Dark Sun Reconstruction Project

(Mr Eco) #1

Heya all, I wanted to show you my work so far about a project I’ve been working for the past few months, that deals with an attempt at bringing Athas to 5e. I’ve named this work (for lack of a better name) Dark Sun Reconstruction Project. It is more like a set of proposed rules and mechanics than a definite rulebook, a modular project if you may, so it can suit any player with a distinct playstyle.

What I hopefully plan to do is, getting the lore, fluff and stuff, and applying it on 5th edition rules. So I’m building classes, backgrounds, mechanics and stuff for 5e based on 2e approaches. It is harder that it looks however, since 2e and 5e utilize different core concepts, one being the asymmetrical vs. balanced powers or the different class design. A wizard in 2e started off as some pathetic weakling, only to reach god-like levels with higher-level spells. In contrast, a wizard in 5e was a capable class at all levels, the only difference from the rest of the other classes being in terms of gameplay.

A note of worth: While most of my work is based on 2e sources, I’ve also consulted 3e, 3.5e, 4e, even home-brewed stuff, to better understand the concept behind a given mechanic or how to better convert a feature or power.

Following, is a list of what I’ve worked on (or still working); there’s plenty of stuff to be done, and I’m going at a slow pace so please bear with me:

As always, your feedback will be much appreciated.

What conversions of Dark Sun to 5e are out there?
(Mr Eco) #2

Heya there, this is to inform you that I’ve included a new link of my latest work, Races of Athas. Do have a look and share any comments or thoughts you may have.

(James) #3

This is amazing! I was looking for this very thing today and found yours. I would be happy to help out with the development if you need another pair of hands?

(Mr Eco) #4

Thanks mate, any feedback would be highly appreciated. So far, I haven’t received much commentary on my work, which can mean two things: either it is so good that nobody complains, or it is so bad that nobody wants to deal with it.

(James) #5

I myself am a traditionalist when it comes to DS I don’t much like what the other editions did to the setting and really like hoe your have gone back to the 2nd ed roots and tried to bring that gritty feel into 5e. I would be happy to collaborate and help bring a full campaign setting into 5e that people can really enjoy.

There is a budding Discord community or Dark Sun fans who want to see it back in 5e. Would you consider coming along to see what others could bring to the table?


I like what you’ve done with the Races so far. They seem pretty balanced but the only question I would have is in regards to the racial features that activate at certain levels. And then only because I don’t think any races work that like currently in 5e.

The gladiator IMO doesn’t need a full on class, or even a subclass for that matter. Generally the Fighter (Champion) works well enough with the current Gladiator background in the PHB.

The Bard’s College of Shadows from Unearthed Arcana might be worth looking into if you haven’t seen it. I think it suits Dark Sun extremely well.

I’ll look through the weapons stuff next.

What is you plan for defiling? I had a tweet or post from Keith Baker about running Dark Sun in 5e and he thought defiling could easily be handled via a wizard’s Arcane Recovery class feature. Either granting additional uses of the ability each day (if you defile) or increasing the effectiveness of the ability (again if you defile).

(Mr Eco) #7

Heya mate, thanks for your time.

There are in fact races in PHB and Volo’s Guide that gain abilities at certain levels (dark elves, tieflings, aasimar, tritons etc.), so I tried to emulate what they did.
Concerning the gladiator, what you propose works fine, too, and I think most people follow this much simpler route. There’s also Gabriel’s take on a distinct gladiator background, as well as mine.
As for the bard, I’ve actually drawn inspiration (if not copied shamelessly) from UA’s Colleges of Glamour and Whispers.

Ah, the dreaded defiling. Actually, I have three concepts governing the use of defiling, plus one that James above mailed me a while ago (which I haven’t had the time to read closely). The one you mention sounds neat, would you be kind enough to link it?

(James) #8

Hey Eco, I think I may have come up with a viable way of having Preserver/Defiling compatible with 5e. i would be interested what you think.


Well I’ll be! You’re right. I never even spotted that in Volo’s Guide.

Concerning defiling, I believe the post was from an online Q&A he did some time ago, but I cannot find it for the life of me. Basically he said he would handle defiling by granting additional uses of Arcane Recovery. The first use is no effect. Additional uses can be attempted but you’re going to need to defile in those cases. That was about it. Simple, streamlined, and not game breaking. And it is very similar to the 2nd edition Revised Boxed Set’s rules.

You could even take it a step further and let wizards attempt it as an action or bonus action during combat, but only if they make an Intelligence check and they would run the risk of losing spell slots on a failure. The Intelligence check would have a DC based on the wizard’s current terrain type.


I’ve been really enjoying this conversion, since Dark Sun is one of the more unique takes on a fantasy world.

