Potential Rules for Defiling and Preserving

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These rules are based on 3.5e, but are meant for my 5th edition campaign of Dark Sun that I hope to run.

Rules for Defiling
Everytime you prepare spells after a night's rest, you must drain enough HD from living creatures to equal the highest level spell you're trying to prepare. These can either be 1 creature with enough HD to satisfy your drain, or it can be many creatures that together add up enough HD. A creature get's a constitution save with a DC equal to 10+The number of HD you're trying to drain. If you don't drain enough HD, then you can only prepare spells up to the amount of HD you did drain. A creature whose HD is drained to 0 dies instantly, turning to ash within seconds.

For example if the highest level spell you want to prepare is a 4th level spell, you must drain 4 HD worth of creatures.

Plant life can also be defiled in the same way. How much plantlife must be drained is at the discretion of the GM. Plants that don't have a constitution score don't get a fort save.

Rules for Preserving
Everytime you prepare spells after a night's rest, take 1d4 con damage.

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The point of the rules is to make both options viable. I wanted to include a mechanic that allowed in game the horrifying image of an entire grove of trees or a group of people turning to ash with this defiler in the epicentre.

I wanted to make preserving not be the automatic choice of all PCs. Dealing con damage on a Wizard is dangerous. They don't have many HP to begin with and only need to roll high a few days in a row and they're out of comission.

Both options should have the effect of making wizards be careful with how much they throw their spells around.

Now some might get cranky at me for punishing the Wizard in this way, but they're one of the 3 classes that get to cast spells in my version of Dark Sun. Sorcerers (who must choose an element as their bloodline), clerics (who must be templars that serve a sorcerer-king) and wizards. Wizards get the most choices and freedom, so they have to pay the greatest cost.
on you ideas and lease do not take this the wrong way jsut some sugestion as this has been and as it stands is a mojor sticking point for me i hate the rules for defiling in all editions love it especialy troy dennings description ..

ok  in my game only the dragon and the Sk that are trying to transform into a dragon fule there spells using non plant life.  yes i know sadira was able to drain some small bat thingy creature in the novel the only thing that came to ind was in extreme cases where little or no plant life is available by default they start to tap into non plants would explain why every time she used the halflings staff everyone felt ill or when a defiler began to cast there spells it pulled on there life force granted in a small way  i would have it effect there HD in anyway it would be an initiative penalty.. if you wanted to stick with the HD make it flat out hit points Th level spell need 4 hit points  just a thought.  i do like the save part for sure ill keep that one. your preserving rules no CON dmg i just see this as a penalty and unfair with or with out a saving throw . i  agree with you to a point  on where you mention that the wizard need to be careful on throwing spells around at least in this setting because it requires a fuel source and in my mind its like a rechargeable battery.. spells .. i would like very much for us to come up with a great mechanic for defiling maybe between the 2 of us( open invite  to all) we can make it happen i ran 5th last night love it so far .. iam current working on a write up for dark sun specific defiling mechanic the new editions def makes it doable let me know if you would like to tackle this much discussed issue .
Looks a little too harsh to me.

Do you expect to have a lot of PC defilers?

Classically, HP/HD drain only came from the high-level defiling spells. 
on you ideas and lease do not take this the wrong way jsut some sugestion as this has been and as it stands is a mojor sticking point for me i hate the rules for defiling in all editions love it especialy troy dennings description ..

ok  in my game only the dragon and the Sk that are trying to transform into a dragon fule there spells using non plant life.  yes i know sadira was able to drain some small bat thingy creature in the novel the only thing that came to ind was in extreme cases where little or no plant life is available by default they start to tap into non plants would explain why every time she used the halflings staff everyone felt ill or when a defiler began to cast there spells it pulled on there life force granted in a small way  i would have it effect there HD in anyway it would be an initiative penalty.. if you wanted to stick with the HD make it flat out hit points Th level spell need 4 hit points  just a thought.  i do like the save part for sure ill keep that one. your preserving rules no CON dmg i just see this as a penalty and unfair with or with out a saving throw . i  agree with you to a point  on where you mention that the wizard need to be careful on throwing spells around at least in this setting because it requires a fuel source and in my mind its like a rechargeable battery.. spells .. i would like very much for us to come up with a great mechanic for defiling maybe between the 2 of us( open invite  to all) we can make it happen i ran 5th last night love it so far .. iam current working on a write up for dark sun specific defiling mechanic the new editions def makes it doable let me know if you would like to tackle this much discussed issue .



I don't remember Sadira draining a bat creature. When was that?

