Athasian Classes (Dark Sun) v1.2 | New Player Options for Fifth Edition

In the desert world of Athas, adventurers are extraordinary, certainly, but a bit different than those found on other worlds. The Fifth Edition Athas setting subtracts a few classes from the setting while introducing a few more.

This guide to Athasian classes is my second take on the subject and includes a few revisions.

Dark Sun, of course, is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast. This Fifth Edition conversion is purely for educational purposes.

 

Barbarians of Athas

Honed by primal instinct and accustomed to a life of danger, barbarians are a welcome addition to the hellscape that is Athas. When playing a barbarian in Athas, make the following changes:

Equipment

The greataxe option is replaced with a bone greataxe, and the handaxes option is replaced with bone handaxes. Any martial or simple melee weapon you select must be made of bone or one of the following: club, great club, lance, pike, quarterstaff, spear, net, or whip.

Primal Paths

The following Primal Paths are available to Barbarians in an Athas setting, some with mild changes.

Player’s Handbook

  • Path of the Berserker. No changes.
  • Path of the Totem Warrior. Change the names of the animals as follows: the bear is a baazrag, the eagle is a roc, and the wolf is a jaguar. Other than the names, the totems function the same way.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

  • Path of the Ancestral Guardian. No changes.
  • Path of the Storm Herald. The only Storm Aura you may select is Desert.
  • Path of the Zealot. The gods are absent from Athas, therefore, the Path of the Zealot is not available as a Primal Path for your barbarian character.

 

Bards of Athas

While musical, the bards of Athas are not magical. Instead, bards work as masters of intrigue, espionage, and assassination. As such, they do not stand as their own class. Instead, Bards are a Roguish Archetype.

You may not play a bard in a Dark Sun campaign.

 

Clerics of Athas (Elemental Priests)

While still healers and warriors, the clerics of Athas are not divine agents. Rather, they are elemental priests who draw their power from the Inner Planes. To play a cleric in the Dark Sun campaign setting, make the following changes:

Proficiencies

In addition to the skills listed, an elemental priest may select Nature as a starting skill proficiency.

Equipment

Both the mace and warhammer options are made of bone, as are the crossbow bolts. You may not select chainmail. When choosing a simple weapon, the weapon will be made of bone unless it is one of the following options: club, greatclub, quarterstaff, or spear.

Literacy

At 1st level, you can read and write any language that you can speak.

Channel Divinity: Turn Elementals (Optional)

Instead of turning undead with your first Channel Divinity feature, you can choose to turn elementals instead. Otherwise, the feature works exactly the same. If you choose this feature, at 5th level when you gain the Destroy Undead feature, you permanently banish the elemental if its challenge rating is at or below the challenge rating thresholds.

Divine Intervention

An elemental priest’s divine intervention is not nearly as potent as a true cleric’s. Also, the aid granted by an elemental priest’s chosen element always reflects its base form. For example, a fire priest calling upon the Plane of Fire might turn the landscape into a searing inferno, whereas a water priest could bring a flood down from the sky.

Divine Domains

None of the Divine Domains in the Player’s Handbook or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything are available for your cleric character in Athas. Instead, choose one of the following Divine Domains.

Air Domain

You draw power from the elemental plane of air. The wind sweeping across the sands and silt and the harsh breezes of Athas are your companions, and no amount of torrent can stop you.

Air Domain Spells

Cleric Level Spells
1st thunderwave, zephyr strike*
3rd gust of wind, warding wind*
5th gaseous form, wind wall
7th
conjure minor elementals (air only), storm sphere*
9th
conjure major elemental (air only), control winds*

*These spells are detailed in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Bonus Cantrip

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain the mage hand cantrip if you don’t already know it. The hand is invisible.

Air Shield

Also at 1st level, you can surround yourself with protective winds. When a creature within 60 feet of you that you can see makes a ranged weapon attack against you, you can use your reaction to impose disdvantage on the attack roll.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Channel Divinity: Whirlwind

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to whelm your opponents in punishing winds.

As an action, you present your holy symbol. Each hostile creature within 10 feet of you must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed saving throw, a creature takes bludgeoning damage equal to 2d10 + your cleric level and is flung up to 10 feet away from you in a random direction and knocked prone. If a thrown target strikes an object, such as a wall or floor, the target takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage. If the target is thrown at another creature, that creature must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone. If the saving throw is successful, the target takes half the bludgeoning damage and isn’t flung away or knocked prone.

