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Dark Sun?

Henrix

Explorer
I'm thinking of buying some old Dark Sun stuff, but I don't know where to start!

Which supplements are good? Which are so good that I must have them? Are there any that are better avoided?

What are the differences between the campaign setting editions? Which is best to start with?
 

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ShadowDenizen

Explorer
Wow!
A broad question. :)
If you want to give some more idea about what you're interested in, I can help with more specific advice.

For "essential" stuff
Obviously the revised Dark Sun boxed set.
"Dragon Kings" hardback.
"City State of Tyr"
"Ivory Triangle" boxed set.
the Monstrous Compendiums

For supplements?
It depends on what you plan to run or play!!

"The WIll and the Way" and "Psionic Artifacts of Athas" are great for Psionics-heavy games.
"Earth, Air, Fire, & Water" is indispensiable for a cleric-heavy game.
"Defilers and Presvers", and "The Veiled Alliance" is great for a magic-heavy game.

There are numerous "faction-specific" books;
"Elves of Athas"
"Thrii-Kreen of Athas"
"Slave Tribes"
"Dune Trader" (Probably my least favorite book of the line, though.)

The adventures?
I'm sad to say were pretty hit or miss. (But try "Black Flames"; bit of a railroad in the beginning. but still quite good.)

And check out www.athas.org for some great ideas, as well as 3.5 compliant updates!!
 


Diago is right- much of the Darksun stuff can be found for free on the site. Otherwise e-bay is very inexpensive.

Shad Den has good points. If your players and yourself have never played before I would recommend Freedom and Road to Urik to get started. It gives a good feel to the game world and thrusts the players into a spot to work for / against Tyr and the others.


Good luck and enjoy. Darksun is one of my favorite gameworlds.
 


ShadowDenizen

Explorer
Aside from the freebies, Paizo has PDF versions cheap ($4 a pop or so.)

Again, if you give us an idea of what you're looking for, we can offer more advice!!
 

an_idol_mind

Explorer
Henrix said:
What are the differences between the campaign setting editions? Which is best to start with?

The two campaign settings are extremely different. The first presents a world where survival itself is the biggest challenge. Big bad guys like the Dragon of Tyr and the Sorcerer-Kings are beyond what most PCs will ever be able to challenge. A lot of the adventures focus on wilderness survival, and evil PCs are not only accepted but encouraged in some supplements.

The revised setting is still a bleak world, but it had leagues more hope than the original. There are free city-states, and most of the big bads from the original set have been killed off. Survival themes are still there, but there's also more focus on the political landscape and other challenges. The tone of the supplements for the revised set implies more hope and heroism than the original.

The boxed sets also vary in terms of how much detail is given the setting. The original is very much open to tweaking; the history of Athas is not established, and the world outside the Tyr region is unmapped. The revised setting adds much more detail to the timeline, clearing up the mystery about the world. It also maps out much of the surrounding region, making for more area to explore but also meaning there's less for the DM to flesh out on his own.
 

Henrix

Explorer
ShadowDenizen said:
Again, if you give us an idea of what you're looking for, we can offer more advice!!

I suppose I'm after a few basics - not the whole line - on eBay. Some of my players have played a little in DS (I have not). I don't think I'm after a full campaign, I have enough plans already, but perhaps an extended sojourn in my upcoming Planescape campaign.

Or else I'll use it as the basis of a Savage Worlds John Carterish campaign. I have a strong urge to use my wasteland mutants for something.
 

ShadowDenizen

Explorer
I suppose I'm after a few basics - not the whole line - on eBay. Some of my players have played a little in DS (I have not). I don't think I'm after a full campaign, I have enough plans already, but perhaps an extended sojourn in my upcoming Planescape campaign.


OK, if you want just the basics:
Avoid the "Racial Supplements" (Elves of Athas, Thri-Kreen of Athas, etc.), since you already have etablished PC's.

