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D&D 5E Updating Dark Sun to 5th Ed

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
It’s like saying, do you know what? Me and some friends, we are new fans of this Star Wars thing, but can we get rid of lightsabers? And the whole force thing, and space ships. Oo, and could we add elves and dwarves to it? Don’t complain, you’ll still have the original movies, let me and my friends and new comers enjoy Star Wars for what it is now, stop gatekeeping us!
Or, it’s nothing at like that all.
 

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transmission89

Adventurer
Or, it’s nothing at like that all.
You’re right, requesting the addition of races in the setting I’ve described, the inclusion of classes that have no basis to exist, removing the facet of slavery (highlighted as an evil to be abolished, providing much of the central conflict motivation), changing the existing city states and changing the the sorcerer kings, all fundamental parts of the Dark Sun flavour and setting, is absolutely nothing like the analogy I laid out above 🙄
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
You’re right, requesting the addition of races in the setting I’ve described, the inclusion of classes that have no basis to exist, removing the facet of slavery (highlighted as an evil to be abolished, providing much of the central conflict motivation), changing the existing city states and changing the the sorcerer kings, all fundamental parts of the Dark Sun flavour and setting, is absolutely nothing like the analogy I laid out above 🙄
Who’s requesting any of these things again?
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
The OP is a thought experiment, not a request, on how WotC could tackle Dark Sun in a 5e conversion guessing at current WotC publishing trends at class and species presentation.

I don’t see slavery being eliminated from the Tablelands, but I see it being ripe for very specific coverage on how to handle it.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
Who’s requesting any of these things again?
Literally the OP... I appreciate it’s a thought experiment, I get that. But the analogy is pointing out essentially the problem with this and when other people’s points in this when people are saying that changes are necessary or that some tweaks don’t change the setting. were people to agree with those aspects.
 
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transmission89

Adventurer
The OP is a thought experiment, not a request, on how WotC could tackle Dark Sun in a 5e conversion guessing at current WotC publishing trends at class and species presentation.

I don’t see slavery being eliminated from the Tablelands, but I see it being ripe for very specific coverage on how to handle it.
I appreciate it’s a thought experiment, I get that. But the analogy is pointing out essentially the problem with this and when other people’s points in this when people are saying that changes are necessary or that some tweaks don’t change the setting. were people to agree with those aspects.

Regarding “how to handle slavery”. Does it need it? Does page and word count really need to be wasted on “how to handle it”?

The Slavery depicted in Dark Sun is more akin to classical era slavery rather than based solely on race (yes I get Muls being bred by sorcerer kings exist as well).

At no point in any of the TSR products was slavery ever pointed out as being a good thing. How to handle it? It’s right there in the adventure hook, fight against the cruel despotic sorcerer kings.
 

MGibster

Legend
Except that’s not really equivalent, as that’s an addition to a story, not a fundamental shift in the setting of the story. They didn’t just suddenly change the setting to, I dunno, Japan and make Mordred an upstart daimyo, replacing the lady of the lake with something from Japanese folklore.
Is that what happened with Ravenloft? None of the changes I've seen fundamentally change what Ravenloft is. I don't expect any changes to Dark Sun would fundamentally change what Dark Sun is.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
Is that what happened with Ravenloft? None of the changes I've seen fundamentally change what Ravenloft is. I don't expect any changes to Dark Sun would fundamentally change what Dark Sun is.
It unfortunately has in my opinion (I can appreciate that other people may like the new book, not for me).

It’s no longer a dark realm of Gothic Horror tropes to scare your players, it’s a scooby doo theme park. The Egyptian mummy realm now just a random fantasy desert, the change to “victra” and her golem (it wasn’t a golem originally) obviates Victor’s dark, sad tale.

The book specifically calls out against using tropes, despite Ravenloft being about....Gothic horror tropes! They even fail (in my opinion) on their own terms of “scare the character” (a pointless, meaningless phrase). If art work is supposed to evoke and establish the mood and feel of the setting, then a fundamental shift has occurred. There’s that image of two characters in a puppet house. There is nothing in there of Ravenloft, the characters are not under threat, they don’t look helpless or scared. They are confidently, professionally blasting away at these puppets in a well lit environment. It evokes a more steampunk feel than horror to me.

