Dark Sun

Dark Sun is a discontinued Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting based on the harsh world of Athas, which was once a life-teeming ocean blue planet, but which has since been stripped of its fertility by uncontrolled use of defiling magic, although a small offshot of magicians called preservers tends to maintain life and ultimately restore the primeval lushness. It is a sun-burnt land forsaken by the gods, water, and hope. Another characteristic of Athas life is its lack of any serious mountain chains and therefore scarcity of metal and stone. Wood, obsidian and bone are used for weapons, tools and structure building.

While the campaign is no longer supported with published rulebooks, rules for the 3.5 edition (d20) have appeared in several places. Users from athas.org created the basic rules, two monster manuals, some adventures and several other accessories. In addition, a special feature in Dragon Magazine #319 (the May 2004 issue) and a parallel feature in Dungeon Magazine #110 revived the setting for the revised Third Edition (3.5) Dungeons and Dragons game. (The rules for defiler wizards appear in Dragon #315, and additional monsters in Dungeon #111.) There were also many fan-created online resources written prior to this feature.

Dark Sun was the setting for two computer games, Darksun: Shattered Lands and Darksun: Wake of the Ravager, by the popular developer Strategic Simulations, Inc.


Unique characteristics (2nd edition)

Player characters in Dark Sun are markedly tougher than other campaign settings - most start at third level with attributes on a 5-20 scale as opposed to the normal 3-18 scale. Most characters also posses some degree of psionic talent, making even the lowest slave surprisingly formidable. Athasian races include half-giants, more intelligent than their counterparts in other worlds, muls (a dwarf-human breed), thri-kreen (a race of savage mantis men, formerly appearing as monsters in other settings), and Aarakocra (a race of winged bird men, also formerly monster). Even "normal" D&D races are substantially different - for instance, most halflings are vicious cannibals, and dwarves are bald desert dwellers.

Psionics is highly developed on Athas even in animal minds, and almost every individual is born with a "wild talent" or two. Schools of the minds exist, mostly maintained by and serving the dragon kings.

An alternate path is available for wizards in Dark Sun: Defilers. Defilers absorb magical energy from life around them. This allows defilers to become more powerful more quickly (defilers have lower experience point requirement for each level than wizards), but at the expense of killing plantlife around them. This defiling of the land is why the once healthy planet is mostly a desert. This concept was likely influenced by the Dragonlance campaign setting, in which white-robed good wizards had a harder path to achieving greatness than their black-robed evil counterparts, such as Raistlin.

The rulers of the isolated city states are God-Kings and in many cases, dragons. Clerics can worship these God-Kings as a source of their spell, but most instead worship Elemental forces.

Unique characteristics (3.5th edition)

In place of the higher dice for ability scores, all of the player character races have been beefed up. Each (including humans) has an additional bonus to one or more ability scores, an innate psionic power, and often other bonuses. Every race has a level adjustment, meaning that a PC of the race counts as a PC of higher level than he actually is for purposes of balance.

Playable races

Interesting personages

Athas is ruled by several dragon kings, former champions of Rajaat, the first sorcerer of Athas, who was obsessed with racial purity and ordered the extermination of all non-human Athasian races. Some of his champions failed in their tasks and some rebelled,when they realised that Rajaat intended to exterminate all non-human races, slaying their master and working in concert to raise themselves to highest levels of power resulting in the transformation into a dragon.


  • Noonan, David (May, 2004). "The Dark Sun DM's Guide." Dungeon Magazine, p. 60.
  • Noonan, David (May, 2004). "Dark Sun Monster Supplement." Dungeon Magazine, p. 84.
  • Noonan, David (May, 2004). "Dark Sun Player's Handbook." Dragon Magazine, p. 16.

External links

  • The Burnt World of Athas (http://www.athas.org/) - Officially recognized by Wizards of the Coast as the home of the Dark Sun setting, now updated to 3rd edition rules. Please note that the rules as presented by The Burnt World of Athas (Athas.org) do NOT agree and are NOT compatible with the Dark Sun rules as presented in Paizo's Dragon and Dungeon Magazines. Also, due to the unique situation regarding Dark Sun in 3e/3.5, both variants (Athas.org's and Paizo's) are considered official.

Dark Sun is also a gothic music club in Athens, Greece (Peristeri). It is well-known among the gothic subculture of Athens and it is notable because of its unusual decoration.zh:浩劫殘陽


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