Unfortunately I can’t offer critiques on rules or anything but I’ve always enjoyed lore and setting. Regarding Dark Sun, I thought it had a copper piece equivalent in the form of lead beads? I remember seeing that in some Dark Sun stuff I thought.

And looking at the abbreviation you use for ceramic pieces, cp, I think a possible issue there might be that people might inadvertantly confuse ceramic pieces with copper pieces. I’ve seen some Dark Sun conversions use Cp instead of cp to differentiate the two.

Finally, looking at the weapons page, wouldn’t something like “longsword” or “shortsword” be more generally replaced by macuahuitl? They sound a little too normal compared to other Athasian weapons. And I thought the greatsword equivalent in Athas was the halfling sword which is a two handed big macuahuitl?

(Mr Eco) #11

As far as I know, only 3.5 presented Athas with the “equivalent” of copper pieces in the form of lead beads. In no other edition have I noticed such a, weird IMO, currency.

The 2nd edition setting, as well as Dragon’s 3e take abbreviate ceramic pieces as cp (4e did away with the original currency). While new players might get confused of this with copper pieces, I believe any Dark Sun fan would tell the difference. Additionally, copper is not used as currency (you have gold, silver, ceramic, and bits). What you’ve probably seen is 3.5e and Gabriel’s 5e iteration, where Cp is used, instead.

Longswords and shortswords in PHB, and subsequently in my Money and Equipment of Athas, are actually generic terms for swords of any type, shape, and weight that fit their range. Historically, the above terms are ambiguous; I haven’t included any of the “specialized” swords for the sake of convenience, and in accordance to 5e’s simplicity. A macuahuitl is a type of sword tied to a specific culture, in our case the city-state of Draj. You could easily call all the swords that the Draji warriors carry around macuahuitl, but use the stats for longswords. Likewise, the elven tribes craft and use long/shortswords but they would call them elfblades or, in their language, uta.

Bear in mind that I’ve substituted some PHB with athasian counterparts. Carrikal, for instance, fits the role of a battleaxe perfectly, Datchi club is actually a greatclub, and the dreaded Impaler resembles a war pick.

Thanks for your comment, I’d appreciate more feedback!


You’re welcome!

I’ve always enjoyed Dark Sun for just how different it is compared to most other D&D settings, in shaking up the faux-medieval/early Renaissance without firearms that many earlier D&D settings like Forgotten Realms did. That’s what made Eberron interesting to me as well.

I have sometimes heard claims that an issue with Dark Sun is that due to its particular themes that that can limit some campaign adventures or ideas. Do you feel that may be the case or nah?

For Dark Sun, if bits are copper piece equivalents, and ceramic pieces are silver piece equivalents, with silver being the gold equivalent and gold being the platinum equivalent, would that make Dark Sun’s economy more akin to a silver standard instead of gold standard setting (if we compare silver versus gold standards for various settings)?

Since you mentioned you felt lead beads were a strange equivalent for copper pieces, if you were going to use another material to be an equivalent to copper pieces, but keep all the other stuff the same but just bumped up one to be like bits at silver and ceramic at gold, what would you have used instead of lead beads to be equivalent to copper pieces?

As for weapons, I imagine most of the generic weapons are easier to break than the specifically Athasian-named weapons? I understand that was the case in earlier DS stuff, both official & unofficial, I think.

As for armor, since braxat plate is the equivalent of plate armor in the DS campaign setting, would metal plate armor have like an even higher armor class or something?

(Roland Bernier) #13

Hello. I’m new to this site so I will have to get some time to get used to the tools and text formatting …

Im a gm at Dark sun 5 edition.

Here is a templar player class I started, based on the second edition books mainly. I used the 5 edition cleric to compare. (It stated in the second edition that templar get less spells at lower level, but due to the sorcerer-kings library they have access, they get more spells at high levels).

Templar class for Dark Sun Dungeons & Dragons 5 edition

Class : Templar
hit dice : 1D8(or 5) / level
level 1 : 8 + constitution bonus


wisdom : 9
intelligence : 10


skills : choose 2 from :

Athletic (str)
Insight (wis)
Perception (wis)
Intimidation (cha)
Religion (int)
Somatic concealment (dex)

Weapons profiencies

simple weapons
martial weapons

Armor proficiencies


All spheres (cosmos + elemental)

(got to format this …)
Templar level cantrips 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

2 2 2
3 2 3 1
4 2 4 2
5 3 4 3
6 3 4 3 1
7 3 4 3 2
8 3 4 3 3
9 3 4 3 3 1
10 3 4 3 3 2
11 3 4 3 3 2 1
12 4 4 3 3 2 1
13 4 4 3 3 2 2 1
14 5 4 3 3 2 2 1
15 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
16 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18 5 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19 5 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 1
20 5 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2


