House rules

Starting characters
Starting characters must use the point-buy system but receive 3 extra points with which to buy attributes. Additionally, characters begin at level 2.

PC races:
Human, dwarf, elf, half-elf, mul, thri-kreen, half-giant, shardmind, tarek, halfling, eladrin

Races which exist on Athas, but are not allowed as initial PC races:
Dray (dragonborn), githyanki, ssurran (lizardfolk), aarakocra, genasi

Races which do not exist on Athas:
Gnome, tiefling, minotaur, wildlings, deva, orc, half-orc, shifter

Mul modifications
Muls may take feats that require either human, dwarf, or mul heritage. They do not need to choose among them.

Dwarf modifications
Dwarves possess the dwarven focus ability. While working alone on an extended single skill, dwarves receive a +1 racial bonus to the skill check to reflect the deep state of focus in which they can enter.

Elf modifications
Elves possess the elven running ability. Elves may use their run speed (9) as their overland travel speed. Elves may only use elven running while unencumbered.

Thri-kreen modifications
All thri-kreen adventurers are sterile females who use the she pronoun in address.
Chitinous armor: Thri-kreen chitin provides a +2 natural armor bonus when they are otherwise unarmored. They may wear other armor, but it is generally rarer and costs double a normal suit. While wearing other armor, a thri-kreen receives a +1 natural armor bonus due to their chitinous plates underneath.

Shardmind modifications
Shardminds use the it pronoun and do not take on male or female identities.

Half-giant modifications
Use the goliath race as the base for half-giants. Half-giants do not bear the physical appearance traits of goliaths (lithoderms, mottled skin, etc.). Half-giants also have the following traits:

Great appetite: Half-giants consume 2 survival-days per day, not 1.

Fearsome reputation: Half-giants receive a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks because of their great size and reputations.

Player characters are not literate by default. They may choose to begin the game as LITERATE or with a random WILD TALENT. Templars and wizards must choose literacy.

Saving throws
For select saving throws, a character may spend a standard action to attempt to shake off the effect, adding +4 to the saving throw she makes at the end of the round. This is only applicable when the DM rules it; stopping ongoing damage caused by a fire may be appropriate (stop, drop, and roll!), but stopping magically-induced blindness may not be.

Group skill checks
1) Choose a leader (the person with the highest skill check). 2) Everybody involved makes a skill check against the DC of the challenge. 3) Assess the leader’s skill check result based on the results of everyone else’s: everyone who succeeded gives her +2 to her check result, and everyone who failed gives her -2. The group succeeds or fails as a whole. For dramatic purposes, I might make everyone except the leader make their checks, figure out the final + or -, and then have the leader make her check.

Example: You’re trying to sneak down the tunnel towards the sound of the fighting. I set the DC at 15. The party nominates Dazeel (+9 Sneak) as the skill check leader, and everyone except Dazeel makes the roll. Bost fails, Zuri fails, Vilsis succeeds, and Birel fails. Noisy party. That gives Dazeel a -4 penalty to her roll (-2 Bost, -2 Zuri, +2 Vilsis, -2 Birel) for a total bonus of +5 (9-4) to Dazeel’s roll. If she succeeds, however, the entire party has Snuck. If she fails, it means somebody made a noise.

I can also use Dazeel’s roll result as the DC for a Perception check for the enemies if I want to do it that way (I’ll of course add them large penalties for being in combat while you’re sneaking up).

Templars of various sorcerer-kings receive slightly different abilities. See Dragon Magazine’s “Templars” article.

Arcane Defiling
The Arcane Defiling power is changed significantly from the 4E rules to make it more similar to the 2E rules.

When a character uses an arcane daily, encounter, or at-will power, she may choose to use Arcane Defiling after disliking the result of an attack roll or a damage roll. Upon using Arcane Defiling, an area of ground commensurate with the level and power of the power being used is defiled. Creatures are NOT affected by Arcane Defiling. The defiler may choose to use either the new roll or the original roll.

This serves to make defiling even more attractive and powerful to use.

Non-lethal attacks
A player may attempt to knock out rather than kill an opponent. The player declares his intent to knock out an opponent rather than kill when he attacks. Attacks are resolved as normal; if the attack proves to be a fatal blow, the enemy makes a saving throw. On a failure, the enemy is reduced to 0hp and knocked unconscious for the rest of the encounter. On a success, the attack causes no damage to the enemy. Therefore, it is a bit risky to attack to knock out, as a PC might repeatedly swing and hit an opponent but simply not be able to knock him down.

Survival days, overland travel, desert survival, and mounts
Characters can carry their STRx10 without suffering penalties. Generally about half your carry is taken up by arms & armor.

