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D&D 5E Updating Dark Sun to 5th Ed

VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT has given us an idea of how Wizards of the Coast will be updating old campaigns to 5th Ed
With that template in mind I started musing about Dark Sun
I imagine it will look a lot like it did in 4th Ed but continue to evolve

Lineages
All the races / lineages in the PH need to be in the campaign. That means including tieflings, gnomes and half-orcs. Each could get a paragraph on his they fit into the world, like in EBERRON: RISING FROM THE LAST WAR
Thri-kreen will likely be the sole new race
Half-giants will likely remain goliaths. Muls are the ugly product of forced mating, so they're just gone. They could also reprint aarakocra

Player Options
WizCo isn't going to do a psionicist for 5th Ed. Instead, a Wild Talent system allowing PCs to have psychic powers would replace that. Like Dark Gifts or the Supernatural Gifts of Theros. Everyone is psionic
They won't get rid of paladins and clerics because players need to be able to make whatever characters they want. Just having an Elemental Domain would limit options too much. Clerics would instead worship the Primordials. Just provide a table of flavor suggestions on how spells could look elemental
But a templar domain could work. Or warlock pact like in 4th Ed
Getting inspiration from 4th Ed, Defiling and obsidian and bone weapons could work roughly the same. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack you can re-roll. With a spell you defoliate and area based on the level and with a weapon it breaks if the re-roll misses. Make it the player's choice. Defiling could also be a method of gaining additional spell slots. When you're high enough level you can kill an area of land to get an extra 1st level spell

Setting
VGR showed us WizCo is willing to change campaigns to fit modern tastes
Based on past convos here a controversial element is slavery. That needs to be gone
The sorcerer-kings can be dictators who rule their lands and hold sway over the life 'n' death of all their subjects without using the loaded term "slaves." Folk in the city-states can just have mistreated servants and not buy or sell people

Survival Adventures
Like VGR focused on "horror adventures" this product should focus on "wilderness survival." Person v. nature
Lottsa charts of random encounters and adventure sites encountered on the road. Advice on how to run adventures focused on travel and natural hazards. How to make it work at various levels. Reprinted and expanded rules on surviving in hot environments and foraging for food

City States
Each City-State should have a completely different tone and style of adventure. Focus on what dungeons are nearby and what the PCs need to do to survive there. There should also be some new city-states ruled by non-humans. An elf or tiefling city-state
Like Ravenloft's domains, these should be isolated. We don't need a full map of the Tablelands. DMs can choose how far away settlements are and rearrange the map based on what's best for their adventure
It's harder to survive if you're uncertain of the distance between city-states and oases. It also works with the shifting nature of deserts. There could be a watering hole or it could have dried out. There could be a pass or it could have been erased by the sands. You could have enough food and water to make it to the next settlement, but you might not
Each journey is new and travel is never routine

Sorcerer-Kings
There are seven major city-states ruled by sorcerer-kings. There's only two sorcerer-queen so a couple need to be gender flipped for better representation
They also need a new name. They're not all kings. And they're wizards, not sorcerers. Wizard-Monarchs? Spell-Tyrants? Archdefilers?
The ruler of Tyr should also still be alive. If anyone kills them it should be the PCs. And having a "safe" city-state populated by free folk not ruled by a tyrant makes Dark Sun less dangerous and hostile

What ya'll think?
Anything else that needs changed?
 

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Rikka66

Adventurer
I think they'll keep half-orcs and gnomes out of the default setting, and include a sidebar mentioned you can change this or find reasons to include them if you wish, just like 4e did.

I think they'll be willing to call Paladins out, at least, as not allowed by default.

Mearls mentioned he wanted defiling to be a more consequential system than it was in 4e, so we'll see if that train of thought is picked by whoever would be in charge of the book.
 

All the races / lineages in the PH need to be in the campaign. That means including tieflings, gnomes and half-orcs.

Nah, they can just do what they did with Theros and say 'lineages X, Y, and Z no longer exist in Athas and are not playable in a traditional Dark Sun game. Should you want to play one of these lineages, ask your DM'

Muls are the ugly product of forced mating, so they're just gone.

Even in 2e canon this wasn't necessarily true. There are canonical examples of muls who were born from love matches and whose mother survived the birth. They often WERE born from forced breeding programs, but it wasn't 100% necessary. Just de-emphasise that, and they're perfectly usable. They may get a namechange though, perhaps to 'half-dwarves'...

