Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Session Forty-Eight: Whispers of the Past

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

 Julius was yelling about something, but before he could look, Shade saw a flash of bright light in front of his eyes. Strangely, he was now inside of a stone building of some kind, staring at a non-human female. He realized that it was an ogre, a species that had been eradicated a very long time ago.
The sound of battle raged near Shade's position and the female ogre was yelling at him.
"Izig! Get up! We have to move!" She yelled.
Shade stood and dusted himself off. He could see that he was not himself. He had thick, dark hair on the backs of his hands and long, thick fingers. His skin was not the normal tan brown of his half-elf form, but a much lighter brown instead. He must have been seeing things through the eyes of this Izig, who was likely an ogre.
She grabbed his arm and began leading him somewhere. Not knowing what was going on, he allowed himself to be guided through the stone structure. The fortress was impressive and was obviously under attack. After a few minutes, the two ogres emerged onto the top of an inner curtain wall.
Shade looked down from the impressive height of the wall and saw that this fortress was on a high point in an unfamiliar mountainous region. Outside of the curtain wall, upon which he stood, was a town and an outer curtain wall.
The outer curtain wall was under heavy bombardment and was crumbling in some areas. The inner town was ablaze and Shade saw magic balls of fire arc over the wall and strike the inner town.
"Defilers." The female ogre spat out contemptuously. "They're the reason we're losing this war." She looked back at Shade, "Come on."

They walked past some ogre archers, who were firing in unison at the forces who were beginning to breach the outer wall. One of the ogres was barking commands at the archers and other soldiers. The female ogre with Shade saluted him.
"Captain Okur, how is the defense going?" She asked.
The ogre captain shook his head, "It goes poorly, Yazir. There's just too many of them." He pounded a fist on the merlon and ordered the archers to draw and fire again. "Yazir, their magic is killing all the farmland. Even if we do drive them back, we will starve. Is that Izig?"
"It is." Yazir answered.
"You need to get him to the great hall. He's too important to lose."
Yazir grabbed Izig's arm and dragged him back inside. She lead him through the halls of the keep, as soldiers rushed back to resupply, or relieve, the archers. Shade was taking the opportunity to look around and admire the finery of the fortress. Ogres, it seemed, were a species that enjoyed fine artwork, especially stonework.
As they passed a narrow hallway, Shade caught sight of something on the floor. He backed up and looked again. It was an ogre on the floor, with a dagger wound in his back.
"Yazir!" Shade called.
Yazir turned and Shade pointed into the hallway. Upon seeing the body, Yazir cursed and ran to the body. She turned him over and bowed her head in momentary grief.
"Did you know him?" Shade asked.
Yazir looked at him with a puzzled look on her face. "Of course, it's Zosuzug."
Shade had no idea who it was, but he was obviously supposed to know. "Oh, I didn't realize it." He mumbled in response.
"The humans have breached our defenses." Yazir whispered, "Probably a psychoporter assassin. We have to warn Major Brakag."
Shade took a quick look around. "The assassin was smaller than us." He began, "After he killed Zosuzug, he went that way." Shade pointed to the opposite hall.
Yazir looked puzzled. "You're no tracker Izig."
Thinking quickly, Shade replied, "I've been doing some studying."
Yazir shrugged. "Well, we should go get him then." She uncovered her iron poleax and beckoned Shade to lead the way.
Shade lead them through the maze-like keep. He stopped at a set of double doors that Yazir said lead into a small dining room. The room was being used as an order relay post for captains and runners. Shade peeked inside.
Shade saw two human men, a human woman, and three dead ogres on the ground. One of the ogres was badly burned. Shade stepped away and told Yazir.
"They don't know we're here, we have them by surprise." She looked up at Shade. "I know you're not much of a fighter Izig, but we should stop them, before they can kill more of us."
Shade smiled, "It's okay, I've been studying that too." He pulled out his alhuluk and dagger, which appeared as two daggers to Yazir, and he nodded.
Together, they burst into the room. The humans were surprised, but didn't seem too worried. Shade attacked one of the men and stabbed him with his iron dagger. Yazir charged in and attacked the female human.
The combatants turned and engaged Shade and Yazir. The assassins were well skilled and wounded Shade and Yazir. Shade had not seen the defiler hiding in the shadows, but he emerged and starting firing magic bolts of energy at Yazir.
Although Shade and Yazir were skilled fighters, they were outnumbered by equally skilled opponents. Seeing their inevitable defeat, Yazir shoved Shade away.
"I'll hold them back!" She yelled. "Go! You're too important!"
As the assassins closed in on Yazir, she fiercly swung her poleax and cried out in rage. Not wanting her sacrifice to be in vain, Shade turned from the fight and fled into the hallway.
A flash of light brought Shade outside. Now, he was walking through a narrow pass at night. There were many other ogres with him, carrying meger belongings on their backs, or in their arms. Many had wounds that had been hastily covered.
He turned and looked behind him. He saw the fortress in flames and the sounds of battle quickly fading. One of the other ogres noticed him looking at the conquered castle.
"It is a great loss." The ogre began, "But we will rebuild. I have no idea what we ever did to bring the Ogre Doom's wrath upon us, but we will go where he cannot follow and we will rebuild." He smiled at Shade, but Shade couldn't smile back. Shade knew that the ogre was wrong. Not only would the ogres not rebuild, but the Ogre Doom would massacre them all.
A flash of light brought Shade back to his own body. It seemed no time had passed at all. He was in a cave with Julius trying to push them all back into the sandstorm outside.