But this isn’t about Ravenloft, that’s done and out and people already have their opinions on it. But if that’s “no fundamental change to the setting”, I shudder at what Dark Sun would bring...
 

Literally the OP... I appreciate it’s a thought experiment, I get that. But the analogy is pointing out essentially the problem with this and when other people’s points in this when people are saying that changes are necessary or that some tweaks don’t change the setting. were people to agree with those aspects.
The OP isn't requesting these things, they are predicting them. OP has in fact been vocally opposed in other threads to changes to legacy settings for perceived reason of updating them to modern mores. Which is why some people have read the OPs predictions in this thread as a straw man.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
The OP isn't requesting these things, they are predicting them. OP has in fact been vocally opposed in other threads to changes to legacy settings for perceived reason of updating them to modern mores. Which is why some people have read the OPs predictions in this thread as a straw man.
Again, which I get. But read through the thread and you see counter points arguing that changes in the setting for new fans isn’t inherently changing things of the setting. This is what my analogy was arguing against. And you know, inevitably, there will be players whining on online discourse as to why their DM will not allow their aaracockra Paladin...
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Literally the OP...
He’s not asking for it, he’s “predicting it.”
I appreciate it’s a thought experiment, I get that.
Less thought experiment and more satire really.
But the analogy is pointing out essentially the problem with this and when other people’s points in this when people are saying that changes are necessary
Who said any of these changes were necessary?
or that some tweaks don’t change the setting. were people to agree with those aspects.
I can’t parse this part.
 


Azzy

KMF DM
Except that’s not really equivalent, as that’s an addition to a story, not a fundamental shift in the setting of the story. They didn’t just suddenly change the setting to, I dunno, Japan and make Mordred an upstart daimyo, replacing the lady of the lake with something from Japanese folklore.
Uh, you mean like taking a legend that is supposed to take place in early Dark Ages England and presenting it with knights (ther were no knights prior to the Norman conquest) wearing 15th-century plate armor and displaying 11th-century views of mainland European chivalry and courtly love?
 

transmission89

Adventurer
He’s not asking for it, he’s “predicting it.”

Less thought experiment and more satire really.

Who said any of these changes were necessary?

I can’t parse this part.
For necessary, read advocating as ok, indifferent, whatever. In respectful reference to your posts about the originals still being available and mgibsons parodies of Lancelot.

(I’m not interested in the semantics to bog the discussion down, the original point stands as regards to the availability of the originals being a counter point)
 

transmission89

Adventurer
Uh, you mean like taking a legend that is supposed to take place in early Dark Ages England and presenting it with knights (ther were no knights prior to the Norman conquest) wearing 15th-century plate armor and displaying 11th-century views of mainland European chivalry and courtly love?
Point taken, but Lancelot was an addition to the more widely known 12th century take, not the original early medieaval era myth.

Which, in its own right, may stand as a counter point to which I am making, but it’s more of a reboot, a Kelvin timeline Star Trek And were I alive then and educated in the myth, no doubt would’ve grumbled hopelessly at this too.

Edit: And on reflection, the whole Arthur comparison falls down anyway (including for myself) as prior to becoming “canonised” in the 12th century, it was unwritten myth and legend, which by their very definition are ripe for retellings, half heard and incomplete.
Dark sun is not this, it is a defined piece of work.
 
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MGibster

Legend
It’s no longer a dark realm of Gothic Horror tropes to scare your players, it’s a scooby doo theme park. The Egyptian mummy realm now just a random fantasy desert, the change to “victra” and her golem (it wasn’t a golem originally) obviates Victor’s dark, sad tale.
It's always been a theme park ride about as scary as Disney's The Haunted Mansion or Hallowfest at Six Flags. Creating anything scary is fairly difficult when the player characters are just so darned powerful.

