The Burnt World of Athas

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Greetings my friends. I have another clairvoyant missive to share with you in the name of the Athasian Survey Project.

I am sending you an image which is representative of the journey I have taken with the remnants of my silt skimmer crew over the past few days. It is from three days ago, when our ‘escort’ of giants (if you could call this arrangement such a thing) carried us atop their shoulders due east across the silt shallows, traveling from Shault towards the mainland. From here, you can see the westernmost tip of Lake Island and the rocks surrounding the inlet just outside of Break Shore. The view is facing north, as if we had just left Fort Firstwatch or Bitter Well on a silt skimmer and were working our way along the coast while avoiding the rocks, with the highest mountain you can see on the left being the Isle of Bones.

It seemed the weather these past few days was in our favour. Only one minor silt storm assaulted our lungs and eyes along the journey, and no monstrosities of the deeper silt seemed to wander into our path. That meant, perhaps ironically, our biggest threat here was the mainland humans themselves. So we had to watch carefully the goings of the military and merchant ships along the coastline and await our opening. Naturally, the garrisons of Fort Firstwatch are justifiably wary of giant attacks, and would not understand a non-aggressive procession such as ours. So it was logical to keep our movements out of sight of the mainland for as long as possible.

We made landfall about a day’s travel east of Break Shore, in an inlet bay obscured from Raam by mountains. The remnants of my silt skimmer crew amicably parted company with the giants who had carried us so far before they waded back into the shallows. The giants also set down our broken skimmer on the shore, giving the appearance that we had run aground after losing a fight with wild giants. We then made our way along the coast towards the village of Break Shore.

Like most siltside settlements in the Tablelands, the village of Break Shore is more of a fortification than an open port. And like many such settlements, it mainly operates as a satellite port for the nearby city state of Raam. In this case, Break Shore is twinned with the village of Cromlin on the opposing shore, sending silt skimmers through the maze of treacherous silt shoals which crowd the silt around Break Shore. Only particularly clever navigators, and of course the giants themselves, know how to move through these without risk.

Before I made my way back to Urik to report to my superiors in the Consortium, I owed it to this silt craft crew to arrange compensation for their lost vessel. My Consortium contact in Altaruk would be able to handle the arrangements, but first we had to get there. Posing as able crew from Raam looking for employment on a new vessel, and it wasn’t long before we managed to find gainful employment aboard a siltcraft from the Shom Merchant House delivering goods to Altaruk.

It’s better I keep quiet once I’m aboard the merchant ship. House Shom is not affiliated with the Consortium, and I do not know if I can trust this captain to not listen in.

Until we can speak again, may the moons guide you.

Lake Island
Lake Island by Neujack

(For those who can guess the location of this image from Earth, I have as today’s prize: a very small basket on the end of two cords, all braided out of half-giant’s hair. From what I can tell, it’s either a sling, an eyepatch, or a jock strap for a halfling…)

* 2e Revised Wanderer’s Chronicle
* City by the Silt Sea
* City State of Draj
* Villages of the Wastes


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.