Here is my take on spell casting in the Dark Sun setting.

Here is my take on spell casting in the Dark Sun setting.

Here is my take on spell casting in the Dark Sun setting. I’ll be play testing it with some other Dark Sun material with my home group tomorrow night. Any and all feedback between now and then would be appreciated.

It uses the standard “Cast a spell” entry from the rulebook (page 144) and only adds in the two casting modes. I went this way because I don’t think it’s necessary to spell out setting-specific consequences in the move (except for defiling and preserving) because if we’re doing what we’re supposed to with DW, all of that will come from the setting and fiction anyway. THE thing that makes magic different in Dark Sun is defiling (and less powerful but friendlier preserving) IMO.

25 thoughts on “Here is my take on spell casting in the Dark Sun setting.”

  1. Rebel Wulf I think I’m going to remove both of those, and in combination with something commented on the Gauntlet community make Defile give a +1 Forward to the next Cast a Spell Roll. Thought?

  2. I think it works, although I feel it could be much cooler. The way I read it, it’s flat bonuses and it doesn’t help me create a cool scene in my head just by reading the move.

    I think it would benefit from having this as two distinct moves with each its trigger. Kinda like :

    When you defile plant and animal life in your vicinity to cast spells, roll+INT

    When you try to preserve the land by using less energy than you should, roll+INT.

    Then both moves should have distinct results.

    I’d expect Defile to have much bolder effets, like being able to add specific tags to the spell (messy, forceful, etc), even maybe have as 12+ result but by having much hardcore side-effects.

    I’d expect Preserve to probably be the “default” Cast a Spell move? Or othrewise have lesser side effects but maybe forcing the caster to choose a side effect even on a 10 (the same that we know and that works : -1 ongoing cast a spell, forget the spell, but you on a spot)

  3. Addramyr Palinor I covered some of that by expanding the descriptions of the modes (click the link… the image only shows what the move looked like when I first clicked the “share” button)

  4. Yeah, I think the basic conceit of DS pcs is that the spellcasters are preservers, right? So maybe allow it so that “When you defile the landscape to give your spell power, treat any roll of 6- as a hit”

    Gives more reason for Defilingg to have become so prevalent as to have caused the apocalypse, I feel.

  5. And, its more of a narrative than a ‘Penalise your friends’ choice – ‘You can feel your vital essences being drained, like you’re rapidly aging as the spell comes into existence…’ is a much nicer and less argument causing effect then ‘Everyone takes Dave the Wizards attack die in damage’

  6. I like the XP idea, but what Rebel Wulf said. You could always say that when defiling, you mark XP on a 7-, but I feel it could make casters level up very very fast.

    I’d probably add to the End of Session move something along the lines of :

    If you solely relied on defiling magic during the session, mark XP.

  7. Diego Minuti and Rebel Wulf, I tweaked Defile… 6- results count as 7-9 (But you still mark XP). I like Addramyr Palinor’s idea about adding the some extra XP at end of session. As he wrote it it makes a lot of sense for “Extra defilier XP”. I’m going to add that in.

    Thanks everyone who has helped on this. It’s a lot better now than when I started!

  8. So did thieves in D&D2, incredibly faster than any other class.

    But I don’t think you gain anything by emulating faster xp progression for one playbook over others. Unless all the characters are capable of magic, and can choose to defile or preserve each time they use magic, I see that as problematic.

  9. That’s a good point Morten Halvorsen, but I think it’s going to be difficult and painful (socially and physically) to just go around defiling all the time. Your allies or circumstances may “force” you to preserve instead of defiling. Defiling definitely puts a target on your back, per the “Dark Sun Considerations for GMs and Players” in the document (click the link, the Google Doc preview doesn’t show any changes made to the document). It wouldn’t be too much of a problem giving a single additional XP at the end of session if you’ve used Defiling exclusively (IMO of course)

  10. Well if defiling is offering extra benefits at the cost of terrible drawbacks, adding xp bonus is a way to incentivize the player to take the risk. But I too would make sure that it is attractive enough on its own without needing the extra xp. Either way I think the idea is good enough to explore.

  11. Addramyr PalinorI feel that defiling is attractive on its own merits, but I WOULD like to explore different triggers for that extra XP. Maybe even something like refraining from using it when it may kill you or an ally.

    “*At end of session:* If you were forced to restrain your lust for power because Defiling would kill you or an ally, mark XP.” Something along those lines.


  12. Brian Holland Are you saying that “defiling xp” are unlikely to be awarded because it is too dangerous?

    Then why include it?

    What I saw was that Defilers get xp for failing spells without suffering a 6- consequence. And then they might get xp at End of session for Defiling as well. It seemed a bit much, and like double dipping.

    Btw, the way I read “treat a 6- as 7-9”, is that you then don’t get xp. Can’t have your cake and eat it too 😉

  13. Morten Halvorsen no, not saying it’s unlikely. Just exploring different ways to apply “end of session” XP. You’re right, EoS XP probably isn’t necessary (yeah, it’s double dipping), but I want to explore the options.

    “Results of 6- count as 7-9 (but you still mark XP)” is an exception to the normal rule because otherwise there would be no reason for Defiling (as I’ve written it…. there are two or three others floating around this community too). But because it’s a staple of the Dark Sun setting, if you’re playing in Dark Sun then defiling should be included.

    You have your cake (XP) and get to eat it too because it’s poisoned cake that hurts you and your friends. “I did fail, but I made it work well enough because I consumed our life force to power through it”(granted, that’s a stupid analogy LOL).

  14. I get that you perceive defiling as an important thing in this game, and you want the rules to back that up.

    So how about using countdown clocks for defiling somehow? Fx each session you could start a new clock with x boxes, and maybe the players don’t know how many boxes there are. And each defiler spell fills a number of boxes, 1-3 depending on how powerful/level/defilement. And if the clock is filled that session something very bad happens, and all the players mark 1xp.

    Or if you want to go the End of session route, I would word it something like: “If you used defiler magic, and it caused problems or harm for you or your allies, mark one xp”.

  15. Im intregued Morten Halvorsen . Count down clocks would make for a suspenseful session. No knowing just how many times you can cast before the world ends. Thats scary

  16. A new front that resets,

    *Each area you are in

    *Make camp

    *Heal the land

    Include a defilement resource that adds to the spells power or roll and mark a number of boxes equal to defilement used

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