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kirksmithicus
08-09-2010, 11:33 AM
So far I like most of what I have read, the character themes are cool and add a little flavor to the game. They are basically heroic tier "paragon paths", that give you some alternative attack powers. These are how they incorporated the old 2nd edition character classes, dune trader, templar, elemental priest, etc.

All of the races from the core book made it into the setting, I guess it is now company policy to include these into all campaign settings. So I suppose we will have to live with Eladrin, Dragonborn and Tieflings in everything now. They did an okay job of explaining their addition to the setting. The Goliath from the PHB2 made it in also. The addition of the Genasi from Forgotten Realms caught me off guard a little, not a big fan of them. Other minor races include Kalashtar from Eberron, and Minotaur. Other races from PHB2, PHB 3, and other sources are left up to the DM.

Another minor thing is the inclusion of every weapon from the PHB's and Adventurer's Vault. Seems like this might squash some of the native items and downplay some of those flavor elements.

No divine beings (i.e. Gods) but characters can do radiant damage.

So far my biggest complaint is the way they handled Defiling. I think they made it so weak mechanically that it is now a non-issue and totally kills that aspect of the game. Basically you miss with a daily arcane power, you can then re-roll the attack and all of your allies (and only your allies) within 20 squares takes necrotic damage. As I understood from reading some of the older material Defiling was a key motif of the the Darksun setting and I think that by giving it a weak mechanic does it does the setting a great injustice. While I realize that the designers were probably striving to keep the game balanced in creating it the way the did. They should have said the hell with it, and thrown balance out the window, defiling is supposed to destroy the balance, that is why it is dangerous.

Personally I would have liked to have seen it work along the same lines as augmentable psionic powers, but no such luck. Or maybe something along the following lines.

Defile (Free Action, At-will)
Before or after you make an Arcane attack you can defile the square you occupy. All living things in this square take 1d6 necrotic damage. You can add the die result to your attacks bonus to hit and damage for the triggering attack.

Brutal Defiling (Minor Action, At-will)
You can increase your defiling to an area burst 1 centered on you. All living creatures in this burst take 2d6 necrotic damage. You can add the die result to your attacks bonus to hit and damage for the triggering attack.

Reckless Defiling (2nd Minor Action, At-will)
You can increase the area of you defiling to a burst 2. All living creatures in this burst take 4d6 necrotic damage. You can add the die result to your attacks bonus to hit and damage.

In this way the arcane spell caster would be more tempted to use the defiling power. You might make it a d4 instead of a d6, but the temptation remains the same. You miss with an attack (at-will, encounter or daily) by a couple of points, "well" you think "I could just do a little defiling, it won't hurt anything". A couple of crappy die rolls later, you have slowly crossed the line into Reckless Defiling.

give it a feat like the rangers and rogues upgraded quarry and sneak attack damage, and you could turn a controller wizard into a striker.

Anyway, just my initial thoughts on the new campaign setting.

Farcaster
08-09-2010, 06:46 PM
Brutal Defiling (Minor Action, At-will)
You can increase your defiling to an area burst 1 centered on you. All living creatures in this burst take 2d6 necrotic damage. You can add the die result to your attacks bonus to hit and damage for the triggering attack.

Reckless Defiling (2nd Minor Action, At-will)
You can increase the area of you defiling to a burst 2. All living creatures in this burst take 4d6 necrotic damage. You can add the die result to your attacks bonus to hit and damage.

They would be more tempted, but it would also be severely broken to give a character an at-will minor action that does burst damage of 2d6 or higher AND then adds that damage again to their attack. 2d6 alone would be too good, let alone using that damage to add to the spell.

The rule I suggested when reviewing the Dark Sun draft was that Minor Defiling should grant the player a free +1 to attack, or perhaps a +2 to damage. This would be incentive enough to many players to defile.

outrider
08-09-2010, 07:11 PM
I wasn't excited about the following but its true.

All of the races from the core book made it into the setting, I guess it is now company policy to include these into all campaign settings. So I suppose we will have to live with Eladrin, Dragonborn and Tieflings in everything now. They did an okay job of explaining their addition to the setting. The Goliath from the PHB2 made it in also. The addition of the Genasi from Forgotten Realms caught me off guard a little, not a big fan of them. Other minor races include Kalashtar from Eberron, and Minotaur. Other races from PHB2, PHB 3, and other sources are left up to the DM.