WizCo isn't going to do a psionicist for 5th Ed. Instead, a Wild Talent system allowing PCs to have psychic powers would replace that. Like Dark Gifts or the Supernatural Gifts of Theros. Everyone is psionic

They'll bite the bullet and do a psionicist class eventually. I do like your idea for how to do wild talents though.
There are seven major city-states ruled by sorcerer-kings. There's only two sorcerer-queen so a couple need to be gender flipped for better representation

No need to gender-flip the existing Sorcerer-kings, just add some new ones. I don't think we've ever heard about the sorcerer-king who was tasked with the genocide of gnolls, for instance. Or aaracokra. Or hobgoblins.

The ruler of Tyr should also still be alive. If anyone kills them it should be the PCs. And having a "safe" city-state populated by free folk not ruled by a tyrant makes Dark Sun less dangerous and hostile

I actually like 'free' Tyr as a setting. It adds a a point of difference, and by making it also a pretty scummy place to be, full of corrupt nobles and uncontrolled criminal gangs and petty warlords, while the armies of Urik peer at it with interest, then you make it clear that not EVERYTHING that's bad about Athas can be fixed by kicking a sorcerer-king in the teeth.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
I like the section on surviving the desert wastes.

The sociology changes, however, water down the theme that Athas is 'the world where Evil has almost completely won'.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
This whole post comes off like pretense for a passive-aggressive critique of Van Richten’s guide rather than an earnest attempt at discussing what changes we might see in a hypothetical 5e Dark Sun book, but I’ll go ahead and engage with the premise as it was presented anyway.

Lineages
All the races / lineages in the PH need to be in the campaign. That means including tieflings, gnomes and half-orcs. Each could get a paragraph on his they fit into the world, like in EBERRON: RISING FROM THE LAST WAR
Thri-kreen will likely be the sole new race
Half-giants will likely remain goliaths. Muls are the ugly product of forced mating, so they're just gone. They could also reprint aarakocra
There have already been new settings in 5e that don’t include all the PHB races, so it seems very unlikely to me that they would add gnomes or half-orcs to 5e Dark Sun. Tieflings and Dragonborn seem likely to be included, in their 4e Dark Sun forms. Dragonborn may get a new Dray Draconic Ancestry option though. Half-giants will almost certainly be Goliaths again. No way they cut Mul, though I could see them saying to use the half-orc stats to represent them rather than presenting a new race statblock. Aarakocra seem like obvious inclusions, and Genasi seem like a reasonable possibility since they were in 4e Dark Sun. Thri-Kreen seem like they should be there as a new option, but they do seem tricky to balance. I also anticipate a sidebar of suggestions of how you might incorporate individual characters of races that aren’t normally a part of the setting at large.
Player Options
WizCo isn't going to do a psionicist for 5th Ed. Instead, a Wild Talent system allowing PCs to have psychic powers would replace that. Like Dark Gifts or the Supernatural Gifts of Theros. Everyone is psionic
Seems like a solid prediction.
They won't get rid of paladins and clerics because players need to be able to make whatever characters they want. Just having an Elemental Domain would limit options too much. Clerics would instead worship the Primordials. Just provide a table of flavor suggestions on how spells could look elemental
This one I’m not so sure about. I could really see it going either way.
But a templar domain could work. Or warlock pact like in 4th Ed
Oh, yeah, The Sorcerer King as a Warlock Patron seems like a no-brainer. Oath of the Templar for Paladins too.
Getting inspiration from 4th Ed, Defiling and obsidian and bone weapons could work roughly the same. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack you can re-roll. With a spell you defoliate and area based on the level and with a weapon it breaks if the re-roll misses. Make it the player's choice. Defiling could also be a method of gaining additional spell slots. When you're high enough level you can kill an area of land to get an extra 1st level spell
Seems plausible.
Setting
VGR showed us WizCo is willing to change campaigns to fit modern tastes
Based on past convos here a controversial element is slavery. That needs to be gone. The sorcerer-kings can be dictators who rule their lands and hold sway over the life 'n' death of all their subjects without using the loaded term "slaves." Folk in the city-states can just have mistreated servants and not buy or sell people
No way. It’ll just be presented in a negative light.
Survival Adventures
Like VGR focused on "horror adventures" this product should focus on "wilderness survival." Person v. nature
Lottsa charts of random encounters and adventure sites encountered on the road. Advice on how to run adventures focused on travel and natural hazards. How to make it work at various levels. Reprinted and expanded rules on surviving in hot environments and foraging for food
This one I agree with. Sounds pretty cool to me!
City States
Each City-State should have a completely different tone and style of adventure. Focus on what dungeons are nearby and what the PCs need to do to survive there.
I definitely think each city-state will have a distinct tone. Not so sure about a focus on nearby dungeons.
There should also be some new city-states ruled by non-humans. An elf or tiefling city-state
Like Ravenloft's domains, these should be isolated.
Mmmmm... Maybe. I could see like a new “free” city-state, but I doubt we’d see a lot of new ones, and certainly not ones ruled by non-sorcerer-kings.
We don't need a full map of the Tablelands. DMs can choose how far away settlements are and rearrange the map based on what's best for their adventure
It's harder to survive if you're uncertain of the distance between city-states and oases. It also works with the shifting nature of deserts. There could be a watering hole or it could have dried out. There could be a pass or it could have been erased by the sands. You could have enough food and water to make it to the next settlement, but you might not
Each journey is new and travel is never routine
Not a chance.
Sorcerer-Kings
There are seven major city-states ruled by sorcerer-kings. There's only two sorcerer-queen so a couple need to be gender flipped for better representation
They also need a new name. They're not all kings. And they're wizards, not sorcerers. Wizard-Monarchs? Spell-Tyrants? Archdefilers?
This just comes off as out-of-touch yelling at clouds. None of this will happen.
The ruler of Tyr should also still be alive. If anyone kills them it should be the PCs.
I mean, probably. He was alive in the 4e version, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same here.
And having a "safe" city-state populated by free folk not ruled by a tyrant makes Dark Sun less dangerous and hostile
Actually now that you mention it, Tyr could serve the “new” free city role I alluded to above. Yeah, I could see this going either way.
 
