The aloof bird people live in high, inaccessible mountain ranges. They rarely concern themselves with matters of the human realms, which they call part of the "Low World", a place beneath them in every sense of the word.
Still, Aarakocra merchants do exist to trade with this Low World from time to time, a profession which in their society is afforded the same kind of respect we would give a grave digger or garbage collector - the job is necessary, perhaps, but it is nevertheless unclean.
Bodach was once one of the greatest cities of the ancients. Even today its towers still stand intact, clearly visible from many miles beyond. But some unknown doom struck the city centuries ago. Now, the restless dead scour the city and surrounding countryside for the living, tearing them limb from limb whenever they can. To make matters worse, at night the greater undead awake, mummified high priests and cadaverous warrior-generals. These monstrous beings retain the intelligence and skill they had in life, but warped towards evil intent.
Once, Giustenal was a glittering city of polished stone and crystal ornaments, set on the golden beaches of an azure sea. Now the sea is naught but silt and the city stands ruined and empty. Although... perhaps not quite as empty as many think. Some telepaths who wander close feel some inexplicable pull in their thoughts, as if some alien mind is attempting to contact them and draw them towards the city's palace. There are also unusually frequent sightings of the tentacled Silt Horrors around the city. Whatever the siren call may be, none have ever ventured into the palace and returned.
Perhaps the answers can be found within the folklore of the Dray, a small nomadic tribe of drake-like humanoids. According to their oral history, they were once citizens of Giustenal until their great exodus, just hours before the city fell into ruin. But their stories are unclear on what caused the exodus or the city's fall. Furthermore, all art found within the city depicts humans only, so many scholars doubt the Dray were merely some slave race and know nothing of importance.
Great Kalidnay was a very wealthy city once. It sits along a major road and was the dominant hub for trade in the south-eastern region. At the height of its glory, king Kalid-Ma had built a grand pyramid in the city center, its outer surface covered in panes of black glass, a monument to himself and his leadership.
Shortly after it was finished, during a conjunction of Athas' two moons, something went terribly wrong. The great pyramid cracked open and a dark curse befall the land. The fields and orchards overgrew with a forest of thick, thorny vines. A grey cloying mist always hangs in the air. The city-state went from a wealthy, fertile land into a hostile, sweltering jungle almost overnight.
But the Kalidnese people live on. They were strangely changed by their new homeland but they still prowl the dark thickets and haunt the foggy streets of their once-great city, now a domain of dread. Sometimes, they will meet trader caravans at the edge of their strangling forest to buy slaves. More often they conduct night raids to drag wanderers back to their homes. Some say they are sacrificed to appease some demon-god which has conquered the city. Others say that the Kalidnese drink blood instead of water. Whatever the truth, wise men never drop their guard within a half-day's travel from Kalidnay.
Persistent rumors insist of some odd encounters with powerful beings of some unknown species. Sometimes they came to help a lost wanderer. Other times they single-handedly destroyed a city. Supposedly they are powerful psychics, command the four elements, are as strong as a half-giant, and can commune with the spirits of the land.
Then again, rumors say a lot of things.
The mantis people are a nomadic race of formidable hunter-warriors. Although omnivorous, they prefer to eat meat and will even eat other sentient beings if food is scarce. Elves in particular are a favorite prey to the Thri-Kreen.
Thri-Kreen stand about seven feet tall, have a tough exoskeleton, and can leap about 50 feet far. Furthermore, their four arms end in sharp claw-like fingers and their bite can inject a paralytic toxin. They also require very little water and don't ever need any sleep. In fact, most Thri-Kreen are somewhat bewildered that other sentient races fall unconscious every single day.
Wild Thri-Kreen roam in packs of about 10 to 20 adults, which helps explain why they're not the dominant species on Athas. They have a very strong instinct to remain with their pack, or "clutch" as they call it, and imprint upon the individuals they see after hatching as their family. Due to this, urban and civilized Thri-Kreen also exist, descendants of slaves or some eggs which were taken and hatched within a human city.
An old legend, probably rooted more in fancy than in fact. The mythical city of Ur Draxa is supposedly a lost paradise, a beautiful garden city on some hidden island far east within the Silt Sea. Some claim that the Dragon lives here as a king. Others say that the Dragon destroyed the city, or that it sank into the Sea and sent the Dragon as punishment against the world which did not save it. Other variations of the myth insist that Ur Draxa lies on a small continent in the middle of an inland sea of water, or that it is the birthplace of psionics or defiling magic or both, or even that within Ur Draxa lies the secret of rejuvenating the world.
More likely, there was once a city by that name which simply was lost to the ravages of time or barbarians, just like so many others.
Long ago, before mankind had discovered how to write or work metal, there existed Yuan, the empire of serpent-people. Glorious and terrible it was, the serpent sorcerers openly bargained with devils for power, and its scholars wrought alchemical wonders and horrors alike.
But it is the nature of civilizations to grow degenerate and fall, and so it was for mighty Yuan. Its splendor is long forgotten and not even empty ruins remain of the cities.
Yet its descendants live among us. Most of them lead a hidden existence, as assassins or priest of some mysterious snake cult. Others live in small settlements on the frontier, where people generally don't give a damn where you come from or what your ancestors did.