Darksun "The Verdant Seed"
Darksun “The Verdant Seed”
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A Savage World
Beneath a crimson sun lie wastelands of majestic desolation and cities of cruel splendor, where sandal-clad heroes battle ancient sorcery and terrible monsters. This is Athas, the world of the Dark Sun campaign setting, a dying planet of savagery and desolation.
Athas is a hot, arid planet covered with endless seas of dunes, lifeless salt flats, stony wastes, rocky badlands, thorny scrublands, and worse. From the first moments of dawn, the crimson sun beats down from an olive-tinged sky. Temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees F. by midmorning and can reach 130 degrees or more by late afternoon. The wind is like the blast of a furnace, offering no relief from the oppressive heat. Dust and sand borne on the breeze coat everything with yellow-orange silt.
In this forbidding world, cities and villages exist only in a few oases or verdant plains. Some places don’t see rain for years at a time, and even in fertile regions, rain is little more than a humid mist that falls during a few weeks each year before giving way to long months of heat and drought. The world beyond these islands of civilization is a wasteland roamed by nomads, raiders, and hungry monsters.
“I live in a world of fire and sand. The crimson sun scorches the life from anything that crawls or flies, and storms of sand scour the foliage from the barren ground. This is a land of blood and dust, where tribes of feral elves sweep out of the salt plains to plunder lonely caravans, mysterious singing winds call travelers to slow suffocation in the Sea of Silt, and selfish kings squander their subjects’ lives building gaudy palaces and garish tombs. This bleak wasteland is Athas, and it is my home.” _
—The Wanderer’s Journal
Life on Athas is brutal and short. Bloodthirsty raiders, greedy slavers, and hordes of inhuman savages overrun the deserts and wastelands. The cities are little better; each chokes in the grip of an ageless tyrant. The institution of slavery is widespread on Athas, and many unfortunates spend their lives in chains, toiling for brutal taskmasters. Every year hundreds of slaves, perhaps thousands, are sent to their deaths in bloody arena spectacles. Charity, compassion, kindness—these qualities exist, but they are rare and precious. Only a fool hopes for such riches.
The Verdant Seed-
“There…in the dark, something remarkable occurred. In the lightless, stale, barren cave,nurtured by the primal spirits and its own tenacious power to survive, the seed of life slowly took root. Forging its own nutrients from the stone, drawing sustenance from traces of water, it grew into a mighty tree. More life spread from it; moss grew on the walls, vines snaked through rusted weapons and armor, and the air became fresh.”
Athas was not always a desert, and the parched landscape is dotted with the crumbling ruins of a planet that once was rich with rivers and seas. Ancient bridges over dry watercourses and empty stone quays that face seas of sand tell the tale of a world that is no more.
“My master taught us that life always moves in cycles—that from death, life inevitably
springs up again. My master was wrong. The defilers taught us that the cycle of life can
be broken, that destruction can be made final. This is why the ancient trees of life were
sacred. They represented a deeper font of life, one that could not be permanently erased
with ease. If one could find such a thing today, it would be a treasure beyond reckoning.
—Gerlaq Sharptooth, druid of the High Ridge, seeker of the Verdant Seed.”