The Burnt World of Athas

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What’s your favorite personal Dark Sun story?

Verdant Passage

The final, 30th, day of #30DaysofDarkSun is here and the question is "What’s your favorite personal Dark Sun story?"

Like many of the questions, this one is difficult. I've had experience with the setting for 25 years and picking one story through the haze of time and silt it nigh impossible. Instead of picking one story I'm going to pick an amalgam of all of the great experiences I've had under the Dark Sun. This feeling isn't unqiue to Dark Sun, but I've definitely experienced it most while playing in the sands of Athas.

The reason I play role-playing games in general is in hopes of getting a feeling of immersion in the game. Forgetting that I'm sitting there at a table or online with other people and instead fully imagining the arena the characters are standing in, feeling the heat off the sands, the forgelike bellow of the Athasian winds, hearing the roaring crowd, and feeling the blood of my enemies. This feeling of being completely immersed in the situation, whether it's a gladiatorial match, an intense trade discussion between elves and a trade house, or traveling the windswept roads of the Tyr Region, is what I'm looking for everytime I sit down to play Dark Sun. It doesn't happen everytime I play, but it happens enough that I long for it and continue playing. There are snippets of emotion that I recall, even if I don't recall the exact situation in detail. Moments like Talmun, the elf trader being robbed but then getting revenge on the red-haired bard, Sheikenhein the Mul gladiator being beheaded after charging a hulking half-giant on his own (thanks to 3 -20's in a row from one attack!), characters dropping an artifact of Ul-Athra an ancient primordial into a volcano from the backs of a Roc to seal the primordial away, moments where we felt the power of Marifus a Draji templar who rose in power....until his sorcerer-king was killed, or Scrae, the preserver who struggled to do the right thing and keep his magic hidden. I long for the days of high-school where we could play for hours on end, but those days are gone and now I strive to experience those fleeting moments of complete immersion into the world of Dark Sun.

I can't fully explain what this setting means to me. It's something that's been in my life, other than family and a few very close friends, longer than anything else. While there were times when I floated away from it, and gaming in general, I have always returned to feel the heat of the Dark Sun in my mind. Thanks to all the creators who created products under TSR, especially Tim Brown and Shane Hensley, Rodney Thompson, and Robert Scwalb. And of course all of the great fans who joined the Dark Sun mailing list back in the day like Teos Abadia (Alphastream), Chris Flipse (Flip), Angela Last (Neeva), Daniel Bandera, Peter Nuttall (Brax), Jon Sederqvist (The Oracle), Nels, and many more. Thanks also to the great folks who created products over the years as part of the Overcouncil, Senate, and Templarate here at and kept this setting alive! I credit Teos Abadia, Chad Brown, and Derek Guder for fully bringing me back into the fold with Ashes of Athas for 4th edition, thanks guys! And of course more thanks to Flip (Chris FLipse) for keeping this website going through the lean years!

Here's to 25 years of Dark Sun, and 25 more!

~Robert Adducci