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

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
It's quoted from the 2e Darksun book. Every rock formation. I think it's safe to assume that there are greater and lesser spirits, and the druids would serve the greater ones.
Again, "Every Rock Formation" doesn't specifically mean that it has it's own spirit. Only that it is protected by a spirit.

Though there is another thing to note: "Unique geographic features are guarded by spirits when druids serve" Not "That" druids serve. Or "Which" druids serve. -When- Druids serve.

Does the Druid's presence somehow impart genius loci? Does their oath to protect a unique geographic feature result in a spirit traveling to that location to guard it?
 

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Sithlord

Adventurer
I'd drop the bard class and use the rogue class, probably wouldn't even worry about a unique subclass. Give a rogue the entertainer background and you more or less have the classic Athasian bard.
I would tweak the assassin class and give them performance and entertainment skills. And i would have features that help charisma based skills in general. I always say the dark sun bard as the charismatic entertainer that people loved and was a deadly assassin after the show is over. No subclass does that well. As currently written most would have charisma as a dump stat. Not all mind you.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Ignoring for DM fiat, there is no rule in D&D for losing your class powers. Not for clerics, druids, paladinr or warlocks. It's a fine house-rule, and it's kinda implied sorta-in Oathbreaker paladins, but RAW there is no mechanic in play that takes away your spellcasting.

Which is part of the problem with this exercise; we're still applying definitions to spellcasting that no longer is universally applicable. When Dark Sun was created, there were only two Spellcaster groups: Priest and Wizard so it was easy to lump everything arcane into the Wizard group and everything Divine under Priest. Likewise, 3e precisely defined Arcane and Divine as having innate qualities (like Arcane Spell Failure or Divine Focus components) and 4e lived and died by power-source and role. But 5e has no such structures and even less consistency.

Dark Sun is going to have to force that structure onto 5e, and it's not going to be an easy fit. It will either have to do that class by class (and ignore areas where power-source changes, like the aberrant mind or divine soul) or do so by subclass and be outdated the minute a new book with subclasses in it is released. Neither is as clean as the older editions, but that's the price we paid for having 14 classes try to do the job of 30+ from editions past...
I recognize there's no rule in 5e for losing class powers (There obviously was in previous editions) I'm saying for Dark Sun.

I sincerely don't think it's a "Problem" and I don't think it will be a difficult fit. Just label specific classes Arcane, Divine, Primal, Psionic, Cromulent, or whatever other term the designers think is appropriate and then...

Well really that's it.

Going subclass by subclass would definitely cause a hassle... so just... don't. No need to. No reason to. If a DM decides "That's a stupid decision and Divine Soul Sorcerers should be Divine Casters" then it gets houseruled and everyone's happy. Or do! And then let people use what you've put down as a guideline going forward. Doesn't -really- matter, in the end.

This isn't massively complex, it's just quickie labeling that can be done as part of a few pages of a book where the fluff for each class is described as it pertains to Athas.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I would tweak the assassin class and give them performance and entertainment skills. And i would have features that help charisma based skills in general. I always say the dark sun bard as the charismatic entertainer that people loved and was a deadly assassin after the show is over. No subclass does that well. As currently written most would have charisma as a dump stat. Not all mind you.

DM Dave to the rescue! He created a Bard Subclass for Rogues that gets Distracting Performance, Jack of all Trades, Poison Master, Enthralling Performance, and Stunning Performance.

Plus proficiency in perform/instruments/stuff.

Work's already done and a half.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer

DM Dave to the rescue! He created a Bard Subclass for Rogues that gets Distracting Performance, Jack of all Trades, Poison Master, Enthralling Performance, and Stunning Performance.

Plus proficiency in perform/instruments/stuff.

Work's already done and a half.
Thank you. I may like this better than what wotc does if there is plan is another kitchen sink setting. Which doesn’t bother me. I modify everything to suit my needs.
 

ChaosOS

Legend
I would tweak the assassin class and give them performance and entertainment skills. And i would have features that help charisma based skills in general. I always say the dark sun bard as the charismatic entertainer that people loved and was a deadly assassin after the show is over. No subclass does that well. As currently written most would have charisma as a dump stat. Not all mind you.
Assassin Rogue + Entertainer background just... does that. Infiltration Expertise & Imposter are both extremely social oriented. The main gap is the actual poisons, which... is just a general 5e gap.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
Assassin Rogue + Entertainer background just... does that. Infiltration Expertise & Imposter are both extremely social oriented. The main gap is the actual poisons, which... is just a general 5e gap.
I don’t really give a darn about backgrounds. Just a terrible system in general. Let people pick their own skills and design their fluff as they see fit. I want a robust athasian bard designed to have charismatic features integrated in the class. Now that link to what DM Dave did for his homebrew bard. That is beautiful. I will use that. Hell I’ll use that in other settings. That is sweet.

although a quite good build and post for many others.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Again, "Every Rock Formation" doesn't specifically mean that it has it's own spirit. Only that it is protected by a spirit.

