Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Secrets of the Dead Lands Review, Chapter 4

 Athas.org recently released Secrets of the Dead Lands. The book is a D&D 3.5 version of an unfinished manuscript, originally for AD&D 2nd edition. The original draft was written by Timothy Brown, co-creator of the Dark Sun setting. 

I will not be comparing the Athas.org version with the original manuscript. I will give my opinions on the completed Secrets of the Dead Lands. I have decided that I will break down the review into separate parts, by reviewing it chapter by chapter. I will not criticize the artwork or maps, as this is a free book, that was put together by fans. Although the artwork has been surprisingly good.
The review of Chapter 1
The review of Chapter 2.
The review of Chapter 3.

Chapter 4 - The Dead Lords
Despite what the chapter heading may say, this chapter is about locations and not just the personalities that reside there. It starts off with a map of the region, which is very handy for dungeon masters.
The chapter begins by discussing an undead defiler named Kulrath. He is a paranoid being, who rules over the nation of Deshentu. He has a large army, but prefers to pay tribute to avoid conflict. He also uses his agents to sabotage other nations and has a trapped area around his city. There is also a typical map of these killing fields.
This is exceptionally useful, especially if a group of player characters decide to bring an army to the Dead Lands. I don't see my particular group doing that, but players are not predictable. A dungeon master could have the player characters come across an army marching through the killing fields and falling into the traps. That would be interesting.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Note from Nibenay on Father's Day

To the Citizens of the Glorious city of Nibnay,

My high templar has made me aware of a celebration that is called Father's Day. She explained that it is customary with wish one a happy Father's Day, so I am doing so. As a father myself, it should be customary to wish me a happy Father's Day as well and I command you to do so.
Let this day be free of sedition and foul invectives toward your king. In my limited largess, I have commanded an extra one half ration of water to all fathers on this day. Anyone feigning the pretense of being a father, and is discovered not to be such, your punishment shall be swift and merciless.
So it is decreed by your king, so it is done.

His Greatness,
Nibenay, King of Nibenay and the whole of the World.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Session Seventy-Seven: Recovering in the Monastery

Kalino and Julius were trapped in a wide hallway, with four dune reapers. Alaxander was gone. Shade, Kiara, and Nyla were all knocked out. Things looked extremely grim.
Nyla's unconscious body was teleported out of the room, by an unknown individual. Alaxander closed the dimension door and teleported back to a large room they had already explored. Julius attacked the dune reaper, who was blocking the group's exit, and unleashed the kinetic energy he had stored up. The dune reaper was sliced to ribbons.
Kalino picked up Kiara. He then rushed out of the hall and into a room. There, he discovered where Alaxander had teleported to. Julius dragged Shade out of the room.
Julius stood in the doorway and used his mastery of the way to make himself impervious to physical attacks. Kalino attacked the dune reaper, with his spear. He was positioned behind Julius and attacked over his shoulder. Alaxander used the way to attack from a distance. This proved to be a tactically advantageous and the dune reapers were defeated.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Non-Dark Sun Creatures in Dark Sun - Firenewt

 There are many creatures from the various monstrous manuals that have been officially added to Dark Sun. I added some unofficially for my game and I'm sure a lot of other DMs do the same.
There is no inherent problem with this, although the flavor text often doesn't fit with the Dark Sun setting. My goal is to list the various monsters that "don't fit" and rewrite their flavor text to make them fit.
I often add a new Athasian variant as well.
I have heavily altered the firenewt, as it is not an official creature present in the Dark Sun setting.
Firenewt



