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D&D 5E Dark Sun Spiritual Successor on Kickstarter: Red Dawn: Into the Dawnlands

To be fair, original Dark Sun was very flaky on the ecological front as well. Where all the crops grew to feed these big city-states in the middle of the desert, and the gigantic draft-mekkilots, giants etc that roamed everywhere. What fuel was burned given the near-complete absence of wood. Why the silt stayed in the Silt Sea rather than blowing absolutely everywhere. And so on and so on.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
To be fair, original Dark Sun was very flaky on the ecological front as well. Where all the crops grew to feed these big city-states in the middle of the desert, and the gigantic draft-mekkilots, giants etc that roamed everywhere. What fuel was burned given the near-complete absence of wood. Why the silt stayed in the Silt Sea rather than blowing absolutely everywhere. And so on and so on.

They had a very low population in an area the size of Colorado.
 

squibbles

Explorer
To be fair, original Dark Sun was very flaky on the ecological front as well. Where all the crops grew to feed these big city-states in the middle of the desert, and the gigantic draft-mekkilots, giants etc that roamed everywhere. What fuel was burned given the near-complete absence of wood. Why the silt stayed in the Silt Sea rather than blowing absolutely everywhere. And so on and so on.
It's not perfect, but if you make reasonable assumptions and work out the numbers, Dark Sun is somewhat plausible and quite verisimilitudinous.
 

To be fair, original Dark Sun was very flaky on the ecological front as well. Where all the crops grew to feed these big city-states in the middle of the desert, and the gigantic draft-mekkilots, giants etc that roamed everywhere. What fuel was burned given the near-complete absence of wood. Why the silt stayed in the Silt Sea rather than blowing absolutely everywhere. And so on and so on.
As for feeding the cities, each city was surrounded by a "verdant belt" maybe 5 miles in diameter, with scrub plains some distance beyond that. For example:
1630026996811.png

The original box also makes mention of rare storms in the Sea of Silt that spread a haze everywhere within 50 miles where you can basically only hunker down and hope you find shelter. However, given the small scale of the setting, that would hit every city-state other than Urik and Tyr. But I'll chalk that up to the designers not really considering how small they made the original setting. The distance between Urik and Draj in the picture above is about 150 miles (or 180 along the road). That's about the distance from Berlin to Hamburg, or London to Sheffield – some distance away, but not exactly the other end of the world.

But yeah, it's weird that in the Horrible Desert Setting, you get lots and lots of really big monsters. If you look at real-world deserts, that's not really what happens. Big animals are mainly found in areas where food is abundant, whereas deserts mostly have small animals that have an easy time feeding themselves.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
As for feeding the cities, each city was surrounded by a "verdant belt" maybe 5 miles in diameter, with scrub plains some distance beyond that. For example:
View attachment 142831
The original box also makes mention of rare storms in the Sea of Silt that spread a haze everywhere within 50 miles where you can basically only hunker down and hope you find shelter. However, given the small scale of the setting, that would hit every city-state other than Urik and Tyr. But I'll chalk that up to the designers not really considering how small they made the original setting. The distance between Urik and Draj in the picture above is about 150 miles (or 180 along the road). That's about the distance from Berlin to Hamburg, or London to Sheffield – some distance away, but not exactly the other end of the world.

But yeah, it's weird that in the Horrible Desert Setting, you get lots and lots of really big monsters. If you look at real-world deserts, that's not really what happens. Big animals are mainly found in areas where food is abundant, whereas deserts mostly have small animals that have an easy time feeding themselves.

People think you can't farm deserts.
You can you're just not going to be able to feed millions of people or bulk Cattle.

Darksun didn't have that so it's somewhat plausible. It rains in the ringing mountains and water flows underground.

Tyr region is more abundant than parts of the Sahara which is what people tend to think of as deserts.

It's more like parts of the Sahel, Libya or Hejaz in Saudi Arabia vs deep Sahara.
 

GreyLord

Hero
People think you can't farm deserts.
You can you're just not going to be able to feed millions of people or bulk Cattle.

Darksun didn't have that so it's somewhat plausible. It rains in the ringing mountains and water flows underground.

Tyr region is more abundant than parts of the Sahara which is what people tend to think of as deserts.

It's more like parts of the Sahel, Libya or Hejaz in Saudi Arabia vs deep Sahara.

Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (Great American Desert) have an amazingly large amount of agriculture in those areas, with a lot of Meat production.

California is technically desert in much of it once you are away from the Coast and it produces more food than much of the rest of the world (though I also think they are having massive water problems due to them trying to grow food in the desert as well over the past score of years).
 

Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (Great American Desert) have an amazingly large amount of agriculture in those areas, with a lot of Meat production.

California is technically desert in much of it once you are away from the Coast and it produces more food than much of the rest of the world (though I also think they are having massive water problems due to them trying to grow food in the desert as well over the past score of years).
Current American agriculture isn't really a good point of comparison, because (at least as far as I know) that relies a lot on water diverted from its original sources.

But herding is generally a thing you do in areas of marginal ability to provide food. Basically, if you can't grow wheat (or other crops easily converted to human-edible food), you can grow grass/scrub and have animals eat that, and then you eat the animal instead.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (Great American Desert) have an amazingly large amount of agriculture in those areas, with a lot of Meat production.

California is technically desert in much of it once you are away from the Coast and it produces more food than much of the rest of the world (though I also think they are having massive water problems due to them trying to grow food in the desert as well over the past score of years).

It's also done with modern technology.
 




Mordhau

Explorer
I didn't bring up the Sahara, because unlike Khwarazm or the Tarin Basin it's not really known for being able to support city states.

Although there was the Garamantes in historical (Roman) times.

The key thing about central asia is that it has all those mountains which support agriculture around the edges and feed rivers that feed those cities further away from them.

If you don't want rivers then fossil water like the Garamantes is probably your best best, but it tends to be a limited resource.

Edit: I'm not sure I buy that the Tyr region has enough rainfall to support agriculture without there also being rivers or occasional flooding such as in areas of outback Australia
 
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Stormonu

Legend
It's John Carter/Mad Max fantasy guys, don't overthink it. Fantasy realms don't work on real-world physics; they take an aspect and ramp it up to 11. This is no different.

Also, I'm glad they aren't exactly copy-pasting Dark Sun. Yes, it is heavily influenced by Dark Sun, but so far they have taken their own spin on it. Don't dump on them for being too Dark Sun and then not being Dark Sun. This is their entry product; it's got about the same depth Dark Sun would have had when the initial boxed set came out. Hopefully they'll be able to follow it up with some supplements that let it drift further into becoming its own thing.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
It's John Carter/Mad Max fantasy guys, don't overthink it. Fantasy realms don't work on real-world physics; they take an aspect and ramp it up to 11. This is no different.

Also, I'm glad they aren't exactly copy-pasting Dark Sun. Yes, it is heavily influenced by Dark Sun, but so far they have taken their own spin on it. Don't dump on them for being too Dark Sun and then not being Dark Sun. This is their entry product; it's got about the same depth Dark Sun would have had when the initial boxed set came out. Hopefully they'll be able to follow it up with some supplements that let it drift further into becoming its own thing.

Very much agree. If you think about any fantasy world too long, it's going to break down in logic. After all, magic is not real; even a little of it existing would completely throw off the natural order of a world.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Straight-up calling a race Thralls is an, ah, bold move.
That doesn’t really bother me. I mean, assuming they fill basically the same role as muls, they are literally bred for service, and it makes sense that the masters who bred them would call them Thralls. I don’t imagine they would call themselves that, but it makes sense as the term imposed on them by their owners. It’s not unlike the name mul (pronounced like mule) in that way.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But yeah, it's weird that in the Horrible Desert Setting, you get lots and lots of really big monsters. If you look at real-world deserts, that's not really what happens. Big animals are mainly found in areas where food is abundant, whereas deserts mostly have small animals that have an easy time feeding themselves.
I think that comes from the Dune influence, as well as the (incorrect) intuitive notion that, in a harsh environment, only the strong survive. The reality is of course that the efficient survive, and a lot of the traits we tend to associate with “strength” are not very efficient.
 

I guess I've been leery of the term ever since I looked into the Conan: Exiles game and it had a core slavery component that they tried to plaster over by calling them "thralls." Gross.

That doesn’t really bother me. I mean, assuming they fill basically the same role as muls, they are literally bred for service, and it makes sense that the masters who bred them would call them Thralls. I don’t imagine they would call themselves that, but it makes sense as the term imposed on them by their owners. It’s not unlike the name mul (pronounced like mule) in that way.

Yeah, I'm not going to sweat the verisimilitude if it's not 100% viable and mapped out. I don't need a fully functional ecosystem, "close enough" will do. Heck, speaking of John Carter, technically with all that radium in use, John Carter and presumably most everyone else would've died horrible deaths.

It's John Carter/Mad Max fantasy guys, don't overthink it. Fantasy realms don't work on real-world physics; they take an aspect and ramp it up to 11. This is no different.
 


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