D&D General Dark Sun Nostalgia Thread [+]

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
If you really want to max out on Dark Sun nostalgia, you can order a Print-On-Demand copy of the 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set from DriveThruRPG. A hardcover book copy is on sale now for just $24. Having everything combined into a single hardcover book is different from having the separate booklets, but a crisp new book is better than a digital file, IMO. (But why choose? the PDF is free with the purchase of the hardcover POD.)

DarkSunAd.png


You can get a copy of Dragon Kings in hardcover as well, for $21 (two dollars more will get you a PDF copy as well.) I've ordered hardcover and softcover full-color prints from DTRPG before, and they are really good quality.

They also have the 2E Dark Sun Campaign Setting (Expanded and Revised Edition), but it's only available in PDF format at this time. And $10 is a bit steep for an electronic copy of 2E material. Same goes for the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium and the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium 2.

Other print-on-demand titles of Dark Sun material are thin on the ground, I'm afraid. You can get a softcover POD copy of Beyond the Prism Pentad for $6.50 (or $8.50 if you would like a PDF as well). And you can get a copy of DSM1 Black Flames for $12.99, Forest Maker for $11.50, and The Will and the Way for $8.99.

DarkSunAd2.png

And if your favorite flavor is Fourth Edition, you can get the 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting in softcover POD for $20.00 (or $25, for the book + a PDF.) I'm not sure why the 4E PDFs are an extra $5 while the 2E PDFs are only an extra $2, but it might have something to do with the file resolution and whether or not the document is OCR.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
I certainly second the Lynn Abbey novels. They're probably the best D&D writing ever done, in my opinion.

Advance warning though - the third of her books largely deals with the aftermath of the Prism Pentad. So if you're a bit fuzzy on the state of Athas post those books, you might want to take a refresher.

I'll third that.

@pukunui can lend you the novels if you'll pay postage.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
If you really want to max out on Dark Sun nostalgia, you can order a Print-On-Demand copy of the 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set from DriveThruRPG. A hardcover book copy is on sale now for just $24. Having everything combined into a single hardcover book is different from having the separate booklets, but a crisp new book is better than a digital file, IMO. (But why choose? the PDF is free with the purchase of the hardcover POD.)

You can get a copy of Dragon Kings in hardcover as well, for $21 (two dollars more will get you a PDF copy as well.) I've ordered hardcover and softcover full-color prints from DTRPG before, and they are really good quality.

They also have the 2E Dark Sun Campaign Setting (Expanded and Revised Edition), but it's only available in PDF format at this time. And $10 is a bit steep for an electronic copy of 2E material. Same goes for the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium and the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium 2.

Other print-on-demand titles of Dark Sun material are thin on the ground, I'm afraid. You can get a softcover POD copy of Beyond the Prism Pentad for $6.50 (or $8.50 if you would like a PDF as well). And you can get a copy of DSM1 Black Flames for $12.99, Forest Maker for $11.50, and The Will and the Way for $8.99.


And if your favorite flavor is Fourth Edition, you can get the 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting in softcover POD for $20.00 (or $25, for the book + a PDF.) I'm not sure why the 4E PDFs are an extra $5 while the 2E PDFs are only an extra $2, but it might have something to do with the file resolution and whether or not the document is OCR.
Other Dark Sun products can be found all listed here, and where you can buy the various products:

The Burnt World of Athas - Products

Most importantly, you can check out these documents for Dark Sun 3, which is the 3.5e version of Dark Sun:
The Burnt World of Athas - Dark Sun 3


The website itself in general is the OFFICIAL Dark Sun website recognised by WotC and has a ton of Dark Sun goodies from articles to free products to links to products to buy, to links to actual Dark Sun play videos… they have their own forum too but I don't know how active it is (I'm not a member).
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
This is my favorite image from the 4e version of Dark Sun. Like the classic Brom-era depictions which helped define the style and feel for the setting, the artists for 4th edition helped showcase the features and themes of the system itself.

The goliath, for example, takes the place of the traditional half-giant race, which was an exclusive element in the original setting. Likewise, the classic wizard with staff and orb are replaced by a psionic-using character that could be either a dwarf or a mul.

