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Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 06:40 AM
I knew about Dark sun for a long time, but only recently have I wanted to take a go at it either as a player or a DM.

I will take allot of rules liberties (I am the mastah of the supplement!) but mostly beacuse I need to convert slightly to pathfinder (Mostly the Monsters).

More inportantly, which variation should I play?

The original 2e is kinda out of the question for me.

So the real question is:

Should I take the fluff from:

The Dragon Magazine Version?

The Arthas.org version?

Or the 4e version.

Which one stays truer to the point of dark sun (Dark brutality with a very dim candle of hope in an ocean of dispair)

Yora
2012-03-25, 06:43 AM
My bet would be on Athas.org. Fans tend to compile the most accurate information of the original version and don't take liberties with altering existing canon.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 08:02 AM
Thanks.

And I will use the defiling rules from the Dragon version (presents more temptation)

Analysis
2012-03-25, 09:14 AM
Seconding athas.org version. However, note that there is a _lot_ of useful fluff in the 2e books, if you can find them - it goes into so much more detail, all of it relevant for world-building. They were sold as PDFs at one time, back when WotC still did that.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 09:19 AM
Can you suggest which books for that?

Because detail is great.

(So I don't get confused with crunch books)

Otomodachi
2012-03-25, 09:28 AM
Can you suggest which books for that?

Because detail is great.

(So I don't get confused with crunch books)

Earth, Air, Fire and Water (as far as I can remember) had a lot of great deals about how (elemental) clericing working in Athas. Same for Druids, and also some nice fluff on how templars in different city-states function.

I might have mashed up the title a bit; it's those four words in some ordering.

Also, I third athas.org, I played Dark Sun pretty extensively back in 2nd ed. and all the stuff on that site *feels* very right to me.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 09:30 AM
Great.

Im just thinking,

In a world like arthas (Without tuning out some great Happy ending BS or altering the setting with a great history)

I want to give the PCs a goal.

Would a fallout 1 esque idea work in arthas?

edit:

Oh my god! I look at what DND used to be and WEEP! Such detail described for a single class!

Such simplicity yet elegance in the fluff and descriptions!

Otomodachi
2012-03-25, 10:15 AM
In my experience, what you've got to do to make a Dark Sun game successful is get your PCs to actually care about a few NPCs. That way, they can get some satisfaction from effecting change in a small part of the world, and not gripe about how they aren't doing anything earth-shattering.

I'm not COMPLETELY sure what you mean by "Fallout 1-esque" but my gut tells me you're thinking along the right lines. A group of vagabonds who (hopefully, generally) improve the quality of life for small-medium communities in ways those people might not necessarily be able to otherwise sound true-to-spirit to me.

Also remember that a lot of the people in Athas are gonna have some levels. Maybe not so bad as the Forgotten Realms (what is that, Toril?) but probably more so than Eberron, for example. Even a simple farming community is gonna have some decent warriors or else they'd all have been killed by a drake or horror by now. There's gonna be a ranger or druid or at least an expert with know:(nature) or else everybody would've died from eating poisoned berries (or being eaten by poisoned berries) by now.

I would really "zoom the camera down" on a specific geographical region of Athas and try to keep your players interested in that area; probably worth talking to your PCs about what they want to do and where they want to do it as far before game 1 as possible. You're going to want to put as much effort as you're comfortable with in developing communities and some significant/cool/interesting people IN this communities for the PCs to (hopefully) come to appreciate. I'm thinking maybe THAT is what you meant by Fallout.

Or just have them all start at level 30 and try to take down Borys(?). :smallbiggrin:

EDIT: Back to my use of the word vagabonds... also remember that travel between communities on Athas is one, tiny step back from suicidal for most people. Muwahaha!

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 10:22 AM
They are a bunch of guys that hidden in shelters when the mad genocide wars started

Now its open and they can only send a few guys out to fix the stuff as the rest support the community.

Great excuse for not knowing the setting as well.

They have to decide between saving a small community on the outside or letting all their friends in the shelter die.

Otomodachi
2012-03-25, 10:24 AM
They are a bunch of guys that hidden in shelters when the mad genocide wars started

Now its open and they can only send a few guys out to fix the stuff as the rest support the community.

Great excuse for not knowing the setting as well.

They have to decide between saving a small community on the outside or letting all their friends in the shelter die.

