DMDave’s Dark Sun Primer | Quick Reference Guide (Updated 8/13/19)

This is a reference guide for my players for my upcoming Dark Sun 5e campaign. Feel free to use it for your own campaign reference.

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Character Creation

These are the rules for character creation in a Dark Sun campaign.

Races

The following races are available in this Dark Sun campaign:

Player’s Handbook Races

  • dwarf (hill dwarf only)
  • elf (wood elf only)
  • halfling (lightfoot only)
  • human (regular or variant)
  • dragonborn (these are called dray)
  • half-elf
  • half-orc (these will represent muls)

Volo’s Guide to Monster’s Races

  • goliath (as half-giants)
  • kenku (most Dark Sun kenku are evil)
  • kobolds
  • lizardfolk (as ssurran)
  • goblin (as ratfolk)

New Races

 

Classes

The following classes and sub-classes are available in this Dark Sun campaign. The bard and paladin classes are not available:

Barbarian

  • Path of the Berserker
  • Path of the Totem Warrior
  • Path of the Ancestral Guardian
  • Path of the Storm Herald (desert only)

Cleric

  • War Domain (as Earth Domain)
  • Life Domain (as Water Domain)
  • Light Domain (as Fire Domain)
  • Tempest Domain (as Air Domain)

Druid

  • Circle of the Land
    • Desert
    • Forest
    • Grassland
    • Mountain
  • Circle of the Moon

Fighter

  • Arcane Archer (elves only)
  • Champion
  • Battle Master
  • Eldritch Knight (as Psionic Knight using Spell Points)

Monk

  • Way of the Drunken Master
  • Way of the Four Elements
  • Way of the Kensei
  • Way of the Open Hand
  • Way of Shadow
  • Way of the Sun Soul

Psion

Ranger (UA Version)

  • Beast Conclave
  • Hunter Conclave

Rogue

  • Arcane Trickster (as Psionic Trickster using Spell Points)
  • Assassin (give this subclass proficiency with one instrument of the player’s choice)
  • Inquisitive
  • Mastermind
  • Scout
  • Thief

Sorcerer (as a Defiler)

  • Draconic

Warlock (as Templar/Defiler, any non-good)

  • The Archfey (as Lalali-Puy)
  • The Great Old One (as Abalach-Re)
  • The Fiend (Kalak, deceased, or Borys)
  • The Hexblade (as Hamanu)
  • The Kraken (as Andropinus)
  • The Raven Queen or the Seeker (as Nibenay the Shadow King)
  • The Undying (as Tectuktitlay)

Wizard (as Preserver, any non-evil)

  • School of Abjuration
  • School of Conjuration
  • School of Divination
  • School of Enchantment
  • School of Evocation
  • School of Illusion
  • School of Necromancy
  • School of Transmutation
  • War Mage

Ability Scores

Ability scores are generated in one of the following ways:

  • Rolling. Roll five 4-sided dice and assign as desired.
  • Standard Array. Use the following scores: 15, 15, 15, 14, 10, 8, and assign as desired.
  • Point Cost. You have 36 points to spend on ability scores. The cost of each score is shown on the Ability Score Point Cost table (PHB, page 13).

Backgrounds

  • Acolyte. Acolytes are either templars or elemental priests.
  • Sailors. Sailors sail the silt sea and typically from the Balic region.

Literacy

All character are illiterate unless they have one or more of the following classes, backgrounds, or proficiencies:

  • Caligrapher’s supplies proficiency
  • Cartographer’s tools proficiency
  • Forgery kit proficiency
  • Sorcerer class
  • Warlock class
  • Wizard class
  • Guild Merchant background
  • Noble background
  • Sage background

When a character is allowed to select a language as part of a racial, class, or background feature, they may select Literacy as one of their options. If they do, they can read and write in all the languages that they can speak.

Equipment

When choosing starting equipment based on classes and backgrounds, use the following rules:

  • Characters start with ceramic pieces (cp) instead of gold pieces.
  • All non-metal arms, armor, equipment, and items are valued at 1% of their normal price (this is for cp conversion).
  • With the exception of the following items, all weapons must be made of bone, wood, or obsidian: blowguns (with barbed dart or needle), all bows, clubs, all crossbows, javelins, lances, quarterstaves, slings (with stones), spears, whips, and nets.
  • The following types of armor are not available: chain shirt, chain mail, breastplate, half plate, splint, and full plate.
  • Books, ink, scrolls, and any other tool used for writing are considered contraband in most city-states.
  • With the exception of templars and authorized defilers, arcane focuses, spell components, and other magical equipment are considered contraband.
  • The mounts listed in the PHB are not available. Instead, characters may purchase inixes, kanks, mekillots, or crodlu. Kanks and crodlu use the same tack and harnesses as horses.

Weapons Made from Inferior Materials

Weapons can be made from bone, stone, wood, or obsidian. With the exception of the aforementioned non-metallic items, any weapon normally made from metal made from a lesser material suffers the following drawbacks:

Inferior Materials Drawbacks

Weapon Material Cost Weight Max Prof. Bonus
Max. Strength Bonus
metal 100% 100%
bone 30% 50% +4 +2
stone/obsidian 50% 75% +3 +3
wood* 10% 50% +2 +1

*A creature cannot score critical hits with a wooden weapon

Cost. This is the relative cost of the weapon compared to its metallic version.

Weight. This is the relative weight of the weapon compared to its metallic version.

Maximum Proficiency Bonus. This is the highest proficiency bonus a creature may to its attack rolls with this weapon.

Maximum Damage Bonus. This is the highest ability score modifier a creature may to its damage rolls with this weapon.

Breaking. A weapon made of inferior material has a 5% chance of breaking when a creature deals maximum damage with the weapon.

Weapons normally made from bone, stone, obsidian, wood, or other non-metallic materials do not suffer these drawbacks. Those weapons are blowguns (with barbed dart or needle), all bows, clubs, all crossbows, javelins, lances, quarterstaves, slings (with stones), spears, whips, and nets.

Psionics

All characters start with the Magic Initiate feat, except the selected cantrips and spells are considered psionics instead of spells.

Skills

The only change to skills is with religion. Religion in Dark Sun is instead Decorum and is used to recall lore about specific cultures, courtesies and traditions, and the practices of different factions.

Spells

Spells that affect, detect or suppress magic also work on psionics such as detect magic and dispel magic.

Plant growth has no effect on a tree of life.

Spells that create water produce only one half the normal amount of water created.

Casters have disadvantage on concentration checks when maintaining spells that create or control ice or water such as wall of ice and control water.

