PDA

View Full Version : [Dark Sun] What Are The Sorcerer-Kings Like?



Leliel
2010-08-30, 08:14 PM
Well...That.

I know that the SKs are genocidal, racist douchebags with obsidian chips on their shoulders, but I wonder:

Could you give me a rundown on each individual SK and what their domain is like?

Aroka
2010-08-30, 09:21 PM
It's a bit tricky, since they're reclusive. Athas.org (http://www.athas.org/) material has some excellent info on them, but here's a run-down on the few I recall off-hand:

Hamanu of Urik is warlike and expansive, vying aggressively for control of the entire Tyr region through military means (although he seems oddly unwilling to directly challenge the others, which is why he was the first to attack when the events of the Prism Pentad novels removed several Sorcerer Kings). He enforces a tyrannical code of justice (modelled, of course, on Hammurabi's Law - eye for an eye) and fosters a disciplined warrior society. He enjoys taking part in combat in his giant lionman form, and his armies have never lost when he's led them personally.

Nibenay, the Shadow King of Nibenay (yes, his city-state is named for him), is even more reclusive than usual, to the point that - until after the events of the Prism Pentad - only his templars (all women who have to marry him and mate with him) had ever seen him. Contact through his templars allows him to control the city actively, though.

Lalali-Puy, Oba of Gulg, pretends to be a goddess of the Crescent Forest (shared by Nibenay and Gulg), and is worshipped as such by all Gulg. She's IIRC pretty big on preserving the forest, and maybe not just to power her defiling - I think she has actually started to believe she is the goddess Oba, rather than Lalali-Puy, preferring the fantasy to the horrible truth of what she did to get her power.

I don't actually think they are particularly actively genocidal or racist anymore - they abandoned Rajaat's agenda ages ago, and most of them (though not all) allow nonhumans, especially elves, dwarves, and halfbreeds, to become templars. Indeed, many of the cities have huge non-human populations, to the point that only half the people are human in some.

Leliel
2010-08-30, 09:39 PM
Nibenay, the Shadow King of Nibenay (yes, his city-state is named for him), is even more reclusive than usual, to the point that - until after the events of the Prism Pentad - only his templars (all women who have to marry him and mate with him) had ever seen him. Contact through his templars allows him to control the city actively, though.


Wait a minute.

They have to do the no-pants dance...with this guy!? (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/downloads/galleries/DarkSunCreature_art/img/51.jpg)

ARRGH! CANNOT. UNSEE.

...Well, actually I'm ma Lunar Exalted fan, so the mental image is somewhat tolerable.

But still....

I feel for the templars.:smallfrown:

darkpuppy
2010-08-30, 09:47 PM
Aroka is, for the most part, correct. However, many of the sorceror kings are now dead or vanished, and the rest have stepped up the ante as a result. Tyr's sorceror king was a megalomaniac, Hamanu has, during the events of the final dark sun novel, started on the path to ridding himself of his own "Sorceror King's...condition" (more on that in a bit), thus leaving Urik without a sorceror king, Lalali-Puy has indeed started to believe she is a forest god, although what that has done to her is hard to say, and she wars constantly with the Shadow King, who, it must be said, is a ruthless git.

The big secret, however, is that they are not just racist genocidal douchebags with a list of psychoses as long as your arm and a huge power-trip, they are all (with the exception of Hamanu) becoming the next Dragons of Athas. Which, if they were allowed to do so (thankfully, there's still a century or two left to go), would be a very bad thing.

In pure game terms, the Sorceror Kings are the Ultimate Evil, but one that can only be paused in their work, never truly stopped. Plus, they're not the only evils in the world, it's the little evils (all those bleedin' defilers!) that are truly screwing things up.

Lhurgyof
2010-08-30, 09:52 PM
Sacha of Arala, 1st Champion of Rajaat: Curse of Kobolds, cleansing successful. Stood at Rajaat's side when the other sorcerer kings betrayed him. Was beheaded, but not killed.

Kalak, 2nd Champion of Rajaat: Ogre Doom, cleansing successful. Killed by Rikus and co.

Dregoth, 3rd Champion: Ravager of Giants, he failed in his cleansing. He was on his way to becoming the second dragon of Athas, but the other sorcerer kings feared that he would go on a rampage much like Borys, and thus killed him before he became a full dragon. His high templar rose him as a Kaisharga.

Myron of Yorum, 4th Champion: Troll Scorcher, killed by Rajaat for not carrying out his task.

Manu of Deche (Hamanu of Urik), 4th Champion: Replaced Myron as Troll Scorcher and finished off the trolls.

Uyness of Waverly (Abalach-Re), 5th Champion: Orc Plague, cleansing successful. Lead the band against Dregoth, and was quick to betray Rajaat.

Gallard (Nibenay), 6th Champion: Bane of Gnomes, cleansing successful. Rules over Nibenay as the Shadow King, doesn't leave his studies but once in a long while.

Siebla, 7th Champion: Destroyer of Pterrans, cleansing unsuccessful. Tried to excel her personal power too far and was killed by Hamanu and his army.

Albeorn (Andropinis), 8th Champion: Slayer of Elves, cleansing unsuccessful.

Tectuktitlay, 9th Champion: Wemic Annihilator, cleansing successful. Joined Borys' rebellion.

Keltis (Oronis), 10th Champion: Lizardman Executioner, cleansing thought to be successful (one tribe of lizardmen still exist). Joined Borys' rebellion, then distanced himself from the other sorcerer kings, became a preserver and discovered how to become an Avangion.

Lalali-Puy, 11th Champion: Aarakocra Scourge, cleansing unsuccessful. Sorcerer queen of Gulg, her subjects revere her like a god.

Wyan of Bodach, 12th Champion: Pixie Blight, cleansing successful. Remained loyal to Rajaat, and was beheaded.

Borys of Ebe (The Dragon), 13th Champion: Butcher of Dwarves, cleansing unsuccessful. Lead the rebellion against Rajaat. Became the first and only Dragon, and demands a levy of 1,000 slaves each year from the city states to keep Rajaat imprisoned.

Daskinor, 14th Champion: Goblin Death, cleansing successful. Fell into a state of extreme paranoia, his subjects are more like prisoners.

Kalid-Ma, 15th Champion: Tari Killer, cleansing unsuccessful. Her city-state Kalidnay, was one of the wealthiest of the Tyr region. An unknown disaster struck, and nothing is left but ruins. (Kalid-Ma ended up in Greyhawk, IIRC)

Lhurgyof
2010-08-30, 09:54 PM
Wait a minute.

They have to do the no-pants dance...with this guy!? (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/downloads/galleries/DarkSunCreature_art/img/51.jpg)

ARRGH! CANNOT. UNSEE.

...Well, actually I'm ma Lunar Exalted fan, so the mental image is somewhat tolerable.

But still....

I feel for the templars.:smallfrown:

It won't let me download the file... Dx

The Glyphstone
2010-08-30, 10:12 PM
This guy?

http://blog.clickgratis.com.br/uploads/t/tarley/165932.jpg

Lhurgyof
2010-08-30, 10:27 PM
This guy?

http://blog.clickgratis.com.br/uploads/t/tarley/165932.jpg


Ah, that's his Dragon Form. The Sorcerer kings, being epic casters and manifesters, obviously have ways of changing their appearance (and must, lest the public start to panic).

Aroka
2010-08-30, 10:36 PM
Wait a minute.

They have to do the no-pants dance...with this guy!? (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/downloads/galleries/DarkSunCreature_art/img/51.jpg)

ARRGH! CANNOT. UNSEE.

...Well, actually I'm ma Lunar Exalted fan, so the mental image is somewhat tolerable.

But still....

I feel for the templars.:smallfrown:

To be fair, the Sorcerer-Kings are depicted as changing shape pretty much at will. Although I don't think the Shadow King's preferred humanoid form is entirely human, no.

I always imagined Nibenay's templars as being thoroughly changed by the experience - a sort of hollow-eyed look that comes over them when their mind drifts and they're not actively oppressing someone, like they've survived something that still haunts them without cease.

Mark Hall
2010-08-30, 11:08 PM
Kalid-Ma, 15th Champion: Tari Killer, cleansing unsuccessful. Her city-state Kalidnay, was one of the wealthiest of the Tyr region. An unknown disaster struck, and nothing is left but ruins. (Kalid-Ma ended up in Greyhawk, IIRC)

Ravenloft, actually.

Aroka
2010-08-31, 12:04 AM
Ravenloft, actually.

Actually, didn't Kalid-Ma just die? The Ravenloft domain of Kalidnay was formed for one of Kalid-Ma's templars, who led the sacrifices (including of his family), yes?

awesomessake
2010-08-31, 12:28 AM
If this thread dies it's probably my fault. Every thread i start or touch just seems to die....

Sorcerer-kings vary in nature. Each one is unique in there own right. Daskinor is paranoid as heck, to the point where all his subjects are paranoid xenophobes who live in a closed off city. Lalali-Puy is trying to restore a forest, albiet for her own selfish reasons. Nibenay marries all of his women subjects. Oronis is a repentant SoK who has become an Avangion. and the list goes on and on. Go to www.Athas.org for the rest. The 3.5 material is free (go to ds3 r7).

If you're talking about what they do, well they're the ultimate defilers (except for Oronis). They're practically the ones who ruined Athas.

Lhurgyof
2010-08-31, 12:36 AM
Actually, didn't Kalid-Ma just die? The Ravenloft domain of Kalidnay was formed for one of Kalid-Ma's templars, who led the sacrifices (including of his family), yes?

Hmmm, that may be it, because a level 20 defiler/psionicist x level dragon could easily just kill everything in Ravenloft.

Aroka
2010-08-31, 02:30 AM
Hmmm, that may be it, because a level 20 defiler/psionicist x level dragon could easily just kill everything in Ravenloft.