Improved Air Shield

Starting at 6th level, you can also use your Air Blast feature when a creature that you can see with 60 feet of you makes a ranged weapon attack against a creature other than you.

Potent Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with a cleric cantrip.

Windwalker

Starting at 17th level, you have a flying speed equal to your current walking speed.

 

Earth Domain

Slow and patient, clerics who draw power from the earth are quite at home in the dry, arid landscape of Athas.

Earth Domain Spells

Cleric Level Spells
1st catapult*, earth tremor*
3rd
dust devil*, Maximilian’s earthen grasp*
5th
erupting earth*, meld into stone
7th stone shape, stoneskin
9th transmute rock*, wall of stone

*These spells are detailed in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Bonus Cantrip

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain the mold earth cantrip if you don’t already know it. This spell is detailed in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Bonus Proficiencies

At 1st level, you gain proficiency with martial weapons.

Channel Divinity: Rocky Shell

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to surround yourself in a dense, rocky outer shell. As an action, you present your holy symbol, and you gain 4 temporary hit points for each level you have in this class. While this feature is active, your AC equals 16 + your proficiency bonus. This benefit lasts for 8 hours, until you lose these temporary hit points, or until you use your Channel Divinity again.

Channel Divinity: Earth Feet

At 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to alter the ground around you, trapping the feet of your foes.

As an action, each creature of your choice within 10 feet of you that is touching the ground becomes restrained by the earth below it. On its turn, a creature can use its action to make a Strength saving throw against your spell save DC, freeing itself on a success.

Stone Will

Also at 6th level, you are immune to the petrified condition.

Divine Strike

At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon with earthen might. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 damage of the same type dealt by the weapon to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Skin of Stone

At 17th level, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

 

Fire Domain

You draw your power from the elemental plane of fire. Your heart burns with the heat of a thousand suns. And as Athas continues to burn, you and those who follow a similar path advance in power.

Fire Domain Spells

Cleric Level Spells
1st
burning hands, hellish rebuke
3rd
flaming sphere, scorching ray
5th
elemental weapon (fire only), fireball
7th fire shield, wall of fire
9th flame strike, immolation*

*Thus spell is detailed in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Bonus Cantrip

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain the firebolt cantrip if you don’t already know it.

Fire Wielder

Even from 1st level, wielding fire comes second nature to you. When you use your action to cast the firebolt cantrip, you can use your bonus action to make one weapon attack.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Channel Divinity: Extreme Heat

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your channel Divinity to wield the power of fire with unchecked ferocity.

When you roll fire damage, you can use your Channel Divinity to deal maximum damage instead of rolling.

Fire Heart

Starting at 6th level, your connection to the elemental plane of fire grants you special abilities:

  • You gain resistance to fire damage.
  • You can add your Wisdom modifier to one damage roll of any spell of 1st level or higher that you cast that deals fire damage.

Potent Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with a cleric cantrip.

Fire Soul

At 17th level, your affinity with fire becomes more powerful:

  • You gain immunity to fire damage.
  • As a bonus action, you can wreathe yourself in flames. While alight, a creature that touches you or hits you with a melee attack while within 5 feet of you takes 5 (1d10 damage). You can end this effect by using another bonus action.

 

Water Domain

Those who draw their power from the elemental plane of water are often healers and highly sought by towns and villages across the Hinterlands for their ability to conjure water.

Water Domain Spells

Cleric Level Spells
1st
create or destroy water, cure wounds
3rd
lesser restoration, prayer of healing
5th
create food and water, revivify
7th control water, watery sphere*
9th
greater restoration, raise dead

*This spell is detailed in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Bonus Proficiency

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor.

Disciple of Water

At 1st level, when you use the create or destroy water spell to create water, you create an additional 5 gallons of clean water, plus another 5 gallons for each spell slot of 2nd level or higher you use casting the spell.

Potent Healing

Also starting at 1st level, your healing spells are more effective. When you roll a 1 or 2 on a die for a spell that heals hit points of 1st level or higher, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2.

Channel Divinity: Replenish

At 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to hydrate and nourish your companions.

As an action, you present your holy symbol. Choose any number of creatures within 30 feet of you. You remove 1 level of exhaustion from each creature (if they have any). In addition, the creatures do not need their normal allotment of food and water for the next 24 hours.