Experience

Experience is gained through milestones instead of combat encounters. Milestones are based on meeting certain expectations and goals as determined by the GM.

The maximum level the campaign will reach is 15th.

Hard Mode

The following rules options are added to this Dark Sun campaign:

  • All magic items are adjusted one level of rarity upward: common becomes uncommon, uncommon becomes rare, etc. In addition, the cost for magic items is still in gp, not cp.
  • The is no consideration for encounter difficulty XP and Adventuring Day XP, so challenges may be very difficult (or very easy).
  • Fear and Horror checks will be used along with Sanity scores. You may consider asking for Fear and Horror checks when magic is cast for the first time near the characters.
  • The optional Healer’s Kit Dependency rule will be used and characters have Slow Natural Healing.
  • Characters can get Lingering Injuries on critical hits when dropping to 0 hit points, or if he or she fails his or her death saving throw by 5 or more.
  • Creatures can experience massive damage.
  • Successful foraging rolls product half the amount of water they normally would.

Short and Long Rests

The Dark Sun campaign uses a variant on short and long rest. A short rest is 8 hours long and a long rest is 7 days. Clerics, druids, and wizards must rest for 7 days in order to regain spell slots. However, sorcerers and warlocks have to the option to regain spell slots after resting for only 7 hours. The spells they regain are tainted with defilement.

Defilement

When a sorcerer or warlock casts a defiling spell, they use all the same verbal, somatic, and material components. The range, duration, casting time, area of effect, and saving throws remain unchanged. However, all vegetation in a sphere around the defiler dies. The radius of that sphere depends upon two things: the abundance of vegetation in the area, and the level of the spell cast.

For Stony Barrens, Sandy Wastes, Rocky Badlands, Salt Flats, Boulder Fields, Silt Sea and Mountains, the radius of the sphere is a base of 15 feet plus 15 feet per level. For example, a warlock that casts a 5th-level spell in the rocky badlands destroys all vegetation in a 90-foot radius sphere centered on it.

For Scrub Plains and Verdant Belts, the radius of the sphere is a base of 5 feet plus 5 feet per the spell’s level. So, a sorcerer that casts a 3rd-level spell in the scrub plains destroys all vegetation in a 20-foot radius sphere centered on it.

For Forests and Jungles, the range is a 5-foot radius for spell levels 1st through 7th, and 10 feet for 8th- and 9th-level spells.

Cantrips do not cause defilement.

Casting Multiple Spells from the Same Location

If a defiler casts more than one spell from the same location, the radius of destroyed vegetation expands around it. For example, the defiler Grifyan casts a lightning bolt, a 3rd-level spell, while in the scrub plains. The area of ash around him will be 20 feet. In the next round, he casts a magical missile spell, expanding the radius of ash by another 10 feet. In the third round, Grifyan decides to unleash a cone of cold cast as a 5th-level spell. The sphere’s radius expands again by 30 feet.

Plant Creatures and Magical Plants

Plant creatures and magical plants are allowed a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 10 + the spell’s level. If the creature fails its saving throw, it takes an amount of necrotic damage equal to 1d8 + 1d8 per spell level. If the creature or plant’s hit points are reduced to 0, it withers, dies, and turns to ash (see below).

Effects on Living Creatures

Though only plants are destroyed within the radius, living creatures are caused great pain. Any creature in the radius of a defiler’s magic must make a Constitution check with a saving throw of 10 + the spell’s level. A creature that fails its Constitution saving throw is wracked with great pain; until the end of the creature’s next turn, it has disadvantage on its ability checks and attack rolls.

Ash

The ash created by defiler magic is black and grey, completely devoid of life or life-giving elements. Nothing will grow in an area of ash for one year. The ash itself is very light and usually blows away, leaving behind a lifeless, circular scar on the ground. Even with the ash gone, though, the defiler’s magic has leeched all life-giving nutrients from the soil, so that an area defiled ma take many years to recover life if it ever does.

 

Desert Hazards

The hazards described here but a few examples of the environmental dangers found in Athas. Desert hazards are functionally similar to traps, which are described in the DMG.

Brambleweed

Brambleweed is a thick, thorny, vine-like plant that grows with incredible speed. Only the leading edge of a brambleweed mass actually grows; the rest is an almost impassable wall of thorns.

When a creature moving into a brambleweed patch for the first time on a turn or starting its turn there takes 33 (6d10) piercing damage from the brambleweed’s thorns. In addition, the creature must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or become restrained by the thorns. A restrained creature can use its action to try to escape, doing so with a successful DC 12 Strength (Athletics) check or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.

Each 10-foot cube of bramble weed has AC 11, 15 hit points, vulnerability to fire, and immunity to bludgeoning, piercing, and psychic damage. If a creature makes a melee weapon attack against brambleweed and misses by 5 or more takes 5 (1d10) piercing damage from the thorns.

Burnflowers

This hearty plant has highly shiny leaves that reflect sunlight into deadly beams of energy.

Burnflowers appear as a patch of grey-green vines with closed bulb-shaped flowers. If the flowers are opened, they are found to be coated with a clear, sticky sap. The sap has a nasty, bitter flavor and is neither edible nor poisonous.

When a creature comes within 150 feet of a 10-by-10-foot patch of burnflowers, the burnflowers are triggered. The patch fires a beam of fire at the creature. The creature must make a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (4d10) fire damage on a failed saving throw or half as much on a successful one.

Each 10-by-10-foot patch of burnflowers have an AC 9, 15 hit points, and immunity to bludgeoning, piercing, and psychic damage.

Dune Trappers

A sparkling oasis in the middle of the desert, the dune trapper appears to be the salvation of many lost travelers. Unfortunately for most, apparent salvation often turns into death.

The dune trapper is often mistaken for a solitary oasis in the desert. The trapper has the appearance of almost an acre of vegetation surrounding a small pool of water.

A creature that comes to drink at or is near the pool must make a DC 19 Strength or Dexterity saving throw (target’s choice). On a failed save, the dune trapper’s waters grab the creature and it is restrained. If it is still restrained at the end of its next turn, the creature must make a DC 19 Strength saving throw. On a failure, the creature is pulled into the water. While in the water the creature is restrained, drowning, and takes 24 (7d6) acid damage at the start of each of the dune trapper’s turns. As long as the creature isn’t completely submerged by the dune trapper’s waters can escape by using its action and succeed on DC 19 Strength check. A creature can pull the creature out of the dune trapper by using its action and succeed on a DC 19 Strength check. If the creature fails its Strength check to rescue the other creature by 5 or more, it too is grabbed by the dune trapper’s waters and must make its own series of saving throws to prevent being pulled in.

