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

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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".
No. Things do not work in isolation like that. Nor is anything I posted after that in contradiction to it. Each rock outcropping is unique. You aren't going to find another one with exactly the same formations. All 100,000 rock formations are unique. Just like you are unique, even though there are billions of women in the world.
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.
Actually, there's only a 10% chance of a spirit coming out even when it will die if it doesn't. Nor will it die if even 99% of the formation is destroyed, something that is unlikely. So long as even a little bit remains, the spirit doesn't care. Those things are also in the rules for spirits.
So yeah. I disagree, but I understand how you came to your conclusion and agree your interpretation may be correct.
Once again,

"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."

All of which are unique.

In Athas, virtually everything in nature has a spirit.
 

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Mark Hope

Adventurer
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.
Minor nitpick - it's the Grey that impedes travel, not the Hollow. The Hollow is a weird non-space (sometimes described as being inside the Black) and it's only feature is Rajaat, who is imprisoned there. He fills it completely because it doesn't really have any dimensions. The standard way of looking at things in 2e was to see DS cosmology as an egg. Athas is the shell. The Black is the white of the egg and the Hollow is the yolk. The Grey surrounds the egg, cutting it off from all the other planes (mostly - the Dark Sun elemental planes are weird) :)
 


Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
No. Things do not work in isolation like that. Nor is anything I posted after that in contradiction to it. Each rock outcropping is unique. You aren't going to find another one with exactly the same formations. All 100,000 rock formations are unique. Just like you are unique, even though there are billions of women in the world.

Actually, there's only a 10% chance of a spirit coming out even when it will die if it doesn't. Nor will it die if even 99% of the formation is destroyed, something that is unlikely. So long as even a little bit remains, the spirit doesn't care. Those things are also in the rules for spirits.

Once again,

"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."

All of which are unique.

In Athas, virtually everything in nature has a spirit.
So 10% of Quarries result in a Spirit rising up and wiping out everyone who tries to bore into their outcropping.

Much more reasonable interpretation.

And druids just keep walking past allllll the different spirits, refusing to defend them, until they find the one they like.

Doesn't make a ton of sense. Especially to have all of them be 20 hit dice monsters worth 25k xp.

And no. Things don't work in isolation. They define each other as a whole. I do not interpret "A" or "The" to mean "All" or "Every". I also don't believe the designers intended for every single one to be occupied by a spirit. Why? 'Cause when people talk about unique geological formations they're generally talking about things like the Eye of the Sahara, or Valley of the Moon, or the Painted Desert in Arizona, or Stone Mountain in Georgia, or the Grand Canyon.

Not every hill you walk on. Not every random outcropping of stone. Just the big ones important enough to name. But that's likely as not a linguistic difference in how we interpret that phrase and the ones that spring out of it.

You do feel it's referring to every single hill. I get that. I disagree, but I see how and why you came to that conclusion.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Minor nitpick - it's the Grey that impedes travel, not the Hollow. The Hollow is a weird non-space (sometimes described as being inside the Black) and it's only feature is Rajaat, who is imprisoned there. He fills it completely because it doesn't really have any dimensions. The standard way of looking at things in 2e was to see DS cosmology as an egg. Athas is the shell. The Black is the white of the egg and the Hollow is the yolk. The Grey surrounds the egg, cutting it off from all the other planes (mostly - the Dark Sun elemental planes are weird) :)
Well pointed out, thank you!
Feywild. Shadowfel. Not for me lol. 1E/2E all
The way baby. Lol
Even if someone -wanted- to use modern terms for those two...

Grey = Ethereal
Black = Shadowfell

No Feywild in sight.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So 10% of Quarries result in a Spirit rising up and wiping out everyone who tries to bore into their outcropping.
No. 10% of quarries where the entire outcropping is destroyed will do that. Then any survivors will be publicly and gruesomely killed over a long period of time by the local sorcerer king who almost certainly has laws against pissing off powerful creatures(and its druids) that would require him or someone highly placed to deal with. They would be limited by law(or hell, just self-preservation) to probably no more than half of a feature, so as not to potentially bring out the spirit.
And druids just keep walking past allllll the different spirits, refusing to defend them, until they find the one they like.

