Dark Sun Gods

47 posts / 0 new
Last post
I'm sure this has been thought of before, as a writer I know there are no real original ideas. I want to run the new Dark Sun for my group and I want it to be epic. This idea could be very long term. Maybe its because its a desert planet so it's reminding me of Dune and Dune was full all kinds of themes. So the idea of a prophet of religion hitting Athas like it hasn't in a real long time, and of course the Dragon Kings will not stand for this. But over all this guy or gal could be a fake and maybe someone else is the prophet. I'm rambling...
What I wanted to ask was what type of gods were you design for Dark Sun if you could? Would you take the established list of gods in the PHB or RC and maybe change their names (this is not a horrible idea). But if you could come up with your own...the ideas could be awesome.
But I like the idea overall of one person bringing together all different kinds of races and people. I'm open to any ideas or suggestions. Please let me know I like hearing from other DM's and if players want to tell what they would like to see in a game like this, that would be awesome. I always want to know what my players want in their game. So there that's my idea its still in its beginning stage, thanks for reading.

M. Soliz
none; the gods of Athas are dead Cool

if you're set on the idea, i'd suggest maybe having 1 or 3 'lost gods' of the Green Age, not a full pantheon. the chained god is supposed to still be alive in the underdark. maybe one trapped in an astral domain, gone slightly insane knowing he's the last god. or else a couple of lover-gods escaped to the Elemental Chaos, warped by the foreign environment. preserve the flavor of Dark Sun.

if you like a pantheon of gods, play (normal setting) in a desert campaign.


as for a prophet uniting various peoples ... why does he have to be divine? could just be a historian.
Bane of Gnomes. "An angel of snuggles is a bad match for evil gods." -Mike Mearls (Worlds&Monsters, p.72)
Or there never were any gods to begin with, just religions that had cropped up over the ages based on false mythologies.

As for creating one, I would go with something primal and elemental in nature, one that wants to 'change the face of Athas forever', but in it's own twisted and limited vision. Even a water or rain primal force that would see nothing wrong with drowning it's followers in torrents of water. It could even be actively duping it's prophet with false promises of bringing change to the world to the benefit of the people when in reality, it simply wants a greater share of the Athasian pie so-to-speak. You could go with the basic fire, earth, air, or water, or the old-school para elemental silt, sun, rain, or magma ones. A primal force of rain that envisions one great endless storm of destruction over the face of Athas . . . now why does that sound somewhat familiar? The revelation to the poor prophet of such a being could be very sorrowful ("You just don't understand me, Prophet. I'm a being a pure fire . . . all that I am, all I know, all I will ever be . . . maybe if you burned, for a little while, you'll understand . . . you will all understand!")

The prophet of a non-existent deity based on ancient histories could be interesting, but I'm at a loss as to how to culminate such an idea (meaning, how to eventually expose that no such being really exists in a way that works well). Post exposure however would have one manically depressed and likely quite vengeful former prophet that could lead some serious rallying against other presumptuous claims of divinity (thinking of Abalach-Re's trumped up religion of Bad'na if you wanted to have a city already in shambles ever rise up against it's own Sorcerer-Monarch) or even strike directly at one of the SKs who claim godhood like Hamanu or Tectuktitilay only to be quashed like an insect be powers that, while not necessarily divine, are no less potent on their own turfs.

As for actual gods, you are on your own for that. I'm too much a purist for going that route myself, but there's nothing stopping you from dragging your players through the Astral to revive a dead god and bring Athas it's first truely divine being to shake things up. I don't think any current existing deities would really fit the bill for any avenues I can think of, since most of them are niche gods that are part of a collective pantheon (A god of this, or goddess of that would seem rather out of place as the only god on the block on Athas). Think more along the lines of what a monotheistic god represents in the grand scheme of things.



 maybe not divine Paul was never really a prophet he was mad into one because of different people's manipualtions. I guess I never read it as the gods were dead. Just that they were silent. Oh well. I don't like the idea of the normal setting it would be boring I like Athas, and I was just rambling ideas none of them were set in stone. He or she couldn't unite them that would never happen. I guess i was just looking at a metaplot. Hmm. Thanks for the input though nice to have people to bounce ideas off. And your right I wasn't looking for a full pantheon. Just any that could still be out there waiting for a chance. Not that I want to turn the planet green just some hope. Campagins seem so ...so... stuck, and nothing changes, I guess that's why people like playing there.
I do like the ideas said here they have a lot to offer and I'm not ever set in stone with what I want. If your going to DM you have to be able to give what your players what they want and if they like the idea of a lost god or mad god or elementals or SK amd MACH 4 your ideas are very cool. Thanks again lots to think about.
Bah. Poppycock. What you do at your table with Athas is your table's business, nobody else's. Want to have a new god be born and change the face of the world forever? Go for it! If you think you can make that story work and your players go for it, go for it!

I just recently concluded a campaign in my own setting, but where there very specifically are no gods (but there is religion). The campaign ended with one of the lads who was playing a Paladin who worshipped Pelor (keep in mind, this was in a society that thought it was quaint and small-minded of him to worship/believe in a god at all) actually becoming Pelor. He was the one who called himself to follow his own teachings and become himself. It's like Odin sacrificing his eye to himself to gain knowledge. Crazy self-referential and impossible stuff that myths are full of. Once he became a god at the end, he had always been a god, from the beginning of time.

