Defilement 5e Conversion?


(Nicholas Dean) #1

Has anyone come up with a suitable system for defilement and preserving magic for 5e yet? I would like to see a universal ruling for any caster type class such as the Eldritch Knight (Fighter) and Arcane Trickster (Rogue) so that they could still be a viable option in my 5e campaign.


(Al Lajeunesse) #4

I got a simple one:
Defiling Magic (Wizard; Inspiration Rule)
On his turn, a Wizard (including Eldritch Knight & Trickster Rogue) can choose to take a bonus action to defile the land. Defiling cause the ground to turn to ashes and all nonmagical plants to die in a 10 ft radius around him. When doing so, he gains a point of Inspiration. However, you are still subject to the Gaining Inspiration rules.


(Al Lajeunesse) #5

For the Path of the Defiler and Preserver, i’m fine if they are build as Tradition but that’s limit other nice tradition. I could see however a feat for either a Master Defiler and Master Preserver.


(Nicholas Dean) #6

Those are pretty good ideas too that I hadn’t really given much thought to. My main objective was to do Defilement justice from the old rule systems where the very act of Defiling actually made your spells more powerful at the cost of destroying the flora/fauna and the land itself around you. I will look into revamping it a bit.

As for the Path of the Defiler or Path of the Preserver Traditions I am still working on them when I have time and may just take the above ideas and expand upon them for the Wizard traditions that they should be labeled under.

Ty for your feedback!


#7

Here was my attempt at Preserving/Defiling. I didn’t complete all the optional rules but as far as I can recall, my aim was to very directly draw from 2e defiling/preserving without regard to class or brevity. Though it’s not particularly cumbersome once you get used to it, the mechanics are somewhat verbose. Really though, you basically:

  1. Draw Mana
  2. Calculate Draw Radius
  3. Make Ability Check (Draw Check, which you may intentionally fail).
  4. Success = Draw as Bonus Action/Failure = Draw as Action
  5. Get Preserving Dice
  6. Spend Preserving Dice to cast Spell (in addition to other costs).

Defiling is the same except you always draw as Bonus Action and you take Necrotic Damage on a failed Draw Check. When you use only Defiling Spell Dice to cast a Spell the Spell Attack has Advantage and any save against it has Disadvantage.

Arcane Magick is fueled by the vital life-force of living beings on Athas. This force is called ‘Mana.’ In order to cast any Arcane Spell, one must first Draw Mana. Normally, one can only Draw Mana from one’s self and from Flora, because Flora normally do not retain individuated egos. With certain Materials however, one can also Draw Mana from Fauna other than one’s self.
There are two ways to Draw Mana, Preserving and Defiling. Preserving Draws Mana slowly, gathering only as much Mana as living beings are willing to part with and collecting it into an Arcanist’s Mana Pool.
Defiling, on the other hand, rips away other beings’ Mana against their will, drawing it greedily and crippling or killing the beings it takes from. Defiling is also potentially dangerous to the Defiler themself. Normally, when one Defiles, all Flora is destroyed in a sphere around them and thenceforth, that area can no longer support life. However, there is also a chance the Defiler cannot get enough energy from their surroundings and end up Drawing Mana from themselves to make up the difference, harming themselves in the process.
Because Defiling is easier and can potentially bequeath more power unto an Arcanist, it has often been abused by those seeking a short-cut to power. Thus has Defiling rendered Athas largely desolate over the millennia and resulted in Defilers being universally reviled by the common-folk of Athas. Likewise, all Arcanists suffer from a stigma associated with their craft because most Athasians view Arcanists, at best, as untrustworthy and at worst, as ticking time-bombs.

