The Burnt World of Athas

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“Where did you come from, boy?”, grumbled the Urikite templar dressed in fine, blue robes of silk - obviously imported from Nibenay. “No where, my lord…”, the ruffled youth stammered. Caught trying to pick the templar’s pocket, he looked barely old enough to speak, but was clearly already well versed in the art of thievery. He was not much to look at, and I really cannot say why I took pity on him that day, only that I did, and it changed my life. The child was human, and a striking example of the “uneducated vermin”, as some in the noble houses called them, that the cities-states of Athas continued to fill up with.

I had had enough of the life of servitude and lusted for freedom, just as the boy wanted for food: every day the hunger grew in both of us. I emerged from the shadows of the square just as the templar began to beat the boy. I ordered him to stop at once, and he did so, sweeping around to see who had given the command. Though I was a senior templar, I was not of this city. He, however, was thoroughly convinced otherwise. I did not even waver as I called quietly upon the power of my own sorcerer king, Andropinis, to smite my foe. My spell received, the Urikite templar in the fancy clothes began to twist in agony, with pain wracking his body. He collapsed to his knees and began to mutter quietly. Not willing to deal with a prolonged dual, I simply smashed my fist into his nose, sending fragments into his brain.

The boy recoiled, likely assuming that I would continue the beating or summon others who would, but I did not. In the middle of the square, I renounced the very power I had just called upon to kill a man, albeit a vile man, and took a new vow, to no one save myself. I would be my own master. I quickly disrobed down to my underclothes and grabbed a plain tunic from a street merchant in the stall next to me. I handed my ancient jeweled dagger, worth enough to feed an army of half-giants, to the reluctant boy and looked about the small court. Alarms had been raised and guards and templars were rushing to the scene of the Urikite’s murder. I opened my heavy coin purse and tossed it high into the air, and amid the rain of metal coins and the throng of greedy street rabble, I disappeared in broad daylight. That day, I took a new name, Erifyks, and have never regretted it.

What follows is a kit that I was hesitant to post, but have decided to anyway. With a little bit of editing I was able to gel it into a sound, if not lengthy, article. I am thinking that this one is going to get me into trouble, but with that thought, I present:

Humans from Terrors Beyond Tyr by Baxa
Humans, Terrors Beyond Tyr Baxa by Baxa

The Templar Investigator

Description: Only the most skilled templars may ever become investigators. They are the most formidable clerics within the ranks of the templars and almost never appear as themselves, except the most bold and then only when concluding a case. Investigators come from all walks of life, many races and backgrounds. To become an investigator, one must have an Intelligence of 13, a Wisdom of 14, and a Charisma of 15. This kit is best used by either multi-classed characters, or dual-classed humans, as it lends more to the character.

Role: Investigators, to blend into the shadows of whatever case they are currently undertaking, usually take on elaborate disguises (described below under Special Benefits). Among other templars, they are almost always despised, although there have been a few that were admired for their skills (Vhelock of Urik comes to mind). Many an investigator has been involved, directly or from the shadows, in the unseating of senior templars among the ranks, sometimes at the behest of the sorcerer kings themselves. Plus, everyone knows that the real government operates behind the scenes anyway. Investigators may have a case at any time and anywhere, and are expected to undertake them promptly. Usually, they work on secret missions for the sorcerer kings, but in more recent times, because of the fall of some of the sorcerer kings, templar investigators may work for others who pay well, such as merchant houses or nobles. Investigators have titles within the bureaucracy, just as regular templars do. As a matter of fact, no investigator is known as such, they are simply referred to as Templar of the Sewers or High Templar, whatever their normal title might be. Templar investigators are masters of disguise that could show many rogues a thing or two. Don’t be so sure that the elf you met with last evening for supper was actually in the Veiled Alliance, because he might have been a gladiator the day before.

Weapon Proficiencies: Bonus: Special Required: None Templar investigators, like all templars, are trained in many fighting techniques, however, while normal templars cease their training to enter the bureaucracy, investigators continue their training much like gladiators. This awards them several benefits. First, investigators are proficient in all weapons just like the gladiators they trained with. Second, if the need should arise for them to show additional skill (i.e.,specialization) with a single weapon, they may do so within limits. Templar investigators may specialize just like a fighter, albeit temporarily. To gain the +1 to hit and +2 to damage or point blank for bows, they must spend one week of rigorous training with that weapon. When the training period is over, they emerge fully specialized just as a warrior of equal level (using a priest’s THAC0, of course). This specialization is lost when they decide to specialize in a new weapon or when the taking of a new disguise necessitates it (see below). If they use a weapon in which they are specialized faithfully, forsaking all others, they may keep the specialization until one of the above conditions is met; this, however, is rare, because most templar investigators try not to have any trademarks to identify themselves. Lastly, an investigator begins with no initial weapon proficiencies (being proficient in all weapons as they are) nor does he gain any with further levels. He gets just enough of the training he needs and then moves on.

Non-Weapon Proficiencies: Bonus: Disguise, Acting. Required: Those necessary for keeping one’s cover (i.e., Musical Instrument for an entertainer, Spellcraft for a Veiled Alliance member or Pottery for a Master Potter).

Recommended: Bureaucracy, Somatic Concealment. As they never learn weapon proficiencies, Investigators gain a wealth of skills to begin their careers.

A templar investigator gets 1.5x the number of languages/proficiencies that they would normally receive for a high Intelligence as beginning proficiencies. However, he gains proficiencies at a slower rate due to all of the cases he is forced to work on and so gains non-weapon proficiencies, regardless of multi-class combinations, at a rate of 1 per 5 levels. Investigators are keen and learn quickly, but forfeit some of their knowledge in the pursuit of their own goals, which is usually truth, twisted or not.

Equipment: Templar investigators may use any equipment necessary, especially if it helps to maintain their cover.

Special Benefits: Templar investigators may take on other kits as “disguises” or “covers”. While under “cover”, they must do their best to maintain the illusion of whatever role they have chosen. To help, they receive, albeit temporarily, all bonus proficiencies of the assumed kit, as well as all special benefits. Templar investigators spend a great deal of time studying a great many things, and these skills, necessary to maintaining a cover, are a reflection of that. These new skills are discarded whenever the investigator chooses a new kit to emulate. Class abilities, such as thieving skills or psionics, are never gained as a result of a chosen “cover”.

Special Hindrances: A templar investigator must take the good with the bad and so must also assume any special hindrances of the chosen kit. These are dropped when the current kit is discarded or a new one is assumed. Investigators never really learn or forget skills during their careers - their rushed learning of proficiencies gives them just enough knowledge to pass themselves off as the real thing. However, the frequency with which most change covers precludes them from ever really developing those skills. A templar must meet all requirements for race, ability scores, etc., before a kit can be chosen as a cover. The templar investigator may only choose a new cover 1 per level each week (i.e., five times per week at fifth level) A kit may be discarded at any time and the templar may assume a new one or appear as himself, which some investigators forget in all their role-playing.

Wealth: Normal.