Dark Sun - Fate of the World
Sunwarped of Athas
The Sunwarped are a small, nomadic tribe of humans that live on the very edge of a particularly large Sunwarped Flat. In the no-man’s land avoided by caravans, bandits, and armies alike, the Sunwarped peoples have managed to live a life of relative peace and safety in the deep desert.
In this no-mans land, the Sunwarped have managed to develop one of the few egalitarian societies in Athas, based on mutual aid and cooperation. They are great lovers of music and dancing, and have a highly developed understanding of the natural world.
This peaceful existence does come with a price, however. Living in such proximity to the Flats has mutated the Sunwarped over the generations. At birth, these mutations appear slight, a small wrinkle in the skin. As they advance in age however, their skin develops a burned, scarred look as shown in Figures 1 and 2.
In addition to these physical changes, the minds of the Sunwarped also suffer terrible changes over time. At some point during middle-age, the Sunwarped show the first signs of what they call “The Madness”. This condition begins with notably uncharacteristic behavior, and progresses over several years into an increasingly violent temper and finally total memory loss.
When a Sunwarped enters the final stage of The Madness, the tribe gathers for his Living Funeral. After an evening of stories and tearful remembrances, the doomed man leaves the tribe, and walks directly into the Flats.
Within a day, the tribesman will become a Wretch, a wild and mindless beast that attacks anything it sees. These wretches occasionally wander away from the Flats to attack caravans or travellers, helping to sustain the fear of the Flats, and thus the safety of the tribe.
Sunwarped are unknown to the common people of Athas, and they would likely be mistaken for a Wretch. In the rare occasion that a tribesman travels in Athas, he takes care to keep his condition a secret.
Fig. 1 Intermediate Sunwarped mutations (Current condition of Zebulon)
Fig. 2 Advanced Sunwarped mutations
Fig. 3 Sunwarped wretch