The Burnt World of Athas

The official Dark Sun website

By Steve Remington

Bleeding in the cold Athasian night, Erifyks stumbled and tried to retain his footing amongst the loose rocks and cobbles of the stoney barrens east of Tyr. He knew he was being stalked and knew that his death was soon at hand. In the distance, he could see the antennae of the hulking thri-kreen warriors as they closed, hunched, trying to remain hidden from sight in the frigid air, cloaked in the darkness of night. He watched the antennae split into two pairs, as the small pack of two separated and moved in for the kill. All he could do was gasp for air and pray for a quick demise at the hands of these ruthless killers, a foe that was known to begin eating its victims long before they were dead. As he felt death embracing him and with fear gripping his choked heart, Erifyks’ ears perked and stood as alert as they ever had. A sound, so shrill it penetrated his skull, reverberated through the rocky wastes, sending small rodents to their burrows. The thri-kreen stopped and stood fully erect in the pale, weak light of a lone moon. Erifyks could now see their menacing forms and made good use of the distraction, slipping into a rocky crevice and moving along its length. All was quiet for quite some time. Not even the clacking of chitinous kreen legs on the stones or the rasping breaths of the hiding bard were audible. Then, the cacophony of battle split the still night air. Erifyks waited patiently for the tumult of the struggle to be over, but it only seemed to be getting closer. He summoned his last ounce of strength and carefully prepared a small enchantment that he had all but forgotten in the hasty ambush of the thri-kreen earlier. With the energy gathered, Erifyks prepared himself, the clatter of parries and strikes yet closer still. He quickly stood, bringing himself chest high above the rock outcropping. A dull but loud thump sounded on the ground directly in front of him, followed by the crackle-squish of pierced kreen chitin and flesh. He craned his neck upward to see a tall and lanky, but heavily muscled elf withdrawing her sword from the thri-kreen’s ichor-covered head, which Erifyks found himself face to face with. “Come.” she said, “We feast. Then you will save my life someday. You owe me”.

Though not displayed here in the story, except an implication of a lone elf dispatching two thri-kreen warriors, the Elven Runner is a tough and hearty foe. What follows is the complete description of the kit in standard format, based on the various handbooks of many worlds. It is intended for your use, not abuse. Just remember from where it came is all I ask. Enjoy.

Elven Runner by Brom

The Elven Runner Kit

Description: When important information or valuable parcels need to get somewhere quickly, people call on an Elven Runner. A perfect blend of speed and endurance, Elven Runners are the epitome of desert survivalists. When called for, an Elven Runner can easily cover seventy miles in a single day. Several days of sustained running can place them at the four corners of the Tyr region. Elven Runners are multi-class Fighter/Thieves, however, as per the Dark Sun Rules Book (DS 2400), Ranger may be substituted for Fighter, and Trader may be substituted for Thief. Though not as hearty as a Mul on a forced march, Elven Runners are both durable and swift, and so require a Dexterity of 15 and a Constitution of 14, making them very rare.

Role: Elven Runners are the free spirits of what passes for elven society. They are often loners, but rarely go out of their way to stay that way. Though they value their time alone, Elven Runners are good companions to have in the wastes of Athas. Elven Runners are the diplomats of elven society as well, and are always welcomed by other tribes, regardless of tribal affiliation, even if tribes are mortal enemies. Elven Runners are often the bearers of bad news, but people are nonetheless happy to see them.

Weapon Proficiencies: Bonus: None, to make up for the wealth of bonus non-weapon Proficiencies. Required: None, but Elven Runners often choose weapons that are light and easy to carry and conceal. Heavy, encumbering weapons such as polearms, may be used by Elven Runners but are never taken on elven runs, and so are never used as primary weapons, only in dire circumstances.

Non-weapon Proficiencies: Bonus: Survival (Sandy Wastes, Salt Flats, or any region with a movement value of 3 or less, i.e. not mountains), Endurance, Running. Required: Navigation, Direction Sense, Heat Protection. Recommended: (General) - Bargain, Water Find, Weather Sense. (Rogue) - Appraising, Local History (and because of the Elven Runners unique Nature and speed, any area in the Tyr region can be considered local for them). (Warrior) - Hunting, Survival (other terrains), Tracking.

Equipment: The Elven runner can use any armor, but often use light or none. Most Runners despise bulky armor, which is in such rare supply on Athas anyway. An Elven Runner cannot make an elven run if wearing anything heavier than light leather (AC 8). Provided an Elven Runner has a tribe, they receive a bone sword of tribal make, conferring all of the bonuses detailed in the Elves of Athas supplement. They also receive a set of thieves’ tools at no cost.

Special Benefits: Elven Runners receive, over and above that normally allowed to elves, one bonus movement point to be added to their base movement. This reflects their harsh training and supreme skill at swift overland movement. They are also able to push a tribe further on an Elven run, provided they succeed in a Charisma check. Elven runners add a +2 bonus to a mass elf run, as an additional leader bonus. They command respect, and anytime they run with a tribe, tribe members are inspired to keep pace with them. In contests with other members of a tribe, they can actually use their bonus as a -2 penalty to their opponents movement, disheartening a young, up and coming runner, and maintaining their position at the top.

They are also diplomats of Elven society. Any time an Elven Runner delivers a message or package, they are invited to stay with the recipient, even if the news is bad or the package the head of a favorite gladiator delivered to the house owner. If bad news is the case, the Elven Runner is invited to stay overnight, just long enough to rest and gather supplies. If the news is good, they may stay, at their host’s expense, for a number of days equal to their level divided by two. They are not required to stay, and a host will always understand their early departure, especially if it is for business, so long as he leaves without the fine dinnerware.

Special Hindrances: Elven Runners are by far the most suspicious characters on all of Athas. They distrust all outsiders, employing the traditional tests of trust and devotion to the extreme. The Elven Runner will never fully trust an individual until he has been tested in a run or the outsider has proven himself as reliable as the Elven Runner’s legs. An Elven Runner who is forced to drop out of their superior elf run due to combat, has a -2 penalty to all actions for the duration of the combat, and must rest for 1 turn before resuming their run.

Wealth: Standard.