|#1nightdruidMay 05, 2004 12:32:22||Here's something I thought about while reading another thread: how do you envision Athas' ultimate fate? Do you see a miraculous return to the Green or Blue ages? Or long series of wars that ultimately finish off the races that survived the Cleansing Wars, leaving Athas a burned out husk ruled by undead and bad memories?|
|#2dawnstealerMay 05, 2004 12:36:24||I thought that that was the big selling factor for Athas, actually: it was up to the PCs to decide its fate. |
Without interference, Athas will certainly just fade away. It's a dying world, after all, and so far out of whack it would take a miracle to fix it. But that's what heroes are supposed to do.
|#3xlorepdarkhelm_dupMay 05, 2004 12:48:29||Like Dawn said. I'd like to add that while everything does seem to be weighted towards the world's destruction (Rajaat, the Sorcerer-Kings, Rajaat, the Dead Lands, the Tohr-kreen Empire, etc., etc., etc.), there is a glimmer of hope (Oronis, the Druids (in general), Tyr, the Veiled Alliance, etc.) that Athas can turn out better than it currently is.|
|#4dawnstealerMay 05, 2004 12:57:53||I'd say that Athas' biggest draw was the fact that it was the only TSR game where the players really had an effect on the world. They got away from this as they advanced their plot line, but not entirely. |
Essentially, Dark Sun is a place where the good guys lost, but were not eliminated. Now, 2,000-odd years later, the time is ripe for uprising and for the good guys to take it back. Is it too late? Probably, but does that mean the players shouldn't try? Dark Sun is so cool because the players constantly face overwhelming odds and the goal is to somehow overcome them or make a statement with their death (one group of my players ended up stapled to lines of crosses outside of Urik, ala Spartacus, for trying to lead an army against the Lion King).
In other worlds, like Forgotten Realms, the players are just adventurers: there really is no real threat to the "good guys." If an ork tribe gets out of hand, there are enough powerful good mages and leaders and kings to toss them back all while chuckling and shaking their heads. The opposite is true on Athas.
I love that aspect - it makes the players "heroes" instead of "adventurers" and gives the games more meaning.
|#5zombiegleemaxMay 05, 2004 13:26:22||I have to go with the husk. As the gm I try to make sure the players get at least the chance to do something noble, but then I see what they do with it.|
example: the players stumbled upon an ancient manual describing how to turn enrich soil, wholesale. the pc's burned the manual from fear of merchant house politics and templar machinations.:sad:
|#6korvarMay 05, 2004 14:08:33|
Originally posted by Dawnstealer
So the question is, can the heroes save the world? And if so, how...
|#7dawnstealerMay 05, 2004 19:23:43||That's for you and them to decide. That's what is (was) beautiful about Dark Sun. That is, before Rikus, Sadira, Tithian, and Agis went on an SK-and-dragon killing rampage.|
|#8zombiegleemaxMay 05, 2004 20:02:59||I sort of envisioned another end to Athas. I read this in a Dragon Magazine a long time ago. It was talking about how Dark Sun characters are inherrantly more powerful than those of any other campaign setting. It was giving examples of how a DM could test this (ie running them through the Vault of the Drow adventure and watching the drow get systematically slaughtered). Well it also talked about linking Athas to other Dnd worlds. This is where my idea comes in. What if one of the Dragon Kings (or some other powerful magical/psionic entity) discovers a way to open a portal to another world successfully? This could lead to a virtual evacuation of Athas. It could also lead to major conquest of other worlds (think about it a bunch of very very ****** off mul fighters that have managed to get themselves onto a campaign world like that of Greyhawk...not pretty). So effectively Athas' endgame could be that of a large scale desertion by its inhabitants. This may have the effect of allowing the planet to slowly heal (without the influence of defilers and other corrupting influences). On the other hand another set of races may discover the planet and begin the cycle all over again. This also begs the question are the current inhabitants of Athas its original ones?|
Ok now I'm getting a head ache so I will end my post
|#9gilliard_derosanMay 06, 2004 0:04:54|
Originally posted by Baator the dark
Well, Dregoth had a planar gate. He was apparently using his (at least in the campaign I was playing in) as a tool to try to research these Gods he kept hearing about, and how to turn into one. he was also using his to recruit armies with which he could lay waste to the Surface of Athas and take over the world as revenge for getting turned on by the other SKs.