Beyond Thirst and Hunger

Beginning at 6th level, you do not require food or drink. Also, you are immune to poison and the poisoned condition.

Potent Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with divine energy. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 radiant damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Supreme Healing

Starting at 17th level, when you would normally roll one or more dice to restore hit points with a spell, you instead use the highest number possible for each die. For example, instead of restoring 2d6 hit points to a creature, you restore 12.

 

Druids of Athas

No single planet has needed the power of nature to preserve the balance quite like Athas. Hence, druids are a sacred and vital part of the dying world’s survival. When selecting a druid to play in a Dark Sun campaign, make the following changes.

Equipment

Any simple weapon you choose must be made of bone or one of the following options: club, greatclub, quarterstaff, or spear. If you select the scimitar, it must be made of bone.

Druids Circles

The following Druid Circles are available to your druid in a Dark Sun. However, some may have changes.

Player’s Handbook

  • Circle of Land. Athas does not have many of the types of land listed in the Player’s Handbook. When choosing your land, you may choose one of the following: desert, forest, grassland, and mountain. The other circles–arctic, coast, swamp, and Underdark–do not exist on Athas.
  • Circle of the Moon. No changes.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

  • Circle of Dreams. The Feywild’s connection to Athas has been severed. Therefore, there are no druids of the Circle of Dreams.
  • Circle of the Shepherd. Like the Circle of Dreams, the absence of Fey on Athas removes the necessity for this circle.

 

Fighters of Athas

Naturally, the rough-and-tumble world of Athas has a need for well-rounded specialists trained for danger. Fighters on Athas have the following changes detailed below.

Equipment

You may not select chainmail. If you choose arrows or the two handaxes options, they are made of bone. In addition, any simple or melee weapon you choose must be made of bone, unless it is one of the following: blowgun (with barbed dart or needle), any bow, any club, any crossbows, javelin, lance, pike, quarterstaff, sling (with sling stones), spear, net, or whip.

Martial Archetypes

When you gain the Martial Archetype at 3rd level, you may select the following Martial Archetypes. Some have changes detailed below.

Player’s Handbook

  • Champion. No changes.
  • Battle Master. No changes.
  • Eldritch Knights. Eldritch Knights are a type of preserver and only use their powers sparingly. To play an Eldritch Knight, you must be of any non-evil alignment. In addition, you are literate and can read and write any language you can speak. If you use all of your spell slots, you cannot cast spells for 24 hours.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

  • Arcane Archer. Arcane Archers are limited only to the elves of Athas. Even then, they are somewhat rare and never draw their power from the arcane, but from nature itself.  When you gain Arcane Archer Lore proficiency at 3rd level, you must choose Nature and druidcraft.
  • Cavalier. No changes.
  • Samurai. Fighters of Athas are rarely elegant courtiers. Typically, they are slaves or mercenaries. As such, the Samurai archetype is not available in a Dark Sun campaign.

New Archetype: Gladiator

Gladiators are the slave warriors of the city-states, specially trained for brutal physical contests. Disciplined in diverse forms of hand-to-hand combat and skilled in the use of dozens of different weapons, gladiators are the most dangerous warriors on Athas.

Armor Specialist

Beginning at 3rd level, while you wearing light, medium, or no armor you gain a bonus to your AC equal to your proficiency bonus. You cannot use this trait in conjunction with the Monk or Barbarian’s Unarmored Defense features.

Martial Arts

At 3rd level, your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and martial arts weapons, which are shortswords and any simple melee weapons that don’t have the two-handed or heavy property.

You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed and you are wearing light, medium, or no armor:

  • You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes or martial arts weapon.
  • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike or martial arts weapon. This die changes as you gain levels in this class, increasing to 1d6 at 5th level, 1d8 at 11th level, and 1d10 at 17th level.
  • When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a martial arts weapon on your turn, you can make an unarmed strike as a bonus action. For example, if you take the Attack action and attack with a quarterstaff, you can also make an unarmed strike as a bonus action, assuming you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn.

No Sell

Starting at 7th level, you can use your reaction to shrug off damage when you are hit by a weapon attack that deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage. When you do so, you gain resistance to that instance of the damage. You must be able to see the attacker in order to use this feature.