Not really. Azalin is a lich with, at the least, 9th level spells, and he's as much a prisoner of Ravenloft as anyone. One domain has an Elder Brain in it (who may or may not be the domain's darklord). You can't break out of Ravenloft, because it just doesn't work that way. You can mess it up some - like Soth did - but it'll get you in the end. The Dark Powers mess with ... not your head, really, and not reality, exactly, but things. Azalin can't learn new magic, for instance, and no darklord can ever find a way to escape, even if they were aware of their imprisonment (which most aren't and never will be; Strahd and Azalin are probably the only ones who have come to suspect the nature of the world they're in, and even that varies by setting - I'd rather run Strahd as thinking he's still in the same Barovia he was born in, along with the majority of the population).

Besides which, Kalidnay is a completely isolated domain even in the 3.X setting where many domains are more united. You can enter it through the Mist, but that's it. (There's a single indication I know of anywhere at all that Darklords can travel through the Mist, and that's Strahd as the Alchemist in House on Gryphon Hill, and that one may have been retconned.)

Lhurgyof
2010-08-31, 02:34 AM
Not really. Azalin is a lich with, at the least, 9th level spells, and he's as much a prisoner of Ravenloft as anyone. One domain has an Elder Brain in it (who may or may not be the domain's darklord). You can't break out of Ravenloft, because it just doesn't work that way. You can mess it up some - like Soth did - but it'll get you in the end. The Dark Powers mess with ... not your head, really, and not reality, exactly, but things. Azalin can't learn new magic, for instance, and no darklord can ever find a way to escape, even if they were aware of their imprisonment (which most aren't and never will be; Strahd and Azalin are probably the only ones who have come to suspect the nature of the world they're in, and even that varies by setting - I'd rather run Strahd as thinking he's still in the same Barovia he was born in, along with the majority of the population).

Besides which, Kalidnay is a completely isolated domain even in the 3.X setting where many domains are more united. You can enter it through the Mist, but that's it. (There's a single indication I know of anywhere at all that Darklords can travel through the Mist, and that's Strahd as the Alchemist in House on Gryphon Hill, and that one may have been retconned.)

Ah, I meant many major NPC's, but since it's away from other parts of Ravenloft, that's good (I'm quite unfamiliar with the setting other than the mist)

Mark Hall
2010-08-31, 11:25 AM
Actually, didn't Kalid-Ma just die? The Ravenloft domain of Kalidnay was formed for one of Kalid-Ma's templars, who led the sacrifices (including of his family), yes?

Answer unclear, try again later. :smallbiggrin:

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-08-31, 01:41 PM
Um...who is this Rajaat, for those of us who aren't too familiar with Dark Sun. And why were all these sorcerer kings called the banes of various creatures? :smallconfused:

nightwyrm
2010-08-31, 01:42 PM
Rajaat was basically Dark Sun magic Hitler and his champions were each tasked with the genocide of a particular race. After some time, Rajaat's champions turned on him and they became the Sorcerer Kings.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-08-31, 01:43 PM
Eep! What'd he wanna do that for?! :smalleek:

nightwyrm
2010-08-31, 01:46 PM
He thought the other races were impurities to be wiped out or some similar crazy rationale.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-08-31, 01:48 PM
So why'd his champions turn on him? I'm guessing it was because they wanted more personal power instead of having to toady to him, but what do I know?

nightwyrm
2010-08-31, 01:51 PM
I think they found out that Rajaat was planning to have them killed after they finished their tasks.

BlckDv
2010-08-31, 02:00 PM
So why'd his champions turn on him? I'm guessing it was because they wanted more personal power instead of having to toady to him, but what do I know?

Very short answer; They were all human, and discovered that Rajaat thought all non HALFLINGS were a plague on the world and was just saving humans to be the last race purged.

ErrantX
2010-08-31, 02:14 PM
Spoilers!

That and because Rajaat believed that the halflings were the master race, as they were the first race upon Athas, as the nature masters. Rajaat was a Pyreen, a race known for their beauty but he was hideous. He learned arcane magic from defiling and then learned to preserve. He taught preserver magic (normal magic) to most and taught defiling to his champions and servants (think of it like a greatly strengthened arcane magic). He turned the sun into a darkened husk using artifacts known as the Dark Lens and the Pristine Tower to empower the Champions and gave them each a race to genocide (save for humans, pyreen, and halflings). He was then going to genocide the rest himself and return the world to the halflings.

All in all, Rajaat was a big old bag of *&W#$ and the Champions turned on him to save whatever was left of the war ravaged world. Borys volunteered to become the scary dragon to be potent enough to seal Rajaat away in the Black and in his rampage (as Dragons go CRAZY through their agonizing transformation) he turned the world into a desert heck-hole. He uses the levy of 1000 slaves from all over to power his defiling magic to keep Rajaat sealed.

Edit: Swordsaged

-X

LOTRfan
2010-08-31, 02:41 PM
Actually, didn't Kalid-Ma just die? The Ravenloft domain of Kalidnay was formed for one of Kalid-Ma's templars, who led the sacrifices (including of his family), yes?

Well, according to the Dark Sun page on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Sun), the domain was in fact formed by his head templar. kalid-Ma was there to, but reduced to a comatose state.

Also, I don't mean to go off topic, but who are the pyreens?

Warpwolf16
2010-08-31, 05:34 PM
Well, according to the Dark Sun page on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Sun), the domain was in fact formed by his head templar. kalid-Ma was there to, but reduced to a comatose state.

Also, I don't mean to go off topic, but who are the pyreens?


The Pyreen are in a way the truely powerful dieing race in Athas. They have shapeshifting powers that allow them to change into many forms and to my knowledge were created to look after Athas after the rebirth.

Shatteredtower
2010-08-31, 06:11 PM
Most of what's listed applied to 2nd Edition. You can go with most of it in 4th, but there are a few extra notes.

Andropinis has made the point that he was elected to the position of ruler for life, and that all of his praetors (templars) are determined by more regular periods of reelection. Of course, his original constituents probably didn't realize that he was immortal, and people who beat his preferred candidates in an election tend to either quickly realign their thinking to suit his desires...or just disappear altogether.

Tectucktitlay declares himself to be the son of the moons, gifted to the world to restore fertility to the land and protect his people from their enemies. Some of his people even believe that. In 2nd Edition, he was the second most powerful of the seven most widely known sorcerer kings (behind Nibenay, and not including that short-lived but ambitious project Kalak put into force). In 4th, he's the second weakest of the lot in terms of physical power, but he compensates for that in terms of sheer bloodymindedness, offering regular sacrifices from the top of his tallest pyramid, then casting the corpses down into the gladitorial arena below.

Abalech-Re is still the weakest of the sorcerer kings in terms of political power, and they've all left her behind in terms of personal (level-based) power. On the other hand, she may possibly be the most cunning of the lot in some ways. It's hard to tell if the political chaos within her realm is primarily of her own making, but she uses it to her fullest personal advantage. For those who read Terry Pratchett, she might best be described as a bizaare form of anti-Veterinari. She may not be able to rule to save her life, but she manipulates with the best of them. Let Raam burn for all she cares; it will still suit her purposes.

The others have been described to you in more detail, but I'll add a few notes. The Oba has a stronger relationship with primal spirits than any of her peers--in the sense that her agents actively enslave them. The Shadow King goes by that name because of how few people, even his closest agents, ever see him at all. He's taken a more active interest in rulership (and the formerly complacent bureaucracy serving him) of late, so that may change. Hamanu is not crossed lightly, as Yaramulke learned to its misfortune, and his code of laws is as much a trap for the wary visitor as it is a means of regulating society.


You can't break out of Ravenloft, because it just doesn't work that way.

Unless you're a god. Vecna had a realm there for awhile, and a nice piece of bait placed in the neighbouring realm to keep him distracted. It didn't last. :smalleek:

The Glyphstone
2010-08-31, 08:24 PM
Vecna's got to be as close as D&D comes to a Marty Stu, honestly.:smallcool:

nightwyrm
2010-08-31, 09:15 PM
Vecna's got to be as close as D&D comes to a Marty Stu, honestly.:smallcool:

I thought it was Elminster. :smallbiggrin:

Zaydos
2010-08-31, 09:18 PM
I thought it was Elminster. :smallbiggrin:

It's both of them, and a bit of Raistlin thrown in :smalltongue:

Greyfell
2010-08-31, 09:34 PM
**cough cough** DRIZZT **cough**

I swear everytime I think we've finally seen the last of him, a new damn novel pops up on the shelves....

Lhurgyof
2010-08-31, 09:37 PM
**cough cough** DRIZZT **cough**

I swear everytime I think we've finally seen the last of him, a new damn novel pops up on the shelves....

Harry Potter and the Neverwinter Nights, the crossover nobody expected (nor wanted).

The Glyphstone
2010-08-31, 09:57 PM
I thought it was Elminster. :smallbiggrin:

Right, I should have said Greyhawk. Big E is the Marty Stu of Forgotten Realms, and Raistlin for Dragonlance. Greyhawk gets Vecna, who probably out-Stu's both of them combined...escaping from Ravenloft the unescapable plane? Defeating the Lady of Pain, the undefeatable entity? It's like his entire shtick isn't secrets, it's "yes, I can do that".

Shatteredtower
2010-08-31, 11:18 PM
I always thought of Ravenloft as the Planey Stu anyway... or the Plane of Stus. Take your pick.

Seriously, the big V was content with being a thing of the past before that Ravenloft conscription arrived. I understand a couple of authors weren't fond of the time it went Soth either.

True love dies, but horror will stoop to any lengths to get another sequel.


It's like his entire shtick isn't secrets, it's "yes, I can do that".

And to steer us back toward topic, he's touring the Valley of Dust and Fire next Thusday, tea with the Dragon to follow.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 12:01 AM
Very short answer; They were all human, and discovered that Rajaat thought all non HALFLINGS were a plague on the world and was just saving humans to be the last race purged.

:smalleek: I don't know whether to bust a lung screaming or bust a gut laughing. :smallconfused:


That and because Rajaat believed that the halflings were the master race, as they were the first race upon Athas, as the nature masters. Rajaat was a Pyreen, a race known for their beauty but he was hideous. He learned arcane magic from defiling and then learned to preserve. He taught preserver magic (normal magic) to most and taught defiling to his champions and servants (think of it like a greatly strengthened arcane magic). He turned the sun into a darkened husk using artifacts known as the Dark Lens and the Pristine Tower to empower the Champions and gave them each a race to genocide (save for humans, pyreen, and halflings). He was then going to genocide the rest himself and return the world to the halflings.