Ultimately, think about what would happen if a Cleric of Water somehow managed to open a permanent portal to the plane of water. Ever play the Desert of Desolation module series? Pyramid out in the desert.. one of the modules ended with opening a magical conduit of some sort, which brought water into the pyramid, filled the cisterns, and eventually borught water back to this particular region of desert. Changed the landscape a bit for the further modules in the series - now you had migration of people trying to take advantage of this new resource that had been so scarce for so long before.
New Giustenal has a river running in some of the side caverns. Just because there is very little water on the surface of Athas, doesn't mean that there are no more sources of water at all.
If you want your Heroes to change the desert landscape, maybe they find out that long ago, the water wasn't simply flash boiled and sent away, maybe it was somehow magically locked away. Maybe the Heroes discover ancient underground temples that can be "unlocked" in a fashion to allow water back into certain regions. Who knows. It's your world, do with it what you wish! (Athas has no Gods, but you are the closest thing to it in your own campaign)
And yes, DS characters were stronger than in other games. Instead of 3-18 stats, they had 5-20. Fighters could specialize in 1 weapon, and then along came gladiators who could specialize in as many as they wanted (and had WPs to spend on). Half Giants doubled their Hit Dice!! Dark Sun's main selling point to me was that it was a brutal world, not your Father's D&D with the forest loving Elves and wimpy Human mages.
|#10zombiegleemaxMay 06, 2004 22:06:01||In a game that my father ran, that I played in with others, we came across Draegoth and his planar gate. (in his campaign) Moont and company spoke with him, we found his planar gate and uncovered his plot to bring in armies from other realms to take over athas to his own bidding. So to stop this...we uhm....kinda .....destroyed it, and got the out of there! Yeah he was ****** and had every assasin in reach coming after us so we did everything we could to hide for a very long time!|
|#11zombiegleemaxMay 06, 2004 23:38:46||Athas' fate is to have the sentient races slowly die off over thousands of years until there is only one race, that will live on this dry, dead world, slowly shrinking in number until they become extinct and the only thing left alive on Athas are the plants, lizards and insects, because, that is all Athas can really support in the long run.|
|#12zombiegleemaxMay 18, 2004 17:09:40||For my idea here I have the assumption that the Prism Pentad doesn't happen, so we have all SK aboard. Of course it works to some extent in other set-ups.|
1) The fate of Athas is in the hands of its rulers. The rulers are who have the most resources and power available. To make any real change on the world and steering it away from its destruction without having a miracle, a wonder-super-artifact, instant planetwide terraforming or such things (which I think are out of the feeling of Athas) you need resources and manpower. I.e. foresting Athas back is an immense work even with the druids' help. Creating more plantation fields with irrigation as well. But change can include the final eradication of the world, sweeping away nations, etc. Anything that goes on world level.
2) Who are these rulers then? The ones who have the most resources at their disposal and are able to start do lasting things.
-the ruler (or ruling body) of the thri-kreen empire
3) Who are not such power, and why?
-the Order: powerful, but small in numbers, splintered in the world, no significant resources
-VA, the druids: same as above, plus they are hunted by the SKs who are real rulers in the sense of this theory.
-the halflings from the Jagged Cliffs: loosing/forgetting knowledge and power, dwindling in numbers, separated from the rest of the world
-merchant houses: they have resources, and power, but they are not in position to start significant changes, and their power is not suited for that. If things are going to the bitter end, the SKs crush them, or use them to their own end through charm/domination.
-Rajaat: if things going smoothly, he will never be released from his prison in the Hollow.
-the Mind Lords of the Last Sea: they had the necessary power to change things (and they did that exactly), but not anymore. Their madness deteriotated their empire and resources. However they are the closest to be counted as real rulers.
4) Why are the heroes are not such powers?
-because they lack resources. They have not enough money and follower to match the financial and manpower level of a real ruler. Altough they can be powerful, only a handful of them can raise to significant power (meaning character level). And that power is very specialised. Heroes are good for countering and destruction only, building is usually their worst ability. They can destroy a planar gate, stop an earth-shattering magical ceremony (like dragon metamorphosis), conquer a city and things like that. But they (usually) can't build the planar gate, do the ceremony themselves, or build up and run the city. Destruction needs martial power, the strong side of heroes. Building needs political power, traditionally the weakest side of the heroes.