  • Power over undead (control or destroy)
  • Call upon a slave to do whatever he wants
  • Pass judgement upon a slave at any time

level 2 : Enter legally into a freeman house
level 3 : Requisitionnate soldiers : 1d4 / level (1 level 2 centurian and others level 1 templar)
level 4 : Accuse a freeman of disloyalty
level 5 : gain access to all areas in palaces and temples
level 6 : Draw upon the city treasury for official investigations
Create scrolls
level 7 : pass judgement on a freeman (1 time / week)
level 8 : Create potions
level 10 : can accuse a noble
level 15 : pass judgement on a noble (1 time / week)
level 17 : grant pardon to any condemned man (1 time / week)

Tell me what you think. I know Im missing perhaps some things, but its a start …

(Roland Bernier) #14

I began to convert the sorcerer-kings to 5th edition

I based this on the wizard of the coast Conversions to 5th edition D&D guide and my second edition knowledge and fourth edition stats of the sorcerer-kings in the Dark Sun Creature Catalog

(its a work in progress and only basic stats are there)

I compared to the Out of the Abyss book with Demogorgon stats and I find that Dregoth or Borys could challenge Demogorgon so far…

Level : 20 Dragon
HP : 448
Armor class : 19
Con : 26
Dex : 20
speed : 15 on ground

Level : 20 undead dragon (dracolich ?)
HP : 492
Armor class : 22
Con : 20
Speed : 18 flying

Magic resist : Dregoth got advantage for saving throws vs spells and others magical effects

Borys (Dragon de Tyr)
Level : 22 Dragon
HP : 662
Armor class : 22
Con : 30
Speed : 45 Flying

Magic resist : Borys got advantage for saving throws vs spells and others magical effects

(Mr Eco) #15

Your take is interesting Roland, even though I admit that I haven’t worked on templars or the sorcerer-kings for the simple fact that 1. Templars make for inconvenient PCs, and 2. I never had plans for the PCs to confront any of the sorcerer-kings, so no need to convert them.

Many have stated that templars would be fine as reflavoured warlocks, to differentiate them from the elemental clerics. That said, they could be tailored for NPCs - villains or allies.

A few notes:

  1. Ability score requirements are not necessary. Obviously, a templar character would place its best scores at Int and Wis.
  2. What you’ve presented here is a new class, not a reflavoured one, which I like.
  3. Its traits are bit weird; while they copy the powers from 2e templars, they might feel underpowered in 5e. Unless you can work out social rules, like entering one’s house or accusing others of crimes and/or passing judgements, I can see little effect on gameplay.

Thanks for your time and effort posting your ideas!

(Mr Eco) #16

It all comes down to gaming group preferences, I should say. If yours fancies dungeon crawling, go ahead and have fun crawling into ancient ruins of dangerous secrets! If you’d rather play urban settings, the city-states teem with any kind of adventure ideas - murder mysteries that the templars want to investigate or cover up, the Veiled Alliance trying to thwart the sorcerer-kings’ plans etc. And if you’re into epic adventures, well, the official modules offer this kind of epicness - kill the sorcerer-kings and the dragon of Tyr (among others)! But yea, DS does discourage the usual sort of themes common in other worlds. That was also one of the reasons it stood apart from the rest of the settings.

Actually, gold and silver are the same as in other D&D worlds. If you took an Athasian gold piece, it’d have the same value in the Dalelands or Karameikos (more or less). The thing here is that the standard currency in Athas is the ceramic piece, which is supposedly the equivalent of gold piece, but only to make things easier to translate to. A leatherworker in Baldur’s Gate might earn 2 gp per day; Accordingly, a leatherworker in Raam would earn 2 cp per day. But if you take ceramic pieces outside of Athas, they become useless. Same with Dragonlance: the steel coins are equivalent to gold coins, but they have no value outside of Krynn. What I would say is, treat ceramic pieces as copper, so you could have an easier comparison of economies throughout D&D worlds. Yes, that makes Athas a dirt poor world, with cheap goods, for the common folk. Upper classes would still use silver and gold pieces for their transactions.

About weapons, no such thing was stated; there was instead a rule about certain weapons bearing tiny portions of metal that were easily replaceable, thus keeping their price at minimum. From Revised’s Age of Heroes, pg 54: “Obsidian, bone, and wood weapons are prone to breaking.” Obsidian also meant stone, so the rule encompassed all kinds of weapons. Which is weird, given the wooden weapons made in other worlds never broke (at least, according to core rules).

