The Burnt World of Athas

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Good evening friends. I have another exciting clairvoyant missive to share with you in the name of the Athasian Survey Project.

Once we parted company with our gracious forest jozhal hosts, we made our way north towards Pterran Vale. The journey of two days proved relatively uneventful, not least because I could tell this area was well-patrolled from the skies by the majestic pterrax riders.

The pterran must surely be the most civilised of all the reptilian species of Athas. In spite of this, they are misunderstood by most other races and seldom visited by anyone other than the most intrepid merchant caravans.

A full King’s Age ago my father took me with him on what was to be my first grand journey out of the Tablelands. He had come to meet with a new contact in order to establish a new trade route to Pterran Vale.

In spite of our many cultural and physiological differences, the family of the traders we were visiting were wonderfully accommodating. I played with the trader’s twin children (at the time I did not yet know that all pterran children are born twins) and their newly hatched pterrax.

The subject of faith was a prominent point of discussion in the house. I learned they were born from the Life Path of the Druid caste, but had found the calling of traders to be both beneficial to the community and to the exploration of their understanding of the world.

I was shaken from my reverie by the harsh cries of the pterraxes being broken in on their first flights from the training grounds in the wadis between the two towns. In spite of the natural connection the pterrans felt towards their flying steeds, learning to ride a flying mount was a lethally dangerous proposition if they were not careful. But for the bravest and steadiest handlers the skies in this region were almost exclusively theirs.

Once we reached the road between the two towns, I parted company with my travelling companions once again. Their caravan was bound into the city of Pterran Vale proper, while my business was with the training grounds themselves. I planned on travelling into the Kreen Empire via the air.

I will find out soon enough if the Consortium’s arrangements will get me what I desire. Until next time, may the moons guide you…

Pterrax Aerie Near Pterran Vale
Pterrax Aerie Near Pterran Vale by Neujack
(For the lucky individual who guesses where this could be on Earth, I have a gift of a child’s pterrax doll. It’s made of leather and stuffed with something which feels…squishy…eugh.)

- Scale Tail and Claw (available soon on!)


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.