Esper Weed

Esperweed is a plant that grows in the few remaining tropical areas of Athas, as well as on some of the mudflats surrounding the Sea of Silt. A fairly rare plant by nature, esperweed is sought after by many for its psionic boosting powers.

Esperweed does not look like a weed of any kind but instead is a flowering plant that grows up to three feet in height. The esperweed stalk is brownish-green in color near the ground but becomes bright green as it nears its leaves and flowers. The leaves are roughly oval-shaped and anywhere from three to four inches in length. The esperweed flowers are perhaps the most unusual characteristic of the plant. They are large and sport six petals, each nearly six inches in length. In the center of the petals is a small circular stamen colored bright red. The petals are of this same color at their base but fade to a reddish-orange at the petal’s outer edge.

Natives of Athas have discovered that, when eaten, the roots of esperweed can boost psionic powers to very high levels. This boost is fairly short-lived, lasting for only 1 round. When the esperweed is eaten, any creature that makes a saving throw against the consumer’s psionic powers does so with disadvantage.

Repeated Use of Esperweed. While esperweed is very useful to psionic creatures and characters, repeated use can also be detrimental. Creatures can eat esperweed and enjoy its psionic boosting capabilities a number of times equal to their Hit Dice (or current experience level) without any ill effects in a 7-day period. For each use beyond that, however, the creature’s psionic ability fades. The creature’s maximum PSPs are reduced by 1d6. The reduction lasts until cured with a lesser restoration spell or similar magic.

Sand Cacti

Sand Cacti are a vile form of plant life that dwells anywhere there is sand. It feeds on the blood of its victims. Sand cacti are well protected; the entire plant (except the needles) is hidden below the sand. The body is from 5-8 feet across and about 4 feet thick. It has many barbed needles attached to it with long, thin, fibrous strands. The bulbous body of the plant and the strands are sickly white, while the needles very closely resemble the color of the sand in the area.

A creature that walks into an area with sand cacti without first noticing it with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check steps on a needle. The creature takes 3 (1d6) piercing damage and it is grappled (escape DC 10). While grappled, the creature’s movement is 0 and the target loses 3 (1d6) hit points due to the blood loss at the start of each of the sand cacti’s turns. The creature can use its action to pull the needle-free from its foot but takes 3 (1d6) damage from the needle’s barbs.

A creature can cross through a sand cacti’s barb field without taking damage by making a successful DC 10 Dexterity saving throw. A creature moving through the area at half speed doesn’t need to make the save.

 

Monsters of Dark Sun

Many of the creatures common in other Fifth Edition campaign settings are extinct or cut off from a Dark Sun campaign setting.

Monster Psionic Abilities

Many of the creatures of Dark Sun possess psionic abilities. Instead of giving each and every creature its own array of innate spellcasting traits, add the following templates to the creature based on the creature’s description.

Limited Psionics. The creature’s stat block is modified with the following changes:

  • New Trait: Danger Sense. The creature has advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that it can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, it can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.
  • New Trait: Innate Spellcasting (Psionics, 1/Day). The creature can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components:
    • At will: charm person, enthrall

Improved Psionics. The creature’s stat block is modified with the following changes:

  • Damage Immunities. The creature is immune to psychic damage.
  • New Trait: Danger Sense. The creature has advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that it can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, it can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.
  • New Trait: Psychic Defenses. The creature is immune to any effect that would detect its emotions or read its thoughts and divination spells. The effect even foils wish spells and spells or effects of similar power used to affect the creature’s mind or to gain information about it.
  • New Trait: Innate Spellcasting (Psionics). The creature can innately cast the following spells requiring no components:
    • At will: enthrall, charm personmage hand (the hand is invisible), mind thrust 
    • 3/day each: banemental defenses, psionic blast
    • 1/day each: dominate persondouble pain, ego whip
  • Psychic Crush (Recharges 5-6). The creature targets one creature that it can sense within 60 feet of it. The target must make an Intelligence saving throw versus the creature’s spell save DC, taking 21 (6d6) psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Advanced Psionics. The creature’s stat block is modified with the following changes:

  • Damage Immunities. The creature is immune to psychic damage.
  • New Trait: Danger Sense. The creature has advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that it can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, it can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.
  • New Trait: Detect Life. The creature can magically sense the presence of creatures up to 5 miles away that aren’t undead or constructs. It knows the direction they’re in but not their exact locations.
  • New Trait: Psionic Resistance. The creature has advantage on saving throws against psionic powers. Also, the creature is immune to any effect that would detect its emotions or read its thoughts and divination spells. The effect even foils wish spells and spells or effects of similar power used to affect the creature’s mind or to gain information about it.
  • New Trait: Regeneration. The creature regains 10% of its hit point maximum at the start of its turn as long as it has 1 hit point. If the creature is incapacitated, this trait does not function at the start of its turn.
  • New Trait: Innate Spellcasting (Psionics). The creature can innately cast the following spells requiring no components:
    • At will: charm person, enthrallmage hand (the hand is invisible), mind thrust, psionic blast
    • 3/day each: bane, double pain, fireball, ego whip, id insinuation, mental defenses, shield
    • 1/day each: death field, disintegrationdominate monster, telekinesis
  • Psychic Crush (Recharges 5-6). The creature targets one creature that it can sense within 60 feet of it. The target must make an Intelligence saving throw versus the creature’s spell save DC, taking 31 (9d6) psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

. . .

Aberrations

Athas is mostly cut off from the outer planes, making aberrations something of a rarity on the plane, especially those that come from elsewhere. The few that exist are very rare. Acceptable aberrations include all types of neogi, nothics, and otyughs.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce new aberrations from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendium by making a few minor adjustments.

Scrabs. Use the giant crab stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the giant crab’s swim speed and Amphibious feature.
  • Improved Psionics. The scrab’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 11).
  • Alignment. The scrab’s alignment is chaotic evil.
  • Ability Scores. The scrab’s Intelligence score is 13 (+1), and its Wisdom score is 13 (+1).
  • Languages. Scrabs speak their own language, Scrab.
  • Challenge. The scrab’s challenge rating is 1/4 (50 XP).
  • Multiattack. The scrab makes two attacks with its claws.

