The Twilight Ascension
Rules thus far
1. Only the following races are allowed unless otherwise agreed upon with the DM:
- Dray (Dragonborn)
- Eladrin (Pending DM background discussion)
- Half-Elemental (Genasi)
- Half-Giant (Goliath)
- Kalashtar (Considered just another Human in this game)
2. Classes that use the divine power source are banned. Any divine classes a player wishes to choose from will need to be reflavored and altered to meet the feel of the game. If you wish to play a divine class connect up with me so we can alter the class to reflavor as a Nature Master, Nature Bender or Elemental Cleric.
3. Remember to choose a theme for your character. It is purely additive and will help define your character’s place on Athas. All Dark Sun themes, including the “escaped slave” theme published in dragon, are viable options.
4. You may choose your stats based on the point buy system as detailed in the PHB.
5. Choose one racial background (DSCS Ch. 2), one regional background (DSCS Ch. 5), and one other background (PHB2 and other sources) for your character. You may then choose to gain a +2 bonus to a skill associated with one of your backgrounds, to add a skill associated with one of your backgrounds to your class skill list, or to gain one additional language associated with one of your backgrounds. These are examples of where to find the backgrounds, however you may choose this information from whatever source you would like. I would like to know where your character received these bonuses however, so be prepared to reflavor if not taken from the above stated books.
6. With the exceptions of Genasi and Kalashtar racial options and Warlock powers adjusted for the Sorcerer-King Pact, you may not use any material found in the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide or the Eberron Player’s Guide or any Dragon article written specifically for these campaign settings. If you do wish to play something from one of these or something from other material published contact me to see about reflavoring. You can find the adjusted powers for the Sorcerer-King Pact here: Templars of the Sorcerer Kings
7. All mundane weapons and armor you begin with are made of bone, stone, or wood. This has no mechanical effect. Your characters will gain a fixed enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls beginning at 2nd level, and a fixed enhancement bonus to defenses beginning at 4th level (be sure to select the Inherent Bonuses option in the character builder, I have a table at the bottom of the page too). Also, know that a “weapon breakage” rule will be in effect, as well as an endurance check penalty for wearing metal armor under the sun. All items at the beginning of the game will be non-magical in nature. (Note: See below)
Stone, wood, obsidian, chitin, leather, hide- these are the common materials of Athas, and they are a poor substitute for precious iron or steel. Your weapons and implements are likely to break, either with the force of an impact or the sheer energies of focus or arcane force coursing through them. To represent this, if you are wielding a weapon or implement not made of metal, each time a critical fumble (a natural roll of 1) is made on an attack roll as the final result, roll 1d10. If the item is magical in nature, add the enhancement bonus of the item to your result. Compare the result to the following chart:
A magical weapon broken by results marked with an asterisk (*) can be repaired for 1/5th its listed price. A shattered weapon is beyond repair.
1d10 + Enhancement:
|1-5*||Your weapon breaks, and now counts as an improvised weapon – See page 219 of the Player’s Handbook.|
|6-7||Your weapon or implement flies from your hand. Roll 1d8 to determine the direction- it lands 1d6-1 squares away.|
|8-9||Your weapon is lodged into something, or your implement is overloaded with energy. You may free or correct it by spending a minor action to make an easy skill check.|
|10||Your attack throws you off balance. You retain your weapon, but you grant combat advantage to your target until the end of your next turn.|
|11-13||Your attack misses wildly, but the fine craft of your weapon allows you to keep control. No ill effects.|
|14*||Your weapon breaks, but the power within it allows a measure of your attack through. Your enemy suffers 5 damage per tier from your attack. Your weapon now counts as an improvised weapon.|
|15||Your weapon shatters, but not before your attack strikes your enemy. Resolve your attack as a hit, and your weapon now counts as an improvised weapon.|
|16||Your weapon shatters, and the ancient powers stored within erupt. Resolve your attack as a critical hit, and your weapon now counts as an improvised weapon.|
8. Certain rituals and magic items are either altered or unavailable on Athas:
- Rituals that create precipitation or fog only function in certain areas of Athas, while rituals that create wind pose the hazard of creating a sandstorm. Weather altering magic items are also extremely rare and cannot be bought.
- Divination rituals are risky, as there are no gods or benevolent, extraplanar beings to contact. Instead, these rituals contact the malicious and fickle inhabitants of the Elemental Chaos or the Gray.
