Dark Sun 4e: The Hard Parts

I’d think with the bad magic and good magic you’ll just have to make two brand new classes and ban any other arcane classes. But this is where we run into my block on Dark Sun 4e.

The original boxed set had character trees to deal with the extremely high rate of character mortality in the setting and in the game and it mixed up the D&D “races” quite a bit and then there was the Brom art. Great stuff.

Discussing the game with Thor over IM has made it apparent that it isn’t a game about tweaking a single character to be powerful. The powerful unit in 4e is the party. This is a game about tweaking your stats and feats and powers to that you can better highlight the powers of the other characters. Character trees would allow for that kind of play throughout the campaign, which is really neat.

There was a whole lot of powerful thematic stuff going on in that original boxed set. Evil being the easier road and environmental destruction coming from magic being the big two. I don’t clearly see how 4e can pull those off and still be 4e.

Hm.

Alright, what if the environmental stuff wasn’t just wizards. All psionics-capable folks (with lots of neat psionics powersy multi-class options available) can opt to reach into the earth and take some of its power for themselves. However, in doing so, it isn’t just a little black splotch on the ground or some nearby plants withering. In doing so, it is a cataclysm and it pushes the world towards the brink of destruction.

Dungeons have goals and if those goals are reached, again, the doomsday clock ticks off and the world comes close to ending. With character trees, TPK’s are possible and if they occur, the players pick up their characters and play through the follow-up dungeon in a world that is that much worse for wear.

So, basically, the world of Dark Sun has a doomsday mechanic, inspired by Conspiracy of Shadow’s Doom mechanic and the boardgame, Keep Cool (thanks ) . You can get your Daily or Encounter powers back when you need them but in doing so, you bring the world that much closer to ending.

The doomsday mechanics, as the world creeps closer to the end, has concrete consequences in game. Monsters get more brutal, the Veiled Alliance get’s squeezed harder. With these kind of mechanics, Dark Sun becomes a game where the players could fail to save the world, where the players very possibly lose.

Hm.

That is kinda neat.

Advertisements

37 thoughts on “Dark Sun 4e: The Hard Parts

  1. That is kinda neat.

    Dude, that’s fucking metal. This hack idea rocks so hard I want to totally bring it flowers and candy, and maybe see if it’s not doing anything Saturday night, cuz I have this spare ticket and stuff…

  2. That is kinda neat.

    Dude, that’s fucking metal. This hack idea rocks so hard I want to totally bring it flowers and candy, and maybe see if it’s not doing anything Saturday night, cuz I have this spare ticket and stuff…

  3. One of the things I particularly like about 4e is that it’s easy to ban all clerical and arcane classes (for instance), or say that any power used that has the keyword “arcane” corrupts an area equal to 1 square x 1/2 lvl burst.

    I imagine that primal characters in Dark Sun would be very interesting.

  4. Reminds me a bit of Burning Empires πŸ˜›

    The road to evil could also provide some benefits: extra action points, not capped at 1/encounter. A free recharge to a daily power, once a day. Etc. Useful but not completely overwhelming.

    Or maybe evil Quests just drop more XP.

  5. Reminds me a bit of Burning Empires πŸ˜›

    The road to evil could also provide some benefits: extra action points, not capped at 1/encounter. A free recharge to a daily power, once a day. Etc. Useful but not completely overwhelming.

    Or maybe evil Quests just drop more XP.

  6. Reminds me a bit of Burning Empires πŸ˜›

    The road to evil could also provide some benefits: extra action points, not capped at 1/encounter. A free recharge to a daily power, once a day. Etc. Useful but not completely overwhelming.

    Or maybe evil Quests just drop more XP.

  7. Reminds me a bit of Burning Empires πŸ˜›

    The road to evil could also provide some benefits: extra action points, not capped at 1/encounter. A free recharge to a daily power, once a day. Etc. Useful but not completely overwhelming.

    Or maybe evil Quests just drop more XP.

  8. I do like the Doomsday concept, but, cynical as I am, I still have to admit a critical aspect of the setting is that you have a choice, and it’s almost in the sense of “it’s not even that the right path is harder, it’s just that the wrong path is easier,” if you see the distinction I’m drawing. I think it’s important to present Athas as a place that’s been ruined by laziness, vanity, greed, and condescension toward others – a point descended basically from Howard, filtered through a “Green” lens. Large scale : the Avangion epic destiny’s gotta be out there. Small scale : you have to be able to preserve. Otherwise you get somethign very different from Dark Sun, I think.

