How have you customized the setting, and what homebrew materials have you created?

One thing I love about Dark Sun is how there’s not one definitive version, and so there is space in the various published versions to expand upon the setting and take it in the direction you want to emphasize.

I’ve also been wondrously inspired by some of the ideas on these boards, and have developed them massively in my own iteration of the setting. I’d love to hear more homebrew ideas.

To kick things off – I really resonated ,with hints of at least quasi science fiction concepts in the 2e box set and its discussion of the halfling lifeshapers. I decided to combine Athas with the Star Drive universe, and make the progenitor aliens of that Alternity setting the source of lifeshaping, naturebending, defiling, and preserving magic. The halflings were servants of the fraal, who were themselves emissaries of the mysterious Glassmakers.

I also adopted the Violet Dawn 3pp. setting from 3e as the equivalent of the Dawn Cataclysm from 4e. In this setting, the gods all die in a massive war, destroyed by the creator deity, who then goes to sleep or leaves. This entity leaves a race of chaos beings known as xxyth behind, birthed from his nightmares, that work well aesthetically with Athas.

I also made my own maps of a lot of the city-states and added more real-world influences. For example, Yaramuke is based on Angkor Wat and ancient Khmer culture, and includes a criminal organization like the Hong Kong triad.

Tyr is built around a deep lake, and Kalak’s pyramid is a levitating monument, something like a Gould ship from Stargate, which hangs from a sky elevator – something like zalem from Alita Battle Angel. There is a cult dedicated to the xxyth that exists under the city.

I have over 50 pages of notes on my ideas, as it’s grown really complex. I’ve also fleshed out the wider Athasian cosmology with Arcana Evolved, Alternity, Athera, and the Amethyst campaign settings.

Love to hear some other homebrew ideas!


I have been running only published adventures. Freedom!, Road to Urik, Arcane Shadows, Asticlian Gambit and now Dragon’s Crown.
I’m using 2e resources as basis. I cut off late material like halfling life shaping thing or revised box.
So far I used late edition information on planes for the cleric who when on a mission for his elemental lord.
I added, as a not so random encounter, one of the dungeons in kobold press’ book of lairs. There is one desert dungeon I used as an old ruin in the sand wasted. Also added many desert monsters from Tome of Beasts from kobold press too.

I’ve been running DS games since the early 90s so I have quite a bit scattered around but it’s mostly with timelines, locations, and adventures.

  • A cured Black Waters that was resettled, then taken over by Seilba and her twin Ceilbia
  • Dregoth returned as a living dragon and rebuilding a surface city on the coast via called Tyr Storms
  • An Invasion from across the Sea of Silt over Dregoth’s messing with the elemental powers (Adapted from one of the Githyanki invasion adventures in one of the magazines)
  • Druids rebuilding their power base
  • Former champions attempting to return to the Tablelands now that Borys is dead
  • Return of Borys as a Wraith who’s taken over a half elf body
  • Return of Abalach-Re in the body of a descendant child
  • Return of Sacha of Arla in a full body looking for Rajaat
  • A formative “Avangion Council” looking to replace the SMs when they get enough power
  • Dozens of cities/towns scattered about beyond the Tyr region. Since discovering DS I’ve only run a couple small campaigns outside of Athas.
  • Rajaat’s plans are still in motion, everything is still marching toward the return of the Blue Age

My campaigns all sort of live in the same world, even if it’s with different groups, it started in the Age of Sorcerer Kings (Brown Age) and moved into the Decade of Heroism, has had adventures that helped understand the Cleansing Wars (Red Age) and the Green Age, and now is firmly in the Age of Chaos.

My changes seem tiny compared to others.

  • I added a Yuan-Ti culture and hidden settlements for them.

  • I added some monsters, but they don’t change the setting much.

  • I added some artifacts and locations that have to do with the Cleansing Wars.

  • Perhaps the largest change I made was deciding that the Elemental Planes are at open war. Sun, Magma, and Silt are actively trying to destroy Air, Earth, Fire, Rain, and Water.

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My concepts focus on a few points that I consider the main themes of Dark Sun: post apocalyptic, psionics, anti magic, survival, lost civilizations, and isolation.

Post Apocalyptic: this is after the apocalypse, which is not only a change in and of itself, but the aftershocks continue to ripple driving further change. Changes in behavior are common, for example, in the face of a disaster, animals will flee… and not just flee, but actually cooperate in fleeing. Small animals will ride on big animals, carnivores and herbivores side by side, and so forth. How would a world apocalypse change behavior patterns?

Psionics: one of the big changes is Psionics. Everything is supposed to be psionic. People. Animals. Plants. Life should focus around Psionics. In fact, Psionics should be different, unique, yet common. Not at all like magic… speaking of which…

Anti magic: almost everyone hates magic. Magic is bad, magic is wrong, magic is evil. Anyone wko uses magic is almost guaranteed to be bad-wrong-evil. And even if they aren’t yet, they soon will be because magic corrupts. The storyline and plot is practically a case example of this. Magic should be rare and exceptional. It should be a sourcebook, not core.

