3.5E Sorcerers in Dark Sun: yay or nay?

What is says on the can. The original team made a decision to exclude sorcerers from the Dark Sun setting, apparently on the basis that sorcerers in 3E are believed to have dragon ancestry, and that won’t fit Dark Sun. That fluff was an open question, however.

Sorcerers create magic the way a poet creates poems, with inborn talent honed by practice. They have no books, no mentors, no theories - just raw power that they direct at will. Some sorcerers claim that the blood of dragons courses through their veins. That claim may even be true in some cases - it is common knowledge that certain powerful dragons can take humanoid form and even have humanoid lovers, and it’s difficult to prove that a given sorcerer does not have a dragon ancestor. It’s true that sorcerers often have striking good looks, usually with a touch of the exotic that hints at an unusual heritage. Others hold that the claim is either an unsubstantiated boast on the part of certain sorcerers or envious gossip on the part of those who lack the sorcerer’s gift.

Dark Sun fluff: The potential to be a sorcerer came about after the first wizard cast his first spell. Anyone with an ancestor that had a spell cast on them might have a descendant that is a sorcerer.

Sorcerers in Dark Sun 3.5E or not?

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When a Sorcerer discovers their innate magic powers how do they determine the Defiling/Preserving paradigm?

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Nay, although I’ve co-opted their way of learning and casting spells for use with my various Rajaat inspired templates.

I believe a Sorcerer would choose between preserving and defiling the same way as a wizard if allowed though. They’d feel when the life force was close to being extinguished and either continue, or not. All sorcerers I’ve ever allowed in other settings though didn’t need material components and were barred from spells with expensive ones. The magic was in their blood, they didn’t need all the props.

Strangely, according to the canon in the 2E revised setting, preserving is the normal state of affairs and Rajaat taught the ways of defiling later. I personally think that the opposite seems more likely, that it is preserving that must be taught, or if not taught, requires self discipline.

Granting eschew material components to sorcerers is a very common houserule. So much so that Pathfinder made it standard in their ruleset. I wouldn’t deny sorcerers spells if they had the expensive components on hand though. They already have enough suck in that their baseclass has no features after 1st level.


The land is defiled for a reason. The genocide happened for a reason.

Psionic fill this niche. We don’t need another psion type and surely something that dilutes defiling.


I don’t understand your reasoning. Can you elaborate?

Nay. There aren’t any innately magical creatures on Athas to create magical bloodlines and such a conceptual/mechanical niche is, as Grummore points out, filled by Psions.

Plus, sorcerers would ruin wizards - why have a spellbook and tip off the templars when you could just know the spells?

I’ve played with the idea of making/letting arcanist children of the SMs be sorcerers, but keep rejecting it as it conceptually steps on too many toes (as above), IMO.

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This makes some sense to me. I recall reading that Rajaat invented Preserving first and Defiling afterwards.

I can imagne Preserving being the assumed way of casting arcane spells, for the first 3 seconds it takes you to realize you can pull more energy out of the land, and then you’ve discovered Defiling.

Preserving being the natural initial type of spellcasting doesn’t necessarily mean that it remains intact for very long at all or that Defiling isn’t what everyone is taught.

Its like a white tablecloth - its natural state is to be white, but the universe can’t abide that, and someone will stain it before dinner even starts every time you use it, without fail.

All that went out the window with the alternative power sources of gray, black and cerulean.

Because of your ability scores. Good luck being a 10 Cha sorcerer. Your comment reminds me that I can’t recall Sadira ever consulting a spellbook.

Maybe I’m just not completely awake, but neither of those responses make any sense to me. Can you elaborate/explain?

Drawing energy from the Black (or wherever) , IMO doesn’t change how wizards work in game or in universe - except for whether they devastate plantlife, which (defiling/preserving) is the only thing sorcerers & wizards have in common.

It feels to me like you just completely flipped your argument/position, but I’m probably just missing something. :thinking:

Did you just give forced ability score choice/placement as a justification for taking a certain class in 3.Xe? :face_with_monocle: The Revised 2e PHB has options for placing rolled values in the ability score you want, much less the 3.0 or 3.5e PHBs.

Also, you’re right, but i don’t remember her using the bathroom either, so maybe Troy just thought spellbooks were boring. :man_shrugging:

Like i said, I’d love some elaboration. I have to be missing something. :smiley:


It changes the nature of the setting. Setting warping. You can see the many times I have written about it before on this forum. It probably doesn’t make a difference to the people watching, who just see mages.

Just talking past each other.

