Excerpts Archive | 7/26/2010
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Dark Sun Excerpts

Adventurers on Athas face many dangers, from the cruel sorcerer-kings to the merciless wastes. Yet those who pursue great destinies must surmount extraordinary risks. Sometimes adventurers find gratitude from those they champion. At other times, heroes are a source of fear and suspicion, for Athas rarely rewards trust or hope.

As a heroic adventurer on Athas, you have advantages that others lack. You have developed your talents and honed your skills to set yourself apart from the average person. You are equipped to live outside the rule of the city-states, eking out an existence in the wastes or eluding your enemies in the teeming city streets. And in today's Dark Sun Campaign Setting excerpt, we explore the new options you have as a Dark Sun adventurer -- specifically, a Dark Sun warlock.

"Athas is a barbaric shadow of some better world. All the races are but brutal descendants of worthier ancestors. The essence of every living thing has been warped to make it more vicious, more cunning, and more terrifying than its long-vanished forebears."
—The Wanderer’s Journal


Chapter 4 of the Dark Sun Campaign Guide provides more tools to tailor your character to the Dark Sun setting. You’ll find these sections in the following pages.

  • Arcane Magic: Rules for how arcane magic functions on Athas, including defiling and preserving.
  • Wild Talents: An optional rule that provides characters with a minor psionic trick.
  • New Builds: The wild battlemind, the arena fighter, the animist shaman, and the sorcerer-king pact warlock are new class builds suited to the Dark Sun setting.
  • Epic Destinies: Characters who survive long enough to change the course of history gain destinies worthy of their accomplishments. A hero might bring light and hope as an avangion, or unleash destruction as a dragon king.
  • Feats: This section includes feats for races that appear on Athas. It also provides feats to support the character themes presented in Chapter 3. In addition, an array of feats opens the door to the exotic arsenal used in the arenas of Athas.
  • Rituals: The unusual challenges and harsh terrain of Athas require new or modified rituals.
  • Equipment: New equipment to enable your character’s survival under the crimson sun.

Warlock Sorcerer-King Pact

On Athas, many templars swear an oath to a sorcerer-king in exchange for arcane power. The sorcerer-king pact reflects the training and magical transformations that a sorcerer-king might provide to an individual whom he or she deems worthy. A warlock who has this pact can draw on the reserves of power that a sorcerer-king commands.

Most warlocks of this pact are templars in a sorcerer-king’s service. They are often trusted members of the templar hierarchy who are expected to command the soldiers, the agents, or the underlings of a sorcerer-king. Thus, the powers of the sorcerer-king pact aid allies and work well in melee. A sorcerer-king sometimes imparts his or her power to a promising protégé or a privileged noble without making the recipient into a templar, although such instances are unusual.

New Class Feature

When you choose your Eldritch Pact, you can choose the sorcerer-king pact instead of another option, such as the ones from the Player’s Handbook or the Arcane Power supplement.

Sorcerer-King Pact: You have pledged yourself to the service of a sorcerer-king. In return, your master transformed you into an arcane spellcaster by means of eldritch rituals. What you do with this new power is up to you—the sorcerer-king has no special ability to observe you or to strip you of your power. However, all sorcerer-kings are suspicious and ruthless, so if you defy one, you do so at your own peril.

Hand of Blight: You gain the hand of blight power.

Fell Scorn: You have the Fell Scorn pact boon, which enables you to draw upon your sorcerer-king’s magical prowess and enhance a power by spending your fell might. You start each encounter with your fell might unspent. You must decide whether or not to spend your fell might when you choose to use a power, before you make any attack rolls or apply any of that power’s effects.

When a creature affected by your Warlock’s Curse drops to 0 hit points, your pact boon triggers, restoring your fell might, which you can spend again during the encounter. If you already have your fell might available when a cursed creature drops to 0 hit points, you don’t gain a second use of it. You can have only one use of fell might available at one time.

Suggested Options

The sorcerer-kings desire servants who have great stamina and force of personality, so Charisma or Constitution should be the primary ability score for someone who has this pact. Intelligence is best as your secondary ability score, because many sorcerer-king pact powers gain a benefit from it. Charisma or Constitution, whichever you didn’t pick as a primary score, is a good third choice. Choose Charisma to bolster your low Will defense if you plan to remain at range, or else use Constitution to gain extra hit points and healing surges if you intend to use your powers in melee combat.

Suggested Class Feature: Sorcerer-king pact*
Suggested Feat: Scornful Denial*
Suggested Skills: Arcana, Bluff, Insight, Streetwise
Suggested At-Will Powers: eldritch blast, hand of blight*
Suggested Encounter Power: cruel bounty*
Suggested Daily Power: ashen scourge*
*New option presented in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting.

Hand of Blight
Warlock Attack 1
A crackling black sphere gathers around your outspread hand. You can smite a nearby foe with it, or else fling it at a distant enemy.
At-WillArcane, Implement, Necrotic, Psychic
Standard Action Melee touch or Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Charisma or Constitution vs. Fortitude
Hit: 1d8 + Charisma or Constitution modifier necrotic and psychic damage, and the target grants combat advantage until the end of your next turn.
Level 21: 2d8 + Charisma or Constitution modifier necrotic and psychic damage.
Sorcerer-King Pact: If you spend your fell might, the target takes 1d8 extra damage.


Sand Shape
Warlock Utility 6
You transform your body into sand, allowing you to resist attacks and pass through solid barriers.
DailyArcane, Polymorph
Minor Action Personal
Effect: Until the end of your next turn, you are insubstantial and can pass through any opening large enough to accommodate a single grain of sand. You cannot attack, pick up anything, or manipulate objects.
Sustain Minor: The effect persists.


Price of Defiance
Warlock Attack 27
A ghostly hand enfolds your enemy, wrenching it toward waiting allies who dispatch it at your command.
EncounterArcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action Melee touch or Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Charisma or Constitution vs. Fortitude
Hit: 3d8 + Charisma or Constitution modifier force damage, and the target is immobilized until the end of your next turn. You slide the target 5 squares to a square adjacent to one of your allies. That ally can then make a melee basic attack against the target as an opportunity action, gaining a power bonus to the damage roll equal to your Intelligence modifier.
Sorcerer-King Pact: If you spend your fell might, after your ally’s attack, you can slide the target 5 squares to a square adjacent one of your allies. That ally can then make a melee basic attack against the target as an opportunity action, with a power bonus to the damage roll equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Friday: "Between the Ringing Mountains and the Sea of Silt, the traveler finds hermits, thri-kreen packs, nomad tribes, isolated villages, and the Seven Cities known to remain on Athas. One meets people of all races and classes: human nobles and slaves, elf raiders, half-giant mercenaries, and even the rare halfling wanderer. This region is the great mixing bowl of Athas, in which the different cultures of many peoples are forced to mingle or clash."

Excerpt Schedule

Monday Friday

July 12

An Introduction to Dark Sun

July 16

Ch 1: The World of Athas

July 19

Ch 2: Races of Athas

July 23

Ch 3: Character Themes

July 26

Ch 4: Character Options

July 30

Ch 5: Atlas of Athas: Tyr

August 2

Ch 5: Atlas of Athas: Sea of Silt

August 6

Ch 6: Running a Dark Sun Game