Last edited:

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I really like the established lore of the old 3E and prior Dark Sun, so I'd prefer if they advance the timeline by 5 years to explain some of the changes you suggest.

On races, I would like them to make Half-Giants distinct from Goliaths, and Dray distinct from Dragonborn. I like the look of Joe Manganiello's half-giant character, although they need to be sized down somewhat for 5E size reasons.


And then on the Sorcerer Kings, keep that name. Ravenloft uses Darklords (not Darkladies ever), I don't think people are offended by King when applied to a woman. The name "Sorcerer Kings" is iconic, needs no change.

Not sure if any of the kings need to be gender-flipped, but seeing some killed off and replaced is fine to me, a couple like Andropinis are kind of boring.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Seems mostly plausible. Probably ot would hew pretty close to a combination of the 4E take with something like the Magic Setting books in format.
 

"There are seven major city-states ruled by sorcerer-kings. There's only two sorcerer-queen so a couple need to be gender flipped for better representation
They also need a new name. They're not all kings. And they're wizards, not sorcerers. Wizard-Monarchs? Spell-Tyrants? Archdefilers?"


Based on VRGTR, I think the first prediction is right and the second is wrong. They did gender flip a number of the Domain Baddies, but the term "Darklord" is still used in every case and not "Darklady".
 


transmission89

Adventurer
VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT has given us an idea of how Wizards of the Coast will be updating old campaigns to 5th Ed
With that template in mind I started musing about Dark Sun
I imagine it will look a lot like it did in 4th Ed but continue to evolve

Lineages
All the races / lineages in the PH need to be in the campaign. That means including tieflings, gnomes and half-orcs. Each could get a paragraph on his they fit into the world, like in EBERRON: RISING FROM THE LAST WAR
Thri-kreen will likely be the sole new race
Half-giants will likely remain goliaths. Muls are the ugly product of forced mating, so they're just gone. They could also reprint aarakocra

Player Options
WizCo isn't going to do a psionicist for 5th Ed. Instead, a Wild Talent system allowing PCs to have psychic powers would replace that. Like Dark Gifts or the Supernatural Gifts of Theros. Everyone is psionic
They won't get rid of paladins and clerics because players need to be able to make whatever characters they want. Just having an Elemental Domain would limit options too much. Clerics would instead worship the Primordials. Just provide a table of flavor suggestions on how spells could look elemental
But a templar domain could work. Or warlock pact like in 4th Ed
Getting inspiration from 4th Ed, Defiling and obsidian and bone weapons could work roughly the same. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack you can re-roll. With a spell you defoliate and area based on the level and with a weapon it breaks if the re-roll misses. Make it the player's choice. Defiling could also be a method of gaining additional spell slots. When you're high enough level you can kill an area of land to get an extra 1st level spell

