5E Assuming Dark Sun is on the horizon, what are your worries?

I can see certain classes and subclasses being a problem, along with the limited spell selection, but as for the issue of certain core races not being playable and the lack of explicit divinities, isn't that the same situation as Ravnica? And I believe that turned out okay? Nobody was really raging about not being able to play a gnome or dragonborn in that setting.
As Remathilis says, there's a difference between "Not unless the DM says okay", with an ultra-cosmpolitan setting where there very well might be enclaves of Gnomes or Dragonborn or the like, and a setting which actively and aggressively sets out the limits of what is in it, as an entirely intentional conscious way of differentiating itself from and distancing itself from other D&D settings (not in a hateful way - just to make it clear it has a very different approach and set of interests).

Defiling and Preserving by themselves present a serious challenge, mechanically. Defiling has to be the default, or the setting concept breaks down. Mearls suggested one approach, but it was a very bad one, because it makes Preserving the default, and Defiling an unreliable way to gain a short-term advantage (at the long-term cost of marking you for death). It also ignored the fact that even Preservers defile, they just do so in a controlled way. If Defiling and Preserving works the Mearls way, Dark Sun wouldn't be in the state it is, and 99% of arcane spellcasting would be done Preserver-style, because only if you're in a terrifying life-or-death situation does Defiling make sense. Instead you need to have a situation where to be a "full-power" arcane caster, you must Defile. Is that "fair"? No, but that's the point - Dark Sun isn't one of these "everything is fair" settings. A number of 3PP 5E settings have situations where powerful arcane magic gets you in hot water I note so it's not even that exceptional this edition. Also you'd basically have to invent a clear distinction between arcane and non-arcane magic which 5E doesn't make (but 2E did).

For a lot of players, and this happened back in 1992, as well, this is initially quite angering - this idea that arcane magic is inherently bad. And I think WotC would be very, very sorely tempted to simply er, "Defile" Dark Sun rather than upset them, even though they'd get over it in a few months/a year.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
A number of 3PP 5E settings have situations where powerful arcane magic gets you in hot water I note so it's not even that exceptional this edition. Also you'd basically have to invent a clear distinction between arcane and non-arcane magic which 5E doesn't make (but 2E did).
I'd be tempted to say that any wizard defiles but preservers do it slowly and less vigorously so that it does not kill plants or cause (no game affect nausea). If you defile you get the ash radius, no game effect nausea (hard to hide that from people in the know) and you get advantage on spell attack rolls or impose disadvantage on saving throws.

I wouldn't bother with dark side points or corruption or what have you I would let the consequneces role play out. After all, a warrior who goes around killing people in any city is going to land themselves (and more importantly thier party) in deep silt so it would be the same for a wizard who insists on defiling.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
you mean there were no Persian or Babylonian monasteries. And barbarians in dark sun are just fitting. Although setting appropriate archetypes should be mandatory. The totem theme doesn’t quite fit with dark sun. And berserkers were Norse. But barbarians are very fitting for that brutal society of tribes that lived outside the city walls.
Well make them fighters and call them barbarians. Barbarians are fitting thematically no doubt, but their game mechanics make things to easy in darksun that is the problem. Especially their unarmored defense is problematic. Also their damage resistances partially.
With monks it is even more extreme.
These two classes would be unbalanced compared to other classes in a setting where armor is nonmetal mostly and rare and gives other disadvantages if you are lucky enough to find a metal armor (heatstroke).
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
About arcane magic in Dark Sun.

Defiling has always been said to be faster, and Preserving slower...
...What if we take that literally?

Here’s a homebrew mechanic I’ve been thinking about implementing should I DM another Dark Sun-inspired campaign:

ARCANE PRESERVING - Bard, Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard)
Instead of blighting the land to fuel your arcane spells, you take only the minimum amount, and return the excess.
Whenever you cast a spell or cantrip, the act of casting takes up your entire turn. You forfeit all movement, additional actions, and bonus actions.


I know, it’s not perfect.
But I’ve been thinking that instead of treating Defiling as a power-up mechanic, Defiling should be considered the default.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
When I played a game of 2E dark sun with a PC with a 24 strength I knew that game was broken. And a 24 Strength in 2E was a lot more than 5E. So I hope they do a better job mechanically than 2E. I doubt they can do a better job thematically.
So? you did have no flexible DM back then. When the Str 24 Character comes under a psionic domination effect and starts to pulverize his comrades you learn that everything has at least two sides.
Darksun 2e was a whole new experience, no drawn out endless combat due to mediocre THAC0 and good AC anymore. It felt so refreshing. I liked it for a change
And tbh there were more things in 2e you could consider broken under circumstances e.g. a level 12 drow having magic resistance of 74% and AC -5 due to dex and a chainmail + 5 and a +5 weapon e.g. But when you looted him the stuff disintegrated as soon as you expsed it to sunlight.
Or level drain. Or sleep level 1 instakiller spell. Or hold person level 2 instakiller.
Most of the official 2e stuff was simply not playable out of the book. As a DM you had to houserule mod etc. but if you did all of this it was fun.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
I am starting to think really they are going, or they have to do it, recover the chronomancers and times spheres from that sourcebook of 2nd Ed to justify a higher number of retcons. I am not kidding nor telling no wishlist. They are going to need a good event to try explain the almost reboot of all D&D settings. Maybe they have planning about this since years ago.