You may also notice the general stance of the group. They stand together, facing away from us. Their focus is on the dangers that await them in the distance. But they stand confident, not because they have mighty pecks, washboard abs, and a perfect tan despite the harsh sun and winds. But because they are a team that will support each other. And if you didn't know it, teamwork is one of the key design elements for 4e.

We also see full renditions of usable armor, as opposed to the non-existent or barely there versions in the past. It still looks rough and shoddy but now adds more character without showing more of the character.

What really stands out to me, however, is the image of a dark, flaming orb in the distance. Yet the sky is dark. The lands are bleak and covered in shadows. This is an ominous mood in Athas that is sometimes hard to see past the usual line up of he-man action figures.

DARK_SUN_Chapter_7_Opener_FINAL_rev.jpg

Dark Sun Dwellers, by Kerem Beyit
 
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BrokenTwin

Biological Disaster
I only really got to play and run Dark Sun in 4E, but I've loved the setting ever since I first started playing D&D.
Really wish I hadn't gotten rid of the 4E campaign setting book when I purged my collection years ago.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
If you really want to max out on Dark Sun nostalgia, you can order a Print-On-Demand copy of the 2E Dark Sun Boxed Set from DriveThruRPG. A hardcover book copy is on sale now for just $24. Having everything combined into a single hardcover book is different from having the separate booklets, but a crisp new book is better than a digital file, IMO. (But why choose? the PDF is free with the purchase of the hardcover POD.)

View attachment 148694

You can get a copy of Dragon Kings in hardcover as well, for $21 (two dollars more will get you a PDF copy as well.) I've ordered hardcover and softcover full-color prints from DTRPG before, and they are really good quality.

They also have the 2E Dark Sun Campaign Setting (Expanded and Revised Edition), but it's only available in PDF format at this time. And $10 is a bit steep for an electronic copy of 2E material. Same goes for the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium and the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium 2.

Other print-on-demand titles of Dark Sun material are thin on the ground, I'm afraid. You can get a softcover POD copy of Beyond the Prism Pentad for $6.50 (or $8.50 if you would like a PDF as well). And you can get a copy of DSM1 Black Flames for $12.99, Forest Maker for $11.50, and The Will and the Way for $8.99.

View attachment 148695
And if your favorite flavor is Fourth Edition, you can get the 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting in softcover POD for $20.00 (or $25, for the book + a PDF.) I'm not sure why the 4E PDFs are an extra $5 while the 2E PDFs are only an extra $2, but it might have something to do with the file resolution and whether or not the document is OCR.
Right. It should be reversed. The 4E stuff was already a PDF so no extra work involved but they had to scan and OCR the 2E stuff to make PDFs. Maybe they get fewer sales of 4E so they want to make more per sale.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I never got to play more than a single session of Dark Sun back in the day (the campaign fell apart because too many players from different groups were involved) but I've always loved the imagery it evokes.

I lament the fact it's probably impossible to print a new edition nowadays without sanding down the edginess that is at the core why I love it.

But let's not give up hope. Dark Sun remains very very cool
 

CharlesWallace

Explorer
My Dark Sun experience was...a bit different from most people, I think.

At the time Dark Sun was released, I was wrapping up my senior year in high school and getting ready to move off to college. My high school gaming group had disbanded, and we wouldn't ever play D&D together again.

Fast forward almost a year later, when I ran across the Dark Sun: Shattered Lands computer game in the campus bookstore. My poor computer could barely run it, but I spent every free hour I had playing it. I thought it was one of the best D&D games ever published by SSI.

If you haven't played it, and if you're a fan of the Dark Sun setting, it might be worth your time.

View attachment 148437

EDIT:

I worried that I was the only one!
I stared at the ads for it with deep longing, but my PC wasn't up to the task (386sx 1MB RAM, 40MB HDD). You can read a fun review of the game on pg 124 here: https://www.cgwmuseum.org/galleries/issues/cgw_113.pdf
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
I saw the 2e Dark Sun material at FLGS but it never registered beyond "desert planet". (Yes I was young and foolish in those long-ago days.)