Preserving:
Preserving is the default way of Casting Arcane Spells on Athas. To do so, you must first Draw Mana from Flora within a Draw Radius equal to Spell Level x Terrain Modifier. You may attempt to Draw Mana anytime you can take an Action.
To Draw Mana, make an Ability Check using your highest Ability Score from amongst Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma against a DC of 10 + Spell Level + Terrain Modifier. This Check has Advantage in Verdant Terrain and Disadvantage in Desolate Terrain. If your Ability Check is successful, you may Draw as a Bonus Action. If your Ability Check is unsuccessful, you must spend your Action that turn Drawing Mana. Either way, the Drawn Mana goes into your Mana Pool in the form of Preserving Spell Dice (d4).
Once you have Spell Dice in your Mana Pool, you may then expend any number of them on any of your turns (potentially including the turn you Draw on if you succeed on your Ability Check) by using your Action to Cast a Spell of Spell Level less than or equal to the number of Spell Dice currently in your Mana Pool.
When you Cast a Spell, subtract the number of Spell Dice you used to Cast it from your Mana Pool and retain the difference (if any), which you may then use to Cast subsequent Spells until your Mana Pool empties. Though you don’t need to expend Spell Dice from your Mana Pool to Cast Cantrips at their normal Spell Level, you still need to have a reserve of at least 1 Spell Die in your Mana Pool to Cast them.
You may only Draw a number of Spell Dice at one time up to the current maximum Spell Level amongst Spells you can Cast. The maximum number of Spell Dice your Mana Pool can hold at a time is determined by how many Spell Dice you would need to expend to use every Spell Slot available to you before needing to take a Long Rest. Your Mana Pool empties automatically after you take a Long Rest.
Example: You are a 6th Level Caster and you choose to Preserve. You take an action to Draw 3 Preserving Spell Dice of Mana in Desolate Terrain. You make your Ability Check but fail to roll above the DC of 19 (10 + 3 Spell Levels + 6 for Desolate Terrain). Thus, your Action is expended that turn but you now have 3 Preserving Spell Dice in your Mana Pool. Next turn, you cast a 1st Level Spell and your Mana Pool now has 2 Preserving Spell Dice in it. The turn after that, you cast a 2nd Level Spell and your Mana Pool empties. Now, you must Draw Mana again before you can cast anymore Spells.

Defiling:
Defiling is an alternative way of Casting Arcane Spells on Athas. To do so, you must first Draw Mana from Flora within a Draw Radius equal to Spell Level x Terrain Modifier. You may attempt to Draw Mana anytime you can take an Action.
To Draw Mana, make an Ability Check using your highest Ability Score from amongst Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma against a DC of 10 + Spell Level + Terrain Modifier. This Check has Advantage in Verdant Terrain and Disadvantage in Desolate Terrain. If you fail your Draw Check, you take 1 Necrotic Damage per Character Level + 1 Necrotic Damage per Spell Level. You automatically Draw Mana as a Bonus Action regardless of the result of your Ability Check but all Flora dies within the Draw Radius. After this, the Drawn Mana goes into your Mana Pool in the form of Defiling Spell Dice (d4).
Once you have Spell Dice in your Mana Pool, you may then expend any number of them on any of your turns (including the turn you Draw on) by using your Action to Cast a Spell of Spell Level less than or equal to the number of Spell Dice currently in your Mana Pool.
When you Cast a Spell, subtract the number of Spell Dice you used to Cast it from your Mana Pool and retain the difference (if any), which you may then use to Cast subsequent Spells until your Mana Pool empties. Though you don’t need to expend Spell Dice from your Mana Pool to Cast Cantrips at their normal Spell Level, you still need to have a reserve of at least 1 Spell Die in your Mana Pool to Cast them. Whenever you expend a number of Defiling Spell Dice equal to the total number of Spell Dice expended to Cast a Spell, you gain Advantage on the Spell Attack roll for that Spell and you impose Disadvantage on any Save made against that Spell.
Defiled Terrain counts as Desolate Terrain if another attempt to Draw Mana is made anywhere within it. If another attempt is made to Defile within Defiled Terrain, the radius of the Defiled Terrain is additively increased.
You may only Draw a number of Spell Dice at one time up to the current maximum Spell Level amongst Spells you can Cast. The maximum number of Spell Dice your Mana Pool can hold at a time is determined by how many Spell Dice you would need to expend to use every Spell Slot available to you before needing to take a Long Rest. Your Mana Pool empties automatically after you take a Long Rest.
Example: You are a 6th Level Caster and you choose to Defile. You take an action to Draw 3 Defiling Spell Dice of Mana in Desolate Terrain. You make your Ability Check but fail to roll above the DC of 19 (10 + 3 Spell Levels + 6 for Desolate Terrain). You still Draw as a Bonus Action, adding 3 Defiling Spell Dice to your Mana Pool and killing all Flora in the Draw Radius of 21 Yards (3 Spell Dice x 7 for Desolate Terrain). You now have 3 Defiling Spell Dice in your Mana Pool and, because you failed your Draw Check, you take 9 Necrotic Damage (6 Character Levels + 3 Spell Dice). On your Action, you cast a 2nd Level Attack Spell, expending 2 of your Defiling Spell Dice to do so. This Spell receives Advantage on the Spell Attack and imposes Disadvantage on the Spell Save because you only expended Defiling Spell Dice to Cast it. You now have 1 Defiling Spell Dice remaining in your Pool. On your next turn, you choose to Preserve. You use your Action to Draw 3 Preserving Spell Dice of Mana in Desolate Terrain. You make your Ability Check and succeed this time, allowing you to Draw as a Bonus Action and add 3 Preserving Spell Dice to your Mana Pool. You now have 3 Preserving Spell Dice and 1 Defiling Spell Die in your Pool, for a total of 4 Spell Dice. Since you still have your Action, you then use it to cast a 3rd Level Attack Spell, using 1 Defiling Spell Dice and 2 Preserving Spell Die. You do not gain Advantage on the Spell Attack or impose Disadvantage on the Spell Save because not all of the Spell Dice you expended to Cast your 3rd-Level Attack Spell were Defiling Spell Dice. However, you are now out of Defiling Spell Dice and only 1 Preserving Spell Die remains in your Mana Pool. On your next turn, you expend your last Spell Die to Cast a 1st-Level Spell. On your next turn, you MUST Draw Mana again before you can cast anymore Spells.