There is one point when she drains from plants (in the oubliette, I believe) and they turn to ash, and the years-old skeleton of some creature that was tangled in the plants falls on her, I believe, but she didn't kill it. I read those books yeeearrrrs ago, though, so forgive me if my memory is wrong.
its all good i have the books but like you its been awhile since i read them iam sure there was a line where the plant roots or something and small creatures dried up from here gathering but i could be wrong .. ill check. i am almost sure it involved her drawing to much energy again ill check. i do know that it was def in ember enchantress ..lol i think , i only brang it up and her use of the staff she got to maybe come up with a reason for john wanting the caster to take damage when preparing spells maybe for all those around the caster and only when they are defiling but this iam sure of they felt  a pulling and sickness every time she used it including rikus .. again its been awhile. John please dont take my criticism to heart they are just how i play the setting when it comes to power spells that only Sk and there transformation drew on non plants life force to fuel there magics ..again i play troy denning description close to the vest and your right only high level spells from defilers raduu had a physical effect on those around them. with that said iam sure most of you have used the new play test for D& d next it was great for the most part except the at will use of minor spells/cantrips i am sure this was so 4th edition would feel left out i for one will still put some kinda limit on it IMHO. 

I def. would like us to put our heads together to come up with a system for the setting when it comes to defiling as i am sure we dont expect a DARK sun next anytime soon i have alot of ideas i would like to throw around ..and yes iam aware it has been talked to death but again nothing has really sat well with me yet that captures the feel of the novels and thats what i am shooting for.

oh sorry one last thing i do agree that other than a comsetic non mechanic effect if the caster is not a defiler that constantly defiling should have some kinda penalty other than hey now your a defiler .. thanks for the conversation all
Looks a little too harsh to me.

Do you expect to have a lot of PC defilers?

Classically, HP/HD drain only came from the high-level defiling spells. 

No, I don't expect to have a lot of PC defilers. I'd prefer they don't given it's the one great evil on Athas. It won't be legal at 1st leve but they can, later on in the campaign, take wizard levels if they so wish.
I am a bit of a purist, and so never really liked how 4e handled Defiling, Defilers, etc. . .

so I made a few tweaks.

Defilers (as in, arcane casters that actively defile) create a Close Burst 1 per tier (2 at paragon, 3 epic) when they use an Arcane Power.  Any allies in this aura suffer a -1 to all d20 rolls until the end of their next turn.

Defilers suffer a -2 modifier to social rolls (or a +2 to intimidation rolls_ when appropriate, due to the taint of defiling that surrounds them.

And, because they don't care to limit the power they drain when they cast, they get Brutal 1 on all Arcane powers (even Arcane healing if they have it).


For Arcane Defiling, I kept the power mostly the same.  Instead of half a surge worth of HP damage, I made it 1/10 of max HP.

For every 2 allies in the aura when Arcane Defiling is used, the caster gets a +1 bonus to their reroll.  3 minion allies count as 1 ally for this.  If there are no allies in the radius when they Arcane Defile, then they don't get this added bonus to their reroll.

Also, until the end of the encounter, the first time anyone that has taken damage from Arcane Defiling is reduced to 0 or below, they are automatically returned to 0 hp, and stabilized, since Defiling traditionally drains vitality, and not actual life from people (except for the ultra high defilers).  Being reduced again happens normally, as well as damage suffered while KOd.
"Five million Cybermen, easy. One Doctor? NOW you're scared!" - Rose Tyler
With D&D Next now out, these rules need to be revised as a result as we've lost ability damage (from what I can see).

Rules for Defiling
Everytime you prepare spells, you must drain HD from living creatures equal to the highest level spell you're trying to prepare. These can either be 1 creature with enough HD to satisfy your drain, or it can be many creatures that together add up enough HD. A creature get's a constitution save with a DC equal to 10+The number of HD you're trying to drain. If you don't drain enough HD, then you can only prepare spells up to the amount of HD you did drain. A creature whose HD is drained to 0 dies instantly, turning to ash within seconds.

For example if the highest level spell you want to prepare is a 4th level spell, you must drain 4 HD worth of creatures.

Plant life can also be defiled in the same way. How much plantlife must be drained is at the discretion of the GM. Plants that don't have a constitution score don't get a fort save.

You are able to prepare spells anytime you've drained HD equal to the highest open slot you have.

Rules for Preserving
Everytime you prepare spells after a night's rest, you must spend a number of HD equal to the highest level spell you can prepare.
ahh was wondering when this was going to start up , the problem is when preparing spells you gather the energy form the surrounding environment, not living creatures, only sK'S can drain from living creatures ( i am 2nd ed. purest) what i do like about your proposal lynch " every time they prepare spells they must drain an amount (maybe spell points , manna+ poll something all dark sun unique , this i am still working on mechanic wise) equal to their highest level spell they can cast. 5th edition had a spell point system they are going to use and did with the warlock or sorcerer that was in an earlier packet, ill have to give it another read. what my biggest hurdle is like in the PP novels i want gathering to be a separate action something that might be done just prior to an encounter a round or 2 maybe depending on there int score. not after a long rest i know this was suggested in the early version a sorta off the board non issues game play .. doesn't work for me at all, no i do not think it targets the spell caster unfairly because when a preserver defiles there spell is drastically given a boost, restricted like everything else should be. For example at the 3rd level maybe a minor increase in AOE, at 5th range. at 7th DC increase ect.. 9th being the last an increase in Damage , maybe using the rules that all dame is treated as a critical hit?  I know none of us will agree and that's fine but i would love to get a brain storming secession started before my campaign starts and the great thing all the players are new to D&D only one has any experience and that was with 4th ed. which i like except i  refused to use there take on defiling.
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