As someone new to Dark Sun, every tidbit I come across is news to me. I started this post to share and reference official revelations and excerpts, to be a reliable post with Wizards sources that I can link to for anyone to double-check and confirm for themselves. I also put together a Pre-release Play Kit in the first reply to this thread. Following the release of the initial Dark Sun materials there isn't as much that's "news" so much as regularly-featured content. The setting has a World Page linked below, as well as a column titled Eye on Dark Sun. A section titled "Adventures" has been added to the bottom of this first post.
(Latest) indicates additions or changes were made recently, up to December 8th, 2013.
indicates that the link leads to a D&D Insider subscriber-only article.
Unless otherwise noted, "Blog post" refers specifically to Rich Baker's blog.
Dark Sun World Page, and of course: Eight Characteristics of Athas
(Latest) Eye on Dark Sun Column (All articles currently require Insider)
(Latest) Articles tagged Dark Sun (Most articles posted after 2010 require Insider)
James Wyatt Interview: Basic rundown of Dark Sun information; not a lot, but enough to catch the interest of a newcomer like me.
D&D Experience: Features the characters from the preview adventure as a PDF download.
Dark Sun Summer: Starting June 9th the D&D Encounters program will feature a Dark Sun adventure, Fury of the Wastewalker. June 19th is Free RPG Day, and Wizards' giveaway is a Dark Sun "adventure folio" called Bloodsand Arena!
- Free RPG Day character sheets (PDFs in a zip file) - the characters from D&DXP in the same design style as D&D Encounters sheets.
- If you have trouble unzipping the files, 7-zip 9.14 beta or more recent beta handles them fine, and it's free without any ads, web toolbars or nag screens.
- Glory and Blood at GenCon Indy, a gladiatorial gauntlet through the city-states of the Tyr region.
- The Lost Cistern of Aravek for Dark Sun Game Day on August 21st, a mission to retrieve a magical water-related artifact for Tyr.
New builds for Dark Sun are: wild battlemind; arena fighter; animist shaman; sorcerer-king pact warlock. For more on the warlock, see the Warlock: Sorcerer-King Pact entry below. [Excerpts article]
A power for Arcane PCs, as well as more general defiling mechanics and its fluff, were revealed in the June Ampersand.
Divine Power Source:
Not available on Athas by default, as there are no gods to power it and the templars/elemental priests have new mechanics that don't rely on using SKs/elementals in place of deities (with the further explanation that 4E isn't reliant on clerics for healers). PCs who are allowed by DMs to be divine characters would likely be the only ones in the world, and are probably "people that hear things." [D&DXP Podcast 4]
The dragonborn are reimagined for Athas as closer to their draconic resemblance, both in magical inclination and personality. They're likely to be guildsmen and moneylenders, potentially unsavory but useful to have around. [Blog post]
As a 4E core race, Eladrin have been given "an Athasian makeover." Having recognized the defiling nature of Arcane magic, Eladrin are instead psionic masters. It's implied that they might be hunting defilers and studying the sorcerer-kings and their templars, trying to both keep the death of their Feywild homes at bay and preparing for its inevitability. [Blog post]
Avangion and Dragon King are mentioned in the chapter outline of the Character Options excerpt. [Excerpt article] [First mention of Dragon King: Interview transcript]
Dark Sun half-giants in D&DXP have used the goliath stats, with a racial entry "Goliath (Half-giant)". At a D&DXP seminar it was mentioned that the developers didn't want to make yet another big, strong race for Dark Sun when they had a good one in core 4E already. [Podcast 4] Half-giant Thug racial paragon path. [Races of Athas]
This race will be introduced in the Dark Sun Campaign Guide, and previews of Muls are available in D&DXP/Free RPG Day, and D&D Encounters. The pronunciation of the name is clarified in a D&DXP seminar. [Podcast 4] "A mix of dwarf and human bloodlines, muls combine the hardiness of the former race with the drive and flexibility of the latter race. Muls are phenomenally tough and enduring." [Races of Athas]
Psionics, Magic & Metal
Might be getting new elemental powers such as the one previewed here. [Customer Service Preview]
Dark Sun will make a lot of its new character options available as themes, which provide an encounter power, and offer other theme powers in place of class powers at later levels. These themes might also be Paragon Path requirements. The full list of Dark Sun Campaign Guide themes has been revealed, and themes explained in greater depth.
