Gargantuan dragon, any evil alignment
Extremely powerful (20th-level) human and half-elven defiler/psions can progress to even greater power if they choose to transform themselves into dragon form. To begin the transformation, the would-be dragon casts a dragon metamorphosis spell. Most aspiring dragons lock themselves away and perform their metamorphoses in secret.
After the spell is successfully cast, the dragon drastically changes in both his powers and his physical appearance. Each stage of the metamorphosis is extremely painful. The defiler will gradually grow in height and weight, take on reptilian features, and, eventually, lose all trace of its humanity. When the metamorphosis is complete, the dragon will be roughly 40 feet long and weigh 50,000 pounds (25 tons), with massive wings and almost impenetrable scales.
All Dragon-kings of the Seven Cities are at least 21st-level dragons. Though the monarchs have pursued these powers for many centuries, they are only becoming dimly aware that a similar process can also occur with especially powerful preservers (Avangion). Many are still skeptical.
Anakore (Dune Freak)
Medium humanoid, neutral evil
The dune freaks, or anakore, are a race of dim-witted humanoids with bony, wedge-like heads, small ears pressed close to the sides of their heads, and sunken, beady eyes covered by clear membranes to prevent sand from scratching these delicate tissues.
The bright light of Athas’ sun blinds the anakore during the day, but at night they can see as clearly as most beings do during the day.
The anakore have an unusual dorsal ridge running along their spine. This fin is actually a sensitive organ which picks up minute vibrations traveling through the sand. With it, they can locate a solitary creature walking on the sand from as far away as five miles.
Medium humanoid, lawful evil
At first sight, the belgoi appear human–and then you notice the long claws on the end of their fingers, their puckered toothless mouths, and their webbed, three-toed feet. They are a race of ignorant humanoids who dwell in the most forlorn wastes of Athas. They have a taste for the flesh of intelligent races and no ruler will tolerate them within five day’s travel of his or her city.
Huge monstrosity, neutral evil
Braxat are massive, rhinoceros-like humanoids, with males sporting a enormous horn at the tip of their snouts. Robust creatures, their powerful bodies are covered in rock-hard chitinous plates. The bony protrusions on a braxat‘s head protect its skull as well as being used for attacking its target. Braxats walk upright, are able to speak with a clear, human voice, have opposable thumbs, and are warm-blooded. A braxat stands 12 to 14 ft. and weighs 2,500 pounds. Braxat mature at about 24 years of age and can live about 170 years.
Braxat tend to be gruff and ornery, but are more than capable of diplomatic parley if doing so suits their immediate needs. Mostly solitary creatures, sometimes they pick a mate and bear some young. The young are usually hidden away somewhere remote while the two parents go out to search for food for their offspring. Ferocious, powerful, and intelligent, it is only the relative rarity of the braxat species that has prevented them from becoming a major threat to the other races of the Tablelands.
Medium undead, chaotic evil
Cactus cadavers are the horrible result of a living humanoid being that was slain by a Thirst Cactus. They are a loathsome form of undead that haunt lonely and remote expanses of desert wastes. Their thorny, grey-green flesh is tough and fibrous, and all but the strongest weaponry can penetrate their cactus-like hides. A cactus cadaver’s ivory claws are long and sharp, and they have luminous amber eyes.
Medium humanoid, chaotic neutral
Crucians are humanoids that sport broad, flat shells, like desert crabs, encompassing their upper bodies in natural protection. Not content with just their shells, they often wear additional leather chaps and armlets to protect the rest of their bodies. They decorate their shells with brightly colored painted sigils, as well as deeply etched tallies of their personal triumphs on the sandy field of conflict. Most crucians prefer to wield enormous warhammers, weighted to crack even the hardest enemy shells.
Medium undead, chaotic evil
Desiccation zombies are a wretched form of undead that roam the vast expanse of the unforgiving desert badlands. These miserable creatures often shamble around areas of death and despair, such as lonely desert ruins and ancient battlefields. A desiccation zombie’s flesh is withered and dry, baked deep from the merciless sun above, and its’ eyes are bottomless black pits of death.
Medium humanoid, any alignment
Dwarves are short, stocky humanoids capable of amazing feats of strength. They are known for obsessive attitudes about the tasks they perform and as such, are considered extremely reliable workers.
Dwarves stand an average of 4 1/2 to 5 feet tall. They tend to have disproportionate statures because of over-muscled bodies and sometimes weigh as much as 200 pounds despite their height. Their massive hands permit them to hold weapons that seem too large for their size. Equally large feet help keep their bulging frames standing. Deep-set eyes sometimes give the impression that the dwarves are constantly observing, silently watching and judging the actions of those around them.
