One thing I love about Dark Sun is how there’s not one definitive version, and so there is space in the various published versions to expand upon the setting and take it in the direction you want to emphasize.
I’ve also been wondrously inspired by some of the ideas on these boards, and have developed them massively in my own iteration of the setting. I’d love to hear more homebrew ideas.
To kick things off – I really resonated ,with hints of at least quasi science fiction concepts in the 2e box set and its discussion of the halfling lifeshapers. I decided to combine Athas with the Star Drive universe, and make the progenitor aliens of that Alternity setting the source of lifeshaping, naturebending, defiling, and preserving magic. The halflings were servants of the fraal, who were themselves emissaries of the mysterious Glassmakers.
I also adopted the Violet Dawn 3pp. setting from 3e as the equivalent of the Dawn Cataclysm from 4e. In this setting, the gods all die in a massive war, destroyed by the creator deity, who then goes to sleep or leaves. This entity leaves a race of chaos beings known as xxyth behind, birthed from his nightmares, that work well aesthetically with Athas.
I also made my own maps of a lot of the city-states and added more real-world influences. For example, Yaramuke is based on Angkor Wat and ancient Khmer culture, and includes a criminal organization like the Hong Kong triad.
Tyr is built around a deep lake, and Kalak’s pyramid is a levitating monument, something like a Gould ship from Stargate, which hangs from a sky elevator – something like zalem from Alita Battle Angel. There is a cult dedicated to the xxyth that exists under the city.
I have over 50 pages of notes on my ideas, as it’s grown really complex. I’ve also fleshed out the wider Athasian cosmology with Arcana Evolved, Alternity, Athera, and the Amethyst campaign settings.
Love to hear some other homebrew ideas!