Setting
VGR showed us WizCo is willing to change campaigns to fit modern tastes
Based on past convos here a controversial element is slavery. That needs to be gone
The sorcerer-kings can be dictators who rule their lands and hold sway over the life 'n' death of all their subjects without using the loaded term "slaves." Folk in the city-states can just have mistreated servants and not buy or sell people

Survival Adventures
Like VGR focused on "horror adventures" this product should focus on "wilderness survival." Person v. nature
Lottsa charts of random encounters and adventure sites encountered on the road. Advice on how to run adventures focused on travel and natural hazards. How to make it work at various levels. Reprinted and expanded rules on surviving in hot environments and foraging for food

City States
Each City-State should have a completely different tone and style of adventure. Focus on what dungeons are nearby and what the PCs need to do to survive there. There should also be some new city-states ruled by non-humans. An elf or tiefling city-state
Like Ravenloft's domains, these should be isolated. We don't need a full map of the Tablelands. DMs can choose how far away settlements are and rearrange the map based on what's best for their adventure
It's harder to survive if you're uncertain of the distance between city-states and oases. It also works with the shifting nature of deserts. There could be a watering hole or it could have dried out. There could be a pass or it could have been erased by the sands. You could have enough food and water to make it to the next settlement, but you might not
Each journey is new and travel is never routine

Sorcerer-Kings
There are seven major city-states ruled by sorcerer-kings. There's only two sorcerer-queen so a couple need to be gender flipped for better representation
They also need a new name. They're not all kings. And they're wizards, not sorcerers. Wizard-Monarchs? Spell-Tyrants? Archdefilers?
The ruler of Tyr should also still be alive. If anyone kills them it should be the PCs. And having a "safe" city-state populated by free folk not ruled by a tyrant makes Dark Sun less dangerous and hostile

What ya'll think?
Anything else that needs changed?
Oh god, no to all of this. I’d rather they leave it alone than do any of this.

If they are going to touch it, just update the rules and add some things to make survival an actual thing in 5e (ie, you can’t just rely on Goodberry all day).
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT has given us an idea of how Wizards of the Coast will be updating old campaigns to 5th Ed
With that template in mind I started musing about Dark Sun
I imagine it will look a lot like it did in 4th Ed but continue to evolve
Okay! Let's dig in!

Lineages
All the races / lineages in the PH need to be in the campaign. That means including tieflings, gnomes and half-orcs. Each could get a paragraph on his they fit into the world, like in EBERRON: RISING FROM THE LAST WAR
Thri-kreen will likely be the sole new race
Half-giants will likely remain goliaths. Muls are the ugly product of forced mating, so they're just gone. They could also reprint aarakocra
Nah. They can do the "Gnomes and Half Orcs no longer exist" and then have the side-bar addition thing. Like maybe they were held in magical stasis or something if your DM is cool with it.

Muls were the ugly product of coercive rape, no doubt... But they'll just rewrite it so that any loving Dwarf/Human can get together and have a bald baby that'll never have kids with the coercive rape thing being a background detail that largely gets fudged over... or even ignored entirely in favor of "Sometimes when one slave loves another slave -very much and they're not of the same species..."

Thri-Kreen could be a new race, though? Definitely. I could see them sticking with Goliaths or making full on Half-Giants as something a little more imposing in height while still "Technically" being Medium.

Player Options
WizCo isn't going to do a psionicist for 5th Ed. Instead, a Wild Talent system allowing PCs to have psychic powers would replace that. Like Dark Gifts or the Supernatural Gifts of Theros. Everyone is psionic
They won't get rid of paladins and clerics because players need to be able to make whatever characters they want. Just having an Elemental Domain would limit options too much. Clerics would instead worship the Primordials. Just provide a table of flavor suggestions on how spells could look elemental
But a templar domain could work. Or warlock pact like in 4th Ed
Getting inspiration from 4th Ed, Defiling and obsidian and bone weapons could work roughly the same. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack you can re-roll. With a spell you defoliate and area based on the level and with a weapon it breaks if the re-roll misses. Make it the player's choice. Defiling could also be a method of gaining additional spell slots. When you're high enough level you can kill an area of land to get an extra 1st level spell
Dunno if I agree that there won't be a Psionicist for 5e.

