Short and powerful, dwarves stand between 4'/2 and 5 feet tall. Their frames are nevertheless extremely massive, and an average dwarf weighs in the vicinity of 200 pounds. Life in the Athasian wastes make them ruled, tanned, and callused.
Dwarves seek out meaningful work to occupy their time. A dwarf is never happier than when he has a cause to work or fight for. A stoic race, dwarves love to approach tasks with a single-minded intensity. They devote their very beings to these tasks, laboring for weeks, years, even decades to the exclusion of other endeavors. Once a dwarf is committed to a particular task, it takes a great deal of coercion to make him set it aside for even a limited amount of time. A dwarf strives for the personal fulfillment he achieves upon completing a lengthy, difficult task.
A dwarf's present task is called his focus. No simple job can become a focus. A focus must be a feat that requires at least one week to complete. While performing actions that are directly related to his focus, a dwarf receives a +1 bonus to all saving throws and a +2 bonus to all proficiency checks (or +10 to any percentile rolls). The concept of the focus is integral to a dwarf's makeup and is even tied to his physiologyso much so that those dwarves who die before completing their foci become undead banshees who wander the wastes haunting their unfinished works.
A dwarf character reacts to other characters based upon his current focus. If another character is actively committed to the dwarf's focus, the dwarf considers that character to be a sensible and dependable companion. If, however, a character vehemently opposes a dwarf's focus, the two are irrevocably at odds until one or the other is dead. There's very little room for compromise in a dwarf's mind.
Dwarves are non magical by nature. They can't use wizard magic of any sort, though they can employ priestly magic. Their non magical nature gives them a resistance to wizard spells that translates into saving throw bonuses for attacks from magical wands, rods, staves, and spells of a wizardry nature, as shown below on TABLE IX. Likewise, dwarves also have exceptional resistance to toxic substances. They receive bonuses to saving throws versus poison using the same table.
Unlike in other AD&D campaigns, Athasian dwarves don't receive combat bonuses against larger opponents, and they don't have any natural abilities to detect sloping passages or other underground discrepancies. They do have infravision (the ability to see varying degrees of heat in darkness) to 60 feet, and on Athas their base movement rate is 6. The maximum age a dwarf can hope to live to is 260.
Unlike elves, dwarves see heat (though this "infravision" does not allow them to perceive color.)
Each game session, dwarven PCs add up to 3% of their next level jump xps depending on the intensity of their focus devotion. Breaking or ignoring a focus costs a stiff xp penalty, and possibly other repercussions. A dwarf who fulfils a difficult focus lasting over one year receives a one-time bonus of 5-50% of the next level jump. Dwarves receive no special bonuses for using racial abilities.
All dwarves have the focus characteristic. Dwarves have 25 points to spend on the following characteristics
|5 Fear Bonus: +2 against all fear attacks.|
|10 Fitness bonus +1 to fitness score|
|5 Health bonus: +1 to health score.|
|15 Infravision, 90. Sees Heat.|
|10* Infravision, 60. Sees Heat.|
|5 Infravision 30. Sees Heat.|
|10 Can chose one of the following as a wild talent, provided the trait and proficiency are paid for: detection, complete healing, or know Direction/location and immovability.|
|10 Muscle bonus: +1 to muscle score.|
|10 The PCs metabolism allows him to heal 1 hp per hour, provided the dwarf has sufficient food and water.|
|15* Saving throw bonus by constitution against magic and poison.|
|10 Tough dwarf. Takes only 1/2 damage from strangulation, constriction, bludgeoning, and falling damage.|
|10 Thick hide: Dwarfs skin provides AC 8.|
Half-elves are produced through the union of elves and humans. These characters of mixed breeding combine features of both races to create something unique. Indeed, half-elves can even produce children, unlike muls. Half-elves grow taller than humans but don't reach the height of elves, averaging about 6lk feet. They are also bulkier than elves, making it easier to pass themselves off as full humans than as full elves. Even so, all half-elves have telltale features that hint at their Elven heritage. Despite their unique nature, half-elves don't form their own communities. They live in human societies, either in the city-states or among the tribes and villages that fill the wilderness. A half-elf's life is typically harder than either a human's or an elf's. Intolerance from others is the main cause for this difficult existence, which often shapes and defines a half-elf's nature. As such, a half-elf rarely finds acceptance in either parent's society.