PCs in epic tier absolutely should be re-shaping the world. The scale of that is up to how big you should make it at your own game table. If you think the players would like such an epic story as bringing about a new era of Athas where there are returned/reborn/new gods, go for it! If they want to be as epic as taking down a sorcerer king, go for it. If you want to take down the dragon, go for it. Whatever works.

If it were me, and I were inspired by the idea of religion sweeping across Athas, I would probably do something similar to above... the prophet starts out as a false one, but perhaps by paragon tier the PCs take out the prophet, only to find that he wasn't entirely wrong. There is a new god coming to town, all right... just not the one the prophet was preaching about. Perhaps one or more of the PCs become the god, or turn out to be the new incarnation of an old god, or they create a new god, or the new god is born and not so nice as they thought. Lots of stuff to do.
Resident jark. Resident Minister of Education and Misinformation.

Not that I condone such perversion of Athas, a few ideas that fit nicely in Dark Sun would be simple in nature and/or elemental-base deity types.  You could also base deities off Spirits of the Land (not sure if 4th Ed has touched on them).  One deity that I remember hearing about (book/forum/person I don’t remember where) was a feathered serpent that brings rain, nice and simple with an elemental theme.

Dead Gods was an earlier article in Dragon #390.  It may be helpful.

People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn

He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster. --Friedrich Nietzsche

Devil\'s Brigade

Introducting Gods from other settings is certainly not for me, but to each his own. Restoring the Gods to Athas, or Athas to the Green Age, seem to be common themes for Dark Sun. Though I would argue that they are already becoming cliche', kind of the Athasian version of "I won D&D".  For me anyway, these destroy what is unique and cool about the setting. After completing either of these epic quests, Athas becomes just another generic fantasy world, albiet with a slightly more interesting history. I have also had three of my players request to play divine characters, I just don't see the attraction, other than playing something forbidden I suppose. It makes me wonder, how many people would pick up the Forgotten Realms campaign guide and decide to run an epic campaign where the PC's run amok killing the Gods and destroying the planet?

Anyway, I don't know if anyone has brought up the possibility of having the PC's becoming the New Gods of Athas  after they reach 30th level (how is that for an Epic Ego trip for your players). After all, the old guys had their shot, and they didn't do such a fantastic job, why give them a second chance to F it up. Not to mention the luke-warm reception they would likely recieve from your average Athasian citizen, given their well known failures. You could even keep the campaign going with the continuing saga your PC's as Gods if you wanted. Lot of work to do creating their realms in the Astral sea, figuring out their dominions, fighting those who would see these fledgling Gods destroyed. 30-40th level = God Tier

The primordials step up and take the place of the Gods. It's been a while since they were young and destroyed the Gods. Maybe they've matured a little and now see promise in what they once considered insignificant beings?

Another possibility would be to have some of the major NPC's of the setting attain Godhood. There really is no need to have dieties everyone likes, or who are even devoted to the concept of good. What would happen if Borys has actually been working on attaining God status in his spare time between devouring sacrifices and playing shuffle board? Suddenly he takes to his new realm in the Astral Sea taking his minions with him. The Sorcerer Kings are left scrambling to replace him as Rajaat's prison begin to weaken, threatening to release him back into the world. You could have an Avignon (sp?) achieve Godhood to balance out Borys. 

What about Kalak? In my campaign he has been killed, but don't count him out just yet. He may have spent a few years sulking about his death, but Kalak is scrappy. Finally he has realized that his death at the hands of that numbskull traitor Tithian was a blessing in disquise. Kalak goes back to doing what he does best, being in charge. Having adjusted to the Gray, he has decided to take it over and make it into his own realm. He is currently organizing his new, and ever growing legions of the dead and plotting his comeback. Kalak the Gray, new lord of Death and the shadowfell, acting much like the Raven Queen, only not so nice. Now if revenants he created would manage to kill Rikus, Kalak could make him lead his new legions further into the depths of the Abyss. Is he a God? not really, but he is still a force to be reckoned with.

Above all else, do with the campaign whatever want, it is your game after all, and tastes vary.



  For a ready made pathenon of gritty "gods" look at the Demons and Devils (Dagon as a water god ect) with a little reskining you can use the already published material (anything to save work). They may not be the kindest gods but they offer power and a choice other than the Sorcere Kings. Not an ideal choice but this is Athas nothings ever easy.

