log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Revising Classic Settings

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think the issue with slavery in Dark Sun (and I say this as someone who absolutely loves Dark Sun) is that it's absolutely integral to the setting. Lack of water, gods, and metal, magic draining life, despotic sorcerer-kings ruling city-states, psionics, slavery and gladiatorial combat. Those are basically the pillars of Dark Sun right there.
I have loved and played in Dark Sun since it dropped 30 years ago. I honestly cannot imagine a Dark Sun game that didn't at least partially touch on the topic of slavery. But yeah, I agree. Those absolutely are the pillars of Dark Sun. You couldn't just remove slavery and it remain recognizably Dark Sun.
I think that WotC would include the slavery issue if they revamp DS, although I also think they would turn half-dwarfs and half-giants into full-fledged lineages instead of having them be the product of ongoing rape. Heck, I can see them retconning their origins to having been entirely the creation of psionics.
They could also simply change the backstory on those. Just make them as natural as half-elves on other worlds. Though half-giants haven't really existed as player character options since the introduction of goliaths. Goliath replaces half-giants as a PC option. Half-giants as monsters to fight can remain and their origins don't have to be dealt with. Muls are rewritten as a natural, non-magical, and non-rape produced lineage.

I want Dark Sun to come back. I want it to address slavery. But then I'd also want the entire or overwhelming majority of the writers working on it to be writers of color. I'd want the setting to be post-Kalak's fall with a Free Tyr as the home base of the PCs. And I'd want the adventure path to focus on bringing down another sorcerer-king, preferably Urik's King Hamanu. I'd want the writers to take Dark Sun and make it the slavery setting. Do all the research and put in all the history and real-world atrocities of slavery. Not literal real-world history in the game, but facts and ideas taken from history and used in the game. Show how brutal, inhumane, and atrocious it was. Don't treat it with kid gloves. I'd want things like escape maps in hair styles. The Underground Railroad. Make one of the main focuses of the setting on escaping slavery, freeing slaves, and abolishing slavery. Do the same with environmental collapse. The people who don't care about or the defilers who actively destroy the environment are utterly and irredeemable evil and have to be taken out with extreme prejudice. The only hope for saving the dying world of Athas is to put an end to defilers, the sorcerer-kings, the Dragon, and slavery. Luckily the two themes merge perfectly in the sorcerer-kings. They are the biggest defilers and they are responsible for slavery on Athas. Make bringing them down the focus of the setting. The only thing you can really do with such a dark setting as that is make it about hope.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


I'd want the setting to be post-Kalak's fall with a Free Tyr as the home base of the PCs.

I'd be along that idea too. In fact a few times on here I've pushed the idea of modelling post-Kalak Tyr on the Reconstruction-era US south - the slaves nominally freed, but the Kalak-era nobility and the leftovers of the templarate enforcing something close to the status quo ante through use of nighttime terror tactics, incumbent wealth, and political influence.
 

We have to remember Dark Setting had got a special look, the design of the clothing and all about that. When the comic was published, it was the spirit, but the images hadn't got the right hook to atrack new followers.

And DS is relativelly low-level magic. Not only heavy metalic armors aren't used very much, but metal are expensive and special items as healing potions, used with magic fruit juices, aren't easy to be got. A monster from other setting could become too powerful in DS because PCs aren't ready for the standard conditions.
 

dave2008

Legend
Where specifically did they say that? Because the last info I heard about it was as the poster you're replying to said, they announced three classic settings returning. They did not announce all of them will return. Only three. There absolutely could be more in the offing. But that's not the announcement they made.
Sorry I have no desire to search for you. However, it was long before the announcement that they were actively working on 3 classic settings. It was originally before the announcement of Eberron, but they may have mentioned again then. I believe it came from Mike Mearls at one point, so you know it was a long time ago!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Be careful when talking down about nostalgia. It’s the direct cause of a lot of what we’re all doing here. It’s also the reason D&D lived through the trough between peaks in general public popularity.

What’s interesting is that WOTC hasn’t actually created any settings for D&D.

They held a contest for other people to create a setting, then picked one and published Eberron.

They did points-of-light for 4E, but that was more the idea of or an outline for a setting than a proper fleshed out setting.

They did Ravnica and Theros, but those are adapted MtG settings.

Wildemount was created by Matt Mercer, WOTC just published the book.

