Episode 4: Dark Sun

Hambone opens the show (00:18) and Stu laments the weather (it’s frickin’ hot).

First up, the guys have been playing Tales From the Loop (02:15). Being an 80s sci-fi RPG, Stranger Things comes up immediately and the guys touch on the difficulty of nostalgia marketing (02:50). They then get into the simplicity of the system (03:15) and rundown the mechanics (04:30). Discussion wraps up on the joys of setting an RPG in the town where you live (05:50) and how well the game focuses on narrative over mechanics (08:45).

Conversation turns to Dark Sun (11:56). Stu summarizes the game, explains how it put aesthetics first and how groundbreaking that was at the time (13:55). The inflexibility of D&D as a system comes up, and Hambone reveals a rumor about the lack of playtesting at TSR (15:44). They discuss the problem with turning novels into RPG modules (17:23) and Stu runs downs some of the problems he has with Dark Sun (20:01), TSR’s lack of support for the setting and how TSR’s business model was at fault (21:01).

Despite all this, Stu firmly believes Dark Sun is cool (21:47), particularly the art of Brom and Baxa. The guys digress into a discussion of tentacle monsters (23:00) then talk about some 5E rumors (25:54) and the contrast between the current D&D business model compared to the TSR of old. Also, psionics are weird (28:54).

Stu opens his mail from World Champ Game Company (30:15) and delights in their Deals with Demons zine, an alternate death system for D&D 5E.

The guys say their farewells (32:49).

Illustration by Shafer Brown

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Correction: to simulate the harshness of the world of Dark Sun, new characters start at level three, not level one. Stu’s greater point, however, stands: Dark Sun was intended to run through 30 character levels but only received support through level 15 or so.

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Intro music by George Collazo.

The Vintage RPG illustration is by Shafer Brown. Follow him on Twitter.

Tune in two weeks from now for the next episode. Until then, may the dice always roll in your favor!

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