I hope this plot line works out for you and your group. I see tonnes of role play potential.
A great idea for a diety to be introduced into a DS campaign would be Taiia, from 3E Deities and Demigods. She's a Solar deity, no attached pantheon at all, no moral alignment for followers, and in the end, her faithful are kind of joined with her and used as fuel to keep her 'divine light' blazing, a polar opposite to the fate that awaits the majority of the populace of Athas after death. Her absence and re-emergence could even be used as an explanation for why souls mostly just go tot the Grey to dissolve, having no destination. As, I believe, she was said to reside in the sun, she would definitely be within reach of the souls from Athas, as they would not have to transition through any extra-dimensional pathways to find her. In many ways, she can be used to explain a LOT of why Athas is how it is, for instance, the Pristine Tower and Rhulisti experiments could have siphoned off enough of her power to make her dormant and thus age the sun from a Blue Giant to a Main Sequence Yellow Star, and the further actions of Rajaat and the SK's finally siphoning off enough energy to render her inert and age the sun into a Red Giant, the last vestige of her available power being used to move Athas far enough from the expanding sun to keep it from being consumed, in hopes that her faith could be re-kindled again one day, and supply her with enough power to rejuvinate the sun and change conditions on Athas for the better. Her absence itself could explain the Grey, created from a miasma of souls with no destination to go to, or at least explain why it is so difficult to traverse, as I believe it was originally put in place to seperate the last bastion of the Primordials from the cosmos at large. Perhaps the Primordials subtly instigated the )possibly) temporary demise of Taiia to reinforce the Grey and make their territory more secure.
and thus age the sun from a Blue Giant to a Main Sequence Yellow Star, and the further actions of Rajaat and the SK's finally siphoning off enough energy to render her inert and age the sun into a Red Giant



A habitable planet around a blue giant that goes to main to red giant would have a few more issues than a lack of water and some jacked up heat wave. I love the setting of Dark Sun, but I always have to grit my teeth when it comes to bringing real science into the setting (you almost can if you gloss over certain specifics, but the more you know, the worse it gets to come up with rational and plausible explanations). Keep some of the more baffling aspects of the game as simple magical explanations or you may end up opening up some cans of worms at your gaming table that can only be resolved by a pistol duel at 50 paces presided over by the restless spirit of Ptolemy.

The setting kicks ass. The science behind it kicks ass on about a pre high school level.
I only included the science-type stuff in case the question of why the planet didn't get fried came up (it has, many times on the forum, and also to help explain the staged decline of Taiia's power, which coincides with the stages of religious atrophy in Athas. Point well taken, though. In my particular case,however, my gamers have becomed accustomed to a mix of science (and or sci-fi) in the game, I even have Vorlons as disguises for Avangions and Shadows at the Zik-Chil.
Shadows as Zik-Chil
I may need you to forward those stats to me Terminus, sounds delightfully evil.
I used a modified version of the d20 babylon 5 book - "The Darkness + Light The Vorlon and Shadows Handbook", Kreen with high intelligence scores as base creatures. I only play 3.5E, so I have nothing available for 4th. I will try to send you those stats within a couple of days, if you would like. Incorporating the tech-type stuff was easy, as most shasow-tech is just like life-shaped Rhulisti things. Included in the backstory of my campaign is how the Shadows taught the Rhulisti the basics of life-shaping, then focused on the Kreen as their sort of chosen "successor race", kind of like the Shadows did with thte Drakh. 
3.5 is the system I'm using as well, though I do lack any of the B5 D20 books, to be honist I didn't even know they existed.  PM me if there's any info you'd be willing to share.
I'm actually thinking that something from the "grey" or the far realm destroyed the "gods of old".  Picked up Goodman Games Chthulu monsters and plan on having them, along with select monsters from the MM's (illythads, gibberings, etc) be Chthulu-like monsters and those are what regin now over this blasted land. 

The gods are dead (or missing, cut off ect) and the cause can be traced back to dark rituals which opened doorways to the "far realm" and let those powerful monsters in.  I can even still have dark twisted priests in this world, servants of the Far Ream deities.  But the are no "good deities" as it were (or really, gods at all).
"We don't stop playing because we grow old...we grow old because we stop playing" George Bernard Shaw "That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger" Friedrich Nietzsche "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 My Gaming Sites World of Shantryl, a high fantasy homebrew world Darksun, the Lands of Athas
I'm going with a variant history, modded heavily from the official one.

My conception of Athasian Gods is not that they were otherwordly beings living off in another plane.  I'm more going with the concept of Demigods - that is, there were once (and still are in the form of the S-Ks) beings who amassed great personal power and became connected to some source through which they could grant power to their worshippers.  Sadly, as you might expect with most mortals-turned-immortal, pretty much all the ones who survived were complete d-bags who spent most of their time attacking others' worshippers.

So, the Sorcerer-Kings really are gods of a sort, or at least as close to it as Athas has ever known.

-O

How I'd do it:

* At low levels the PCs hear news of a far away Sorcerer-king being overthrown.  All they know is that the Sorcerer-king was taken down, but not what took its place.
* As the PCs adventure for the next few sessions there is no more news. 
* Then there is news that the Sorcerer-King was replaced by his former high Templar, who now calles himself a High Priest.  He claims to serve a 'God'.  Oddly, his people are following him rather than treating him as crazy.
* A few levels later the PCs hear rumors that the lands of the 'High Priest' have begun to show signs of life - fields are producing more food., etc...
* Next they hear that a different Sorcerer-king nearby the High Priest has gone to war with the High Priest's people - and that he lost the first battle.  Badly.
* Around 12th or 13th level the PCs are hired to deliver something in the lands of the High Priest.  When they arrive, they discover that the land is thriving (relatively - not a lush world, but far better than the PCs expected).  They get a chance to look around, meet some people, etc... but they do nto come in conflict with the new regime.
* When the PCs return home, missionaries ask to come home with them.  Regardless of whether the PCs agree to escort them, they arrive in the PC's lands soon after.  They are attacked by templars, but rumors persist of them lurking in the shadows and preaching in secret.
* Soon, key contacts for the PCs begin to quietly admit to the PCs that they have joined the faith.  However, their personalities start to shift a bit.  They become crueler and/or more reckless. 
* Things continue to develop until it is revealed that the God is actually an Arch-Devil that is buying souls.  He turns the souls into power, which he splits - part for himself, and part to grant the prayers of his worshippers.  Pyramid scheme.
* Additional flip down the road - the Arch-devil thing is a ruse - it was actually the Sorcerer-King that was supposedly overthrown by the High Priest.    
* As in most Dark Sun games, the final battle comes down to the PCs versus a Sorcerer-King or two. 