VARIANT RULES:
Old School Defiling: To use this Variant, you must re-roll Initiative every Round of Combat to determine Turn Order. After you make your Draw Check, any creature within the Draw Radius makes a Constitution Save against a DC equal to the result of your Draw Check. If a creature within the Draw Radius fails its Constitution Save, it takes a Penalty on its Initiative equal to the number of Spell Dice you drew.

Obsidian: Any creature caught in the Draw Radius makes a Constitution Save against a DC equal to the result of the Ability Check. If the Save fails, that creature takes Necrotic Damage equal to 1 per Character Level (or per Hit Dice for Monsters) + 1 per Spell Level.

Trees of Life: ???

Magic Items: ???

Regeneration/Purification/Absolution: Some ability to make Preserving Spell Dice usable as more than just a resource.

Healing: Like whenever you cast, if all your Dice are PSD, you can expend extra ones perform Healing abilities on yourself or allies or the land.

Purification: the Land by expending 2 PSD to purify the effect of 1 DSD of Defiled Terrain as a ritual, the length of which is determined by how many PSD are expended.

Regeneration: Using all PSD allows one Ally in Range to shrug off a condition like disease or poison. Using additional PSD allows yourself and allies to expend HD as a Bonus Action, and add the result of rolling your PSD to it as either real or temp. HP.

Absolution: You may expend X PSD to Absolve a Repentant Defiler of Y thing Heals corruption.

Corruption: When you Defile, you run the risk of Corrupting yourself. Anytime you expend only Defiling Spell Dice to Cast a Spell, you may choose to further augment your Spell by expending more Defiling Spell Dice. When you do so, you may choose to either roll the additional expended Defiling Spell Dice and add it as extra Necrotic Damage to your Spell or you may expend Defiling Spell Dice to add any Metamagick Effects you know without using a higher Spell Slot to do so. You must make a Wisdom Save against a DC of 10 + Spell Level + 1/2 your Corruption Score.

In addition to the normal Effects of Defiling, you may choose to apply any Metamagick Effect you know without paying its normal cost. If you do, you calculate what the Adjusted Spell Level would be after applying whatever Metamagick Effects and, you use this Spell Level when calculating your Draw Radius. When you Cast a Spell in this way, you do expend a Spell Slot equal to the Spell Level or higher but do not increase the Spell Level for using Metamagick effects.
Instead of the normal penalties for Defiling, the Draw Radius now equals 10 feet x the Spell’s Adjusted Level x Terrain Modifier and you make a Wisdom Save against a DC 10 + the Spell’s Adjusted Level + 1/2 your Corruption Score. Failure results in you gaining 1 Point of Corruption.
Corruption Points stay with you and can only be removed at the DM’s discretion, typically through an Atonement Spell or Quest for Redemption. Consult the chart below for the effects of Corruption.


(Nicholas Dean) #8

While that is a very interesting system for Defilement, I am looking to stay in line wirh a more streamlined version for defilement. The previous idea of either an inspiration mechanic or feat was interesting as well but I am also looking to keep the original flavor of defilement to offer much more power at a great risk. Dark Sun has always been an extreme setting with extreme danger and I still want my 5e conversion to reflect that.

I will be looking into revamping my original post a bit within the week. I really like the idea of having a defiler and preserver Tradition for wizard, but I believe I am also going to make a general set of defiling rules that will be applicable to all arcane classes and archetypes (even for Wizards who follow other more classic traditions)

The three main things I look to incorporate into the general defiling rules are:

  1. Simple and streamlined rules
  2. Powerful options to all arcane classes, tradition, and archetype
  3. Very dangerous to the caster (1 or 2 damage per spell level is not enough tp account for the power gained in the use of defilement)

#9

Oops, I also forgot to include the ‘Terrain Modifier’ chart that goes with that. Apologies if this doesn’t line up right, I don’t know how to use a table on this forum yet.