So WOTC hasn’t actually created any original settings for D&D. They are riding on other peoples’ work and nostalgia. I know this is a classic setting thread, i.e. nostalgia central, but I’d honestly like to see them come up with an original setting. Or flesh out and publish the one original setting they did. A Nentir Vale campaign guide, complete with the World Axis cosmology, would be great. Though I’m not sure it qualifies as classic.
 
Last edited:

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I want Dark Sun to come back. I want it to address slavery. But then I'd also want the entire or overwhelming majority of the writers working on it to be writers of color.

I think it would be interesting to re-imagine Dark Sun in those terms. But ... that would be controversial, no matter how deftly done. "Look, here's an RPG that lets you play a fictionalized version of America's chattel slavery system .... " would go over ... not so well.

That said, I did want to say that Dark Sun has traditionally been viewed in terms of the classic Roman slavery system- which is to say, not chattel slavery, but instead something that was more an issue of conquest and money- slavery was something that anyone (including nobility) could fall into because of debt, and that a slave could free themselves of upon payment. This Roman influence is echoed both by the nature of the setting (Gladiators to entertain the free people and other slaves) as well as in the writing (stating that a person can be born to slavery, captured into slavery, or become a slave by judgment or debt).

TLDR; I wouldn't change the nature of the Dark Sun setting vis-a-vis slavery to make it reflect American, instead of Roman, antecedents. All slavery is bad, but American race-based chattel slavery is, you know, really bad and doesn't make for a fun & diverse game. IMO.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Where specifically did they say that? Because the last info I heard about it was as the poster you're replying to said, they announced three classic settings returning. They did not announce all of them will return. Only three. There absolutely could be more in the offing. But that's not the announcement they made.


EDIT: This is the Head of D&D for those unaware.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I'd be along that idea too. In fact a few times on here I've pushed the idea of modelling post-Kalak Tyr on the Reconstruction-era US south - the slaves nominally freed, but the Kalak-era nobility and the leftovers of the templarate enforcing something close to the status quo ante through use of nighttime terror tactics, incumbent wealth, and political influence.

I'd actually prefer a different analogy; that of post-monarchy France, with constant instability and counter-revolutionary activity.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I think it would be interesting to re-imagine Dark Sun in those terms. But ... that would be controversial, no matter how deftly done. "Look, here's an RPG that lets you play a fictionalized version of America's chattel slavery system .... " would go over ... not so well.

That said, I did want to say that Dark Sun has traditionally been viewed in terms of the classic Roman slavery system- which is to say, not chattel slavery, but instead something that was more an issue of conquest and money- slavery was something that anyone (including nobility) could fall into because of debt, and that a slave could free themselves of upon payment. This Roman influence is echoed both by the nature of the setting (Gladiators to entertain the free people and other slaves) as well as in the writing (stating that a person can be born to slavery, captured into slavery, or become a slave by judgment or debt).

TLDR; I wouldn't change the nature of the Dark Sun setting vis-a-vis slavery to make it reflect American, instead of Roman, antecedents. All slavery is bad, but American race-based chattel slavery is, you know, really bad and doesn't make for a fun & diverse game. IMO.
Respectfully, you’re wrong about how slavery is presented in Dark Sun. It is very much chattel slavery. Though it is not based on race...except when it is...muls and half-giants...cough. Slaves are treated as nothing more than property and the children of slaves are also slaves, two of the key markers for chattel slavery.

To quote: “A person can become a slave in one of three ways: by being born a slave, by being captured during a war or other armed conflict, or by being sold into slavery for committing some crime or failing to pay one's debts.”

Further, the text repeatedly refers to slaves as being owned by and the property of their masters.

So the version I was talking about would not be a change to how Dark Sun presented slavery. It would be a continuation.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Respectfully, you’re wrong about how slavery is presented in Dark Sun. It is very much chattel slavery. Though it is not based on race...except when it is...muls and half-giants...cough. Slaves are treated as nothing more than property and the children of slaves are also slaves, two of the key markers for chattel slavery.

To quote: “A person can become a slave in one of three ways: by being born a slave, by being captured during a war or other armed conflict, or by being sold into slavery for committing some crime or failing to pay one's debts.”

Further, the text repeatedly refers to slaves as being owned by and the property of their masters.

So the version I was talking about would not be a change to how Dark Sun presented slavery. It would be a continuation.

Respectfully, you didn't read what I wrote because you were too busy getting ready to argue. Here, let me repeat my summation with the appropriate bolding:

TLDR; I wouldn't change the nature of the Dark Sun setting vis-a-vis slavery to make it reflect American, instead of Roman, antecedents. All slavery is bad, but American race-based chattel slavery is, you know, really bad and doesn't make for a fun & diverse game. IMO.

