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Posted (edited)

I've been working on a Dark Sun Conversion for a while now. Although it is neither finished nor tested, I submit the first preview here for you guys. I'm looking for feedback (so don't hold your arrows), some brainstorming and some expertise if possible. Do note, I see Genesys not as a generic role-playing system, but as a toolbox. Therefore I have no problem using systems which depart from rules suggested by the Genesys book. That said, if possible and (almost) equally elegant, I would favour a solution in the spirit of how Genesys handles things.

Because it is a rather large document, here are the most important changes from normal Genesys, with my rationale.

Careers:

I personally find the careers system of Genesys is rather bland. I've opted for a system closer to the FFG Star Wars System, namely Talent Trees. In this case, each talent tree is 3x5, but you get to choose 2, which combined are your career. These will also determine your Career Skills. In this way you have a fairly good amount of customization but still have the flavour of a career system. For example, eventually you would be able to combine the Thief with Arcana careers to create a Spellblade, or create a Dark Sun bard by combining Performer with Poisoner. A D&D wizard could be approximated with combining Arcana with Scholar for example.

That said, the talent trees do look kind of ugly, so anyone with latex/tikz skills is welcome to improve that. This is my first Latex project (Thanks for the template c-bec-k), but that shows ūüėě.

Magic:

Dark Sun has a couple important changes to normal D&D regarding magic. The first is that of Psionics, for which we have to create a system. The second is of Defiling and Preserving. And finally while there is some sort of druidic system, the editions are rather different on how to handle divine magic, at first Templars were granted divine spells by the Sorcerer-Kings, later they got into a Pact. For now I have done nothing for templars, reasoning that for the most part they are NPC's anyway. This will probably change later on.

Right now Primal (aka druidic) magic uses the same system as Arcana, it only provides for different spells. Thus a druid can also preserve or defile. This is probably also subject to change, but ideas are welcome on this matter.

Psionics is using the exact same system as the Force did in Star Wars, with the black pips signifying more effort on behalve of the user, thus costing strain. There is no role-play penalty of using black pips at all. The same Force Powers are used, although renamed to Psionics Powers. I liked the fact that with Psionics you are more focussed on a specific power, but having more expertise, rather than having broad spells. I am wondering how the balance is between them though.

Finally Arcana magic. I've 'simplified' spellcasting by creating two actions, Cast Spell (Defiling) and Cast Spell (Preserving). Every Arcane (and Primal) user can use both actions. Preserving is close to the default in Genesys, except that instead of a static 2 strain cost, casting a spell cost strain equal to the final difficulty of the spell. Defiling costs no strain, but the generated threats and despair should be used to show the damage done to the environment. This also means that defiling is more likely to be noticed. This means that defiling has mostly a narrative drawback, but in this system I see that as an advantage, not a disadvantage. The idea behind this approach was that in the books, the half-elf mage is scolded at when she tells that she had cast a couple of spells close together, implying that that almost certainly caused damage to the environment. Thus while Preserving can draw a part of the amount of energy from the plants, the user has to supply a part of it herself, thus causing strain.

I've noticed the irony that while Psionics uses the force dice, that system would be almost perfect for using arcane magic. As in, using black pips from a force die could mean that is the amount of energy you are 'overdrawing' from the environment. However I could not think of a good system to use the force dice with the spell tables, more input is welcome here.

For now, my priority is more specialisations and more adversaries, which I will be working on the next couple of weeks. Also, in that time-frame I expect our current numenera campaign to end, so then we will put this to the test.

Finally, if people are willing, I would like some help with balancing the races and balancing/creating the adversaries. Any input on that front, as well as general input and suggestions, is very welcome.

Main pdf can be found Here (Here for a pdf with SWG Dice Symbols)

Print friendly Races and Specialisations

Simple Character Sheet

Edited by Luctius
Added links

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Looks amazing. Awesome layout, etc.,  but I noticed a couple of things:

1. In the TOC there are some red boxes around most of the terms. I assume the PDF was made while in some edit mode?

2. A few of the headers for the races got shifted to the previous page or column. (I noticed both Half-elf and Halfling)

Seems like you did a fantastic job with this overall, and thanks for sharing! :)

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Posted (edited)

Thanks!

1) It's not in edit mode, this is the default way Latex shows links and should disappear when printing. I've made a lot of links in an effort to easier time using the pdf as a reference. However I do agree that it is kind of in your face, so I'll play with the options to see if I can make then a bit more subtle.