Showmanship

At 10th level, you can use your bonus action to taunt and mock a creature within 30 feet of you. The creature must be able to hear you but doesn’t have to understand the same language in order for this feature to have an effect on it. Make a Charisma (Performance) check contested by the creature’s Wisdom (Insight) check. On a successful check, the creature becomes visibly flustered and has disadvantage on the next attack roll it makes before the end of its next turn.

You can use this feature three times. You regain all expended uses when you complete a long rest.

Weapon Mastery

At 15th level, choose a simple or martial weapon, or your unarmed strike. While using that weapon, you gain the following benefits:

  • When you roll a 1 on the d20 for an attack roll with the weapon, you can reroll the die but you must use the new roll.
  • Once per turn, when you hit a creature with the weapon you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to total damage dealt.

Finishing Move

Starting at 18th level, you can finish off injured opponents with a powerful maneuver called a Finishing Move. When you attack and hit a creature that has half its hit points or less, it must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 8 + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice) + your proficiency bonus). On a failed save, the creature’s hit points are reduced to 0.

You can’t use this feature again until you finish a short or long rest.

 

Monks of Athas

Thanks to the strong presence of psionics on Athas, the magic of “ki” (what many monks call their pool of psionic strength) prospers thanks to training and asceticism. When you play a monk in a Dark Sun campaign setting, make the following changes.

Equipment

If you choose a short sword, it is made of bone. Any simple weapon you choose must be made of bone or one of the following options: club, greatclub, quarterstaff, or spear. Your darts are made of bone.

Ki

On Athas, ki is a form of psionics. Any power, spell, or ability that would detect, alter, steal, or nullify psionic powers also affects your ki and ki abilities.

Monastic Traditions

At 3rd level, you gain the Monastic Tradition feature. All of the Monastic Traditions listed in the Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything are available.

 

Paladins of Athas

The cause of righteousness has no home on Athas. And without divine powers to fuel the might of paladins, they have no place in a Dark Sun campaign. You may not play a paladin.

 

New Class: Psions

The psion uses the forces of his own mind to affect his or her environment. Psionic powers are not magical in nature, that is to say, psionic powers do not draw upon magical energy that surrounds all things. Rather they are derived from within when the psion has his or her entire essence in coordination; his or her mind, body, and soul in perfect harmony. Since psionic powers are not inherently magical, they in no way affect
the world’s ecosystem when they are used.

Use DMDave’s Psion class.

 

Rangers of Athas

The untamed landscape of Athas calls to deadly hunters and independent adventurers. Rangers are a welcome addition to any party. When you choose to play a ranger in a Dark Sun campaign, make the following changes.

Equipment

If you choose shortswords, the shortswords are made of bone. Any simple weapon you choose must be made of bone or one of the following options: club, greatclub, quarterstaff, or spear. Your arrows are also made of bone.

Favored Enemy

Fey do not exist on Athas. You may not select them as a favored enemy.

Favored Terrain

Your favored terrain must be one of the following: dust sink, forest, mountain, rocky badlands, salt flats, sandy wastes, scrub plains, stony barrens, or verdant belts.

Spellcasting

Drawing from nature, your spells do not damage the terrain as a defiler’s.

Primeval Awareness

You cannot use your primeval awareness to detect fey.

Ranger Archetypes

At 3rd level, you gain the Ranger Archetype feature. You may choose any of the archetypes described in the Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything just as they are written.

 

Rogues of Athas

Even in a world burned by its angry sun, there are those of skill and precision who make a shady living there. In fact, rogues are very common in Athas. If you choose to play a rogue in a Dark Sun campaign, make the following changes.

Equipment

If you choose the rapier, shortsword, or arrows they are made of bone. Also, your daggers are made of bone.

Roguish Archetypes

At 3rd level, you gain the Roguish Archetype feature. All Roguish Archetypes in both the Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything are available to play with no modification with the exception of the Arcane Trickster. In place of the Arcane Trickster, there is the Psionic Prankster which works similarly, but with a few modifications. In addition, there is a new Roguish Archetype, the Bard. Both are detailed below.

New Roguish Archetype: Psionic Prankster

Some rogues enhance their fine-honed skills of stealth and agility with psionics, focusing on powers of telepathy and psychokinesis. These rogues include pickpockets and burglars, but also tricksters, mischief-makers, and a significant number of adventurers.