Join us in two weeks for another exciting episode of Adventures Under the Dark Sun.

2nd edition AD&D Dark Sun Cast of Player Characters
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 18 years old. Played by Ben. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Elf.
Vashti: Human female clairsentient/water cleric. 20 years old. Played by my wife. Speaks Nibnese, Gith, Tyrian, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Balican, Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Party NPC. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Excerpt from the Wander's Journal

I have been pulling a lot of overtime at work, so I have been unable to do a lot of writing for my blog lately. However, I want to share something, so I have taken an excerpt from The Wanderer's Journal, from the original Dark Sun boxed set.
Sometimes I get so caught up with the extensive lore and history that I forget what Dark Sun is really about. It's about survival against the brutality of Athas. Everyday that your character survives is a success.

"I live in a world of fire and sand. The crimson sun scorches the life from anything that crawls or flies, and storms of sand scour the foliage from the barren ground. Lightning strikes from the cloudless sky, and peals of thunder roll unexplained across the vast tablelands. Even the wind, dry and searing as a kiln, can kill a man with thirst.
This is a land of blood and dust, where tribes of feral elves sweep out of the salt plains to plunder lonely caravans, mysterious singing winds call men to slow suffocation in a Sea of Silt, and legions of slaves clash over a few bushels of moldering grain. The dragon despoils entire cities, while selfish kings squander their armies raising gaudy palaces and garish tombs.
This is my home, Athas. It is an arid and bleak place, a wasteland with a handful of austere cities clinging precariously to a few scattered oases. It is a brutal and savage land, beset by political strife and monstrous abominations, where life is grim and short." - The Wanderer

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Dungeon Dressing

I found this old dungeon dressing card, while rearranging my old books. It's not made for dark sun, but can easily be adapted for it. if there is any interest in these, I will have to make some custom dungeon dressing tables for dark sun.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Non-Dark Sun Creatures in Dark Sun - Dragonne

 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.



Adult Young
Climate/Terrain Mountains, Rocky Badlands, Scrub Plains, Hinterlands
Mountains, Rocky Badlands, Scrub Plains, Hinterlands Any
Mountains, Rocky Badlands, Scrub Plains, Hinterlands
Frequency Very Rare
Very Rare
Very Rare
Vary Rare
Organization Solitary
Activity Cycle Night
Diet Carnivore
Intelligence Low (5-7) Low (5-7)
Average to Very (8-12)
Semi- (2-4)
Treasure B,S,T
Alignment Neutral Neutral
Neutral Evil
Chaotic Evil
No. Appearing 1
Armor Class 6 (Flying)/ 2 (Ground)
9 (Flying)/ 5 (Ground) 6 (Flying)/ 2 (Ground)
7 (Flying)/ 3 (Ground)
Movement 15, Fl 9 (E)
8, Fl 4 (E) 15, Fl 9 (D) 15, Fl 9 (E)
Hit Dice 9
THAC0 11
No. of Attacks 3
Damage/Attack 1-8/1-8/3-18
1-8/1-8/3-18 1-6/1-6/2-16
Special Attacks Roar
Roar/ Psionics
Special Defenses Nil Nil
Magic Resistance Nil Nil
Size M (5' at shoulder) S (2' at shoulder)
M (5' at shoulder) M (4' at shoulder)
Morale Champion (15) Average (8-10)
Champion (15)
Fanatic (17-18)
XP Value 2,000

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Surviving Under the Dark Sun - Wind

The rolling dunes of the sandy wastes and the plains of stone do little to block the strong winds funneled into the Tablelands from the north. Open areas without natural windbreaks, such as mountains and rocky badlands can experience fierce wind storms. These storms can cause sandstorms, but what if there's not enough sand to create a large sandstorm, such as over rocky badlands, or if the wind isn't strong enough to create one.
Strong winds can cause other problems, other than sand and silt blowing around. Wind can easily throw off the trajectory of missile weapons, especially at far ranges. Strong enough winds can even make it difficult to fight in melee.
The rules presented below will be for AD&D second edition and will be for the sole purpose of making your Dark Sun a little more challenging for your players. I view Dark Sun as the "hard" setting for AD&D, so I do not hesitate to make my player characters a little more uncomfortable.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Session Forty-Seven: Slaves and Storms

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

After Julius slew the cleric, Abilkisu attacked the bowman, who was shooting obsidian tipped arrows at his mistress. He struck him with his stone mace and the archer fell back.
Shade picked up his fallen iron dagger and stabbed one of the spearmen attacking him. He also used his bone alhulak to slash him. Kiara followed Shade, using her obsidian wrist razors to lethal effect. The guard fell, his blood providing moisture to the dry ground below.