As for armour, it is stated that types of armour heavier that scale mail must be made with metal components (like chainmail, breastplate, plate etc., Age of Heroes pg 57). That meant half of medium and all heavy would have their price sky-rocketed. I felt it somewhat unfair, given the character types who rely on heavy armour (i.e. fighters) would never get the chance to wear them. There were also descriptions of monsters whose scales, chitins, and bones could be used to fashion armour equivalent to these types. I believe though that these armour types should be rare, due to the creature components being rare themselves, and there’s also the Bulky rule, which makes them highly impractical during daytime.

Thanks for your remarks wellis, I’ll note these down for upcoming updates.

(Roland Bernier) #17


I know I got some work to do.

For the roleplay part, one of my player is a templar. All players are evil aligned (loyal to neutral). Its interesting for a templar to have thoses powers given by their sorcerer kings. There should be others powers also.

In my story, the templar player did an accusation on a guy gambling in a tavern. (prohibited in the city -state of Nibenay).
He got the guy send to the slave pit by his superior and that accusated man is now a slave gladiator…

I like templar to be power hungry like Tithian in the pentalogy of Dark sun Novels and this player like his role too.

Templars have specials spells too, given by their sorcerer-kings. I have to convert them also.

Its a begining. Thanks for your feedbacks


I love your work so far. I will be incorporating a lot of it into my next campaign. Thank you for your hard work!

(Mr Eco) #19

Somehow, I can’t edit my initial post here, hence my reply.
I’ve uploaded the pdf files on Dropbox, where you can download them:
Athasian Bard
Athasian Fighter: The Strategist
Athasian Gladiator
Money and Equipment of Athas
Races of Athas
When I have more stuff to show, I surely will post again. Till then, enjoy!

(Mr Eco) #20

It’s been some time, and I’ve been having some hectic months, but here it is: My take on Wizards of Athas, or better, the practitioners of arcane magic on Athas. You are more than welcome to comment and post your feedback.

Starting off, I’ve gone my usual route of presenting three viable options, to cater for most players. You shall find rules about defiling magic, defilers and preservers as arcane traditions, and as separate classes. I’ve left clerical (or primal) magic out of this paper, due to time restraints. What is also missing is the way for a preserver to turn into defiler, and vice versa. Lastly, what I haven’t included, because I assumed as given (my bad), is that cantrips are too minor spells to affect the ecosystem, thus they neither defile the land nor can they be the subject of defiling magic. I don’t have any plans for introducing the paths to dragon/avangion metamorphosis, as well as the other forms of energy drawing, apart from the Gray. As you can consequently tell, this work is bit unfinished; consider it the first draft of Athasian magic reconstruction.

As always, I design my iterations with 2e in mind. So, no other arcane casters, except wizards, even though the first option can be incorporated in any setting that features wastelands and areas with differing levels of vegetation.

So, option #1 includes rules for defiling under two circumstances, in a similar vein to what Defilers and Preservers introduced: when preparing spells and when casting spells. This option is pretty much self-explanatory, and is the only one that presents some risk when defiling. For the two other options, I’ve opted a more simplified method, as defiling is deeply ingrained in the (sub)class’s power. This option might be the most popular, especially for non-Dark Sun campaigns.

Option #2 deals with what I would consider the most preferred way of playing, the arcane traditions of defiler and preserver. As Athasian wizards do not specialise in schools of magic (only the Original setting contradicts that), they instead follow one of the two available paths from the Threefold Path, the third one being the middle way that both defilers and preservers utilise. Borrowing from the original arcane traditions (how unoriginal), it was actually a simple process. I also made them more focused on respective magic schools (conjuration and necromancy for defilers, aburation and divination for preservers).

Note of worth: in a Dark Sun campaign, it is recommended that characters start at 2nd-level, as the inhospitable wastelands and their hazardous denizens will be overwhelming to total newbies. My reconstruction project is designed under this notion.

Option #3 is the closest to 2e feel, but was also the most troublesome. Due to lack of available resources, I had to improvise and use my imagination, with a little bit of inspiration from the various editions, as well as homebrewed sources, to work on the two classes. As mentioned, the defiler and the preserver are actually reworked sorcerer and wizard, respectively. In fact, the whole defiling concept was inspired from the sorcerer’s font of magic feature. For the dragon path, I borrowed from the dragonborn race and the sorcerer origin. Likewise, the avangion path borrows many features from the paladin class, and also bears a modified channel divinity feature. The necromancer path is similar to the necromancer arcane tradition, and the restorationist path looks like a cleric/lore master breed.

Homebrewery works best with Chrome. I’ve also included a Dropbox pdf file, in case you’re not fond of Chrome.