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Otacon17
2010-11-27, 11:37 PM
I recently began DMing a Dark Sun campaign for my group. Including myself, there are 6 of us. Before I go any further, I might as well introoduce my players:

The Party
Lo-Kag, Half-Giant Monk
Lo-Kag is from a tribe of nomadic desert-dwellers. Although he is half-giant, he is less than 6 feet tall; this is because when he was a child, a group of powerful defilers captured and sacrificed his entire tribe in an arcane ritual. He barely managed to survive, but as a result of this encounter, he was horribly disfigured and his growth was stunted. He was also blinded, but has learned to focus his psionics to the point where he can 'sense' other beings and objects (I allowed him to have blindsight because I thought the character concept was cool). Uses the Wasteland Nomad theme.

Toff, Genasi Barbarian
A gruff hunter from the wastes. He grew up in an isolated tribe and was taught from a young age to revere the desert and the elements. Not much of a backstory established yet, as the guy who plays him is busy a lot and can't make it to all of our sessions. Uses the Elemental Priest theme.

Jak Dwarfpunter, Minotaur Fighter
A former slave who often fought in Tyr's arena. Having gained freedom after Kalak's fall, he is eager to explore the world. A fierce warrior with a rather unhealthy obsession with polearms. The 'Dwarfpunter' thing came from our last session, in which he kicked several dwarfs in rather, ahem, sensitive areas. Uses the Gladiator theme.

Relkor, Dray Sorceror
Used to be a member of the Veiled Alliance, until the leader of his cell went rogue and started defiling. He barely managed to escape his former mentor with his life, and had to boost his abilities with defiling magic to do so. This act continues to haunt him, and marks him as an enemy of the Alliance. As of our last session, though, they have begrudgingly accepted him back into their ranks after a test of his loyalty. Uses, of course, the Veiled Alliance theme.

Forrest, Dray Bard
A traveling minstrel whose only goal in life is to spread cheer in the otherwise dreary world. His definition of 'spreading cheer' includes, but is not limited to: playing music, helping innocents, assassinating wrongdoers, and attempting to seduce every woman he meets. He's also pretty stingy and always tries to get out of paying entrance fees at the gates of any city. Uses the Athasian Minstrel theme.

Now, this is my first time DMing and I'm fairly new to D&D. So far, we've played 2 sessions and things are going alright, but I'd really appreciate some input from more experienced players on how to use the Dark Sun setting to its fullest potential. For instance, are there any particularly fun cities to visit? Some cool monsters, traps, or hazards that I should definitely throw at my players? Any interesting plot devices that work particularly well in Dark Sun?

Also, I was considering maybe turning this into a campaign log, if anyone might be interested in reading it.

true_shinken
2010-11-27, 11:40 PM
My first tip: 4e is not that good for Dark Sun. Athas is a rough, unforgiving world. 4e is too nice with player characters.
Really, if you can get a hold of AD&D, use it for Dark Sun. It fits a lot better. 2e Dark Sun is all shades of awesome.

WitchSlayer
2010-11-28, 12:19 AM
If your players are travelling across the desert landscape, definitely make sure you enforce the supply rules and sun sickness. 4e is as hard as you want it to be, and it can end up being VERY VERY hard.

Otacon17
2010-11-28, 12:39 AM
If your players are travelling across the desert landscape, definitely make sure you enforce the supply rules and sun sickness. 4e is as hard as you want it to be, and it can end up being VERY VERY hard.

Agreed. I've definitely been keeping a close eye on their survival days. So far no one's gotten hit with Sun Sickness, but the minotaur doesn't use his survival days that often, so it's only a matter of time.

I'm using the weapon breakage rules, too (admittedly, I'm using the softer version, but still). One thing I've been wondering, though: how do weapon breakage rules apply to unarmed attacks? It hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure the monk will break his 'weapon' eventually. How should I do that? a penalty to attack and damage rolls until his next extended rest, maybe?

As far as difficulty goes, it seems fairly tough to me. No one has died so far, but there have been some pretty close calls.

WitchSlayer
2010-11-28, 12:46 AM
Agreed. I've definitely been keeping a close eye on their survival days. So far no one's gotten hit with Sun Sickness, but the minotaur doesn't use his survival days that often, so it's only a matter of time.

