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.