Psychic Prankster Manifestation

Rogue Level Combat Modes Powers Known PSPs
Max Power Level
3rd 2 1 4 1st
4th 2 2 6 1st
5th 2 2 6 1st
6th 2 2 6 1st
7th 2 3 14 2nd
8th 2 4 14 2nd
9th 2 4 14 2nd
10th 3 4 17 2nd
11th 3 5 17 2nd
12th 3 5 17 2nd
13th 3 6 27 3rd
14th 3 7 27 3rd
15th 3 7 27 3rd
16th 3 8 32 3rd
17th 3 8 32 3rd
18th 3 8 32 3rd
19th 3 9 38 4th
20th 3 10 38 4th

Psionics

When you reach 3rd level, you gain the ability to manifest psionic powers. See DMDave’s Psion class for the general rules of Fifth Edition Psionics.

Combat Modes. You learn one defense and one offense combat mode of your choice. You learn another combat mode of your choice at 10th level which can be either offense or defense.

PSPs. The Psychic Prankster Manifestation table shows how man PSPs you have to manifest your powers of 1st level and higher. To manifest one of these powers, you must expend the PSPs detailed under the power’s description. You regain all expended PSPs when you finish a long rest.

Powers Known of 1st-Level an Higher. You know one 1st-level psionic power of your choice, which you must choose from the psychokinesis and telepathy disciplines.

The Powers Known column of the Psychic Prankster Manifestation table shows when you learn more psionic powers of 1st level or higher. Each of these powers must be a psychokinesis or telepathy power of your choice and must be of a level no higher than the Max Power Level as shown on the Psychic Prankster Manifestation table.

The powers you learn at 8th, 14th, and 20th can come from any discipline.

Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the psionic powers you know with another power of your choice from the psionic powers list. The new power must be of a level that you can learn, and it must be a psychokinesis or telepathy discipline, unless you’re replacing the power you gained at 8th, 14th, or 20th level.

Dropping to 0 PSPs. As a psychic prankster, you possess stronger command over your mind’s facilities and have reshaped your mental conduit for maximum efficiency. As such, when you run out of PSPs, you leave yourself open to attack. If your PSPs are reduced to 0, you suffer the following penalties:

  • Any of your own psionic powers or effects that you are concentrating on or under the effects of immediately stop functioning.
  • You cannot use your combat modes.
  • You have disadvantage on saving throws against psionic powers and psychic effects.
  • You gain vulnerability to psychic damage unless you are under or come under a non-psionic effect that grants you resistance or immunity to psychic damage (such as a wizard’s mind blank spell).

These effects last as long as your PSPs remain at 0.

Power Boost. Some powers allow you to increase the potency of your powers. If you choose to do so, you must pay the power boost’s associated PSP cost as detailed under the power’s description. You can only use one power boost per use of a power. You can use power boosts a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, and you regain all expended uses after you finish a long rest

Manifestation Ability. Intelligence is your manifestation ability for your psionic powers since you learn your powers through dedicated study and mental discipline. You use your Intelligence whenever a power refers to your manifestation ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a psionic power you manifest and when making an attack roll with one.

Power save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Power attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Low-Level Telekinesis

At 3rd level, you learn the mage hand cantrip, but it counts as psionics for you and the hand is invisible. When you manifest the hand, you can perform the following additional tasks with it:

  • You can stow one object the hand is holding in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can retrieve an object in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can use thieves’ tools to pick locks and disarm traps at range.

You can perform one of these tasks without being noticed by a creature if you succeed on a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check contested by the creature’s Wisdom (Perception) check.

In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

Psychic Ambush

Starting at 9th level, if you are hidden from a creature when you manifest a power targeting it, the creature has disadvantage on any saving throw it makes against the power this turn.

Versatile Prankster

At 13th level, you gain the ability to distract targets with your mage hand. As a bonus action on your turn, you can designate a creature within 5 feet of the spectral hand you manifest with the feature. Doing so gives you advantage on attack rolls against that creature until the end of your turn.

Psychic Thief

At 17th level, you gain the ability to magically steal powers and spells from others.

Immediately after a creature manifests a psionic power or casts a spell that targets you or includes you in its area of effect, you can use your reaction to force the creature to make a saving throw with its manifestation or spellcasting ability modifier. The DC equals your power save DC. On a failed save, you negate the power’s effect against you, and you steal the knowledge of the power or spell. For the next 8 hours, you know the power or spell and can manifest/cast it using your PSPs at the cost as shown on the PSP Cost table below. The creature can’t manifest or cast that power or spell until the 8 hours have passed.