Overland speed (see p.261 for details)
Generally travel on Athas assumes that characters are traveling for 4 hours in the morning (8am-noon), resting during the heat of the day (12-4pm) and traveling for 4 more in the evening (4pm-8pm). In the winter months when the days are shorter and the heat slightly less intense, the midday rest often lasts 12-2pm and travel 2-6pm to allow for making camp while it’s still light out. A party consisting only of thri-kreen, elves, and/or eladrin (all of whom need only 4 hours of trance/torpor instead of sleep) can eke out an extra 5 miles of travel per day. A mul can travel without resting at all for two days (needing to rest on the third); this generally means that a mul can keep up with elves/eladrin for two days out of every three OR can outdistance them by traveling through the night during those two days (which can be quite dangerous and is therefore rarely done).


MOUNTCost (gp)Speed/miles per day/run speedNormal loadheavy load (-3 speed)Push/dragSpecial
inix20006/30/875015003750warding tail
mekillot40007/35/9150030007500checking charge
mekillot drik120007/35/73000600015000cannot run
war kank15008/40/102505001250grabbed advantage
war crodlu10008/40/122004001000pouncing mount
erdlu1008/40/12160320800pouncing mount

Kanks and inixes consume 3 survival-days’ worth of rations each day; crodlus only 2; mekillots consume 6. Often, walking travelers will bring a kank laden with survival days; a kank can easily carry 22 survival days (180lb light load), and if the kanks are moving at adventurer walking speed they are often “heavily laden” (speed reduced by 3) with up to 45 survival days (360lb heavy load). For longer journeys that travel on established roads, a cart is often attached; a kank can pull 900lbs (112 survival days). The weight of the cart itself does not count, though the animal is counted as “heavily laden” and reduces its speed by 3.

Kanks are especially valuable mounts because they produce honey globules on the sides of their abdomen, which effectively provide 1 survival day worth of food/water every other day.

Elven Running and travel
Elves generally move at speed 7. The elven running racial ability allows them to move at their run speed (9) for a full day’s worth of travel. An elf can only use elven running when unencumbered. Generally elves will lightly load kanks with supplies and equipment and run alongside them. Most elf tribes do consist of youths and older elves who are expected to keep up or die. However, in practice elf tribes generally run at speed 8 to accommodate elves who have slowed down only slightly (and to keep from burning out the tribe’s kanks). No Endurance check is necessary to use elven running. With the elven trance ability requiring only four hours of rest each night, it is not uncommon for elf tribes to travel 45 miles or more each day—double what slower commonfolk of other races can make. An elven messenger can make 50 miles per day—one of the fastest ways to send letters between cities (if you trust the elf to deliver your message!).

Characters with the Nature skill can forage during the midday rest and add to their survival days (p.186 PHB); a check at DC20 will find them a single survival day of food/water in the barren environment of Athas, while scoring 30+ on the result finds five survival days. The difficulty might decrease by 5 or more in especially fertile areas or may increase by 5, 10, or even more in especially devastated areas (such as salt flats, defiled plains, etc.). A character in desperate straits can also choose to reduce his daily speed by 3 and forage during traveling, being allowed a second daily Nature check to scrounge more provisions.

Running out of food and water
A character (or animal) who does not receive their nourishment for the day begins to suffer, moving along the following chart:

Effect levelConsequence
Level 1First day without adequate nourishment; no effect
Level 2Receives only half of his or her healing surges (rounded down) and a -1 penalty to all combat rolls.
Level 3Loses all healing surges; -2 penalty to all combat rolls; -1 to speed
Level 4Suffers 1 healing surge worth of damage (reducing character to 75% maximum hp); -4 penalty to all combat rolls
Level 5Suffers 2nd and 3rd healing surges worth of damage (reducing character to 25% of maximum hp; penalties continue; -3 to speed
Level 6Reduced to 1hp and 1 speed
Level 7Unconsciousness; death at the end of the day

Characters may, however, mitigate these effects by making Endurance checks. At the beginning of each new day following a day without nourishment, before suffering the new level’s effects, a character may make an Endurance check at base DC13+2 (see table). Success on this check means the character does not worsen today and remains at the level where he/she was yesterday. A further check must be made the next morning.

Condition for Endurance check (base DC13)DC modifier
Each day that has already passed without nourishment2
Athasian heat (this modifier applies more often than not)5
Pervasive smoke or ash3
Each size category above M2
Each size category below M-2
Wearing specialized desert clothing (p.123)-1
Using sun balm (p.123)-2

Recovering from starvation/thirst
A character suffering from the ill effects listed above who receives adequate nourishment for a day “steps back” to the previous level’s ill effects (at the end of the day he/she has received nourishment). The following day of receiving nourishment, the character “steps back” again. Additionally, each evening, before “stepping back”, the character can make an Endurance check (DC15) to “step back” two days, not just one. In this way a character suffering from a few days of ill effects may recover in just one or two days.

Receiving some, but inadequate, nourishment
Characters may choose to share their rations among themselves, surviving on less than what is normally necessary to live on but for a longer time. A character who receives half rations for a day must make an Endurance check the following morning or suffer normal “one day without nourishment” penalties; however, the DC is halved (rounded down). This occurs each day a character receives half rations. A character attempting to recover from the effects of thirst and hunger who receives half rations does not ever “step back” but continues to make (halved) Endurance checks to prevent degeneration (until he/she begins to receive full rations). Note that a character who receives less than half rations does not even receive this small benefit, and a half-giant must receive a full survival day (half of the 2 survival days they usually require) to even receive this.