I'm using the weapon breakage rules, too (admittedly, I'm using the softer version, but still). One thing I've been wondering, though: how do weapon breakage rules apply to unarmed attacks? It hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure the monk will break his 'weapon' eventually. How should I do that? a penalty to attack and damage rolls until his next extended rest, maybe?

As far as difficulty goes, it seems fairly tough to me. No one has died so far, but there have been some pretty close calls.

That does bring up a good point, I usually wouldn't apply any penalty, only if I didn't think of it. But I'd say maybe a -2 to hit would be fair. No real point in doing damage subtraction because eventually the damage reduction will become a drop in the bucket, unless you scale it.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-28, 01:16 PM
Well, if the monk isn't attacking with a weapon, he really shouldn't be subject to the weapon breakage thing.

I'm assuming by the softer, you are referring to the option where the player may reroll in exchange for their weapon breaking? A Monk just wouldn't get to re-roll using his fists. No breakage, but no bonus either.

Otacon17
2010-11-28, 02:26 PM
Ah, good point. I know that weapon breakage shouldn't apply to unarmed attacks, but I wanted to have SOME kind of penalty, just so that he didn't have an advantage over the rest of the party. The -2 penalty is what I was originally thinking (justifying it as injuring his hand or something) but I suppose taking away the option to re-roll is equally effective and makes more sense in terms of actual mechanics.

As far as plot goes, the party is currently in Tyr, having just joined up with the local cell of the Veiled Alliance to take down a defiler who's set up base in the nearby desert. I was thinking that the VA would send them on a few missions to get supplies and such in preparation for assaulting the defiler's base, but I'm a bit short on ideas. I was considering maybe having them do some arena fights to raise money, and I have an idea for an ancient ruin they could explore to get some useful items, but I could use some more ideas, if anyone has suggestions. I'd like to use Tyr's Iron Mines somehow, but I can't really think of a reason for them to go there.

By the way, thanks for the help, guys. I'm new here and was kind of nervous to post this thread, but you've been really helpful and I appreciate it.

DontEatRawHagis
2010-11-28, 09:49 PM
I am glad to hear about another person running 4th Dark Sun. I'm running a drop in drop out version of the Fury of the Wastewalker module.


Ah, good point. I know that weapon breakage shouldn't apply to unarmed attacks, but I wanted to have SOME kind of penalty, just so that he didn't have an advantage over the rest of the party. The -2 penalty is what I was originally thinking (justifying it as injuring his hand or something) but I suppose taking away the option to re-roll is equally effective and makes more sense in terms of actual mechanics.

Reckless breakage - Its good to have a person who can't lose their weapons. Especially when you want the party to escape slavery without their gear.


As far as plot goes, the party is currently in Tyr, having just joined up with the local cell of the Veiled Alliance to take down a defiler who's set up base in the nearby desert. I was thinking that the VA would send them on a few missions to get supplies and such in preparation for assaulting the defiler's base, but I'm a bit short on ideas. I was considering maybe having them do some arena fights to raise money, and I have an idea for an ancient ruin they could explore to get some useful items, but I could use some more ideas, if anyone has suggestions. I'd like to use Tyr's Iron Mines somehow, but I can't really think of a reason for them to go there.

What level are they? LvL ones have some good encounters, an Id Fiend is a lvl 1 solo monster from the Creature Catalog. Silt Runners have bloodied my group pretty hard. Reskinning other creatures works well.

Don't fall into the trap of the Veiled Alliance being heroes. I'll warn you now, I am slowly falling into that camp.

Ancient Ruins - Suggestion: Noble Houses will send people down into ruins to collect artifacts(Vordon or Warvir). Place either defiler or psionic imbued artifacts that are enticing enough for them to break the arrangement.

Tyr's mines are filled with little gremlin like creatures(also in Creature Catalog) that constantly harass the miners. The mines are huge and not mapped out well, also the iron is depleting if you choose to use that plot point


By the way, thanks for the help, guys. I'm new here and was kind of nervous to post this thread, but you've been really helpful and I appreciate it.
Good to hear.