Other than a distinctive build and usually hairless heads, dwarves do not stray too far from a human appearance. However, endless hours laboring under the scorching, Athasian sun has brought them deep copper tans and calloused bodies. There is a joke spread by the humans that dwarves use no whetstone to sharpen their weapons; instead they are said to rely upon their own skin to keep their blades sharp.
Medium humanoid (elf), chaotic neutral
An Athasian elf stands between 6 1/2 to 7 feet tall, and weighs 110-130 lbs. They are slender, lean, and generally in terrific physical condition. They have blond, brown, or silver hair, and watery-green eyes. Their features are deeply etched into their weather-toughened faces, and their skin made rugged by the windblown sands and baking sun of the wilds. 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. Athasian elves can live up to 140 years or more.
Always at home when running in the wastes, elves often act as if all plains and badlands were Elven lands. However, since most elves are loath to settle or build, they can rarely enforce their claims. Elven tribes make a living either through herding, raiding or trading; most tribes have at one time or another plied their hand at all three of these occupations. A tribe's current occupation usually determines which lands they currently claim as their own. Elven herders claim grazing lands. Elven raiders claim lands crossed by trade routes. Elven traders claim no lands, but wander in search of bargains and loose purses.
Large giant, chaotic evil
An ettin is a foul, two-headed giant with the crude characteristics of ancient orc. It never bathes if it can help it, and its thick skin is usually encrusted with a thick layer of dirt and grime beneath the stinking hides it wears. Its long stringy hair hangs in an unkempt mess about its faces, and its breath reeks from mouths filled with crooked teeth and tusks.
Medium humanoid, chaotic evil
The gith are a race of grotesque humanoids that appear to be a peculiar mixture of elf and reptile, though their true heritage springs from the race of foul, star-faring creatures known as the Githyanki. Gith have flat, almost skull-like facial-features, with scaly blue, green, or gray skin. They have coarse black hair and red, black, violet, or milk-white eyes. They are extremely gaunt and lanky, with long gangling arms and spindly legs. Both their fingers and toes end in sharp claws. If one could get a gith to stand up straight, he or she would measure close to 7 feet tall. However, most gith appear to be no more than 5 feet tall, for they stand hunched over at the shoulders, in a permanent slouch. Gith weigh anywhere from 150 to 200 lbs. Gith often live for 60 years or more.
As travelers and conquerors of the multi-planes, their Githyanki ancestors arrived on Athas untold eons ago, but alas became trapped on this world of dust and fire. The brutish gith of today are all that remains of the once mighty, star-faring race. The slide into barbarism did not extinguish their mental abilities, however. Combined with the Athasian giths' extreme brutality and absolute mercilessness, their psionic powers might be even more dangerous than those of their more refined ancient forebears.
Medium humanoid (gnoll), chaotic evil
Gnolls are feral, hyena-headed humanoids that attack without warning, slaughtering their victims and devouring their flesh.
Gnolls are dangerous because they strike at random. They emerge from the wilderness, plunder and slaughter, then move elsewhere. They attack like a plague of locusts, pillaging settlements and leaving little behind but razed buildings, gnawed corpses, and befouled land. Gnolls choose easy targets for their raids. Armored warriors holed up in a fortified castle will survive a rampaging gnoll horde unscathed, even as the towns, villages, and farms that surround the castle are ablaze, their people slaughtered and devoured.
Gnolls rarely build permanent structures or craft anything of lasting value. They don’t make weapons or armor, but scavenge such items from the corpses of their fallen victims, stringing ears, teeth, scalps, and other trophies from their foes onto their patchwork armor.
Medium humanoid (elf), any alignment
Averaging over 6 feet tall, half-elves combine elven dexterity with human resilience. Bulkier than elves, most half-elves find it easier to pass themselves off as full humans than as full elves, but all have some features that hint at their elven heritage.
Half-elves are notorious loners. Many Athasians believe that half-elves combine the worst traits of both races, but the most difficult aspect of half-elves--their lack of self–confidence--comes not from their mixed origins but rather from a life of rejection from both parent races. Half-elves try in vain to gain the respect of humans or elves.