There are already Wild Talents and Psionic Subclasses, but with the setting being -so reliant- on Psionics since Arcane Magic results in Defiling they might have to make a Psionic class or just have Sorcerers or Wizards be "Psionic" for all intents and purposes. Personally, I'm hoping they do a Psionicist class, 'cause even if it sucks it could still be interesting to play with.

Paladins... Probably an NPC only class. Though I could see them making "Pact of the Sorcerer King" for Warlocks which basically makes them into Arcane-Paladins swinging swords and spells for their masters.

Though after the changes to Darkon...? Maybe there's a "New God" rising as a big event-thing that's core to the 5e version. Where Clerics and Paladins devoted to this new power are viewed as Cultists and mistrusted and stuff.

Setting
VGR showed us WizCo is willing to change campaigns to fit modern tastes
Based on past convos here a controversial element is slavery. That needs to be gone
The sorcerer-kings can be dictators who rule their lands and hold sway over the life 'n' death of all their subjects without using the loaded term "slaves." Folk in the city-states can just have mistreated servants and not buy or sell people
I doubt they'll remove slavery altogether. I think they'll just do their best to make it clear that anyone who engages in slavery is -clearly- and -flatly- evil, with no questions one way or the other. And all slaves need to be rescued and freed.

Survival Adventures
Like VGR focused on "horror adventures" this product should focus on "wilderness survival." Person v. nature
Lottsa charts of random encounters and adventure sites encountered on the road. Advice on how to run adventures focused on travel and natural hazards. How to make it work at various levels. Reprinted and expanded rules on surviving in hot environments and foraging for food
Definitely think there'll be a bunch of this. But with the added rules for Stress and Dark Gifts in Ravenloft we know that they're willing to put in some measure of effort to increase the setting's strength. I think we might see more of a Journey System where tracking supplies is a core part of moving through the wasteland, and where supplies are what lots of narrative events will be striking.

City States
Each City-State should have a completely different tone and style of adventure. Focus on what dungeons are nearby and what the PCs need to do to survive there. There should also be some new city-states ruled by non-humans. An elf or tiefling city-state
Like Ravenloft's domains, these should be isolated. We don't need a full map of the Tablelands. DMs can choose how far away settlements are and rearrange the map based on what's best for their adventure
It's harder to survive if you're uncertain of the distance between city-states and oases. It also works with the shifting nature of deserts. There could be a watering hole or it could have dried out. There could be a pass or it could have been erased by the sands. You could have enough food and water to make it to the next settlement, but you might not
Each journey is new and travel is never routine
Partly agree... I definitely agree that we'll see the settlements as very individualistic, most likely with their own particular flavor/character of postapocalyptica. We might even see a domain where there's PLENTY of food and water, but the Sorcerer-King zealously guards it compared to another kingdom where everything is incredibly scarce.

But I think there'll be a full map. Or, at least, enough of a map to get a rough idea of where things are in relation to each other. I think it's more likely that while the whole map will show the distance and position between the Silt Sea and Tyr, for example, there'll be a lot of undefined areas between the two.

Like maybe instead of having a full map, have detailed maps of the areas near a given settlement, and a fairly detailed map of the Silt Sea, and then exact distances between specific landmarks and other landmarks so the players can kind of put the maps on a big surface separated to get an idea of where everything is? Not 100% sure on that one... but could be fun!

Sorcerer-Kings
There are seven major city-states ruled by sorcerer-kings. There's only two sorcerer-queen so a couple need to be gender flipped for better representation
They also need a new name. They're not all kings. And they're wizards, not sorcerers. Wizard-Monarchs? Spell-Tyrants? Archdefilers?
The ruler of Tyr should also still be alive. If anyone kills them it should be the PCs. And having a "safe" city-state populated by free folk not ruled by a tyrant makes Dark Sun less dangerous and hostile
I think leaving them Sorcerer-Kings works. There can just be no gender-segregation within the term. Sort of like how anyone who is the most powerful Magician in Xanth is the King, regardless of gender.

That said, yeah. Probably another woman or five rising in the ranks. Maybe a couple of the Sorcerer Kings have been assassinated and their positions usurped by new Defilers who stole their power? I mean... that's what they did to Rajaat, after all!