Scrab Nest Mother. Use the chuul stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the chuul’s swim speed and Amphibious feature.
  • Advanced Psionics. The scrab’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Ability Scores. The scrab’s Intelligence score is 16 (+2), its Wisdom score is 16 (+2), and its Charisma score is 11 (+0).
  • Languages. The nest mother speaks Common and Crab.
  • Challenge. The scrab’s challenge rating is 6 (2,300). It gains a +1 bonus to its ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that it is proficient in thanks to the increase of its proficiency bonus.

. . .

Beasts

Like any common campaign setting, beasts are also common on Athas, although they may be changed. Creatures best adapted for desert environments are the most prominent on Athas. Those include all arachnids, all insects, all reptiles, axe beaks, bats, blood hawks, boars, camelscats, deer, dire wolves, eagles, hyenas, jackals, lions, owls, panthers, rats, ravens, rhinoceroses, saber-toothed tigers, tigers, vultures, and wolves.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce new beasts from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendium by making a few minor adjustments.

Athasian Sloths. Use the owlbear stat block, except that its speed is 60 ft., it has resistance to poison damage, and its Beak attack is a Bite attack.

Crodlu. Use the axe beak stat block, but their base movement speed is 60 ft. and their Beak attacks are Bite attacks that deal piercing damage instead of slashing damage.

Erdlu. Use the axe beak stat block, except that its Beak attacks are Claw attacks.

Inix. Use the ankylosaurus stat block.

Kanks. Use the giant spider stat block, but remove its climb speed, Spider Climb, Web Sense, Web Walker, and Web attack.

Mekillots. Use the brontosaurus stat block, except remove its tail attack. It gains the following attacks:

  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target the mekillot is grappling. Hit: 32 (6d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage and if the target is swallowed.A swallowed creature is blinded and restrained, has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the mekillot, and takes 10 (3d6) acid damage at the start of each of the mekillot’s turns. The mekillot’s gullet can hold up to four creatures at a time. If the mekillot takes 15 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the mekillot must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, each of which falls prone in a space within 10 feet of the mekillot. If the mekillot dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 10 feet of movement, exiting prone.
  • Tongue. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 20 ft., one target. Hit: 2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage. If the target is Large or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 15), pulled up to 20 feet toward the mekillot, and restrained until the grapple ends. The mekillot can grapple one creature at a time.

Pulp Bees. Use the giant wasp stat block.

Rasclinns. Use the mastiff stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Armor Class. Rasclinns have an Armor Class of 17 (natural armor).
  • Movement. Rasclinns have a base move speed of 90 ft.
  • Damage Resistances and Immunities. Rasclinns have resistance to psychic damage, and they are immune to poison and the poisoned condition.

. . .

Celestials

Athas is cut off from the outer realms and divine magic. As such, celestials do not exist in a Dark Sun campaign setting.

. . .

Constructs

Depending on the nature, material, and origin of the construct, some exist on Athas while others would not. Constructs that hail from the outer planes such as modrons or retrievers would be largely absent. As would constructs made of steel or iron, due to the impractical costs. Also, magic is rare, so any constructs that would be around should be relatively rare, too. However, golems are powered by elementals, therefore it makes sense those would be present. Here are some likely candidates for constructs on Athas: clay golems, flesh golems, homonculi, rugs of smothering, scarecrows, stone cursed, and stone golems.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce new constructs from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendium by making a few minor adjustments.

Ash Golems. Use the clay golem stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Remove the clay golem’s Haste action.
  • Damage Immunities. Replace the ash golem’s acid immunity with fire immunity.
  • Challenge. The ash golem’s challenge rating is 10 (5,900 XP)
  • Fire Absorption. Change its Acid Absorption to Fire Absorption (similar to the iron golem’s).
  • Corrosive Ash. A creature that touches the ash golem or hits it with a melee attack is covered in fine gray dust. 1d4 hours after the creature comes into contact with the ash golem, it suffers 1 acid damage at the start of each of its turns until the dust is totally washed off. Completely removing the dust requires one hour of scrubbing. A remove curse spell or similar magic can also remove the dust.
  • Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage plus 10 (3d6) fire damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 15). Until the grapple ends, the creature is restrained and takes 5 (1d10) fire damage at the start of each of the golem’s turns.

Chitin Golem. Use the flesh golem‘s stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Armor Class. The chitin golem’s AC is 13 (natural armor).
  • Challenge Rating. The chitin golem’s challenge rating is 7 (2,900 XP).
  • Replace its Slam attack with the following Claw attack:Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) slashing damage and if the target is a creature make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failed saving throw, the creature takes 7 (2d6) poison damage and the target’s Strength score is reduced by 1d4. The target dies if this reduces its Strength to 0. Otherwise, tthe reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. On a successful saving throw, the target takes half as much poison damage and its Strength score isn’t reduced.

Obsidian Golem. Use the stone golem‘s stat block except with the following changes:

  • Remove the Slow action.
  • Glass Shards (Recharge 5-6). The obsidian golem sprays black glass shards. Each creature within 20 feet of the obsidian golem must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw, taking 18 (4d8) piercing damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much on a successful one.
  • Thunderclap (Recharge 5-6). The obsidian golem slams its fists together, creating a 90-foot cone of damaging sound. Each creature in the must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw. On a failed saving throw, a creature takes 22 (4d10) damage and becomes stunned until the end of the obsidian golem’s next turn. On a successful saving throw, a creature takes half as much damage and isn’t stunned.

Rock Golems. Use the stone golem‘s stat block, but remove its Slow action, and it has False Appearance; while the stone golem remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a pile of rocks.

Sand Golems. Use the clay golem’s stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Remove the clay golem’s Haste action.
  • New Trait: False Appearance. While the sand golem remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a pile of sand.
  • Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage, and the creature is grappled (escape DC 15). While the creature is grappled, it is restrained, blinded, suffocating, and takes 1d10 bludgeoning damage at the start of each of the sand golem’s turns. A sand golem can grapple up to two Medium or smaller creatures at a time.

Wood Golems. Use the flesh golem‘s stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Remove the flesh golem’s fire immunity and Lightning Absorption features.
  • Ability Scores. The wood golem’s Wisdom score is 19 (+4).
  • Damage Vulnerabilities. The wood golem is vulnerable to fire damage.
  • New Trait: Innate Spellcasting. The wood golem’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells requiring no components:
    • At will: animal friendship, druidcraft, mending
    • 3/day each: charm person, entangle, fog cloud, hold person
    • 1/day each: call lightning, plant growth, protection from energy

. . .

Dragons

Dragons in the traditional sense are not present on Athas. Lesser dragons, however, might appear. Those include guard drakes, pseudodragons, and wyverns, which are smaller and less intelligent than the classic chromatic and metallic dragons.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce dragons from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendiums by making a few minor adjustments.