There is nothing in there of Ravenloft, the characters are not under threat, they don’t look helpless or scared. They are confidently, professionally blasting away at these puppets in a well lit environment. It evokes a more steampunk feel than horror to me.
That pretty much sounds like D&D to me.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
It's always been a theme park ride about as scary as Disney's The Haunted Mansion or Hallowfest at Six Flags. Creating anything scary is fairly difficult when the player characters are just so darned powerful.


That pretty much sounds like D&D to me.
Right, and that’s the problem. It’s not “D&D”, it’s Ravenloft D&D. You’re absolutely right that creating anything scary is difficult when the PCs are so powerful, which is what the book should’ve been about. In the older editions, those monsters were a damn sight scarier with your characters being proportionally less powerful and abilities like level drain and the like.

But, you Wiley tempter you, I shall not be distracted into the minutia of Ravenloft any more as that is done and dusted and out now. The point was if that is being held up as a model of an excellent update, I fear for the changes wrought on future settings. * Standard YMMV disclaimer*
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Regarding “how to handle slavery”. Does it need it? Does page and word count really need to be wasted on “how to handle it”?

The Slavery depicted in Dark Sun is more akin to classical era slavery rather than based solely on race (yes I get Muls being bred by sorcerer kings exist as well).
A “rip the scab off, deal with pain by headbutting it, us tough guys have fun playing bloody knuckles, weaklings should be driven off or forced to adapt” is one take. D&D is a broad hobby, and there is room for this and there is room for people want a better treatment.

Here you are already wasting unneeded word count setting boundaries to the imagination about kind of slavery the setting presents, kind of demonstrates there is a need. I think it might need to be more than sentence, but at least a short sidebar.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
A “rip the scab off, deal with pain by headbutting it, us tough guys have fun playing bloody knuckles, weaklings should be driven off or forced to adapt” is one take. D&D is a broad hobby, and there is room for this and there is room for people want a better treatment.

Here you are already wasting unneeded word count setting boundaries to the imagination about kind of slavery the setting presents, kind of demonstrates there is a need. I think it might need to be more than sentence, but at least a short sidebar.
I’ve not set boundaries on anything, merely described what the setting presents. It’s demonstrated nothing.

An interesting hyperbolic take on my take (and again seems very much tied to my analogy above). Like, what exactly would you want here from this hypothetical side bar? A warm up to the idea that slavery exists (which comes up anyway in the setting over view). A statement that slavery is bad? Well, I mean, obviously as that has been self evident in every presentation of slavery in Dark Sun material.
Is it going to contain a message saying “don’t be a tool and make your slaves about real world race?” Those kind of tools that do that would do it regardless. I’m happy to be corrected on being shown any TSR products that present it in a positive light. Gamers who enjoyed Dark Sun then (and in 4e) managed fine without a sidebar, their faces didn’t melt ark of the covenant like at the lack of it.
 
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AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Like, what exactly do you want here from this hypothetical side bar? A warm up to the idea that slavery exists (which comes up anyway in the setting over view). A statement that slavery is bad? Well, I mean, obviously as that has been self evident in every presentation of slavery in Dark Sun material.
Is it going to contain a message saying “don’t be a tool and make your slaves about real world race?” Those kind of tools that do that would do it regardless. I’m happy to be corrected on being shown any TSR products that present it in a positive light. Gamers who enjoyed Dark Sun then (and in 4e) managed fine without a sidebar, their faces didn’t melt ark of the covenant like at the lack of it.
A sidebar could be a content warning. It’s not my job coming up with a full check list, but I know that a professional sensitivity reader could give advice how to present it to today’s audience demographics.

It’s easy to be uncharitable towards the concept of sensitivity readers. I used to roll my eyes at them. After reading up on what some professional readers have given input on, I’m a believer they offer real value.

All of us could use reminders on how to not be “a tool”. No one has the lived experience of everyone who might play the setting. It shouldn’t be the cause of resentment when the guidance appears in new products just because it didn’t cross the author’s minds in previous editions.
 

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