Firenewt
Firenewt, Psionic
Firenewt, Cleric
Climate/Terrain Hot or volcanic regions Hot or volcanic regions Hot or volcanic regions
Frequency Rare
Very Rare
Very Rare
Organization Tribal
Tribal
Tribal
Activity Cycle Day
Day
Day
Diet Carnivore
Carnivore
Carnivore
Intelligence Low (5-7) Very (11-12) Average (8-10)
Treasure J, K (F) K, M, 1 random gem
K, M, 1 random potion fruit
Alignment Neutral Evil
Neutral Evil
Neutral Evil
No. Appearing 10-100
1-10
1-3
Armor Class 5 5 5
Movement9 9 9
Hit Dice 2+2
4+4
3+3
THAC0 19 19 20
No. of Attacks 1 1 1
Damage/Attack 1d4 or By Weapon1d4 or By Weapon1d4 or By weapon
Special Attacks Breath WeaponBreath Weapon, PsionicsBreath Weapon, Spells
Special Defenses Immune to Damage from Heat and FireImmune to Damage from Heat and FireImmune to Damage from Heat and Fire
Magic Resistance Nil Nil Nil
Size M (5'1/2" - 6' Tall) M (5'1/2" - 6' Tall) M (5'1/2" - 6' Tall)
Morale Steady (11-12) Elite (13-14) Elite (13-14)
XP Value 175
Elite: 270
Overload: 420
975 420

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Session Seventy-Six: Riddles of the Monastery

The group covered Vashti's body with an old robe and promised to give her a proper burial later. They looked around the room and there were four doors, excluding the door they entered through.
They chose one at random and opened it. Inside, they saw an old desk, with a piece of crumbling vellum on it. They also saw an old bed, that was big enough for a half giant, and a stone fireplace.
Shade inspected the vellum and saw strange characters written on it. Alaxander went to inspect the bed and found that it was dilapidated and the linens were heavily moth eaten. Julius inspected the chimney and disturbed a small colony of bats.
The bats swarmed the group, causing a great deal of confusion. Julius was bit, but it was a minor wound. The bats eventually flew threw the open doorway and into the monastery. After causing some havoc there, they flew out of some small windows and into the night. Unbeknownst to Julius, or anyone else, the bat infected him with rabies.
Shade said that the vellum had some characters on it, but he was unable to read them. Everyone gathered around and looked. No one knew how to read the strange looking language. Feeling frustrated, the group left the room.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Secrets of the Dead Lands Review, Chapter 3

Athas.org recently released Secrets of the Dead Lands. The book is a D&D 3.5 version of an unfinished manuscript, originally for AD&D 2nd edition. The original draft was written by Timothy Brown, co-creator of the Dark Sun setting. 

I will not be comparing the Athas.org version with the original manuscript. I will give my opinions on the completed Secrets of the Dead Lands. I have decided I will break down the review into separate parts, by reviewing it chapter by chapter. I will not criticize the artwork or maps, as this is a free book, that was put together by fans. The review of Chapter 1. The Review of Chapter 2.

Chapter 3 - The Naked Obsidian
Chapter three begins by showing a map of the area being discussed. This is wonderful, as it is easy to reference the map while reading. Whomever had the idea to place the map at the start of the chapter should feel proud of their decision.
The chapter continues by discussing a group of undead, who are religious fanatics and actually worship the obsidian as a god. The leaders of this group as paraelemental clerics of magma, but they don't even realize it. This sections is written with a great deal of detail and would be a wonderful adversarial group for a group of player characters.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Session Seventy-Five: Death Has No Mercy

Note: For those unfamiliar with Dark Sun, psionics are called the Will for wild talents and the Way for trained psionicists.

The group explored the monastery and met several of the monks. There were many races, mostly human and dwarf, and were all practitioners of the way. The group gathered in their small room and decided to explore the monastery, to look for the Lord of the Senses. They ate a communal dinner with the monks. The food was simple, but enjoyable.
Shade began a systematic search of every room, beginning with the empty dorters, looking for a secret door. Alaxander attempted to teleport out of the monastery, but discovered an invisible barrier blocking him. He tried to exit the monastery using other mind powers, but was unable to do so. Vashti attempted to walk out of the front door, but was politely turned away by two of the monks.
Vashti spoke to Nabil and disclosed to him that they were seeking a gem, that was able to use the way. Nabil took her to a locked room, were the monastery kept their gemstones. She looked through them and could easily determine that none of them were the Lord of the Senses.
The group then went back to their small room and discussed what they found and what to do next. They talked about being trapped by the monks, but did not believe they were in any real danger. They talked about fighting their way out, but discarded that idea. The gem was nearby and they did not want to make enemies of a large group of monks trained in the way. They decide to wait until everyone was sleeping and continue to search the monastery.