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30 Days of Dark Sun 2: Preserving Vs Defiling

Preserving vs Defiling

In day 2 of #30DaysofDarkSun we ask the question, "Which do you like better, defiling or preserving?"

Jason Engle Defiler Jason Engle Defiler
Dark Sun Campaign Setting (4th edition)

One of the strongest themes in Dark Sun is that of ecological disaster. In the original boxed set it's not completely clear what caused the world to be ruined, but the denizens of Athas know that defilers, those who's defiling magic is powered by plant life, had something to do with it. As a result, all wizards, be they preservers, who take just enough energy to power their spells but not enough to kill the plants, or defilers are nearly universally hated among those ignorant of the difference.

In the original boxed set preserving and defiling were binary situations due to the class structure of Dungeons & Dragons. You were either a preserver or a defiler. However, in the books of the Prism Pentad, Sadira was a preserver who defiled when necessary and walked the line of becoming corrupted by her actions. I really enjoyed the grey nature of the novels' characterization of defiling and preserving.

If I had to choose one or the other, I suppose it would depend on my knowledge of the world. If I knew the history, even recent history, and that defiling was a major cause of the disaster of the Tableands I would likely use preserver magic. But, if I was ignorant of the overall effects and was only interested in survival, the extra-power that defilers have over preservers would sway me to drain the energy from the land!


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