The Burnt World of Athas

The official Dark Sun website

Episode 1 - Road From Urik

Greetings friends. As per your generous offer to assist me in documenting my journey, I am sending you now my first clairvoyant missive in the name of the Athasian Survey Project: Since the Tyr-storms and earthquakes have started appearing across the Tablelands in the past few years, it has become clear to everyone that our world has changed. But it seems no one had ever set out before to do a coordinated study of exactly HOW it has been changing. I was recently contacted by a highly unusual consortium of interested parties, including several cities’ Veiled Alliances, druids, elemental priests, and others. Their purpose was to launch the first ever extensive survey of the known Athasian lands, to examine known and unknown environments and inspect geological and environmental anomalies to see what has changed and what has emerged in recent years. Because of my…unique set of skills and extensive connections across Athas, they believed me to be one of the few capable of travelling these lands to the extent required for such a survey. Of course, I am not The Wanderer, nor will I ever be. But faced with a proposal by such a rare combination of powerful players, I felt obliged to say yes.

I started my journey in Urik, leaving the city with a company of elven traders to whom I had been introduced by the Consortium. I was able to persuade my new colleagues to confide their planned travel route with me. It seems they intended to take a weaving path through the various slave tribes’ trading posts to the east and north of the city, starting with Black Waters and Yaramuke. For those of you who have never been to Urik, there are four roads leading out of the fortified city. One heads straight west-northwest towards Makla and the Smoking Crown, two lead south (one running southwest through the foothills of the Ringing Mountains, and the other is the Great Road running southeast to Tyr), and the last is the Road of Kings running due east.

Thanks to the oft repeated bard songs heralding the famous tale of the Crimson Legion on their “Road to Urik”, much has been made of the Road to Urik (otherwise known as the Great Road). This image I am sending with this missive, however, shows what you would see should you be travelling FROM Urik. Here I am about a mile down the Road of Kings looking south, where I can just barely make out the Great Road to the right.

I am standing on the edge of what the mapmakers have dubbed the Great Alluvial Sand Wastes. You can also see the Ringing Mountains in the distance on the right, and the edge of the Dragon’s Bowl on the left.

My intention is to send you these missives as regularly as I am able during my travels, not only to help you build a bigger picture as to the state of this land, but also to graciously solicit your feedback if there are details or dangers I am missing.

And so with that, I will await your response. Until then, may the moons guide you.

(Due to a few of my better-travelled contacts, I have been informed that many of the sites I will be visiting have a counterpart on another world called “Earth”. As a way to pass the time, I propose we play a game. I offer a gallon of fresh semi-skimmed mekillot milk to anyone who can guess the location of this image from Earth, to be delivered to you personally by the Elves of the Black Dairy…)

A deset road at sunset
Road From Urik by Neujack


Been playing Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs since 1987. Been playing Dark Sun since it was released. Returned to Athas in 2020 for its expanded timeline and geography.