2) This is because the layout system of latex, but I agree. I'll have a look if I can force the layout system to combine the racial picture and the heading, forcing it to start a new page if there is not enough room for both.

Edit: suggestions incorporated.

Edited by Luctius

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I don't know Latex, but I do know my work printers do weird stuff. If I print to the main printer it does layout accordingly, but if I print to PDF it changes things so stuff from one page gets stuck onto another sometimes. (I have to click "print to PDF" then go back to look at the doc carefully before I actually go back to print to PDF.) I figured your layout was caused by something like that.

Really great work, however!

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Reasonable big update:

  • Added multiple new specialisations (though some still miss flavour text)
  • Talent trees look a lot better
  • Added a character sheet at the end
  • Added print-friendly pdf for races and specialisations
  • Added Wild Psionic talents
  • Added Multiple Adveraries
  • Lots rebalancing and various other improvements

Links added to OP.

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As an old-school D&D player who bought every Dark Sun product when they came out, I am all over this.  

 

I agree with you on the use of the Force die having potential for use in the magic system.  It seems that the black-white pip layout would work with the Defiler-Preserver dichotomy.  But like you, I'm not sure what exactly the best way to implement it would be.  

 

Regardless, I'm thinking of starting a Dark Sun campaign now.  

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Posted (edited)
On 6/18/2018 at 10:11 PM, crazytuco said:

It seems that the black-white pip layout would work with the Defiler-Preserver dichotomy.  But like you, I'm not sure what exactly the best way to implement it would be.  

why not follow the swrpg way of dark force temptaion ...?

as you wrote on p51:

Cast Spell (Preserving)
... Using this action to cast a spell costs up a number
of strain equal to the final difficulty of the spell ...

so roll a number of force dice equal to the final difficulty of the spell, reading the result as follows:

1 white = means paying strain as nomal
2 white = you save 1 strain

1 dark = you may choose to paying strain as normal, OR save 1 strain and defile for 1 spell strain worth
2 dark = you may choose to paying strain as normal, OR save 1 strain and defile for 2 spell strain worth

Preservers may choose not to defile, Defilers must accept defile results and hence pay less strain.

Example: some attack spell with 4 difficulty, hence 4 spell strain cost, so roll 4 force dice

Result # A: 4 x 1white = you pay 4 strain for the spell

Result # B: 3 x 1white, 1x 2white = you pay 3 strain for the spell

Result # C: 2 x 1white, 2x 2white = you pay 2 strain for the spell

Result # D: 1 x 1white, 3x 2white = you pay 1 strain for the spell

Result # E: 4x 2white = you pay 0 strain for the spell

Result # F: 3x 1white, 1x 1dark
Preserver = you pay the full 4 strain OR pay 3 strain and defile for 1
Defiler = you pay 3 strain for the spell and defile for 1 strain

Result # G: 3x 1white, 1x 2dark
Preserver = you pay the full 4 strain OR pay 3 strain and defile for 2
Defiler = you pay 3 strain for the spell and defile 2 strain

Result # H: 4x 1dark
Preserver = you pay the full 4 strain OR pay 0 strain and defile for 4
Defiler = you pay 0 strain for the spell and defile 4 strain

Result # I: 4x 2dark
Preserver = you pay the full 4 strain OR pay 0 strain and defile for 8
Defiler = you pay 0 strain for the spell and defile 8 strain

Result # J: 1x 1white, 1x 2white, 1x 1dark, 2x 2dark
Preserver = you pay the 3 strain OR pay 1 strain and defile for 3
Defiler = you pay 1 strain for the spell and defile 3 strain

Note for Preserver: if you choose to defile, you must choose all dark dices to defile, there is no 'partial' defiling.

does it ring ?

Edited by Terefang

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Is there a penalty for characters who defile or a bonus for characters to preserve?  As a GM I'd be fine with them being narrative only, but I'm not sure a party containing a preserver and a defiler would see it the same way.  

 

Although, what if the defiler or preserver who chooses to defile casts a spell in an are where there is little or no life other than the party?  Perhaps the in situations like that the strain paid by the caster could be applied to all living things within a certain distance?  

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Posted (edited)

 

@Terefang, After a discussion on reddit I have changed the spellcasting mechanic, which I will discuss below. That said, I like your proposal. I would do away with the forced choices of having to accept all black pips.

I like it more if there are no definite preservers or defilers, but with each spell they cast there is the temptation of defiling.