I am not talking about PCs, but the setting itself. In a normal distribution of ability scores, some will be sorcerers and some will be wizards. In terms of the setting, Athasians will see the two types of mages as exactly the same.

Well… she was called a sorceress. LOL. I think a lot of the resistance to sorcerers comes from the subconscious thought of “but the SMs aren’t sorcerers!”.

Anyway, having variant mages like sorcerers, dread necromancers, warmages and so on don’t really change anything. The dynamic is still defiling vs preserving… except the for the alternative power sources, which literally came in the second last product in the entire line. The vast majority of people playing DS at the time never used alterative power sources and they don’t even make sense.

As for spellbooks etc being a useful investigative tool for templars, yeah sure. So are spell components, the most common of which can be eschewed with echew material components (and I suspect this to be very widespread among wizards), and a certain ACF for wizards can obviate the need for spellbooks altogether. What I am saying is that this particular objection doesn’t seem like a big deal.

If the objection is that sorcerer is spontaneous this or that, and psion is also this and therefore its not on, I still have to wonder why. Psionics is psionics, magic is magic. A psion can learn their entire list given enough time. A sorcerer is highly restricted in the spells that they know. The differences seem quite large to me. This is also the first time I’ve seen this particular comparison.

And finally -

A pregnant woman had charm person cast on her at some time during her pregnancy. Now her teenage child just cast a spell. Its not blood, but magical pollution. Yet another reason to fear and loathe arcane spellcasters, lest their magic leave a taint on you that will ruin you children.

Even in 3E, the idea that sorcerers were really from bloodlines was ambiguous. I even posted the canon descriptive text for that upthread.


There’s much subtext in Dark Sun, of which sorcery (arcane magic) was meant as dangerous knowledge used in disregard of the consequences. Knowledge that confers wordly power, as opposed to innate power you discover you have, like a superhero at puberty.

A clear nod at human-wrought environmental destruction on Earth, sorcery is a stand in for industry and technological innovation.

The obvious reason the Sorcerer class was not included in 2e DS was that it had not been invented yet. The design philosophy behind 3e DS, during a time the class was available, was to keep the intent behind sorcery intact - only the Wizard class chooses to learn sorcery, which is a knowledge, not an innate ability. Defilers are doubly monsters for not just destroying the environment but choosing to. A Sorcerer class character would have little choice.

That whenever someone comes in contact with sorcery they may get changed in form or capabilities, or that the first sorcerous spell ever cast changed the supernatural fabric of reality, is owing to fable and myth, of which Dark Sun’s subtext is particularly devoid.

Sadira had hidden her spellbook and has to retrieve it, her first mini story arc.

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You do know that D&D having a separate class attached to the word “Sorcerer” didn’t come until well after WoTC took over and TSR was shut down, right?

It never existed before 3.0 edition. At the point in time Dark Sun was being made, mages, magic-users, wizards, and sorcerers were essentially interchangeable terms, and Witches and Warlocks were the two genders of a character kit from the Complete Wizard’s Handbook.

The reason why Sorcerers never fit into Dark Sun is even simpler than everyone else here is saying-- the concept didn’t even exist when all the canon books for the setting were written, so they didn’t know they had to allow for such a way of handling magic.

So, IMHO adding sorcerers to later editions conversions of Dark Sun becomes just another example of the problems with adapting a setting so intertwined with the 2e rules to a different edition. In Dark Sun, they’d become essentially arcane psions, which introduce so many other problems with setting consistency.

You appear to have skipped reading the previous post

You’re right. I did. Apologies.

For what it’s worth, I did add a little bit to your argument though.

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We agreed independently.

Let’s not forget that 1991’s setting introduced a class section that set a resounding Nope to many classes of the time, stating flat out that paladins and others were out, and drastically overhauling the rest.

The original setting’s philosophy was that the classes as written were fit for standard fantasy settings of knights, wizards, and godly servants, and this new setting of DS offered different candy flavors.


Try selecting the text. It will come up as an option.

Oh my bad, it was so subtle.


Rajaat wanted to give back the world to the halflings. He created magic. This powerful magic destroyed the world. If sorcerers exist, preserving (and maybe defiling) will be obsolete. Why use these if you have difficulty casting because there isn’t enough vegetation to draw power from? Why have invented so many types of magic?

It’s because you can’t leech yourself to cast, which is the point of the sorcerer.

It could have been interesting to explain the way she used to cast, but any sort of spellbook could have done the job. Kipu (knots), small branch carving or better, tattoos. She could be covered with tattoos that nobody could ever imagine it is their spellbook. It’s something every preserver or defiler knows, hide their spellbook.