D&D 5E 5e has everything it needs for Dark Sun

ChaosOS

Legend
With the release of Tasha's Cauldron of Everything several months ago, I've come to the conclusion that 5e has everything it needs to release Dark Sun.
The common refrain is we need a dedicated Psion class - Humbug, I say. The interesting part of Dark Sun psionics was always their widespread presence, not the Masters of the Way. Dedicated power users are far more interesting along the Defiler/Preserver axis, as that plays into the core themes of the world. Masters of the Way... Just kind of skip over that, especially without extremely restrictive effect lists for what psionics can do.
However, that doesn't mean I want psionics gone. Psionics are an integral part of the post-apocalyptic aesthetic, where even seemingly ordinary creatures can wield terrible powert. Psionic subclasses, like the Psi Warrior and Soulknife, translate that to discrete mechanics for the martial/psionic gladiator.
I also think Wild Talents are an important aspect of the setting. These can be implemented as boons, which have been successfully templated in both the Theros and Ravenloft setting books.

Now, this isn't to say I wouldn't enjoy a novel int based Psion class. But I just don't think it's necessary to publish a 5e Dark Sun.
 

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It obviously does not. You'd need vastly expanded Psionic subclasses even without Psion, and ditching Psions in a book full of Psionics would feel pretty idiotic (which is as a good an argument as "humbug", I offer). Also, putting a Psion class in the book, like Artificer in Eberron, would be a very good way to move copies.

You'd be better of re-booting Dark Sun with a more novel approach rather than just trying to revisit the 2E or 4E visions of the setting, with the current stuff in 5E, which is what, three archetypes and a some feats.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
You're both right.

WotC could easily publish a single Dark Sun campaign book that goes over all the top-level tropes, storypoints, land areas, and creatures just like they've already done for Theros, Eberron and so forth. For anyone who has never played Dark Sun before and is interested in a Mad Max-like D&D world to read and generate ideas from... that could all be done right now and probably many people would be fine with it if not outright love it.

But at the same time, that kind of book would not be able to really go deep into what Dark Sun really is. And the people who have played it in editions past and who have read/owned all the material before would easily be able to see there wasn't any real depth and that most of what made the Dark Sun setting what it was, was now missing. A much more prominent psionics system would be near the top of that list. So the people who love Dark Sun would rightly be pissed.

But this is really no different than the Eberron and Ravenloft fans out there. Both Eberron RftFW and VRGtR are very surface level introductions to their settings, and are missing a crap-ton of additional setting material that has been written for them in the past. I mean I own a dozen Eberron books from 3.5 that delve further into things like Dragonmarks, Faiths, Argonesson etc. that Rising could never hope to replicate. But I think that's actually the point. These settings book ARE nothing more than a "first taste"-- an introduction to those who have no idea what these settings are at all. And that the expectation is that if you like this book and this setting and you want more... you will go to places like DMs Guild and start buying all the older stuff already made and full of those details for the further depth of their settings. Because there's very little point in WotC just re-writing additional new books that is made up of all old material-- not when you can just use the old material as it is.
 
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You're both right.

WotC could easily publish a single Dark Sun campaign book that goes over all the top-level tropes, storypoints, land areas, and creatures just like they've already done for Theros, Eberron and so forth. For anyone who has never played Dark Sun before and is interested in a Mad Max-like D&D world to read and generate ideas from... that could all be done right now and probably many people would be fine with it if not outright love it.

But at the same time, that kind of book would not be able to really go deep into what Dark Sun what it is. And the people who have played it in editions past and who have read/owned all the material before would easily be able to see there wasn't any real depth and that most of what made the Dark Sun setting what it was, was now missing. A much more prominent psionics system would be near the top of that list. So the people who love Dark Sun would rightly be pissed.

But this is really no different than the Eberron and Ravenloft fans out there. Both Eberron RftFW and VRGtR are very surface level introductions to their settings, and are missing a crap-ton of additional setting material that has been written for them in the past. I mean I own a dozen Eberron books from 3.5 that delve further into things like Dragonmarks, Faiths, Argonesson etc. that Rising could ever hope to replicate. But I think that's actually the point. These settings book ARE nothing more than a "first taste"-- an introduction to those who have no idea what these settings are at all. And that the expectation is that if you like this book and this setting and you want more... you will go to places like DMs Guild and start buying all the older stuff already made and full of those details for the further depth of their settings. Because there's very little point in WotC just re-writing additional new books that is made up of all old material-- not when you can just use the old material as it is.
What this analogy misses is that Ravenloft genuinely does have all the rules it needs (including those in Ravenloft), whereas DS would have to simply shrug and ignore a major aspect of the setting. A DS book would also probably need to be pretty spectacularly chock-full of unique rules that don't yet exist to do the justice Rising or Ravenloft do (and have a large bestiary). I'd also say Rising has a significant problem because of how badly the implemented the Dragonmarks are, because they didn't yet dare to do the Supernatural Gifts thing.