D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
Your Athas Will Vary, but in general, Divine power is mostly gone.

In my campaign however, there are some exceptions:


  • I have Old Gods, who are really really old, and really really hard to contact.  They generally can't be (or won't) give out power to any followers.

  • As others have mentioned, there's a dragon article about Dead Gods.  Those total exist, and their divine fragments are being utilized by Sorceror Kings, secret societies, and the like.

  • Certain SK's are fascinated with recreating Divine power, or taking the Mantles onto themselves.  (This is sort of a 2E-ism, without the silly Dark Lens nonsense.)  Namely:

    • Abalach-Re of Raam has created/discovered/fabricated Badna, the Wheel of Fate

    • Tecktutilay is wants to be a Moon God.

    • Hamanu is worshipped as the Lion.

    • The Oba is the Forest Goddess (more Primal really)



  • For these SK's, templars in their service can be initiated into limited Divine paths - mostly MC feats and such, but there are some exceptions.  (Especially for PCs..)

The concept of gods in Dark Sun seems to be very unpopular, and I think that's the way citizens of Athas would also see it. The Sorceror Kings seem to be the new Gods of Athas, and they aren't popular. I do get the feeling that Dark Sun doesn't have any gods and if it does they are truely evil. Ancient Egyptian gods might work, like: Seth and Anubis. But even if there are gods in Athas, I'm not sure they they would be anyhting but mad, crazy and hateful as they tryed to destroy all life on the planet. The gods have been at war with one another, killed each other and only the strong and vengeful remain. They don't answer anyone, they don't concern themselves with worship. So the Gods seem dead to mortal beings.
But even if there are gods in Athas, I'm not sure they they would be anyhting but mad, crazy and hateful as they tryed to destroy all life on the planet. The gods have been at war with one another, killed each other and only the strong and vengeful remain.



Just my two bits in here, but that seems a little short sighted (meaning no offense). If Athas has deities in someone's campaign, more than likely they existed prior to the brutal Age of Sorcerer Kings. Brutal, savage, crazy, and hateful deities during the Blue and Green Ages would seem more than a little out of place historically. Taking a longer view of it, one would have to rationalize just what changed the gods to be mostly silent (if they are completely mute to the people of Athas and their own involvement in the grand scheme of things then they may as well not exist at all and it makes it a moot point to even have them there at all). Were they at one time more directly involved and something shied them away from mortals? Were they toying with people and grew bored and left? Are they cold, calculated manipulators who duped people into worshiping them and now sit back and chuckle at the state of affairs now that their divine gifts are no longer available? Are they newcomers to the scene and haven't as of yet settle into things with each other to even begin to spread their holy or unholy word amongst the masses? Were they secretly worshiped but are now imprisoned as heinous beings waiting for the chance to break their godly silence with their maddening whispers? Was the Green Age a time of unbridled warfare amongst the civilized people that would have welcomed such brutal and crazed deities?

Take a broader view of it and try to remain logically consistent. Except for the terrain similarities of origin with Athas, I don't see any of the Egyptian pantheon porting over very well at all, either the D&D versions or historically accurate ones though that's just my opinion.

Part of the background of Athas is that the gods were all killed (by the primordials?) and when that happened, an opening was formed for un-natural power: arcane magic.  Using magic always destroys the world around you; this is called defiling.

Perhaps this process can be reversed.  If there WERE gods again, the power of arcana might go away soon thereafter.  And of course the SKs would then become powerless wimps and we can kick them into next week.

How can there be gods in Athas again?  A few ideas come to mind:
- the PCs can transform into the gods during Epic Tier.  They all have to take Demigod ED and not get killed meanwhile.  Vestige Warlocks can get a head start if they go God Fragment PP.  Which leads me to this:
- Either Open Grave or Plane Above: The Astral Sea has an adventure arc that involves trying to resurrect a dead godling.  For DS purposes, I might use Pelor (in his aspect as the sun god) for the target of this resurrection.  Bahamut or Tiamat (or Io?) might be workable, too, because they will see the Dragon and the semi-dragons (the Sorcerer-kings) as potential threats / rivals / second-rate wannabees.  Getting Tiamat would be a real surprise to the PCs - but it's Athas and nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.
- One of the old gods has managed to survive in hiding.  He's got to be really well hidden and might be the god of secrets, or the god of sneaking, or hopelessly mad and actually the universe was hidden away from him.
- Look over the fluff text for the Demiurge ED (Psionic Power) because there might be a god's fate concealed in there somewhere.
- An Avignon might become a god(dess) of the living world.
- The PCs must contact a Primordial who killed a god in the past, and ... persuade ... it to give them the power it gained thereby.
- In Plane Above there is an astral realm with a frozen primordial trapped on it.  Wake it up (or steal away its power/memories) and talk to it.
- By sacrificing a Nightmare Beast to the last surviving devil (who used to be a member of Asmodeus' inner circle) the PCs gain a twisted form of godhood in Asmodeus' image.
- Someone or something might have hidden the gods' secrets in the Elemental Chaos before they were all destroyed.  The PCs know they are on the right track when they find a prophecy that begins "After many immortal lifetimes come those who will stand in our place."