Perhaps focus more on the 'Setting" itself.
For that, try:
"Valey of Dust and Fire"
"The Ivory Triangle"
"City-State of Tyr"
"City by the Silt Sea" (Boxed set, and probably my favorite piece of the line!!)
Monstrous Compendiums

Also useful?
"Dragon Kings". (Check out the high level Psionic Enchatments!!)
"Defiler and Preservers" might be useful, if you toss a powerful Defiler at the party! (And some NASTY new spells-- but remember, this was PRE BoVD!!)

Also of use might be "Psionic Artifacts of Athas". Somewhat of an "Exotic" feel might mesh well with Planescape, and some cool unique artifcts. (Check out the "Obisidian Man of Urik" in particular.)

For adventures?
As I said they vary in quality, but try "Black Flames", "Dragons Crown", or "Forest Maker" (The last is useful if you want to explore the metamorphasis of Dragons and Avangions.)

(And be sure to check out the "Cosmology" section of the Core Book, if you're trying to mesh it with Planescape!!!)
 

irdeggman

First Post
You can get the "free" pdf of the 3.5 rules at Athas.org.

I would also recommend the novels - they have a much closer tie to the "rules" and rpg than other setting novels do.

Prisam Pentad especially
 

irdeggman

First Post
Oh and the "biggest" difference between the original set and the revised set is the advancement of the timeline. The revised set takes place later in the world history than does the original.
 

DemonKing

First Post
Are you playing 2nd Edition or 3.x?

If you're playing second edition, then I would recommend the original boxed set and the first adventures (Freedom and Road to Urik) as a great start. Road to Urik in particular has some awesome roleplaying scenarios. For a later adventure, Dragon Crown is turely "epic" in every sense of the word.

There are also a number of useful supplements for characters (Complete Gladiator's Handbook; Will & the Way; Earth, Air, Fire & Water; Defilers & Preservers) and Dm's (two Monstrous Compendiums, Psionic Artifacts of Athas). Also some nice Dragon articles with kits, weapons and monsters were around as well. One of the Drgaon annuals also had Skills & Powers options for DS characters.

If you're playing 3rd edition, then you can either go with the Athas.org rules or those presented in Dragon and Dungeon magazine a couple of years back.

Personally I would love to see WOTC do an "Expedition to Athas" book but I can't see it ahppening any time soon.
 

Wik

First Post
Alright, I'm in a hurry, so I can't go into detail, but...

Get the original Dark sun set. The revised is fine (the felt map is AMAZING), but I like the tone of the original more.

Ivory Triangle set... it really goes into two of the city-states, and it's a great place to run adventures. I've never actually owned it (just a purchased PDF) but it worked great in one of my campaigns.

Veiled Society (or is it Veiled Alliance?). It's about the DS mages, which are great in their own respect, but it also goes into a fair amount of detail about all seven of the city-states. You can base an entire campaign on this one book. It's great.

Buy one monster book, although if you're running a 3e game, you're better off with the Paizo monster stuff (I use it, it's amazing). In any case, the Paizo stuff is pretty good.

"City State of Tyr" is a great place to set your campaigns (it's kind of the Waterdeep of Athas).

***

Don't pick up "Valley of Dust and Fire", since it's pretty much a campaign setting of it's own, set away from the Tablelands - it's an alright book, but not a great intro to DS.

Windriders of the jagged peaks and Mind Lords of the Last Sea are also "mini-campaigns" in that they're set away from the Tablelands, and thus, not worth picking up.

Defilers and Preservers is my least favourite DS book, though - I just hate it.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
If you're playing a 2Ed game, any of the suggestions above are sound.

If you're going 3.x, get one of the basic settings- each has its merits, find Dragon magazine issues #315 & 319 and Dungeon magazine issues #110-111 for 3.x updates, and check out Athas.org.

You'll also want the Expanded Psionics Handbook (XPH)- it has the current versions of the Half-Giant and Thri-Kreen and almost all the psi you'd want- many people who use psionics also use Hyperconscious (a 3rd party product by Bruce Cordell- the XPH's writer). There are some good things in CompPsi, but some better things for the Soulknife in particular in Dragon #341.
 

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