Dark Sun also has a significant problem in that much of the major lore for it involves significant rules-structures, which are not going to be possible to get for 5E simply by going on DMsguild, not initially anyway.

So whilst there are similarities to those situations, saying it's "just the same" is pretty inaccurate.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
5e has everything it needs as long as people are ok with spells-as-psi-powers.

I'd be easy to introduce a chart of psionic powers (spells) to roll on during character creation. The sorcerer is as good of a psion stand-in as any, although its spell list might be too "arcane" for many. The bard, once you put the fluff aside, has a very psion-y spell list actually, and its class features, in their effects when not in fluff, fits a psion class very well too. Besides, Dark Sun already has a history of re-writing the bard.

So whereas Eberron was about re-writing the socio-economical context of everything D&D while keeping the mechanics intact, Dark Sun could be about re-writing the fluff of everything D&D while keeping the mechanics intact (which is kind of what it did in 2e). And it would work. But I'm not convinced it's what people want.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
So whilst there are similarities to those situations, saying it's "just the same" is pretty inaccurate.
But "just the same" is already impossible by virtue of being a different edition with different mechanics. The best you can aim for is "close enough". The problem is that your "close enough" is probably different than mine, which is probably different than Defcon's, etc.
 

But "just the same" is already impossible by virtue of being a different edition with different mechanics. The best you can aim for is "close enough". The problem is that your "close enough" is probably different than mine, which is probably different than Defcon's, etc.
You misunderstand, sorry if I'm being vague. I'm referring to the analogy re: the situations the players are in, not the rules.
 

Retreater

Legend
Gonna respectfully disagree on this. The psionics (as presented in Tasha's) are woefully inadequate. No rules about preservers/defilers. No rules about elemental clerics. There should be a subsystem to make survival a challenge - not just overcome completely with a ranger or Nature skill. Setting information, adventures, original monsters, etc., would all need updating.
Sure, a DM could do this, but I disagree with saying it's ready to go with the resources already available.
 

dave2008

Legend
Gonna respectfully disagree on this. The psionics (as presented in Tasha's) are woefully inadequate. No rules about preservers/defilers. No rules about elemental clerics. There should be a subsystem to make survival a challenge - not just overcome completely with a ranger or Nature skill. Setting information, adventures, original monsters, etc., would all need updating.
Sure, a DM could do this, but I disagree with saying it's ready to go with the resources already available.
I think the OP is saying it has everything needed when you add a setting book like ERftLW or VRGtR.
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
Mechanically, mostly. In my pre-TCE 5E conversion most pieces fit without much adjustment. Added rules for defiling, non-metal weapons, survival fixes, monster conversions, a 3rd party psionic book based off 3rd edition, tweaks to classes (like the Cleric) to make them fit, new races rules, and bans (unlike 4E, which tried to squeeze in every race and class).

I'll keep in a holding pattern for WOTC as I'm not a fan of pouring Frankenberries into a box of Lucky Charms and saying it's all the same because we've got cereal and marshmallows. Dark Sun was special for being something we'd never seen before with new toys, and great marketing to build hype.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
@dave2008 has it right... the assumption is that you can take 5E as it currently stands... and make a DS setting book the exact same way they've made Eberron, Ravenloft, Theros, Ravnica etc.-- by adding in specific subclasses, ancestries, and extra rules to fill in the missing gaps. So of course there would be a player thri-kreen ancestry, and either all-new or adapted half-dwarf and half-giant ancestries. There would probably be preserver and defiler Wizard subclasses. Maybe they might add in a Sorcerer-King warlock patron, and maybe an additional psionic sub-class (beyond the fighter / rogue / sorcerer ones already in the game.)

You add that stuff and your standard continent area map with details on the major areas, some of the big NPCs, and a whole bunch of monsters and WotC will produce a book that's basically as top-level as all the other books they have done. Good for a taste of the setting, some ideas for how adventures and campaigns could be run there... but little to no deep details that come from most of the DS material from editions past. That can all easily be done.

Will it be what the Dark Sun purists want? Of course not. But the DS purists don't need anything deeper, because they probably already own all the old stuff that they can just re-purpose it for a new game. The only thing this campaign book would do is highlight this setting into the minds of new players who don't know anything about it. And thus when a DS purest says "I'd love to run a game of Dark Sun for you"... all these new players that have started D&D with 5E have at least a foot to stand on as far as understanding what they are getting into.

But there is absolutely no reason for a purist to think that any new DS book WotC publishes is going to give them everything they believe is necessary to run effective campaigns there. It is numerically impossible just based upon page count alone.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
What this analogy misses is that Ravenloft genuinely does have all the rules it needs (including those in Ravenloft), whereas DS would have to simply shrug and ignore a major aspect of the setting.
Heh... I am willing to bet there are Ravenloft purists out there who in fact don't believe this new book has all the rules Ravenloft needs for an effective campaign. Because those 2E books had a crap-ton of new rules for all kinds of stuff, of which almost none of it is included in Van Richten's. The only difference is how many of those rules a person feels are necessary or not necessary to have.