Best complements I have yet received:

Show

Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (which seems to have faded into that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

My 4e characters:

Show

Active:

LFR Half-elf StarLock8 Gondolin Nightstar

AoA Dwarf Guardian Druid8 Narvik from House Wavir

Character Ready-to-go:

Neverwinter Dwarven Invoker / Heir of Delzoun, worships Silvanus (!) "Truenamer" - speaks Words of Creation

Concepts I'm kicking around:

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC version is going to become a Lamia.  Becauae lichdom is so cliche.

Halfling Tempest Fighter - just because nobody else is doing it

Shifter Beast-o-phile Druid - for Nentir Vale campaign

Mach4, I'm not suggesting that the Gods of Athas started mad, crazy and hateful with no concern for life. But a war with the Primordials, with many gods being killed, imprisoned or badly scared physically and psychologically, the gods that are left might be very different. The world of Athas is sort of an indication of the Gods state of mind if there are some left. This is all just speculation related to the OP question.

BRJN, suggestion like other peoples idea that the PC's are the new gods is what I think Dark Sun is trying to achieve. 
A great idea for a diety to be introduced into a DS campaign would be Taiia, from 3E Deities and Demigods....



I went searching through that book a few weeks ago looking for some inspiration for a Green Age ruined temple and thought that she was a perfect fit for Dark Sun. Everything you said is legit, and I have this image of this beaten down woman locked up and tortured in the depths of the Pristine Tower, nobody knowing who she was or that she's even there...
The idea of any remaining gods being vengeful, angry, and destructive seems pretty natural for the setting. Regardless of what they were like before the current Age, that's what they're like now; it seems pretty reasonable considering other powerful entities like the primal spirits are angry and want revenge for all the abuse, imprisonment, and torture they put up with at the hands of the Sorcerer-kings. Consider how elemental priests, primal characters, and the Veiled Alliance all hide from the Sorcerer-kings' gaze and it's pretty easy imagining a divine character fitting in as well as those character options: a hidden cult in the back streets of Nibenay that venerates a deity from the Green Age.

The deity may certainly not be dead but a powerful entity like a deity doesn't simply disappear. Their power would continue for a while. See the DDI article, "Dead Gods."

Another option to consider is Eberron. That's a popular setting where the gods' existence is in question. Sure there's a divine force present that's active in the world through worshipers' powers but there's no deity coming out of the sky to save the world or fight its rival. That sounds like Dark Sun to me. Or perhaps there's still divine forces but no real deities anyway, something else Eberron does well. The Undying Court are ascended mortals, essentially, the Valenar venerate their ancestral spirits, the Blood of Vol is...what it is.

You could have divine forces in Dark Sun that aren't even based on deities
I like the idea of divine forces that are tied to possibly fictional gods. I think it would be cool to have a child messiah who speaks about a World Spirit, who can heal land that has been defiled, create thunderstorms, and perform other inexplicable miracles. Assassins have come but fallen to her feet, converted at the sight of her power. Attempt to scry her out or read her mind results in flashbacks to the Green and Blue Ages.

Would any partially transformed avangions seek her out? Would members of the Veiled Alliance? What if the messiah is a trap laid by the SKs? And then there are the SKs and the Dragon - do they think one of the others, or possibly another defiler, is pulling a set up?

And what if she is real? What would the World ask of its wayward children in return for a second chance? Will the SKs and the Dragon be judged? Will cities and civilization be destroyed if the messiah comes into her full power?
I would like to think that the World would be more than glad to be rid of the irritants on it's surface. It is not as if the planet itself, even a living manifestation of it, doesn't understand the geologic scale of time and that life will return eventually. A messiah of the 'World' may very well be the bringer of a worse apocalypse than has ever happened wrapped in a tree hugging hippie veneer. The World would have seen all of the billions of species go extinct naturally and with no interference millions of years before the first halfling spoke anything other than an unintelligible grunt.; what's a few thousand more wiped out to make way for new life?
What if the world is only as awake as those who walk on her skin? Perhaps she is unwilling to give up her burgeoning sentience, and wants to evolve with us as we evolve. To the World, the maybe height of mortal evolution is to become an avangion...or maybe that is what the "messiah" is saying to lure the existing preservers out.

Perhaps the World wants every soul to become a fey or elemental, tied to the natural world. She may not want to obliterate us, but the World and Her messiah might want to fundametally change us to the point where we would be strangers to what we now are.
Sounds like great ideas for Oerth or Toril. Just never saw anything tree hugging hippie-ish about the elemental forces of Athas which are in some ways tie-ins for Gaia-ism of the world. Smacks of alot of other sentient planet life forces that dole out special elemental rings to chosen kids that when combined . . .