KillianHawkeye
2010-11-28, 11:32 PM
Ancient Ruins - Suggestion: Noble Houses will send people down into ruins to collect artifacts(Vordon or Warvir). Place either defiler or psionic imbued artifacts that are enticing enough for them to break the arrangement.

Note: those are merchant houses, not noble houses. That's still a pretty good idea, though.

Otacon17
2010-11-29, 03:29 PM
Played another session last night, and I ended up using quite a few of those suggestions; the VA sent the party to some ancient ruins (the Vault of Wavir mention in the Campaign Setting) to grab some much-needed loot (some minorly-improved weapons and a relevant plot item), and they made a quick stop at the mines, too; they were only there to drop off a package, but some Hejkins happened to attack while they were there.

As far as VA being heroes, it's not necessarily the path I'm taking; right now, it's more of a 'team up against a common enemy' type thing, as both the VA and the party are trying to take down the same group of defilers. They probably won't be around much longer, I'm planning on having a group of Templars raid their current hideout fairly soon.

They are currently level 3, by the way.

Mark Hall
2010-11-29, 03:43 PM
If you want to emphasize some of the rougher aspects of Dark Sun, have their survival days go catastrophically down. Instead of attacking belogi, make it attacking humans with similar powers... but they concentrate on stealing food and water (decreasing survival days) and running away, rather than fighting. Allow them a chance to regain those survival days; either chasing down their adversaries or... creative nutrition... but give them maybe half a session of gut-clenching, pants-wetting terror of "We're going to die of starvation in this godsforsaken wasteland."

Every Dark Sun group needs a moment when they seriously debate who to eat first, and which of their teammates will a) provide the most liquid and b) be easiest to kill for the amount of liquid they provide. If they start eying each other and think about how much bigger their share of rations would be if they lost the half-giant, or precisely how much others would bring if sold at auction, then they're in the Dark Sun mode.

DontEatRawHagis
2010-12-01, 10:29 AM
My suggestion for lowering survival days, put in hazards that will hinder them in combat. In the DS:CS there is a section on desert hazards, example that if you party fails a group Skill check against a Mirage then they will grant combat advantage to all enemys.

Do something like this and then say to them, if you use a survival day your character will lose that detriment.

Example, a player get -2 to attack rolls because they have sand in their eyes from a sand storm, they failed to roll higher than a DC15 on an Endurance check. Either take the -2 or use a survival day('s worth of water to clean out your eyes).

hamlet
2010-12-01, 11:44 AM
If you want to emphasize some of the rougher aspects of Dark Sun, have their survival days go catastrophically down. Instead of attacking belogi, make it attacking humans with similar powers... but they concentrate on stealing food and water (decreasing survival days) and running away, rather than fighting. Allow them a chance to regain those survival days; either chasing down their adversaries or... creative nutrition... but give them maybe half a session of gut-clenching, pants-wetting terror of "We're going to die of starvation in this godsforsaken wasteland."

Every Dark Sun group needs a moment when they seriously debate who to eat first, and which of their teammates will a) provide the most liquid and b) be easiest to kill for the amount of liquid they provide. If they start eying each other and think about how much bigger their share of rations would be if they lost the half-giant, or precisely how much others would bring if sold at auction, then they're in the Dark Sun mode.

Absolutely.

Also required is at least one combat per . . . say . . . three or so sessions where the players suddenly realize they are in WAY over their head. A monster that outclasses them significantly and they either run for their pitiful lives, or they leave at least one party member on the field, watering the sands. It's something that should rattle them to the core, preferably a monster or NPC that they themselves picked a fight with either looking for easy prey or because they were just being flat out stupid.

One of the biggest themes of Dark Sun is death and its imminence.

Kurald Galain
2010-12-01, 12:10 PM
Every Dark Sun group needs a moment when they seriously debate who to eat first, and which of their teammates will a) provide the most liquid and b) be easiest to kill for the amount of liquid they provide. If they start eying each other and think about how much bigger their share of rations would be if they lost the half-giant, or precisely how much others would bring if sold at auction, then they're in the Dark Sun mode.

This, very much.