DS is really "racist" because some races aren't welcome in Athas, more if they kindred disappeared for the cleansing wars. Maybe the are planar refugees running away from other world whose fate was worse than Athas.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
About arcane magic in Dark Sun.

Defiling has always been said to be faster, and Preserving slower...
...What if we take that literally?

Here’s a homebrew mechanic I’ve been thinking about implementing should I DM another Dark Sun-inspired campaign:

ARCANE PRESERVING - Bard, Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard)
Instead of blighting the land to fuel your arcane spells, you take only the minimum amount, and return the excess.
Whenever you cast a spell or cantrip, the act of casting takes up your entire turn. You forfeit all movement, additional actions, and bonus actions.


I know, it’s not perfect.
But I’ve been thinking that instead of treating Defiling as a power-up mechanic, Defiling should be considered the default.
It's partially not perfect because all those classes i marked in red do not have a place in a Darksun campaign.
Ok almost, bards do exist by name only but translated to 5e they are rogues with the assasin subclass and poisoner profession.

The mechanical stuff does not make any sense at all. I would houserule defiling that it kills all plantlife in a 10ft per spell level radius and (some of the other darksun fans disagree with me here, but i love this idea) deal 1d4 necrotic damage / spelll level to all life (including the casters party) in the same radius if a constitution save with the DC of the spell cast is failed.

Then the defiling spell should receice metamagics akin to "sorcerer points" spent. For the maximium amount some wizard could spend i would take his intelligence modifier.
 
Defiling has always been said to be faster, and Preserving slower...
...What if we take that literally?

ARCANE PRESERVING - Bard, Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard)
Instead of blighting the land to fuel your arcane spells, you take only the minimum amount, and return the excess.
Whenever you cast a spell or cantrip, the act of casting takes up your entire turn. You forfeit all movement, additional actions, and bonus actions.


I know, it’s not perfect.
But I’ve been thinking that instead of treating Defiling as a power-up mechanic, Defiling should be considered the default.
Another possibility with taking longer to preserve would be to slowly gather power for your spells over time - like, oh, an long rest - and hold onto it. That is, 'old'-school spell preparation, where you prep the spell into the slot, instead of using the slot spontaneously.

Oddly, that might imply cantrips wouldn't work, or would have to be cast more slowly or something, for Preservers.

But, yes, I like the idea of Preserving being a disadvantage, and Defiling just how magic works - by implication, how it works in all settings, they just aren't as far gone as Athas!
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Another possibility with taking longer to preserve would be to slowly gather power for your spells over time - like, oh, an long rest - and hold onto it. That is, 'old'-school spell preparation, where you prep the spell into the slot, instead of using the slot spontaneously.

Oddly, that might imply cantrips wouldn't work, or would have to be cast more slowly or something, for Preservers.

But, yes, I like the idea of Preserving being a disadvantage, and Defiling just how magic works - by implication, how it works in all settings, they just aren't as far gone as Athas!
I can remember the mechanic differently maybe this is a 2e / 4e thing?
Preservers were in fact giving back by casting, and it was the default.
I cannot tell you atm how defiling gave you another advantage than faster XP progression at the cost of ruined vegetation and local population organizing pitchfork hunts on you and making you veilled alliance KOS target.
 
I can remember the mechanic differently maybe this is a 2e / 4e thing?
Preservers were in fact giving back by casting, and it was the default.
I cannot tell you atm how defiling gave you another advantage than faster XP progression at the cost of ruined vegetation and local population organizing pitchfork hunts on you and making you veilled alliance KOS target.
I can't say I recall all of it in detail, either. I was just brainstorming, really.
IIRC, arcane magic, in general, was torches & pitchfork time, as the preserver thing was not widely known or recognized.
No?
 

Coroc

Adventurer
I can't say I recall all of it in detail, either. I was just brainstorming, really.
IIRC, arcane magic, in general, was torches & pitchfork time, as the preserver thing was not widely known or recognized.
No?
Yes, basically the only arcane casters safe fro ma mob were sorcerer kings themselves and maybe some of their lackeys when they had their halfgiant bodyguards with them.
The templars did hunt all independant wizards, so as a wizard you should best have (leave) no witness when casting a spell.
What if found a bit odd back then was how normal folks could not distinct between defiling and preserving, but could tell the difference to a clerical spell cast (Which could be very flashy also with elemental clerics), or psionics, whereas the later was easyer to conceal and maybe some of the normal folks had wild talents also and were aware of it
 