Fine for other settings, just in my mind, not very Athasian. Unless the planet was a jerk and was forcing that evolutionary track on humanoids
I tend to go with the idea that there are no gods on Athas and there never have been.  However, I do like the idea that there have been religions and pantheons, albeit based on unreal divinities.  There are mentions here and there in the Dark Sun material about Green Age pantheons, and you could look to these for inspiration.  Modern-day prophets and religions might be just as empty, but that could be kinda cool for a story-hook: exposing the lie behind the faith.

Anyway, The Verdant Passage famously features a temple in UnderTyr with a winged divinity.  Check that out for some cool ideas on belief systems and undead that still preserve its religion.

There's another source for inspiration on ancient religions, and that's the poster map that came with the original boxed set.  Check out the image of Kalak's ziggurat:

IMAGE(http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd302/Kamelion69/StadiumandZiggurat.jpg)

On the face of the ziggurat are ten images that look very much like iconic depictions of gods, heroes or other mythological figures.  The top two are indistinct, but the others are very interesting indeed.  I've always taken these to be depictions of (false) gods from the Green Age incorporated into the ziggurat. 

At the bottom right we have a figure bearing bowls of food on his shoulders - god of plenty, agriculture perhaps.  Next to him a figure wrapped up with a green dragon or serpent.  Is the god fighting the serpent, mating with it or what?  What kind of deity might this be?  Destroyer of the beasts of the land?

Above these is another figure who appears to be battling/grasping a giant bird.  Someone who battles the beasts of the air?  To its right is a fascinating image of a guy standing in the waves of the ocean, grasping lightning bolts.  Storms and the elements could be his portfolio.

Above these two we have what look like gods of crafstmen and warfare.  And above these (and we're getting a bit indistinct here) are what look to me like a god looming over a city on one side and a goddess suckling a babe on the other.  I can't make out the top two (a god of kneecaps and a god of sandwiches are my best bet, but I'm not 100% on those.)

Another interesting characteristic that they share is that every figure has a gemstone, third eye or similar decoration on its forehead.  What could that signify?  An emblem of divinity or blazon of the pantheon?

Anyway, I'd use these as the basis of a pantheon if I were to devise one for the game.  I might rethink the sandwiches, though.
Kam! Good to see you posting again! 
Sysane-The Terror of Urik
Kam! Good to see you posting again! 


Hey Sysane - good to see you mate
Sounds like great ideas for Oerth or Toril. Just never saw anything tree hugging hippie-ish about the elemental forces of Athas which are in some ways tie-ins for Gaia-ism of the world. Smacks of alot of other sentient planet life forces that dole out special elemental rings to chosen kids that when combined . . .

Fine for other settings, just in my mind, not very Athasian. Unless the planet was a jerk and was forcing that evolutionary track on humanoids



Heh, don't get me wrong, the planet doesn't have to be kind, and its elemental supporters are more likely to demand the deaths of defilers over passing out rings. I just wanted to leave it open whether it was genuinely kind (if not Good) or whether the planet had its own designs. I can see it as willing to help restore the world, but there will be a considerable death toll. It might want to infect everyone and make them part plant for example, or at the very least reduce civilization to the tribal level.

I do agree that having the world be some kind of super benevolent force detracts from the conflict, I just don't want it to be cliched and evil either. The PCs should feel like there are reasons to support such a being or to support the SKs - imo at least. Others might want to have a grand save Athas campaign where a divine being comes with warnings and plagues to the SKs like the story of Moses.

Speaking of the Bible, check out the Jawhist source in the Documentary Hypothesis interpretation of the Bible.  That version of God would be a rather interesting thing to drop on Athas.  Sure, He has the player's backs... Until He drunkenly stumbles into the inn and threatens to beat them to death for not circumcising their kids.

As I posted elsewhere: In 4e DS, the gods did probably exist at some point, but are either dead or in hiding.  There's hints that Asmodeus (or his corpse) is hidden in the grey, that Torog is still hanging around the Underdark, and that Tharizdun might still have a temple (which Nibenay is keeping everyone away from).  Tharizdun isn't exactly something you can get rid of without without taking out huge chunks of the cosmology (*glances over at the Abyss and at demons*).  I actually did allow players the option of running divine characters, but they were restricted to worshipping select evil or chaotic evil gods (Zehir makes the setting more Conan-esque, and if Vecna can bust out of Ravenloft, he can certainly dodge some measly pathetic "universal apocalypse.")

As for prophets: I happen to be religious, and but I don't think there's been any divine PCs in our world (just a DMPC that the DM munchkined constantly, even retconning when one of the party members set Him up to be executed).  The Divine power source and religion are not the same thing.  The Avangion fits well enough in the role of a cosmic messiah

Also, kinda touched on, but most of the Cthulhu mythos pantheon would be more than a mixed blessing.  Great lord Cthulhu's kingdom is under mountains of water!  His glorious head is a creature that only lives in more water!  Lord Dagon will guide us to Great Cthulhu, and his children will bless our future generations by purifying our bloodlines!  Lady Shub-Niggurath is the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, and She is a forest, and Her young are too!  Yog-Sothoth is the gate and key -- to the Blue age!