Doesn't make a ton of sense. Especially to have all of them be 20 hit dice monsters worth 25k xp.
I didn't write the rules. But that is what the rules do in fact say.
And no. Things don't work in isolation. They define each other as a whole. I do not interpret "A" or "The" to mean "All" or "Every". I also don't believe the designers intended for every single one to be occupied by a spirit. Why? 'Cause when people talk about unique geological formations they're generally talking about things like the Eye of the Sahara, or Valley of the Moon, or the Painted Desert in Arizona, or Stone Mountain in Georgia, or the Grand Canyon.
They explicitly said that every individual feature has a spirit, though. I showed that very clearly with my quotes. Their words, not mine.
Not every hill you walk on. Not every random outcropping of stone. Just the big ones important enough to name. But that's likely as not a linguistic difference in how we interpret that phrase and the ones that spring out of it.
That's what you want it to be, not what they said it is, though. They said EVERY individual outcropping and other feature has a spirit.
You do feel it's referring to every single hill. I get that. I disagree, but I see how and why you came to that conclusion.
I don't feel any such thing. It's what it says in clear English.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
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.
Yeah.

In the animistic perspective, a "community" includes all of the human members, and also includes all of the nonhuman members as well.

The role of a shaman is to help resolve any difficulties within the community. If a conflict breaks out between two human members of the community, one or both might ask the shaman for help, or the shaman can intervene to help resolve the conflict. Identically, if a conflict breaks out between a nonhuman member and a human member, or a conflict between two nonhuman members, one or both members of the community can ask the shaman for help. A nonhuman member of the community might show up in a dream to ask for help, or the shaman can discover that a nonhuman member is involved while investigating a difficulty.

The animism is egalitarian − there are no masters and there are no servants. Both the features of nature and the humans have a say in what goes one within the local shared community. The shaman has the skills and the training to help resolve any community difficulties. The shaman can function as an advocate for any of the community members. Effectively, the shaman functions as an advocate who helps explain the needs of the nonhuman members. But other humans will also be interacting in a mutual relationship with the features of natures, via annual ceremonies, family traditions and personal experiences, such as dreams and sightings.

The relationships between the humans and the features of nature are ongoing and vivid. It is typical for certain families to believe one of these features is an ancestor, and their family partly descends from nonhuman heritage.

Every stone, every tree, has a mind, and a say about what is going on within the community. However, they are not equally significant. As a rule, the more prominent a natural feature is to the community, the greater the mental influence it has among the community, and the more present and vivid its mind is. A mountain literally looms large, and is an important part of the communities ways of life. Likewise a watersource. In the case of a mountain, the mountain itself can be understood as a great ancestor, and the other notable features being members of the family of the mountain. The less significant features such as pebbles here and there, can also be part of this family, but tend to be "quieter", less prominent, and tend to go along with whatever the ancestral mountains decides.

As time passes, new features can gain in significance within the community and old features can decline in significance − comparable to humans being born and dying within the community. But everyone remains part of the community, even if the memory about them can become misty.
 

Rikka66

Adventurer
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.
I think they will have a list of Wild Talents you can pick from (with a table to roll on to give one randomly) with a feat that also gives one + other bonus, but they won't call it a feat given at first level so as to play a little (and I do mean little) bit nicer with tables that give out free feats at first level. And it matches up a nicer with supernatural gifts.

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.
Planar travelers finding a way to Athas and very quickly becoming desperate to escape is something of a D&D trope. A fun one, though.

I don't think they need to be married to the Gray/Black/Hallow exactly as it was. The key details to me are:
1. Planar travel to other settings doesn't happen
2. Any planes you can reach are worse places to be than Athas, which is an achievement in itself.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yeah.

In the animistic perspective, a "community" includes all of the human members, and also includes all of the nonhuman members as well.

The role of a shaman is to help resolve any difficulties within the community. If a conflict breaks out between two human members of the community, one or both might ask the shaman for help, or the shaman can intervene to help resolve the conflict. Identically, if a conflict breaks out between a nonhuman member and a human member, or a conflict between two nonhuman members, one or both members of the community can ask the shaman for help. A nonhuman member of the community might show up in a dream to ask for help, or the shaman can discover that a nonhuman member is involved while investigating a difficulty.

The animism is egalitarian − there are no masters and there are no servants. Both the features of nature and the humans have a say in what goes one within the local shared community. The shaman has the skills and the training to help resolve any community difficulties. The shaman can function as an advocate for any of the community members. Effectively, the shaman functions as an advocate who helps explain the needs of the nonhuman members. But other humans will also be interacting in a mutual relationship with the features of natures, via annual ceremonies, family traditions and personal experiences, such as dreams and sightings.

The relationships between the humans and the features of nature are ongoing and vivid. It is typical for certain families to believe one of these features is an ancestor, and their family partly descends from nonhuman heritage.

