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08 January 2015 @ 09:40 am
Dark Sun: Exalted edition  
Maybe it's the fact that my read-through of all the Dark Sun books is almost done, but lately I've been thinking about running a Dark Sun game using the Exalted rules. Bleeding, permanent crippling, infection, environmental damage, and weapons and armor granular enough that it's possible to model the "metal is rare" and increasing scale of wood < stone < bone < obsidian < metal weapons without much trouble. There's even a great list on Athas.org of a ton of armor types made from chitin, wood, leather, monster bits, and so on to steal from. I never thought D&D of any sort was a great fit for Dark Sun's hardscrabble survivalist brutality.

I've given a bit of thought in how to translate the interesting parts of Dark Sun over to the mechanics, too.

Races
This is easy. I can use Revlid's Mutation Revisions and build them all out that way, the way I did for standard D&D in my Dungeons and Exalts post. That'll take maybe 30 minutes at max.

Psionics
This one is easy conceptually, but would take time. Basically, Exalted's Charm structure makes it easy to make psionic power cascades. A Telepathy one starting with Contact and everything branches off that, a Psychometabolism one starting with Biofeedback, a Psychokinetic one starting with telekinesis, and so on. Or maybe two or three entrance points into each tree. That's similar to how the Complete Book of Psionics worked, and it's how Exalted's Charms work too, so they're a natural fit.

Also, I could use the Essence stat as a measure of psionic power, to emphasize how central psionics is in Athas. And I can even keep Exalted's supernatural martial arts by stealing the fluff of the sensei kit from The Will and the Way and recasting them as psionic fighting styles. The elemental focus of martial arts even fits Dark Sun's fluff, too. Anything that leads to less work needed for a project like this is good in my book.

Magic
This one is a bit harder. The way I'm thinking of it now is to assume that all magic is basically the same (no arcane/divine split) and requires external power, but priests and druids get theirs from powerful entities and wizards have to draw energy out of living things. They'd draw on the same spells, then, but wizards would get a wider selection with a side order of witch-burnings.

I could do it in WFRP-style spell lores, divided into three circles each. So, the Lore of Fire for fire clerics, with...I don't know, Torch Circle, Bonfire Circle, and Inferno Circle, with five spells or so per circle. Then Lores for the other three elements and the para-elements (Sun, Rain, Silt, and Magma). Elemental priests get all three circles of their element and the first circle of a related element. Druids get the Lore of Animals and the Lore of Plants and the Lore of one related element, and pick one at three circles, one at two, and one at one. Templars get anything their sorcerer-king deigns to give them, which makes them a lot more powerful and versatile, but it's that way in the original source material too, plus they're tied into their city-state hierarchy and all the backstabbing and treachery that comes with it.

Wizards get anything with no restrictions, including stuff that no one else can get like the Lore of the Dead (making undead creatures, surviving death, etc.), the Lore of the Spheres (traveling to other planes), the Lore of Enchantment (enchanting items, which would be a wizard-only thing), and probably some other stuff, but have to deal with witch-burnings and their existence being illegal basically everywhere. Get the Larceny and Performance skills and pretend to be a mindbender or a priest.

Unlike the source, I wouldn't bother to mechanically distinguish preservers and defilers beyond modeling spellcasting, where it would be the same except preservers would take longer to cast their spells and defilers would leave ash behind. If not leaving black ash everywhere were an easy choice, then Athas wouldn't be a blasted desert hellscape, now would it?


It seems like it would work really well, yet as with many of these ideas I have, the main thing that puts me off is the writing. I just spent a couple dozen hours writing down all the Dragon-Blooded Charms and applying the various layers of errata to get a single PDF with all the Charms in it that doesn't require flipping through multiple books so that I could run that Ollantijaya game I mentioned a while ago, and do I want to start another project immediately? It could work, but it would take work.

Well, that and I already have a couple dozen complete RPGs that require less tinkering that I could run, once I have time for another game. It's true that I like RPG tinkering for its own sake, but I'll just faff around forever messing with projects unless I set some limits.
 
 
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marianlhmarianlh on January 8th, 2015 05:17 pm (UTC)
It sounds like a pretty cool idea, but yeah, it'd probably be a lot of work.

But I'd play it. ^_^
dorchadas: Pile of Dicedorchadas on January 8th, 2015 08:19 pm (UTC)
Yay! (^_^)b

it'd probably be a lot of work.

I'm starting to realize that this is the unifying factor for a lot of my game ideas...