I would be ok with the Dragonborn maybe and there was a half giant in the 2nd ed. The Mul and the Thrikreen were there in the 2nd ed and that made for enough races. I thought the whole thing was a little lacking. The history in essentially a column of one page was weak. I also don't remember that much green on the map from the previous editions although it seems the scale of the map is about the same as the original.

kirksmithicus
08-09-2010, 07:48 PM
Exactly, it should be broken, let us not forget that Defiling has DESTROYED THE PLANET. It should be uber tempting and totally broken. Otherwise its just another cute little wizard power that no one takes notice of. My scheme is certainly not perfect and could be adjusted downward, but it emphasizes the brutality of defiling more than a simple re-roll. Any incentive will cause most arcane players to defile, the more important thing though, is it has to be nasty enough to make the other PC's and NPC's to not want them to defile. Anyway, just my opinion, defiling: totally underdone.


They would be more tempted, but it would also be severely broken to give a character an at-will minor action that does burst damage of 2d6 or higher AND then adds that damage again to their attack. 2d6 alone would be too good, let alone using that damage to add to the spell.

The rule I suggested when reviewing the Dark Sun draft was that Minor Defiling should grant the player a free +1 to attack, or perhaps a +2 to damage. This would be incentive enough to many players to defile.

Also I thought the whole, it's a flavor issue, with armor and weapons is total BS. "Just substitute these names, for the stuff we created for our other settings" is lame. BTW it is not a flavor issue. They missed the chance to add some really good, creative mechanical elements but chose to just blow it off and put it on the DM.

Have to go, will resume complaining later. Just a little pissed because I had high expectations for Dark Sun.

MegatonSunder
08-09-2010, 07:53 PM
I agree that it needs something with more bite, but the method you suggest makes it way too useful mechanically. Defiling should give a benefit to the intended results of the casting, but the side-effects of defiling should never be beneficial. Defiling is EVIL. It's why the world is the way it is. It shouldn't have a good side effect. And it should maintain the suspension of disbelief; having only allies hurt is lame.

Defiling used to be something that was a taboo possibility for preservers, and an everyday occurrence for defilers. Defilers accept that this is the path they chose, they wanted increased power at the cost of the world around them. Defiler player characters were somewhat rare. It makes me think of the Force. It makes sense to have separate classes for Jedi and Sith, so why not have separate classes for preservers and defilers?

~~~~
From the Expanded and Revised Dark Sun Campaign Setting...
When a defiler casts a spell, all vegetation in a sphere around him turns to ash. The radius of that sphere depends upon two things: the abundance of vegetation in the area, and the level of the spell cast.

(a table with numbers anywhere from 1-3 for forest, to 10-30 for stony wastelands)

The number shown is the radius, in yards, around the defiler where all vegetation is turned to ash. The effect is instantaneous with the casting of the spell.
Note that these numbers adjust for specific situations. For example, in a city, the mud pits might have no more vegetation then the stone barrens, while the gardens of the sorcerer-king will be equal to a teeming forest.

Effects on Living Creatures:
Though only plants are destroyed withing the radius, living creatures are caused great pain. Any being in the radius of a defiler's magic suffers an immediate initiative modifier penalty equal to the level of the defiler spell cast. No matter how high the resulting initiate roll, though, the pain can never keep a character from performing an action during a round. The initiative penalty only postpones when the action occurs.
~~~~


That sounds good to me. Either that, or a minor status effect like Surprised until the start of your next turn, or a new one having the same effects as being Prone but without the laying down thing. The large radius combined with the annoying-but-not-deadly effect feels better than something like straight damage that I'll always be looking to get a benefit out of.

-Jon

Farcaster
08-09-2010, 08:12 PM
I agree that it needs something with more bite, but the method you suggest makes it way too useful mechanically. Defiling should give a benefit to the intended results of the casting, but the side-effects of defiling should never be beneficial. Defiling is EVIL. It's why the world is the way it is. It shouldn't have a good side effect. And it should maintain the suspension of disbelief; having only allies hurt is lame.

If the effects of defiling were not beneficial to the caster in some way, it would never have been done. Defiling should feel like an easier path to power. In 2nd edition defilers leveled more quickly and their spell lists were different. A +1 to attack would be akin to that without being overpowering.

