The Burnt World of Athas

The official Dark Sun website

Created by a spring that flows from the Feathered Crags, the Silt Slough is one of the most dangerous areas in the Southern Estuary.    In the west, where the stream flows from the mountains of the Feathered Crags and the land is firm, the area is a verdant paradise compared to most of Athas.  A deep ravine descends from the mountains through the rocky badlands north east toward the Sea of Silt.  The ravine is steep on both sides, making it difficult to access, even though precious water runs its length.  As the land levels out the ravine was long ago choked with sand and silt, causing a  silt bog or mud flat to be created.  This Silt Slough extends miles brushing up against the falling walls of Celik to the Sea of Silt where the dust greedily sucks up the life giving water. 

Silt Slough

As the largest source of water in the area the Silt Slough is inhabited and visited by all manner of creatures from the surrounding lands.  Bog Waders, cha'thrang, and cistern fiends are just a few of the creatures known to inhabit the area in large numbers.  Floating Mantles and ruktoi seem particularly numerous where the Silt Slough is consumed by the Silt Sea.  Beasts are not the only denizens of the Silt Slough though.

In the west, where the great ravine spills into the Silt Slough proper a tribe called the Kraecho survives against the onslaught of Athas and its inhabitants.  The Kraecho are guided by their Bog Shamans who pray to the water spirits of River and Slough.  When the spirits demand it, primal warriors are sent into the slough to make war on the numerous tribes of silt runners who have adapted to life in the bog.

The silt runner tribes are not the only enemies of the Kraecho in the slough.  The Silt Slough is a physical manifestation of the water spirits' crusade against the encroaching corrupting silt spirits.  As such the Kraecho battle silt elementals and silt horrors which sometimes find their way upriver.  Due to the corrupting nature of the silt spirits, when a Kraecho shaman or primally invested warrior falls in this great struggle they will sometimes be denied  death and return as Krags, undead twisted to the will of the silt elementals.  To make matters worse these Krags can infect the living with elemental poisoning or disease with a bite, often turning them into Kraglings, binding them to the Krag.  It is against these elemental abominations that the Kraecho battle against tirelessly at the will of their shamans and the spirits they serve.

Silt Slough Greenery

Places and People of the Silt Slough

Aarakocra Bridge:  The aarakocra, always feeding off the leavings of other Athasians, have taken over this ancient bridge and charge a tax to whoever wishes to cross.  The bridge is one of the few places to easily cross the slough where its more river than bog.  The location is highly contested between the Kraecho and the aarakocra of the Airy Cliffs. 

The Espervale:   Esperweed is a rare psionically active flowering plant that grows in mudflats.  While not common in the slough it grows more in this area than anywhere else on Athas.  One place in particular, the Espervale, is often covered in the blooms.  Some local tribes brave the heavy black mud to harvest the roots of the plant, which they use in rituals to expose the psionic nature of their youth and ultimately destroy any psionic potential they may have.  Some tribe harvest and sell the roots, before their psionic potency is lost, to Maraneth traders.

Steaming Falls: Water from the adjoining swampland  falls into a gaping hole, causing a circular waterfall.  The opening is over two hundred feet across and is constantly filled with rising steam caused when the falling water hits the surface of a lava lake hundreds of feet down.  Elemental lava creatures sometimes escape the underground pool to wreak havoc on the surrounding athasian landscape.  A rare Caldera of Magma priests inhabit the area, battling both the Kraecho bog shamans as well as the silt krags.

Kraecho: This medium sized village survives on whatever the hunters or the bog shamans of the village can bring back from the swamp.  The homes of the Kraecho sit atop stilts several feet off the swamp with bridges running between buildings.  Recently something has moved into the swamp beneath the village.  Children and small animals have gone missing.  Some say it's a large bogwader, others say a demon, punishing the village for losing the Aarakocra Bridge.

The Stifling Sept: Made up of all manner of silt priests as well as krags and kraglings converted from  water worshipers and magma priests, along with their followers, the Stifling Sept is a chaotic, disorganized force.  Many tribes of the region are cowed into service of the undead krags or led to see of the way of the silt by the priests.  Either way the beguiled followers  are often led to war against the other inhabitants of the slough leaving little in their wake other than choking dust.