- Rituals that create food and/or water are not known to exist on Athas. Magic items that have similar effects (endless canteen, everlasting provisions) are extremely rare and cannot be bought.
- Some rituals that use the Nature skill may be more difficult to perform in areas affected by defiling magic.
- Rituals dealing with planar travel are difficult to perform and to obtain, and cannot be bought as other rituals.
- Rituals that use the Religion skill do not exist on Athas and our banned from play. Divine items are extremely rare, cannot be bought, and are only found in the most ancient of Athas’ ruins.
- Rituals that deal with teleportation circles are rare, and the few circles known to exist are controlled by the sorcerer-kings. These rituals cannot be bought.
- Items related to creatures that do not exist on Athas – such as items relating to aquatic humanoids – likewise, do no exist.
- Items composed wholly or partially of metal are scarce and, in some cases, do not exist.
- Potions do no exist on Athas, but fruit perform an identical function. Similarly, the Brew Potion ritual still exists, but is more herbalistic in nature, creating nurturing salves and the like from scarce fruit and plants. Because these things are hard to find, the component cost for the ritual may rise depending on what area of Athas you are in.
- The “enchant magic item” ritual does not exist, to the knowledge of the public at large, which is fine enough as they generally despise the arcane arts. Rumors suggest that the Sorcer-Kings and the Veiled Alliance may have copies in their possesion, and perhaps are competing to find more, but this is just heresay. The ritual cannot be bought. In its place are the following three rituals: “Implore Sorcerer-King’s Favor,” “Invoke Elemental Boon,” and “Grandmaster Training”. These rituals function as the Enchant Magic Item ritual does, but supply intangible bonuses rather than magic items. To gain a Sorcer-King’s favor one must go to his city, worship at his temple or palace, and most likely peform a task (this is generally a ritual performed by one of the Sorcerer-King’s templars. You can find more information on each city-state’s templerate in the article on Sorcer-King Pact Warlocks published in dragon). To gain an Elemental Boon, a nature check is required for the ritual. The ritual is more likely to succeed in a place of that element’s power (a volcano for a boon of fire, for example). The elemental spirits may or may not require a task, such as protecting or reclaiming one of Athas’s few wild places, or cleansing one already defiled. To gain Grandmaster Training, one must seek such a master – they can be found within the Veiled Alliance for preservers, amongst the Templars for defilers, in the arena or amongst the military for martial characters, guarding what’s left of Athas’s verdant wilds for primal characters, or in mountain monasteries or city-state academies for psionic characters. After a character has proved themselves worthy, they will be allowed to train under the master’s tutelage. Also, gaining glory by fighting in the arena can provide boons for a character as well.
9. Athasian spellshards replace spell books, ritual books and scrolls (DSCS 129).
10. Athas is an ancient world, and magical items are scarce. You will find fewer magical items in the treasures you uncover, and all but the simplest such items will be nearly impossible to purchase. Any money you earn, loot, steal, or are paid will probably go towards purchasing survival supplies, consumables and alchemical items, replacement mundane equipment, or transportation and services.
11. The DM will keep track of all PC and NPC health throughout the duration of the game and will give descriptive cues to indicate the severity of damage and wounds for both players and enemies.
12. Since copper, silver and gold are so limited on Athas, they are not used as a general currency. Instead of a Silver Piece you’ve got the ceramic Solid Piece or Splitters Piece (SP), which has grooves so it can be busted into smaller Chit Pieces (CP). Above that is the minted copper Greater Piece (GP). These pieces of ceramic are minted by the City States and are generally only traded within the city state of origin. In each City State there is an exchange house where one can change the currency over to the current city ceramic pieces (for a fee). Out of the City States ceramic is largely worthless, hard goods being the key to trade. This makes traveling with wealth hard to do unless you are within a caravan.
13. Besides what is mentioned here, all material published by Wizards of the Coast is fair game, pending DM review.
Fixed Enhancement Bonuses
Related Dragon articles:
We Who Are About to Die (D&D Gladiator options printed prior to work beginning on Dark Sun)
Templars of the Sorcerer-Kings (Details for playing Sorcerer-King Pact Warlocks from each of the seven city-states, including modifications of existing Warlock powers from the PHB, Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide, and Arcane Power)
Sweating Under a Dark Sun (Escaped Slave Theme)