The Burnt World of Athas
“The endless wastes . . . The burning sand. . . . The crimson sun. . . . This is the
world of Athas, the world of the DARK SUN® campaign. Athas’s savage, primal landscape
is the result of long centuries of ecological and magical abuses. The world is
dying. It breathes its last gasps as water turns to silt, grasslands become sandy
waste’s, and jungles decay into stony barrens. Still, life finds ways to endure even
in these hellish conditions. In fact, it thrives.
Athas is a place of contrasts. Bleak deserts exist beside verdant belts, rocky
badlands give way to thick forests, and scrub plains surround opulent oases. These
contrasts go beyond environmental conditions. Magic, for example, is relatively
scarce and universally feared, while psionic powers are a common and accepted
part of life.
Water is more precious than gold in this resource-depleted world, and metals
of all sort are likewise in short supply. Except for heat and sun, blood and dust,
few things can be found in abundance. Children growing up beneath the crimson sun don’t aspire to become heroes. True heroes who champion causes or seek to make the world a better place are as
rare as steel on Athas. Living to see the next dawn is more important than defending
a set of beliefs, so survival ultimately motivates all living creatures—not virtue
But heroes are desperately needed in this harsh, savage world. . . . Heroes like
the ones who stepped forward to destroy the sorcerer-king Kalak and set Tyr free.
Heroes like those who risked everything to kill the Dragon and keep Rajaat the
Warbringer from devastating the land.
Today, Athas rushes toward its future. If the course of destruction is to be
diverted, of Athas is to be restored, then more heroes must grab the reins of destiny
and give new hope and promise to the world."
-Revised Dark Sun Campaign Setting Core Rulebook
Since there is no possible way I could put it better than the book does, I used the book (Sorry WotC). Basically, this world is survival of the fittest, and if your character ain’t ready, it ain’t gonna make it. So how will you survive? Train to be an enduring monk, a powerful psion, a terrifying fighter? Maybe even the arcane will help you survive. Have fun in Hell, otherwise known as The Burnt World of Athas!