You have a certain level of mechanical heft you feel is necessary to actually have a 5E Dark Sun campaign setting book, whereas others would think that heft was unnecessary. You believe Van Richten's has all the heft necessary to run Ravenloft, whereas there are others probably out there who believe WotC missed the mark and left too much out. Neither of you is right... and neither of you is wrong. And it's because there is no consensus, WotC feels fine producing the single campaign books that they do... because they'll be perfectly useable to a large enough sampling of the D&D population for what they need.
 
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see

Pedantic Grognard
It obviously does not. You'd need vastly expanded Psionic subclasses even without Psion,
Huh? 2E Dark Sun didn't need a bunch of psionic class variants, why would 5E Dark Sun need them? Unless you were a member of the psionicist class, your only psionics in 2E was a wild talent, which is trivially simulated with "hey, you can cast this one spell off this list of 'psionic powers' without components".
No rules about preservers/defilers.
Yeah, here's preservers/defilers rules, based on a rough into-5e-translation of the fact that the benefit of defiling in 2E was you advanced in level somewhat faster:

1) By default, you're a preserver, just like every 2E preserver used the core AD&D wizard rules.
2) You can choose to defile when you cast an upcastable spell. When you do so, you kill plants in a 10 foot * spell level of slot used radius, and the spell's power is increased as if you used a one-level-higher slot.
3) If you choose to be a pure defiler, you always defile, even when using non-upcastable spells. As your additional bennie, you get a free spell slot of [your highest castable level or 5th level, whichever is lower].
No rules about elemental clerics
That's easily-enough handled as a set of cleric domains.
I wonder how many people played dark sun 2E without psionics. I know a few tables that did.
We didn't play "without psionics", but we didn't have any PC members of the psionicist class, because the CPH psionicist was a wonky mess.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
Huh? 2E Dark Sun didn't need a bunch of psionic class variants, why would 5E Dark Sun need them? Unless you were a member of the psionicist class, your only psionics in 2E was a wild talent, which is trivially simulated with "hey, you can cast this one spell off this list of 'psionic powers' without components".

Yeah, here's preservers/defilers rules, based on a rough into-5e-translation of the fact that the benefit of defiling in 2E was you advanced in level somewhat faster:

1) By default, you're a preserver, just like every 2E preserver used the core AD&D wizard rules.
2) You can choose to defile when you cast an upcastable spell. When you do so, you kill plants in a 10 foot * spell level of slot used radius, and the spell's power is increased as if you used a one-level-higher slot.
3) If you choose to be a pure defiler, you always defile, even when using non-upcastable spells. As your additional bennie, you get a free spell slot of [your highest castable level or 5th level, whichever is lower].

That's easily-enough handled as a set of cleric domains.

We didn't play "without psionics", but we didn't have any PC members of the psionicist class, because the CPH psionicist was a wonky mess.
I agree with everything u said. But,😉 don’t say wonky like it’s bad thing 😉
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
It does not have decent psionics - but that isn't a roadblock, rather that's something cool and general to put in the book - which is sort of in keeping with other books for 5e.


A real psion class would be a really cool thing, though I suppose the players that are really emotionally invested in sorcerers being whatever their are will gnash their teeth.
 



ChaosOS

Legend
To clarify my view; I think RftLW having a brand new class was an extraordinary occurrence, and also notably eats up a ton of page count. I'd much rather have a few subclasses, Wild Talents, and then the necessary setting rules for things like defiling. And as others have noted, the simple reality is any setting book couldn't replicate the full breadth of old lore, any book is going to be an invitation to pick up old stuff off the dmsguild
Sidebar; I overall like the dragonmarks-as-subraces, even if I think the Spells of the Mark is a bit of an awkward feature (currently playing a Deneith Psi Warrior and a Jorasco Diviner Wizard in two different campaigns)
 

Huh? 2E Dark Sun didn't need a bunch of psionic class variants, why would 5E Dark Sun need them? Unless you were a member of the psionicist class, your only psionics in 2E was a wild talent, which is trivially simulated with "hey, you can cast this one spell off this list of 'psionic powers' without components".
Because there's no Psion. If there is, it becomes less of an issue. But if you think what we have is "sufficient" to support a 2E-style DS, then you're fooling yourself.
Too late, people are really stuck on them being crappier sparkly wizards who never went to school.

All they really need is spell points and alt casting stats.
Yeah, we got the worst possible version of Sorcerer for 5E, because of the terror of upsetting Pathfinder/3.5E players. In the playtest they had a far sexier version, and Psion-style approach would also have worked well. Instead we get this pathetic 3.5E retro version. Lame.
idebar; I overall like the dragonmarks-as-subraces, even if I think the Spells of the Mark is a bit of an awkward feature
I mean, it's one of the worst-implemented mechanics in 5E and is the result of a godawful last-minute panic compromise. The version in earlier playtests of Eberron was far better, and if Eberron had come out after or closer to Theros, they'd have just done Dragonmarks as one choice in some sort of "Boons" menu all Eberron PCs got.
 

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