The Burnt World of Athas

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Greetings friends.

For today’s clairvoyant missive in the name of the Athasian Survey Project, I bring news of my journey south along the coast of an area sometimes described as “The Forgotten North”.

Once my silt skimmer had passed south of Eldaarich, we followed the coast, catching a brief glimpse of the beautifully lush farmlands of South Guard before heading due south.

While this land seems relatively featureless on the map, it is anything but. From the silt, I could see the coastal road which the raiders of Spoil spoke of: this long open road and its exposed caravans provide the easy pickings which sustain the Bandit States to the west in the Glowing Desert. It has not always been completely devoid of settlements either, as I spotted ruins of two modest coastal port towns - one in the estuary south of South Guard and the other in the inlet north of Azeth’s Rest. The latter had a dock which was still in use by the merchant house Azeth, sported its colours from inside the ruined walls and fortifications.

After several days of traveling cautiously and hiding behind various natural barriers to avoid wandering giants, we eventually reached the chain of islands known as the Road of Fire. Each of these islands presents its own remarkable and terrifying spectacle- giant volcanoes, dancing fire elementals, tribes of beasthead giants, and fire drakes to name a few of the imminent dangers awaiting on these islands.

In this image you can see a small uninhabited island just to the north of Avegdaar and Morghaz. Siltfarers know well the dangerous inhabitants of the two islands and this is about as close as my captain was willing to travel to either location. Looking upon the greenery on this small patch of land surrounded by silt I wondered exactly how long it takes for defiled land to start supporting plant life again. Some have said it will never happen, but I have seen too much of this world in my many years to believe that there aren’t natural forces trying to push back.

As my skimmer worked its way around the easternmost island of Morghaz, I recalled the tales I had heard of Fort Akarakle as I saw it in the distance. While it was not easy to see any detail, I wondered if the place is still overseen by the dead preserver Haakar and his undying army of skeletons. … I have just learned my captain has agreed to allow our ship to venture within visual range of the fabled Cerulean Storm! It is still a few days away, but I find myself excited and terrified in ways I haven’t felt since I was a young student on my way to the Nexus.

Until next time, may the moons guide you.

Island of Morghaz
Island Of Morghaz by Neujack

(For whoever can guess the source of this image on Earth would win this lovely vampire cactus I found on the uninhabited island.)


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.