As The Sleeper Awakes
“Athas is an endless wasteland, yet it has a majestic and stark beauty. When first light casts its emerald hues over the Sea of Silt, or when sunset spreads its orange flame over the Mekillot Mountains, the world’s feral beauty stirs the untamed heart in each of us. It is a call to take up spear and dagger, to flee the cities, to go and see what lurks out in the barrenness.”
-The Wanderer’s Journal
Sand, rock, sun, burning heat these are the only properties that Athas possesses in abundance. Every living creature in the world works constantly to obtain food and safeguard water. Hunters might go days without finding suitable prey, and herders must drive their flocks from place to place to find good grazing. Water is scarce in the known regions of Athas, and those who control life-giving wells or springs jealously guard access to such riches.
City dwellers enjoy more security than do nomads or villagers living in the deserts, but it takes legions of workers most ofthem slaves toiling in the fields to support a city’s population. Great and terrible sorcerer-kings rule the city-states, each a long-lived tyrant who crushes dissent. Rapacious nobles, corrupt templars, ruthless merchants, and legions of brutal soldiers profit from or support the sorcerer-kings’ reigns, while the common folk groan under unjust laws and harsh taxation. Slaves survive only as long as they can earn one more day’s worth of food and water with their backbreaking toil. For most people, life is a choice between struggling to survive in the wasted wilderness or trading freedom for the relative safety of the oppressive city-states.
This is Athas, a world of cruelty and tyranny. Yet it is also a place of savage beauty and barbaric splendor a world of heroes.