I am posting this, mainly in case I can inspire other Dark Sun DMs out there.
I am a Dark Sun purist, and as such, I have made a few tweaks to Defiling to suit the way it should feel, in my opionion, but that has little to do with the story.Hand of the Sorcerer King
First, a little world info.
In my game, Kalak is not Dead (yet). So my game is taking place a little before the events of The Prism Pentad
series (which probably won't happen as such in my game)
Next, the cast.
Changeling, Psion (Telepath), Noble Adept theme
Dwarf, Battlemind/Warden Hybrid, Ironwrought theme
Dray (Dragonborn), Warlord, Templar theme (Dregoth)
Half Elf, SK Pact Warlock, Templar Theme (Kalid-Ma)
I thought long and hard about allowing certain traditionally non-DS stuff into my DS game (as I said, I am a purist). I set some strict rules for race/class restrictions on the group page.. but, give me an awesome enough reason for an exception, and I will probably make that exception. So, as certain Characters were run by me, the gears started turning.
Character info follows in spoiler mode to save spaceSpoiler:
The Psion, used to be a Trader for house Mke. All over the Tablelands, usually making the run between Breakshore and Cromlin. During a Mishap, he somehow found himself close to the Pristine Tower. Having heard some of the rumors, but never seeing it, he wandered closer. As he neared, he entered the dangerous area around it, and was helped to get to the tower, to basically burn the image of it into his mind.. and also to subject him to the mutation of the tower (and hence turn him into a changeling). This person then helped him get back to safety and civilization, erasing just his presence out of the psion's memories. This person is most likely Kalak himself, setting events up for the actual start of the game.
The battlemind/Warden is a bearded Dwarf, when practically no Dwarves have beards on Athas. He too was also the result of Pristine Tower Mutation, which granted him the strange traits of his Ironwrought theme (skin taking on metallic appearance and durability when bloodied). Again, after he was subjected to the mutations, he was delivered to a monastary of Dwarves in the Ringing Mountains to the north, where he would study and grow until it was time for Kalak to implement his plan
The Dray Warlord, is a Second Generation Dray, Templar of Dregoth. He was sent to the surface to lead a recon team, to learn the lay of the land, and the current state of affairs. The Hand of the Sorcerer King was made aware of this, and took hand to manipulate yet another life to help lay the pieces for his eventual plot. The Dray was captured, much of his short term memory erased. He remembers that he is from New Giustenal, and that he came to the surface for a reason, but that is about it.
The Templar of Kalid-Ma is probably the most unique. Kalidnay, and it's Sorderer King Kalid-Ma met it's doom some 1500-2000 years ago, when Kalid-Ma tried devising a ritual to skip the intervening stanges and go right to 30th level Dragon. There was a misshap. Kalak, having a rivalry with Kalid-Ma in general, came to investigate, and found a single Templar alive, though he died at the SKs feet. Kalak had this Templar Resurrected, and magically placed in stasis, until such a time that he could think of a purpose for this Templar. Somehow, maybe a weird twist of fate with the ritual, but this Templar has maintained a Link with Kalid-Ma, even though the SK is locked away in the Gray.
Between Kalid-Ma's demise and now, another Sorcerer King has since come close to making the change to full 30th level Dragon, and that was Dregoth. Of course, some of the SKs rose up and Dregoth was slain. Both events got Kalak's mind turning, and with research, he started to devise his own plan for skipping the intervening stages, and transforming himself to full Dragon. (as he planned in the novel series, but with tweaks for my story.
So, the plot. Kalak wants to devise a ritual to transform himself to full dragon. Having a Templar of Kalid-Ma, the previous SK to attempt this, in stasis, he has decided to free this Templar and send him to Kalidnay to retrieve any research he can find. Kalak also has one of the Orbs of Kalid-Ma, which he hopes will link with the Warlock (for this, I ruled that this Orb would function for the Warlock as a rod would, thus be a usable implement) and help uncover the research needed for his ritual. Also, Knowing where there are two people touched by the Peristine Tower, he hopes to use them in his plans as well, thinking that perhaps in their explorations, they may discover a way to tie the Pristine Tower into his plans.
He arranged to have the 4 PCs start out as slaves in the arena, forcing them into positions where they would have to learn to work together and rely upon each other. After a few weeks of this, he offered them their freedom, if they agreed to his task, and death if they betrayed him. Freedom being a rather nice reward, the group accepted.
The Veiled Alliance also contacted them during their time in the arena, and planted the idea of assassinating Kalak into their minds. So now, the group is debating working both sides of the fence, at least for a time, until they cen decide which is actually the better offer.
So heroic is going to have them exploring Kalidnay, and bits of the Tablelands as the Orb begins sending the Warlock Templar out hunting for more Orbs, and maybe the group discovering that Kalak wants this research so he can skip right to 30th level Dragon
Paragon will probably have them working with the Veiled Alliance to find a way to stop Kalak, which might entail trips to the Pristine Tower to find some items, or Boons to help. Possibly even following the Dray back to Giustenal.
Epic will probably have them Tangling with Dregoth, bringing back Kalid-Ma, and thus having to deal with him as well, and maybe interactions with Borys as well. Specifics depend on the paths that the group takes at each step, but the overall arc should have the group dealign with these threats, and then facing other threats perhaps, as the Power Players previously in play are no longer there to stop some of the other things.
"Five million Cybermen, easy. One Doctor? NOW you're scared!" - Rose Tyler