Dark Sun


I’m considering using the Mouse Guard system to play Dark Sun. I have some initial ideas at the moment and I know there is an awful lot more to think about but what are your thoughts on Nature? In particular, should each race have different natures or would you have a sort of generic “adventurer” nature? I’ve come up with the following and would appreciate your feedback.

Mul Nature – Toiling, Honesty, Scrounging
Thri-Kreen Nature – Leaping, Climbing, Stalking
Human Nature – Ingenuity, Laying low, Cautiousness
Elf Nature – Running, Stealing, Lying
Dwarf Nature – Crafting, Loyalty, Persistence



If I were to do Dark Sun as a Mouse Guard hack, I’d likely start with something a good deal simpler, focusing perhaps on the Templars as PCs, or if we really wanna be good guys, an expansive preserver organisation. Race would then become either a trait that everyone chooses, or would replace the “Which Town Were You Born In” Step in Recruitment.

If Preservers, Nature would be the font of magical power, with Defiler based tags (when you don’t defile with your Magic, your magical ability gets sucked away, to be replenished over time. Cast in a preservationist manner too long, and there’s no more power to draw from in yourself.). Then give bonus die ratings for certain types of terrain to Magic rolls, including perhaps -1D for the silt sea.

If Templars, Nature is then based on sorcerer king crap. The more I think about it, the less compelling that option is.

“What is your psychic/psionic talent?” pick trait/“weapon”/“gear”. “What is your magical specialisation?” likewise. Anyway, all in all, I’m just not a fan of picking apart and gaming different natures. If you are going to make different natures though, I’d make them represent the worst and nastiest parts of each species. Then there’s some tension. Be bad, or lose nature when you tap it. Run out, and you’re just too good for this world.

Good luck :wink:

Dark Sun is a very brutal setting, even when compared to Other D&D settings. Mouseguard meanwhile is a rather injury light setting, where no character dies without the players permission.

I don’t know that the two really fit with eachother at all.

For Darksun the the full version of Burning wheel, with its grittier combat and injury system really seems as if it would be a better fit. If you do a search arround you will find that there are some parital conversion notes for this floating arround the forum and the WIki.

Adding BW injuries isn’t THAT hard. And would be an excellent addition for running Dark Sun. But yeah, BW’s a MUCH better fit.

I would like to see a good BW hack/expansion to play in Dark Sun setting. Doing the race thing could be hard, if you want Mul, Thri-Kreen or Dragonborn (Dray) Lifepaths for example. (But maybe you just play with humans and so, modified the actual LPs and make new settings with them, and treat other species as monsters.) I think we need a new weapons chart and a few pre-designed magic items. (I would love to see armor and weapons with traits. Wow.)

Using Mouse Guard system it could be probably easier, but I would prefer BW certainly.

Just make a lot of combats to the death.

Thanks Guys

I’m unfamiliar with BW from a system point of view. I recently played Mouse Guard at a convention and loved it. Now I have purchased the book and got into the system proper. The trouble is my gaming group don’t really want to be mice so Dark Sun was a setting we could all get on with. I too have my reservations about merging the two but I want to give the system a go.

I think the Templars angle is interesting but they feel like “bad guys” to me and I want the players to be “good guys”. Similarly, the natures I came up with are an attempt to give the players some internal conflict but I’m not sure I’ve hit the right notes.

Just play it as is for now, and change the Color.

Well what you are looking at is a simplified version of Burning Wheel. There is a bear bones summary of the differences between the three systems here:

No, it’s not a simplified BW. It’s a wholly different game with the same task system and similar concepts for scripting and Beliefs.

Looks very interesting. I’ll have to do so more investigation. Thanks for the advice.

So your saying it’s a different game, only the rules are the same. I have to disagree with you. All I see is three settings and three levels of complexity but the underlying game is the same in all cases. It is completely the same game with the same concepts by the same author. Stylistically the three versions are so similar that i sometimes have a hard time remembering which rulebook particular rules came from. Often something that is a little unclear or left unexplained (or implied) in one version, will be explicitly stated in one of the other versions of the game.

Sounds like you’ve not played MG.

The underlying task system is only part of the mechanics of either game… an important part, but far from the only part, and the way they relate to the other elements is SO different that expertise with BW will NOT make you a better MG player, and will, in fact, probably get in your way. Especially when you go to FoRK… since you can’t FoRK anything but a single Wise in MG. And belief building is actually less constrained, instincts are actually a second belief, and goals are really just a third one.

It’s like saying Tablero and Checkers or Arima and Chess are the same game because they use the same board and pieces.

The only things that really cross over are the dice mechanics. Even then, there are subtle differences that caught my players and I off guard.

MG conflict is very different in tone from BW Fight! or BE Firefight. It’s only somewhat similar to BW/DE Duel of Wits - and is much more fluid in use.

BE and BW have a very different approach to traits - so different that experience with BW/BE traits is an impediment to using them well in MG, as they serve VERY different purposes. In BW, they are mostly ways to get artha, tho’ some have die-bonuses or penalties. In MG, they are useless for Rewards (=Artha=Fate and Persona), earning you checks, instead, and all are also a die-trait.

BW has no scene budget. BE has a scene budget, based upon per-character scenes, and a very limited rolls budget. MG has a rolls budget. This alone makes the rest of the game feel very, very different.

The differences in advancement from BW/BE versus MG mean the goals in play are also very different. [ul][li]In BW, everyone helping also gets experience, and it’s about the difficulties hit. If Joe and Fred both have 5D in sword, Both can get their Challengings by helping the other with an Ob 6 test… Joe does the first one; the help from Fred gives Joe an extra die, and Fred forks in 3 additional skills, and is rolling 9D vs Ob 6, but Joe marks skill 5 vs Ob 6… Later, Joe takes the primary, and fred marks a challenging.[]In BE, it works the same, but that one can only FoRK in twice, and one of the two MUST be a Wise.[]In MG, the Ob matters not; you need successes and failures, not specific difficulties. [/ul]
Even Persona works differently… MG it can add (nature)D to a task, it can add dice (up to 3D). BW, it can save you from a mortal wound, add dice (up to 3D), invoke certain traits’ bonuses…

Really, it’s like comparing D&D3.X to D&D 4.X - the differences outweigh strongly the similarities, at least in play. Yet, both use the same task system (1d20+skill total for ≥TN by difficulty).

I think we just have draw see the boundaries of what as RPG system is differently. Though perspective on Duel of Wits, Firefight etc is instructive. You seem to see them as different mechanics, while I see them as very obvious variations of the same mechanic. go to the source the blurb on my Copy of Mouse Guard has the following:

“This game is intended for all ages and uses a simplified version of designer Luke Crane’s multi-award-winning Burning Wheel rules system.”

Anyhow, to avoid hijacking this thread (possibly too late) I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this point.