PSP Cost

Power/Spell Level PSP Cost Power/Spell Level PSP Cost
1st 2 5th 7
2nd 3 6th 9
3rd 5 7th 10
4th 6 8th 11
9th 13

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

 

New Roguish Archetype: Bard

The bard is a member of a bizarre class of entertainers and storytellers prized by the aristocratic city dwellers. Freemen all, the bards tour through cities in groups or individually, then travel on, making a living with their wits and talents. It is also widely accepted that many bards lead double lives as notorious blackmailers, thieves, spies, and even assassins.

Bonus Proficiencies

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with the poisoner’s kit and one instrument of your choice. You also gain proficiency with the Performance skill if you don’t already have it.

Distracting Performance

Starting at 3rd level, you can sing, recite a poem, or dance with the intent of distracting an opponent. As a bonus action, you can make a Charisma (Performance) check against a creature that you can see and can see and hear you that isn’t incapacitated, contested by the target’s Wisdom (Insight) check. If you succeed, you can use your Sneak Attack against that target even if you don’t have advantage on the attack roll, but not if you have disadvantage on it.

This benefit lasts for 1 minute or until you successfully use this feature against a different target.

Jack of All Trades

Also, at 3rd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down to any ability check you make that doesn’t already include your proficiency bonus.

Master of Poisons

At 9th level, you become an expert at poisons and their application. You having advantage on saving throws against poison and gain resistance to poison damage.

In addition, as part of a short rest, you can harvest saliva, venom, or residue from a slain beast, monstrosity, or plant creature of size Large or smaller to create a vial of poison. You can use the poison to coat one slashing or piercing weapon or up to three pieces of ammunition. Applying the poison takes an action. A creature hit by the poisoned weapon or ammunition must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier or take an amount of poison damage equal to 1d4 + the number of levels you have in this class. Once applied, the poison retains potency for 1 minute before drying.

Enthralling Performance

Starting at 13th level, if you perform for at least 1 minute you can attempt to inspire wonder in your audience by singing, reciting a poem, or dancing. At the end of the performance, choose a number of humanoids within 60 feet of you who watched and listened to all of it, up to a number equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). Each target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier or be charmed by you. While charmed in this way, the target idolizes you, speaks glowingly of you to anyone who talks to it, and it hinders anyone who opposes you, although it avoids violence unless it was already inclined to fight in your behalf. This effect ends on a target after 1 hour, if it takes any damage, if you attack it, or if it witnesses you attacking or damaging any of its allies.

If a target succeeds on its saving throw, the target has no hint that you tried to charm it.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Stunning Performance

At 17th level, you can use your bonus action speak of word of power that can overwhelm the mind of one creature you can see and can see and hear you within 60 feet, leaving it dumbfounded. If the target has a number of hit points equal to 10 times your levels in this class or fewer, it is stunned. Otherwise, this feature has no effect.

The stunned target must make a Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. The DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. On a successful saving throw, this stunning effect ends.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

 

Sorcerers in Athas (Defilers)

Defilers are sorcerers who have decided to take a faster, darker approach to master the use of magical spells. In most cases, defilers are outlaws (even in the eyes of the corrupt sorcerer-kings), so they keep their magical abilities undercover. Unlike preservers who have a loose organization in their underground, outlaw defilers tend to be loners, keeping their ambitions and powers to themselves.

A sorcerer-king tolerates a select few defilers in his or her employ, to carry out day-to-day magical tasks that he or she has no patience for. These defilers are always at the beck and call of their master, and the sorcerer-king him or herself oversees the training of new recruits. The sorcerer-king’s defilers are feared and hated far and wide. Wherever they travel they leave behind a swath of ashen destruction.

To play a defiler sorcerer in a Dark Sun campaign, make the following changes:

Literacy

At 1st level, you can read and write any language that you can speak.

Sorcerous Origins

The only sorcerous origin available to sorcerers in a Dark Sun campaign setting is the Defiler detailed below.

Defiler

In the give and take of spell casting, defilers are well versed in the taking, but give nothing in return.

Alignment Restriction: Non-Good

With every spell cast, a defiler leeches the life-energy out of the plants and soil around him, leaving a lifeless zone. Because of this, defilers can only have non-good alignments.