Humans distrust the half-elf’s Elven nature, while elves have no use for their mixed–blood children; Elven traditions demand that such children be left behind. Human society gives half-elves have a better chance of survival, but even less kindness. Half-elves sometimes find friendship among muls or even Thri-kreen. Half-elves will cooperate with companions when necessary, but find it difficult to rely on anyone. Many half-elves also turn to the animal world for company, training creatures to be servants and friends. Ironically, the survival skills and animal affinity that half-elves developed to cope with isolation make them valuable beast handlers in human society.
Large giant, any alignment
Physically, the half-giant resembles an enormous human, with a broad frame and heavy brow ridges. Half-giants stand 12 feet tall, weighing around 1,600 lbs. Half-giants have thick, black hair, which is often kept braided (especially among females) or in a single tail that hangs behind the head and down the back. They dress in garb suitable to their occupation or environment. Half-giants mature at about 24 years of age and can live about 170 years.
Amongst the most powerful warriors on Athas, half-giants seem content to dwell in humanity’s shadow. Half-giants tend to be friendly and eager to please, adopting the lifestyles, skills, and values of those they admire. A half-giant character who encounters a new situation looks around him to see what other people are doing. For example, a half-giant character that happens upon a Dwarven stone quarry may watch the dwarves, and then start quarrying stone himself. If he can make a living at it, he will continue to quarry stone just like his neighbor dwarves do; otherwise he will move on to something else.
Small humanoid, chaotic neutral
Standing about four feet tall, the jozhal is a small, two-legged reptile with a skinny tail, a long flexible neck, and a narrow, elongated snout. Its mouth is filled with needle sharp teeth, and its lanky arms end in small, three-fingered hands with an opposable thumb. Although the jozhal’s hide is covered with scales, they are so small as to be unnoticeable at first, and it appears to more akin to a man’s skin or a baazrag’s rough hide. The jozhal can change the hue of its skin at will, either to match the color of its environment, or to stand out against it.
The jozhal live in small family groups of four to five creatures. They are extremely intelligent and cunning, but regard humans or humanoids as foolish, dangerous creatures and will rarely tolerate them.
Jozhal are attracted to magic of all sorts, and whenever they see humans or humanoids passing they track the party down and attempt to cast a detect magic spell on the group. If the spell reveals any magical items, they will try to sneak into camp and steal them.
The jozhal clan’s intellect is best reflected in its relationship to the world around it. They are very careful never to destroy the life-giving world in which they live, always making use of every bit of scrap and refuse that they find.
Medium humanoid (meazel), chaotic evil
The meazel is a vicious, malevolent creature that preys on other subterranean dwellers or anyone else in the area. The meazel is slightly smaller than a human. Its skin varies in color from light gray to dark green. Most meazels (85%) have irregular patches of angry red color: these are the result of a noncontagious skin disease peculiar to meazels. The patches give the creature a leprous appearance. The eyes are jet black and the thick, waxy hair is dark green-gray The toes are partially webbed. Males and females are nearly identical.
Meazels are hostile hermits, rarely encountered away from their lairs. They prefer marshes, caverns, or other cold, dark, dank places as sites to build their squalid homes. Such homes are appallingly dirty. Each meazel’s possessions are gathered into a pile that also serves as the creatures bed. Rats and insects overrun the mess, polish off the leftovers, and also serve as snacks.
Meazels prey on anything that roams the subterranean realms. They are carnivorous and prefer humanoid flesh. Meazels prey mainly on Gith and Silt Runners, although they gladly attack anyone else who is available. Because of this, almost any subterranean dwellers attack a meazel on sight. Meazels are unique in that hatred of them unites virtually all other subterranean travelers.
Medium humanoid (mul), any alignment
Muls are the sterile offspring of a dwarf and a human. Almost to a one, they are created intentionally through selective breeding, and they are born into slavery. Muls are the most highly-prized (and typically the most successful) gladiators to be had due to their parentage. From their dwarven fathers, they inherit an unshakeable constitution and an unflappable bullheadedness. From their human mothers, they inherit their stature and some measure of their versatility. This combination of size, strength, and willfulness makes the mul a deadly opponent.
Medium humanoid (pterran), neutral
Pterrans are 5 to 6 1/2 feet tall reptiles with scaly skin, sharp beak, and a short tail. Their scale color, as well as beak/head-shape/fin-size vary from one tribe to the next. Pterrans have two shoulder stumps, remnants of wings they possessed long ago, and a fin-like growth juts out at the back of their heads. Pterrans weigh between 180 to 220 lbs. Amongst these reptilian folk, there is no real visible distinction between male and female pterrans. They reach adulthood at 13, and live around 100 years.
