The Shattered Lands
Magic in Athas
The abuse of magic has shaped and scarred the world of Astrid for the past 8,000 years, although it was the death of the Mage Kings that finally pushed the world past its tipping point, turning the world to inhospitable wastes and deserts. The practitioners of the arcane arts are feared and distrusted by the general populace.
Feral Sorcerers and Witches (some born to the wastes others driven from society) roam the shattered lands. Some become leaders of gangs, wandering the wastes, looting and pillaging villages and caravans. Others are driven insane by their own power and exile from civilization, becoming unstable and dangerous to all who cross their path. Others still, band together with their brethren to form powerful covens and cults.
Wizardry is a rare practice these days on the continent of Athas. Much of the learned arcane arts were lost to the sands of athas. Those who still learn magic are highly driven and often have to plunder ruins for materials and books to learn from. Alternatively, for the right price, rarities such as ancient spellbooks can be found on the black market. Such thing are spoken about in hushed tone and are only affordable by the very rich.
Those who do master magic wield great strength and influence throughout the underworld as many criminals have fewer compunctions about magic use than average citizens. While it is not illegal to practice such things the fear and hatred that most feel for mages means that most wizards hide their power in everyday life.
Athasian mages drain energy from the surrounding soil. The methods used labels wizards as either defilers or preservers. Preservers have the self–control to gather energy without disrupting the local life force. Those who do not, or who feel no remorse about the damage caused, become defilers. Defilers leave behind sterile soil and infertile ash when they cast spells. Due to this, most wastelanders blame mages for the desert landscape that dominates Athas today, and their hatred extends to defilers and preservers alike.
The Power of Corruption
Defilers leave behind an ashen circle when casting spells. The radius is 5 ft. x spell slot level expended (a 0‐level spell defiles a single 5‐ft. square occupied by the caster). Creatures except the defiler caught within the defiling radius at casting time experience pain and suffer a –1 penalty to all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks for 1 round. Plant creatures also suffer 2 hp damage x spell slot level expended (a 0‐level spell inflicts 1 hp damage).
Defilerʹs ash is black and completely devoid of life‐giving properties. It is the telltale sign of wizardry. Nothing grows in a defiled area for years. Even if the defilerʹs ash moves with the wind, the ground remains a lifeless scar. A defiler cannot preserve, but a preserver can defile if desperate.
When defiling, a wizard can extend the casting time of her spells to 1 round and gain a +1 bonus to caster level. Her defiling radius increases by 5 ft. Spells with a normal casting time of 1 round or longer require an extra round to be cast in this manner. Experienced defilers often increase their spellcasting power further through Raze feats (located further down on this page)
The Path to Corruption
Arcane casters who defile must roll a Will save DC 10 + spell level + amount of times previously defiled. Failing this save, they become defilers. Preservers succeeding the save lose their preserver status and become tainted. Tainted wizards are not defilers, but risk becoming so.
Tainted wizards may seek redemption from a druid. The druid, if willing and able, can cast a conversion spell on the tainted spellcaster, restoring her preserver status (reset the number of times defiled to zero). The spellcaster gains 1 negative levels. Defilers can also seek redemption, but gain 3 negative levels. Usually the defiler must undertake a quest or otherwise demonstrate a true willingness to redeem herself before the druid casts the conversion spell.
Terrain types affect arcane magic depending on the amount of plant life available. Barren and desolate terrains weaken spells, while fertile and abundant terrains boost spells. Spell save DCs and caster level checks are affected as indicated on the table below. The Obsidian Plains are completely devoid of life energy. If arcane spellcasters have no alternative energy sources, or magical items such as wands, they are unable to cast spells in this terrain.
|Terrain Type||Example||Spell DC Modifier||Caster Level Check Modifier|
Many defilers lust for power and develop means of drawing extra power from lands already pushed to the brink of destruction. Any defiler has access to the following feats:
|Agonizing Radius||Defiler||Increase the penalties within defiling radius by 1|
|Sickening Raze||Agonizing Radius||Creatures within your defiling radius become nauseated|
|Controlled Raze||Defiler||Specify area of your defiling circle that is unaffected by defiling|
|Distance Raze||Defiler||Move the center of your defiling circle|
|Destructive Raze||Defiler||Add +1 damage per damage die inflicted by evocation spells when defiling|
|Efficient Raze||Defiler||Treat the terrain you gather energy as one category better|
|Exterminating Raze||Defiler||Plant creatures caught in defiling radius suffer 4 points of damage per spell level|
|Fast Raze||Defiler||Spend move action to gain a +1 caster level bonus when defiling|
Your defiling techniques are particularly painful.
Benefits: The penalties for being caught within your
defiling radius increase by one (i.e. from –1 to –2).
You increase your defiling radius and may specify
Benefits: Your defiling radius increases by 5 feet. You
can specify one 5 ft. square per 5 ft. radius of your defiling
circle that is unaffected by your energy gathering.
Creatures in unaffected squares do not suffer the adverse
effects of being caught in the defiling circle, nor is
vegetation in that square turned to ash.
You can gather energy for spells at a distance.
Benefits: You can move the center of your defiling
circle (on the ground) up to 10 feet per caster level, in
effect moving the entire circle of defiling.
Normal: Your defiling circle is centered on you.
You can focus the energy you absorb from the area to
increase the damage your spells inflict.
Benefits: Add +1 to damage per damage die inflicted
by evocation spells when defiling
You can gather energy more efficiently, utilizing the
maximum energy potential of a given terrain.
Benefits: Treat the terrain you gather energy in as one
category better when you defile. E.g. a spell cast in barren
terrain (–1 spell save DC and –1 penalty to caster level
checks) is treated as if cast in infertile terrain (no spell
save modifier and no penalty to caster level checks). In
abundant terrain the bonuses to spell save DCs and spell
checks are increased by an additional +1. This feat has no
effect in the Obsidian Plains.
Your defiling techniques are particularly damaging to
Benefits: Plant creatures caught in your defiling
radius suffer 4 points of damage per spell level.
Normal: Plant creatures caught in your defiling radius
suffer 2 points of damage per spell level
You can gather energy faster.
h3. Benefits: When defiling, you can spend a move action
to gain a +1 caster level bonus. Spells with a normal
casting time of 1 round or longer still require an extra
round to be cast in this manner. Your defiling radius
increases by 5 ft. when using Fast Raze.
Normal: It takes one round to gain the caster level
Your defilement makes others sick.
Prerequisites: Agonizing Radius.
Benefits: Creatures within your defiling radius
become nauseated in addition to any other
penalties for 1 round.