Every stone, every tree, has a mind, and a say about what is going on within the community. However, they are not equally significant. As a rule, the more prominent a natural feature is to the community, the greater the mental influence it has among the community, and the more present and vivid its mind is. A mountain literally looms large, and is an important part of the communities ways of life. Likewise a watersource. In the case of a mountain, the mountain itself can be understood as a great ancestor, and the other notable features being members of the family of the mountain. The less significant features such as pebbles here and there, can also be part of this family, but tend to be "quieter", less prominent, and tend to go along with whatever the ancestral mountains decides.

As time passes, new features can gain in significance within the community and old features can decline in significance − comparable to humans being born and dying within the community. But everyone remains part of the community, even if the memory about them can become misty.
Athas doesn't get down to the "every tree" and "every stone" level, but there are a very great number of spirits all around. A single hill could have several dozen or hundreds. Each outcropping will have one, the hill will have one, any groves of trees would have one, if there is a spring on the hill it would have one, the air in the area will have one, and so on.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
No. 10% of quarries where the entire outcropping is destroyed will do that. Then any survivors will be publicly and gruesomely killed over a long period of time by the local sorcerer king who almost certainly has laws against pissing off powerful creatures(and its druids) that would require him or someone highly placed to deal with. They would be limited by law(or hell, just self-preservation) to probably no more than half of a feature, so as not to potentially bring out the spirit.

I didn't write the rules. But that is what the rules do in fact say.

They explicitly said that every individual feature has a spirit, though. I showed that very clearly with my quotes. Their words, not mine.

That's what you want it to be, not what they said it is, though. They said EVERY individual outcropping and other feature has a spirit.

I don't feel any such thing. It's what it says in clear English.
"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo"

This is a complete and clear sentence in English.

Each word in the sentence either refers to an action, a location, or an animal. And if you understand the writers intent, you can sort out which meaning the sentence has.

When they say "Feature" are they using it as your interpretation dictates, meaning any naturally occurring geologic structure, or are they saying feature in the sense of specific outstanding unique cool places?

You interpret it as the former. I interpret it as the latter. Because Unique. Unique means special, or unlike others, or something that stands out. BUT! You interpret Unique to mean Separate From. As in two outcroppings within a short distance are Unique if they're not connected. Which is -also- a valid definition of the word Unique.

There is no way for us to go any further than that in this discussion without talking to the designers and asking their intentions. Mainly because language is a messy thing in the best of times and English is worse after 30 years of context and such.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Athas doesn't get down to the "every tree" and "every stone" level, but there are a very great number of spirits all around. A single hill could have several dozen or hundreds. Each outcropping will have one, the hill will have one, any groves of trees would have one, if there is a spring on the hill it would have one, the air in the area will have one, and so on.
That the more prominent features are the ones that are more mindful, is moreorless accurate.

It probably helps to understand that the mental influence of a prominent feature is more ambient than just that feature alone. The less prominent features nearby tend to go along with what their "parent" says.
 
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Why does it have to be done with spell slots if other magical effects aren't? Why does it have to be just class features if not all magical effects are? Why do you draw the line w/ the Psion but not with the monk, etc
I think that part of the reason is that people want the psion to be able to do a lot of stuff.
And most of that stuff is already detailed and packaged into handy mechanics - in the form of spells.

It is a lot easier for both players and publishers to have a class with a spell list referencing existing spells and then special rules for the class such as replacing components rather than have pages full of the dozens of new abilities required.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
"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."

All of which are unique.

In Athas, virtually everything in nature has a spirit.
If that is the material we have to work with, I failed to see how it could mean that every rocky outcropping is inhabited by a Spirit of the Land.

I read that Spirits can inhabit any kind of geological feature, and that when a geological feature is inhabited by a Spirit, the Spirit may be threatened if the said geological feature is disturbed.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If that is the material we have to work with, I failed to see how it could mean that every rocky outcropping is inhabited by a Spirit of the Land.

I read that Spirits can inhabit any kind of geological feature, and that when a geological feature is inhabited by a Spirit, the Spirit may be threatened if the said geological feature is disturbed.
"every oasis, rock formation, stretch of desert, and mountain has a spirit that looks over it and protects its use."
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I am only realizing now that multiverse planes are irrelevant to Dark Sun. The original Dark Sun setting doesnt even mention them. The concepts of them only appear indirectly and incidentally as parts of spells and in connection to the elemental spirituality of the Cleric.

At that time during D&D 2e, the desire to discuss the planes only mattered to the Greyhawk setting. DMs who wanted to transport Greyhawk characters to or from the Dark Sun setting, speculated about how to make room for the Dark Sun setting inside the Greyhawk setting.

The original intent was to play the Dark Sun setting, and the Greyhawk setting didnt exist. How to link the two was an afterthought.

