The Burnt World of Athas

The official Dark Sun website

Quick Plot Hooks #3

The Quick Plot Hooks series started as a fun thought experiment - how to develop interesting but reasonable encounters using two types of creatures from randomly determined Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium entries.

Raaig & High Drik: Deep within a narrow, cave-like canyon lies an ancient Fire shrine, where a flame springs up from the very stone of the canyon floor, burning just as it has since the Green Age. The shrine is guarded by a raaig: a pterran fire cleric who has watched over the shrine for centuries.

Outside the canyon paces a defiler - a high drik who longs to get his claws on a powerful relic hidden within the shrine. The canyon is far too narrow for the high drik, however, so she must resort to bullying and blackmailing passersby into entering the shrine and facing the raaig.

Wild Mul
Mul, Wild by Baxa
Muls & Racked Spirit: A small group of muls, recently escaped from slavery in a merchant house caravan, are on the verge of collapse. They are haunted at night by the spirit of their former slave master, a vile man and professional slaver who happily kept them on the leash. The muls escaped when one of them used his raw abilities with the Will to force the slaver to set them free, after which they slew him. Being forced to act against his interest and free slaves, however, brought him back as a racked spirit.

The newly risen undead haunts his prey each night, and will stop at nothing until the muls are captives again. His goal is to force the muls to enslave themselves or each other, damning them to serve him as racked spirits for eternity. As for the muls, they lack the ability to kill their tormentor, but will not let themselves be captured again.

Silt Horror & Silt Drake: Just offshore of the Dragon’s Pallet, not 50 miles from the city-state of Balic, a silt drake and a brown silt horror are locked in a deadly embrace. Weakened from an attack by a group of hunting aarakocra, the drake was unable to fend off the silt horror, but neither was the silt horror powerful enough to finish off the drake. Now, the silt horror and drake are engaged in a days-long battle to the death. Should anyone stumble across the battle, they might have the chance to slay two of the deadliest predators on Athas…

Dahot & Sand Bride: A spectral old woman haunts the desert between two well-traveled oases, warning travelers of the young woman who attacked her. She claims her attacker can turn to sand and weaken others with but a touch, and offers to reward anyone who recovers her valuables and escorts herself and her goods home to her family.

The same stretch of desert is also haunted by a spectral young woman who claims that an old woman attacked her. She claims the old woman can turn into dust and steal souls, and she makes the same offer: anyone who recovers her valuables and escorts her and her goods home to her family will be rewarded.

The women have never been seen anywhere at the same time, even though the distance between the two oases is relatively short. One of the women is surely a sand bride and the other likely her victim, but who is to say which is which?

Mastyrial & Esperweed: Rumor holds that a large patch of esperweed has been found growing along the Sea of Silt, where the desert sands blow into the silt. Wagging tongues hold that the patch was discovered by a wandering elf tribe - though opinions vary as to which one - but was inaccessible due to the large number of mastyrials lairing in the area.

Wild Muls & Dwarven Banshee: A small watering hole stands isolated in the wastes, hosting a few stunted bushes and scattered tufts of grass. The watering hole is haunted by Jasaic Orefury, a dwarven banshee who allows local animals to drink unhindered, but chases off or kills any humanoids who approach the water.

Jasaic died of thirst within sight of the oasis, with his young nieces and nephews safely hidden in a nearby cave. His focus was to get the children safely across the wastes, but Jasaic assumed his kin did not survive, and so rose as a banshee the next evening.

The watering hole lies within the territory of a group of wild muls, who occasionally camp within a nearby cave - the very same cave where Jasaic hid his kin; the muls carry some metallic trinkets they found in the cave - small items left behind by the children.

Anyone wishing access to Jasaic’s oasis will first need to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of putting the banshee to rest. Careful individuals, however, might manage to engage Jasaic in conversation rather than combat and learn the nature of his curse. Clever individuals might even manage to convince him that his kin survived and that the muls are their descendants. Convincing the muls to go along with such a plan and show the undead dwarf their metal trinkets as “proof” of their ancestry, however, will be another matter entirely.

Thrax & Sand Howlers: In a region of sandy dunes, travelers might catch sight of a lone individual surrounded by a small pack of fierce-looking, canine-like creatures. The man might be a half-elf, with his dark hair, thick frame, pointed ears, and sun-burnt skin. The creatures can easily be seen to have multiple pairs of eyes, as they howl terrifyingly and occasionally rush in to nip at the man.

The man is in fact a thrax named Durmaz, a former human thief now dwelling in the wastes and preying on travelers. The creatures surrounding him are sand howlers and his trained hunting hounds, which Durmaz uses to track down and incapacitate his quarry. Should anyone observe him with his hounds, Durmaz will release them to attack, as he is keen to preserve the secret of his existence (and to feed).