D&D 5E The Audience - Do you feel like you're the target audience?


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Incenjucar

Legend
I would agree that 5E's overwhelming focus on magic does cause issues with Dark Sun's themes. Wild talents are easier because it can just be a feat-equivalent ability.
 

delericho

Legend
I half agree with you. The problem with Psionics is that it's had multiple strong identities, and the fanbase can't agree on which one should have primacy. Dark Sun though... I never actually played a campaign in it, but I had one of the novels and both of the CRPGs. So those are what shape my mental image of it, particularly the latter. And I really don't know how they'd update it for today.

Maybe they could do it. Mad Max pulled off a good new movie in the "wasteland apocalypse" genre. But that's a rarity, and the genres that Dark Sun was building on are even more out of fashion than they were 30 years ago. Not to mention the many, many problematic elements that would either need to be removed or treated with very precise care.

It's academic, for exactly that reason - they're just not going to go near those problematic areas.

In theory, they could set up an arm's-length "mature themes" imprint to deal with it or, marginally more likely, license it out to someone else. But the odds of either of those are about as close to zero as you get.

Also it's not just the setting. Is Dark Sun really Dark Sun if you don't have scarcity of metal and elemental Clerics and Preserving/Defiling magic? But all of those would need in depth mechanical support for transitioning into a 5e framework. How do you even do Preserving and Defiling with the proliferation of arcane casters? To say nothing of the "everyone has a Psionic Wild Talent" bit.

I dunno. I have some fond memories of Dark Sun, but boy would it be a heavy lift to update it. Maybe some things just aren't feasible.

Indeed. If we ever see a setting branded "Dark Sun" again, all I can see is a full-on reboot of the setting. In which case, anything goes... and so, too, goes my interest in it.
 

nevin

Hero
I half agree with you. The problem with Psionics is that it's had multiple strong identities, and the fanbase can't agree on which one should have primacy. Dark Sun though... I never actually played a campaign in it, but I had one of the novels and both of the CRPGs. So those are what shape my mental image of it, particularly the latter. And I really don't know how they'd update it for today.

Maybe they could do it. Mad Max pulled off a good new movie in the "wasteland apocalypse" genre. But that's a rarity, and the genres that Dark Sun was building on are even more out of fashion than they were 30 years ago. Not to mention the many, many problematic elements that would either need to be removed or treated with very precise care.

Also it's not just the setting. Is Dark Sun really Dark Sun if you don't have scarcity of metal and elemental Clerics and Preserving/Defiling magic? But all of those would need in depth mechanical support for transitioning into a 5e framework. How do you even do Preserving and Defiling with the proliferation of arcane casters? To say nothing of the "everyone has a Psionic Wild Talent" bit.

I dunno. I have some fond memories of Dark Sun, but boy would it be a heavy lift to update it. Maybe some things just aren't feasible.
I disagree with your basic argument on Dark Sun. the original Dark Sun was Partitioned off from the entire rest of the Universe because it had different rules. It was DND edition 2.2a or whatever you want to call it. Other settings where things are different are fine, but the problem rolls in when the current internet crowd want's to be able to play, hello kitty meets darksun's TMNT babie's in Birthright got crushed up when Greyhawk and Faerun crashed into it as a setting. This is fine if your DM is willing to run it and you have one of the 10 tables in the world that like it, but expecting the company that writes the rules to come up with a one size fits all set of rules (and this seems to be the norm on most forums I visit) then stuff like Dark Sun are DOA because, they don't fit the fantasy expectation that most players have and if you mush them up you lose more players than you gain.

And this is from someone Who loves Dark sun 2nd edtion and has it lovingly stored away in the hope that I'll ever get to run it again. But since it launched I've found exactly one group of players who wanted to play it. Same with Gamma World., I got one campaign everyone loved it but then we went back to fantasy land. People just don't seem to want anything that feels scifi near thier fantasy.

Even when the Deryni Books were popular TSR and Wizards couldn't find a Psionics that was wildly popular.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
And this is from someone Who loves Dark sun 2nd edtion and has it lovingly stored away in the hope that I'll ever get to run it again. But since it launched I've found exactly one group of players who wanted to play it. Same with Gamma World., I got one campaign everyone loved it but then we went back to fantasy land. People just don't seem to want anything that feels scifi near thier fantasy.
There's still some room for that sort of thing. Certainly the She-Ra reboot and He-Man revival have been popular enough. But it's a pretty specific vibe, and not one that D&D has been building around any time recently. You'd probably want a different game that was purpose built for it. And because I do want that, that's why I backed the Kickstarter for Break!!, an obvious 5e offshoot that's explicitly going for an 80s anime and JRPG vibe with both robots and magic.

In theory, they could set up an arm's-length "mature themes" imprint to deal with it or, marginally more likely, license it out to someone else. But the odds of either of those are about as close to zero as you get.
Or perhaps some enterprising 3PP sets out to do a "Shrouded Star" retroclone that deliberately evokes the style of Dark Sun. Which both frees them from having to be completely faithful to the original and allows them to do a Mature Gamers imprint instead of D&D's mandatory All Ages rating. But yeah, I don't rate the odds as good of Dark Sun proper emerging from the vault any time soon.
 

delericho

Legend
Or perhaps some enterprising 3PP sets out to do a "Shrouded Star" retroclone that deliberately evokes the style of Dark Sun. Which both frees them from having to be completely faithful to the original and allows them to do a Mature Gamers imprint instead of D&D's mandatory All Ages rating. But yeah, I don't rate the odds as good of Dark Sun proper emerging from the vault any time soon.
Indeed. And if anyone does, I'd definitely be interested.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Out of curiosity, do you know which 1 or 2 you consider salvageable?
Dragons of Winter Ice (DL6?) can be run more or less standalone, with a bit of tweaking; and there's enough in it to make it interesting. I ended up running it twice in an old campaign; once as a misson quest (I forget exactly what they were there for) then a second time when a later iteration of the same party found they had to go back there for some reason or other, and ran into whatever the first group had missed.

On their first visit they salvaged most of the white dragon eggs, then went into business selling futures on them while at the same time putting a lot of effort into incubating them until they hatched. This meant I ended up running what amounted to a business-based RPG for a while - hardly my cup of tea but the players were right into it - and the characters made a fortune on those damn eggs.

On their second visit they found the dragon-and-rider frozen into the ice, dug them out, and revived them. Instant high-powered allies - just add heat! :)


And though it's been a long time since I read them over, I seem to recall thinking there was another one that I could split out and use standalone. I'd have to read them again to be sure, but for some reason the number DL4 sticks in my mind, so maybe that was it.
 



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