Regarding hippie Gaiaism in Dark Sun: The Avangion can be run that way, if the DM lets it.  While the Avangion is a good guy in the sense of helping the planet, he's probably going to have to commit several acts of genocide in the process (some people do believe the SKs are their leaders and really do follow them.  See North Korea, where Kim Jong Il is followed almost like a god even though he's a really terrible leader).

As for prophets: I happen to be religious, and but I don't think there's been any divine PCs in our world (just a DMPC that the DM munchkined constantly, even retconning when one of the party members set Him up to be executed).  The Divine power source and religion are not the same thing.  The Avangion fits well enough in the role of a cosmic messiah


I'm religious, too, although I'm Raelian. Regardless, I agree with you here in a sense. I don't know if a prophet would be a divine-powered PC or not, but in terms of D&D there have been a few mentions (probably in Eberron) about how there's a difference between a high ranking clergy member and a divine class PC. Just because you're the Pope or Dalai Lama doesn't make you a level 20 cleric, or a cleric at all!


Also, kinda touched on, but most of the Cthulhu mythos pantheon would be more than a mixed blessing.


This is great! I used to toss around the idea that Rajaat was one of a trio of eldritch abominations before settling on the idea that he's a primordial (primordials in my Dark Sun I'm thinking are regular people who tapped into reality warping powers and challenged the Sun Goddess in the Green Age). Still, Ul-athra and Herumar (still primordials to me) can be portrayed in a Lovecraftian way. Tentacled horrors beneath the silt and magic-eating hydras in the wastes? uh, yea!




Regarding hippie Gaiaism in Dark Sun: The Avangion can be run that way, if the DM lets it.


I feel like most primal characters in Dark Sun are something like eco-terrorists, and the Gaia kind of idea is represented by a multitude of imprisoned, abused, vengeful primal spirits

I always figured there were four primary gods, (Air, Earth, Fire and Water) along with a, "God of the Sun" and "God of Athas" and many lesser-known Gods (ie Spirits of the Land) on Athas. Sure, Clerics of Fire may worship the God of Fire and I'm sure he has many names, but in the end, they are only worshipping an element and getting their powers from an elemental-plane rather than a divine being, but they believe it's from a divine being so there's really no loss.
Famous Athasian last words: "Hey, you're wrong. I know elves, I've played AD&D for eight years. They're noble, sylvan creatures who will honor their word." In the desert, everything's further than it looks.
Wow it's been a while sense I've been here. All of these answers are awesome and have great potentail. I'm not trying to change Athas into another Generic Fantasy World. I don't think there's anyway you can fix Athas and make it green, this insn't Dune. But I love the idea of there being Hope on Athas, the Prophet that comes doens't have to be divine he can be an elemental Druid, he can be whatever, I just want there to be something that counters all the evil of Athas, the most powerful people on Athas are all Sorcerer Kings and none of them are good, can you be Good and be a SK I don't know if that's possible. Maybe that's a way the story can go. Yeah I know we haven't started playing yet, life got complicated and we haven't started the game but  it looks like we are goig to play and I'm looking at an over arching idea, but the details and the road to that place could take a very long time. I can't wait and thanks for all the ideas and leads.
I just recently concluded a campaign in my own setting, but where there very specifically are no gods (but there is religion). The campaign ended with one of the lads who was playing a Paladin who worshipped Pelor (keep in mind, this was in a society that thought it was quaint and small-minded of him to worship/believe in a god at all) actually becoming Pelor. He was the one who called himself to follow his own teachings and become himself. It's like Odin sacrificing his eye to himself to gain knowledge. Crazy self-referential and impossible stuff that myths are full of. Once he became a god at the end, he had always been a god, from the beginning of time.


NICE!
I'm working on a storyline right now that will end with one of my players becoming the Raven Queen (who does not yet exist in my world).  Right now, there are sects of Shadar-Kai who worship "He Who Is Yet To Be", a nonevil deity of death and fate.  The campaign focuses on going after the minions of Thanatos (my CE god of death and undeath), and eventually the god himself, finding allies in the Shadowfell in the form of these Shadar-Kai.  One of the last few steps will be to kill Orcus, and sanctify his Wand with holy power, which they will do by siphoning off a bit of power from my Good Sun deity (Adonathiel), and use it to strike the final blow against Thanatos.  One of the PCs (hopefully with either Avatar of Death or Demigod ED) will eventually become She Who Is Yet To Be...the Raven Queen.  And as to how she was able to grant powers to her previous self...when they used Adonathiel's power to sanctify the wand, they inadvertantly stole a little bit of his power (the portfolio of Time), and so the Raven Queen becomes the goddess of death, fate and time, and reached back in the timeline to guide her mortal self to that destiny.

On the subject of Athas, one of the suggestions for having "forbidden" races and classes was something like a Deva wakes up in an oasis with almost no memory of what has passed before.  This deva appears to be the only deva in the world, and perhaps is a member of a Divine class (good uck convincing people you're not an Arcane user).  Such a character could be all that remains of one of Athas' deities thought lost or killed in the Dawn War, who, upon reaching the culminatiion of Epic Tier, has enough powerr to fully re-assume his/her Divine mantle.