All in all, Rajaat was a big old bag of *&W#$ and the Champions turned on him to save whatever was left of the war ravaged world. Borys volunteered to become the scary dragon to be potent enough to seal Rajaat away in the Black and in his rampage (as Dragons go CRAZY through their agonizing transformation) he turned the world into a desert heck-hole. He uses the levy of 1000 slaves from all over to power his defiling magic to keep Rajaat sealed.
So that's why the people of Dark Sun don't unify against the remaining Sorcerer-Kings. Sure, the world's all crapsacky, but at least it's THERE.

darkpuppy
2010-09-01, 12:03 AM
On top of that, Zousha, the genocidal war and all that happened so long ago, and the Sorceror Kings don't generally react well to somebody even attempting to air, or even discover, their dirty laundry.

Gralamin
2010-09-01, 12:04 AM
:smalleek: I don't know whether to bust a lung screaming or bust a gut laughing. :smallconfused:


So that's why the people of Dark Sun don't unify against the remaining Sorcerer-Kings. Sure, the world's all crapsacky, but at least it's THERE.

Most people don't know - the sorcerer kings keep it to themselves. The reason they don't unify is a mix of fear and indoctrination that all tyrants use.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 12:07 AM
Which essentially means they're still bastards anyway. Go figure. :smallsigh:

Is there ANYONE in this setting who could be considered some kind of Good?

Gralamin
2010-09-01, 12:11 AM
Which essentially means they're still bastards anyway. Go figure. :smallsigh:

Is there ANYONE in this setting who could be considered some kind of Good?

Various members of the Veiled Alliance. The guys who killed Kalak. Quite a few powerless innocents. But no big "Good guys".

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 12:13 AM
And these groups are? Remember, you're talking to someone who has absolutely zero understanding of the setting.

Gralamin
2010-09-01, 12:19 AM
And these groups are? Remember, you're talking to someone who has absolutely zero understanding of the setting.

The Veiled Alliance is an organization of mages who are dedicated to Preserving - which is not destroying the world when using magic. They oppose the Sorcerer Kings and their Templar, because they are defilers - they destroy the world when they use magic.

The guys who killed Kalak where a small group of heroes (And one of Kalak's templar) who were the first mortals to kill a sorcerer king. They are currently helping to manage Kalak's old domain of Tyr.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 12:26 AM
Why'd they kill him? Surely not out of the goodness of their own hearts.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding overly negative, but I've always pictured Dark Sun as a "meat-grinder" setting where the whole point of playing is to figure out how many horrible ways a character can die, and characters who show any sign of having ethics or principles are immediately set-upon and killed by the "normal" people.

Gralamin
2010-09-01, 12:32 AM
Why'd they kill him? Surely not out of the goodness of their own hearts.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding overly negative, but I've always pictured Dark Sun as a "meat-grinder" setting where the whole point of playing is to figure out how many horrible ways a character can die, and characters who show any sign of having ethics or principles are immediately set-upon and killed by the "normal" people.

Rikus was an escaped slave gladiator, who had the hots for the mage (Sadira) in the group. Thus he helped.

Sadira was a member of a Veiled Alliance. She is definitely not a good character, but her mentor was, and it was his idea and she feels she should honor it.

Neeva was an escaped slave gladiator as well, and she was Rikus's friend and partner.

Agis of Asticles was a noble who also had the hots for the mage, but was also a genuinely good guy (Though misguided - he used to own slaves, not realizing how much they desired freedom instead of his rather nice slavery - didn't beat people, looked out for them, etc.), and was definitely interested in taking down Kalak.

Tithian was an ambitious Templar. He kills Kalak so he can be king, and most of the fourth and fifth book in Prisim Pentad is about him trying to become a Sorcerer King.

EvilJames
2010-09-01, 12:49 AM
I hope they explore more of Athas in 4th ed than they did in 2nd. The only expansion to the world was the The Mindlords of the Last Sea. Which detailed the only large body of water on the planet (much farther past the mountains than most ofpeople of the Tyr region would go.) and it's Mindlord rulers (3 uber psionicists that protecte the region and are the reason the the lizard man genocide failed (note still not good guys though).

They made brief mention of Tohr-kreen and Thri-kreen kingdoms somewhere and I believe the north is filled with undead but no real details.

Also we learn a little bit about the history of of Athas when the githyanki invade.

vicente408
2010-09-01, 01:39 AM
Why'd they kill him? Surely not out of the goodness of their own hearts.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding overly negative, but I've always pictured Dark Sun as a "meat-grinder" setting where the whole point of playing is to figure out how many horrible ways a character can die, and characters who show any sign of having ethics or principles are immediately set-upon and killed by the "normal" people.

From what I've gathered, having a Good outlook or attitude tends to grant you a shorter lifespan. Life in Athas is simply so harsh that you are practically forced to be at least a bit selfish and self-serving to make sure you stay alive. It's harsh politically, geographically, environmentally, sociologically, everythingelseologically.

EvilJames
2010-09-01, 04:56 AM
But that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't play someone who is trying to make the world a better place. you just have to be smart about it and pick your battles as you've got a lotof work ahead of you.

ghost_warlock
2010-09-01, 05:09 AM
Why'd they kill him? Surely not out of the goodness of their own hearts.


Rikus was an escaped slave gladiator, who had the hots for the mage (Sadira) in the group. Thus he helped.

Sadira was a member of a Veiled Alliance. She is definitely not a good character, but her mentor was, and it was his idea and she feels she should honor it.

Neeva was an escaped slave gladiator as well, and she was Rikus's friend and partner.

Agis of Asticles was a noble who also had the hots for the mage, but was also a genuinely good guy (Though misguided - he used to own slaves, not realizing how much they desired freedom instead of his rather nice slavery - didn't beat people, looked out for them, etc.), and was definitely interested in taking down Kalak.

Tithian was an ambitious Templar. He kills Kalak so he can be king, and most of the fourth and fifth book in Prisim Pentad is about him trying to become a Sorcerer King.

There's also that whole thing about how Kalak was trying to turn himself into a dragon, which required him to sacrifice (using defiling magic) most of the population of Tyr in order to succeed. Granted, when they started out, only Sadira's mentor had any idea this was what Kalak was planning.


I'm sorry if I'm sounding overly negative, but I've always pictured Dark Sun as a "meat-grinder" setting where the whole point of playing is to figure out how many horrible ways a character can die, and characters who show any sign of having ethics or principles are immediately set-upon and killed by the "normal" people.

Nobody goes out of their way to specifically kill off good people; good people die off as a natural consequence of the way they tend to sacrifice themselves for others or draw attention to themselves by openly opposing powerful evil.

It's possible to play a good-aligned character. It's just that, as was said already, you simply have to be more careful when choosing your battles given the massive risks.

Furthermore, one of the points that Dark Sun is making (perhaps unwittingly) is that you don't have to be a paladin, or even good-aligned, to work towards changing the world for the the better. The "good" alignment doesn't have a monopoly on altruism; alignment can be more complex than that.

Take Rikus for example. At the start of the book series his motivations can be summed up as 1) win his freedom (he's a gladiator slave), 2) beat the ever-living tar out of people, 3) sex. When he realizes that, by opposing Kalak, he can free all the slaves of Tyr, this becomes a major motivation for him. Later on, keeping those slaves free is a big part of what drives him. He's still a short-sighted, selfish, impulsive, and extremely violent person but that doesn't stop him from trying to help the people he cares about - and willingly going through a lot of personal suffering in the process.

Another example is the sorcerer king Hamanu. He's just about as evil as they come, but he also truly cares for his city. When the chips are down, he's willing to do anything to preserve the integrity and continuation of Urik.

Shatteredtower
2010-09-01, 07:13 AM
Well said, Ghost Warlock.

When it comes to playing good characters in Dark Sun, or idealists in general (and even some of the more desperately ambitious pragmatists), I use Frith's words from Watership Down as my guide:

"All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand Enemies, and when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you..."

People often forget to acknowledge that concepts such as loyalty and community aren't foreign to this world, even if they're sometimes given alien interpretation. Halflings are great hosts if you can get past the xenophobia and avoid the first barbecue. Thri-kreen place the clutch above all, defining such around any close association, regardless of species. The elven concepts of honour and trust can be bizaare, but they do exist. It's just that they include constant testing. The evil sorcerer kings are evil have no more quarrel with good people than others; all that matters is whether they are opportunity or obstruction.

hamishspence
2010-09-01, 07:17 AM
Furthermore, one of the points that Dark Sun is making (perhaps unwittingly) is that you don't have to be a paladin, or even good-aligned, to work towards changing the world for the the better. The "good" alignment doesn't have a monopoly on altruism; alignment can be more complex than that.


True- while "good people make sacrifices to help others" is in the PHB- one can't assume that only good people make such sacrifices. So can evil people.

Even "neutral people have qualms about hurting the innocent" does not exclude the possibility of evil people with similar qualms.

Champions of Ruin in particular discusses more sympathetic types of evil character- more "the ends justify the means" than "Me first and foremost".

Sydonai
2010-09-01, 09:53 AM
If you want a "Big" good guy, got to bring up the Avangeon. It's basically the Anti-Dragon.

About Vecna and Ravenloft, Ravenloft is like Sigil, it can't condone the presence of anything with divine ranks. So Vecna becomes a god in Ravenloft and gets booted out, then redirects the plane shift so that he'd land in Sigil, wich broke reality and was the fluff for changing from 2nd to 3rd edition......Also Vecna thinks that he is the lovechild of Ahriman(Asmodeus) and Jazirian.

hamlet
2010-09-01, 10:15 AM
If you want a "Big" good guy, got to bring up the Avangeon. It's basically the Anti-Dragon.



The Avangeon got eaten by a halfling.

No, seriously.

It was one of the worst published adventure modules going, really.

Sydonai
2010-09-01, 10:19 AM
..........And that is why I only read the novels.

hamlet
2010-09-01, 10:24 AM
..........And that is why I only read the novels.

Some of us don't even really care for the novels . . .

LOTRfan
2010-09-01, 10:37 AM
The Avangeon got eaten by a halfling.