Terrain Modifiers
Terrain Types /Draw Radius /Ability Check DC
Verdant /1 Yard / -5 (Advantage)
Lush /2 Yards / -3
Fertile /3 Yards /-1
Fallow /4 Yards / 0
Infertile /5 Yards /+2
Barren /6 Yards /+4
Desolate /7 Yards /+6 (Disadvantage)

I understand the desire for brevity, my system was actually a reaction to a now defunct thread from WotC forums where people were playing with 5e rules for this as well. There were a number of good and briefer designs, and I think you can still find some, like cyber-dave’s on ENworld and elsewhere. Mine was meant as an option for people who really enjoyed the old system and would scale and branch into other interesting design areas. I chose the Preserving/Defiling Dice mechanic because it opened up a lot of fun ‘rider’ effects that could be implemented through class features, spells, powers, feats and alternative rules by giving you a resource pool rather than a strict bonus/penalty.

Good luck with the mechanics, feel free to use anything from my draft. I’ll be sticking with and developing this system whenever I get around to playing more.


(Nicholas Dean) #10

Ok so after a long hard look at what I had already done and the suggestions given I was inspired to break out my old books and refresh myself on what options were presented in 2e. I have done a good bit of typing here.

I decided to go with Defiler and Preserver as a wizard tradition since Athas/Dark Sun explicitly says that THERE IS NO SUCH THING as Specialist Wizards in the world of Athas.

For the most part the class remains unchanged but the two Traditions are reworked and twisted to fit better into 5e. I also came up with the general rules for defilement which you can also find within this link I am about to post. I also looked into the Gathering Spell Energy from the Preservers/Defilers handbook from 2e and decided to go with a little bit of a streamlined version of it as well…similar to your drawing from the land and just renamed it “The Reaping.” It too is detailed within the link I am going to provide here. Please have a look over everything. It is in a rough draft form and I will be editing it over the course of the next few days for typos and redundancies. Hopefully everyone likes it.

Exiled_Architect’s 5e Defiler/Preserver Traditions and General Defilement Rules


(Nicholas Dean) #11

@Fallen I just realized after reading my old books that Dark Sun does not allow other Traditions for Wizard. It is only Defiler or Preserver. If you are interested check out my last post and the link to get a good idea of what I have worked out with it. I just feel like Defiler magic should be much more scary and powerful than just something a feat or inspiration mechanic would allow for. I have always loved how dangerous Dark Sun is and want to make sure my 5e conversion conveys that aspect that I do not wish to lose in my games. I do appreciate your suggestions though brudda! Thank you and I hope you enjoy what I did with the Wizard Class :smiley:


(Al Lajeunesse) #12

The interesting part is that in the book Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas, starting at page 41, a lot of cool Kits (aka similar to 5E Traditions) were presented. Many Kits let you choose between Defiler or Preserver. So the “5E inclusive” way I see it:

  • All Wizards have access to the lure of Defiling and some kind of 5E Traditions do exist. Either we convert the kit of old or we simply go with “standard” traditions. I tend to go with 5E standard + cool cosmetics.

(Nicholas Dean) #13

Page 21 of the Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas states “There are no specialist wizards on Athas, though different types of spells are still classified by schools of magic. Due to the restrictions placed on magic over
the centuries, wizards have a hard enough time learning spells—and no opportunity or method for specializing in a certain field of study”

While I do agree that some kits do represent normal Traditions: Necromancer, Cerulean (Evocation), and Illusion. Nearly all of the other Kits would require a rework and custom set of rules as they do not represent any of the Traditions from the Player’s Handbook or other source books released thus far. The Defiler and Preserver traditions I have already elaborated upon would be the most common of the possibilities and excel at either Defilement or Preserving. As for the three that more closely relate to standard 5e (Necromancer, Cerulean/Evoker, and Illusion) they could be used easily and still have the option of the General Defilement Rules I presented in my link above. The other Kits however I will have to work on and come up with appropriate Tradition Abilities as I do not think they can even be reflavored from any of the standard 5e, which is fine in my opinion. Dark Sun has always stood apart from all versions of Dungeons and Dragons editions and standard rules and I intend to keep with the original format of Dark Sun. 4th Edition messed with alot of what made Dark Sun what it is to me. I would like to see something much closer to the Dark Sun I was introduced to when I was a kid and have always loved the limitations of class and race choices given in the original setting.


(Chris Flipse) #14

The big problem that I have with casting Preserving / Defiling as subclass choices is that it mechanically limits you to one path or the other. This makes it impossible to represent a character like Sadira (pre-sun-wizard), who toes the line and has been known to situationally defile when the need arises. That’s something that’s always been important to me.