Among strangers, pterrans seem like subdued, cautious beings, but once others earn a pterran’s trust, they will find an individual that is open, friendly, inquisitive, and optimistic. In other respects, a pterran’s personality is largely shaped by her chosen life path: Pterrans who choose the Path of the Warrior are less disturbed by the brutality of the Tablelands; they are constantly examining their surroundings and considering how the terrain where they are standing could be defended; they take greatest satisfaction from executing a combat strategy that results in victory without friendly casualties. Pterrans who choose the Path of the Priest are most interested in plants, animals, and the state of the land; they take greatest satisfaction when they eliminate a threat to nature. Pterrans that choose the Path of the Mind are most interested in befriending and understanding other individuals and societies; these telepaths take greatest satisfaction from intellectual accomplishments such as solving mysteries, exposing deception, resolving quarrels between individuals, and establishing trade routes between communities.
Medium elemental, neutral
Sandmen are creatures of sand from the elemental plane of earth. They rarely attack anyone, however they are dangerous. Getting close to a sandman often results in that person falling asleep, at the mercy of whatever monster finds them. Some monsters will follow sandmen, knowing they will leave helpless prey in their wake. Sandman will respond in kind if attacked.
Sandmen are usually found in deserts, but any area with sand is a possible location.
Medium beast, unaligned
Screamer beetles are beautiful but deadly giant insects. Their multicolored chitinous shells are greatly prized by art collectors and alchemists. Whole packs of them are usually found deep within caverns and rocky areas.
Screamer beetles earned their name from their ear-piercing blasts of sound that they generate from their abdomen when hunting, thus making them deadly combatants.
Small humanoid (lizardfolk), chaotic evil
Silt runners stand 3 feet, and weigh anywhere from 60 to 80 lbs. They have stubby snouts filled with sharp teeth, and their long fingers and webbed toes end in sharp talons. Their skin color ranges from sandy-gray to bright green, and their eyes are a dull-yellow. Silt runners wear little or no clothing. What they wear is usually more of a trophy than any covering for the sake of modesty or protection. Silt runners move very quickly and have broad, flat feet; they can even run across stretches of silt with their natural abilities. Silt runners live for 60 years, though most die early on due to violence.
They are known for their cunning, brutality, and low-intellect. Silt-runners are crude, unmannered, and all around disgusting folk, prone to commit acts of murder and cannibalism--amongst other vile acts.
Medium humanoid (slig), chaotic neutral
Slig are a savage race of cave-dwelling tribal reptilians that hunt and battle throughout the Athasian wilderness. Primitive and brutal, they are often at odds with local humanoid tribes, especially the Ssurran. They are known as powerful warriors and determined mercenaries. Slig are often found amongst the ranks of Gith armies and warbands, acting as front-line combatants and shock-troopers. They are strong, merciless, and without fear.
A slig is 6 to 6 1/2 feet tall and weighs 180 to 220 pounds of solid muscle and bone. Its posture is often stooped and hunched over from spending long hours in cramped tunnels or caves; when it runs, it ducks and weaves with frequent short jumps. A slig has many snake-like features including smooth, mottled skin and sharp fangs. It decorates itself with tribal tattoos and body paints in zig-zag patterns and wears chunky jewelry and trinkets rather than actual clothing. Slig mature by age 10, and can live for more than 60 years.
Medium humanoid (lizardfolk), lawful neutral
Ssurrans range from 4 to 6 feet in height, weighing anything from 180 to 225 lbs. They are reptilian, even crocodilian in appearance, with pronounced toothy snouts, scales, and a long tail. A ssurran‘s mouth seems perpetually curved in a slight, sly smile. The ssurran tail is not prehensile and is used for balance, posture and communication. A ssurran’s eyes range from a golden-yellow to various shades of green. Ssurrans speak their own language that sounds like grunts, growls, and hissing. Ssurrans typically dress in little more than loin cloths, bone jewelry, and armor. They usually carry weapons they have taken from past victims. When it comes to overall toughness and resilience, ssurran are amongst the hardiest breeds of humanoids beneath the red sun of Athas, being able to survive in the hottest and most inhospitable regions of the world. Ssurran mature by age 10, and can live for more than 60 years.
Ssurrans are strict carnivores, and meat composes the majority of their staple diet, as such, they are more than capable hunters. Ssurrans are nomadic creatures and they generally stay in one area for only a few weeks before moving on. Ssurrans are on semi-good terms with most sentient races--including anakore, braxat, and gith; as long as they have something to trade, ssurrans can’t afford to be picky. Ssurrans are often seen as savages, raiders, or poor traders by most other species. For their part, the ssurrans view most civilized races as pretentious fools, lost in their tools and forgetful of their kinship with the beasts of the wilderness.
