The Return of Dark Sun?

Defilers are just misunderstood.

Defilers are just misunderstood.

With the prominent placement of some classic Brom artwork and the rerelease of a novel series that’s more than 15 years old, Wizards of the Coast seems to be dropping some pretty strong hints that 2010 will see the resurgence of one of D&D’s most unique campaign worlds. Are you ready to face the Sorceror-Kings of Athas once again?

Wizards of the Coast started rereleasing Troy Denning’s Prism Pentad novels in late 2008, with updated covers featuring the classic Brom art that defined Dark Sun. Their Summer 2009 retailer preview has a full page about the fifth book, The Cerulean Storm, and the trade paperback section is headed by another full page shot of Brom’s work. Meanwhile, speculation is running rampant over on the Wizards message boards that Dark Sun will be the 4E setting in 2010. Of course, the main purpose of message boards is to give speculation a place to run rampant.

Aside from Denning’s novels coming out again, what evidence do we have? We know that this year’s campaign setting is the 4E version of Eberron (it comes out in June). Last year we got the Forgotten Realms. Assuming they stick to a setting per year, what other options are there? Greyhawk is too much like FR. Ravenloft has never really stood on its own as a full campaign setting. It seems unlikely they’d create something totally new so soon after the creation of Eberron.

They’ve been including psychic damage in 4E books all along, but there’s been no news on the psionics front – perhaps they’re saving it up for the heavily psionic Dark Sun relaunch?

There are probably about a dozen other old settings just as likely as Athas, but I just have a feeling about this. Which is really nothing more than rampant seculation.

[Update: a little extra research turned up this cryptic mention of the defiler class in the WotC April Fools post (which is insanely hilarious even if you don't read Penny Arcade, but you should). There are also rumors floating around about Dragonlance, and the possiblity of psionics showing up in PHB3. So, does that clear everything up?]

10 Responses to The Return of Dark Sun?

  1. I loved the Dark Sun setting back in the day. Hell, I even loved the video games that were based in it (anyone else remember Wake of the Ravager?). I’d buy up that campaign setting and throw my players into it in a heartbeat.

    With regards to Ravenloft, I suspect WotC may have a continuing deal with White Wolf. That may be another reason to doubt that it would be the next published setting.

    Greywolf is supposed to be the “default” setting for D&D, so it’s unlikely to be published as a stand-alone product. For 3E it was all done through the RPGA, wasn’t it?

  2. Although I never looked at the Eberron game materials, I read a few of the novels. I didn’t dislike the world, but neither would I use the word “compelling.” It just didn’t fire my imagination, but I tend to be something of a Tolkien-esque fantasy traditionalist. Whatever that means.

    Frostbeard: I think you’re right, I’m not sure if they’ve published a retail Greyhawk product in ages.

  3. I really liked Ebberon– it brought something new to the table, which DnD desperately needs. Dark Sun does the same; so does Spelljammer. I have enough generic Tolkienesque fantasy stuff– if I’m shelling out, I want to see someone else’s imagination at work.

  4. I just hope that – if they DO re-release Dark Sun – they’ll set it before the Prism Pentad series, which totally altered the setting and made it Pretty Much Just Another D&D World.

    The original Dark Sun box was groundbreaking and revolutionary – it is the first fantasy setting I recall without Gods, for example.

  5. I have never really been a fan of high fantasy style stuff so Dark Sun was the first and nearly last thing that made me want to play D&D (Planescape was pretty cool to!). I think Dark Sun forced a lot of people to go back to the drawing board imagination wise, players and gms alike! High fantasy has a few to many shorthand, in the know, crutch devices and ideas for many people. Not everyone obviously but I have several friends who play avidly and cannot break out of habits and ideas about there games without something really different to shake it up.
    Also Dark Sun had really great background fluff and Brom art!!

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