As to it hurting only allies, I would think it would be easier to draw life force from your companions than from your enemies who are actively trying to resist your effects.


Defiling used to be something that was a taboo possibility for preservers, and an everyday occurrence for defilers. Defilers accept that this is the path they chose, they wanted increased power at the cost of the world around them. Defiler player characters were somewhat rare. It makes me think of the Force. It makes sense to have separate classes for Jedi and Sith, so why not have separate classes for preservers and defilers?
Every arcane caster now can be a preserver or defiling class, so I can understand why they wouldn't create variants of all of those classes. I think you could flavor the power descriptions to get the feel you are looking for. They also did add a paragon path for preservers and defilers which are pretty good.

Webhead
08-09-2010, 08:45 PM
...All of the races from the core book made it into the setting, I guess it is now company policy to include these into all campaign settings. So I suppose we will have to live with Eladrin, Dragonborn and Tieflings in everything now...

I wasn't thrilled when I learned that this was the case. Eladrin seem especially out of place on Athas.


...The Goliath from the PHB2 made it in also...

Ever since 3E's "Races of Stone", I've always found Goliaths to be something of a disappointing replacement for the half-giant. Not exactly sure why but they just never sparked my imagination like the half-giants of Athas did.


...Another minor thing is the inclusion of every weapon from the PHB's and Adventurer's Vault. Seems like this might squash some of the native items and downplay some of those flavor elements...

That's unfortunate.


...So far my biggest complaint is the way they handled Defiling....

Though I honestly can't come up with suitable suggestions for this issue at the moment, I too feel a like a little wind has been taken out of my sails. In my mind, Defiling was to Dark Sun what the Dark Side of the Force was to Star Wars.

---------- Post added at 08:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:39 PM ----------


...As to it hurting only allies, I would think it would be easier to draw life force from your companions than from your enemies who are actively trying to resist your effects...

The only objection I have to this sentiment is that, even if he were my ally, I would certainly resist a Defiler trying to draw away my life force to cast his spells. Especially on Athas where every day is a struggle for survival, I'm not going to hand over a fragment of my health to fuel a "friend's" thirst for power.

kirksmithicus
08-09-2010, 11:00 PM
Again, defiling should be "too good" that is why it's abused and the world is a wreck.

So my approach isn't perfect, but give me 6 months to a year and I'll work out the kinks and come up with something better. Down the damage a bit, 1d4, burst 1 does 2d4 etc. Up the damage for paragon and epic level. Have everything lose a healing surge for the defiling magic and maybe give them a saving throw. This wouldn't effect enemies so much since they don't have healing surges, which is a little unfair. Maybe take the pain angle, have everyone in the defiled zone lose a minor action because they are busy writhing in pain. I don't think giving a controller the option to do damage equivalent to that of a striker is out of place. Many strikers have effects that push, pull, slide, daze, knock opponents prone, which is controller-ish.


---------- Post added at 11:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:39 PM ----------

OKay, so back to the weapons thing. The use of bone, wooden and stone weapons is simply a fluff element. The thing is, that it doesn't have to be. I believe that in the DM Guide, (I don't what page, and I'm just paraphrasing) that it advices to give your PC's choice, and to make that choice meaningful. It would have been nice to give the players choice in regards to the weapons and what they are built out of and to make those choices meaningful by adding some mechanical elements to those choices. This could have been done by adding properties to weapons based on the main element they are constructed of. I realize that some weapons would be composite, but again, something could have been worked out. It would have made the setting so much more appealing and interesting.

In the Dark Sun setting you can have a bone dagger, an obsidian dagger, or even metal dagger, but it doesn't make much a difference mechanically because it's all just fluff. So it begs the question. Why bother? How many players are really going to keep track of it unless that choice is meaningful. And by making those choices not meaningful it destroys a little bit of the immersion and the settings unique flavor. After all, without any mechanical benefit why would metal weapons be sought after and prized as weapons. When that trusty old obsidian dagger you've been carrying around half your life works just as well, and has proven itself time and time again. There is the optional breakage rules that ups the utility of metal weapons, but without this optional rule, there is really nothing to make them inherently more valuable. They are simply scarce relics of a bygone age.

Farcaster
08-10-2010, 12:07 AM
Again, defiling should be "too good" that is why it's abused and the world is a wreck.