More seriously: we'll probably need 3 more female Sorcerer-Kings to go with Lalali-Puy, Sielba, and Abalach-Re. Maybe axe Andropinis for his daughter, Daskinor, as well, and just to get big on it Tectuktitlay. That'd give us Draj, Balic, and Eldaarich with new female leaders and Raam, Yaramuke, and Gulg with traditional ones.

That'll make it a 7/6 split, but since Borys is kind of gigantic and red it's as near to a 50/50 as I think you can reasonably get!

What ya'll think?
Anything else that needs changed?
I think you hit the highlights.
 


AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Muls are the ugly product of forced mating, so they're just gone.
2e presentation of Muls had the same problematic background that half-orc, implied non-consent of one parent. A 5e background update can still give a tragic origin, without hinted forced breeding.

For instance, keep the “born of Sorcerer King program” element but have them literally created. Sorcerer Kings seem to have no problem with using up servants and slaves. Muls could be created by consuming both a dwarf and a human and spawning out one mul. Maybe each Sorcerer King “breeding pits” are nothing more than barely-understood blue age life shaping artifacts that take two species and merge into one with favorable qualities chosen from each. The Sorcerer Kings’ templars use the ancient life shaping artifacts to create the ideal species for the needs mul fit best.

Also “created” are the half giants. Mul and half giants are two the Sorcerer King templars understand how to reproduce (pun not intended) successfully, repeated.

Maybe that’s the origin of tieflings, but as failed experiments to find some new servant-type?
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
2e presentation of Muls had the same problematic background that half-orc, implied non-consent of one parent. A 5e background update can still give a tragic origin, without hinted forced breeding.

For instance, keep the “born of Sorcerer King program” element but have them literally created. Sorcerer Kings seem to have no problem with using up servants and slaves. Muls could be created by consuming both a dwarf and a human and spawning out one mul. Maybe each Sorcerer King “breeding pits” are nothing more than barely-understood blue age life shaping artifacts that take two species and merge into one with favorable qualities chosen from each. The Sorcerer Kings’ templars use the ancient life shaping artifacts to create the ideal species for the needs mul fit best.

Also “created” are the half giants. Mul and half giants are two the Sorcerer King templars understand how to reproduce (pun not intended) successfully, repeated.

Maybe that’s the origin of tieflings, but as failed experiments to find some new servant-type?
Villains don’t ask for consent. Sorcerer kings are villains. Many evil spellcasters are villains. Do the math.
 



Mercurius

Legend
I really hope that WotC doesn't take the approach in the OP, because it would imply that they simply won't do anything dark fantasy or sword and sorcery related, but instead "nice it up."

(I haven't received my copy of Ravenloft yet...is that what they did? That would seem odd for a horror setting).

What made Dark Sun stand out is the heavily thematic treatment of a post-apocalyptic desert setting, and its resulting harshness. Furthermore, the specific tone that pick and choose from D&D canon, but happily didn't take a kitchen sink approach. Meaning, Dark Sun is sepia-toned, not fully chromatic, and that's what makes it Dark Sun. To remove muls and slavery while, at the same time, adding in gnomes etc, really seems to miss the point.

D&D is better for having a wide range of styles and worlds, not re-skinning everything in the same mold.
 

dave2008

Legend
Lineages
All the races / lineages in the PH need to be in the campaign.
Why? Theros, which is more similar to Dark Sun as a contained setting, defaults to humans and the races included in the book.

From Mythic Odysseys of Theros:
"A diverse assortment of peoples dwell among the lands of Theros. Aside from humans, the races in the Player’s Handbook are unknown on Theros, unless they’re visiting from other worlds.

This chapter provides information about the following common playable races of Theros, as well as racial traits for all of them except humans:

Humans on Theros are similar to those found on other D&D worlds: adaptable, ambitious, and wildly diverse.

Centaurs employ cunning and equine strength to further the goals of the roaming Lagonna and Pheres bands.

Leonin are proud lion-like hunters, many of whom live in defiance of the gods.

Minotaurs are infamous for bloodthirstiness, a reputation even the most peaceful struggle to escape.

Satyrs follow their passions in the pursuit of wild revels and new adventures.