Whenever the players need to decide to take a 10% to-hit penalty or cross off one of their several "survival days", they don't feel they're in danger. Whenever they're not healing at all because of starvation, and days away from the nearest oasis, and seriously considering killing one another, that's when you have a dangerous campaign world.

Mark Hall
2010-12-01, 02:40 PM
This kinda makes me want to run Dark Sun, with all its viciousness.

Wonder if Dark Sun Deadlands would work...

hamlet
2010-12-01, 02:45 PM
I've been tempted to run it in 2nd edition for a while now.

Mark Hall
2010-12-01, 02:59 PM
I've been tempted to run it in 2nd edition for a while now.

Unfortunately, my heart belongs to C&C. :smallbiggrin:

Otacon17
2010-12-01, 03:31 PM
Thanks for the great ideas, guys! I definitely know how I'm going to implement a lot of this stuff.

So far, still no player deaths... although the minotaur can very, very close the other day; he was only saved by the temporary hit points the bard had granted him earlier.

hamlet
2010-12-01, 04:00 PM
Unfortunately, my heart belongs to C&C. :smallbiggrin:

Meh, it's ok I guess. Just not for me. Ok in certain applications, but I still like 2nd edition best.

Seerow
2010-12-01, 05:06 PM
So, I'm pretty unfamiliar with Dark Sun but after reading this thread, I'm interested.

I went and found a copy of the campaign setting to flip through, and while a lot of it seems interesting, I haven't yet found any mention of the supply points of weapon breaking rules, or sun sickness and the like, being referred here. Is this a relic of the 2e Dark Sun that's being houseruled in, or is it in the 4e book and I just haven't come across it yet? Or is there two Dark Sun books and I just got the one that's more player focused (lots of options for players, the PPs, class variants, character themes, etc)?

Kurald Galain
2010-12-01, 05:09 PM
I went and found a copy of the campaign setting to flip through, and while a lot of it seems interesting, I haven't yet found any mention of the supply points of weapon breaking rules, or sun sickness and the like, being referred here. Is this a relic of the 2e Dark Sun that's being houseruled in, or is it in the 4e book and I just haven't come across it yet?

There's two Dark Sun books in 4E, but the other is the monster manual.

Those things you're looking for are generally footnotes somewhere. In 2E, weapon breakage is an official rule that hinders the players. In 4E, it instead is an optional rule that gives a bonus to the players.

Seerow
2010-12-01, 05:19 PM
There's two Dark Sun books in 4E, but the other is the monster manual.

Those things you're looking for are generally footnotes somewhere. In 2E, weapon breakage is an official rule that hinders the players. In 4E, it instead is an optional rule that gives a bonus to the players.

Thanks. I found the survival rules and am reading through them now. Haven't come across weapon breakage yet, but I'll probably stumble across it eventually.

Otacon17
2010-12-01, 05:19 PM
In 2E, weapon breakage is an official rule that hinders the players. In 4E, it instead is an optional rule that gives a bonus to the players.

That's not quite true... the rule is, essentially, "if you roll poorly (a natural 1), your weapon breaks." There's no bonus there. Sure, there's a soft version that allows you to reroll your attack roll to give you another chance to hit, but it STILL breaks your weapon, and being weaponless is never a bonus.

By the way, Seerow: weapon breakage rules are on page 122, survival days are on page 123, and sun sickness rules are on page 199.

Kurald Galain
2010-12-01, 05:24 PM
That's not quite true... the rule is, essentially, "if you roll poorly (a natural 1), your weapon breaks."

No, the rule is "if you roll a one, you may choose to reroll it. If you don't, nothing happens. If you do, there's a good chance you'll hit, and a slim chance your weapon breaks." And replacing a weapon is very cheap.

true_shinken
2010-12-01, 05:31 PM
No, the rule is "if you roll a one, you may choose to reroll it. If you don't, nothing happens. If you do, there's a good chance you'll hit, and a slim chance your weapon breaks." And replacing a weapon is very cheap.
See? I said 4e was too soft for Dark Sun! :smalltongue:

KillianHawkeye
2010-12-01, 05:46 PM
No, the rule is "if you roll a one, you may choose to reroll it. If you don't, nothing happens. If you do, there's a good chance you'll hit, and a slim chance your weapon breaks." And replacing a weapon is very cheap.