At the point in time when you read, and can respond, to what I wrote, then you will understand that this was modeled after Roman slavery- by birth, by conquest, or by operation of law (debt or judgment).

Not American RACE-BASED chattel slavery.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Respectfully, you didn't read what I wrote because you were too busy getting ready to argue. Here, let me repeat my summation with the appropriate bolding:

TLDR; I wouldn't change the nature of the Dark Sun setting vis-a-vis slavery to make it reflect American, instead of Roman, antecedents. All slavery is bad, but American race-based chattel slavery is, you know, really bad and doesn't make for a fun & diverse game. IMO.

At the point in time when you read, and can respond, to what I wrote, then you will understand that this was modeled after Roman slavery- by birth, by conquest, or by operation of law (debt or judgment).

Not American RACE-BASED chattel slavery.
Again, muls and half-giants.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Again, muls and half-giants.

Half-giants are not BORN into slavery.

From the section on half-giants-
"Because of their limited intellectual capacity, half-giants do poorly in positions of power. They make short-lived templars and aristocrats, and most people are far too cautious with their wealth to buy anything that a half-giant craftsman makes. Therefore, even if born into freedom, the unfortunate members of this race find it difficult to make a living as an honest freeman ..." (emphasis mine)

Muls are always BRED as slaves, true (which, yes, is icky), because they are STERILE. They cannot breed. But they are not classified as slaves BECAUSE they are muls (race-based). So a new Dark Sun should probably rectify this instead of having the icky "order the births of as many as possible."

But again, this is the Roman system, not the American RACE-BASED CHATTEL SYSTEM.

First rule of holes- when you're in one, stop digging. I'm not sure why you find it necessary to both mis-read what I wrote, and then keep arguing with me. I don't like to argue.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Half-giants are not BORN into slavery.

From the section on half-giants-
"Because of their limited intellectual capacity, half-giants do poorly in positions of power. They make short-lived templars and aristocrats, and most people are far too cautious with their wealth to buy anything that a half-giant craftsman makes. Therefore, even if born into freedom, the unfortunate members of this race find it difficult to make a living as an honest freeman ..." (emphasis mine)

Muls are always BRED as slaves, true (which, yes, is icky), because they are STERILE. They cannot breed. But they are not classified as slaves BECAUSE they are muls (race-based). So a new Dark Sun should probably rectify this instead of having the icky "order the births of as many as possible."

But again, this is the Roman system, not the American RACE-BASED CHATTEL SYSTEM.

First rule of holes- when you're in one, stop digging. I'm not sure why you find it necessary to both mis-read what I wrote, and then keep arguing with me. I don't like to argue.
Slavery in Dark Sun is chattel slavery. Slavery in Dark Sun is also, at least in part, race based.
 


Faolyn

Hero
Again, muls and half-giants.
Which can be gotten around by making them into a lineage of their own.

(Although, as a person with ovaries, I would be more than happy to have adventures taking the sex slavers and forced-breeding facilitators down; perhaps strangely, it's the men in my group who would likely be the most uncomfortable dealing with that issue.)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Which can be gotten around by making them into a lineage of their own.
Yeah, absolutely could be changed. I was just calling them out as presented in the original.
(Although, as a person with ovaries, I would be more than happy to have adventures taking the sex slavers and forced-breeding facilitators down; perhaps strangely, it's the men in my group who would likely be the most uncomfortable dealing with that issue.)
Right. It's weird how some of that works.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
That's awesome. Thank you.

Yeah, that tweet certainly gets the wheels turning on speculation. I suspect they will be tackling the most popular classic settings first (Planescape, Dark Sun, Dragonlance), but I'm curious how they will reference or explore other settings even if they aren't the focus of the entirety of their own book.

I'm still holding out for a Spelljammer book, especially after Perkins made a "Space Clowns" tweet and the D&D twitter made a "Spelljammer confirmed" joke replying. But alas, I am likely to be disappointed.
 

Yeah, that tweet certainly gets the wheels turning on speculation. I suspect they will be tackling the most popular classic settings first (Planescape, Dark Sun, Dragonlance), but I'm curious how they will reference or explore other settings even if they aren't the focus of the entirety of their own book.

I'm still holding out for a Spelljammer book, especially after Perkins made a "Space Clowns" tweet and the D&D twitter made a "Spelljammer confirmed" joke replying. But alas, I am likely to be disappointed.
Best hope for Spelljammer is key elements being included in Planescape. I don't know how likely that is, though.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top