Monday, August 19, 2013

Why Is The Sun So Dark Here?

Surprisingly, the sun is actually very bright...It's a concern for the brand going forward. 

Defiling. Muls. Gladiators. The Silt Sea. Tyr. The extinction of gnomes.

Dark Sun. Athas. 


My first foray into Dungeons and Dragons was via Dragonlance and the planet Krynn. I loved dragons, and while I did not have any special affection for lances, I had no qualms about their presence. So you know, the appeal was more or less baked right into the title. I was young. Junior high-ish old, and my friend Aaron had good things to say about the books, and eventually DnD. This was a good world, a place I adored to spend my time. As I aged, and read the entire literary collection of fiction centered around it, I moved onto other things. Forgotten Realms novels happened, because Drizzt Do'iambadassalwayswinandfoughtanarmyoforcsalonewithabustedankleUrden was awesome.

I would never return to Dragonlance fiction, nor would I want to ever run a campaign there. I feel like Dragonlance is DnD for kids. I mean, bad things happen and stuff and there are dark times for the heroes, and there is betrayal and ruin and whatnot. Sturm dies. But that world holds no appeal for me. It's too black and white. The good guys are good guys and the bad guys are bad guys because good and evil. Takhisis is bad because she is Takhisis and is evil. I have returned to some Forgotten Realms books, and they're ok. The new 4th Edition fiction kind of makes me stroke out, secondary to a rageurysm. I'd never run a Forgotten Realms campaign, it's too magical, and it's not my place. It's Ed Greenwood's. 

After Forgotten Realms, I got into Dark Sun and Planescape. Planescape will always be my true love of the pre-made settings. There isn't much literature outside of the sourcebooks, and I've read most of it, despite its less than stellar quality. I would never run a campaign there, as I'm the only one I know, other than Tony, that has a nerdboner for the setting. My love of Dark Sun is only a half a step behind that which I bear for Planescape.

I love everything about the 2nd Edition version of this setting. A planet that is just a massive wasteland with little spots of green on it. A planet killed by magic. From the smallest bug, to the Dragon of Tyr, everything is psionic and can melt your brain. The artwork of Brom. The brutal looking primitive armor and weaponry. Elves that can run really really really far. Muls that you cannot put down. Sorcerer-kings that blend magic (defiling, specifically) and psionics to become monstrous creatures of unimaginable power. Cannibal halflings. The thri-kreen. The whole concept of defiling and preserving is just neat to me. The history of the dragons and Rajaat is just really cool to me. 

This place is awesome and terrifying. There are fucking psionic shrubs that enslave people who eat their berries and use them to fetch and carry water to keep the shrub hydrated. The morality of this world is so grey and vague that it has been bleached to a sepia tone by the sun. Who the fuck cares about good and evil? The sorcerer kings run shit and everybody is too fucking thirsty and sweaty to make the world a better place, aside from adventurers and some preservers. 

I love this world because it is grim, but not grimdark. I love it because starting at 3rd level and everyone being psionic isn't unbalanced, it lets you survive. I love it because elves aren't mysterious forest ancients, they're tribal nomads that lie and cheat and steal. I love it because half the familiar DnD races and monsters have been hunted to extinction and have been replaced by a host of crazy, psionic new races and breeds of monster. The familiar has been turned upside down, and the new stuff can't be taken at face value. We've encountered a mountain lion in the mountains? Let's kill it. Oh shit fuck! It's psionic and is dominating our minds and causing us to run and then tracking us by reading our minds. 

The reason I bring this up is because Lance is going to run a 4e Dark Sun campaign. I'm pretty excited, despite my issues with 4e. The background material is unchanged from 2nd Edition, for the most part. I mean, obviously, I'll refuse to address the fact that someone may be playing a Tiefling or Eladrin, and I'll think of them as a human or elf, but I can get over the majority of the changes made. 

I've rolled up a Thri-Kreen Ranger that uses traditional weapon for the race, and I'm pretty excited. I like bugs and stuff, so I've always liked the mantis men, and I really look forward to finally playing one. I'm just really super excited to play Dark Sun. I don't even care which edition. This is one of my favorite settings and one of my favorite races and I'm just giddy with delight. Plus, Shawn will be playing with us, and it has been years since we've goofed around rolling dice together. Plus, I get to be a fucking player! I'm just really excited and can't wait to start rolling dice beneath the savage, unrelenting sun, of Athas. 

Lance, you fuck this up, I'm gonna make you pay. #justkidding...?


  1. I may know a dude who is absolutely in love with Planescape after being introduced to it via the absolutely superb Planescape: Torment game by Black Isle Studios. He might even have the first box set and a link to the official unofficial continuation/conversion website...

  2. You also forgot the part where it's miles of endless desert, you get dropped into the middle of the Sahara and you have to survive ... among all the things trying to kill you. Also there are parts of Athas where the undead walk, and one drop of blood spilled and you become possessed and protect the secrets of a lost city and civilization.

    I've axed out most of the 4e races and said no divine classes unless you somehow become in the good favor of a Sorcerer-King. I think I've managed to collect all the source material from 2e, as well as read most of the Prism Pentad series (just need to read books 4&5). Should be as dangerous as 4e lets us be.