Introducting Gods from other settings is certainly not for me, but to each his own. Restoring the Gods to Athas, or Athas to the Green Age, seem to be common themes for Dark Sun. Though I would argue that they are already becoming cliche', kind of the Athasian version of "I won D&D".  For me anyway, these destroy what is unique and cool about the setting.


While this is a good point and I mostly agree, who's to say that the next campaign takes place after that one did and has to take into account the possibilities of those players' actions?  Soemtimes it's fun to change the world dramatically and have a major effect.  Look at Scales of War:
Show
The death of Tiamat changes the world forever, removing the very concept of Greed and Envy from people everywhere.  Money is still useful, but only as currency, nobody feels the need to hoard it anymore.  While having that effect on the world is amazing for a PC, the DM's next campaign might be more difficult to run in such a world where Tiamat does not exist.


Another possibility would be to have some of the major NPC's of the setting attain Godhood. There really is no need to have dieties everyone likes, or who are even devoted to the concept of good. What would happen if Borys has actually been working on attaining God status in his spare time between devouring sacrifices and playing shuffle board? Suddenly he takes to his new realm in the Astral Sea taking his minions with him. The Sorcerer Kings are left scrambling to replace him as Rajaat's prison begin to weaken, threatening to release him back into the world. You could have an Avignon (sp?) achieve Godhood to balance out Borys.


I like this.  Especially the idea of an Avangion rising to godhood to balance out Borys.  But taking that one step further, if the PCs were forced to allow or even help Borys become a god in order to produce a permanent end to the threat of Rajaat.  I think it would be a great counterpoint to a strictly "heroic" goal of defeating the dragon/savign Athas.  I see Dark Sun as being a setting prone to very amoral heroes.  Life in Athas is hard, and it's about survival, and even a character who's on the path to being an Avangion recognizing the need to help a monster like Borys become a true deity, because only he knows how to seal Rajaat's tomb forever (or destroy him forever).  But also, raising another god (the Avangion) to create a counterpoint of Life and Death, Preserver and Defiler, Hope and Madness. 

Wow it's been a while sense I've been here. All of these answers are awesome and have great potentail. I'm not trying to change Athas into another Generic Fantasy World. I don't think there's anyway you can fix Athas and make it green, this insn't Dune. But I love the idea of there being Hope on Athas, the Prophet that comes doens't have to be divine he can be an elemental Druid, he can be whatever, I just want there to be something that counters all the evil of Athas, the most powerful people on Athas are all Sorcerer Kings and none of them are good, can you be Good and be a SK I don't know if that's possible. Maybe that's a way the story can go. Yeah I know we haven't started playing yet, life got complicated and we haven't started the game but  it looks like we are goig to play and I'm looking at an over arching idea, but the details and the road to that place could take a very long time. I can't wait and thanks for all the ideas and leads.



Well, again playing into the notion of the amorality of Athas, don't forget what happened in Dune later on.  Paul is quite mad, he starts a bloody Jihad across the galaxy.  His own people start to turn against him.  And best of all, don't forget the consequences of his success.  Arakis became a green planet once again, with oceans and plant life...
And it killed the worms, that which made Dune what it was, and that which established the status quo of the galaxy...destroyed.  Be careful what you wish for, and be wary when you get it.
I just thought I'd bring this up again. Taiia from 3.5E Deities and Demigods is the only deity that can fit into Athas without breaking the need for conduits to another plane to absorb worship, and from another plane to send spells. She is a Solar deity, lives(or lived, for Athas) in the sun, and cares nothing for the alignment of her followers. Her absence can explain the miasma of soul-stuff that comprises the Grey, and her return could actually allow her to absorb the Grey, rejuvinating herself and possibly the sun, if your goal in campaign is to restore Athas to a verdant state (which is always a primary goal in my high-level campaigns)Lingering traces of her last shreds of power was also used to explain the Sun Clerics as not being evil Para-elemental worshippers bent on the destruction or further ravaging of Athas as in my game as well. The Dwarves had long since buried or lost the the name of Taiia to prevent their worship from arousing suspicious Primordials, who assumed they were drawing power granted by Sun elementals, but to the Dwarves, Taiia and the Sun of Athas were one and the same, her name mattering not one bit. But having so few worshippers was not enough to reawaken her as a fully powered deity, and the Athasian dwarves did not want to let her worship )even as the Sun) become wiespread, for fear of what others would do with her Divine magic and granted spells, as she doesn't care about the alignment of her followers. When we began to rejuvinate Athas, the dwarves of Kled began to use her name again, and spread her worship by sending out missionaries, whose focus was to help spread the word and rejuvinate Taiia, so the sun would be rejuvinated as well, and no longer be a source of misery to the dawning new world.
On the face of the ziggurat are ten images that look very much like iconic depictions of gods, heroes or other mythological figures.  The top two are indistinct, but the others are very interesting indeed.  I've always taken these to be depictions of (false) gods from the Green Age incorporated into the ziggurat. 



Or it might just be how they depicted Kalak at some point during his reign. That's a powerful wizard/psion after all. He just could easely have impressed the mob and that's what sticked in the artist mind when he was sculping and painting.
The Siltskimmer Page - www.siltskimmer.org