Tritons are an enigmatic, sea-dwelling people with an endless desire to explore."
 

cbwjm

Hero
VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT has given us an idea of how Wizards of the Coast will be updating old campaigns to 5th Ed
With that template in mind I started musing about Dark Sun
I imagine it will look a lot like it did in 4th Ed but continue to evolve

Lineages
All the races / lineages in the PH need to be in the campaign. That means including tieflings, gnomes and half-orcs. Each could get a paragraph on his they fit into the world, like in EBERRON: RISING FROM THE LAST WAR
Thri-kreen will likely be the sole new race
Half-giants will likely remain goliaths. Muls are the ugly product of forced mating, so they're just gone. They could also reprint aarakocra
They haven't kept all the races in all of their current settings so I see no reason why WotC would feel like they need to include every race in a dark sun setting. I could see half-giants being a new race though I also wouldn't be surprised if they just stuck with goliaths. I see no reason to get rid of Muls.
Player Options
WizCo isn't going to do a psionicist for 5th Ed. Instead, a Wild Talent system allowing PCs to have psychic powers would replace that. Like Dark Gifts or the Supernatural Gifts of Theros. Everyone is psionic
They won't get rid of paladins and clerics because players need to be able to make whatever characters they want. Just having an Elemental Domain would limit options too much. Clerics would instead worship the Primordials. Just provide a table of flavor suggestions on how spells could look elemental
But a templar domain could work. Or warlock pact like in 4th Ed
Getting inspiration from 4th Ed, Defiling and obsidian and bone weapons could work roughly the same. When you roll a natural 1 on an attack you can re-roll. With a spell you defoliate and area based on the level and with a weapon it breaks if the re-roll misses. Make it the player's choice. Defiling could also be a method of gaining additional spell slots. When you're high enough level you can kill an area of land to get an extra 1st level spell
Granting a psychic ability at level 1 would be a good way to keep the psychic feel of darksun, though I wouldn't be surprised if they still do a psionic class, I'm thinking that more likely than not they will mainly have a bunch more psychic subclasses.

I think they could still get rid of paladins. Clerics and templars could easily just be regular clerics with limited options to choose from for their domain.

I don't think they need to have any kind of system for weapon breakage but I do think they need some sort of defiling system, something that really tempts players running a preserver.

Setting
VGR showed us WizCo is willing to change campaigns to fit modern tastes
Based on past convos here a controversial element is slavery. That needs to be gone
The sorcerer-kings can be dictators who rule their lands and hold sway over the life 'n' death of all their subjects without using the loaded term "slaves." Folk in the city-states can just have mistreated servants and not buy or sell people
They should keep slavery, it isn't like they show it as a good thing and freeing slaves is a good campaign/session goal.
Survival Adventures
Like VGR focused on "horror adventures" this product should focus on "wilderness survival." Person v. nature
Lottsa charts of random encounters and adventure sites encountered on the road. Advice on how to run adventures focused on travel and natural hazards. How to make it work at various levels. Reprinted and expanded rules on surviving in hot environments and foraging for food

City States
Each City-State should have a completely different tone and style of adventure. Focus on what dungeons are nearby and what the PCs need to do to survive there. There should also be some new city-states ruled by non-humans. An elf or tiefling city-state
Like Ravenloft's domains, these should be isolated. We don't need a full map of the Tablelands. DMs can choose how far away settlements are and rearrange the map based on what's best for their adventure
It's harder to survive if you're uncertain of the distance between city-states and oases. It also works with the shifting nature of deserts. There could be a watering hole or it could have dried out. There could be a pass or it could have been erased by the sands. You could have enough food and water to make it to the next settlement, but you might not
Each journey is new and travel is never routine
Definitely needs to focus on survival and some changes to spells like in the original dark sun would be good. Things like making good berry have consumable reagents to lessen the ability to survive on good berries along.

Sorcerer-Kings
There are seven major city-states ruled by sorcerer-kings. There's only two sorcerer-queen so a couple need to be gender flipped for better representation
They also need a new name. They're not all kings. And they're wizards, not sorcerers. Wizard-Monarchs? Spell-Tyrants? Archdefilers?
The ruler of Tyr should also still be alive. If anyone kills them it should be the PCs. And having a "safe" city-state populated by free folk not ruled by a tyrant makes Dark Sun less dangerous and hostile

What ya'll think?
Anything else that needs changed?
No name change and no gender flipping needs to be done, Sorcerer-King is too cool of a name to be changed and gender flipping for the sake of gender flipping is, in my opinion, stupid. Create some new rulers instead and make them women, just creating two or three more will even things out.

Keep Tyr a free city beset on all sides by the Sorcerer-Kings, more than the Nentir Vale, I see Dark sun as a points of light setting which might be a major contributing factor to it being updated for 4e.
 

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