Dark Sun Psionics, Arcane, and Divine - How common?



Jan 17, 2007 16:47:32
Power is something that can be attained by anyone if they are willing to reach out to their personal limits. Life is not easy on Athas, and neither is the gaining of power.

Arcane Magic (Learned): The Wizard, Preserver or Defiler, draws energy from around them. This energy is then used to power spells and is cast through verbal and somatic components to make this energy do what they wish. Defilers have the advantage as they strip the life from the soil while Preservers take just enough, and replace this energy with left over. It is possible for anyone to learn magic; however, it is very frowned upon. Defilers are usually hunted by mobs, preservers, druids, or other such threats, and preservers are hunted by some of the same threats, but can cover up their casting easier and claim it as psionics. Magic is more powerful than Psionic, and easier to gain power in; however, it requires great mental aptitude to reach a high pinacle of power.

Psionics (Innate): Psions, or those gifted in the way, are beings whom hone their mind's raw ability to get what they want. While not as powerful as magic, it is much quicker and everyone has access to it. Extensive training, great will power, and toughness are all key ingredients to making a great psion. It may take much more time to hone the mind than to learn magic; however, psions are probably not going to be chased out of the town. Everyone has atleast a little talent in the way; however, few advance it to the state of a master. Psions draw their power from within, causing fatigue, damage later on, and possible death.

Divine Magic (Granted): Drawn from the elements, the world around them, or the mighty dragon kings. These powers are only given to those selected by a force(?), granting them power similar to that of a psion or mage. Health and Perception at the key factors in determining how powerful the caster is. These Granted casters can draw further power, and only after they have exhausted the powers within themselves may they fatigue themselves to gather more.

Racial Chart

A Thri-Kreen
B Half Giant
C Mul
D Elf
E Dwarf
F Human, Half Elf, halfling

Dwarf: -1 Wit, -1 Agility, +1 Strength, +1 Toughness, +1 Health
Gifts: Focus (+3), Dark Vision, Long Lived, Natural Armor (head & torso considered hard armor +2)
Flaws: ugly, little (-2 reach) , Short legs (-2 move)

Elf: -1 Toughness, -1 Health, -1 Will Power, +1 Agility, +1 Endurance +1 Wit, +1 Perception
Gifts: Tall (+2 reach), Low Light Vision, Elf Run (when running, make an endurance check every hour instead of every 5 minutes), Long Legs (+2 Move), Temperature Resistance
Flaws: Bad Rep (Major)

Half-Elf: -1 TO, +1 AG
Gifts: Low Light Vision
Flaws: Bad Rep (minor)

Half-Giant: -2 Mental Aptitude, -2 Wit, -1 Will Power, -1 Perception, -1 Agility, +4 Strength, +2 Toughness, +2 Health, +2 Endurance
Gifts: Tall (+2 Reach), Large (Different Damage Table), Big Grip (hold 2 handed weapons in one hand, use larger weapons), Increased Lift (4x Lift capacity for normal strength)
Flaws: More Food & Water (4x), Restricted Weapon Use (Weapons Must be medium or larger to use)

Halfling - under development

Mul: -1 Mental Aptitude, -1 Social, +2 Strength, +1 Toughness, +1 Health, +1 Endurance
Gifts: Large (Different Damage Table), +2 Natural Armor (hard, Skull and torso), Tireless ( Endurance is treated as 2 points higher than it is for making fatigue checks and can ignore fatigue dice up to it's Endurance attribute)
Flaws: Ugly, Bad Temper

Thri Kreen: -1 Mental Aptitude, -2 Social, +1 Strength, +2 Agility
Gifts: Jump (+20 Strength when jumping), +3 Natural Armor (soft, everywhere), Sustenance (need much less), Poison, Natural Weapons
Flaws: Fearsome Appearance, Can't Climb, Can't Swim, Can't Wear Armor, Carnviore


Jan 17, 2007 17:14:11
I might be the only one, but I don't understand your question. Can you rephrase it?


Jan 17, 2007 18:09:44
I might be the only one, but I don't understand your question. Can you rephrase it?

You would have to be familiar with the gaming system that he is talking about. Though even then I'm not sure I saw any clear question.


Jan 17, 2007 18:39:40
I don't have the answer, but I think I have the question:

I was reading through various posts, questioning myself what could i do to make the game balanced. From the 3e standpoint, anybody can be anything they want. However; I am unsure how this will work for this gaming system. I've been searching through the boards, looking for this subject, but i've come up with very very few answers. This is what I've got so far...



Jan 17, 2007 19:05:49
I appologize, I should have made myself so clear and thank you for the response.

My question was this - besides in 3e perspective, is everyone born with the talent to become a wizard, psion, or cleric

I attempted to explain, obviously not clearly and I appologize, to say that.

I've read that everyone is born with an "innate" psionic talent. In the Paizo version they went as far as giving everyone some sort of psionic power. In 2e I've read you were lucky to have a slave with a wild talent. You also had to have your mind probed to find out what it was if u didn't know or the GM didn't give it to you in the beginning or throughout the course of the game.

My point is, in D20 3.x you can be anythign you want whenever you are born. You can be 15 levels of fighter and then decide that you have some dragon ancestry and become a sorcerer.

Stating again my question, Can everybody use divine, arcane, or psionics?

And if so or if not, how common is each. I know from being an experienced player/DM of the Dark Sun setting (atleast in my own version of it, I don't claim to know as much as a lot of people on the boards) that Psionics are common (as stated), then divine magic, and finally arcane.

I hope I made myself clear. Thank you.


Jan 17, 2007 20:05:31
Stating again my question, Can everybody use divine, arcane, or psionics?

