Arcane Magic on Athas forum thread

This is a place to discuss the arcane magic of Athas.

Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:43 pm
Arcane Magic on Athas
Arcane magic always played a major part in the Dark Sun campaign setting. For Chaos Out of Order expect to encounter psionics most comonly, divine magic less commonly, and arcane magic least commonly.

Arcane magic uses the life energy of Athas. As Classes of Athas demonstrates, generalist wizards, specialist wizards, sorcerers, and some bards (Dragon Magazine Issue #319 version only) can cast arcane spells. Other bards (The Burnt World of Athas version only) have exclusive access to the Craft: Alchemy skill instead, as indicated in Skills of Athas.

All arcane spellcasters can voluntarily limit the power of their spells, leaving nearby lifeforms intact. Those who dedicate themselves to these self-imposed limits are known as preservers. Others who go past that threshold take enough life energy from the planet that they kill all non-sentient life in a specified radius—from large trees to miniscule nutrients in the soil—turning it into a fine white ash. The area is then unable to support life for centuries, for which the arcane spellcaster gets a rush of arcane power in the spell being cast. Arcane spellcasters with no regard for the life of Athas are known as defilers.

Most folk on Athas know that the temptation to defile the planet is always there for arcane spellcasters, and as such will not bother to differentiate between preservers and defilers. Angry mobs will often greet those who cast arcane spells in public, and those who survive such mobs can look forward to arrest or assassination by the templars of the dragon kings. While the dragon kings themselves are powerful users of arcane and psionic energy, they carefully safeguard themselves from challengers by outlawing arcane knowledge. Once, literacy was outlawed to prevent the spread of arcane knowledge. However, since the freedom of Tyr allowed literacy among the populace, merchant houses slowly spread literacy within their ranks across the Tablelands. Then when spontaneous arcane spellcasters began to emerge, keeping the populace illiterate was no longer as heavily enforced, as explained in Skills of Athas. As a result of these factors, most arcane spellcasters have learned to hide their somantic components as they cast spells (as explained in Skills of Athas) and their spellbooks (as described on page 63 of The Burnt World of Athas).

The Free City of Tyr made arcane spellcasting legal after they overthrew their dragon king several ages ago. It acts as a safehaven to preserver wizards, and was apparently the original source of spontaneous arcane spellcasters. Most arcane potionfruit (and other, less common, arcane magical items) found in the Tablelands originally came from shops found in the Preservers’ District of Tyr.

For Chaos Out of Order I have decided to follow the Magic and Psionics are Mostly Different rules on page 44 of Dragon Magazine Issue #319. Chaos Out of Order will also follow the Defilers of Athas rules on pages 33-37 of Dragon Magazine Issue #315 , with one exception: Eliminating Defiler Points on page 34. Defilers must have atonement cast upon them by an elemental cleric or druid. The two must then meditate together in an undefiled area of Athas as per the MEDITATING TO REDUCE DEFILER POINTS table on page 35 of Dragon Magazine Issue #315.

The arcane spell lists I have decided to use are as follows:
Bards either don’t cast spells and use the exclusive skill Craft: Alchemy (as per The Burnt World of Athas) or use spells from the BARD SPELLS list in Chapter 11 of the Player’s Handbook (as per Dragon Magazine Issue #319) with the following changes:
Page 45 of Dragon Magazine Issue #319 updates the summon monster spell suite to campaign appropriate creatures.
Most of the spells noted below are spells added from The Burnt World of Athas to the general BARD SPELLS list in the Player’s Handbook. Spells noted in red font are Player’s Handbook spells that the campaign does not make available to arcane spellcasters.
Bard Spells
0-Level Bard Spells (Cantrips)
Slave Scent: Divines target’s social class.
1st-Level Bard Spells
Cooling Canopy: Summons a cloud to provide shade and prevent dehydration.
Illusory Talent: Provides the appearance of skill.
2nd-Level Bard Spells
Boneharden: Hardens bone, making weapons stronger and impairing living beings.
Eye of the Storm: Protects 30’ radius from effects of storm for 10 min + 1 min/level.
Wakefulness: Target can postpone sleep.
3rd-Level Bard Spells
Dedication: Allows target to avoid sleep, consume half food and water, and +1 to attack, damage, saves, ability, and skill checks while pursing a specified task.
Lighten Load: Increases Strength for carrying capacity only.
4th-Level Bard Spells
Curse of the Black Sands: Target leaves black oily footprints.
Fool’s Feast: Enhances food for one creature/level and blesses.
Klar’s Heart: Enhances combat abilities of all creatures within range.
Shining Sands: Affected sand reflects light, blinding foes.
5th-Level Bard Spells
Control Tides: Raises, lowers, or parts bodies of water or silt.
%{color:red}Control Water:% Replaced by control tides.
Sorcerers use spells from the Wizard Spells list in Chapter 8 of The Burnt World of Athas and page 45 of Dragon Magazine Issue #319 updates the summon monster spell suite to campaign appropriate creatures.
Wizards use spells from the Wizard Spells list in Chapter 8 of The Burnt World of Athas and page 45 of Dragon Magazine Issue #319 updates the summon monster spell suite to campaign appropriate creatures.
If players want an arcane spell outside of these, it will require my approval. For instance, the mass lesser geas spell from Dragon Magazine Issue #312 was first developed by arcane spellcasting bards before its knowledge was spread to other arcane spellcasters. Any such approved spells will be posted in this thread.

So that is the basics behind your arcane magic options for Chaos Out of Order. Any questions or comments?

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