No, seriously.

It was one of the worst published adventure modules going, really.

Ah, the cannibalistic halflings. Good times....

Zaydos
2010-09-01, 11:02 AM
Some of us don't even really care for the novels . . .

I liked the first 2 or 3 Prism Pentad books (all that I had/have seen) but I always wished they didn't canonically happen. I'd rather play out overthrowing the Sorcerer-King of Tyr and making the first free city myself. But the Avangeon got eaten by halflings? What? Which module was this (I have 2 that concern him, but have never read them, I might need to one of these days).

hamlet
2010-09-01, 12:27 PM
I liked the first 2 or 3 Prism Pentad books (all that I had/have seen) but I always wished they didn't canonically happen. I'd rather play out overthrowing the Sorcerer-King of Tyr and making the first free city myself. But the Avangeon got eaten by halflings? What? Which module was this (I have 2 that concern him, but have never read them, I might need to one of these days).

The first two weren't bad. Actually, were pretty good. The third started to drift into the realm of silliness and eybrow raising. After that, it's kind of a lost cause, especially since they were cannonically sledge-hammered into the setting with all the grace of a nuclear explosion.

The module was something like Crown of Fire or some such. Don't remember off hand and my collection is obviously not here in the office. The starting premise is actually pretty good. Psionics the world over are turned off (or, actually, severely gimped) by the actions of the Order, an ultra orthodox psionic group bent on purging the world of psionic impurity (i.e., everybody not themselves) leading to loss of control of a lot of animals, insanity of a lot of psionic characters, and a blitzkrieg by Thri-Kreen (whom the supression field acts like a psycho ray on) and the PC's are forced to investigate why this is all happening and how to fix it.

The problem starts when you realize the entirety of the module consists of said Avangeon (Korgunard or something like that?) sending the party on pointless and obvious snipe hunts the realm over even when common sense of a fifth grader would lead in other directions and then the guy getting pounded like a chump and devoured by a halfling psionisist. Essentially, it involves the DM telling the players "here's what you'll be doing next!" rather than providing appropriate clues, red herrings, and letting the PC's investigate on their own.

ErrantX
2010-09-01, 01:08 PM
Which essentially means they're still bastards anyway. Go figure. :smallsigh:

Is there ANYONE in this setting who could be considered some kind of Good?

There have been three attempts at Avangion-hood on Athas, two are dead. One was eaten by halflings or something stupid, and the other one was killed by SK's for being equally stupid. The first, and best and most awesome of them, is still Oronis of Kurn, it's Sorcerer King. The remote city of Kurn is ruled by a tyrannical SK only in outward appearance. Oronis, once known as Keltis the Lizardman Executioner, cultivates a hidden paradise and slowly is growing it. He's also progressing along the path of the Avangion after having painfully regressed backwards through the initial stages of becoming a dragon. Oronis feels genuinely horrible about what he did and what has been done to the planet and is working now towards restoring it.

-X

Mark Hall
2010-09-01, 01:59 PM
I hope they explore more of Athas in 4th ed than they did in 2nd. The only expansion to the world was the The Mindlords of the Last Sea. Which detailed the only large body of water on the planet (much farther past the mountains than most ofpeople of the Tyr region would go.) and it's Mindlord rulers (3 uber psionicists that protecte the region and are the reason the the lizard man genocide failed (note still not good guys though).


You forget about Windriders of the Jagged Cliffs. Or is "forget" the right word? Should we maybe use "purposefully blotted out?" :smallbiggrin:

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 11:03 PM
There have been three attempts at Avangion-hood on Athas, two are dead. One was eaten by halflings or something stupid, and the other one was killed by SK's for being equally stupid. The first, and best and most awesome of them, is still Oronis of Kurn, it's Sorcerer King. The remote city of Kurn is ruled by a tyrannical SK only in outward appearance. Oronis, once known as Keltis the Lizardman Executioner, cultivates a hidden paradise and slowly is growing it. He's also progressing along the path of the Avangion after having painfully regressed backwards through the initial stages of becoming a dragon. Oronis feels genuinely horrible about what he did and what has been done to the planet and is working now towards restoring it.

-X

What's an Avangion?

nightwyrm
2010-09-01, 11:06 PM
What's an Avangion?

A glowing butterfly. No, really.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 11:12 PM
Meh, butterflies are a lot tougher than you might think. :smallbiggrin:

Zaydos
2010-09-01, 11:16 PM
Not to mention that in 2nd edition the caterpillars for these butterflies were 20th level wizards or psions who then started over and became 20th level in the other.

So these are tough, psionic, spell-slinging glowing butterflies.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 11:18 PM
DAMN! How do you become one?! This sounds like something I might wanna look into!

mobdrazhar
2010-09-01, 11:21 PM
DAMN! How do you become one?! This sounds like something I might wanna look into!

There is an epic destiny on pg 98 of the Dark Sun Campaign setting for 4e if you want that

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-01, 11:23 PM
Aw nuts. I don't have the book. :smallfrown:

mobdrazhar
2010-09-01, 11:26 PM
There's a reason to look at investing in it. The abilities of it aren't too bad at all. It's good for stopping a TPK

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-02, 12:23 AM
I took a peek at some of the stuff from Dragon on Dark Sun, and I got a weird idea. Would it be possible to play a Templar who realizes the Sorcerer-Kings are full of garbage and rebels, eventually becoming an Avangion?

mobdrazhar
2010-09-02, 12:37 AM
i don't see why not as the power source for Templar is Arcane and you need to be an Arcane class for Avangion. That covers rules wise.

Fluff wise it's easily plausable... I can't remember the name of the city but one of them had the Sk overthrown and atm there is a Templar in charge of justice.

Gralamin
2010-09-02, 01:16 AM
i don't see why not as the power source for Templar is Arcane and you need to be an Arcane class for Avangion. That covers rules wise.

Fluff wise it's easily plausable... I can't remember the name of the city but one of them had the Sk overthrown and atm there is a Templar in charge of justice.

That would be Tyr.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-02, 01:32 AM
I figured it'd be Tyr. Also, you've mentioned Avangions basically are like butterflies. Is that literally? Like, if I became one I'd shapeshift into a giant bug? :smallconfused:

Coidzor
2010-09-02, 01:42 AM
Yes, you become Mothra to Borys's Godzilla.

ghost_warlock
2010-09-02, 02:53 AM
2e's stages of an avangion's transformation:

http://i461.photobucket.com/albums/qq339/ghost_warlock/avangiontransformation.jpg


Note that 4e mostly glosses over these.

hamlet
2010-09-02, 07:00 AM
I took a peek at some of the stuff from Dragon on Dark Sun, and I got a weird idea. Would it be possible to play a Templar who realizes the Sorcerer-Kings are full of garbage and rebels, eventually becoming an Avangion?

In 2nd edition, no. The Templars are priests (specifically of the Sorceror Kings) and the Avangion require 20th level preservers (wizards) and 20th level psionisicst in order to begin the long, expensive, and dangerous metamorphosis.

In third edition or fourth edition, couldn't comment.

The transformation was originally a huge and epic thing far more involved than just taking levels in an appropriate class. There were quests involved not just for you, but for your select group of companions and followers and you were at your most vulnerable during the transformation.

Yes, you turned into what amounted to a giant butterfly, but you were an extremely magic resistant (I think it was something like 90% at the final step) and you had the abilities of both a 20th level psionicist and 20th level preserver plus added abilities in both those classes plus access to 10th level magic that could blow the socks off anything prior to it (we're talking creating cities out of nothing here) and you were arguably more powerful than the Dragon himself, though you obviously lacked the raw physical power that Borys did.

Dragon transformation was even more dangerous in some ways and you spent several levels in raging, homicidal insanity due to the incredible pain involved in the transformation. It also involved the sacrifice of tens of thousands of sentient beings in order to progress, plus at least one deal with a devil or other such being. The end result was . . . well . . . flat out terrifying in terms of combat abilities with all the spell and mental powers tacked on to that. There was almost nothing that could stop you, but pretty much every spell you cast destroyed large swaths of the landscape and/or large numbers of living beings within a few hundred yards of you.

It's worth noting that Clerics had a similar transformation where they were able, at the same power levels, to eventually become one with their own elements and become an appropriate elemental. A greater elemental, not a sissy version from the standard rules. Essentially, you became the incarnation of that which you worshipped.

The chances of any of your characters, realistically, getting to this level of power and beginning the transformation were, to say the least, remote. At the very least, you'd attract a huge amount of attention from the least desireable sources and you'd be destroyed forthwith. On top of that, in order to make the transformation, you had to have a new, never previously studied copy of the transformation spell at each step. This either meant discovering it in a treasure horde, or researching it yourself every time you wanted to progress. And in 2nd edition, spell research was very spotty and difficult and not often successfull, so it was almost worth the effort to try and locate treasure copies.


EDIT: PS, the book you want to look at for the original material is called Dragon Kings from the 2nd edition days. You can probably find it used, cheap online somewhere. Also noteworthy because it's got what I think is some of the best Dark Sun art going, far better than what is in the new book. Especially the cover. Also of interest is a book called The Valley of Dust and Fire, which describes the city state of Borys, the only actual fully transformed dragon. If you look at the book as a module which is one way of taking it, it's a meat grinder for 30th level characters.

LOTRfan
2010-09-02, 10:23 AM
DAMN! How do you become one?! This sounds like something I might wanna look into!

What edition? Athas.org has the Ascension rituals for both Athasian Dragons and Avangions in 3.5e stats. They take years and require ten epic level spells to be cast, but you end up being one of the most powerful creatures in the Dark Sun campaign. Among the downsides: It requires a massive amount of XP, you need to be at least character level 40 (Wizard 20/Psion 20), and you go completely insane in the later stages (and thus become an NPC for a few years until you cast the last spell). Still, just awesome.

EDIT: D'oh. Should've read the above post :smallredface:

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-02, 10:40 AM
In 2nd edition, no. The Templars are priests (specifically of the Sorceror Kings) and the Avangion require 20th level preservers (wizards) and 20th level psionisicst in order to begin the long, expensive, and dangerous metamorphosis.

In third edition or fourth edition, couldn't comment.