Though there is another thing to note: "Unique geographic features are guarded by spirits when druids serve" Not "That" druids serve. Or "Which" druids serve. -When- Druids serve.

Does the Druid's presence somehow impart genius loci? Does their oath to protect a unique geographic feature result in a spirit traveling to that location to guard it?
So I went and dug out the monstrous compendium and looked up spirit of the land.

"A Spirit of the Land is a powerful being that inhabits the various geological features (mountains, hills, rock formations, hotsprings, river beds, winds, skies, etc.) of Athas."

"A spirit of the earth is perhaps the strongest of the spirits, since the earth is always present. On an individual basis, a spirit of a rocky outcropping in a sandy waste may be threatened if someone begins to break up the rock."

Note how it separates those features, including rock formations, and gives them a spirit of the land. My interpretation would seem to be the correct one. It even specifies rocky outcropping explicitly having an individual spirit.

It also implies through it's language that the spirits are there, but prefer to work with druids and almost never talk to anyone other than a druid or cleric.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I actually wish backgrounds were more robust, similar to the themes introduced in darksun 4e. You got some passive bonuses and additional powers related to the theme to choose from when levelling up.
 

vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
Athas is a place of Planar Isolation. Becoming a Planeswalker really isn't meant to be an option. The entire thing is meant to be closed off in it's own little bubble of The Hollow. Where no Spelljammer or Planescaper can get.

It's part of what makes it special. And what upsets me a bit about 4e slapping the World Axis in there.
Athas isn't completely cut off, but is harder to get to by planar means. Any method of transport, except maybe permanent portal, requires a check in order to bypass the Gray. Difficult, but not impossible. Probably added after Planescape so DMs wouldn't have to deal with Dark Sun characters, but not something I had a problem with at my table.

Side note: I never liked the Dark Sun cosmology, or the Eberron one, and just scrapped it. I always treated it as what the primes on those worlds would call other planes of existence. The Gray is the Ethereal, the Black is the Plane of Shadow/Shadowfell, and the Hollow is just a demiplane within the Plane of Shadow.

What they might end up doing: they might mimic what they did with Eberron. The planar protections deteriorated to the point that the setting is opened up more to the rest of the cosmology as a whole, while keeping it up to the individual DM as to the extent it is open, if at all.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
I don’t really give a darn about backgrounds. Just a terrible system in general. Let people pick their own skills and design their fluff as they see fit. I want a robust athasian bard designed to have charismatic features integrated in the class. Now that link to what DM Dave did for his homebrew bard. That is beautiful. I will use that. Hell I’ll use that in other settings. That is sweet.

although a quite good build and post for many others.

You've just described the background system (specifically, custom backgrounds).

I actually wish backgrounds were more robust, similar to the themes introduced in darksun 4e. You got some passive bonuses and additional powers related to the theme to choose from when levelling up.

Problem then is, there's a mechanically Best background, and players who have to choose between that and the one that actually describes their character.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
I don’t really give a darn about backgrounds. Just a terrible system in general. Let people pick their own skills and design their fluff as they see fit. I want a robust athasian bard designed to have charismatic features integrated in the class. Now that link to what DM Dave did for his homebrew bard. That is beautiful. I will use that. Hell I’ll use that in other settings. That is sweet.
You've just described the background system (specifically, custom backgrounds).



Problem then is, there's a mechanically Best background, and players who have to choose between that and the one that actually describes their character.
Nope. Remove the section on backgrounds that is confusing people and just have a section on skills.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
So I went and dug out the monstrous compendium and looked up spirit of the land.

"A Spirit of the Land is a powerful being that inhabits the various geological features (mountains, hills, rock formations, hotsprings, river beds, winds, skies, etc.) of Athas."

"A spirit of the earth is perhaps the strongest of the spirits, since the earth is always present. On an individual basis, a spirit of a rocky outcropping in a sandy waste may be threatened if someone begins to break up the rock."

Note how it separates those features, including rock formations, and gives them a spirit of the land. My interpretation would seem to be the correct one. It even specifies rocky outcropping explicitly having an individual spirit.

It also implies through it's language that the spirits are there, but prefer to work with druids and almost never talk to anyone other than a druid or cleric.
Druids also take on apprentice druids to take over guarding their geographical feature when they die. Why? Shouldn't any young Druid be able to walk to a random pile of stones, stretch of desert, or oasis and become the druid of that feature? Druids are solitary, by and large, with no overarching order or communication network. So how does the young druid know to go to the one whose druid is getting on in years rather than literally any other geographic feature? If every stretch or formation has it's own spirit, how many spirits does a druid walk past and ignore and refuse to help before going to the big hill and saying "I will help this one."?

I acknowledge that your interpretation may be correct. But I do not feel that it is.
Athas isn't completely cut off, but is harder to get to by planar means. Any method of transport, except maybe permanent portal, requires a check in order to bypass the Gray. Difficult, but not impossible. Probably added after Planescape so DMs wouldn't have to deal with Dark Sun characters, but not something I had a problem with at my table.