If you take the reroll, weapon breakage is automatic even if you hit, unless you've got a metal weapon. (In that case, the weapon only breaks if the reroll was a natural 5 or lower.)

Otacon17
2010-12-01, 05:49 PM
No, the rule is "if you roll a one, you may choose to reroll it. If you don't, nothing happens. If you do, there's a good chance you'll hit, and a slim chance your weapon breaks." And replacing a weapon is very cheap.

Um, no. Quoting from the Dark Sun Campaign Setting:
Fumbling Breakage
When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll using a nonmetal weapon, the item breaks.

Reckless Breakge
When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll, your weapon has a chance to break. You can accept the result, automatically missing the attack as usual, but keeping your weapon intact. Alternatively, you can reroll. Regardless of the reroll result, a nonmetal weapon breaks once the attack is complete. A metal weapon, however, breaks only if you roll a natural 5 or lower on the reroll.

Note that metal weapons are incredibly rare. Any metal weapon a player finds will most likely be a +6 weapon, so it's not something anyone will get until they are very high-level. And, yes, replacing a weapon IS cheap... if you're replacing a basic one without any pluses (or low-level ones, like +1 or +2), which, at higher levels, will be inferior to the weapon that just broke.

Seerow
2010-12-01, 05:56 PM
By the way, Seerow: weapon breakage rules are on page 122, survival days are on page 123, and sun sickness rules are on page 199.

Thanks. I had already found the sun sickness and traveling, but thanks for the source on the weapon breakage.


No, the rule is "if you roll a one, you may choose to reroll it. If you don't, nothing happens. If you do, there's a good chance you'll hit, and a slim chance your weapon breaks." And replacing a weapon is very cheap.

Yeah that seems a bit off. I'd either make all weapons act like wooden weapons (ie you can choose to reroll, but your weapon breaks for doing so), or force a reroll, 5 or lower your weapon breaks, 10 or lower if your weapon is wooden, but regardless you won't hit with the reroll, the reroll is only to see if the weapon breaks or not.

There's no excuse for making a fumble into a potential hit.

Jukebox Hero
2010-12-01, 06:43 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with the statement that 4e is too soft for Dark Sun. However, one must remember that the DM (you) can alter the rules as you please. If you feel that the players are not truly experiencing the joys (or horrors) that come with the world of Athas, you should feel free to adjust the rules to fit your needs. And should a rules lawyer make an attempt to argue against your rulings, simply make it clear what your intentions are, and that you are merely making sure that the players are fully immersed in the desolation that is Athas.

Remember, the DM may adjust the rules as he pleases...it's just that if you do it too much...the players will never want you to run again, and everyone will have a cruddy time.

Seerow
2010-12-01, 06:54 PM
Also, having read the penalties of sun sickness, I'm not sure how true "4e is too soft for dark sun" really is. You might want to modify it slightly to make it kick in more often, but sun sickness (and subsequent hits) causing you to lose healing surges until you've had a chance to fully recuperate is really rough.

Remember, 4e's resource management is all about the healing surges. You'll have a defender type with 10+ healing surges and a high fort defense, but that squishy psion or rogue with crap for fort defense and only 5-6 healing surges can become a liability quickly.

I'd want to actually run with it before making changes, but eyeballing it, I could see something like survival days simply improving your defense against the sun, rather than making you immune until you run out. You can choose to use up extra survival days to gain a larger bonus, defending yourself better, but there's always that risk for every day of travel of being affected.


Just my two cents.

WitchSlayer
2010-12-01, 07:39 PM
Also, having read the penalties of sun sickness, I'm not sure how true "4e is too soft for dark sun" really is. You might want to modify it slightly to make it kick in more often, but sun sickness (and subsequent hits) causing you to lose healing surges until you've had a chance to fully recuperate is really rough.

Remember, 4e's resource management is all about the healing surges. You'll have a defender type with 10+ healing surges and a high fort defense, but that squishy psion or rogue with crap for fort defense and only 5-6 healing surges can become a liability quickly.