Well make them fighters and call them barbarians. Barbarians are fitting thematically no doubt, but their game mechanics make things to easy in darksun that is the problem. Especially their unarmored defense is problematic. Also their damage resistances partially.
With monks it is even more extreme.
These two classes would be unbalanced compared to other classes in a setting where armor is nonmetal mostly and rare and gives other disadvantages if you are lucky enough to find a metal armor (heatstroke).
It's partially not perfect because all those classes i marked in red do not have a place in a Darksun campaign.
Ok almost, bards do exist by name only but translated to 5e they are rogues with the assasin subclass and poisoner profession.
These two quotes perfectly illustrate why Dark Sun needs to either be to be its own game related to D&D but not beholden to the PHB OR will need to be changed like the 4e version did. There is no way to sell an official D&D setting with 3/4ths the PHB classes unavailable.
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
These two quotes perfectly illustrate why Dark Sun needs to either be to be its own game related to D&D but not beholden to the PHB OR will need to be changed like the 4e version did. There is no way to sell an official D&D setting with 3/4ths the PHB classes unavailable.
Which is why I believe they will try to find some way to incorporate as many of the base 5e classes into Dark Sun as possible.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
These two quotes perfectly illustrate why Dark Sun needs to either be to be its own game related to D&D but not beholden to the PHB OR will need to be changed like the 4e version did. There is no way to sell an official D&D setting with 3/4ths the PHB classes unavailable.
I see you did not change your mind on this @Remathilis :)

Well i did my homebrew conversion of the rules so far that i honestly would not need a new official product and would prefer soemthing other would be published instaed if they do not do it old school style.

I made soem thread about it if you want to crossread it, although i believe it is not to your taste.
 
I see you did not change your mind on this @Remathilis :)

Well i did my homebrew conversion of the rules so far that i honestly would not need a new official product and would prefer soemthing other would be published instaed if they do not do it old school style.

I made soem thread about it if you want to crossread it, although i believe it is not to your taste.
Never found a reason to change. Eberron has more or less confirmed my suspicions.

That said, I've always drawn the difference between a home-brewed version of a setting and the potential published version that WotC may produce. Being the pragmatist that I am, I just know that any setting that radically deviates from the successful formula they have on hand is a non-starter. They are afraid to make psionics different from magic now, I don't see them rewriting the bard for one setting (for example).

That doesn't mean you have to accept that, of course. You can do what you want with your version of Athas. I'm just reading the tea leaves and pointing out that WotC is going to try to make as much of the core rules fit in DS as humanly possible.

Maybe that's why they are going the "magic is psionics", to hide all the spellcasters as psionics and wild talents.
 
I'd be tempted to say that any wizard defiles but preservers do it slowly and less vigorously so that it does not kill plants or cause (no game affect nausea).
That's literally the lore :)

However it should take an effort to be a Preserver, not just be mildly advantageous in COMBAT to be a Defiler. That's what every rules-thing I've seen for Defiling for 5E just doesn't get. They make Defiling smart in life-or-death combat. But that's totally against the lore and history of Athas. Defiling was the norm - not just in combat - everywhere. So either Preserving has to be less effective period (lot of ways to do that), or Defiling has to be more effective period - and in a way that makes the risk ALWAYS worth it. And really Defiling should be just "casting as normal", and Preserving something special - that's what speaks to the metaphor. It's easy to throw out the trash, it's harder to recycle properly.

EDIT - Bitbrain's first attempt upthread is in the right direction at least! :)
 
There is no way to sell an official D&D setting with 3/4ths the PHB classes unavailable.
That's a depressing thought. 3/4 of the PHB classes could be pretty superfluous to most settings, anyway. The Barabrian & Monk are cultural, so's the Druid in a less overt way, the Paladin is awfully knight-in-shining-armor, many settings could do with at most one of the four full-arcane-casters. The rogue & ranger aren't exactly niche-protected anymore, with backgrounds able to minimally cover their traditional functions. Not all settings have gods, or even magic...

Aside from the Fighter, no class seems so ubiquitous that it must exist in literally all settings (or virtually all conceivable settings - one could conceive of an utterly pacifistic setting without them, I suppose).

Obviously, at least one 'support' class is indispensable - the play dynamics won't work without one - and that fighter is going to need some help out of combat...
 
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That's a depressing thought. 3/4 of the PHB classes could be pretty superfluous to most settings, anyway. The Barabrian & Monk are cultural, so's the Druid in a less overt way, the Paladin is awfully knight-in-shining-armor, many settings could do with at most one of the four full-arcane-casters. The rogue & ranger aren't exactly niche-protected anymore, with backgrounds able to minimally cover their traditional functions. Not all settings have gods, or even magic...

Aside from the Fighter, no class seems so ubiquitous that it must exist in literally all settings.

Obviously, at least one 'support' class is indispensable. And that fighter is going to need some help out of combat...
We could debate what classes are or aren't needed (that's a rabbit hole I don't intend to get lost in) but I maintain that WotC is going to go for the widest tent possible and the best way to get as many people as possible interested is to not remove large swaths of options, esp when you're not replacing them with new options. I mean, Ravnica was the perfect place to test limiting a few class options from the setting and they opted to include them all.

WotC has embraced the notion that the multiverse of D&D more or less contains the stuff from the PHB, though some exclusions on race seems to be ok. I expect the 5e Dark Sun will find the somewhere for the 12 PHB classes and most of the PHB races (save for drow, gnome and half-orc).
 

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