A short blog post about Dark Sun

I played Dark Sun once, for about an hour. It wasn’t the shining hour of my life, but at the very least it’s a halfway decent gaming story about the time I completely wasted a character and accomplished nothing whatsoever, which hopefully will mildly amuse somehow with the complete embarrassing misery that is my life in gaming.

My character was a human Fighter, because I knew nothing whatsoever about DnD, or Dark Sun, and didn’t have any of the books. So my options were pretty limited – I just didn’t know enough to play anything else. And the only thing I could say about the game was that it was fantasy in a desert and everybody wanted to kill you (which would shortly prove extremely accurate).

What I did know was that third-level characters were pretty tough compared to normal people. And in Dark Sun, that’s where you start out. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that third level *was* normal in this game. As in, everybody starts out at third level. The dude who sines your boots is probably third level. Or higher.

You may be able to see where this was going.

I have no idea what my attributes were or whether they were good. But it couldn’t have mattered much. Our party had four or five characters, but I do recall one of them was a half-giant. He was probably a fighter as well. Might have been a gladiator, which is actually relevant.

See, we didn’t exactly have a good plan, and with no immediate dungeons to raid and loot, we figured we needed cash just to eat. Our plan, being random collection of dudes with no great magic powers, was to put on a show and get some people in town to throw some small change at us for the fun of it.

Well, about the only thing we could actually *do* was fight. So we opted for a big fighting show. With very few actual options, we just started hawking it in the street. Thus, our plan was mostly to look cool and shout while swinging weapons in a mostly-harmless manner. And that’s where things went wrong.

See, when you promise a big fighting show in Dark Sun, odds are that some guy wandering past can kick your butt from one end of the city to another. And when you’re trying to put on a show, having some weird foreigners look the part for the locals is usually a good idea. So the giant shouted out for volunteers from the audience to face thw wild barbarian terror (my character).

That’s when a small, unarmed hobbit stepped up. And a 3rd-level fighter’s great and glorious career got cut short in three rounds of flailing idiocy. My dude couldn’t hit a half-drunk unarmed halfling. Because in Dark Sun they are that dangerous.

He punched my character just fine, though. In fact, he punched poor 3rd level Fighter Teo right through his armor. I never did find out if the unnamed halfling passing by was a monk, but either way he took my character down from 40+ hit points to -5 in three hits. There weren’t really any other options other than to keep fighting

So yeah… that pretty much ended my Dark Sun career.

I was told that if my character died, I couldn’t roll up another. But then the game sorta broke up anyway, probably because if we were getting killed in street shows our poor characters were likely not going to make it much longer anyway.

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One thought on “A short blog post about Dark Sun

  1. Alas, Dark Sun really did need some explaining (especially about the expected casualty rate) before you started… Who would run Dark Sun as “no replacement characters” though? As I recall (although it has been quite a few years) the original rulebook called for each player to make a “character tree”, and each time whoever you were currently playing leveled you could also level another character on the tree so that you’d always have spare and replacement characters ready.

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