Defilement

Starting when you choose this origin at 1st level, any time you cast a spell, you drain the lifeforce and vitality from living things around you. All nonmagical plantlife within range withers, dies, and turns to ash.  The range of the defilement depends on the level of spell you cast as shown on the Defilement Range table below.

Defilement Range

Spell Level Range
1st 5 feet
2nd 10 feet
3rd 20 feet
4th 45 feet
5th 90 feet
6th 180 feet
7th 360 feet
8th 1,000 feet
9th 1 mile

When in verdant areas such as forests or jungles, the range is halved. On the same token, when the defiler is in an area sparse with vegetation such as sandy wastes or arid mountains, the range doubles.

Magical plants and plant creatures in the defilement range must make a Constitution saving throw versus your spell save DC or take 2d12 necrotic damage per spell level, on a failed saving throw, or half as much necrotic damage on a successful one. A creature whose hit points are reduced to 0 from this effect is turned to ash.

If there is absolutely no plant life within your defilement range when you cast one of your sorcerer spells (for example, you are in the middle of the Salt Flats, alone and surrounded by undead), the defilement affects the nearest location with viable plant life.

Magical Defense

At 1st level, you become naturally resistant to magical effects. When you take damage from a spell attack that does not cause radiant damage, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by a number equal to your levels in this class.

And at 3rd level, when you take damage from a spell attack that does not cause radiant damage, you can use your reaction to expend one Sorcery Point to reduce the spell’s damage by an additional 1d10 + your Charisma modifier.

Touch of the Defiler

At 6th level, you can drain the life force from creatures and convert it into stored magical energy. Once per turn, you can use your action to target a creature with a melee spell attack. On a hit, the target takes 3d6 necrotic damage, its maximum hit points are reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and you regain one Sorcery Point. This feature has no effect on undead or constructs, and the attack deals double damage against nonmagical plants and plant creatures.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain all expended uses after you finish a long rest.

Defiler Immortality

At 14th level, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage made by non-magical attacks, and you are immune to disease and poison.

In addition, you suffer none of the drawbacks of old age, you can’t be aged magically, and you no longer need food or water.

Spell Granting

Beginning at 18th level, you can grant spells of 4th level or lower to a willing creature. To do so, you must cast the spell on the creature. The spell has no effect on the creature but is stored within the creature. Moreover, when you cast a spell in this manner, it still causes defilement.

Once stored, the creature can use its action to cast the spell as if it was the original caster, requiring no components. The creature’s spellcasting ability is Charisma.

Once you use this feature you can’t use it again until you complete a long rest.

 

New Class: Traders

Trade is a major part of Athas. In fact, many think the merchant dynasties hold even more power over the city-states than the sorcerer-kings themselves. Naturally, the sorcerer-kings dislike this.

If you play a trader in a Dark Sun campaign, use the DMDave trader class.

Traders are literate and can read and write any language they speak.

 

Warlocks of Athas (Templars)

Templars are the greatly feared disciples of the sorcerer-kings. Their organization is steeped in ancient tradition and treacherous politics, and the work they perform for the sorcerer-kings is governed by endless bureaucracy. To city dwellers, the Templars are the enforcers of the sorcerer-king’s will, allowed to run rampant, enforcing the local edicts with painstaking indifference, doling out punishment or even execution with the sorcerer-king’s blessing.

An organization of wicked men and women looking out for their own wealth and power, the Templars are overrun with corruption to the highest level—the sorcerer-kings generally turn a blind eye to bribery and scandal among the Templars, provided terror is maintained among their subject populations.

To play a warlock templar in a Dark Sun campaign setting, make the following changes:

Literacy

At 1st level, the warlock is able to read and write all languages it can speak.

Otherworldly Patrons

As of this writing, the only patron available to warlocks are Sorcerer-Kings.

Sorcerer-King (Templar)

A templar’s spells are received directly from the sorcerer-king he worships. Spells can be taken away by the sorcerer-king if the Templar has somehow displeased him. If the sorcerer-king is particularly displeased, he might kill the offending templar.

Alignment Restriction: Non-Good

Warlock Templars can be of neutral alignment or evil alignment, but not good. They are often cruel and wicked individuals, often pursuing their own greedy self-interests.

