Monday, 11 April 2016

The CSR Dark Sun Primer: Part 2

Character Creation

I wanted to ensure that my players had a choice from the full suite of available player races in the Dark Sun campaign setting. I also had preferences for some of the rules from the different printings of the setting. While some people feel that specific racial descriptors aren't needed, I felt that they would add a specific flavor to the game that I wanted. Since we would be playing a setting that was designed for dungeons and dragons originally it felt important.

So, I set about creating racial descriptors for each race from the original campaign setting (as well as one for Tieflings based on the D&D 4e rulebook, because every group has THAT player who wants to play something unusual).

The list of descriptors below is what I offered my players for racial choices. Including a small clip of text from the original campaign guide, as none of my players had played on Athas before.

Racial Descriptor - Dwarven

Short but extremely powerful, Athasian dwarves average 4½ to 5 feet tall. Because of their massive musculature and wide frames, full-grown dwarves weigh in at a hefty 200 pounds or so. Dwarves embrace work with joy, often giving themselves over to a favorite cause or task. They are a stoic, single-minded people to whom compromise doesn’t come easy.

The commitment to a single task is called a dwarf’s focus. A dwarf will work to complete his focus above all else, for the compulsion to succeed is built into his very nature. If a dwarf dies without completing his focus, the need remains so strong that the dwarf returns as an undead banshee to finish the task that drives him.

As a Dwarf you gain the following Characteristics:

+2 to your  Might Pool

You suffer no penalty in Dim light, and only suffer a 1 step penalty for acting in Very Dim light. Enabler.

Resistance to Magic
You gain an asset on all actions to defend against magic and magical effects. Enabler.

Resistance to Toxins
You gain an asset on all actions to defend against poisons and toxins. Enabler.

Suggested Initial Link to the starting Adventure:
Choose one other party member, that character is involved in your character's current focus in some way. Either they are aware of your current oath, and are helping, or perhaps a quest they are on drives you to assist them?

Racial Descriptor - Elven

While the last remnants of civilization huddle around pools of brackish water and clumps of withered vegetation, the elves of Athas run free. Elf villages are even less likely to be found than a pool of clear water in the desert, for elves only stop running when they fall down and die.

Elves gather in nomadic tribes that revel in theft, raiding, and warfare. Elves are excellent merchants, though they have no concept of fair trade practices. Anything goes when dealing with an elf trader.

Athasian elves stand between 6½ and 7½ feet tall. They are slender, lean, long-limbed,and usually in excellent physical condition.

As an Elf you gain the following Characteristics:

Fleet of Foot
+2 to your Speed Pool

You suffer no penalty in Dim light, and only suffer a 1 step penalty for acting in Very Dim light. Enabler.

Swift Desert Runner
Skill: You are trained in  all Stealth and Running actions in stony barrens, sandy wastes, and rocky badlands environments. Enabler.

Resists Extremes
You gain an Asset for all actions to defend against the effects of Natural Heat and Cold extremes. Enabler.

Suggested Initial Link to the starting Adventure:
You got wrapped up in the whole adventure because of a business deal that went bad.  Choose one other player whose character you once did business with before you joined the party. That deal went bad, and you owe that character a great debt.

Racial Descriptor - Half-Elven

Humans and elves must deal with each other from time to time, and in some cases—whether by force or through genuine love—children are born of mixed parentage. These are the half-elves, beings who combine features of both races, creating something different in the process.

Half-elves don’t form their own communities. Instead, they live either among or on the fringe of human society. Half-elves are most often encountered in the cities of the Tyr Region, though some can be found in the villages and tribes of ex-slaves that inhabit the wilderness. They are often shunned by both societies, Human and Elven, and usually live lonely lives as outsiders.

As a Half-Elf you gain the following Characteristics:

Mixed Bloodlines
+1 to your Speed poor and +1 to your Intellect Pool

You suffer no penalty in Dim light, and only suffer a 1 step penalty for acting in Very Dim light. Enabler.

Outcast Survivor
Skill: You are trained in Survival / Scavenging actions while in the deserts and wastelands. Enabler.

Animal Companion
You can befriend a small animal companion. It’s level is equal to double your current tier. It obeys simple commands. You can only befriend one animal at a time, and must wait a month after the death of one to befriend another. Enabler.

Suggested Initial Link to the starting Adventure:
Choose one other character in the party. This person is the first person who showed you true acceptance or kinship. When most others shunned or exiled you and your kind, they were accepting and trusting of you.  You have since become companions or friends.

Racial Descriptor - Half-Giant

Half-giants are one of the newer races to walk upon the burning sands of Athas. The race was created by the magical experiments conducted during the first years of the Age of the Sorcerer-Kings.

Typical half-giants stand between 10 and 12 feet tall, weighing upwards of 1,000 pounds. They have human features that are exaggerated in some way. Along with the size gained from their giant heritage comes low intelligence and great physical strength. 

From the human side, half-giants get an interest in communication and cooperation, curiosity, a willingness to learn, and a general tendency toward kindness. They don’t gather in communities of their own, but instead tend to adopt the cultures of those they admire or have access to.

As a Half-Giant you gain the following Characteristics:

Physically Imposing
+6 to your Might pool.

Inability: All Intellect Actions 

Good Natured
Skill: You are trained in all pleasant social interactions.

Suggested Initial Link to the starting Adventure:
Pick a character, or characters of the same race / background / culture in the party.  This culture is one that speaks to you and makes you feel included. Your character will emulate this character(s) dialog or dress in an attempt to fit it.

That's all for now! In my next post, I will provide the remaining Racial Descriptors as well as cover the party members and their chosen characters.  It's an interesting group to say the least.  Following that I will provide play reports from our sessions with a bit of fiction from between games.


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