Elves have no tolerance for children of mixed blood; their traditions demand that such children and even their mothers be cast out of the tribe. Humans aren't quite as harsh, and half-elves born into human society have a better chance of survival, but life isn't particularly enjoyable or easy. Humans will accept half-elves as allies or partners, but seldom will they accept them into their homes or families, and few will call a half-elf friend. Humans have no faith in a half-elf's Elven side, and elves distrust the human in these crossbreeds. Because of this, a half-elf goes through life as an outsider and loner. He wanders from situation to situation without a people or a land to call home. Thus, he is forced to develop high levels of self-reliance in order to survive. This self-reliance is a half-elf's greatest asset, and a half-elf prides himself on it. He learns not only the skills of survival but methods for dealing with loneliness as well. This may make a half-elf seem detached and aloof, but he will cooperate with companions when necessary.
This air of indifference often hides a desire to gain acceptance from one side of a half-elf's heritage or the other, a pursuit that's usually in vain. Fortunately, however, other races don't have a basic dislike of half-elves, so these characters typically find companionship among dwarves or thri-kreen. Some half-elves also turn to the animal world for company, training creatures to be servants and friends. Half-elves can select any character class; a number of multi class options are available to them as well. These characters receive the following bonuses:
|All half-elf characters have infravision to 60 feet; their base movement rate is 12.|
|At 3rd level (the starting level for all DARK SUN PCS), a half-elf receives a bonus proficiency: survival. This proficiency is free; it doesn't fill up any of the character's available slots. The player must specify the terrain type his character is proficient in. Terrain types for the world of Athas include stony barrens, sandy wastes, rocky badlands, mountains, scrub plains, forests, salt flats, and boulder fields. Note that the terrain type selected must make sense for the character. A half-elf who grew up in Tyr, for example, shouldn't select swamp survival.|
|At 5th level, a half-elf can befriend one creature. The creature can be any animal native to the half-elf's survival terrain type, but it can't be larger than a human (medium size). The half-elf must find the creature while it's young and spend a full week with it to train it. After that time, the creature follows the half-elf everywhere and obeys simple commands. A half-elf can only befriend one creature at a time, and he must wait 100 days after the death of one befriended creature before beginning to train another. Choice of a half-elf's befriended creature is always subject to the DM's approval. Like their Elven counterparts, half-elf characters have no special resistance to any type of spells, nor do they have the ability to find secret or concealed doors. They have been known to live as long as 130 years.|
Each game session, Half-Elven PCs add 1% of their next level jump xps if they role-played the half-elf well (independent and self-reliant), another 1% if they win the approval of a group of Humans or of Elves.
Half-elves have 30 points to spend. Up to 5 points can be saved for spending in the traits and disadvantages stage of character creation. The points may be spent of the following characteristics:
|10 Aim Bonus +1 to aim score.|
|10* Animal bonding: If the half-elf selects the animal empathy trait, he can befriend on creature at fifth level as described above.|
|10 Balance bonus: +1 to balance score.|
|5 Heat resistance. Elf receives a +1 on saving throws vs. cold.|
|10 Inbred Swiftness. Half-elf receives a bonus to his base movement of 12 as noted above.|
|10* Lesser Guthay vision: Half-elves can see up to 60 yards in the full light of Guthay.|
|15 Full Guthay vision: Half-elves can see up to 120 yards in the full light of Guthay.|
|5 Parental resemblance: The character takes after its Elven or human parent, and is mistaken for either full-Elven or full-human.|
|10 Ambiguous features: with minimal touching up, the half-elf can pass for Elven, or human at will. The character receives a bonus Imitation trait, and if he takes the disguise proficiency, the imitation may fool the keenest of observers, and the character gains an understanding of his parent race that grants him a +3 reaction bonus when dealing with either race.|
|5 Resistance to extreme temperatures. 1/2-elf has a natural resistance to extreme temperatures and aren't adversely affected by the heat of the day or the chill of the night. However, this resistance doesn't extend to magical or supernatural heat and cold.|
|10* Survival terrain bonus: at fifth level, 8th level, and again at 11th level, the character can add a bonus terrain to his survival proficiency. The half-elf must spend at least one month in the new terrain, studying the flora, fauna, and geography of the land to receive the bonus proficiency. If the character possesses the animal bonding characteristic, the half-elf can now also take an animal from each of his three terrains.|
|10 Wild talent selection: Rather than rolling a random wild Talent, the half elf can choose between one of the following wild talents: Telempathic projection, send thoughts (animals only), truthear, balistic attack, mind/body.|