Upcoming Campaign Setting: Dark Sun

Last week at GenCon, Wizards of the Coast announced that their campaign setting for 2010 would be Dark Sun.

Prior to the convention I’d heard a lot of people guessing that the next setting would be Dragonlance, and while I would have been happy to see them publish the Dragonlance setting for 4E, I think Dark Sun has the opportunity to be better because some aspects of the world differ greatly from the medieval European flavor present in many other settings.

Here are the top 5 things I’m looking forward to seeing in the Dark Sun campaign setting when it releases next year:

5) Thri-Kreen. Though I don’t believe I ever played one, I thought these psionic insects represented a significant difference from the player character races at the time. It did make me shake my head when I searched on Google to make sure I spelled it right, I found a page titled ‘Thri-Kreen Erotica’ (no link, you’ll have to work if you really want to find it).

4) Nature destroying magic – in the only Dark Sun games I played in, I think this was glossed over a bit during game play, though it was used as the explanation why so much of the world was desolate. When I initially saw the 4E Bullywugs, I thought their mechanic might serve as some version of the blight caused by magic use in Dark Sun.

3) Half-giants – maybe not quite as cool now that we have goliath’s around, though I imagine half giants as even taller and broader than goliaths, and wielding weapons designed for creatures even larger than themselves.

2) Killer environment – While I expect there will be other mechanics created for this, the burning deserts seem like a great place to show off skill challenges.

1) Psionics – Love them, or hate them, the mechanics of psionics always bring something different to the table. Curious whether the idea of replacing encounter powers with ‘Augmentations’ to daily powers as the DDI release of the Psion class does will carry over to other psionic classes as well.

I’m sure all of these will be the topic of some debate/discussion across various Internet forums for the next 10 months or so. I’m also sure the designers will provide some very interesting mechanics, and in the end there’s will probably be something that I’m not expecting that I’ll be interested in when Dark Sun 4E finally hits the shelves.

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