Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dark Sun on 5th Edition

I remember back in the late 90s when I flip to the back of my AD&D Dungen Master Guide. There was this list of campaigns, with cool logos an tiny covers of material on the side page. There they were all of the now classics, Mystara, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Planescape and Dragonlange. But from all the descriptions this one catched my imagination like no other:

The Dark Sun world is the AD&D game's most savage game setting—a desert realm scorched by a relentless sun, blasted by the destructive magic of generations of evil wizards. It is a land of evil sorcerer-kings and powerful psionincists who command astounding mental powers. In this wild and brutal landscape, a single adventurer can alter the course of history and forever change the world. One of those heroes could be yours!

Most savage game setting! I wanted it so bad. Unfortunately, back in the day getting D&D material in my country (Mexico) was quite hard. Specially in my home town. When I finally got a chance to visit a gaming store in Mexico City, I had to suck it up and buy the only box they had, Forgotten Realms.

Ever since the Dark Sun setting it's a thorn in my side. Now the material is available as PDF in but my players and I had stopped playing 2E long since, 3E didn't see any Dark Sun official books, and even though there was a Campaign Setting book for 4E, the fourth wasn't my edition at all.

Now I'm back playing 5th Edition. And as I said in my last post, there's a psionics playtest for 5E. Thus and the fact that I'm about to finish my Rise of Tiamat game (All players must die!) I've decided to take that thorn out and play a Dark Sun campaign, even if that means making a whole bunch of house rules.

Starting with the house rules, I present to you my take on the wizards of Athas. I tried to capture the feeling of careful casting and mastery of the Preserver vs reckless casting and quicker advancement of the Defiler. I hope you like it! (Italics are text taken from the original boxed set)

Athasian Wizard

A wizard is able to capture and master magical energies. However, in Dark Sun, magic is irrevocably linked to the environment. The casting of magical spells and the enchantment of magical items always draws energy directly from the living ecology in the vicinity, destroying the life there. Wizards can choose two paths toward mastery of magical energy.