So my approach isn't perfect, but give me 6 months to a year and I'll work out the kinks and come up with something better. Down the damage a bit, 1d4, burst 1 does 2d4 etc. Up the damage for paragon and epic level. Have everything lose a healing surge for the defiling magic and maybe give them a saving throw. This wouldn't effect enemies so much since they don't have healing surges, which is a little unfair.

First, that would be beyond how "good" defiling was when it was first conceptualized in 2nd edition. Also, regardless of how much damage that burst does, it would be an instant kill for minions. I would be extremely careful about tinkering with those rules if you want to keep things balanced and fun for everyone. (By the way, monsters do have healing surges.)

There are a number of defiling powers and feats that will give the defiling character the feel I think you are looking for though.

MegatonSunder
08-10-2010, 01:15 AM
If the effects of defiling were not beneficial to the caster in some way, it would never have been done. Defiling should feel like an easier path to power. In 2nd edition defilers leveled more quickly and their spell lists were different. A +1 to attack would be akin to that without being overpowering.

Not the effects, the side-effects.


As to it hurting only allies, I would think it would be easier to draw life force from your companions than from your enemies who are actively trying to resist your effects.

Who says your companions would be willing to have their life force drawn? From a roleplaying PoV, the defiler's friends don't count hit-points, they're having their very life force drawn. That's besides the point though, defiling isn't about control, it's about recklessness. Choosing which beings to affect goes against what I think the core of defiling is.

Farcaster
08-10-2010, 09:53 AM
One could say if your friends aren't willing to have their life force drawn away to fuel a spell, then they can choose to declare themselves as your enemies instead of your allies... In the Dark Sun game I play in, that is certainly what my character would do.

kirksmithicus
08-10-2010, 10:25 AM
First, that would be beyond how "good" defiling was when it was first conceptualized in 2nd edition. Also, regardless of how much damage that burst does, it would be an instant kill for minions. I would be extremely careful about tinkering with those rules if you want to keep things balanced and fun for everyone. (By the way, monsters do have healing surges.)

There are a number of defiling powers and feats that will give the defiling character the feel I think you are looking for though.

Yes they do, but most monsters don't have powers that allow them to use them, so same difference.

Well, I never played 2nd edition so I have nothing to base my concept of defiling on other than the description they provided in the 4e material. They make it sound pretty bad ass (everyone is afraid of it, it destroyed the world), then don't back it up. I'm just throwing out some ideas and I appreciate the feedback. I still think defiling is so weak as to be nearly a useless. I wouldn't have any problem dropping the burst damage from the scheme I came up with and maybe give a -1 or -2 penalty to attacks for everyone in the burst or something along those lines. Also maybe bumping the first minor action up to an Encounter power and then bumping the second minor action up to a Daily.

something along these lines

Defile (Free Action, At-will)
Before or after you make an Arcane attack you can defile the square you occupy. Roll a d4 and add the die result to your attacks bonus to hit. If you have already hit, or the resulting increase to the attack roll causes you to hit, you can use the remainder of the die roll, to add to the damage of your attack.

Brutal Defiling (Minor Action, Encounter)
You can increase your defiling to an area burst 1 centered on you. All living creatures in this burst writhe in pain and take a -1 to attack rolls and skill checks. You can add an additional 1d4 (2d4 total) to the your attacks bonus to hit or damage for the triggering attack.

Reckless Defiling (2nd Minor Action, Daily)
You can increase the area of you defiling to a burst 2. All living creatures in this burst take an additional -1 (-2 total) to attack rolls and skill checks. You can add an additional 2d4 (4d4 total) to the your attacks bonus to hit or damage for the triggering attack.

Yes, feats will probably help make defiling a better option.

Aside from the burst damage that I originally proposed, I don't think the power would be that overpowering or unbalancing. This toned down version will probably work better though.

The Thri-Kreen racial power that lets you attack 3 targets with a single minor action and does 1d8 to each of them. This is far more useful and deadlier than defiling.

kirksmithicus
08-10-2010, 12:29 PM
On the up side, I like the description of the city of Tyr. Lots of different factions and interests struggling for power and survival. The city would make a good setting for an urban campaign, which is something I like. You wouldn't even have to leave the city but rarely. All in all, the city reminds me a lot of the old Thieves World setting. Hopefully there will be some type of supplement that expands on the city.