Ooooooh. Eddies in time from the event where Rajaat displaced the world? You could have the PCs just appear in the current Athas, wondering how the heck they got plane-shifted to such a crapsack. If you have any "unique snowflake" players it'd give you justification on letting the person play whatever race they're obsessed with this week. ;)

deuxhero
2012-03-25, 10:27 AM
Or he could mean obtaining an item for a home community (and if they lack some skills for a workaround, it may require dooming another community).


There's also the possiblity of stoping a army of mutants, but that is boring.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 10:28 AM
Samurai Jack Time!

Yes!

Hell Yes!

Hell ****ing Yes!

edit:

No armies of Mutants.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 12:19 PM
OK I am seriously confused by anthases geography.

Is it the continent? is it the world?

Where are the other continents and whats happened to them?

Otomodachi
2012-03-25, 01:12 PM
http://www.digitalwanderer.net/darksun/

The first relatively awesome map I found.

Imagine it as a continent in the same way that Europe was, historically; not all of the borders are ocean, but hostile environments render them BASICALLY impassible.

Every game I've played has been at least BASED out of the Tablelands because it's where civilization is densest. It is, for a real world equivalent, Rome.

Further out are the barbarian places- yeah, there's communities, but they're going to be more insular.

Beyond that, you've got things like the Misty Border (jagged mountains that drop down to a swamp on the other side) the Sea of Silt and the Dead Lands that stop travel pretty effectively. Go far enough into the Sea of Silt and there's a giant wall of ash hiding a very nice civilization of people who want to be your friend. ;)

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 01:50 PM
Realy?

Then isn't it only one continent a deserted landscape?

What happened to everything else?

Also:

Grabbing a Nerf Rocket launcher and using it against the dragon kings.

Simply put thier levels are too high for them to give a single ****.

At level 26-30+ all your reasons for even communicating with the world wither away.

You don't need an army

You don't need a city

Analysis
2012-03-25, 03:45 PM
Grabbing a Nerf Rocket launcher and using it against the dragon kings.

Simply put thier levels are too high for them to give a single ****.

At level 26-30+ all your reasons for even communicating with the world wither away.

You don't need an army

You don't need a city

I think I disagree:

1. They can grant Templars divine magic, but not use it themselves. Having a church of divine casters is something even actual deities tend to value.
2. They need spell components, and don't want to search for them.
3. They need lots of slaves to Defile from.
4. They need lots of slaves to hand to the Dragon so Rajaat won't awaken.
5. It's a prestige battle between them.
6. Several of them are actually political idealists; they want to build some kind of "ideal" society for the sake of humanity. Doing so lets them pretend they're not the bad guys who were fooled into multiple genocide and who broke the old ecosystem...

All these things contribute to why they might want to remain in control like this.

Many of the books are good fluff. The boxed set; Slave Tribes, Dragon Kings, Dune Trader, Will and the Way... most have useful fluff content.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 04:01 PM
1. They can grant Templars divine magic, but not use it themselves. Having a church of divine casters is something even actual deities tend to value.

When they want to have infuence over the world I see that.

I just don't get armies, and the joking idea that they cannot stop uprisings.


2. They need spell components, and don't want to search for them.

Divination magic and teleport. On an epic scale. :smallsigh:

Hell They could simply make an automatic spell that teleports anything they need automatically too them.


3. They need lots of slaves to Defile from.

Yes.


4. They need lots of slaves to hand to the Dragon so Rajaat won't awaken.

True


5. It's a prestige battle between them.

So thier stupid?

"Well shucks, I know I could slaughter the opponents army in a wave of my hand but...Its just eh. Guess I have to give up now."


6. Several of them are actually political idealists; they want to build some kind of "ideal" society for the sake of humanity. Doing so lets them pretend they're not the bad guys who were fooled into multiple genocide and who broke the old ecosystem...

So what? Everybody knows of their power. What can stop them?

What good does it do to send armies against each other? Just kill the other dragon and seize their city.

PERIOD. NOTHING CAN STOP YOU. Only another dragon has even the POTENTIAL to even touch a flee on your scale!


Many of the books are good fluff. The boxed set; Slave Tribes, Dragon Kings, Dune Trader, Will and the Way... most have useful fluff content.
Thanks. Thats perfect.

Benly
2012-03-25, 04:39 PM
Hell They could simply make an automatic spell that teleports anything they need automatically too them.