Dragon of Tyr (Borys). Use the ancient brass dragon stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Advanced Psionics. The dragon’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 23, +15 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Alignment. The dragon is chaotic evil.
  • Ability Scores. The dragon’s Intelligence score is 20 (+5) and its Charisma score is 26 (+8). Its Charisma saves are made at +15.
  • Damage Immunities. The dragon is immune to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons.
  • New Trait: Limited Spell Immunity. The dragon can’t be affected or detected by spells of 6th level or lower unless it wishes to be. It has advantage on saving throws against all other spells and magical effects.
  • Challenge Rating. The dragon’s challenge rating is 24 (62,000). It gains a +1 bonus to its ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that it is proficient with due to its increased proficiency bonus.
  • Spellcasting. The dragon uses the same spells as a lich, except that it’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 23, +15 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Replace the brass dragon’s regional effects with those of a blue dragon.

. . .

Elementals

All elementals appear on Athas and then some. The only exception may be elemental myrmidons whose armor may be too costly to warrant creation. In addition, elementals that would normally be rare–such as elder elementals–might be more common.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce elementals from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendiums by making a few minor adjustments.

Drakes. Use the tarrasque stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the tarrasque’s immunity to fire (except for fire drakes) and its Reflective Carapace feature.
  • Improved Psionics. The drake’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Speed. The air drake has a flying speed of 120 ft., the earth drake has a burrow speed of 40 ft., and the water drake has a swimming speed of 80 ft.
  • Damage Immunities. Each drake has its own set of immunities:
    • Air drakes are immune to thunder and lightning damage.
    • Earth drakes are immune to the petrified condition.
    • Fire drakes are immune to fire.
    • Water drakes are immune to acid and cold.
  • Elemental Damage. When a drake hits with its bite attack, its bite deals an additional 9 (2d8) damage. The type of damage depends on the type of drake: air drakes deal lightning damage, earth drakes deal bludgeoning damage, fire drakes deal fire damage, and water drakes deal cold damage.
  • Elemental Attacks. Each drake has its own special elemental attack that it can use as an action.
    • Air Drake: Screaming Gale (Recharge 6). The drake releases a blast of thunder and wind in a line that is 1 mile long and 20 feet wide. Objects in that area take 22 (4d10) thunder damage. Each creature there must succeed on a DC 27 Dexterity saving throw or take 22 (4d10) thunder damage and be flung up to 60 feet in a direction away from the line. If a thrown target collides with an immovable object, such as a wall or floor, the target takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown before impact. If the target would collide with another creature instead, that other creature must succeed on a 19 saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone.
    • Earth Drake: Spew Debris (Recharge 5-6). The earth drake exhales rocky debris in a 90-foot cube. Each creature in that area must succeed on a  DC 27 Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 33 (6d10) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature that fails the save by 5 or more is knocked prone.
    • Fire Drake: Breathe Fire (Recharge 5-6). The fire drake exhales fire in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 27 Dexterity saving throw, taking 91 (26d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
    • Water Drake: Tidal Wave (Recharge 6). While submerged, the drake magically creates a wall of water centered on itself. The wall is up to 250 feet long, up to 250 feet high, and up to 50 feet thick. When the wall appears, all other creatures within its area must make a DC 27 Strength saving throw. A creature takes 33 (6d10) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. AT the start of each of the drake’s turns after the wall appears, the wall, along with any other creatures in it, moves 50 feet away from the drake. Any Huge or smaller creatures inside the wall or whose space the wall enters when it moves must succeed on a DC 27 Strength saving throw or take 27 (5d10) bludgeoning damage. A creature takes this damage no more than once on a turn. At the end of each turn the wall moves, the wall’s height is reduced by 50 feet, and the damage creatures take from the wall on subsequent rounds is reduced by 1d10. When the wall reaches 0 feet in height, the effect ends. A creature caught in the wall can move by swimming. Because of the force of the wave, though, the creature must make a successful DC 27 Strength (Athletics) check to swim at all during that turn.

Spirits of the Land. Use one of the elder elemental stat blocks except that its Intelligence is 20 (+5) and it speaks all languages.

. . .

Fey

Because of the horrible state of Athas’ ecology, the fey are nearly extinct from Athas. Some may exist in the rare forests and jungles. The only exception is eladrin who have a limited presence on Athas.

. . .

Fiends

Like celestials, fiends have difficult reaching Athas due to its disconnected cosmology. Some fiends may be reskinned to better fit the setting. Hell hounds, for example, could be created through fire elemental magic. Similarly, rakshasas could be from the elemental planes as a type of genie. Abishai may act as powerful dray instead of devils (although you may exclude certain types of abishai such as white). Howlers could be psionic monstrosities and dybukks and maurezhi also work as mighty undead.

. . .

Giants

Giants are common on Athas, but most are brutal and bestial. The following giants make sense in a Dark Sun campaign setting: cyclopes, ettins, half-ogre (as a substitute for Athasian half-giants), hill giantsogres, and stone giants. Note that certain giant races, such as trolls, are completely extinct on Athas.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce giant creatures from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendium by making a few minor adjustments.

B’rohgs. Use hill giants for basic b’rohgs and frost giants for renegade b’rohgs. Renegade b’rohgs have an Intelligence score of 7 (-2), and their greataxes are made of bone.

Giants. Use frost giants or stone giants. Both types are resistant to psychic damage and have advantage on saving throws against psionic powers.

. . .

Humanoids

Many of the traditional humanoid races in fantasy settings perished during the Green Age of Athas. In addition to the playable races, the humanoid races that do exist are as follows: aarakocragith (although, they are much more primitive than their astral cousins), gnolls (less fiendish), half-dragons (as dray), jackalweres, kenku, kobolds, lizardfolk (better suited for deserts than swamps), meazels, thri-kreen, lycanthropes, and yuan-ti.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce giant creatures from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendium by making a few minor adjustments.

Anakores (Dune Freaks). Use the ghoul stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the ghoul’s damage immunities and condition immunities.
  • Speed. The dune freak has a burrow speed of 50 ft.
  • The dune freak’s bite attack causes paralysis instead of its claw attack.

Belgoi. Use the harpy stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Speed. The belgoi’s walking speed is 30 ft. and it can’t fly.
  • Senses. The belgoi has darkvision 60 ft.
  • Improved Psionics. The belgoi’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 11).
  • Multiattack. The belgoi makes two attacks with its claws.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) plus 2 (1d4) necrotic damage and the target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken.