Yes, you can look at D&P and take as gospel the idea that no specialist wizards exist. However, DS1 did not have any such restriction.

Dark Sun preservers are treated just as the mages
described in the Player’s Handbook. They may spe-
cialize freely. A preserver who has an Intelligence
score of 16 or higher gains a 10 percent bonus to
the experience points he earns. In all cases where the
rules here don’t contradict them, the rules about
mages in the Player’s Handbook should be used.
– DSRB, page 28

Point being that specialization is a mechanical aspect of the system, and I prefer to gravitate towards representing the fiction, rather than figuring out how to represent the limitations of 2nd edition.

Falling back on the idea of subclasses to represent defiling and preserving not only cuts off the ability to represent parts of the established fiction, it also cuts off or complicates the impliementation of various magical subclasses for rogues and fighters, which I’d like to avoid.


(Nicholas Dean) #15

After looking more into the DnP I made the decision to allow certain already established traditions to be renamed for flavor to represent some of the kits. Some of the traditions though I will be keeping out of the conversion. The other kits presented in DnP will eventually be converted (as time allows on my end). The current defiler rules I converted do allow for rogue, fighter, and other arcane possibilities. I still took defiler and preserver as the main two traditions for Wizard. In my version they are not limited to one or the other type of magic, but they excell at either Defiling or Preserving over the other Traditions and subclass choices that will be coverted. The link I had provided has the converted Preserver and Defiler Tradition but also has another link contained within the document for my version of General Defilement Rules which makes it clear that it is usable among all arcane classes and arcane sub-classes from Fighter and Rogue.


(Nicholas Dean) #16

Just to give you guys more of an idea of what I have come up with for the Dark Sun to 5e Conversion.

  1. Yes I converted Defilers and Preservers into an Arcane Tradition BUT I did not disallow the use of Defilement or Preservation to just these two traditions; They merely excel at one or the other. I decided after reading the D&P to allow the following traditions as well: Evoker (reflavored to Cerulean), Illusionist, and Necromancer. Defiler and Preserver I just look at as the most classic choice for a Dark Sun Wizard and they have unique abilities represented in the link I had provided above.

  2. My conversion still allows the arcane subclasses for Rogues and Fighter; in addition I also allow Sorcerer and Warlock, both of which can benefit or suffer from the use of Defilement. I am mainly allowing these classes and choices to keep from limiting player choices too much.

Lastly to see my conversion for the General Rules on Defilement here is a separate link, which is actually contained within the first link I had posted. I am mainly placing it here on its own so you don’t have to dig through the other link for it.

Exiled_Architect’s General Defilment System/Gathering Spell Energy/Corruption Rules


#17

Hi I was under the Impression that the only other plane connected to Athas are the Elemental planes? How would Warlocks be able to make pacts with Fiends if this is the case?


(Nicholas Dean) #18

The ruling I gave for allowing those pacts is my own personal campaign guidelines, not to be used by just any DM or player. I allow fiend since I see the Black (a shadow plane that exists in Dark Sun) as a place were other extraplanar creatures could possibly exist as remnants of Ages Past or even manifest and/or be manifestations of the evil/corruption that has run rampant on Athas since time forgot. They dont necessarily even need to be Demons or Devils but could be the equivalent thereof, or even a shadow fiend/demon (which makes sense considering the Shadow energies that govern The Black).


#19

Rajaat would qualify as he’s trapped in the Hollow, also there is the “Grey” plane or Fauge plane I forget exactly what its called but that may be cool. “Pact of the Ashling”?


(Nicholas Dean) #20

So that is a real possibility as well. You could either create all new patron/s and pact/s or just refluff existing pacts for the same purpose. Also back to the fiend patrons. If I remember correctly certain Advanced Beings are labeled with the creature type “outsider” but never pinned down to a specific subtype. Theoretically one or more such advanced beings could have gained enough power to effectively become a Warlock Patron that could mimic any of the existing patron profiles.

In addition to the above revelations one could also effectively reflavor Warlock to be the 5e equivalent of the Templar class. It wouldnt take much to do so if you just renamed it. However you could take it a step further and tweak its starting proficiencies a bit to get it more in line with the original Templars abilities and skills


#21

I was going to just swap out warlocks all together for Templars, and swap out sorcerers for psions as they are pretty similar


(Nicholas Dean) #22

I am keeping sorcs as is in my campaign and using the Awaked Mystic psionic class from UA. I just feel like psions are to specialized in their powers to replace with sorcs, but thats just my opinion.