Dark Sun Dungeon Delving

Despite the fact that dungeon crawling is the default activity for D&D, it doesn’t seem like a good fit for Dark Sun adventures.* I’m curious what percentage of your adventures do your players spend in a ‘dungeon’?

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*Notwithstanding living underground seems like a natural sanctuary against the hungry sun of Athas (and what about all those blue age subway tunnels?):


Actual ‘dungeons’ like Undermountain or Castle Greyhawk are rare in my campaign. Ruined settlements, cave compexes, yeah they’re pretty cool, often with a dangerous wilderness trek to get there or back.


Looking at the results so far it looks like dungeon crawling is pretty low on the list of Dark Sun adventuring. I imagine this makes it difficult to use standard published adventures (which tend to focus on dungeons).

I’m curious what strategy Dark Sun DM’s primary employ toward published adventures:

  • I create all my own adventures
  • I only run Dark Sun published adventures
  • I convert published adventures from any setting but only those that do not focus on the dungeon
  • I take published dungeon adventures and convert them to Athasian non-dungeon adventures
  • I only use published adventures for ideas and reuse select pieces e.g. plot, item, locale, npc, trap, etc.
  • Other

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I create all my own adventures.

But I steal bits and pieces from everything (including some snips from modules)… including published canon, non-canon and even non-AD&D content.


Back when I ran my Dark Sun campaign, I started with the core adventures for Freedom and Road to Urik, and then it kind of went off in its own direction, based on what the PC’s wanted to do.

Thing is, with Dark Sun, there’s something about the setting which makes exploration far more engaging than going underground. Everyone who comes to the setting seems to be more keen on being a Bear Grylls outdoors survivor than a cave explorer.


I use published DS adventures, published non-DS adventures, Dungeon Magazine and other adventures, convert them to 3.5E rules and adapt them to my campaign.

I also gen up my own adventures and either start from new or use some element from a published adventure or an online comment within it - a map, or a NPC or a encounter concept.

As an example I took a cave complex map from an old Dragon Magazine adventure (To Bite the Moon if anyone’s interested), took some interesting concepts fellow Arena board members had on Gnomish society (@SeruZmaj and @Phil especially), and then populated the complex with its own backstory, traps, monsters and other encounters to create a unique adventure.