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D&D 5E WotC: Why Dark Sun Hasn't Been Revived

In an interview with YouTuber 'Bob the Worldbuilder', WotC's Kyle Brink explained why the classic Dark Sun setting has not yet seen light of day in the D&D 5E era. I’ll be frank here, the Dark Sun setting is problematic in a lot of ways. And that’s the main reason we haven’t come back to it. We know it’s got a huge fan following and we have standards today that make it extraordinarily hard to...

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In an interview with YouTuber 'Bob the Worldbuilder', WotC's Kyle Brink explained why the classic Dark Sun setting has not yet seen light of day in the D&D 5E era.

I’ll be frank here, the Dark Sun setting is problematic in a lot of ways. And that’s the main reason we haven’t come back to it. We know it’s got a huge fan following and we have standards today that make it extraordinarily hard to be true to the source material and also meet our ethical and inclusion standards... We know there’s love out there for it and god we would love to make those people happy, and also we gotta be responsible.

You can listen to the clip here.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
It certainly is. And I always thought it odd I could go down to the local library and check out a book with content that no theater would allow me to buy a ticket for.
Because libraries are awesome and protect access to information.
I'd argue that this has been at the core of the D&D experience for at least 36 years and possibly longer. It's essentially an adolescent power fantasy.
Always has been an adolescent power fantasy.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Bolded the problem.

You won't make money selling a game where you can't be good in 2023.
A TV show or Movie where everyone is grey or evil , sure.

But a game has to have the good option in 2023 to make money.

If you try to be good in Dark Sun, a Sorcerer King, their templars, or one of the other eleventy seven evil or morally gray groups and individuals will kill you.
It's only fun for people who are playing just to be killed in funny way.
Those aren't the majority of 5e, 4e, and 3e players.
The Sorcerer King Kalak would like to speak with you. Oh, wait, he was overthrown. You can be good. It's just going to be more of a challenge to pull off, which is part of the fun. It's nice to have challenges.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The entire setting is based around a bunch of problematic and offensive forces being entrenched all over the setting and attacking you for trying to fix it. And your PCs being broken overpowered supers being the only reason they aren't all slaughtered.
Yeah. It's not as if D&D was a game where you faced adversaries that tried to stop you or had you trying to stop them. Can't be having any of that. ;)
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The Sorcerer King Kalak would like to speak with you. Oh, wait, he was overthrown. You can be good. It's just going to be more of a challenge to pull off, which is part of the fun. It's nice to have challenges.
That's my point.

4e went lighter and softer and killed a Kalak to give you a haven. And a temporary one because soon after slaver enemies come from everywhere.

And DS diehards hate 4e Dark Sun.
 



4e went lighter and softer and killed a Kalak to give you a haven. And a temporary one because soon after slaver enemies come from everywhere.

And DS diehards hate 4e Dark Sun.
What?

Kalak was killed in 2e, in I think the second ever product in the Dark Sun game line. 2e released at least one supplement entirely devoted to post-Kalak Tyr (it was better than Kalak-era Tyr, but still hardly a haven). None of this happened in 4e.

And DS diehards (speaking generally) have some issues with 4e Dark Sun (bending the canon to include all the new 4e races, for instance), but having it set after the death of Kalak in a tenuously free Tyr is one of the decisions that is generally thought to be a damn good one.

I never played 4e, but I read through the 4e DS book. Honestly, the thing that annoyed me most was that mekillots lost their iconic look and curly horns, and if that's the biggest goof you make in a setting book, you're honestly doing pretty ok. Oh, and the shoehorning in of the Feywild etc, but the 4e devs simply couldn't help themselves when it came to that sort of thing.

I keep seeing this weird narrative that 2e DS was the hardiest of hard hardcore and that everything since has been a gradual wimpifying of the setting (and of D&D in general) to cater for spoiled modern crybabies who don't know what it's like to walk to school 19 miles through the snow, uphill both ways. That's not how it was.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yeah. No Kalak was killed in the first novel and the only game product released where he’s alive is the original boxed set. Kalak’s death happened in game products 21 years before 4E touched Dark Sun.
 

Mark Hope

Adventurer
What?

Kalak was killed in 2e, in I think the second ever product in the Dark Sun game line.

And DS diehards (speaking generally) have some issues with 4e Dark Sun (bending the canon to include all the new 4e races, for instance), but having it set after the death of Kalak in a tenuously free Tyr is one of the decisions that is generally thought to be a damn good one.

I never played 4e, but I read through the 4e DS book. Honestly, the thing that annoyed me most was that mekillots lost their iconic look and curly horns, and if that's the biggest goof you make in a setting book, you;re doing ok.
There was a really great Reddit thread about this where a recent DS fan came on asking about why the 4e version was so unpopular (is there some internet meme about this that makes people think it?) and tons of us old DS diehards came out of the cactus pile and were like no actually it's pretty cool and listed all the things we love about it :)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
There was a really great Reddit thread about this where a recent DS fan came on asking about why the 4e version was so unpopular (is there some internet meme about this that makes people think it?) and tons of us old DS diehards came out of the cactus pile and were like no actually it's pretty cool and listed all the things we love about it :)
Exactly. I prefer the original box set but 4E is a great place to start.
 

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