I’ve mentioned before that the 4e version of Dark Sun is out and is awesome. It’s cool enough that I’ve even decided to overlook the fact that the Dark Sun files still aren’t available for the Character Builder software – mostly because I know how much of a wrench the new themes must have thrown into the system.
My players have agreed, and are coming together to produce a campaign that they can put a lot of claim into on their own, and it makes me pretty pleased to watch them come up with characters for this new (to many of them) world. While I know it won’t be a big deal to many of my readers, I would expect to see a couple more posts about the birth of this campaign, as a large part of the techniques I use for world-building when I write are also used when I plan campaigns out.
For this campaign – I sat down and thought about the themes I wanted to explore. First and foremost, I wanted to see a lot of political maneuvering between noble houses. I’m a big fan of Dune, Song of Ice and Fire, and Legend of the Five Rings – I’ve always been a fan of politics in fantasy and science fiction. I also wanted to include one of the all-powerful Sorcerer-Kings to serve as a foil to the players (or give them something to aspire towards). Once I’d decided on those two things, my choice of locations for the start of my campaign became clear – Raam.
Raam fit most all my needs. The sorcerer-queen is disinterested in governing the people, the nobility are at each other’s throats as they vie for the apparent power vacuum, and it’s a relatively unexplored city in the terms of published Dark Sun stuff. This meant I could put my own stamp on it freely, and could reshape the world around the city as I saw fit.
The players have taking up roles as members of a single merchant house, eager to carve out a place for their family against the broad background. All they needed was a suitable opponent, and plenty of morally gray choices. I’ll talk more about those the next time.