The world of Athas is a desert wasteland. Ravaged by a terrible war of cosmic proportions and blighted by the relentless pursuit of power. Here, the oppressive chains of the old gods were cast off by the fury of the chaotic elementals, leaving the people of Athas free to pursue their own destinies. But without the gods to shape and channel the use of magic, it became a tool to be used or misused. Just as fire can warm a house or burn it down, magic has scorched the world and blackened the sun.
The magic of the great Defilers has drained the life from the world. The once great oceans are now vast seas of silt. The vibrant forests the elves called home are now endless sand dunes, home to a broken people. The Mountain kingdoms of the dwarves lay in ruin, consumed by shadows. The great human empire has been broken, with the masses enslaved in the scattered city states of the sorcerer kings.
The resources of the earth have been exhausted by endless wars. Iron, silver and gold are all but distant memory. The great weapons of the past lay forgotten in cursed tombs and buried battlefields. Armies fall to the killing power of rock and bone, as desperate kings battle for these tools of a abandoned past.
Life has adapted to this harsh, unforgiving world. The creatures that dwell here have grown strange and twisted. The powers of the mind have advanced, becoming the order to challenge magic’s chaos. Defending life, where the defilers spread only death.
In this world, dying of old age is the greatest cause for celebration. An honor afforded to so few that entire cities will erupt in revelry, never forgetting those who achieved that rarest of feats.
Brutality and cunning are the only way to survive. Honor is a fools game that ends in a knife in the back. There is no heaven to reward the valiant, no hell to punish the wicked. Only a desperate life atop a furnace world and a merciless death, with the bones of the fallen forgotten beneath the shifting sands.