As a mature adult I saw the 4e Dark Sun books, realized what they were, and I was hooked.
Ashes of Athas was an excellent Living Campaign using those rules; I played through all but the last trio of modules at initial release.

I would love to see a 5e release of Dark Sun - but WotC is first going to have to upcast Resist Elements - Fire on their Internet presence.
 

DS needs work not only for the psionic powers, but to think about all the crunch after 2nd Ed, for example the game mechanic of the martial maneuvers, the soulmelds of the totemist shaman (Magic of Incarnum), the wilden (new PC race from 4th Ed) or the Athasian genasies (embersoul, sandsoul and sunsoul). Why not a Athasian sorcerer with primal magic instead arcane? Or to recycle the ardent and the lurker, two new classes from 3.5 "the complete psionic". What about the dread domain of Kalidnay in the demiplane of the dread (Ravenloft)? Maybe there was a link in the metaplot of both settings. Why not to add werevermins? Or the death lands, home of undeads, being invaded by necrotic-proof constructs, or quasielementals.

Is, or should, the spynewyrm to be a true dragon, with age categories? I love that idea from Dungeon Magazine. Maybe it was not in the natural origin, but a crazy cult leaded by a "biohacker" created a digievolution of mind-control parasites.

The people from Yathazor(Black Spine module) could be retconected like a potential faction for the future. I mean this city could explain because some creatures and races could appear in Athas, because they are fugitives from here.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
DS needs work not only for the psionic powers, but to think about all the crunch after 2nd Ed, for example the game mechanic of the martial maneuvers, the soulmelds of the totemist shaman (Magic of Incarnum), the wilden (new PC race from 4th Ed) or the Athasian genasies (embersoul, sandsoul and sunsoul). Why not a Athasian sorcerer with primal magic instead arcane? Or to recycle the ardent and the lurker, two new classes from 3.5 "the complete psionic". What about the dread domain of Kalidnay in the demiplane of the dread (Ravenloft)? Maybe there was a link in the metaplot of both settings. Why not to add werevermins? Or the death lands, home of undeads, being invaded by necrotic-proof constructs, or quasielementals.

Is, or should, the spynewyrm to be a true dragon, with age categories? I love that idea from Dungeon Magazine. Maybe it was not in the natural origin, but a crazy cult leaded by a "biohacker" created a digievolution of mind-control parasites.

The people from Yathazor(Black Spine module) could be retconected like a potential faction for the future. I mean this city could explain because some creatures and races could appear in Athas, because they are fugitives from here.
They don't need to provide all of those game mechanics in 5e.

Just like 5e sadly has no rules for Brown, Grey, Iron, Adamantine, Steel, Cobalt, Mercury, Orium, or Mithral Dragons, but it DOES have rules for the Gem Dragons which 4e did not (though Purple Dragons are in 5e, they're just called Cave Dragons).

The important thing is not that you can one-to-one adapt everything down to the small strokes of game mechanics from past editions, but that you can play in the broad and medium strokes of the setting. So yes, Psionics are necessary, as are Templars, defiling magic, Thri-Kreen, and feral cannabalistic Halflings, but Elemental Priests, Athasian Genasis, Minotaurs, even Kalidnay's Domain of Dread aren't necessary.

Half-giants could just be Goliaths or they could be a new lineage specific for 5e Dark Sun. Dray could be a new variant of Dragonborn or something different. Just because they were in a past edition doesn't mean they need to be here. We just need ENOUGH to be able to say, "this is definitely Dark Sun in 5e." The DM's Guild can pick up the slack on the rest of the setting, like they've done for Eberron and Ravenloft and the Realms.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
So yes, Psionics are necessary, as are Templars, defiling magic, Thri-Kreen, and feral cannabalistic Halflings
And it all depends on how you want these done.

Psionics could simply be the existing psi subclasses. You can use an extra feat at character creation to duplicate the everyone’s a wild talent thing. Go for telepathy or telekinesis, or one of the spell granting feats, or really anything if you say it’s psionic fueled. You’re missing the pure psi class, sure, but I’m not sure we’re getting one this edition (including the 50th revised). Aberrant mind is close for pure psi powers. The monk is close for the physically focused pure psi. The fighter psi sub is a good mix and obviously a jedi, so we’re covered. Basically.