Gith. Use the gnoll stat block, except remove its Rampage feature and Bite attack, and the gith gains Pack Tactics; the gith has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the gith’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Hej-kin. Use the giant badger stat block, except with a few minor changes:

  • Limited Psionics. The hej-kin’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11).
  • Type. The hej-kin’s type is Humanoid (hej-kin).
  • Ability Scores. The hej-kin’s Intelligence score is 8 (-1)
  • New Trait: Earth Glide. The hej-kin can burrow through nonmagical, unworked earth and stone. While doing so, the hej-kin doesn’t disturb the material it moves through.

Pterrans. Use the lizardfolk stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the lizardfolk’s swim speed and Hold Breath features.
  • Limited Psionics. The pterran’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11).

Silk Wyrm. Use the giant spider stat block, except with the following changes.

  • Remove the giant spider’s climb speed and its Spider Climb, Web Sense, and Web Walker traits, as well as its Web attack.
  • Speed. The silk wyrm gains a flying speed of 30 ft.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, or become poisoned for 1d4 days. While poisoned in this way, the creature is paralyzed. If the poison is cured, the paralysis ends.

Silt Runners. Use the goblin stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the goblin’s darkvision.
  • Alignment. The silt runner’s alignment is chaotic evil.
  • Armor Class. The silt runner’s AC is 15 (natural armor).
  • Speed. The silt runner’s base movement speed is 60 feet.
  • Multiattack. The silt runner makes one bite attack and one claw attack. It can replace its claw attack with a weapon attack.
  • Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 2) slashing damage.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Villichi. Use the assassin stat block, except the villichi has Advanced Psionics.

. . .

Monstrosities

Monstrosities are one of the most common monster types on Athas. From the Fifth Edition monster books, the characters can expect to come across the following types of monstrosities: ankhegs, basilisks, behirs, bulettes, carrion crawlers, cave fishers, cockatrices, death dogs, ettercaps, gricks, kruthik, lamiasmanticores, medusas, minotaurs, phase spiders, purple worms, remorhazes, rocs, sphinxes, steeders, umber hulks, and yuan-ti.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce monstrosities from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendiums by making a few minor adjustments.

Braxats. Use the fire giant stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Improved Psionics. The braxat’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Armor Class. The braxat’s AC is 18 (natural armor).
  • Ability Scores. The braxat’s Intelligence score is 13 (+1) and its Wisdom score is 18 (+4).
  • Senses. The braxat has darkvision 120 ft.
  • Damage Immunities. The braxat is immune to fire, plus bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons not made with steel.
  • Acid Breath (Recharge 6). The braxat spews a 30-foot cone of acid. Each creature in the area must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving, taking 21 (6d6) acid damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much on a successful one.

Cha’thrangs. Use the giant snapping turtle stat block from Tomb of Annihilation, but with the following changes:

  • Remove the turtle’s Amphibious trait and its swim speed.
  • New Trait: Grasping Tether. The cha’thrang can have up to four tethers at a time. Each tether can be attacked (AC 17; 10 hit points; immunity to poison and psychic damage. Destroying a tether deals no damage to the cha’thrang, which can grow a replacement tether in 24 hours. A tether can also be broken if a creature takes an action and succeeds on a DC 15 Strength check against it.
  • Projectile. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 100 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage, the target is grappled (escape DC 14), and must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 3 (1d6) poison damage. Until the grapple ends, the target cannot move away from the cha’thrang, only closer.

Cistern Fiends. Use the neothelid stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the neothelid’s Magic Resistance plus its Tentacles and Acid Breath attack.
  • Improved Psionics. The cistern fiend’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). The spells gained through this feature replace the ones the neothelid has.
  • Speed. The cistern fiend gains a swim speed of 30 ft.
  • Water Camouflage. The cistern fiend has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in watery environments.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d8 + 8) piercing damage plus 13 (3d8) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the amount of necrotic damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest. If the target’s hit point maximum is reduced to 0, it dies.

Cloud Rays. Use the roc stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the roc’s beak and talons attacks.
  • Improved Psionics. The cloud ray’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom.
  • Speed. The cloud ray’s walking speed is 0 ft.
  • Challenge. The cloud ray’s challenge rating is 13 (10,000 XP). It gains a +1 bonus to ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws it is proficient with thanks to the increase in its proficiency bonus.
  • New Trait: Permanent Shield. The cloud ray is permanently under the effects of the shield spell; its AC is 20 and it is immune to damage from magic missiles.
  • Swallow. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one Large or smaller creature. Hit: 27 (4d8 + 9) bludgeoning damage and the creature is swallowed by the cloud ray. While swallowed, the creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the cloud ray, and it takes 35 (10d6) acid damage t the start of each of the cloud ray’s turns. If the cloud ray takes 25 or more damage on a single turn from a creature inside it, the cloud ray must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the cloud ray. If the cloud ray dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse by using 30 feet of movement, exiting prone.
  • Tail Snap (Recharge 5-6). The cloud ray whips its tail, creating a thunderous boom in a 60-foot radius sphere centered on the cloud ray. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 22 Constitution saving throw. A creature takes 45 (10d8) thunder damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature made of inorganic material such as stone, crystal, or metal has disadvantage on this saving throw. A nonmagical object that isn’t being worn or carried also takes the damage if it’s within the sphere.

Crystal Spiders. Use the retriever stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the retriever’s damage immunities, condition immunities, languages, plane shift, and paralyzing beam attack.
  • Innate Spellcasting. The crystal spider can cast web at will and it can cast shield three times per day.
  • Multiattack. In addition to its other attacks, the crystal spider can make a bite attack with its Multiattack.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 7) piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 14 (4d6) poison damage on a failed saving throw or half as much damage on a successful one.

Erdlands. As an axe beak, except with the following changes:

  • Limited Psionics. The erdland’s spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11).
  • Ability Scores. The erdland’s Wisdom score is 12 (+1).

Gaj. Use the ankheg stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the ankheg’s Acid Spray.
  • Improved Psionics. The gaj’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11, +3 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Ability Scores. The gaj’s Intelligence score is 10 (+0).
  • Damage Resistances. The gaj is resistant with bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage made with nonmagical weapons.
  • Psychic Probe. The gaj touches one sentient creature it is grappling with its antennae. The creature must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw, or the creature takes 4 (1d8) psychic damage and the creature is marked by the gaj. As long as the creature is marked by the gaj, the gaj has advantage on attack rolls and saving throws made against the creature. In addition, the creature makes attack rolls against the gaj with disadvantage. The creature remains marked for 1 hour until the gaj is incapacitated or uses this trait on another creature.