Considering all of this, the conclusion is -as I wrote above- the fate of Athas is in its rulers' hands. The nest big question is then: what will they do? To answer this, we should know the answer to the following question: what motivates these rulers?
-the Dragon and the SKs are keeping Rajaat in his prison as first priority. Plus each SK tries to increase its own personal power.
-the kreen empire tries to conquer the Tablelands.
The result of this is bleak. The kreens and the SKs will clash, and Athas' fate is depending on who wins.
-if the kreens, then the rest of the species will be extinct, effectively finishing the work of the Cleansing Wars. However it means the complete stop of defiling as well, so if Athas could regenerate yet, it's the best chance.
-if the SKs, to achive winning they probably suck out the rest of the life from the land, and then Athas has no chance to heal.
These are just my toughts and ideas on the things. Any comment welcome, otherwise I hope it started your creative juices...
|#13nightdruidMay 18, 2004 18:13:12||Interesting ideas so far! Might as well post a few of my own.|
In a way, from what I've read thus far, Athas is a world that is a mix of tragic accidents mixed with misguided attempts to "save the world" that ultimately cause more damage than good. This kinda colors my vision of Athas' future.
As I see it, the salvation of the world is out there, somewhere. It lays not in gates to elemental planes (too obvious, a little too much of a "copout" IMO) or even voyages to other worlds. It does not even lay in the hands of the druids, veiled alliance, or even the avangions. It lays, IMO, in something unexpected. Something like Rajaat himself escaping from the Hallow, not to renew his genocide, but realizes that it was his doing that destroyed the world, and forsakes all magic forever. Or perhaps a third form of magic is discovered, one that creates life from magic. Or perhaps even something like a humble seed, completely unremarkable, could give life to a tree that causes athas to flourish once more.
Or perhaps its something as simple as all those volcanoes and open vents finally releases enough steam to start forming oceans and such (a lot of the gases released by a volcanoe is actually water vapor; there's lots of water trapped in lava and in fact water helps keep magma liquid )
But that's my half-arsed attempt to sound all philisophical and "deep"
|#14zombiegleemaxMay 18, 2004 19:30:47||Athas is dying, and I would leave it as is. Of course, it would take a very long time, but will happen eventually. A happy ending clashes my vision of Darksun, and is way too "hollywood"|
|#15Silverblade_The_EnchanterMay 18, 2004 20:04:00||Baator the Dark,|
Problem is that Athas has a *tiny* population compared to the Realms etc, as it is a dying world with few resources.
There's, hm 5?? Cities and even those aren't big 10 to 200k populaiton or so??
Athasians invaded...kick butt individually and the 10,000 clerics/wizards of enemy make bug food of them, never mind the sword swingers ;)
More likely soem SK would take some of his/her population, set up in a deserted barren area, which to an Athasian would be a paradise, and build.
|#16zombiegleemaxMay 18, 2004 23:59:02|
Originally posted by DisruptorX
A happy ending in Dark Sun is survival.
|#17zombiegleemaxMay 19, 2004 4:01:12||Just some other toughts, more questions than answers actually: |
-is the SKs motivated to restore Athas? The Oba in Gulg seemingly is, but why? Just to maintain her image as forest godess? Or did she realise the bigger picture? What about the others? Do they care about Athas at all? If they do, do they this for their own personal end only? Or they count in the wellness of their people? (Enlightened rulers know what is good for the people is good for him as well on the long run.) Or they already realised that Athas is dying, and they would like to evacuate, but they have no way to do this (thanks to the Gray)? Or are they nowhere to go, just the closed Athasian cosmology? And are they afraid to evacuate, because without their effort Rajaat would get loose, and than there is not enough plane to be safe from his revenge?