A later Dark Sun expansion book, Defilers and Preservers, mentions a few details for how to handle spells and the like.
• The Black = 2e Plane of Shadow (which was once a source for illusion magic, but in 5e no longer exists).
• The Gray = replaces both 2e ether and 2e aster, and serves as a "limbo" for the dead.

Relating to the Greyhawk multiverse, the Gray is a kind buffer against both the ether and the aster. The Gray absolutely blocks access to the Aster, but there can be some passages ways between the Gray and the Ether − if a DM wants to hook Greyhawk and Dark Sun together.

The thing is, in 4e and 5e, both the Shadow Plane and the realm of the dead have merged together to become the same thing, namely Shadowfell.

In other words, to say the only planes that exist in Dark Sun are the Material Plane and the Shadowfell, and nothing else, is an accurate way to represent the original 2e Dark Sun canon within modern 5e D&D.

There is no important reason to distinguish the Black and the Gray within 5e. Both are Shadowfell. One can easily say any distinction is regional. The "Gray" is the parts of Shadowfell that the memory of the dead inhabit, and the "Black" are the parts of Shadowfell that are unpopulated wilderness. Done. Somewhere in the Shadowfell wilderness is the entrance to a demiplane called the "Hollow". Also done.

Material and shadow − these two are the only planes.



Because access to the Ethereal Plane isnt really a thing, the earlier mention of Clerics accessing the Elemental Planes is actually problematic. It is better to understand that these "Elemental Planes" are regions within the Material Plane, such as volcanoes and streams and upper atmosphere.



There are spells that mention "ethereal". As far as I can tell, the source material isnt really clear about how these spells work, because the Gray realm of the dead generally blocks access to the Ether. It seems to me, when a mage "goes ethereal" in Dark Sun, what is actually happening is, they are entering and traveling thru the realm of dead. In other words, the 2e "ethereal" is also the same thing as the 5e Shadowfell. Per 5e, the "ethereal" mage is actually "shadow walking". The Shadowfell echoes the features of the Material Plane, so the "ethereal" mage can still navigate the Material Plane normally while within the Shadowfell, even if the Shadowfell version seems more gloomy and neglected than the living plane.



Now because 5e has merged the 2e planar concepts into the Shadowfell, there is an unintended consequence for the Dark Sun setting. Because the setting is more conspicuously involving the realm of the dead, the spells can obsorb a creepy necromantic flavor that might not originally be there. Then again, the Gray is the realm of the dead, so magic that involves it or passes thru it is accurately necromantic.

This goes back to the original point, in Dark Sun the planes dont really matter. If a spell technically involves the Shadowfell, this normally has little consequence for the populations who inhabit the realm of the living.
 
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We don't know the secret plans for the metaplot, and this can be retconnected. Maybe the souls of the sentient beings in DS in the afterlife is to be in the Gray for a time, and later they become feys in the "land within the wind" or undead in the black, a demiplane next to a shadowfell domain, Kalidnay. Maybe to survive the cleasing wars the rhul-thaun and other creatures built secret colonies or demiplanes in the Gray, becoming the home of spirits later. But these settlers could suffer the attacks by planar raiders or other hostile creatures. And the planar gates to the paraelemental planes are neccesary but also these can be source of troubles with accidental intrusions of paraelemental creatures.

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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Maybe reincarnation makes sense as the norm for the Dark Sun afterlife.

When a human dies, their bodies become the dust of the earth and their breaths become the breeze of the sky. Eventually, they recycle, becoming rocky features, plants, beasts, and other humanoids. The mind of an ancestor never leaves the Material Plane − but merely changes shape.

The Shadowfell is a place of lingering memories of yesteryear. But the minds of the ancestors remain just as much a vital part of the living community as when they wore their shapes of living humanoid bodies.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Dark Sun will work better if the standard 5e cosmology isn’t crammed on it.

The DMG offer alternative cosmologies suggestions on page 44, I use Otherworld as a substitute for Feywild/Shadowfell/outer planes in my own. It’s great.

Athas needs to not have an incompatible cosmology squeezed over it.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Dark Sun will work better if the standard 5e cosmology isn’t crammed on it.

The DMG offer alternative cosmologies suggestions on page 44, I use Otherworld as a substitute for Feywild/Shadowfell/outer planes in my own. It’s great.

Athas needs to not have an incompatible cosmology squeezed over it.

"Otherworld".

That is pretty much exactly what the cosmology of Dark Sun is. If a 5e DM wants connect the Dark Sun setting to the Forgotten Realms setting, one can equate the Dark Sun Otherworld with the Forgotten Realms Shadowfell.

But generally, Dark Sun is only the Material Plane plus a vague echo of it.
 
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