Thursday, April 6, 2023

'From Here I Can See Athas' - OSR Thoughts on Running Dark Sun With Castles & Crusades and Why.

 Today is one of those days that while nothings happening it still manages to test your metal. While we've got currently a Warriors of the Red Planet/Hyperborea rpg campaign on going. My attention has been shifting toward the next campaign horizon. And reading through this entry on the Grumpy Wizard blog has me really thinking about Dark Sun again. 

There's something really special about the Dark Sun setting. And it has several things going for it among Rpg's especially the second edition fan crowd: 
  1. There's an established fan base for it. And this makes getting players easier. 
  2. Wizards of the Coast isn't going to touch it and that means the setting isn't going to turn to crap. 
  3. There are ton of lore & setting books to pull from. 
  4. Just surviving on Athas is an adventure unto itself. 
  5. Dark Sun lends itself easily into short mini campaigns. 
  6. The setting has baked in villains in the form of the Dragon Kings. 

I wouldn't even think of running Athas with anything resembling fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. And perhaps instead we'd start looking into our OSR roots. And yes, Cha'alt would work fantastic if mixed with Dark Sun. To start a group of players out we'd do an OSR rpg system  that the players are familiar with. 
And in this case the first thing that pops into my mind is going to be Castles & Crusades. Hear me out before you go running off. All of the parts & pieces to run Athas are already within C&C. Survival rules, lower tier character classes, and more. 

Now we've got quite a bit of experience running with post apocalpytic D&D style settings with our Castles & Crusades Zothique game. That game hasn't gone anywhere because of work & scheduling conflicts. That game is techically still in play but on hiatus for the momen. 
Now, Athas may be more then a hop, skip, and jump away from Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique. There are several threads that cross over between these settings. 
The differences are expansive between the settings. There are far more dangers on Athas then Zothique by an order of magnitude. 
This is more at the moment a 'thought excercise' then an actual plan. There are enough basics here for me to consider running such a campaign in the near future. 

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