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Farcaster's Musings

After all these years...

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It's been ages since I've actually played a roleplaying game. Oh, I suppose, I have joined in on a session or two in the past ten years, but I haven't been in an ongoing campaign as a player in a very long time, and frankly, I've reached a point of GM burnout.

I had been thinking for a while that I needed to take a break and play for while, so when the opportunity to join a game with Chris Sims from Wizards of the Coast popped up, I jumped on it. When he told me that his new campaign would be set in the world of Dark Sun, I was even more excited. If you've never had a chance to play in this setting which was first introduced in second edition AD&D, let me tell you that this takes a major departure from the typical fantasy setting. Life is harsh in Athas. The world's resources have been reduced to mostly vast expanses of desert and dotting this unforgiving landscape are solitary city-states. The adventure is more about staying alive than seeking treasure. It's this very nature that makes this the perfect setting for the new Points of Light paradigm that Wizards is trying to capture with fourth edition settings.

So, we met last night for our first session, which we spent rolling up our new characters, figuring out our various background stories, how we knew each other -- if we did, and getting a brief introduction to the world and environment we'd be thrust into when next we played. Chris put it all out on the table. Darksun is a world where just about everyone has suffered some sort of loss or tragedy, and our characters are to be no exception to that. Whatever sort of tragic character background you might find in another game, he encouraged us to take that and ratchet it up by a factor of ten.

My character, a dwarven shaman by the name of Malamac, has lost his entire clan, who were rounded up by the Templars (read bad guy police force) for resisting the Dragon King -- the biggest, baddest guy of the city-state of Tyr. Most were murdered, some were tortured for information and then later executed. My character was tormented and beaten and then eventually thrown into the gladiator pits of Tyr because my captors thought it would be amusing. Malamac only narrowly escaped with his life when Tyr was at last "freed." A dwarf without a clan, Malamac now seeks only retribution on any remaining Templars he can find who had anything to do with the slaughter of his people.

This sort of tale of woe is echoed in the history of all the characters at the table, and to be honest it is just this sort of gritty story that I really enjoy. Chris promises to twist the knife a bit and really complicate things next week ... I can't wait!

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  1. yukonhorror's Avatar
    I am assuming you can't tell us much, but it would be nice to give general feedback to us loyal readers on how the new mechanics for Dark sun play.

    On a side note: in with the big wigs: AWESOME. If anybody can act as a voice of the people, it would be the master of
  2. Farcaster's Avatar
    You are correct that I cannot comment on anything regarding 4th edition Dark Sun, but I will be writing a review of the setting when it comes out.
  3. yukonhorror's Avatar
    no comments of any sort? That's too bad. Well, let us know your perception of 4e on both sides of the screen.
  4. Farcaster's Avatar
    That I can do
  5. Chris Sims's Avatar
    Or can I? Mwuhuhahahahahahaha!

  6. cplmac's Avatar
    I totally agree with you on the jumping at a chance to get to play a character in a game as opposed to being the GM/DM all the time. When my group got to the end of the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth module, one of the other players had a game ready to go, and now I get to take a break from running the game. This also allows me time to draw up the next part to my game as well, but without needing to do it fast.
    Updated 11-25-2009 at 03:28 PM by cplmac
  7. Webhead's Avatar
    Two words: too cool!

    Dark Sun was always my favorite published fantasy setting and it has been years since I've gotten to do anything with it as either player or GM. Even though I'm not one riding the 4E bandwagon, I'll admit that hearing about the release of Dark Sun for 4E had me curious. I'll browse it at very least once it comes out.

    I know I'll be very interested to hear how your game goes and I hope you get to really enjoy yourself in front of the screen for a change.

    Best of luck!