Help with examples and inspiration? Dark Sun “hack”

I put “hack” in quotes because I’m just developing my home game. Generally, because there are rules for things like IP, I don’t try to distribute beyond my party.

For background, I’m a huge AD&D 2nd edition Dark Sun fan. I did the Dark Sol III PbtA port a few years ago, for example. You can find it here if you look hard enough:

After reading Scum and Villainy, I was inspired by how readily it would port. We have an Elf tribe (or Dune Traders) bouncing around the Wastes of Athas between the City-States in the Tablelands the way Stras et al have a crew with a ship bouncing between systems in the Procyon sector. Bonus: The Way = Psionics. That was easy. :slight_smile:

I’m interested in any suggestions for existing content to help bootstrap the port. Playbooks are key, for example. There’s 100 some at the playbook jam (for example):

And there’s the 8 thousand hacks referenced by Harper in the google drive file (I can’t link to it due to the 2 link limit for new users).

And people have posted various content here on these forums. My problem is that ocean is so deep that when I go searching I get inundated.

Thus: if any of you out there might be Dark Sun fans yourself, and have seen a playbook or resource that you think would fit well, please consider a response to direct my attention. With my humble appreciation extended, since I’m now asking to crowd source my research efforts.

Final call out: I gave Loverdrive’s Swords under the Sun a read. So I at least found that one on my own :slight_smile: It’s too Dungeon World for my tastes but Loverdrive obviously put a ton of love and sweat into it. Kudos and I hope it gets a successful play test from the community!


Hey! Also a long-time Dark Sun fan here. Also familiar with most of the ocean of fitd content out there. I thought about porting the setting at one point to fitd, but only so much time in the day and all that. Here’s my best suggestions off the top of my head:

  • The Iruvian playbooks by Johnstone Metzger are older than the playbook jam, and they have a lot of really great stuff going on. There’s some just redistributing of the base Blades playbooks special abilities, but also some great new ones. The Rakshasa especially feels Athasian.

  • Look for Blades supplements (like the playbooks in the Unusual Suspects jam) that specifically focus on Deathlands and Deathlands Scavengers inspired material. That should translate to Dark Sun super well. You could probably also ctrl-f the Blades rules pdf for “deathlands” and reread everything you find. There’s a lot in there.

  • If your game is more dungeon-delvy, check out Into The Dark (also by stras) for a fitd game that focuses more on that than Blades or S&V does. It’s not super compatible with base Blades/S&V rules, but you could probably find some good inspiration in there. It’s also got a “settlements inside large uninhabitable areas” thing going on, in addition to being about (more or less) dungeon delving.

  • Trophy Gold is also dungeon-delvy and technically fitd, though it’s a little bit more of a departure from the kind of game you’re talking about running.

  • Don’t be afraid to just make shit up. It seems like you’re comfortable hacking stuff, which is great. Run with that. Houserule in special abilities based on Dark Sun specific D&D spells or class features. Let us know what cool stuff makes it into your game.

  • It sounds like you’re playing a game more based on running from city to city, but if you wanted to do “faction warfare within one city on Athas,” you could easily just use Blades proper. But for a higher-status game, you might check out Court of Blades.

All that said, I think just doing a straight S&V reskin will serve you very well. If players feel short on abilities, snap off the Iruvian playbooks and then make them do the scouring of the playbook jam. Alternatively, if you want a more lethal and dungeon based game, hit up Trophy or Into the Dark.

Good luck!

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SamD: incredibly useful reply! Thanks for taking the time. :slight_smile:

The suggestion about focusing on Deathlands abilities/playbooks is a really good suggestion for a way to filter down the existing content to things that might be thematically appropriate. Also, I downloaded the Iruvian playbooks a while back (like two years ago? Been a WHILE)…I need to go back and reread through that content. Thanks!

I also liked the suggestion about “faction warfare within a city”. That’s actually how I introduced the group to Blades! We have a die hard, “we play D&D” kind of troupe with about a 20 year gaming history together. I have a hard time pushing them into other systems. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist was reasonably easy to reskin to Blades with the various factions and the pressure of happening inside a specific locale. Anyway, great suggestion and roughly what worked for me to introduce Blades in the first place.


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