Flailers. Use the giant snapping turtle stat block from Tomb of Annihilation, but with the following changes:

  • Remove the turtle’s Amphibious trait and swim speed.
  • Improved Psionics. The flailer’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11).
  • Size. The flailer’s size is Small.
  • Hit Points. The flailer has 55 (10d6 + 20) hit points.
  • New Trait: Stone Camouflage. The flailer has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide in rocky environments.

Id Fiends. Use the giant lizard stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Advanced Psionics. The id fiend’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Hit Points. The id fiend has 97 (15d10 + 15) hit points.
  • Ability Scores. The id fiend’s Intelligence score is 14 (+2).
  • Saving Throws. The id fiend is proficient in the following saving throws: Wis +3, Int +5.
  • Languages. The id fiend can speak Common and Draconic. It also has telepathy with a range of 60 ft.
  • Challenge Rating. The id fiend’s challenge rating is 6 (2,300 XP). It gains a +1 bonus to its ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that it is proficient in thanks to the increase of its proficiency bonus.

Kirre. Use the saber-toothed tiger stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Improved Psionics. The kirre’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Hit Points. The kirre’s hit points are 90 (12d10 + 24).
  • Ability Scores. The kirre’s Intelligence score is 6 (-2).
  • Saving Throws. The kirre is proficient in Wis (+4) saving throws.
  • Challenge Rating. The kirre’s challenge rating is 6 (2,300 XP). It gains a +1 bonus to its ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that it is proficient in thanks to its increased proficiency bonus.
  • Multiattack. The kirre makes six attacks: one with its horns, four with its claws, and one with its bite.
  • Horns. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Jozhal. Use the deinonychus stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Improved Psionics. The johzal’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Ability Scores. The johzal’s Intelligence score is 14 (+2).
  • Languages. The johzal can speak Common, Halfling, and Johzal.
  • New Trait: Chameleonic Skin. The johzal can change the color of its skin to match the color and texture of its surroundings. As a result, it has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide.
  • Spellcasting. The johzal uses the priest spell list. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks).

Megapede. Use the purple worm stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Advanced Psionics. The megapede’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Ability Scores. The megapede’s Wisdom score is 12 (+1).
  • The megapede cannot swallow creatures with its bite attack.
  • Replace the purple worm’s tail stinger with the following attack:Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 19 (3d6 + 9) slashing damage, and the target must make a DC 19 Constitution saving throw, taking 42 (12d6) poison damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Pterrax. Use the hippogriff stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Improved Psionics. The pterrax’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11, +3 to hit with spell attacks).

Tagsters/Tigones. Use the tiger stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Limited Psionics. The tagster/tigone’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 11).

Razorwings. Use the pteranodon stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Limited Psionics. The razorwing’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 10).
  • New Trait: Pack Tactics. The razorwing has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the razorwing’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and isn’t incapacitated.
  • New Trait: Silt Camouflage. The razorwing has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks used to hide in sandy or silt environments.
  • Multiattack. The razorwing makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its wing razors.
  • Wing Razors. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (2d4 + 1) slashing damage.

Sink Worms. Use the purple worm stat block except with the following changes:

  • Remove the purple worm’s Multiattack and Tail Stinger attack.
  • Challenge Rating. The sink worm’s challenge rating is 8 (3,900). It has a -2 penalty to its ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that it is proficient with due to its decreased proficiency bonus.

So-uts (Rampagers). Use the gray render stat block except with the following changes:

  • Alignment. The rampager’s alignment is chaotic evil.
  • Speed. The rampager’s speed is 40 feet.
  • Challenge. The rampager’s challenge rating is 13 (10,000 XP). It gains a +1 bonus to its ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that it is proficient in due to its decreased proficiency bonus.
  • New Trait: Seige Monster. deals double damage to objects and structures.
  • Frightful Presence. Each creature of the rampager’s choice within 120 feet of it and aware of it must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if the rampager is within line of sight, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the rampager’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.
  • Corrosive Claws. When the rampager hits with its claws, it deals an additional 18 (4d8) acid damage. In addition, nonmagical armor worn by the target is partly dissolved and takes a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to the AC it offers. The armor is destroyed if the penalty reduces its AC to 10.

T’chowbs. Use the imp stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the imp’s fly speed, damage resistances, damage immunities, condition immunities, plus its Shapechanger, Devil’s Sight, and Magic Resistance features.
  • Improved Psionics. The t’chowb’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 10).
  • Challenge. The t’chowb’s challenge rating is 1/2 (100 XP).
  • The t’chow’b’s sting attack is a poison dagger attack (same statistics).
  • Intelligence Drain. Melee Spell Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature with an Intelligence score of 4 or higher. Hit: The target’s Intelligence score is reduced by 1d4 and the T’chowb’s Intelligence score increases by the same amount. The t’chowb’s increase in Intelligence lasts for 1 hour. The target falls into a coma and is permanently incapacitated if this reduces its Intelligence to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest.

Tembos. Use the black bear stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Improved Psionics. The tembo’s spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks).
  • Armor Class. The tembo’s AC is 15 (natural armor).
  • Ability Scores. The tembo’s Intelligence score is 14 (+2), and its Wisdom score is 20 (+5).
  • Challenge Rating. The tembo’s challenge rating is 2 (450 XP).
  • New Trait: Dodge Missiles. The tembo has advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and ranged weapon attack rolls are made with advantage against it.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

Tohr-kreen (Mantis Nobles). Use the thri-kreen stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Improved Psionics. The tohr-kreen’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 12).
  • Size. Tohr-kreen are Large.
  • Hit Points. Tohr-Kreen have 88 (8d10 + 40) hit points.
  • Ability Scores. The tohr-kreen gains a Strength score of 18 (+4), Constitution score of 20 (+5), and Intelligence score of 14 (+2). The damage its weapon attacks deal increase, as shown below.
  • Damage Vulnerabilities. Tohr-kreen are vulnerable to cold damage.
  • Challenge. The tohr-kreen’s challenge rating is 3 (700 XP).
  • Multiattack. The tohr-kreen makes three attacks: one with its bite, and two with its claws.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the target is also paralyzed while poisoned in this way. The poisoned target can repeat the saving throw on each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) slashing damage.

Zhackal. Use the cranium rat and swarm of cranium rat stat blocks except with the following changes.

  • Remove the cranium rat’s Illumination feature.
  • The cranium rat’s bite and bites attacks are claw and claws attacks.
  • Innate Spellcasting. In addition to the other innate spells, the zhackal and swarm of zhackals can cast invisibility once per day.