The transformation was originally a huge and epic thing far more involved than just taking levels in an appropriate class. There were quests involved not just for you, but for your select group of companions and followers and you were at your most vulnerable during the transformation.

Yes, you turned into what amounted to a giant butterfly, but you were an extremely magic resistant (I think it was something like 90% at the final step) and you had the abilities of both a 20th level psionicist and 20th level preserver plus added abilities in both those classes plus access to 10th level magic that could blow the socks off anything prior to it (we're talking creating cities out of nothing here) and you were arguably more powerful than the Dragon himself, though you obviously lacked the raw physical power that Borys did.

Dragon transformation was even more dangerous in some ways and you spent several levels in raging, homicidal insanity due to the incredible pain involved in the transformation. It also involved the sacrifice of tens of thousands of sentient beings in order to progress, plus at least one deal with a devil or other such being. The end result was . . . well . . . flat out terrifying in terms of combat abilities with all the spell and mental powers tacked on to that. There was almost nothing that could stop you, but pretty much every spell you cast destroyed large swaths of the landscape and/or large numbers of living beings within a few hundred yards of you.

It's worth noting that Clerics had a similar transformation where they were able, at the same power levels, to eventually become one with their own elements and become an appropriate elemental. A greater elemental, not a sissy version from the standard rules. Essentially, you became the incarnation of that which you worshipped.

The chances of any of your characters, realistically, getting to this level of power and beginning the transformation were, to say the least, remote. At the very least, you'd attract a huge amount of attention from the least desireable sources and you'd be destroyed forthwith. On top of that, in order to make the transformation, you had to have a new, never previously studied copy of the transformation spell at each step. This either meant discovering it in a treasure horde, or researching it yourself every time you wanted to progress. And in 2nd edition, spell research was very spotty and difficult and not often successfull, so it was almost worth the effort to try and locate treasure copies.


EDIT: PS, the book you want to look at for the original material is called Dragon Kings from the 2nd edition days. You can probably find it used, cheap online somewhere. Also noteworthy because it's got what I think is some of the best Dark Sun art going, far better than what is in the new book. Especially the cover. Also of interest is a book called The Valley of Dust and Fire, which describes the city state of Borys, the only actual fully transformed dragon. If you look at the book as a module which is one way of taking it, it's a meat grinder for 30th level characters.

This would be specifically 4e.

LOTRfan
2010-09-02, 10:41 AM
Oh, 4e? Disregard everything I said, too.

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 10:42 AM
What edition? Athas.org has the Ascension rituals for both Athasian Dragons and Avangions in 3.5e stats. They take years and require ten epic level spells to be cast, but you end up being one of the most powerful creatures in the Dark Sun campaign. Among the downsides: It requires a massive amount of XP, you need to be at least character level 40 (Wizard 20/Psion 20), and you go completely insane in the later stages (and thus become an NPC for a few years until you cast the last spell). Still, just awesome.

Dragon Magazine had Athasian Dragon as an epic PRC- that transformed into a dragon as it levelled up.

4E has an epic destiny for it.

hamlet
2010-09-02, 11:32 AM
This would be specifically 4e.

In that case, go read the Dark Sun books for 4e. I'm sure the coastal wizards have put something in there about it.

ErrantX
2010-09-02, 12:49 PM
I can at least vouch for the potency of Avangions in 3.5, having played one into level 26. I began my transformation at 21st level, and made it to 3rd stage before the game ended. Good time!

-X

mobdrazhar
2010-09-02, 06:19 PM
i haven't seen them played yet but from what i can see they are good for stopping a TPK because if they or an ally within LoS drops to 0hp of fewer they automatically spend a healing surge and gain a bonus to the amount healed = to the Avangion's highest stat

Shatteredtower
2010-09-02, 10:37 PM
Sure, a 4e templar could become an avangion, even if a warlock with a sorcerer king pact. Treachery at its finest, that, and a good way to establish unhealthy antagonism for the epic levels. Could be a lot of fun.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-02, 11:31 PM
Sure, a 4e templar could become an avangion, even if a warlock with a sorcerer king pact. Treachery at its finest, that, and a good way to establish unhealthy antagonism for the epic levels. Could be a lot of fun.
I was thinking more a swordmage. I'm not much for playing strikers.

Here's the idea I have cooking in my head:

He was a templar of Kalak in Tyr, only accepted shortly before Kalak's fall and the rise of the little guy in the city. Up until that fall, he'd been a firm believer in the rightness of the templars, even though the corruption in many of them disgusted him. After the fall, things got disorganized and strange. He got tasked with weeding out Veiled Alliance sympathizers and got into contact with one. She, on the other hand, was trying to find a templar she could dupe to get information about the state of the city from. Somewhere in this tangle of lies, the two of them met, and they slowly fell in love. She saw that he was not a cruel parasite like other templars, since he only defiled in emergencies, and genuinely believed in right and wrong, and he saw that perhaps the templars and sorcerer-kings were causing as many problems as they claimed to be fixing. Eventually, she taught him how to use preserving magic, but his superiors were growing impatient with him. He'd kept them at bay by claiming he was trying to get her to reveal the names of her conspirators by getting her to trust him, but eventually he found that she was in Tyr on her own, her cell located in the wilderness outside the city. He was forced to lead his fellows to her and in order to avoid arousing suspicion, he beheaded her himself. What horrified him the most was not the act itself, but how she just seemed to accept it, as if she expected it would happen, with a final look that he couldn't tell if she was accusing him or simply pitying him. Either way, he decided he'd had enough of Tyr and the templars, so he fled. He fled to the cell of his former lover and asked if they'd take him in, but they refused. He was a templar and he had betrayed and murdered their agent. The fact that his superiors followed him and butchered the cell, praising him for his talent at deception, sent him over the edge. He killed the templars and went into the wilderness, vowing "No more lies, no more betrayals, no more defiling." He now is an outlaw in the desert, aiding the Veiled Alliance as well as merchant caravans and nomadic tribes wherever he can, and mercilessly striking down slavers and agents of the Sorcerer-Kings.

Doable? Plausible to the setting?

Shatteredtower
2010-09-02, 11:36 PM
I was thinking more a swordmage. I'm not much for playing strikers.

Whatever works for you. I just wanted to mention the most extreme case. You could even stay with the templar theme, if you wanted.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-03, 08:41 PM
Okay, I just bought the DSCS, and I'm fascinated by something. I was looking at the paragon paths, and it appears that the Master Preserver paragon path does not actually require you to have the Veiled Alliance theme, so technically a Templar COULD learn preserving!

ghost_warlock
2010-09-03, 10:48 PM
Okay, I just bought the DSCS, and I'm fascinated by something. I was looking at the paragon paths, and it appears that the Master Preserver paragon path does not actually require you to have the Veiled Alliance theme, so technically a Templar COULD learn preserving!

Technically, any time you're not using arcane defiling you're already preserving in 4e. :smallwink:

But yes, all preserving should require is an arcane class. The Veiled Alliance is more of a political/social thing; sort of a revolutionary movement.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-03, 10:58 PM
I meant fluff-wise. :smallamused:

One thing the book didn't mention was how Tyran templars are selected. I understand that in most cities they're handpicked by their sorcerer-king, but that's not realy the case in Tyr. How ARE Tyran templars made anyhow?

Lhurgyof
2010-09-04, 11:53 PM
I have a copy of Dragon Kings signed by Troy Denning. :smallbiggrin:

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-05, 12:33 AM
That doesn't exactly answer my question. :smallconfused:

darkpuppy
2010-09-05, 01:26 AM
I meant fluff-wise. :smallamused:

One thing the book didn't mention was how Tyran templars are selected. I understand that in most cities they're handpicked by their sorcerer-king, but that's not realy the case in Tyr. How ARE Tyran templars made anyhow?

Ahh, ever since the death of Kalak, the Templars (now largely powerless, although many take up Defiling on the sly) are elected officials. Which really annoyed Tithian... which, I feel, was part of the reason he got involved in the whole "Freeing Rajat" thing.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-05, 01:50 AM
"Freeing Rajat thing?" Was that part of the books or something? I thought he was just trying to use Kalak's research to become a Dragon himself.

darkpuppy
2010-09-05, 02:04 AM
As far as I remember my Prism Pentad, yeah, he pretty much frees Rajaat. Why? Lust for power, basically. He'd rather be the head honcho under Rajaat than an elected, largely powerless Templar. Of course, he didn't do his research, screwed the pooch royally, devastated large portions of the world, and eventually got locked into part of the Binding/Warding Spell O' Death as punishment.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-05, 02:07 AM
Why didn't The Dragon stop him?

darkpuppy
2010-09-05, 02:27 AM
The Dragon died at the end of Book 3, Book 4 was Tithian freeing Rajaat and everything going pear-shaped, then Book 5 was making it all right, if I remember correctly.

Sydonai
2010-09-05, 12:30 PM
Incorrect, the Dragon got blackmailed with a solar-powered Shatter spell that would destroy the obsidion balls in his stomach(and prevent him from using arcane spells), but he wasn't killed.

Shatteredtower
2010-09-05, 12:32 PM
Okay, I just bought the DSCS, and I'm fascinated by something. I was looking at the paragon paths, and it appears that the Master Preserver paragon path does not actually require you to have the Veiled Alliance theme, so technically a Templar COULD learn preserving!

True. You can also play a sorcerer pact warlock with the veiled alliance theme, take the praetor legate paragon path, then pursue avangion status at epic levels. You could even go this route with a master defiler paragon path, though you lose access to the path features (but not the spells) when you become an avangion.

Sometimes, you just want to play a double agent or the servant of two masters.

darkpuppy
2010-09-05, 02:03 PM
Incorrect, the Dragon got blackmailed with a solar-powered Shatter spell that would destroy the obsidion balls in his stomach(and prevent him from using arcane spells), but he wasn't killed.

Crap... you're right that happened at the end of Book 3, but I distinctly remember him snuffing it. Remember, Borys would never suffer Rajaat to walk again.

Shatteredtower
2010-09-05, 02:14 PM
Crap... you're right that happened at the end of Book 3, but I distinctly remember him snuffing it. Remember, Borys would never suffer Rajaat to walk again.

