Dark Sun: A New Dawn
Atlas of Athas- Tyr
First, Chapter 5 of the Dark Sun Campaign Setting presents a desert primer. Not all deserts consist solely of sand, and this section provides an introduction to the landforms and conditions that prevail over much of the world.
Next, the chapter describes prominent locations on Athas. These include the Seven Cities, the great city-states of the Tyr Region: Tyr, Balic, Draj, Gulg, Nibenay, Raam, and Urik. Tyr is described at greater length, since its current state of affairs provides many opportunities for heroes looking for a way to make a difference in the world.
In addition, this section discusses major regions of Athas in the vicinity of Tyr: the Estuary of the Forked Tongue, the Forest Ridge, the Ivory Triangle, the Ringing Mountains, the Road of Kings, the Sea of Silt, the Southern Wastes, the Tablelands, and the Western Hinterlands.
Tyr at a glance
Tyr is a flashpoint of intrigue on Athas. Its Golden Tower and sealed Ziggurat are unique wonders that awe most visitors.
Population: Roughly 15,000 within the city walls, and about as many in the noble estates and villages of the Tyr Valley. Humans are the majority, constituting two-thirds of the population. Dwarves, elves, goliaths, and muls make up most of the rest.
Water: Seventeen public wells reach down below Tyr to tap one of the deepest, oldest aquifers on Athas, fed by runoff from the nearby Ringing Mountains. A Tyrian Guard detachment protects each well. The city-state also has many private wells, such as in the King’s Gardens and in the Templar District.
Supplies: A wide variety of basic supplies is available in the Caravan and Merchant Districts, as well as in the Elven Market in the Warrens. Most days, a ragtag bazaar springs up near the Stadium of Tyr.
Inns and Taverns: The Caravan District and the Merchant District have more than thirty inns and an equal number of taverns between them. The Warrens offers more squalid spaces, including abandoned buildings that host squatters.
Tyr hunkers within high walls in the middle of the fertile Tyr Valley, which lies in the foothills of the Ringing Mountains. From miles away, a traveler can make out the massive spires of the Golden Tower rising over the city-state’s walls. Not far from the tower, a brick step-pyramid soars above the walls: the Ziggurat of Kalak, multicolored and resplendent under the desert sun. The city walls are parched sandstone, smoothed by time and centuries of continual repair. Beyond Tyr loom the ramparts of the Ringing Mountains, whose topmost peaks glint with a dusting of snow during the months of Sun Descending.
Most traffic enters the city-state through the eastern Caravan Gate. This structure consists of two marble valves, each 20 feet high and nearly as wide, which are banded and hinged in precious iron. Inside, the thoroughfare known as Caravan Way leads through the Caravan District toward the heart of the city, where the Merchant District is nestled at the base of the towering Ziggurat of Kalak. The spacious stone residences that make up the twin wards of the Noble District lie north and south of the Caravan District, easily differentiated from the press of adobe buildings in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Commoners and slaves live cheek by jowl in the Warrens, a medley of unplanned structures that sprawls away north of the Ziggurat. Criminal gangs roam the Warrens, preying on the weak. Temporary shelters have sprung up in the Artisan District on the ziggurat’s north side. Although shelter and access to water is less certain in the Artisan District, fewer bodies turn up here each morning than in the Warrens. This district also now doubles as a training area for gladiators who fight in the Stadium of Tyr during the games held there.
The stadium separates the Ziggurat of Kalak from the Golden Tower.
Tyr has always been two cities in one: the greater city, which is composed of commoners, slaves, and nobles, and the smaller Golden City, which is dominated by the Golden Tower and is the home of the resplendent King’s Gardens. Many civic structures surround the tower, along with giant warehouses that hold precious reserves of grain, iron ingots, water, and weaponry. In addition, the Golden City houses upper-class functionaries and templars.
The Golden Tower, Tyr’s most majestic piece of architecture, is constructed of rare golden granite and contains dozens of chambers linked by winding passages. A separate observation spire stands nearby, a smaller version of the main tower; a soaring bridge connects the two structures. According to rumor, defiling magic binds ancient elementals to the Golden Tower, creatures that remain vigilant against potential attackers.
Finally, beneath the city lies Under-Tyr, catacombs that represent the leavings of more than two thousand years of urban construction on the same site. Buried streets, cracked courtyards, and crumbling ruins abound in the darkness beneath Tyr. Secret cellars in surface buildings offer access into this dangerous realm of subterranean passages and forgotten neighborhoods.
The Stadium of Tyr
Tyr’s gladiatorial stadium sits between the walls of the Golden City and Kalak’s Ziggurat. A special viewing balcony, once reserved for the king and highranking templars, is set halfway up the Golden City’s walls. On the opposite side of the stadium, a great stairway climbs from the gladiatorial floor to the top of the ziggurat. Mosaics depicting Kalak as a warrior god adorn each step facing the stadium.
The spaces below the spectators’ seats are a maze of cells and passageways that hold prisoners and monsters destined for the arena. A wide avenue leads from the stadium’s north side to the nearby Stadium Gate in the city walls. This gate is carved to resemble the gaping jaws of the Dragon, and it is used to transport monsters captured in the mountains or the desert to holding cells until they are brought out for combat in the arena.