The Burnt World of Athas

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The Dust Filchers

*As they near the silt estuary, just south of Fort Kalvis, travelers along the People’s Road often move with some trepidation. Fears of rampaging monsters give way here to anxiety about the frequent dust storms that permeate the area. During these storms, many traders attempt to push through, rather than be delayed; those that tarry or stop are often unceremoniously robbed of their most precious belongings by a fast-moving gang of creatures under a shroud of silt and dust.*

Merchants and dune traders have begun to recount wild stories describing the sheer terror of barely noticed gray shadows flitting about their caravan during a dust storm, only to realize that it has been stripped of its most valuable cargo once the storm subsides. Some traders believe that the storms are unnatural and follow the barely seen creatures, as they engage in the redistribution of wealth. Few realize how much truth lies in these stories.

Using the dust storms as a cover, a gang known as the Dust Filchers relieve their targets of valuable goods and precious items. The Dust Filchers are led by H’hakh One-Eye, a silt runner paraelemental cleric of Silt. H’hakh uses his abilities to summon large silt storms and elementals near the estuary as cover and then sends fast moving jhozals to detect and sift through caravans for magic goods and other small valuable items. A few of the silt runners have captured and trained razorwings, using their wings to slice ropes holding cargo during rapid surprise attacks. Occasionally, a razorwing carries off an unsuspecting trader as a meal, but other than this, the Dust Filchers try to conduct their raids without engaging in combat. They prefer to strike fast and disappear into the dust storm just as quickly.

Silt Runner
Silt Runner by Dave Allsop

Dust Filchers

Members: 21 (12 Silt Runners, 9 Jhozals, 2 razorwings)

Leader(s): H’hakh One-Eye (CN Male Silt Runner Cleric of Silt 7); H’hakh One-Eye, got his name as a young silt runner after surviving a silt spawn attack that left him with a single eye. The elders of his tribe claimed he was cursed for falling prey to the creature, and banished him until he found a new eye. Surviving alone along the shores of the Sea of Silt, strange whispers from within the silt called to H’hakh. At first apprehensive, he dove into the silt sea as it welcomed him in a strange fashion. When H’hakh emerged, he found himself chosen to carry the silt to the farthest reaches of Athas.

Vuaa (N Female Jhozal Preserver 6); Vuaa is the elder Jhozal of the Filchers, her curiosity for all things magical drives her to collect as many trinkets as possible. Together with the silt runners, she has found the elemental magic H’hakh brings is pivotal to their success in raiding. This success has allowed every single johzal to obtain at least one magic trinket and Vuaa carries several. Her favorite item is a gnarled agafari wand of slow that Vuaa uses to cause her targets to panic and flee, making their thefts easier.

Area of Operations: South of Fort Kalvis, along the People’s Road near the Estuary of the Forked Tongue. The Dust Filchers have established a camp in an ancient collapsed tower on the edge of the silty estuary. The tower is almost completely buried in silt and is difficult to find in clear conditions (which are rare). Inside the tower’s lowest level, a network of tunnels and ancient passages are used for living space and storage for their ill-gotten goods.

The Dust Filchers’ success at raiding has not gone unnoticed. An elven seer, Mutaabu Dawnchaser (CN Male Elf Psionicist 8) used object reading on a spear one of the Filchers dropped during a recent raid to narrow down where the raiders are coming from. With the insight gained from his psionics, Mutaabu and his tribe are homing in on the Filcher’s hidden base.