-what would the thri-kreen do, if they managed to conquer the Tablelands? Will they try to restore Athas actively? Will they leave it as is (and Athas can recover naturally, if it still able)?
|#18zombiegleemaxMay 19, 2004 8:45:58||Plant life = magical batteries for a defiler, that'd be reason enough for the Oba to want reforestation. She is perhaps the only one of the SKs who realize that with the destruction of Athas, they go with it.|
|#19zombiegleemaxMay 19, 2004 8:49:41||I think you give the Oba too much credit. She is as self serving as the others, and is one of the more self absorbed foolish ones to boot. She is simply basking in her status of deity in the eyes of her people and sees herself as the defender of her people in that sense. Unlike Tec and Hamanu, who are often revered as gods, the Oba actually believes it herself. I would hardly classify an insane defiler despot to be "enlightened", but the great thing about the game is that you as DM get to choose how it is.;)|
|#20zerpentorMay 19, 2004 10:42:53||the way i see it is that it can take several directions..|
1. Since Borys is no more and therefore no levy to be paid the need for slaves are not as great as it used to be and slavery will gradually fade away like our own history. As a result the Veiled alliance will start to relax, since the SKs no longer need to utilize tyranny as much as they used to. The stagnant situation across the tablelands have been broken and there is time to improve the standard of living and improve the athasian ecology.
2. Dregoth will descend upon the Tablelands, take his revenge and set his new world order in motion with himself as ultimate ruler.
3. The Kreen Empire decide it's time to expand and move their legions onto the tablelands through the great rift.. resulting in another great war that will ultimately drain the last fertile soil and living plants of life. The only thing that will remain is starving wildlife and undead.
|#21zombiegleemaxMay 19, 2004 11:16:19|
Originally posted by DisruptorX
I didn't give the Oba too much credit. I just asked questions. The answer on these questions dictates, how the endgame will turn out in your DS campaign. As you correctly put: "you as DM get to choose how it is".
|#22nytcrawlrMay 19, 2004 14:53:12||My Athas is going to have something a lot more important working in the backgrounds that only a few know about and will be far more important on whether Athas dies out and goes green again.|
Kam and I have been working on this and I think it's about time I wrote it out and get it fleshed out more.
Will be interesting to see the player's reactions once they find out what is really going on.
Ultimately though I want the players to be able to change the world, whether it's taking one baby step forward and five huge steps backwards or helping to further along Athas's destruction.
|#23KamelionMay 20, 2004 5:19:07||Heh, I was thinking about bringing this up just the other day ;)|
Yeah, Nyt and I have been thrashing out some "end-game" style ideas over icq - should bear some nasty black fruit soon. We took some ideas from a long-running homebrew campaign of mine and applied them to the Athasian setting and characters - came up with some neat twists. It's worth knocking properly into shape before posting, though.
|#24zombiegleemaxMay 20, 2004 16:33:18||I agree that any salvation of Athas has to come from left field, but also make some sort of sense withing the logic of the game world.|
When I think of Dark Sun in general, I can't help but thinking about the Dune series. There are a few parallels, but a pertinant one to this topic is the Tyrant. Leto II is very Dragon-King like. He becomes a virtual immortal though some quasi mystical means and he influences the life cycle of the planet in an extreme way.
Anyway, I'm off point. Salvation is a bad term for Athas. I;m fine with the physical world of Athas changing. I'm fine with the idea of Avangions and the death of S-Ks. But, I think that every solution should bring more problems. Part of the driving forces of Athas is the competition of resources and power. I think this is key. The most obvious manifestation of this is the utility of defiling vs. its effect on the ecosystem and the political/economic factions that arise through the harvesting of defiling power.
We all know that general concepts of the game world of Athas was taken from ancient sumer (city-states and god-kings and such) with a generous dose of various real world historical cultures for individual city-state flavoring (including the fictional world of a certain albino emperor) but the power struggle of Athas has strong ties to modern history as well. Take a look at the post industrial world and their ties to energy, particularly the Cold War and the Reagan administration (mirrored now with Bush the younger).
Ah well, I'm being too cryptic. Maybe I'll write up a short thesis on the subject or something. Maybe I shouldn't even post this? Perhaps its too political for the boards? Maybe I should actually read the Main FAQ?
Regardless, I've spent too much time typing this, so a posting I will go.
|#25nytcrawlrMay 20, 2004 16:38:46|
Originally posted by Zeitgeistgeist
Nah, your cool, most of us here are off topic 75% of the time anyways, heh.
I can also rant all day about politics, and enjoy it for the most part, so nothing lost there. :D
|#26dawnstealerMay 20, 2004 16:44:16||This would probably be a good time to bring up dwelfs.|
...That's what we're talking about, right?