I'd want to actually run with it before making changes, but eyeballing it, I could see something like survival days simply improving your defense against the sun, rather than making you immune until you run out. You can choose to use up extra survival days to gain a larger bonus, defending yourself better, but there's always that risk for every day of travel of being affected.


Just my two cents.

Don't forget that the final effect is that you die, straight up.

Edit: Also, the thing about weapon breakage is, you may not be in a good spot to replace the weapon you just broke.

DontEatRawHagis
2010-12-01, 09:39 PM
There's two Dark Sun books in 4E, but the other is the monster manual.


The Monster Manual is really cool. A lot of the Solos are pretty destructive. Dragon of Tyr is great for Epic. Most of its flavor, since it uses the MM3 organization. The descriptions help out a lot.


No, the rule is "if you roll a one, you may choose to reroll it. If you don't, nothing happens. If you do, there's a good chance you'll hit, and a slim chance your weapon breaks." And replacing a weapon is very cheap.
People have already said this, but:
There are two rules for breakage in 4E Dark Sun. One for always breaking on 1 and one for rerolling on 1.


See? I said 4e was too soft for Dark Sun!
Its optional even if it was MANDATORY a couple DMs will either look it over or house-rule that its not necessary.

As far as 4E Dark Sun being soft, the DM sets the Difficulty, not the Game. Its the DM who makes the encounter. You could make any campaign tough by adding an extra Standard monster or two. Even in 3 or 3.5 a DM can add extra monsters to up the ante. If you think 4E is soft put in a few extra monsters, a sorcerer king can not be killed easily the Dragon of Tyr is enough to TPK a group of fully leveled characters.

Tough_Tonka
2010-12-01, 10:11 PM
Ah, good point. I know that weapon breakage shouldn't apply to unarmed attacks, but I wanted to have SOME kind of penalty, just so that he didn't have an advantage over the rest of the party. The -2 penalty is what I was originally thinking (justifying it as injuring his hand or something) but I suppose taking away the option to re-roll is equally effective and makes more sense in terms of actual mechanics.


I don't recommend just taking away the option to reroll. As someone who's DM'd a Darksun campaign I've noticed having your weapons break for a reroll is more of a boon then a penalty if you're smart enough to bring a spare.

Also if the PCs eventually score a few magic weapons they'll be pretty hesitant to take advantage of that reroll.

true_shinken
2010-12-01, 10:17 PM
As far as 4E Dark Sun being soft, the DM sets the Difficulty, not the Game. Its the DM who makes the encounter. You could make any campaign tough by adding an extra Standard monster or two. Even in 3 or 3.5 a DM can add extra monsters to up the ante. If you think 4E is soft put in a few extra monsters, a sorcerer king can not be killed easily the Dragon of Tyr is enough to TPK a group of fully leveled characters.

Not at all, some systems are definetly deadlier than others. AD&D? A wizard has, at best 6 hit points at first level. And that's with Con 16. Any hit from anyone (say, a local thug with a weapon) could kill him.
16 Con Wizard on 4th edition? He has 26 hit points. That local thug? He is now a minion that hits for 4 points of damage everytime.
Also, rules for environment in 4e are a lot softer than even in 3rd edition.
Older editions of D&D tried to shape the way a world would work within the rules and as such are a lot harsher at lower levels. 4th edition just focuses on the game aspect and couldn't care less that all 1st level player character can take more arrows in the chest than Boromir in the Lord of the Rings movie.
Also, see the Oberoni Fallacy. Just because a DM can houserule it, doesn't mean it's not a problem.

Reverent-One
2010-12-01, 10:34 PM
Also, see the Oberoni Fallacy. Just because a DM can houserule it, doesn't mean it's not a problem.

On the other hand, just because it's not as deadly as you think it should be, doesn't mean it's a problem. Dark Sun is deadlier than the other 4e settings, with tougher monsters and a more dangerous environment, which is the point of the setting.

Otacon17
2010-12-01, 11:00 PM
Well, honestly, I haven't really had a problem with difficulty... like I've said, no one has actually died yet, but we've only had three sessions, and there have been some very, very close calls...