Expanded Spell List

The Sorcerer-King allows you to choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Sorcerer-King (Templar) Expanded Spells

Spell Level Spells
1st bane, wrathful smite
2nd locate object, zone of truth
3rd
animate dead, bestow curse
4th
compulsion, locate creature
5th circle of power, dominate person

Templar’s Training

At 1st level when you choose this patron, you acquire the training necessary to effectively represent the sorcerer-king’s interests in battle. You gain proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons.

The influence of your sorcerer-king also allows you to mystically channel your will through a particular weapon. Whenever you finish a long rest, you can touch one weapon that you are proficient with and that lacks the two-handed property. When you attack with that weapon, you can use your Charisma modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the attack and damage rolls. This benefit lasts until you finish a long rest. If you later gain the Pact of the Blade feature, this benefit extends to every pact weapon you conjure with that feature, no matter the weapon’s type.

Compel Undead

At 1st level, as an action, you target one undead creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target must obey your commands for 8 hours, or until you or your companions damage the target. An undead whose challenge rating is equal or greater than your level is immune to this effect. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Aura of Dread

Starting at 6th level, you can use your bonus action to grant you, as well as any fiends and undead within 10 feet of you, a bonus to their melee weapon damage rolls equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of +1). A creature can benefit from this feature from only one Templar at a time. This effect lasts for 10 minutes.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Unholy Resistance

Starting at 10th level, you gain resistance to necrotic damage and your maximum hit points can’t be reduced.

Vampiric Smite

Once you reach 14th level, you can use your bonus action to imbue your weapon with dark, necrotic energy for 1 minute or until your concentration is broken (as if concentrating on a spell). The next time you hit with a melee weapon attack during the effect’s duration, your attack deals an extra 4d10 necrotic damage, and you regain hit points equal to half the amount of necrotic damage dealt.

 

Wizards of Athas (Preservers)

The preserver is a wizard of the old, established school of magic. In the give and take of spell casting, preservers have mastered the balance. A preserver’s magical spells are cast in harmony with nature. When a preserver casts a spell, there is no damage to the nearby environment.

To play a preserver wizard in a Dark Sun campaign, make the following changes to the wizard class:

Literacy

At 1st level, you can read and write any language that you can speak.

Arcane Recovery

Preserver wizards do not gain the Arcane Recovery feature.

Arcane Traditions

Many of the old schools of magic are no longer in practice with the exception of the School of Illusion. Illusionists can be defilers or preservers. Preserver Illusionists are wizards using the School of Illusion entry as described in the Player’s Handbook; because of the relatively low-maintenance cost of illusionary magic, illusionists do not have the same effect on the environment as defilers. Defiler illusionists are merely sorcerers who focus on illusion spells.

Otherwise, a wizard character must take the Preserver Arcane Tradition when they reach 2nd level.

Preserver

Preservers cast spells in harmony with nature, using their magic so as to return to the land what they take from it.

One With Nature

At 2nd level, you have learned to strike a balance with nature. You gain proficiency in the Nature and Survival skills. In addition, you can learn the create or destroy water spell. Using this feature, you can cast the spell once at its lowest level, and you must finish a long rest before you can cast it in this way again. The spell counts as a wizard spell for you and uses Intelligence as your spellcasting ability as normal.

The Balance

At 2nd level, when you complete a long rest and you have spell slots remaining, you can convert the spell slots into a pool of healing power which you can use to restore hit points. Each unused spell slot creates 2 hit point per spell level.

As an action, you can touch a creature and draw power from the pool to restore a number of hit points to that creature, up to the maximum amount remaining in your pool. This feature has no effect on undead and constructs.

Alternatively, you can expend 5 hit points from your pool of healing to cause plants to grow in a square measuring 5-feet on one side. You can cause plants to grow in multiple squares, expending hit points separately for each one.

Any unused hit points from your healing pool are lost when you finish another long rest.

Nature’s Protection

Starting at 6th level, when you or a creature within 30 feet of you takes acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder damage, you can use your reaction to grant resistance to the creature against that instance of the damage.

Inured to Defilement

Beginning at 10th level, your connection to nature protects you against the dark magic of defilers. You have resistance to necrotic damage, and your hit point maximum can’t be reduced.

Spell Resistance

Starting at 14th level, you have advantage on saving throws against spells. Furthermore, you have resistance against the damage of spells.


More to come (obviously).

Art by Brom (also obviously).

 

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