Al Qadim vs Dark Sun- Good Ascendant?

So I was going through all of my old Al-Qadim stuff. It started a conversation in my mind. There are elements which are very easy to translate.

  • Lots of desert or arid terrain
  • Plenty of the adventures involve travel, which keys into Dark Sun survival easily
  • Arcane magic revolves around the four basic elements. AKA Sand mages, fire mages, etc.
  • The fallen geomancer empire, with its emphasis on Earth magic and ruthlessness
  • Lots of cool ruins

Now there are also some real cons.

Sailing journeys. They take great advantage of oceans/water. This does not always translate to silt!
A generally (not always) more light hearted and whimsical tone.
Very different culture, that includes the salt bond, piety and no racism.
Resource deprivation is only an issue in select survival issue.

However, after reading through my collected Al Qadim I struct upon the real issue.

In Al-Qadim, the forces of Good are Ascendent

The Enlightened rule the land. People obey laws like the salt bond. Evil monsters are on the fringes, frontiers or ruins. Evil rulers are few and far between. The evil forces that do exist are not the system, they are acting against it.

Here’s a quick example of what I am talking about.

In Athas, all mages (preserver or defiler) not officially sanctioned by a sorceror monarch are despised, hunted and killed. The Veiled Alliance (which does vary from city to city) are not by default good guys. Before any idealist goals they may wish to follow, they are to place survival before EVERYTHING else.

In Zakhara, the only mages persecuted are part of the Brotherhood of Flame. That organization are violent, brutal terrorists, so they are hunted with damn good reason. Even then, if caught alive they are going to get a trial!

That is the challenge I find with most Al Qadim content. It’s all great, but anything that assumes a good, benevolent world doesn’t gel with Dark Sun!


Perhaps one way to shift the paradigm and enable usage of more adventures would be to take a virtual mirror of opposition approach and think of how each character and NPC would take advantage of things, from each point of view?


That is a fascinating idea. Recast the deranged cultist as persecuted minority…

Alternatively, you can use it as templar campaign material

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