[Main blog post] [More on why Templar became a theme] [Dark Sun Summer] [July and Beyond]
The race is balanced against other 4E races, but still has many options at later levels by using 4E mechanics such as racial paragon paths. One of the D&D Experience characters is Thri-kreen and has a racial encounter power, Thri-kreen Claws, that lets it melee attack three enemies at once. [Interview transcript] "Insectlike hunters of the wastelands, the thri-kreen are quick and deadly warriors." [Races of Athas] Thri-kreen Predator racial paragon path, partial preview. [Pen & Paper Games]
Warlock: Sorcerer-King Pact
A Sorcerer-King might show favor to a character, in this case a warlock. It might be considered a reward, or a tool issued for a task (those are just some of the concepts mentioned). There will be a build for the pact. [Blog post] [Excerpt article]
The flavorful Athasian weapon materials of bone, obsidian and stone will be the "baseline" for weapon statistics, while basic metal weapons will be considered masterwork. Things like weapon breakage will probably appear as DM options rather than setting-core rules. D&D Encounters Season 2 and the Free RPG Day adventure Bloodsand Arena provide a "Reckless Breakage" option for breaking a non-metal weapon after a re-roll, and having a chance to break a metal weapon on a re-roll. [Blog post] [Interview transcript]
Mentioned in the chapter outline for Character Options. [Excerpt article]
The belgoi has been reworked mechanically and thematically. I'm not sure I can put it better than the blog post (and this is just a fragment of the post) [Blog post]
Level 8 Elite Controller (no tactics text provided) near the very end of [July and Beyond]
Hazards of Dark Sun depicts dangerous plants and carnivorous cacti; this is actually an older (but still 4E) article from 2008. [Article]
Inix [Customer Service Preview]
Salt Golem [August & Beyond]
Lore only, near the very end of [July and Beyond]
Article: The World of Dark Sun
The beginning of this post mentions that there will be defiling mechanics, among other bits that make Dark Sun unique without invalidating or overriding the core rules. [Blog post] Preserving will be considered the default magic use, while defiling will be a destructively-lucrative temptation available to arcane magic users. [Interview transcript] Monsters, including at least one Sorcerer-King's stat block, includes an Arcane Defiling power which triggers based on its other powers. [ May Ampersand] Preview of some defiling rules; minor primal spirits are included among the lifeforms (plants and animals) used as fuel for arcane magic. "Defiled terrain" is mentioned. Defiling cannot be disguised as a non-arcane power. [ June Ampersand]
Article "The Dragon's Altar" describes a place of sacrifice, in relation to the Dragon's Levy, and several non-item rewards that can be given to player characters in lieu of magic items. [ Eye on Dark Sun]
There's something wrong with the Feywild of Athas; at least, wrong enough for the belgoi to prefer preying on travelers in the wastelands of Athas. [Blog post] Rather than the "magical forest" image of the Feywild in most worlds, the Feywild of Athas is "magical desert," perhaps referred to as the Lands within the Wind. As Athas is a dying planet, so is the Feywild connected to it; the Feywild isn't a continuous plane, but pockets of otherworldliness. Fey must travel across Athas in order to move from one pocket to another. [Blog post]
It seems like they went with an older/original setting map and identified places that were mentioned in text but not labeled, re-organized the cities so that traveling could be an adventure all of its own and the wasteland could be more plausibly littered with points of interest, etc. Not being familiar with the Dark Sun world, I don't know what exactly that means, but it's here for completeness. [Link] More in-depth, the feral halfling empire in the Forest Ridge is protected both geographically by the Ringing Mountains, and possibly ancient primal magic from a lost empire. [Link] The Dragon's Bowl, and the Sea of Silt. [Link] Desert varieties. [Link]
Sea of Silt [Article]
I'll quote the article, a preview of a new Eye on Dark Sun column, as it's one section in a long article. This article is now out. [ Link]
The timeline for 4E Dark Sun will take place shortly after the beginning of a period of turmoil for Tyr following the death of King Kalak, leaving open many possibilities for the future of Athas. [Blog post]
Tyr [Excerpt article]
The Mahin'drazal (Feature, Location) [ March 2011]
Revenge of the Marauders (Level 5-7) [ October 2010]
Traveling the Sandswept Roads (Feature, Maps) [ September 2010]
Marauders of the Dune Sea (Level 2-5) [Paperback]
Fury of the Wastewalker (1st Level) [$4.99 PDF from dndclassics]
Bloodsand Arena (1st Level) [Free RPG Day 2010]