Thus, when using the Aracana skill for a magic action, the caster adds a number of force die equal to the final difficulty of the spell. Using a Magic Casting action generates a number of strain equal to the difficulty of the spell. However any caster can choose to use either white pips or dark pips rolled with the force dice, but they can never mix dark and white pips. And then use your system for pip usage.

The system discussed with cyvaris on reddit is as follows:
The proposed system goes back to the normal Genesys casting rules, with 1 magic skill check and 2 Strain cost. However, there are no implements for arcane casters, and thus they are at a disadvantage. This will be offset by adding force die equal to their Arcana rating to a magic check. Every pip thrown can be used as a success or advantage to the roll. However using a white pip costs 1 extra strain, and using a dark pip represents Defiling. White and dark pips can be used freely.

That said, the more I think about it, the more I like your proposal. It is easier to balance, and I think the higher default Strain creates a nice pressure to slip to Defiling.

@crazytuco, With the new mechanics being discussed, I am thinking about creating an table like the threat and despair usage tables to give guidelines, but I would focus mostly on the narrative. I do think that could include doing damage to creatures in a certain area. However I do think that the GM is in a better position to create the appropriate penalty for Defiling, even if that means one a only later down the road.

Edited by Luctius

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Posted (edited)

Were I to create rules for defiling, I think I would add an extra option to all spells that would essentially be +1 difficulty to use preservation magic. So defiling would be the default. Then you can stack boosts and setback based on availability of organic components around to defile.

Edited by kaosoe

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15 hours ago, Luctius said:

That said, the more I think about it, the more I like your proposal. It is easier to balance, and I think the higher default Strain creates a nice pressure to slip to Defiling.

for implements .. just let them provide a number of additional force dice.

and ... LOL ... there might be Defiler implements that provide a range of 1-4 dark pips.

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6 hours ago, Luctius said:

@kaosoe : While it is more in line with Genesys and I like the simplicity, to me it lacks the enticement of the other proposals.

I agree with this.  Usually in any RPG I like to go for the simpler solution.  But that Force die has a lot of potential for its use.  

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Posted (edited)

hmm ... after take out some of the old supplements

 

what are your inclinations about the effects of defiling, if there is nothing to defile in the area except the casting defiler herself ?

taking wounds instead of strain ?

or items taking damage ?

Edited by Terefang

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3 hours ago, Luctius said:

I would suggest that in that case there is no option to defile, so only white pips work.

or dark pips cause wounds

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For those who have run this using Genesys, are you encouraging your to use the concept of the character tree that was put forth in the original 2nd Ed. days?

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Since Darksun first came out it has been by far my favorite campaign setting. I'm currently running a Rise of the Runelords game, however, as soon as it wraps up I will be breaking out my old AD&D boxes for a Darksun game. I really like what you've done here. The force from SWRPG seems perfect for psionics and your Shape spell will see some immediate usage in my game.

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On 6/25/2018 at 9:05 PM, crazytuco said:

For those who have run this using Genesys, are you encouraging your to use the concept of the character tree that was put forth in the original 2nd Ed. days?

run a onshot so far and all survived

if you keep a lethality level similar to the original edition, yes

in the 2nd ed days a character tree was of utmost importance,
since i remember dying 5 times in a singe session from complications during camping :D

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I'm working on a Dark Sun project, too, and I really appreciate the work you put in here! I'm probably going to construct the races a bit differently, and I'll probably stick with the usual Genesys talent tree system, but we did have a lot of convergence on, say, the half-giant.

I also toyed with the idea of defilers/preservers or psions using the Force Die, but I'm not sure how I want to go about implementing it yet...I may use it for psionics. The solution I came up with for defiling/preserving is that arcane casters must spend the 2 strain to cast a spell as per normal in Genesys when preserving. When defiling, they don't spend the 2 strain, but must flip a Story Point - essentially taking a shortcut to power and avoiding personal discomfort at the cost of tempting fate (and potentially alienating themselves from their allies if they start using more Story Points than the other players feel is their fair share... :p )

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I loved Dark Sun the world, thanks for making this.  

I probably didn't see it but how can the pscions increase their Psyhic Rating, I didn't see a talent to to increase so I hope I didn't miss it.  I only skimmed it.

Also for the 2 races that start with a 4, I think putting 3 other stats to a 1 is too much.  I think 1 of their other stats should be put back up to a 2.  Cunning for Thri-kreen to help with Survival.  Half Giants Will Power should go up to 2 to help with their Intimidate. 

Just my thoughts. 

 

Thanks!

 

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