Sample starvation/thirst progression:

  • Day 1: Eats nothing. No check, no ill effects. Existing at Level 1. Moving along at speed 7.
  • Day 2: In the morning, makes DC20 (base 13, +2 one day, +5 Athasian heat) Endurance check. Passes; no ill effects. Eats nothing. Still at Level 1.
  • Day 3: In the morning, makes DC22 (base 13, +5 heat, +4 two days) Endurance check. Fails and drops to Level 2; -1 to all combat rolls, half healing surges. Eats nothing.
  • Day 4: In the morning, makes DC24 (13+5+6) Endurance check. Fails and drops to Level 3; loses all healing surges, -2 penalty to combat rolls, -1 to speed (so now moves at speed 6). Comes upon a dead traveler and scrounges one-half a survival day from his corpse. Eats and drinks and goes to sleep.
  • Day 5: In the morning, makes DC13 (13+5+8, halved for partial rations) Endurance check. Passes; continues to operate at Level 3 with no healing surges, -2 to combat rolls, and speed.
  • Day 6: Comes upon an oasis during travel and eats and drinks heartily. Before bed, makes an Endurance (DC15) check. Fails; steps back only one level (to Level 2); character now receives half his/her healing surges, a -1 penalty to combat checks, and no speed penalty (so back up to speed 7). Goes to sleep.
  • Day 7: In the morning, makes no Endurance check because he/she received full rations the previous day. Goes through the day with half surges and -1 to combat rolls, eating and drinking to his/her fill at the oasis. At the end of the day, makes an Endurance (DC15) check. Fails again—terrible rolls! Steps back one level to Level 1. Character no longer has any ill effects lingering.

Sunrods are not readily available, but jars of glowworms provide long-lasting, cool sources of light.

Common itemsCost
1 survival day (4 pints of water, food, limited sun balm, etc.)8gp
1 pint of water (4 needed per day for survival)1gp
Meal, common2sp
Broy, pitcher (abt 2 pints)2gp
Wine, bottle5gp
Goggles, bone plates2gp
Goggles, glass5gp
1 pound (50 coins) of gold50,000gp
1 coin of gold1000gp
1 pound (50 coins) of silver5,000gp
1 coin of silver100gp
1 pound of iron or copper500gp
1 coin of iron or copper10gp
Metal longsword (4lb)4000gp
Metal dagger or spearhead (1lb)1000gp
Crossbow (includes a couple of small metal parts)750gp
Slave, common laborer200gp
Slave, skilled (scribe, pleasure, trade, etc.)1000gp
Slave, soldier500gp
Slave, gladiator2000gp

Metal weapons and armor generally cost x2 the raw materials cost by weight.

Mul slaves usually command x2 the price as others. Proven successful gladiators, exotic pleasure slaves, spellcaster or psionic slaves trained in shipfloating or mekillot handling or the like can command far more than the above prices.

Selling loot
See for a discussion of the purposes and costs of common, uncommon, and rare items (in short: common items sell for 20% of their list price, uncommon items for 50%, and rare items for 100%). Some house alterations are described below.

Though magic items of all sorts are illegal in the city-states, there are of course many places where the law bends (for example, in Altaruk, or in post-Kalak Tyr). Magic items cannot be acquired by unknowns simply walking in off the street (who knows if they’re sorcerer-king agents?), but are only available after contacts have been established in some manner.

Broadly speaking, common items can be purchased (though illegally) from certain merchant emporia (with proper contacts, of course). Rare items can only be purchased from the Veiled Alliance or other similar esoteric organizations. The availability of uncommon items depends on the city: in liberal places like Tyr, they can be purchased from merchant emporia, while in notably anti-arcane city-states like Draj they are only available from the Veiled Alliance.

The Veiled Alliance (and other arcanists) can provide an additional valuable service: they can awaken existing magic items, for a fee. In game terms, this means that they can boost an existing item to its next level for the cost-difference in ceramic pieces (so a level 5 stag helm, which costs 1000gp, can be awakened to be a level 15 stag helm, which costs 25,000gp, at a cost to the player of 24,000gp). The item’s scarcity (common, uncommon, or rare) does not matter.

Bost’s safewing amulet +1 is a common item worth 680gp. He could sell it to an emporium or to the Veiled Alliance for 136gp. Or, he could pay a Veiled Alliance arcanist 2720gp to awaken it to make it a safewing amulet +2.

Vilsis’ gloaming shroud +2 is an uncommon item worth 3400gp. He could sell it to the Veiled Alliance for 1700gp (and in some cities could sell it to an emporium for the same) or he could pay the Alliance 13,600gp to awaken it to a gloaming shroud +3.

Dazeel’s chatkcha of speed +1 is a rare item worth 1000gp. She could sell it to the Veiled Alliance for the full 1000gp or pay them 4,000gp to awaken it to a chatkcha of speed +2.

House rules

The Lost Seas waxwingslain