Burning...sand...hot..sun, something?

The name can use some work...

Apparently this is the first page you get to when you visit here, so here it is.

Right now, this isn’t so much a game or campaign as it is a place for me to put rules conversions for a tentative campaign (and or anyone else who wants to use them, I suppose).

So head over to the wiki home page to see what’s there, and feel free to follow the campaign if you want updates.

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Arcane Magic updated

Probably the most involved part of this conversion is done: Arcane Magic

Defiling/Preserving

What I was going for here was to emulate the general Defiling/Preserving dichotomy from the original game, while actually having rules support for the idea from the game fiction (and the recent 4th Edition D&D) that Preservers have the ability (and the temptation) to defile for quick and dirty magic. Defiling is presented as the “natural state” of arcane magic while Preservers actually need to take extra steps to do things the right way.

The fact that Defilers don’t have any Difficulty associated with their spells is a major boon to them, and one that gets higher as their magic gets more powerful. I basically threw game balance out the window with this, which I’m OK with, because high-level Defilers are better intended as major antagonists and not player characters. If you’re thinking about having PC Defilers, you might want to dial that back to “spells have half Difficulty” in order to stop it from being a no-brainer choice.

Levels? Spell Slots?

Removing character levels from the game is one of the main design goals I have here, though magic itself has an intrinsic level system, using the spell’s Intensity. The compromise of magicians having to buy their way up Intensities and expanding their daily spell slots with the Spells advantage actually makes things less class-ish in my mind, since a character might take the bare minimum of casting ability in order to dabble in magic, while the alternative would be something like a 5-point “Arcane Magician” advantage that would be a high bar that characters would only both taking if they were going to be dedicated magicians.

Other Supernatural Stuff

Elements of this system are going to find their way into Psionics and other magic-like powers. Just about everyone is going to have powers with Difficulty equal to their Intensity, though the spellbook flexibility of arcane casters here is going to be their “thing.”

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An Attempt at Map-Free Combat

I’ve just added a section to the Systems wiki page, tentatively called Position Combat. This is entirely personal preference based and not really tied to Dark Sun at all, but the goal is to be able to more readily run combat scenes on the fly without needing a scaled map, while still allowing everyone to have the kinds of tactical choices during a fight that you usually associate with map-based game systems.

Full confession: I sketched out the first bits of this system before someone pointed me in the direction of 13th Age, which is turned out to be really similar to what I was working on. If I’d have read that first, I might have stolen adapted more of it, but the way it is, I’m probably going to give straight 13th Age a try anyway.

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Bones, Stones and Obsidian, Oh My
Weapon materials, love 'em or hate 'em

This is possibly a little too in-the-weeds for a lot of people, but I loved figuring out all the ins and outs of weapon materials back when the first Dark Sun boxed set came out, and I think I made it simpler here to figure out which weapons are best made from iron and which ones can be improvised well enough with other materials.

I do want to avoid the possibility of “trap” choices here, so I’ll eventually have a cheat sheet of sorts that outlines all the weapons in all the materials, omitting those which are just clearly bad options, but for now, the basic strategy is that anything that’s sharper than it is heavy is best done with obsidian, anything heavier than it is sharp should be stone, and wood or bone weapons are for people too broke to afford either.

Laying out all the crazy Dark Sun weapons and their associated Martial Paths is probably going to be next, but it also might kill me

So…check it out: Weapon Materials

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Psionic Stuff

So, on to the next big topic of supernatural stuff, psionics. I had a couple goals I was shooting for here. First, I want psionics to feel different from magic; I think that 2nd Edition D&D had that going for it really well, but the system was all kinds of obnoxious, while 3rd and 4th Editions had a less obnoxious system that was very samey with magic, highlighting one of the setting weaknesses with Dark Sun (how can all these superstitious illiterates tell the difference between preserver magic and psionics, and why are they cool with the latter?), which ties into my second goal, to make psionics literally a part of daily life on Athas beyond just having a lot of wild talents roaming around out there. And third, there were things that were really neat concepts from early-edition D&D that I wanted to bring back in a less painful way.

So, first off, the Psionics section starts with Psionic Potential, detailing a new character stat that shows the impact of psionics on every conscious being. Anyone with a mind is vulnerable to psionic attack, though unless you’re using powers, it’s a pretty slow and inefficient way to actually hurt someone. This moves into Psionic Combat, where I’m adapting that whole “attack mode, defense mode” system from earlier D&D, but broaden it out so it isn’t just a subset of Telepathy (though it’s still really important for Telepaths because it’s still used to open minds and make them vulnerable to manipulation).

And finally, the section on Psionic Powers. Things are split up into the five psionic disciplines, like in 2nd Edition D&D, and powers are categorized as sciences and devotions as well. But rather than being just more powerful, sciences are the signature powers of the discipline. I’m trying for a telekinetic to seem less like someone using a power and more like someone who simply can move things with their minds, so sciences scale upward in Intensity while devotions are more like spells, with a set power level and limited scope.

I’m also trying to avoid the whole “power points” thing here, so instead, I’ve added a mechanic similar to the weapon breakage rule that makes every power usage slightly risky.

Of course, what’s missing here are the powers themselves; I have no intention of converting every single one, just like with spells, but I do want to throw out some examples next.

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Miscellaneous New Stuff

I made a few additions, some of which will require edits to existing rules articles, but hey.

First, I’ve made an initial pass at writing up some psionic powers, so check out Psionic Disciplines. I have a handful of psychokinetic sciences up; these are admittedly incredibly large in scope by design. I basically want, say, telekinesis to be just something a character does, like fighting or walking, whereas magic is a set of specific spells with specific effects. What I don’t know at all is how valuable these sciences should be point-wise, which I hope to work out in playtesting.

I’m also going to be switching up devotions somewhat. Instead of being “lesser” powers, devotions are going to be sort of specific, slightly different implementations of sciences. So, the Telekinesis science lets you move pretty much anything besides yourself, therefore Levitate is a devotion that lets you move your own body like you do an object.

I’ve also added a small article that addresses something that was somewhat missing in the Reign rules and comes into play a lot with the psychokinesis discipline: [[Object Size & Structure | object size and durability]]. I’ve leaned heavily on World of Darkness and Wild Talents to fill gaps here, but I think it makes for a good all-purposes “breaking stuff” system, which I’m going to go back and adapt into the weapon breakage system.

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Poison

OK, this one ended up being bigger than I thought, but the result is cool and more useful than just for poisons. This is mainly for bards, being experts at the use and creation of poisons, but it also applies to other groups that use poisons (I’m thinking of halfling tribes and their hunting darts, for example).

This is supposed to be useful in a more simple capacity – the GM could make a number of poisons available using these rules, or, more complicated, an herbalist character can spend time developing their own formulas with skill and with the Poisoner’s Heart discipline.

Brewing Poisons

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