I agree with Hagis about the DM setting the difficulty level. Yes, it's true that some systems are inherently more challenging, but the less challenging systems can be modified to increase the difficulty; it's usually a simple matter of using more monsters. As for that previously-deadly thug becoming a minion, so what? You don't have to use minions; if you want a deadly human thug, you could easily use the stat block of some non-minion human and say, "yeah, this guy is a thug." And if you're trying to kill someone who can take more arrows in the chest than Boromir, well, the solution is simple: shoot some more arrows. Besides, it's not as if PCs being strong means that enemies are weak; the minotaur, who has the highest HP in the party, was almost wiped out in a single turn by a level 3 Hejkin (granted, it was an 'elite' monster, but still).

That being said, I've never played any of the older editions, so I suppose I don't really know what I'm talking about when it comes to how difficult each one is :smalltongue:

Kurald Galain
2010-12-02, 03:17 AM
And, yes, replacing a weapon IS cheap... if you're replacing a basic one without any pluses
Or if, as is the default for Dark Sun, your DM uses inherent bonuses. The thing is that if you have a really expensive weapon, then of course the player isn't going to reroll.


Also, having read the penalties of sun sickness, I'm not sure how true "4e is too soft for dark sun" really is.
The penalties are rather rare. This is true for all diseases in 4E: they may have a very nasty effect as their terminal condition, but given how easy endurance and heal checks are to recover, this is highly unlikely to ever occur.

hamlet
2010-12-02, 08:20 AM
I don't think 4e is "too soft" for Dark Sun. That's misleading.

Rather, I think that some of the underpinning assumptions of the 4th edition ruleset are at odds with what I call the "Dark Sun Ethos." Specifically, 4e assumes that the PC's are heroes and that the campaign is a great epic struggle against evil yadda yadda yadda . . . Athas just isn't a place for heroes anymore. Yes, people might do good things, even sacrifice their lives for causes, but for the most part the people are so jaded and trampled that they will mistrust a hero and most people do whatever it is they do simply to survive and for their own personal reasons.

That's not to say that a heroic type campaign there couldn't be fun, it's just that Athas is, at heart, a brutal, violent, and lethal world that chews "heroes" up and swallows them whole. Fourth doesn't quite play to that angle (and neither did 3.x for that matter).

DontEatRawHagis
2010-12-02, 10:21 AM
Rather, I think that some of the underpinning assumptions of the 4th edition ruleset are at odds with what I call the "Dark Sun Ethos." Specifically, 4e assumes that the PC's are heroes and that the campaign is a great epic struggle against evil yadda yadda yadda . . . Athas just isn't a place for heroes anymore. Yes, people might do good things, even sacrifice their lives for causes, but for the most part the people are so jaded and trampled that they will mistrust a hero and most people do whatever it is they do simply to survive and for their own personal reasons.

That's not to say that a heroic type campaign there couldn't be fun, it's just that Athas is, at heart, a brutal, violent, and lethal world that chews "heroes" up and swallows them whole. Fourth doesn't quite play to that angle (and neither did 3.x for that matter).

This I'm going to have to put under the DM not the Campaign setting.

Most of my players play unaligned(I actually encourage this to avoid alignment debates). They will take jobs from Merchant Houses to raid tombs. They'll then keep what they stole or sell it. No mission given to them is for the greater good, they will help rescue informants and setup assassinations. Never do they have to save a town of pacifists(and never will they find such a town).

I do have to point out though that there are no good aligned characters in the Dark Sun 4E books(as far as NPC stat blocks). Though there were in the 2E books, such as a few who took out Kalak, none of which were Lawful Good however.

Why do you think 3E and 4E cater to heroes? There is a bent I grant you with Monster Manuals, but you don't have to be evil to kill civillians and you don't have to be good to kill Orcus.

hamishspence
2010-12-02, 10:39 AM
I do have to point out though that there are no good aligned characters in the Dark Sun 4E books(as far as NPC stat blocks). Though there were in the 2E books, such as a few who took out Kalak, none of which were Lawful Good however.