New Monstrosities

The following monstrosities were created specifically for Fifth Edition Dark Sun.

Antloids. A race of large, monstrous ants that live in the sandy wastes of Athas.

Nightmare Beast. A cruel creature that uses nightmares to demoralize its prey.

. . .

Oozes

Oozes don’t do well in heat, so it’s unlikely any exist on Athas.

. . .

Plant

Defiling magic and warm climates make common Fifth Edition plants somewhat rare. However, you might include the following plants and plant creatures in your campaign: awakened shrubs, awakened trees, needle blights, treants (in forest regions), twig blights, and wood woads.

. . .

Undead

Wherever there are humanoids and necromancy, there are undead. The following undead are found in the sands of Athas: allips, banshees (typically dwarven), bodaks, crawling claws, death knights, deathlocks (undead templars), demiliches, eidolons, flameskulls, ghasts, ghosts, ghouls, gnoll witherlings, liches, mummies, revenant, shadows, skeletons, specters, sword wraiths, vampires, vampiric mists, wights, will-o-wisps, wraiths, and zombies.

Quick Conversions

You can quickly introduce undead creatures from the Dark Sun Monstrous compendium by making a few minor adjustments.

Bog Wader. As a ghoul, but with the following changes.

  • New Trait: Spikes. At the start of each of its turns, the bog wader deals 5 (1d10) piercing damage to any creature grappling it.
  • The bog wader’s claw attacks do not cause paralysis.

Dune Runner. As a wight, but with the following changes.

  • Limited Psionics. The dune runner’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12).
  • Speed. The dune runner has a walking speed of 40 ft.
  • New Trait: Aura of the Runner’s Curse. The dune runner emits an accursed aura in a 15-foot radius sphere centered on it. The first time a creature enters the dune runner’s aura, it must make a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or become cursed. While the creature is cursed, its speed increases by 10 feet. It must use its action on each of its turns to take the Dash action, moving in the same direction as the dune runner. The creature can continue to use the Dash action like this a number of times equal to 3 + its Constitution modifier. Each additional Dash action it takes while cursed requires the creature to succeed on a DC 10 Constitution check at the end of each of its turns or gain 1 level of exhaustion. A cursed creature’s speed cannot be reduced from exhaustion. The creature remains cursed until a remove curse or similar magic is cast upon it. A creature that dies from exhaustion does not collapse but instead becomes a dune runner.

Dwarven Banshee. As a banshee, but with the following changes.

  • Languages. The banshee speaks Dwarven in place of Elven.
  • New Trait: Rejuvenation. If the banshee is destroyed before completing its focus, it regains all its hit points in 1 hour.
  • Curse of Rage (Replaces Horrifying Visage). Each non-undead creature within 60 feet of the banshee that can see it must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed for 1 minute. While charmed, the creature must use its action before moving on each of its turns to make a melee attack against a creature other than itself and the banshee. And the creature’s attacks are made with advantage and any attacks made against the creature are with advantage. A charmed target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if the banshee is within 60 feet of it. If the target’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to the banshee’s Curse of Rage and Wail of Malidiction for the next 24 hours.
  • Wail of Malediction (1/Day, Replaces Wail). The banshee releases a battle cry, provided that it isn’t in sunlight. This wail has no effects constructs and undead. All other creatures within 30 feet of the banshee that can hear it must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or fall under the effects of the banshee’s Curse of Rage.

Sand Bride. Use the wraith stat block, but with the following changes:

  • Speed. The sand bride has a movement speed of 60 ft., and a burrow speed of 30 ft. Unlike the wraith, it cannot fly.
  • New Trait: Earth Glide. The sand bride can burrow through nonmagical, sand. While doing so, the sand bride doesn’t disturb the material it moves through.
  • Innate Spellcasting (1/Day). The wraith can innately cast hallucinatory terrain requiring no components. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13) for this spell.

Thrax. Use the vampire spawn stat block, except with the following changes:

  • Remove the vampire spawn’s Vampire Weaknesses trait.
  • The thrax’s Bite attack is a Water Drain attack and is functionally the same.

 

 

Best Resources for Dark Sun Material

In addition to the Fifth Edition books, these are the books I use for my Dark Sun campaign. I’ve put them in order of how essential they are to my campaign.

Dark Sun Setting General Information

Dark Sun Campaign Setting – 4th Edition. This is my primary source of history and fluff, especially on locations in and around the Tablelands. My current campaign takes place right after the demise of Kalak (shortly after the first novel of the Prism Pentad).

Dark Sun Campaign Setting – 2nd Edition (Original and Revised). I’ve adopted a few of the rules from the old version of Dark Sun, plus I use the hex map included in the box set.

Dark Sun Monstrous Compendiums 1 and 2 – 2nd Edition. For Dark Sun specific monsters, I pull heavily from these books.

Monster Manual II – 3rd Edition. A lot of the Dark Sun monsters got 3.5 updates in Monster Manual II.

Dark Sun Setting Dune Trader Campaign

Dark Sun Dune Trader – 2nd Edition. I’m running a Dune Trader campaign, so I use this quite a bit for details on the major trade houses.

Dark Sun Setting Additional Story Information

Dark Sun The Veiled Alliance – 2nd Edition. For information on the various chapters of the Veiled Alliance, this is a great book.

Dark Sun Slave Tribes of Athas – 2nd Edition. I use this for details on the town of Freedom/Hidden Village, plus all the native tribes.

Dark Sun Earth, Air, Fire, and Water – 2nd Edition. For information on elemental priests and druids in Dark Sun, this is a great book.

Dark Sun Elves of Athas – 2nd Edition. Here’s another book that sheds light on the elves of Athas and their various tribes.

Dark Sun Complete Gladiators’ Handbook – 2nd Edition. If you want to add gladiators to your game, this is a pretty cool sourcebook.

Additional Books

Acquisitions Incorporated – 5th Edition. For structure on my Dune Trader campaign, I use the franchise rules from this newer book.

The Complete Psionics Handbook – 2nd Edition. A lot of the spells and structure for psionics I pull from this classic.

The Ghosts of Salt Marsh – 5th Edition. I have reskinned and revamped a lot of the rules from the appendixes of Ghosts of Salt Marsh for travel and hex crawl, plus travel with large caravans.

The Princes of the Apocalypse – 5th Edition. A lot of great story hooks can be pulled from this campaign book. I’ve reskinned Altaruk as Red Larch.


More to come…

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