Wouldn't the amount of defiling required to fuel an epic spell like that basically depopulate their city-state and leave them without lives to eat for other purposes? It's cheaper to send the minions out to gather them for you; at least that way only some of them die.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 04:54 PM
Wouldn't the amount of defiling required to fuel an epic spell like that basically depopulate their city-state and leave them without lives to eat for other purposes? It's cheaper to send the minions out to gather them for you; at least that way only some of them die.

Hmm. That is usefull.

If I was an evil monster I would breed high HD creatures (Using non defiling magic to make food for them).

Then I would defile them instead of the standard low HD slaves.

KutuluKultist
2012-03-25, 05:39 PM
Hmm. That is usefull.

If I was an evil monster I would breed high HD creatures (Using non defiling magic to make food for them).

Then I would defile them instead of the standard low HD slaves.

Keep in mind that the fluff was for 2nd Edition Ad&d and didn't really anticipate d20 style caster capabilities or shenanigans you can pull off as an optimizer.

Secondly, keep in mind that a lot of the Dragon Kings motivations are rooted in their history and psychology. What they are not are passionless and rational goal followers. They are embedded in a social world, which gives to them the highest kind of status and, unlike in other worlds, just going off and creating a new world isn't that easy in Dark Sun.

But all of this leaves unanswered two main issues you've mentioned. Why don't they just use their massive powers in their conflicts and how could they ever have insurgencies in their cities if they could just have an epic detect insurgents spell, not too mention the possibilities of optimized psionics?

And I think the answer to the first question lies in the balance of power. Think of the sorcerer king as the nuclear arsenal of a city state. The moment one of them unpacks the nukes, others will respond in kind and such a conflict could easily wipe out all live in the region. Which is something that the sorcerer kings don't want because, even if they are cruel tyrants unable to really relate to mere mortals, they are still included in social structures and networks, which they probably value at least subconsciously.

Much more problematic are the insurgents and I have no handy answer for that. A dragon king should be able to get into not only anyone's head, but everyone's head.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 05:54 PM
Im not even talking about optimization.

Fortunately Im using Green ronins legendary levels where things are toned down a bit.

No doing 40000000000 damage

No Hundreds apon hundreds of broken abilities.

Oh its still loose as hell but at least its not the laziness that is epic dnd 3e.

Anyway, yeah. I think an aplication of the nerf bat is necessary.

At least keeping them within level 25.

Analysis
2012-03-25, 06:33 PM
When they want to have infuence over the world I see that.

It could also be that they want to be worshipped, I guess.

As someone pointed out, it's important to remember that these are _not_ epic level adventurers. They were the Champions of Rajaat. I personally think he chose them partially because they were _not_ clearheaded enough to see through to his real goals. They also are the equivalent of the only survivors from a more advanced age who have spent millenia in a post-apocalyptical wasteland. They degenerated, and moreover, each probably suffers from some degree of madness brought on by Defiling and the dragon transformation. If someone new grew to their power level, that person could make more optimized use of the power, sure. That's why they probably spend a lot of time preventing anyone else from growing too powerful, and part of that may be to control society at large to make sure anyone who might grow too powerful disappear.


I just don't get armies, and the joking idea that they cannot stop uprisings.

This may be partly an issue with 2e having lower power level. I would say, think of it as though they are insane part of the time. The army is useful because it can deal with problems independently, and control the people. As for uprisings, outside the cities it probably can happen. The main cases where it happened in a city, i.e. the fall of Tyr, there were lots of forces at work, including an artifact specially made to kill a sorcerer-monarch.


Divination magic and teleport. On an epic scale.

Hell They could simply make an automatic spell that teleports anything they need automatically too them.

I see your point. I guess the 3e Defiling rules may need to become more harsh. In my view, Preserving magic requires you to use it very sparingly and hoard power, because you still need to kill of as much plant life in total, you just don't remove all hope of it growing back. Any really powerful things should require resources on a level of international finance to keep going.


So thier stupid?

"Well shucks, I know I could slaughter the opponents army in a wave of my hand but...Its just eh. Guess I have to give up now."

Again yes, they are in fact stupid in a lot of ways. In the novels, it gets infuriating part of the time. :)


So what? Everybody knows of their power. What can stop them?

No, I mean they delude _themselves_ into thinking they are the benevolent saviours of humanity. They ended the Green Age by using so much magic to carry out their human-centric genocide that the sun turned red and the seas turned to silt. This was to be for humanity, but then Rajaat revealed he intended it for the halflings all along. In my version, he added that humanity were chosen to do the killing because they could then be relied on to kill off each other quickly enough. After the Champions turned on Rajaat and imprisoned him, it was too late. Civilization gone, ecosystem gone, magic much weaker due to no more forests to draw from. I imagine they must feel like complete failures, for good reason, and do what they can to avoid this insight. Hence pretending to be benevolent.


