Desert as far as the eye can see, lorded over by tyrannical sorcerer kings. All of civilization enslaved by the desperate need to survive in a world that has made clear its disdain for life. History has been lost to the sands- all that exists has always been as it is. The secrets and powers of Athas beckon. Will you be the voice of freedom, or fall before the might of the Dark Sun?
The Dark Sun setting takes place in Athas, a cruel and unforgiving desert world of barbaric societies. A few key points to keep in mind:
- Arcane magic is responsible for the massive desert of Athas. Arcane spells naturally steal life from around them to power their effects (“defiling”). While it is possible to cast arcane spells without this effect, it is not as powerful. Because of this, arcane magic is feared. The sorcerer kings police the use of magic in their territory very aggressively- being caught is usually cause for execution, if you’re not killed by a mob of scared people first.
- Divine magic has long since left the world. The gods are either dead or so weak as to be nothing against the sorcerer kings, who are effectively gods themselves. For our campaign- if you want to play a divine power source character, I’ll find a way to make it work, but expect some side effects (or to be mistaken for hated arcane magic).
- With the previous two points in mind, psionic abilities are widespread. The will to survive has resulted in the flourishing of psionic powers across the world. It is common to see people (and monsters!) with minor wild psionic gifts. There are schools dedicated to the Way, where people can go to develop their psionic powers. For arcane casters- this means that unless someone has actually had a decent amount of training, it is possible to pass off minor magic as psionic.
Have a look at the Dark Sun setting for ideas, but feel free to use any class you want- we’ll find a way to make it work. Just for the sake of preserving the setting- I’d prefer if there wasn’t more than one Divine or Arcane power source character in the party, since those are so rare that having both of them together would be pretty unlikely (but if you really want to have both in the party, I won’t say no).
Since wild psionic magic is so common, I’ll be giving each player a Wild Talent at random(page 81 of the setting book).
I also really like Patrick’s alternative/unique item rewards that he’s been doing, so expect something like that. Since even metal items are special in Athas (metal is very rare), I don’t want to do cookie-cutter magic items/rewards.
Lastly: I feel that an important part of Dark Sun is the world itself trying to kill you. I don’t want to give too much away there, but be aware that NPCs will not be your only enemy.