Medium humanoid, lawful neutral
Tarek stand 6 1/2 feet in height and weigh 300-350 pounds. Their hides range in color from mustard-yellow to grey, and all hues between. They have square, big-boned heads with sloping foreheads and massive brow ridges, complete with large tusks and intense crimson eyes. Tarek males have a distinct musky odor that can be detected from as far away as 30 ft., which smells repulsive, but what tarek males use to attract females of their kind. Tareks tend to wear little or no clothing, save for loincloths and primitive tribal jewelry. They often tattoo themselves with various scenes of past glories and heroic exploits. Tareks mature at 12 years of age and have an average life span of 50 years (though few creatures ever get to die naturally on Athas).
Tarek gather in tribes, building small communities in the hills and mountains of the Tyr region, which whom they claim a strong kinship with. These communities often sustain themselves by raiding, and visitors are not welcome. Unless a group of visitors include an obvious Earth cleric, tarek warriors rush out to kill or drive the intruders away. In rare instances, members of a community will be sent out to trade with merchant caravans, but few traders will blindly conduct business with these representatives. More often than not, such representatives are decoys for an unseen raiding party. More than one caravan has been taken by surprise while negotiating a deal with tarek traders.
Large plant, unaligned
Thirst cacti are a vicious breed of mobile, predatory plant that stalks the hottest and most remote sandy wastes. A typical thirst cactus stands more than 12 feet in height and is 3 feet in circumference. They have grayish-green skin and are covered in thousands of razor-sharp needles. Thirst cacti usually possess at least half a dozen arm-like appendages growing directly from their spiky trunks, though they only attack their prey with two at any given time.
Forever on the move, thirst cacti travel far and wide seeking prey. Though they still require a water source and sunlight, their primary mode of gaining sustenance is by draining living beings from their vital fluids. When perfectly still, they are indistinguishable from being one of the countless species of native desert cacti that live in the wastes. A thirst cactus will often remain still for days (even weeks) in order to surprise its prey and pounce upon it with a savage flurry of blows from its’ thorn-covered appendages. Woe to any humanoid slain by a thirst cacti’s deadly dehydrating slam, for they shall rise up as an undead abomination (see Cactus Cadaver) within 24 hours of their horrific death.
Medium humanoid, chaotic neutral
Thri‐kreen ("kreen" for short) are the strangest of the intelligent races of the Tablelands. These insectoid beings born from eggs possess a mindset very different from any humanoid being encountered. They roam the wastes in packs, hunting for food day and night, since they require no sleep. Thri‐kreen are quick and agile and make fearsome fighters, feared throughout the wastes. They refer to thri-kreen who have become city dwellers as “tohr-kreen,” meaning “settled person,” whereas thri-kreen means “wanderer-person.”
Mature Thri‐kreen stand about 7 feet tall, and weigh 450 pounds. Their four arms end in claws; their two legs are extremely powerful, capable of incredible leaps. However, kreen are unable to jump backwards. Their body is covered with a hard, protective chitin, an exoskeleton that grants the Thri‐kreen protection from blows. Their head is topped with two antennae, and their two eyes are compound and multifaceted. The kreen mouth consists of small pincers. Male and female Thri‐kreen are physically indistinguishable. Kreen usually do not wear clothing, but wear a utility harness to carry weapons and food.
Many wear leg or armbands, or bracelets. Some attach rings on different places on their chitin, though this requires careful work by a skilled artisan. While most thri-kreen appear identical to non-kreen, their nuances of exoskeleton development render them quite unique in their view. Pheromones release modifies their eye coloration: light for pleasant feelings and dark for distress. They are carnivores and become sick if eating plants, the only exception being a handful of common spices and fruit-based potions.
Medium humanoid (human), any alignment
By far the largest and most powerful city-state of all the Tyr region, The Dragon-king Hamanu has ruled his people in a hard and militaristic fashion for untold eons. The culture, language, and people of this region resemble the ancient Babylonian kingdom of Earth.
The peoples of Urik are tall, fair skinned, and blue-eyed, with strong noble features. Urikite citizens dress in simple cotton tunics and sandals, with the noble and templar classes donning flowing silk tunics emblazoned with the symbol of Hamanu; a mighty roaring golden lion.