It does mention "what do good-aligned characters do when confronted with the slavery issue" in 4E though:


Keeping slaves is not compatible with a good alignment, but doing so does not necessarily make a character evil. Most slave owners are unaligned. Overseers who treat their slaves brutally are definitely engaging in evil acts that should outrage good characters.
The question is whether anything can be reasonably done about the situation. Given how commonplace slavery is on Athas, good characters can't reasonably attempt to free every slave they meet, nor should they recklessly challenge slave owners who are too powerful to overcome.
Good characters should be anguished by the abundance of human misery in civilized areas, however, and they should be dedicated to aiding however they can short of attempting suicidal actions.

AstralFire
2010-12-02, 11:10 AM
Also, see the Oberoni Fallacy. Just because a DM can houserule it, doesn't mean it's not a problem.

I'm getting really tired of this getting thrown around to prove the inverse - just because the DM can houserule it, it doesn't mean it's a problem. What matters most is the difficulty of implementation of the houserule - how quickly it occurs to a person and how easy it is to implement effectively. Difficulty is typically not a criteria of an RPG system that is hard to stack the odds one way or the other; relative balance is.

People appear to be having fun running 4E Dark Sun; let's not decide they're doing it wrong. :smallannoyed:

Mark Hall
2010-12-02, 12:07 PM
People appear to be having fun running 4E Dark Sun; let's not decide they're doing it wrong. :smallannoyed:

But RPGs are srs bzns! People must do it right!

I don't see 4e Dark Sun as being inherently bad or wrong... the very fact that it introduces "survival days" makes it a bunch rougher than regular 4e. I think it could certainly turn into Disney's "Mad Max" in the hands of a DM who wanted it to, but that's not on the RAW, just on the DM.

I view the campaign setting book as a good overview of the setting, and hope that, if they don't release the old books again, they give thought to releasing them as pdfs for people to buy and use for background (I think the biotech stuff from Windriders of the Jagged Cliffs would go over MUCH better with the 4e crowd than it did with the 2e crowd, for example). I've grown disenchanted with 4e, but that doesn't affect the fact that the book is a good introduction to the setting, at probably the best place to start that setting... after the fall of Kalak, when things are shook up from centuries of inertia, without the "clean slate" of post-Prism Pentad.

Tiki Snakes
2010-12-02, 12:39 PM
Also worth noting, the map you get with the campaign setting is really nifty.

Mark Hall
2010-12-02, 04:11 PM
Also worth noting, the map you get with the campaign setting is really nifty.

Yeah, but it doesn't TOUCH the cloth map from the old boxed set.

Gods, we were spoiled. ;-)

hamlet
2010-12-02, 05:10 PM
Yeah, but it doesn't TOUCH the cloth map from the old boxed set.

Gods, we were spoiled. ;-)

That cloth map rocks.

Otacon17
2010-12-02, 07:59 PM
Also worth noting, the map you get with the campaign setting is really nifty.

Oh man, I love that map. The first thing I do whenever I plan to use a location is bust out the map and figure out how long it'll take my players to get there. Also, it is pretty.

But, a cloth map... that DOES sound pretty nifty.

As far as 'heroes' go, my group mostly isn't. The minotaur grew up in the arena and is just looking for a way to satisfy his bloodlust now that Tyr doesn't use it as much as it used to, and the monk and the sorceror are out for vengeance against defilers. The bard is the closest to a hero, and he's just trying to spread music, not save the world.

DontEatRawHagis
2010-12-23, 01:01 PM
Oh man, I love that map. The first thing I do whenever I plan to use a location is bust out the map and figure out how long it'll take my players to get there. Also, it is pretty.

But, a cloth map... that DOES sound pretty nifty.

As far as 'heroes' go, my group mostly isn't. The minotaur grew up in the arena and is just looking for a way to satisfy his bloodlust now that Tyr doesn't use it as much as it used to, and the monk and the sorceror are out for vengeance against defilers. The bard is the closest to a hero, and he's just trying to spread music, not save the world.

Ive only taken out the map once. And that was at the start of the chapter. They are about 2 days travel away from Tyr right now. And are taking a short cut through the mountains. Not on purpose mind you. The players are trying to lose the BBEG.

Right now I have been playing with my Players observations. Everytime they ask me something like, "Can I examine X" even though I don't expect this I act like there is something to it. So when they fail their nature rolls I smile.

They think that a creature they captured is actually a dead king.