Oh, he got him eventually. It made for pretty anticlimactic reading to see how easily he was destroyed, and then see the one that defeated him bested by a kid with a light spell.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-05, 04:58 PM
The Dragon died at the end of Book 3, Book 4 was Tithian freeing Rajaat and everything going pear-shaped, then Book 5 was making it all right, if I remember correctly.
Could you please elaborate? Who killed the Dragon, how did everything go pear-shaped and how was it made all right?

Shatteredtower
2010-09-05, 08:01 PM
Who killed the Dragon, how did everything go pear-shaped and how was it made all right?

Rajaat killed the Dragon, Rajaat getting out of his prison caused the pear shaping, and a sun worshipping mul child sealed him back in the Black with a light spell.

And it was decided to reshape the whole campaign setting around such malarky. :smallmad:

Lhurgyof
2010-09-05, 08:19 PM
Rajaat killed the Dragon, Rajaat getting out of his prison caused the pear shaping, and a sun worshipping mul child sealed him back in the Black with a light spell.

And it was decided to reshape the whole campaign setting around such malarky. :smallmad:

I HATE that a child destroyed Rajaat. Rajaat is so powerful he can break the rules of the setting, yet a child?

Shatteredtower
2010-09-05, 09:45 PM
I HATE that a child destroyed Rajaat. Rajaat is so powerful he can break the rules of the setting, yet a child?

He didn't actually destroy him so much as he sealed him back in his prison, but yeah, it was annoying. I accept the death of major participants within the story (though Rajaat's handling of sorcerer kings made him something of a deus ex umbra), but it was poor story telling to trivialize them with that stunt. Curiously enough, the deal was worst for Neeva, even though she survived the series! Her biggest accomplishment was giving birth! Just... :smallfurious:

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-05, 11:57 PM
Well...good thing they retconned that stuff out then.

Lord Raziere
2010-09-06, 12:03 AM
ya, its back to good part.

I've got dark sun creature catalog now, hehehehehe.....now I have all that I need to create Bright Moon.....

what is Bright Moon? Heh. me not telling you.

mobdrazhar
2010-09-06, 12:04 AM
I HATE that a child destroyed Rajaat. Rajaat is so powerful he can break the rules of the setting, yet a child?

It was pun pun in disguise :smallbiggrin:

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-06, 12:10 AM
It was pun pun in disguise :smallbiggrin:

Rajaat should have known that the kobolds would have their revenge for the attempted genocide of their people! :smallbiggrin:

Coidzor
2010-09-06, 06:03 AM
What is Rajaat anyway?

Draxar
2010-09-06, 10:31 AM
What is Rajaat anyway?

A powerful magic user who decided that he wanted only the halflings to exist as a race, so he made the Sorcerer Kings, and tasked them with the destruction of each of the other races, raising armies to do so. Eventually betrayed by the Sorcerer Kings

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-06, 12:51 PM
Though in the retcon they leave out the little bit of info that he wanted to give the world to the halflings, which is why the sorcerer-kings betrayed him, as they were human and he was planning on ending them once the genocide was complete, saying Rajaat just wanted to destroy everything that he thought was unclean, and the destruction was enough to give even the sorcerer-kings pause.

Drakefall
2010-09-06, 03:56 PM
From what I managed to pick up over from various scraps, I think Rajaat was a powerful pyreen psionisist. At some point he discovered magic (the regular defiling kind) and began with the experimenting. Eventually he creating preserving and taught that to... well... a lot of people.

Now, I don't think anyone will ever know why, but Rajaat decided he only wanted to see halflings and everything else sucked. Thus he created the sorceror kings by using some funky magic lens thing that made the sun ugly and taught them defiling magic because its uber-badass, villain-level magic. They were human... because I don't know why. He sent them to make with the genocide and poof, bam, presto everything sucks donkey now.

Disclaimer: The above information is very possibly completely flawed and false.:smalltongue:

Zaydos
2010-09-06, 04:01 PM
Well most of that was in the Magic of Dark Sun book for 2e. He was also a deformed Pyreen cast out from their society for that reason, and he chose humans for the sorcerer-kings because only humans could truly master both psionics and magic as was required (i.e. dual class). What was with him and halflings I don't know that must have been in another book.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-06, 04:41 PM
He wanted to leave it to the halflings because the halflings were supposedly the oldest race on Athas and thus its true master race, at least in Rajaat's mind. Note that 4e has done away with this notion.

Surrealistik
2010-09-06, 04:52 PM
Which essentially means they're still bastards anyway. Go figure. :smallsigh:

Is there ANYONE in this setting who could be considered some kind of Good?

I'd say Andropinis can be considered good or at worst unaligned; he's practically the definition of a benevolent dictator. While his crunch identifies him as evil, there is essentially nothing in contemporary texts that really supports this alignment and while there is plenty to suggest a good one (I am not persuaded by superfluous arguments that he's evil simply because he's a dictator).

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-06, 07:43 PM
I brought this up in my thread about making a Balican Templar, but just because Andropinus is less heavy-handed than the other Sorcerer-Kings, he is still a Sorcerer-King, and thus is evil. He allows freedoms, but only if they don't use those freedoms to criticize him. He advocates protecting the land so there's more for him to defile, giving him more power. The elections really aren't democratic, because he rigs them, and when the Patrician's draft laws, they can't offer up any kinds of reforms because he'll reject them, if not punish the Patricians for their insolence.

And there's also the niggling little fact that he obtained his position by being assigned to kill all the elves. Sure, he didn't finish the job, but he still participated in the genocidal campaigns of Rajaat.

Surrealistik
2010-09-06, 08:20 PM
I guess Andropinis may have seen a recon in 4e to be a benevolent Sorcerer King as no contemporary material I've read between the Campaign Setting and Creature Catalogue really out him as an evil character who uses underhanded methods to uphold his city state. Granted his desire to achieve equilibrium as stated elsewhere is pragmatic rather than idealistic, but it certainly isn't evil. His involvement in attempted genocide certainly is on the other hand, but if he's redeemed himself as a good statesman I don't see this colouring his alignment indefinitely.

NeoVid
2010-09-06, 09:59 PM
From what's in the 4e book, Andropinis struck me as the least evil of them, but still evil enough. He did seem to be the only one of the SKs who might be able to be reasoned with (by epic level PCs who can stand up to him, anyway).

His city has the most rights and freedoms for the people, but he still keeps a stranglehold on it all that he doesn't hesitate to use when those rights might inconvenience him.

Lhurgyof
2010-09-06, 10:02 PM
Yeah, Rajaat knew that the halflings were descended from the Rhul'thaun (or Rhul'isti?), and that the other races were just dilluted mutations of their once-great society.

He also didn't even think thri-kreen worth killing them, seeing them as animals rather than sentient beings.

Coidzor
2010-09-06, 10:05 PM
So, what, Rajaat's just made out of so much magic he can't be killed then, just sealed in a can?

Lhurgyof
2010-09-06, 10:10 PM
So, what, Rajaat's just made out of so much magic he can't be killed then, just sealed in a can?

Rajaat INVENTED magic, and is such a skilled psionicist that he can basically just overpower anyone who challenges him. It took a group of his own immortal champions to just lock him away, and a 1,000 slave levy every year to keep him locked up. They also kinda got the drop on him.

He could probably decimate his champions, and the whole world given the chance. But deus ex machina the baby did it in one of the novels.

darkpuppy
2010-09-07, 12:28 AM
Put it like this: Rajaat got sealed away again, and, in the novel about Hamanu of Urik, he was still playing with people's heads. From half the known game-world away.

Surrealistik
2010-09-07, 01:23 AM
From what's in the 4e book, Andropinis struck me as the least evil of them, but still evil enough. He did seem to be the only one of the SKs who might be able to be reasoned with (by epic level PCs who can stand up to him, anyway).

His city has the most rights and freedoms for the people, but he still keeps a stranglehold on it all that he doesn't hesitate to use when those rights might inconvenience him.

I disagree with this. Yes, he does remain firmly in power and protects that power, but nothing in the 4e books really outs him as adopting especially evil or heinous means to do so. Limitation of criticism directly concerned with him? Yep. Rigged elections? Sure. There is no question that amoral pragmatism features in his style of governance, but the final outcome is something that lends serious credence to the idea that at times, the end justifies the means. Further, he is certainly not a killer or an oppressor on the clearly monstrous scale of Hitler or Stalin. The best analogue would probably be modern day China (albeit he fosters less corruption and his subjects are happier). His people are content, wealthy and well cared for in spite of the freedoms he denies them. Unaligned at worst; while you could make a case for evil, I personally don't agree with that given Andropinis' genuine love of his city state, Balic's prosperity, and the relative liberty and happiness of its citizenry.

hamishspence
2010-09-07, 02:45 AM
His official stats in the Creature Catalogue say "evil".

"Evil" is not incompatible with "amoral and extremely pragmatic, but genuinely devoted to his people"

Shatteredtower
2010-09-07, 07:16 AM
You could easily make similar arguments on behalf of Hamanu, Lalali-Puy, and Nibenay, all effective rulers of stable communities. Even so, each of them has helped foster the current systems of slavery and rivalry. Each has provided blood sports to the masses, lethal to a degree the Romans would have deemed wasteful. And each of them is complicit in perpetuating a lie that conceals their involvement in the genocidal crime that has devastated their environment.

Huh. The city states are ruled by a group of role players. How did I miss that?

Surrealistik
2010-09-07, 10:19 AM
His official stats in the Creature Catalogue say "evil".

"Evil" is not incompatible with "amoral and extremely pragmatic, but genuinely devoted to his people"

Yes, I am familiar with his crunch entry; the alignment stated there is exactly what I'm disputing given existing material.



You could easily make similar arguments on behalf of Hamanu, Lalali-Puy, and Nibenay, all effective rulers of stable communities. Even so, each of them has helped foster the current systems of slavery and rivalry. Each has provided blood sports to the masses, lethal to a degree the Romans would have deemed wasteful. And each of them is complicit in perpetuating a lie that conceals their involvement in the genocidal crime that has devastated their environment.