    • I do. Oh yeah, the Avangion epic destiny would absolutely be out there.

      Preserving is taking a beating and not taking the option to gain more power through nudging the world towards total destruction.

      It’d be different, without a doubt but 4e is a very different game than 2e.

  9. I do like the Doomsday concept, but, cynical as I am, I still have to admit a critical aspect of the setting is that you have a choice, and it’s almost in the sense of “it’s not even that the right path is harder, it’s just that the wrong path is easier,” if you see the distinction I’m drawing. I think it’s important to present Athas as a place that’s been ruined by laziness, vanity, greed, and condescension toward others – a point descended basically from Howard, filtered through a “Green” lens. Large scale : the Avangion epic destiny’s gotta be out there. Small scale : you have to be able to preserve. Otherwise you get somethign very different from Dark Sun, I think.

  10. I do like the Doomsday concept, but, cynical as I am, I still have to admit a critical aspect of the setting is that you have a choice, and it’s almost in the sense of “it’s not even that the right path is harder, it’s just that the wrong path is easier,” if you see the distinction I’m drawing. I think it’s important to present Athas as a place that’s been ruined by laziness, vanity, greed, and condescension toward others – a point descended basically from Howard, filtered through a “Green” lens. Large scale : the Avangion epic destiny’s gotta be out there. Small scale : you have to be able to preserve. Otherwise you get somethign very different from Dark Sun, I think.

  11. I do like the Doomsday concept, but, cynical as I am, I still have to admit a critical aspect of the setting is that you have a choice, and it’s almost in the sense of “it’s not even that the right path is harder, it’s just that the wrong path is easier,” if you see the distinction I’m drawing. I think it’s important to present Athas as a place that’s been ruined by laziness, vanity, greed, and condescension toward others – a point descended basically from Howard, filtered through a “Green” lens. Large scale : the Avangion epic destiny’s gotta be out there. Small scale : you have to be able to preserve. Otherwise you get somethign very different from Dark Sun, I think.

  12. I was never a big fan of Dark Sun, for whatever reason. Too close to Martian Romance, yet too far away?

    What you have crafted here makes the whole setting incredibly more attractive to me.

    Doug.

  13. I was never a big fan of Dark Sun, for whatever reason. Too close to Martian Romance, yet too far away?

    What you have crafted here makes the whole setting incredibly more attractive to me.

    Doug.

  14. I was never a big fan of Dark Sun, for whatever reason. Too close to Martian Romance, yet too far away?

    What you have crafted here makes the whole setting incredibly more attractive to me.

    Doug.

  15. I was never a big fan of Dark Sun, for whatever reason. Too close to Martian Romance, yet too far away?

    What you have crafted here makes the whole setting incredibly more attractive to me.

    Doug.

  16. Hey Judd,

    I think that screws up the conceit of the game a bit. The way I see it Dark Sun is saying we’re all beautiful snowflakes, but it’s when we quest to have dominion over the things outside ourselves that everything gets screwed up. Psionics represents snow flake force, or internal mastery, magic represents outside forces. So the most powerful representation of magic are the self centered dictators, the Dragons.

      • Re: snowflakes vs. dragons

        Just to add to that in the books, psionicists did thing like meditate and crap, and the most oposed to the Dragons, the druids attually became part of and linked to the land.

        I think it’s difficult with everything being weighed so equally and adjusting level gain isn’t seen as an appropriate area to try to balance things. I’m going to break out my books tonight.

        On the plus side think of all the cool effects that can be built off all the crazy weapons they had. I’ll have to see if I can find my master sheet that I spent many hours creating.

        • Re: snowflakes vs. dragons

          Alrighty some initial ideas; create a psionicist class, or more ambitiously a psionics powerset. (I’m sure this is on WOtC’s itinerary) Allow everyone except arcane to freely multiclass Psionics.(A Dragon is a level 20 spellcaster who gains psionics at 21 where they cast the ritual that destroys the halfling forest.) Disallow any classes with divine power sources. Defilers and Perservers are the same class, or arcane powerset, create some type of resource for spells for the perserver, that the defiler does not need, because they use lifeforce instead.

  17. Hey Judd,

    I think that screws up the conceit of the game a bit. The way I see it Dark Sun is saying we’re all beautiful snowflakes, but it’s when we quest to have dominion over the things outside ourselves that everything gets screwed up. Psionics represents snow flake force, or internal mastery, magic represents outside forces. So the most powerful representation of magic are the self centered dictators, the Dragons.

  18. Pingback: Dark Sun Tweets « The Githyanki Diaspora

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s