Both here on this site and on the old Wizards Forums (Now archived at Vaults of Pandius), there are certain parts of Dark Sun that are generally accepted as canon, others that are more ‘personal choice’ and some things that have been widely discarded as being canon. My question is, we’re there ever any official (as in, by TSR or WOTC) statements on what material is or is not considered Dark Sun canon? I know athas.org and paizo had different interpretations of Dark Sun, 4e rebooted the timeline (and the 4e novels did some really weird things with the setting), and that some things are simply irreconcilable, but has there ever been any official statements on the matter?
A big part of why I’m asking is because while browsing the old forums I’ve seen claims ranging from Rise and Fall having been removed from canon to claims that only the Prism Pentad, second box, and post second box material are officially considered canon. While I know that the pulling back of the timeline in 4e kind of renders this question moot, I’d still like to know if anyone remembers any official statements on the matter.
Canon in Athas is different than let’s say, Oerth. There’s been little support and some of us were running the game prior to the novels being released. The rules are also broken and contradictory. In this way, each of our games is how we want it to be. I run 2E and pretty close to canon, but hated how the novels changed things so I run an alternate timeline.
I’m aware, but I’ve seen a very large number of claims on the old forums that some official statements actually were made by somebody, at some point, at the very least about the Prism Pentad and Rise and Fall (and possibly around the novels in general). I’m wondering if anyone remembers this.
My issue is that I have a rather large gap between 2E/2.5 and further. The Rise and Fall isn’t even on my radar as far as a source or reference. I did run a game or two prior to the novels being released so that affects my POV. The main issue is the writing towards the end of 2E was not on par with the earlier work. My point is that you can’t be dead line canon when it contradicts itself so much in Athas. You need to cherry pick and develop as a DM.
I agree. It doesn’t stop me from being curious.
Your question is tricky to answer because what is ‘canon’ has changed over the years. For instance, as Killer_DM mentioned, some are not fans of the Prism Pentad and ignore that lore. This approach is most in line with the original canon from the 2e book. The ‘revised’ 2e book adds the Prism Pentad’s lore to the canon and if you go by what TSR would call canon, this and every supplement book in 2e would be canon along with the Prism Pentad series. This idea of “2.5” canon would be casting the widest net in what is truly canon in Dark Sun and if TSR were still around it’s what they’d call canon.
Here’s where it gets weird and why your question is harder to answer though. When 4e came out they reset the whole setting, the Prism Pentad never happened and the only dead SK is Kalak, who died very recently. Mind you 4e also changed a lot about the lore, like adding gods, moongates, making dray and half giants fancy names for dragonborn and goliaths, etc. So 4e is effectively its own canon and the only content you really have to work with for their canon was from the core book, creature catalog, and the Ashes of Athas convention adventures.
tl:dr: there’s no solid canon for Dark Sun because Wizards isn’t currently doing anything with Dark Sun so you instead have to pick your canon from several different options and that’s ignoring both the official and unofficial 3e material.