Side note: I never liked the Dark Sun cosmology, or the Eberron one, and just scrapped it. I always treated it as what the primes on those worlds would call other planes of existence. The Gray is the Ethereal, the Black is the Plane of Shadow/Shadowfell, and the Hollow is just a demiplane within the Plane of Shadow.

What they might end up doing: they might mimic what they did with Eberron. The planar protections deteriorated to the point that the setting is opened up more to the rest of the cosmology as a whole, while keeping it up to the individual DM as to the extent it is open, if at all.
Not added after Planescape.

Spelljammer had come out 3 years prior to Dark Sun, and the Dark Sun writers specifically included the Hollow to cut it off from other worlds so no one could fly in from Faerun, pick up a bunch of people, drop them off in Faerun, and play stronger Psionic characters in FR with better stat rolls since they were from Athas.

You are right that it isn't ENTIRELY cut off. After all, the Gith tried to plow through the Hollow while Spelljamming and got trapped on the Athasian side. But it is meant to be a one-way trip and incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get out.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Druids also take on apprentice druids to take over guarding their geographical feature when they die. Why? Shouldn't any young Druid be able to walk to a random pile of stones, stretch of desert, or oasis and become the druid of that feature? Druids are solitary, by and large, with no overarching order or communication network. So how does the young druid know to go to the one whose druid is getting on in years rather than literally any other geographic feature? If every stretch or formation has it's own spirit, how many spirits does a druid walk past and ignore and refuse to help before going to the big hill and saying "I will help this one."?
There are not that many druids. You can't just toss a rock in the desert in any direction and hit one. And if you were a young druid, would you rather go to a pile of rocks which explicitly in the 2e Dark Sun has a spirit, or would you rather go to a mountain that doesn't have a druid?
I acknowledge that your interpretation may be correct. But I do not feel that it is.
It's no longer an interpretation. The quotes I just provided clearly and explicitly say each and every rock formation has one.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
There are not that many druids. You can't just toss a rock in the desert in any direction and hit one. And if you were a young druid, would you rather go to a pile of rocks which explicitly in the 2e Dark Sun has a spirit, or would you rather go to a mountain that doesn't have a druid?

It's no longer an interpretation. The quotes I just provided clearly and explicitly say each and every rock formation has one.
I disagree that it is not an interpretation. The quotes you provided could support your position, I agree. But they don't automatically. Because the first one was "Unique".
Spirits prefer to work through a druid guarding their land feature. As long as there is a druid present to protect and guard the land feature, a spirit very rarely takes material form. The only time a spirit manifests is when the existence of their terrain feature is threatened.
If every single rock formation had a spirit there would be no quarries because those Powerful Beings would kill every level 0 commoner worker trying to tear up stone to build something for a Sorcerer King. If every single oasis had a Powerful Spirit protecting it there'd never be a group of Bandits holding an Oasis for themselves and killing anyone who approaches and selling off water at ridiculous prices because the Spirit would kill them for abusing it.

That's a 20 hit dice monster which requires a +3 weapon to hit and deals 4d8 damage per fist, twice, in 2e.

There are so many ways that the setting doesn't work if -every- rock formation has a fully fledged spirit as described in that book.

Ultimately it's a matter of what the designers intended by saying "Terrain Features" or "Geographical Features". It can be read that they meant literally every structure, or that they meant specific features. I think the most telling item that points to the second comes from Air based "Spirits of the Land"
Spirits of the air include the spirits of open skies over certain stretches of desert, spirits of the south wind, and the like.
If they intended for these spirits to inhabit -all- of Athas it wouldn't be Open Skies over certain stretches. It would be "Of the Open Skies" with no clausal component.

So yeah. I disagree, but I understand how you came to your conclusion and agree your interpretation may be correct.
 
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Sithlord

Adventurer
I will say I really like the aesthetics of the dark sun campaign. I still fit it within the planescape cosmology. It’s just the natives interpretation of the planes they have some contact with. Athasians are the perfect definition of clueless. I have sent planewalkers there and had them have difficulty finding a portal away from there. Also had them having difficulty fighting natives with high ability scores. Very great setting for man versus nature.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I actually wish backgrounds were more robust, similar to the themes introduced in darksun 4e. You got some passive bonuses and additional powers related to the theme to choose from when levelling up.

The possibility of coordinationg both the Background and free Feat at level 1, opens up new design space to express well a character concept at level 1.

For Dark Sun, the free feat will likely be a Psionic Talent. And there will likely be psionic Backgrounds that synergize. At the same time, there can also be other free feats to choose from at level 1, such as Defiling wizardry. There might be traits for one of the cultures or subcultures in Dark Sun, in the form of a feat.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I will say I really like the aesthetics of the dark sun campaign. I still fit it within the planescape cosmology. It’s just the natives interpretation of the planes they have some contact with. Athasians are the perfect definition of clueless. I have sent planewalkers there and had them have difficulty finding a portal away from there. Also had them having difficulty fighting natives with high ability scores. Very great setting for man versus nature.
Gray=shadow and Black=fey matches elegantly.
 

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