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Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas (2e)Click to magnify
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Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas (2e)

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Reviled and hunted, hated and feared, they live in secrecy, hiding who and what they are from the rest of the world. They are criminals whose crime calls for swift execution. They are outcasts, with no place to call home. They are wizards, and their crime is the practice of magic?

Beneath the crimson sun, the life of a wizard is hard and dangerous. Blamed for the conditions of the world, feared for the mysterious power they wield, and hated for crimes both real and imagined, Athasian wizards walk in the shadows of a civilization and in the barren wastes of the wilderness. For to reveal their nature is to admit their crime-and risk their very lives.

Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas details the two paths of magic in the Dark Sun campaign and the strange way magic works there. It demonstrates how Athasian wizards power their magic and describes both types of wizards-defilers and preservers.

Defilers leech energy from the land, stealing life away with every spell they cast and leaving only dead ash behind. Preservers also gather energy form the land, but they take only what they need and work to keep the world healthy and alive. These two mortal enemies stand locked in a never-ending battle-with the survival of Athas at stake.

This accessory presents everything needed to create and play preserver and defiler wizards. It features:

A discussion on Athasian magic-how it works ,who can use it and what it can do.

  • New rules for Athasian wizards.
  • New proficiencies and plenty of wizard character kits.
  • Rules for the advanced beings-dragons and avangions.
  • Information on three new types of defilers and preservers-ceruleans, necromancers, and shadow wizards.
  • Details on the mysterious plane know as the Black and the Gray

Which path of magic will you choose?

Product History

Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas (1996), by Nicky Rea, is a splatbook for the wizards of Athas. It was released in June 1996.

Continuing the Dark Sun Series. In 1996, the Dark Sun line was in its final days. A small series of crunchy books followed the release of Dark Sun Campaign Setting Expanded and Revised (1995), and that was the end of the line. The last two books were Defilers and Preservers and then Psionic Artifacts of Athas (1996).

Defilers and Preservers was most obviously a sequel to The Will and The Way (1994). Where the earlier book presented kits and new rules for psionicists, this one provided kits and new rules for the wizards of Athas. Counting the even earlier DSS2: "Earth, Air, Fire, and Water" (1993), which focused on clerics but had a slightly different format, Defilers and Preservers completed a set of three splatbooks for the magic users of Dark Sun.

Wizardly splatbooks were nothing new at TSR by 1996, with previous releases including PHBR4: The Complete Wizard's Handbook (1990), CGR3: The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook (1994) and to a lesser extent DSR3: "Veiled Alliance" (1992).

Expanding AD&D. Defilers and Preservers includes several expansions to the rules for wizards, such as new kits and other variant rules that made up for the lack of wizardly specialists in Athas.

It also contains new rules for high-level play, always a point of interest in the Dark Sun setting. This included specific rules for dragons and avangions and a 10th level spell.

Expanding Athas. It was obvious from early on that Athas had a unique cosmology, as it was largely cut off from the rest of D&D's multiverse. Many of the details of this cosmology were revealed in the Prism Pentad novels (1991-1993), though information on its paraelemental planes could also be found in DSS2: "Earth, Air, Fire, and Water" (1993).

Defilers and Preservers brought all of that together to paint a complete picture of Athas' plane of existence, including the Gray, the Black, the Cerulean Storm, the Hollow, and its unique elemental planes.

Future History. Bill Slavicsek revealed a few more wizardly kits in "Defilers and Preservers" in Dragon #231 (July 1996).

About the Creators. Rea continued his extensive RPG freelancing in 1996 with other books including A Guide to Transylvania (1996) for Ravenloft and a half-dozen books for White Wolf and Holistic Design.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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TSR 2445
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File Last Updated:
October 13, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on October 14, 2014.