflings.

A halfling is a very short humanoid, standing no more than 3½ feet in height. They are muscled and proportioned like humans, but they have the faces of wise and beautiful children. Halflings live to be as much as 120 years old, but once they reach adulthood, their features never succumb to their years - it's very difficult for an outsider to determine a given halfling's age. A halfling weighs 50 to 60 pounds and is virtually always in peak physical condition.

Halflings possess a great deal of racial unity. Though divided politically into separate villages and communities, halflings have great respect for their race as a whole. Political differences between them are settled wherever possible peaceably, through ritual and custom, most often under the direction of their clerical leaders, the shaman witch doctors.
• Fortunate: Halflings draw one additional Benny per game session. This may be combined with the Luck and Great Luck Edges.
• Short: Halflings average only about 3½ feet tall. Their small size subtracts 1 from their Toughness. Halflings have a Size of –1, and cannot take the Small Hindrance.
• Short Legs: Halflings have a Pace of 5”.
• Spear Chucker: Halflings begin play with a free d6 in Throwing.
• Spirited: Halflings have a pious unity with their race and their jungle environment. They start with a d6 Spirit instead of a d4.


A mul (pronounced: mül) is an incredibly tough crossbreed of a human and dwarf. They retain the height and cunning of their human parent, plus the durability and raw strength of their dwarven heritage. Muls are usually the products of the slave pits-owners recognize the muls' assets as gladiators and laborers, and so order the births of as many muls as can be managed within the ranks of their slaves. Muls are born sterile - they cannot perpetuate their kind.

A full-grown mul stands 6 to 6½ feet tall and weighs 240-300 pounds. They are fair skinned, sometimes tending toward a copperish coloration. Their dwarven ancestry gives them a well-muscled frame and an incredible constitution - mul laborers can perform heavy work for days at a time without stopping. Muls have stern facial features. They are unmistakably human in appearance, though their ears are swept back and slightly pointed. Most muls, whether male or female, have no hair or beard.

Born as they are to lives of slave labor, with the taskmaster's whip taking the place of parents and family, muls are given to a gruff personality and violent reactions. Understandably, many never seek friends or companionship but live out their lives in servitude, driven by hatred and spite. Most, however, learn who to trust in the slave pits and who not to, gaining favor and reputation among the other slaves.
• Heritage: A mul has the height and adaptability of his human heritage and the raw strength and durability of his dwarf side. They start with a d6 Strength attribute instead of a d4 and +1 Toughness.
• Mean: Muls suffer a -2 penalty to Charisma due to their gruff personality and violent tendencies.


Hulking insect-men standing as tall as 7 feet at the shoulder, the thri-kreen are the least "human" of the player character races. Their survivability in the wilderness, combined with their cunning and intellect, have made the mantis warriors (as they are known to some races) the undisputed masters across large tracts of the Athasian wastes.

The individual thri-kreen is a six-limbed creature with a tough, sandy-yellow exoskeleton. Its hind legs are the most powerful, used for walking, running, and leaping. The four forward limbs each have a hand with three fingers and an opposable thumb.

A thri-kreen's head has two large eyes, two antennae, and a small-but-powerful jaw. The jaws work from side to side and have several small extensions that grab and manipulate food while it is being eaten. The eyes are jet black and multi-faceted, separated to either side of the head. The antennae are all but vestigial, serving only to help maneuver through brush and grasslands in the darkness.

Thri-kreen make and use a variety of weapons. Chief among them are the gythka, a polearm with wicked blades at either end, and the chatkcha, a crystalline throwing wedge. They also fashion many forms of clothing, but never wear armor.

Thri-kreen are carnivores and the pack is constantly on the hunt for food. They consider the other player character races as potential food stock, but only prey on other intelligent creatures in times of desperation. The mantis warriors have a well-known taste for elves, which keeps both races at an uneasy peace when they are forced to cooperate.
• Armor +2: A thri-kreen's exoskeleton is extremely hard, and gives the creature a natural form of armor.
• Size +1: A thri-kreen stands about 7 feet tall and adds +1 to its natural Toughness.
• Always Active: Thri-kreen have no need of sleep. Thri-kreen characters can remain active throughout the day and night.
• Natural Weapons: A thri-kreen can attack with any of it's four claws or bite (Str+d4). A thri-kreen may take the Two-Fisted edge twice, once for each pair of arms.
• Unusual Anatomy: Thri-kreen can use most gear such as wands, rods, staves, weapons, shields, and most other mundane items. Those items, however, designed to be worn by humanoids, such as clothing, rings, girdles, armor, and cloaks, will not function for a thri-kreen because he simply cannot put them on. Unless otherwise stated, magical items are always designed for use by humanoids.
• Antennae: A thri-kreen’s antennae help him maneuver through brush and grassland in the dark lessening the effects of darkness on melee attacks by 1. Ranged or thrown attacks aren't affected, however.
• Agile but Alien: Thri-kreen are very agile, but their intellect and behaviour is alien to most other races. They start with a d6 in Agility instead of a d4 and suffer a -2 to Charisma. They also must spend two points per step to raise their Smarts during character generation.
• Fast: Thri-kreen have a Pace of 9".
• Racial Enemy: Thri-kreen don't generally get along with elves due to their tendency to eat them. Elves will only cooperate with thri-kreen in the rarest of circumstances, and are more likely to attack them on sight when encountered in the wastes.
• Poor: Thri-kreen care nothing for money or other items that are usually considered as treasure. They start with half the usual starting funds, and lose half their total funds every game week.
• Loyal: A thri-kreen hero adopts his adventuring companions as his pack, regardless of their mix of races; this includes whoever he is with at the time danger strikes. He’ll instinctively leap to protect his companions, regardless of personal danger. The pack mentality is so ingrained in thri-kreen culture that they apply it to every situation they find themselves in. They are considered to always have the Loyal Hindrance.

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