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Dark Sun Dark Sun (to the tune of “Dark Place”), posted by CJ Ovalle

So, 4E Dark Sun is here. First, I must say, I like it. I like it a lot. I had a chance to play with pregens this past weekend, and my group had a blast and is probably switching over to Dark Sun in the near future.

The 4E Campaign Book is one of my favorite 4E products to date.

I’ll start by mentioning some of the things I *didn’t* like.
-Elemental Priests aren’t nearly as interesting as the old elemental clerics were. I see what they were going with- they have all these other power sources for leaders, so they don’t need to be restricted to the cleric- but I don’t think it worked particularly well.
-Sorcerer-Kings aren’t as powerful as they used to be, and I don’t think the game captures the arcane/psionic joining that the original game had.
-Defiling. I’m not sure I liked the way they’ve handled defiling and preserving here.
-Almost forgot this one. Editing. How many references to page XX were there? This isn’t the Malkavian clanbook. :P

Things I liked and disliked.
-Wild Talents. I love Wild Talents. I like that they’re included. Some of them are kind of ‘eh,’ though, and there’s nowhere near the diversity and craziness of 2E wild talents, which I thought made for some of the most fun game situations.
-The art. Some of the art was really interesting, and certainly evoked Athas in my mind. Some of it was recycled, which is always kind of ‘eh.’

Things I really liked.
-Alternate treasure. Instead of an item in the item-poor world, how about the favor of elemental spirits, or breakthroughs in the Way? I think these are neat additions to the game.
-Themes. The Dark Sun book has introduced Character Themes, which give more options for your characters. Want to be a gladiator? Add the gladiator theme to your character. Each theme gives you a secondary role, a new encounter power, options for powers at higher levels, and access to feats and prestige class, most of which are quite interesting. Big plus here.
-Templars were reflavored, and unlike the Elemental Priests, I really like what they did here. “Templar” is now a character theme you can apply to your character, and templars are basically sanctioned arcane magic users. Very cool.
-On a related note, the sorcerer-king Warlock pact. Really like this- your warlock was granted power through the rituals of the sorcerer-king.