Templars are either clerics and paladins or warlocks dedicated to the sorcerer-kings. The existing subclasses for the cleric and paladin cover this well. You can refluff the warlock patrons to suit, though one or two new ones specific to Dark Sun would be nice.

Defiling magic could be a free up cast or sorcery points and you could drop in the old 2E defiling table for ranges.

We have a UA thri-kreen and hopefully an official one soon.

And I don’t think we need a new subrace for Athasian halflings. They’re wild and eat people. That’s a cultural thing. You don’t need a separate stat block for that. Not like you would for the thri-kreen, as an example.

So we already have 80-90% of what we’d need player’s side to run Dark Sun. All the old books still work for fluff. And DM‘s would need to homebrew some monsters. But we have the majority of what we’d need already.
 
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Staffan

Legend
And I don’t think we need a new subrace for Athasian halflings. They’re wild and eat people. That’s a cultural thing. You don’t need a separate stat block for that. Not like you would for the thri-kreen, as an example.
Other than the souped-up statline (+2 Dex, +2 Wis, -2 Str, -1 Constitution and Charisma) Dark Sun halflings were, mechanically, pretty close to identical to core 2e halflings.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
And it all depends on how you want these done.

Psionics could simply be the existing psi subclasses. You can use an extra feat at character creation to duplicate the everyone’s a wild talent thing. Go for telepathy or telekinesis, or one of the spell granting feats, or really anything is you say it’s psionic fueled. You’re missing the pure psi class, sure, but I’m not sure we’re getting one this edition (including the 50th revised). Aberrant mind is close for pure psi powers. The monk is close for the physically focused pure psi. The fighter psi sub is a good mix and obviously a jedi, so we’re covered. Basically.

Templars are either clerics and paladins or warlocks dedicated to the sorcerer-kings. The existing subclasses for the cleric and paladin cover this well. You can refluff the warlock patrons to suit, though one or two new ones specific to Dark Sun would be nice

Defiling magic could be a free up cast or sorcery points and you could drop in the old 2E defiling table for ranges.

We have a UA thri-kreen and hopefully an official one soon.

And I don’t think we need a new subrace for Athasian halflings. They’re wild and eat people. That’s a cultural thing. You don’t need a separate stat block for that. Not like you would for the thri-kreen, as an example.

So we already have 80-90% of what we’d need player’s side to run Dark Sun. All the old books still work for fluff. And DM‘s would need to homebrew some monsters. But we have the majority of what we’d need already.
100% agree that you could do these well. I would put a Dragon King Patron Warlock in, and maybe a Psionic Wizard or Artificer subclass, and definitely include stats for Thri-Kreen characters (and maybe Muls and Dray Dragonborn). MAYBE reprint the Aberrant Mind and Goliath. Then you need defiling magic rules and that's kinda it for character options.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
100% agree that you could do these well. I would put a Dragon King Patron Warlock in, and maybe a Psionic Wizard or Artificer subclass, and definitely include stats for Thri-Kreen characters (and maybe Muls and Dray Dragonborn). MAYBE reprint the Aberrant Mind and Goliath. Then you need defiling magic rules and that's kinda it for character options.
Muls could be a customized dwarf or human or a player created race from Tasha’s. Dray are too rare to worry about, but it would be easy to use the dragonborn from Fizban’s and customize it. Half-giant as goliath is solid, if not quite right.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Muls could be a customized dwarf or human or a player created race from Tasha’s. Dray are too rare to worry about, but it would be easy to use the dragonborn from Fizban’s and customize it. Half-giant as goliath is solid, if not quite right.
Oh I agree. I just think that if they don't offer some guidance as per the above, a lot of people would complain that they're leaving out key elements of the setting.

They're not going to complain if the setting book doesn't feature martial maneuvers or alternate Genasi forms (when we haven't even gotten the 4e's core sublineage - the Storm Genasi). Those are negligible parts of the setting. If anything, I'd expect them to say that use Fire Genasi to model Sun Genasi, etc.
 

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