War World: Athasian trimmings for your DCC game.

This is going to be the first post in (hopefully) a long series where I work out what are the essential pieces needed to create a "Dark Sun-like" campaign using the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG as a base.  I don't have the patience to deal with all of the "is it in the OGL or isn't it?" nonsense so this is going to be a "serial numbers shaved off" kind of endeavor where I will try to avoid all but the most generic naming conventions from the original Dark Sun line.  That being said, what should be on my to-do list?  What is essential to be included in order to get the correct flavor for this classic campaign world?

Here's what I'm working on so far:

  • Deciding whether stats going to 20 are necessary (I think they might be, just because of half-giant PCs)
  • Races! Tweaking Elves, Halflings and Dwarves to fit the Dark Sun vibe.   Creating Thri-Kreen, Mul and Half-Giant class options.
  • Magic! Making the balance between defiling and preserving something that all wizards have to think about.  Maybe choosing to defile means spellburning from the ecosystem rather than your body?
  • Rules for exhaustion and dehydration.
  • Rules for non-metal weapons and breakage.
  • Athasian profession tables for zero level characters.
  • All AD&D Dark Sun characters started at 3rd level. . . I think DCC's character creation funnel might make that unnecessary.  What better way to communicate the harshness of the setting than by having everyone die?
  • Make a character funnel involving the PCs all being slaves in a massive gladiatorial melee!
  • Sorcerer Kings!  Rules and random tables for generating them and their city states.  Maybe they can have differing sources of power?  Not all eventually turn into dragons?
  • Reworking Templars to be NPC only and probably more like patron bonded wizards rather than clerics, or maybe something else entirely. . . casting spells through talismans powered by the SKs?
  • Speaking of clerics, NO GODS!  Got to work out how to make Elemental Shamans/Priests a workable thing.  I think earth, air, fire, and water could almost be used like additional alignments.  Not sure about all the para-elemental shenanigans yet.
  • Elemental cleric spells!  There are barely any spells for clerics in DCC and certainly not enough of the elemental variety to differentiate earth/air/fire/water.  Guess I'll be making some spells too.
  • Druids? I dunno. . . maybe
  • Psionics!  This may be heretical, but I did not consider them to be that important to the setting.  I am probably not going to come up with anything on my own but will punt to using Mind Games (from crawling under a broken moon) as an optional psionics supplement, to add or ignore as you see fit.  Mind Games is a really neat DCC supplement though and the psionicist class within is quite good.

I'm sure like any good judge/gm/dm, if you played any version of Dark Sun, you probably made your own version of Athas that included things you thought were cool, and left out things that you thought sucked.  I definitely did.  IN fact, I have a whole notebook of notes that I made from long ago about what was included in my personal "canon" Dark Sun including things from other game lines and publishers.  I am purposefully NOT going to be including any of that in my work here because I want people who find these tools, to be able to use them to make THEIR version of Athas, not mine.  This will be a bare-bones "kit" with very little fluff.

When it's all done, I will attempt to lay it out into a pdf or zine (maybe a series of zines if I can't get the page count down) called "The War World Kit" or something and make it a free download.

*"War World" was the original working title of the TSR project eventually named "Dark Sun"


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