Which era of play do you prefer for Dark Sun? I prefer the original setting era, meaning the setting as outlined by the wanderer. That means Kalak is still alive (although his days are probably numbered).
Definitely before or directly after “Freedom”. I would prefer to use the original boxed set, or perhaps the 4th edition version, and ignore most of what came between. There is so much thats left in the dark, open for interpretation and imagination, in the Wanderers chronicles. It feels like a setting ready for exploration, opening for exiting adventures accompanied by an uncertain fear for what awaited behind the next sand dune.
After The Prism Pentad but before Rise and Fall of a Dragon King, i.e. Hamanu is still very much alive and in charge of Urik.
I know of almost nobody who plays after RaFoaDK
If I Recall Correctly, that novel was set around FY 17, putting it a fair bit later than the end of the Prism Pentad …
I adore the ambiguity and un-reliability of the wanderer … sure, he knows stuff, but it’s also a worldbook that’s presented from the perspective of someone in world which means it’s not necessarily the truth, just the truth as the Wanderer understands it.
I’m going to weasel a bit: depending on how nihilistic I’m feeling, starting around FY1 or FY10 are very different experiences. The cities of DS1 differ mostly in window dressing; one is vaugely Greek, another quite Indian … but, really, they’re all distopias ruled by a despot (outside of Tyr, naturally) …
In FY10, however … those cities are all thrown in different directions; different political situations, different reactions. It’s a much more dynamic environment.
So, for me, it depends on what kind of story I want to tell…
my beloved setting is the time where all sorcerer kings still alive. i don`t like this changing after the revised 2. edition.they have destroyed the feeling with the free city setting. and the problem is after this changing they stoped the setting.on the other side the GM have a lot freedom for his fantasy.
but now i have started a gaming round and my playing setting is the time there the champions took the cities and install her own power.i think this gives a lot of good advetures and the player can learn a lot about the world and the history.
i will play this setting with the 2.edition in 1 round and with another round i will play it with the 3.5 edition.
I too am a long-time Dark Sun fanatic who keeps my campaign setting pre-Prism Pentad. I loved the novel series, but I could never understand why TSR/WOTC allowed setting canon to come from novels. It seems to me that all the work put into the original material was for naught if it was only all taken apart and made into something totally different, that in my opinion, completely changed not the flavor of the setting, but the heart and soul of how the city-states were ruled by sorcerer-kings and how this affected all of Athasian society.
Again, I had/have a great love for all the novels, but for me, they were only a singular version of what could have happened - not what did happen.
I am reading the novels again as backdrop information to our current campaign, I just ran the characters through Freedom! and had to work in a halfling druid, was useful to read the section of Verdant Passage where Rikus and the rest get the heartwood spear from Nok. It allowed me to add an extra element and tie in for the character.
The over arcing epic I am running will use about half original source material and adventures and half compiled ideas.
We are playing 5th Edition, with original 2nd Ed material shoe horned in.
I am fast tracking this adventure from FY1 through FY 15
I’ve been playing 2e for a good 5 years now and Dark Sun for about 2 of those years. My campaign has always been pre-Prism Pentad. I’ve read the Prism Pentad and even enjoyed it some, but as a DM I also love the idea of being able to make the Sorcerer Kings and their city states my own. I’ve tweaked their agendas, personalities, and cities to make a very interesting dynamic in the burnt world and killing off not only half the Sorcerer Kings but also the Dragon felt like such a waste. Especially when you keep in mind my group is new to Dark Sun so we never got to enjoy the old days.
Where I differ with a lot of dark sun “purists” is the revealed origins of the Sorcerer Kings and the end of the world. I think there were actually a lot of good ideas in this lore to be honest. Some of it felt a bit more ridiculous than others, but at a minimum there is a lot of good inspiration here. I thought the idea of halflings being an ancient race of life shapers was quite a neat idea. There were some parts of Rajaat I liked and some I didn’t. How the world ended I changed a lot and it actually lines up more with 4th edition involving the gods of Athas actually dying in a cataclysmic war (though just as much blame lies with mortals on why the war happened at all). The Sorcerer Kings basically moved in afterwards and ran over everyone with Rajaat before they betrayed him.
So yeah, Prism Pentad and its accompanying lore wasn’t bad but I agree it feels more like it should’ve been what COULD have happened not what DOES happen.