Friday, April 7, 2023

OSR Commentary On Running DSR1 Slave Tribes By Bill Slavicsek With The Castles & Crusades Rpg

 "Out of the swirling, bone-dry sands of Athas come hordes of raiders. They overrun caravans, strip them bare, then vanish into the untracked wastes once more. Who are these ghosts of the desert? Where do they live? How do they survive far from the high walls of the city-states? Slave Tribes answers these and many more questions about the ex-slaves who escape into the desert."

"The DARK SUN game world is now open to campaigns in realms beyond the reach of the sorcerer-kings. The most prominent and successful slave tribes of the Tyr region are presented in great detail in this accessory. Slave Tribes enables the DM to create entirely new tribes to roam his DARK SUN campaign. It also shows players how to form their own tribes when their characters escape the clutches of the sorcerer-kings. The deadly world of Athas shows no mercy to those who are unprepared for its dangers!"

This blog post is going to pick right up from here on the blog.  DSR1 Slave Tribes By Bill Slavicsek hit the shelves  in January 1992. And what's unusual abou this book is how it's written and that is from the first person point of view with highly verbose tone about it. Because DSR1 rolls into it's escaped slave energy on Athas with abandoned. This is one of the first of a series of Dark Sun book that hit's the high notes of Dark Sun. You can feel the struggle of the protagonist within his bonds and the struggle of survival. We get within DSR1 a deep  look into the institution of slavery on Athas. And forget problematic, slavery is a virtual industry upon the face of Athas. It is the mechanism by which the world of Dark Sun runs and we get a look at several slave tribes of Athas. These tribes continue to play a central roll on Dark Sun. And Slave Tribes of Athas is a solid look at these tribes. Don't believe me?! Back in 01/22/07 Jeno S on Drivethrurpg wrote the following; "This accessory focuses on an aspect that differentiates Dark Sun: slavery. Although slavery exists in many campaign settings, Athas is a cruel world in which this notion plays a central role for its economic and social dynamics. Members of any race, thri-kreen, dwarves, and any stratum, rich, poor, templars, have seen themselves as victims or perpetrators of slavery. The first part of the accessory examines slavery in the Athasian society, its origin, practice etc., the second one focuses on several slave tribes (groups of ex-slaves), while the last one reveals life in these tribes and provides information for creating our own tribes.

This accessory is by no means essential, but is well-written, has the form of a chronicle, like the Wanderer journal of the boxed set, with frequent first-person narration (Bill Slavicsek speaks as the chronicler Daled, a dwarf and ex-slave), elegant language, offering an enjoyable read and helping the DM to add a special flavour to his campaign." 
And while DSR1 Slave Tribes both acknowledges & deals with slavery it never shys away from the fact that it is an abhorrant practice on Dark Sun. There are no innocents here on Athas.  What does any of this have to do with Castles & Crusades?! Well hold up, if we take DSR1 Slave Tribes by Bill Slavicsek and combined it with Brian Young's 
 Codex Classicum. Then you have the beginnings of a bad ass campaign. Why because this Codex Classicum have several classes that easily mirror many of the materials, tropes, settings, etc. that DSR1 talks about. 

Remember this isn't a bug it's a feature. Many of Athas's citystates are built on Earth's historical places. What makes Athas unique is how these cultures blend together against the undying Sun of Athas. 
This also comes into play when designing adventures. Slave Tribes is no exception as the slaves become the danger as well as the salvation for PC's. There are more then enough tribes that pray on both thier own and others. Such as the way of Athas. Is  DSR1 Slave Tribes an essential book? No, but it's a damn fine addition to the Dark Sun line for those wanting something different that takes a horrid practice and turns it on it's ear. This enables the player to begin to assend the ladder from slave to hero. This is a journey frought with danger at every turn. We're just getting started buckle up! 

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