Dark Sun…Returns in 2010

So the big news from Wizards of the Coast at GenCon was that the next setting they will be producing will be Dark Sun. Timetabled for the tail end of 2010 the first book to come out will of course be the Campaign Guide.

Dark Sun Campaign Guide

I’m torn on this one. On one hand I’m not a fan of fourth edition D&D but on the other hand I was a huge fan of the original version of Dark Sun for second edition. So much so it was all we played for several years until I joined a new group that only ran Forgotten Realms.

From the information that WotC gave out at the con it seems like we might actually get a faithful attempt at bringing Dark Sun into the current system. I was joking about on Twitter this morning about how they could mess it up but after looking again at the press release and the blogs of those that were there I’m quietly hopeful. So hopeful in fact that I might actually give up my card carrying hatred of the system and give it another go when it gets released.

So what is it that’s making think this is a good idea? Well aside from originally wanting Dragonlance to be the next setting I can completely understand their reasoning behind it all. They have a system that currently has a couple of settings on the bookshelves of stores but everything they have out there is very similar. They are being compared to computer games like World of Warcraft with the style as well as the game play. So they now want to push the boat out and show us just what the system can do with you give it something like Dark Sun to play with.

They have a couple of the original writing team on board who really want to get this project going and seem to want to keep it’s history and style rooted in the original books. I’m slightly worried about the comment they made about making sure that the re-release of the Prism Pentad novels fit in with the back story in a way that allows it to ‘one possible way things turn out’. But that aside going on their interview in Dragon 378. I’m quietly optamistic.

I also think that 4e’s reliance on mini’s and battlemaps may be able to improve on the one thing about Dark Sun that I really didn’t like. Structured one on one fights in a normal roleplay you can get away with but when it comes to gladiators and the games I think the 4e combat system will work fantastically well. I’m still not a fan of it for most settings but I think arena combat will really benefit from it.

Considering the changes brought in for the revised edition that made it’s way onto the shelves not long after the original setting was published I’m really curious to see where they are going to take this. It’s not a setting where you can just shove everything 100 years into the future as everything will be almost the same. Unless there were major uprisings the bad guys will still be there and if they are beaten then it changes both the feel of the game but also the earth itself will change as the amount of defilers on the planet drop dramatically with the Templars out of the equation.

Suffice it to say I’m looking forward to it and August next year can’t come soon enough!

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