Yeah, I will definitely agree that slavery and blood sports (that they are especially bloody everywhere I've not seen evidence of) are bad things, but in itself not exactly condemning given historical precedent; plenty of otherwise good, ethical leaders in our own past have presided over these kinds of institutions after all. As to concealing the past genocidal crimes? Not liking it, but I suppose it's a necessary evil to maintain social order.

Hamanu, and Lalali-Puy in the meanwhile both have foibles in their administration that decisively out them as evil; Lalali-Puy brutally enslaves primal spirits and is draconic, Hamanu is an especially harsh, callous and draconic tyrant (whereas Andropinis is only about as oppressive as he needs to be), and Nibernay truly cares only about his studies. Until recently he has been a largely irresponsible and detached administrator, intervening only when absolutely necessary for the continued stability of his state; of these three I suppose one could argue that he is the least truly evil and may also qualify as being unaligned, maybe even 'good' though this would depend largely on the 'new age' he's trying to bring about as per his entry in the Dark Sun creature catalog.

hamishspence
2010-09-07, 10:24 AM
Yeah, I will definitely agree that slavery and blood sports (that they are especially bloody everywhere I've not seen evidence of) are bad things, but in itself not exactly condemning given historical precedent.

That's the thing though- can "what was acceptable in medieval times" be taken as evidence of "what's compatible with a Neutral or Good alignment in D&D"?

The Dark Sun Campaign Setting book states flatly that owning slaves is incompatible with a Good alignment- but does allow for Neutral slaveowners- if they do not abuse their slaves.

The sorcerer kings might be compared to King Kaius in Eberron- he drinks blood, they Defile. Kaius is evil- but very devoted to his country.

Not all evil characters are overtly malicious:


Why do you have to assume that every evil person who does a good deed has an ulterior motive? You can do good things simply because they're the right thing to do, and still be thoroughly evil.

A quick example I just invented:

Anne is a wizard, self-admittedly knowledge-hungry and a bit of a grouch, but overall a decent sort and a good neighbor. She gladly lent her divination spells to help find the child who had been trapped in that abandoned mine shaft outside town -- they found him just in time, too; she hates to think what might have happened if she hadn't been there. And she always has a Levitation spell memorized to help get old Mrs. Eldon's cat down from the tree, though she wonders how any cat can be that stupid.

Last month, Anne finally tracked down the only surviving copy of an ancient tome she had been seeking for years. It was in the hands of a collector in a distant city, so Anne immediately traveled to meet him. She offered a better price than he would ever get from anyone else -- thanks to her long research, she was perhaps the only living wizard who understood the importance of this book -- but he stubbornly refused to part with it, even after she tripled the already-generous offer.

Anne could have commissioned a thief to steal the book, but after the interest she had shown in it, she would be the first one the collector suspected. So she thanked him politely for his time, verified that his family was away for the evening, and cast Finger of Death. Anne arranged the scene to look like the man had died alone of a heart attack, took the tome, and teleported home in time to rescue that damned cat again for Mrs. Eldon.

No one ever suspected that the collector's death was anything but natural. His widow and children are well cared for, thanks to an anonymous donation they received, of exactly the amount Anne originally offered for the book.


You can't deny that Anne is evil...but she would get along fine with a good-aligned adventuring party, and almost always share their goals. Most of the good deeds she did alongside them would be perfectly genuine, not designed to fool anyone or to serve her self-interest. She likes to help, and sincerely values the well-being of others.

Just not quite as much as she values books...

Surrealistik
2010-09-07, 12:34 PM
I'm not saying you have to be overtly malicious to be evil, or that evil people are incapable of good acts; I'm saying that there isn't really much to support his stated crunch alignment of evil, and everything to support a neutral or good one.

I suppose that the fact he does own slaves would preclude him from being good due to the black and white strictures of the D&D universe as per the RAW, but again, I don't see anything that really does warrant an evil alignment.

hamishspence
2010-09-07, 12:54 PM
Aside from the defiling, and having held power for seven hundred years (combine the two and it does raise the question of just how much damage he's done to the planet) the main Dark Sun Campaign Setting book does suggest, in it's description of his city state, that he's really not a nice guy:


"In Balic, we treasure our freedoms. You are free to speak as you will. Of course, Andropinis is also free to speak as he will, which might very well be an order for your execution. Choose your words with care, my friend."-Darian, a patrician of Balic

Even the dictator, in theory, is elected. Much of this democracy, however, is little more than an illusion. The office of dictator is for life, and Andropinis has endured in his position now for centuries. Public debate and discourse is allowed, but only up to a point. Any direct criticism of the dictator or his templars is dealt with harshly, and the patricians learned long ago to pass only those laws that meet with the dictator's approval.

Most Balicans regard Andropinis as a necessary evil, resigning themselves to the fact that the dictator wields supreme power and isn't likely to surrender it. Andropinis routinely arranges the elections of templars he favors and directs the Chamber of Patricians to pass the laws he drafts. From time to time he indulges idealists and reformers, allowing corrupt nobles or unsatisfactory templars to be voted out. However the dictator retains absolute control over the city's legions and brooks no defiance of his personal authority.

The dictator's minions carefully screen candidates and arrange voting districts and slates to produce the results Andropinis desires. On occasion, an unwanted praetor is elected despite the dictator's arrangements; unfortunate accidents often befall such people shortly after they take office.

Slaves enjoy basic protections under Balic's laws, but the praetors enforce these laws only in the most egregious cases of cruelty.

Mark Hall
2010-09-07, 01:49 PM
In earlier editions, the Oba of Gulg was presented in a semi-favorable light, but that's gone by the wayside.

Lhurgyof
2010-09-07, 05:45 PM
Are you kidding me? Andropinis? Being good? Willingly trying to genocide a race, defiling away a lush planet, keeping a strong hold on his city-state, etc. etc. I believe in the novel he has one of his servant's tongues cut out so she can't talk about what she sees.

Surrealistik
2010-09-07, 06:26 PM
Aside from the defiling, and having held power for seven hundred years (combine the two and it does raise the question of just how much damage he's done to the planet) the main Dark Sun Campaign Setting book does suggest, in it's description of his city state, that he's really not a nice guy:

Yes, I have already acknowledged that he quells serious dissent, and rigs elections; definitely less than ideal, but potentially necessary. Again, amoral pragmatism so as to keep things stable and well run; you really must consider the intent and outcome, as well as the means. His interference is minimal, particularly in comparison to his peers.

Concerning the treatment of slaves, his praetors are more to blame than the person who drafted the laws protecting them.

Defiling itself in the meanwhile isn't necessarily evil, especially when Andropinis makes definite attempts to achieve equilibrium with his environment, and encourages his citizenry to do so, even if it's for practical reasons.


Are you kidding me? Andropinis? Being good? Willingly trying to genocide a race, defiling away a lush planet, keeping a strong hold on his city-state, etc. etc. I believe in the novel he has one of his servant's tongues cut out so she can't talk about what she sees.

I've addressed this. Yes, the attempt at genocide was unquestionably evil, as was any past reckless defiling, but he is now an effective and responsible stateman who genuinely cares for and champions the interests of Balic and his people, even if he has to curtail certain freedoms to keep his city state well run; that's the definition of a benevolent dictatorship.

Shatteredtower
2010-09-07, 07:23 PM
Yes, I have already acknowledged that he quells serious dissent, and rigs elections; definitely less than ideal, but potentially necessary.

"Necessity" is a common excuse for evil.

He doesn't just put down dissent. He arranges for anyone critical of him or his aims to meet with a fatal "accident", as a message to others that might cross him. That's not pragmatism. That's a combination of thin skin and cowardice. If it had to be done, he's got the power to do the deed openly.

Surrealistik
2010-09-07, 07:27 PM
"Necessity" is a common excuse for evil.

He doesn't just put down dissent. He arranges for anyone critical of him or his aims to meet with a fatal "accident", as a message to others that might cross him. That's not pragmatism. That's a combination of thin skin and cowardice. If it had to be done, he's got the power to do the deed openly.

Anyone critical regardless of the nature of the criticism or the severity always meets with a fatal "accident"?

And yes, necessity is a common excuse for evil, but on the otherhand, it's popular precisely because it's also often legitimate.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-07, 07:38 PM
Anyone critical regardless of the nature of the criticism or the severity always meets with a fatal "accident"?
From the highest patrician to the lowliest slave. Of course it doesn't always have to be an "accident." He can have them executed on trumped up charges of treason.

Shatteredtower
2010-09-07, 10:57 PM
Don't get me wrong. There is something to admire in each sorcerer king, even if it's just the sheer bloody mindedness to maintain rule over civilization for the last few thousand years. Their passing could do more harm than good, even if you take Rajaat out of the picture, as I do.

Tiki Snakes
2010-09-07, 11:01 PM
He's not really dedicated to the idea of furthering Evil for Evil's own sake, so a particularly ruthless and despicable Unaligned works fine, for me.

But then I tend to fold most of the old alignments, mentally, into Unaligned and reserve Good, Evil etc for Exalted and Vile, basically. Like, active members of the Cosmic Force of [insert alignment here] level stuff, rather than simply bad-person vs altruism.

He doesn't really need a label, he's already a dangerous and powerful dictator.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-07, 11:06 PM
Don't get me wrong. There is something to admire in each sorcerer king, even if it's just the sheer bloody mindedness to maintain rule over civilization for the last few thousand years. Their passing could do more harm than good, even if you take Rajaat out of the picture, as I do.
In some places. Raam likely wouldn't even notice it if Ablach-Re died, since she has absolutely no concern for governance. Nibenay likely would'nt have too much trouble, since the Shadow King is kind of aloof and only gets involved when things get out of hand. Other than that, their cities pretty much run themselves.

This brings to mind a question that I was hoping to discuss eventually. Just what WOULD happen if all the sorcerer-kings bit it?

My guesses are as follows:

Tyr likely would carry on the way it had been prior to the demise of the kings, but where before it was a new people stumbling around to try and figure out how to do things, now they're the leaders in this world, showing the other city-states how to live free.

In Raam, as I said, things likely wouldn't change much, given that Ablach-Re was not much for politics. They'd likely breathe a sigh of relief to being free of her madness, and then go back to tearing each other apart.