Matt James
08-11-2010, 12:05 PM
Why not choose to exclude the races you don't want? I am running a 4e campaign and only specific races are allowed. Gnomes don't even exist.

Farcaster
08-11-2010, 06:53 PM
Agreed, Matt. The framework is there if you want to use the standard 4th edition races, but you don't have to use them if you don't want to.

Abaddon
08-29-2010, 02:57 PM
Agreed, Matt. The framework is there if you want to use the standard 4th edition races, but you don't have to use them if you don't want to.



All of the races from the core book made it into the setting, I guess it is now company policy to include these into all campaign settings. So I suppose we will have to live with Eladrin, Dragonborn and Tieflings in everything now.

My post is not strictly about Dark Sun but while reading this thread it brought up something I have been thinking about. My background is mostly 1e and 2e (no 3e at all) and Im making a huge leap to 4e. I am still preparing for the jump, learning the new mechanics, races etc and my players are waiting on me to get my act together. I know as a DM I can make any changes to game play as I see fit. I am not entirely comfortable with the new races (I have never seen them in game play) and I think they would be a bad fit in my campagne. So Im thinking about leaving them out. I was wondering what kind of repercussions (if any) that would have on 4e game play?

yukonhorror
08-30-2010, 08:37 AM
My post is not strictly about Dark Sun but while reading this thread it brought up something I have been thinking about. My background is mostly 1e and 2e (no 3e at all) and Im making a huge leap to 4e. I am still preparing for the jump, learning the new mechanics, races etc and my players are waiting on me to get my act together. I know as a DM I can make any changes to game play as I see fit. I am not entirely comfortable with the new races (I have never seen them in game play) and I think they would be a bad fit in my campagne. So Im thinking about leaving them out. I was wondering what kind of repercussions (if any) that would have on 4e game play?

I think the only repercussion would be associated with which bonuses races give. I.e. by excluding dragonborn, there is no race with a STR/CHA bonus. The way to get around this, ignore it OR create a race that fits in better with your campaing and give them a STR/CHA bonus.

This is just my opinion. There is still no non-MM race with a INT/CON bonus, so I am sure it wouldn't have a big enough impact to just leave them out.

wizarddog
08-30-2010, 08:36 PM
The repercussion is limiting your players from choosing something they may want to play. If they are okay with those limitations, then you can do whatever you want in your game.

The most frustrating games I play in are where I am limited in my characters (or the world is so customized that certain races and classes are at a severe disadvantage.) I usually don't play in those types of games for very long.

Abaddon
09-01-2010, 10:58 AM
I think the only repercussion would be associated with which bonuses races give. I.e. by excluding dragonborn, there is no race with a STR/CHA bonus. The way to get around this, ignore it OR create a race that fits in better with your campaing and give them a STR/CHA bonus.

Thats a good idea about replacing a race with another that is more suiting to my game. The new races almost have a cartoon feel to them. I would prefer something more realistic (yeah I know were talking about a fantasy game). As wizardog said:


The repercussion is limiting your players from choosing something they may want to play. If they are okay with those limitations, then you can do whatever you want in your game.

I thought about that also. I want my players to have a good choices of races and classes to play but at the same time I need to find a balance to suit my needs...and my story.

Anyways thanks to both of you for your advice.

Webhead
09-01-2010, 09:46 PM
I stopped at Barnes & Noble today to flip through a copy of the campaign guide. I'll admit that even just turning the pages has me wishing I could be running a Dark Sun campaign again. I thought the "Atlas of Athas" was especially evocative of the setting...particularly the available city maps (was it just my hasty fingers or is there not a map of Tyr in the campaign guide?).

If only I could figure out a way to work around some of my issues with 4E, it'd be something I'd definately pick up. Heck, if it weren't for the (rather scary) price tag, I'd probably pick it up as a sheer inspirational piece. Most of the artwork was rather cool (except for the Thri'kreen who never seemed to look quite "right").

lomifeh
09-06-2010, 05:22 PM
I just finished my first read through on the campaign guide. I like it overall. They really are trying to push the fact that everyone is pretty much screwed and that this is very, very harsh. I'd have liked them to go a little deeper lorewise in some areas, but they need to sell other books I guess. There is a map in the back of the book you can remove. I've not seen if Tyr is on the other side. I assumed it is. I still need to pull that sucker out.