Survival: this is the apocalypse, even after hundreds of years it’s still the apocalypse. Life is hard, supplies are expensive, food rations, water, and weight matters. A lot of survival is going to revolve around water, how to get it, and how to keep it. Animal and plant behaviors would change in order to optimize survival, not to mention humanoids.

Lost civilizations: Earth is the same, though not many really contemplate the fact, but Athas really brings home the idea that everyone is living in a graveyard.

Isolation: another first… what happens if all the “gods” disappear. Were they really true gods then, or something else? Where did they go, why, and who benefits from it? Who has the power to make “gods” disappear?
Who is the being behind the curtain, the hand pulling the strings? Who would want to cut a world off from everything? Who locked the crystal sphere of Athas? What are they trying to hide? Does Athas hold a great secret worth hiding? Or were they trying to hide Athas from something, or someone, else?
Who would want to destroy… everything? There are only two canon candidates…

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I’m trying a Dark Sun game without defilers. Instead, to accomplish anything sorcerers must summon beings from other planes to do their bidding. Some of these get loose in the world.

For Black Waters I have yet to run, but create two routes for it. 1. Return of the queen, 2. Tari turning Yaramuke into new Ythri. If you defeat the cultists with the help of the Tari you create new Ythri (But Farclunn usually would get a Living Vortice). If you side with the cultists for profit you bring back the queen.
In my campaign she was considering going Avangion like Oronis when Hamanu killed her. She actually is good(ish).
New Ythri becomes an ally to Tyr and stabilizes the Tyr democracy. Farclunn travels South to Celic and starts a new city.


Because it is not obvious. I simply made the Tari immune to the poisoned black waters of Yaramuke.


I play using the pathfinder 1st edition rules system and so built a new psionics bolt on converting all of the psionic powers from 2nd edition ad&d. Similar idea though. Psionics are skills with ranks, using the sciences causes a form of psionic strain that is treated as non lethal damage. I thought it was a good system that mirrored what I read in the novels. One of my players hates it so I’ve been making tweaks to satisfy his requests. It’s still a work in progress.

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I remembered, I used Into the Wyrd and the Wild for defiler spells.

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What I like most about Dark Sun is that it has the most well developed history and geography of any D&D setting ever made. Even Greyhawk cannot boast a history as long.

The things I most like to do to mess with it is to take the throwaway bits and develop them.

-I’ve allowed (and made) undead revenant PC’s.

-I’ve tried going back in time and setting a campaign in the time just before the Cleansing War, where the PC’s were responsible for Rajaat learning defiling (they trained him as their apprentice in order to stop a greater extradimensional evil).


I haven’t done much homebrewing - yet.

I mostly stuck to a pre-Prism Pentad setting for my campaigns. At some point I do intend to do my own headcanon of the setting based on how it is presented in the initial Wanderer’s Journal, which is a fair bit different to how it later turned out. No Rajaat, no Cleansing Wars, no Halfling progenitor race, geography and extra cities in line with how it was initially described. Stuff like that.

I did add a couple of minor things for a 4e campaign - gnolls, hyenas and goats.

Gnolls just feel Athasian to me, but with an elemental rather than demonic twist. And gnolls are just cool. Plus you can’t have gnolls without hyenas.

And given that goats can live near anywhere and on anything, I’d say that they along side a handful of other more traditional animals (cats, bats, rats and the like) are likely to have survived when things like cows, sheep, pigs and horses died off.


Well, in October there was a prompt going around #Creatober2020 designed for inspiring daily bits of art or writing in a Halloween theme. I took the challenge and did everything with a DARK SUN impetus, and created something every day. You can see the results here.

In addition, I’ve written several custom kits for DARK SUN (primarily for classes that don’t have a lot of kit options in the setting) in the 2e rules, as well as several vignettes (mini-adventures).


I’m working on a full DARK SUN (2e) campaign, which I hope to have available for release Real Soon Now.


Anybody for a 3.5e conversion of this? Thanks! :slight_smile:

@Grummore: A 3.5 conversion of what exactly? This is a whole thread of ideas, what did you want converted?

Well, I made a reply on this:

I’m working on a full DARK SUN (2e) campaign, which I hope to have available for release Real Soon Now.

3.5e please! :slight_smile:

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I guess I could, but it’s a lot of work. Won’t be right away.

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I was more hoping for a 3.x conversion of the kits, myself. I’m always interested in new classes, prestige, feats, skills or usages, abilities, and powers. It would be nice to see more psionic stuff, rather than all the magic fewmets that currently infests the 3.x Dark Sun material.

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Ah, yeah. Some of them are radical changes to how the base classes work, like the Disciple of the Void, so it would have to be like… substitution levels or alternative class features, but it could be done.

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@Grummore - has already completed this! It’s called Dark Sun 3, and it is found at Take a look and see if it fills your needs.

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