Nibenay would likely have a rocky starting out, since this is the first time the Shadow King has dissapeared and STAYED dissapeared, but then I assume the nobles would start jockeying for power against the new templar-widows, bringing the city to civil war.

Balic has a system in place that theoretically holds the power, but with Andropinis' demise that system no longer has a guide. While Balic has democracy, that democracy was basically puppeted by Andropinis, so they'd need some time to get their bearings. They'd probably breathe easier for a time, but then the Patricians would start fighting over who should be the new Dictator, whether or not said Dictator should be for life like Andropinis was, etc. I'm unsure if freedom of speech would show up in Balic after this, since I believe the Patrician's would be happy to use Andropinis' laws to empower themselves, brooking no threat to THEIR authority.

Gulg would be positively devastated by this. Lalali-Puy not only was beloved by her people, but she was also their first and last line of defense and she owned everything there. Without the Oba, the Gulgans likely fracture and scatter into the Crescent Forest, since the wall that encircles them would likely die without the Oba to maintain it, and the nganga would likely be punished by the primal spirits they have long abused.

Urik would suffer greatly as well, since Hamanu was the absolute ruler of these people, even with the strong system he has put in place. People chafing under the Code would likely rise up against it, while others like his templars and the higher castes would seek to protect it, and other opportunists from outside the city would likely take advantage of the unrest to seize Urik's water and the obsidian mines.

Draj too would be shaken to its core, since Tectuktitlay's megalomaniacal god complex was what was running the show here. Most likely his templars would try to explain away their god's dissapearance, or demand more sacrifices to try and bring him back. The people of Draj, who I assume are sick of the system, rise up and there's civil war. Then the Draji would likely try to set up a system similar to what other city-states have, like Tyr or Balic.

Would these assessments make sense, given the nature of each city-state and the temperment of each ruler? Is there a possibility I may have overlooked?

Shatteredtower
2010-09-07, 11:21 PM
The thing with Nibenay is that he was the one that originally empowered the bureaucracy, and they are more vulnerable without his support.

As for Abalech-Re, don't underestimate what she'd arrange for spite in response to her death.

ghost_warlock
2010-09-08, 12:32 AM
Urik would suffer greatly as well, since Hamanu was the absolute ruler of these people, even with the strong system he has put in place. People chafing under the Code would likely rise up against it, while others like his templars and the higher castes would seek to protect it, and other opportunists from outside the city would likely take advantage of the unrest to seize Urik's water and the obsidian mines.

They seemed to get along just fine in the books. Granted, this might have had something to do with the Spirit of the Land that seemed to assume control of the city in his place after Hamanu sacrificed himself to save the city from Rajaat.

hamishspence
2010-09-08, 02:37 AM
He's not really dedicated to the idea of furthering Evil for Evil's own sake, so a particularly ruthless and despicable Unaligned works fine, for me.

But then I tend to fold most of the old alignments, mentally, into Unaligned and reserve Good, Evil etc for Exalted and Vile, basically. Like, active members of the Cosmic Force of [insert alignment here] level stuff, rather than simply bad-person vs altruism.

Given that most "monsters" and quite a few pragmatic monarchs, like Kaius of Eberron, are listed as evil or chaotic evil in 4E, I prefer to keep alignment as it is- with evil not just meaning "active members of the cosmic force" but also the ruthless, cruel, and aggressive.

Evil characters don't have to be "dedicated to the idea of furthering Evil for Evil's own sake" and what little text suggested that in the PHB, seems to have been retreated from in later books- especially campaign setting books.

Tiki Snakes
2010-09-08, 09:56 AM
Given that most "monsters" and quite a few pragmatic monarchs, like Kaius of Eberron, are listed as evil or chaotic evil in 4E, I prefer to keep alignment as it is- with evil not just meaning "active members of the cosmic force" but also the ruthless, cruel, and aggressive.

Evil characters don't have to be "dedicated to the idea of furthering Evil for Evil's own sake" and what little text suggested that in the PHB, seems to have been retreated from in later books- especially campaign setting books.

To be fair, I do tend to ignore the Alignment entries on creatures also. It probably helps that I have no time for published modules, too.

Surrealistik
2010-09-08, 08:01 PM
From the highest patrician to the lowliest slave. Of course it doesn't always have to be an "accident." He can have them executed on trumped up charges of treason.

Ah. Even so, I'd have to rule him personally as Unaligned, because the results speak for themselves: he cares for his citizenry and it shows, they're (largely) happy and wealthy, and his interference in their liberties is minimal with the exception of challenges to his authority. On top of that he doesn't defile recklessly.

Through and through an effective, responsible and accomplished if Machiavellian statesman and stewart of his people, and his lands.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-08, 08:08 PM
Well, he only cares about his citizenry insofar as they obey and praise him. Any backtalk from them and he does not hesitate to obliterate them.

Also, as I mention in another thread, what would be the implications of the Dragonheart epic destiny in Athas? The fluff indicates that you have the sould of a dragon in you, and when you reach the pinnacle of your abilities, your form changes to match your soul. Obviously this is kind of odd given that there ARE no true dragons in Athas, and the Dragons that exist are humans transformed by defiling magic into horribly powerful abominations. Plus, the Dragon King destiny needs you to have defiling, while the Dragonheart destiny can be taken by a character of any martial class.

Surrealistik
2010-09-08, 08:38 PM
Well, he only cares about his citizenry insofar as they obey and praise him. Any backtalk from them and he does not hesitate to obliterate them.

According to the books his care is definite and genuine; yes, he doesn't brook disobedience, but given how well the city state is run, and the blatant evidence of his skill as a statesman and leader, why should he? He's clearly doing an excellent job that few could match.

KillianHawkeye
2010-09-08, 08:48 PM
Also, as I mention in another thread, what would be the implications of the Dragonheart epic destiny in Athas? The fluff indicates that you have the sould of a dragon in you, and when you reach the pinnacle of your abilities, your form changes to match your soul. Obviously this is kind of odd given that there ARE no true dragons in Athas, and the Dragons that exist are humans transformed by defiling magic into horribly powerful abominations. Plus, the Dragon King destiny needs you to have defiling, while the Dragonheart destiny can be taken by a character of any martial class.

I'd say that ED is not appropriate for a Dark Sun game. I probably wouldn't allow Demigod, either.



On another note, can anybody give some information about what Kalak was like? I figure I might need to know a little about him if I run a game set in Tyr, but so far I haven't seen much info about him in the books.

Gralamin
2010-09-08, 09:04 PM
On another note, can anybody give some information about what Kalak was like? I figure I might need to know a little about him if I run a game set in Tyr, but so far I haven't seen much info about him in the books.

The gist of it is: He encouraged competition within his own templars, but was also mostly detached - focusing much more on becoming a Dragon.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-08, 09:35 PM
The gist of it is: He encouraged competition within his own templars, but was also mostly detached - focusing much more on becoming a Dragon.
Guess that came back to bite him in the arse when one of his own templars decided to compete with HIM! :smallbiggrin:

Lhurgyof
2010-09-08, 10:35 PM
If Daskinor died, his people would probably praise the day.

And what of Dregoth? If he were to die (which isn't very likely, 29th level dragon kaisharga), his people would probably go with him. He even CREATED the Dray, they see him as a god.

What if Borys died? (Even how minuscule a chance that is to happen without a novel specifically saying he does?)

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-08, 10:41 PM
Uh...who's Daskinor? The 4e book doesn't make any mention of him. :smallconfused:

Lhurgyof
2010-09-08, 10:42 PM
Uh...who's Daskinor? The 4e book doesn't make any mention of him. :smallconfused:

Daskinor Goblin Death rules Eldaarich. He slowly fell into a state of full blown paranoia, and as such his citizens are more like prisoners, unable to leave or do anything suspicious.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-08, 11:00 PM
Is it not in the Tyr Region? Because I can't find it in my book. :smallconfused:

Lhurgyof
2010-09-08, 11:05 PM
Is it not in the Tyr Region? Because I can't find it in my book. :smallconfused:

It's North East of the Tyr region. In the corner of the 4e map it says "to Eldaarich". There's a map of the whole of athas somewhere...

http://www.digitalwanderer.net/darksun/

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-08, 11:07 PM
That would explain why they don't mention it in the book then. The book only covers the Tyr Region.

Shatteredtower
2010-09-09, 12:57 AM
...he doesn't brook disobedience...

Even if Father really does know best, killing his critics is still an evil act. The leader of the Veiled Alliance was recruited by that group after his father was killed for repealing unpopular edicts taxing the sale of salt, forbidding certain marriages, and restricting the growth of such delicacies as oranges. His body was found buried under salt. (Source: Veiled Alliance accessory, 1992, by Allen Varney.)

Maybe the policies were for the best. That doesn't excuse killing someone that overturned them by legitimate measures you claim to champion. It's evil.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-09-09, 01:05 AM
Okay, that pretty much cements Andropinis as Evil for me.

TekHed
2010-10-03, 08:02 AM
If anyone is still following this thread, would you or possibly someone you know be interested in running a level 10 Darksun 3.5 game?

We have players looking for a DM here:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9456519#post9456519

Thanks! Vive le Dark Sun!

Hackulator
2010-10-03, 09:37 AM
As to Kaius (Eberron), I don't understand how he's supposed to be evil. He fought himself free of the domination of Vol, only drinks the blood of willing people who he makes sure not to kill, treats his people kindly and truly wants them to prosper, and works hard to preserve peace on Khorvaire.

Where's the evil?

As for Dark Sun, though it has been many years since I read the Prism Pentad, I don't remember having nearly as much issue with it as other people from a story perspective. Apparently everyone wanted to see some epic throwdown between Rajaat and...somebody, but given the power level that was ascribed to him, what could have done that anyway? The child had been foreshadowed to be some sort of messianic figure for a while.

The main issue with the books is that they made the setting unplayable if you treated them as having happened.

Zaydos
2010-10-03, 11:02 AM
The main issue with the books is that they made the setting unplayable if you treated them as having happened.

I didn't get to the child (only had 2 or 3 of them) and that's always been my issue. And yes I'd have preferred a big throw down with Rajaat, at least how he was originally presented (in the game book) he was powerful, deadly, and beatable.