And if so or if not, how common is each. I know from being an experienced player/DM of the Dark Sun setting (atleast in my own version of it, I don't claim to know as much as a lot of people on the boards) that Psionics are common (as stated), then divine magic, and finally arcane.

Different sources seem to imply different things, also there's two levels to this question: The "in game" perspective and "out of game" perspective.

I know of no place where numbers of each group are specified, but this is my impression of the relative common-ness and availability of each category of powers within the actual setting:

In Game
In Game Psion: It seems to me that wild talents (folks with a power or two) are the most common of any type of supernatural power. Fully developed psions seem much rarer, though I'd still guess that there are probably at least as many low-level psions as templars. Darkness Before the Dawn implies that if you have any psionic talent you can expand it into similar areas, but there might always be some psionic powers that are beyond you. Brazen Gambit also suggests that some characters know they have a tiny bit of psionic ability but have exercised it enough to make it useful in any way.

In Game Templar: Before the Prism Pentad I would guess these guys were the second most common type of power after wild talents. After the Pentad I'm not sure. Probably in the areas that still have sorcerer kings the templars are still pretty numerous. It seems pretty clear that anyone can be a templar as long as they can find a sorcerer-king willing to take them. I don't recall if there's any word on whether or not each sorcerer-king has a limit on the number of templars they can have, although canonically only the original sorcerer-kings can make templars.

In Game Druid: Druids don't seem in particularly short supply. Before reading The Brazen Gambit I always assumed that they were spread pretty thinly across Athas, but the books suggest that Quraite at least seems to be crawling with them. I think in theory anyone can be a druid as long as they hug trees with enough sincerity.

In Game Elemental Cleric: I always got the impression these guys were relatively uncommon. Maybe one per village, but maybe not even that common. How does one go about forging elemental pacts?

In Game Wizard: Wizards strike me as being almost as rare as elemental clerics, but more common since the prism pentad. Anyone can be a wizard if they're smart enough to memorize spells and can convince another wizard to teach them. However becuase Athasian wizards seem like they wouldn't trust just any old person enough to be their apprentice for a couple reasons: when they were widely persecuted by the sorcerer-kings they couldn't necessarily trust an apprentice and defiling wizards seem the sort to covet power and not want to share it while preserving wizards might be afraid that a less-scrupulous apprentice might use their spells to defile.

Out of game
As things stand with 3.x ed. players can choose for their characters to have any powers they have the stats to qualify for, as long as the DM approves their choice.

What kind of direction does the DM want the game to take? I've been reading the Chronicles of Athas novels recently and it seems to me that what-ever power the protagonist is associated with tends to be crop up alot in the books:
* Psionic talents run into other psions and houses with psionic guards;
* The templar/druid ends up dealing mostly with other templars, druids, and an elemental cleric or two;
* Frickin' Sorak barely has any powers and somehow ends up mostly fighting opponents without any powers either.

I guess I'm saying: Even if certain powers are theoretically more common in the setting, why not just make any given power easier to obtain depending on what you want a given chronicle to focus on. The relative abundance of powers seems to me like it should bemore an element of story-backdrop rather than an obstacle to character development.

Does this sort of answer your question, or was there some other detail or aspect you were looking for?


Jan 17, 2007 21:51:13
In 2nd ed. every PC had a wild talent and many NPCs did, but most common people did not. In theory very significant portion of the population had the talent necessary to become a psion, but some failed to do so even when given schooling.

Clerics are choosen by the elements and a pact is formed between the element and a willing reciepient. There are ways to seek out the patronage of an element, but there is no garuntee they will accept you as a cleric and some people are choosen without even asking. It is the same as becoming a cleric in any setting I suppose.

Druids train under the tutelage of other druids, or possibily even directly under a spirit of the land. They would have to be accepted by the spirit of the land.

In theory a member of any race can become anyone of the above classes, though Defilers cannot become druids as no spirit of the land would ever accept them.

Not everyone has the skill and devotion necessary to become a wizard, but in theory a member of any race could learn to use magic.

Thri-kreen are in a particularly hard situation as they have different pysiological characteristics that would make it impossible for them to learn to cast spells the same way as the other races do. If they were to learn magic it would have to be a new form that was adapted to suit their bodies and vocalizational abilities. This would mean that either they would have to figure it out for themselves or someone else would have to figure it out and then teach them. It is also possible the insectile mind of the kreen is incapable of focusing arcane magic.

Half-Giants are generally lacking in the mental capacity for arcane magic and would also have a very hard time finding anyone willing to teach them. If they did learn arcane magic it would be doubly hard for them to conceal their spellcasting and they would have a very hard time dealing with the miniscule material components involved. In theory a half-giant could become a wizard, but it is very unlikely and he would not last long.

Dwarves may or may not be able to cast arcane magic. They are certianly very culturally averse to wizardry and have no tradition within their own communities. Their natural resistance to magic may however make them completely incapable to wielding arcane energies.


Jan 17, 2007 22:27:41
Thanks, and in fact, this is the confirmation i was looking for.

I am currently making the conversion, and I wish I was able to just post the whole set up, but I don't wanna infringe on any copyright laws.

Quick Start Rules if anyone is interested

While it is not your average DND game, and these rules are SIMPLIFIED...and i do mean simplified, it is in essence a gritty, dark game with a realistic bend on combat. Infact, Jake Norwood (ARMA SCHOLAR) helped create this game. He has a lot of combat experience in western martial arts and you make check out THE ARMA at any time if you are interested. Very Interesting stuff.

I felt it fit darksun because of it's high death count and brutal/gritty setting. Something about being thirsty in the desert sun with half of your comrades dead, your macahuitl in hand, looking at your wound that's 3 weeks old and has yet to heal just says "hey, that sounds cool" but that's me.

Anyhow...I hope I haven't wasted your time in my rant.