What good does it do to send armies against each other? Just kill the other dragon and seize their city.

PERIOD. NOTHING CAN STOP YOU. Only another dragon has even the POTENTIAL to even touch a flee on your scale!

If one of them moves directly, the others will go in and do this to them. Or the actual Dragon will come and do it. At least two (Sielba and whats-his-name, the undead one) already were killed by the others under that kind of circumstances. Sending armies will get you the oases so you can maintain more magic, but won't be enough to get other sorcerer-monarchs to strike directly.

I also suggest, as someone implied, that epic magic requires ridiculous amounts of Defiling. Think magic cards and having to discard land cards for each spell.


If I was an evil monster I would breed high HD creatures (Using non defiling magic to make food for them).

My suggestion is to think of it in terms of conserving energy/ecology. The life that is needed for magic is at least as high as what would be needed to produce it in the normal way. Create Food spells, even when used by Preservers, will in total require as much plant and animal life to fuel it as you would need if you just grew the food. Thermodynamics. Really depressing, but that's what I like most with Dark Sun. In fact, you could say that the sorcerer-monarchs need armies to make sure there are farmers out fertilizing, watering and replanting enough that magic will be possible at all. You could return life to a field with magic, but you would need to kill another field of equal size to do it.

In total, though, I think most of them are below level 25. Only the Dragon is level 30 (all 10 stages of transformation). I think they range like 21-27 or something. For Pathfinder, consider them approximately equal to Runelords.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-25, 06:38 PM
Either way Im totaly digging the setting.

Some things are to be changed (99.999999999% simply mechanics) but its a deeply fleshed out world.

I love its style.

Im just going to lower the power levels from:

"**** this ****. Seriously. Im done. LEVEL 32! LEVEL 32!"

to

"Holy ****!"

Mostly that a army can slay a dragon king.

Not an ordinary army. But a magicaly enchanted one with all the buffs.

So essentialy the Dragon kings play God wizard with armies at a time.

Raddu
2012-03-26, 08:11 AM
Hello,

My first post here on GiantITP.

My suggestion is that since your'e using Pathfinder, to use the Athas.org 3.5 rules as a basis for monsters and classes and whatnot.

FOr fluff...you have your work cutout for you! There are a multitude of books that will help you out. Specificially anything from the early 90's will be rich with fluff.

I recommend, the 1st Dark Sun boxed set, Dune Trader, Veiled Alliance, Elves of Athas, Slave Tribes, Thri-Kreen of Athas, The Will and the Way, Earth Air Fire and Water. City-State of Tyr is great as well.

You also have to consider what time period you're running your game. The first boxed set is set before the Prism Pentad and thus before Kalak has died. The revised boxed set is set after the events of the Prism Pentad novels by Troy Denning (as well as the Athas.org stuff). THe Dragon magazine reboot is set way in the "future" and the 4e Dark Sun revision is rebooted to right after Kalak died.

So, if you're using the original Dark Sun stuff, the 4e fluff is compatible.

Personally I like playing right after Kalak has been killed. THe world brims with uncertainty and hope, a thing the SK's wish to crush at the earliest moment. War is brewing between Urik and Tyr, Balic is covetous of the iron mines as well.


If you have more questions you can ask here or check out the athas.org boards at : http://arena.athas.org/ where there are a lot of Dark Sun fans.

Scowling Dragon
2012-03-26, 08:58 AM
Hello,

My first post here on GiantITP.

Hisies.


Use the Athas.org 3.5 rules as a basis for monsters and classes and whatnot.

Will do.


FOr fluff...you have your work cutout for you! There are a multitude of books that will help you out. Specificially anything from the early 90's will be rich with fluff.

Yay 90s!


I recommend, the 1st Dark Sun boxed set, Dune Trader, Veiled Alliance, Elves of Athas, Slave Tribes, Thri-Kreen of Athas, The Will and the Way, Earth Air Fire and Water. City-State of Tyr is great as well.

Great. Got those.



Personally I like playing right after Kalak has been killed. THe world brims with uncertainty and hope, a thing the SK's wish to crush at the earliest moment. War is brewing between Urik and Tyr, Balic is covetous of the iron mines as well.

Im planning that place as well. Thanks.