Dungeons & Dragons is teasing yet another classic campaign setting in its recent playtest material. Earlier this week, Dungeons & Dragons released a revised set of playtest rules for several psionic subclasses and abilities, including a handful of feats that allows players to equip any player character with basic psionic abilities. Although Dungeons & Dragons fans had seen previous versions of these subclasses and abilities before, the new Unearthed Arcana document was interesting in that it mentioned the world of Athas several times while mentioning how these subclasses could be incorporated into various D&D worlds.
Athas is the world featured in the Dark Sun campaign setting, a post-apocalyptic world that heavily featured psionics and non-traditional fantasy elements. Dark Sun was a dangerous post-apocalyptic world where there were no deities (and hence, no divine magic) and arcane magic was reviled for the destruction of the world. Although most traditional types of magic were either frowned upon or unavailable, psionics was the most common "magical" effect available to most players.
The Dark Sun campaign setting has a long history in Dungeons & Dragons that dates back to 1991. Although the campaign setting was originally meant to be used as a vehicle for a new mass-combat system, the makers of Dungeons & Dragons eventually converted Dark Sun into a full-blown campaign setting that could be used in any type of D&D game. Wizards of the Coast re-visited Dark Sun in Fourth Edition, as the gritty setting felt very much in-line with Fourth Edition's more complex and action-oriented ruleset. The Fourth Edition version of Dark Sun also established Athas as part of the D&D multiverse, so that players could hypothetically travel to Athas at any time.
Of course, it's not exactly surprising that Dark Sun got at least a call-out in the recent Unearthed Arcana, given its deep ties to psionic rules. However, it does support the idea that the D&D development team is planning to re-visit some of its classic settings in an upcoming book, especially given the mention of multiple planes in other public playtest documents.
Would you be interested in returning to the world of Dark Sun? Let us know in the comment section or find me on Twitter at @CHofferCBus to chat all things Dungeons & Dragons!