This is a framework for salient feats. This is a bolt-on system that does not touch the base game, but rather supplements it. Advancement as an advanced being is thus two tracked.
- Advancement in metamorphosis ranks via metamorphosis spells.
- The acquisition of salient feats, which is influenced by both character level and metamorphosis ranks, via the implementation of an “evolution score”.
Why do this?
I love the Dark Sun setting. It is the first epic level setting for D&D. So harsh is Athas that in the original 2nd edition version the Player Characters started at third level.
This project began as a way to power up advanced beings. The advanced beings presented in Dragon Magazine #339 and Legends of Athas are a lower powered version of dragon and avangion advanced beings that would struggle against, and would likely be defeated by, a single classed character of the same level. My preferred vision of advanced beings is what is implied in the original boxed set – that the Sorcerer Kings are on par with demonlords or arch-devils.
Interestingly, the designers of Legends of Athas appear to have understood this also, so to rescue the Sorcerer Kings from the ignominious fate of the other advanced beings in the rules, they have the Sorcerer Kings the ‘Champion of Rajaat’ template, that among other things granted the Sorcerer Kings a huge number of immunities.
My position is that all the advanced beings should have equal standing in their potential, with the exception of the elemental vortices that grant the Sorcerer Kings the ability to grant spells to templars. Even then I provide a way to obtain such power if the Dark Lens can be found and utilized for that purpose.
I have labored on this project for many years, at least since 2016. Thinking, writing, and revising. And going back to the drawing board a half dozen times. I believe I have come up with a version of the advanced beings that was originally intended by the original designers.
What is a Sorcerer Monarch? YOU Decide
The decision of what a Sorcerer Monarch is should be the decision of the DM. The Dark Sun campaign setting evolved and changed as the setting matured, yet there are many loyalists to the original setting. Therefore, the material contained herein can easily represent Sorcerer Monarchs that are not dragons, but instead very powerful psion/mages. All this requires is using the salient feat framework without the dragon or avangion metamorphosis.
What are Salient Feats?
A salient feat is to an epic feat what an epic feat is to a regular non-epic feat. A salient feat is between two and four times (sometimes more!) as powerful as an epic feat, depending on the context and utility. Only a creature with an evolution score can take salient feats, and on Athas the only creatures that have salient feats are advanced beings, such as the Sorcerer Monarchs.
Salient feats provide the creatures possessing them with a crucial edge against those creatures lacking them. Who has these salient feats depends on you, the Dungeon Master. In my campaign, creatures with an evolution score are the Sorcerer Monarchs and those that have undergone a preserver or defiler metamorphosis. This system, however, is completely modular, and can be used for literally anything at all. Perhaps you like cleric/psion combinations as advanced beings. In that case, there is no reason why they cannot use this system. You can use this modular system with Legends of Athas, or my own series of psionic enchantments for the metamorphosis of advanced beings. Because this is completely modular, you may take what you like and discard everything else.