The Red Age

a Dark Sun game
Setting: The Tyr region


Tezcat Lipoca – Draj, human woman, bastard child to the merchant house Tezcat (psychic warrior/rogue)
Shenlan d’Oudul – Nibenese farmer, human man, half-elemental (air cleric/psion telekinetic)
Uratni Nimen – Scorchwander elf woman, in the wrong place at the wrong time (bard/psychic warrior)
Mameha – Half-elven Gulgan woman, with a link to a mid-sized raptor (psion oracle/ranger)

Character Creation

Variant rules used: gestalt class method, defense
Beginning Character Level: 3
Abilities: Game-master assigned values
Alignments: Characters not yet in epic games are not so strongly influenced by their alignment such as to make a declaration of it. Player characters and humanoid non-player characters may be said to be completely immune to alignment-specific effects. That is, until such time as they achieve a union with such forces as they become aligned to one or the other.
Athasians: All Red Age characters gain the Athasian template for free, which does not count against their character level (as this is an equal benefit gained by all Athasians). The Athasian template grants +1 hp per hit die, two extra skills as though the character were gaining the human racial skill benefit (Survival, and another skill of the player's choice). Finally, all Athasians gain the Endurance feat. Athasians are simply much hardier in general; most - if not all - who do not have this template are, quite simply, already dead.

Race Restrictions

Allowed Races: Human, Elf, Dwarf, Mul, Half-giant, Half-elf
Restricted Races: Aarakocra, Halfling, Pterran, Thri-Kreen
Allowed Templates: Half-drake, Half-elemental

The Red Age is a game centralized around dramatic interaction and storylines. The restricted races have been banned simply because they do not bring a traditional humanoid viewpoint to the game, and by default would serve as convenient distractions from the basic point of the plot-line by simply being in the game.

Class Restrictions

Allowed Classes: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Psion, Psychic Warrior, Ranger, Rogue
Restricted Classes: Druid, Gladiator, Monk, Paladin, Sorcerer, Templar, Wizard

Restricted classes are treated in Red Age as though they were prestige classes, with requisites that make them impossible to select by beginning characters. Through the course of the story, these classes may or may not be opened to player access, according to the events of the game - just as any other prestige class would be.


Psionics are an integral part of the Dark Sun mythos. Magic is a malignant, profane force of corruption and is largely to blame for the ruin of the world - but in its place, the Way has risen to establish an epic fantasy foundation on Athas. Every being on Athas has a little awareness or the Way; it's simply that powerful and prevalent.

Because of this, the Psion and Psychic Warrior classes are handled differently than in other settings. Every player chooses one or the other for his character during character creation. This choice is final and may not be adjusted later during play unless, of course, the story suggests it. This class is treated as a second favored class. The class need not have any character levels invested in it, it must merely be chosen.

There have been renamings for the sake of semantics. For example, psionic power points are renamed “the Way”; every being with at least 4 points of Intelligence (meaning, every sentient being) has at least 1 point of the Way.

All Dark Sun characters may purchase level 1 psionic powers through the use of the Expanded Knowledge feat, as though they had obtained manifester level 3.

Finally, the psion subclasses have been largely renamed. Each subclass is recognized throughout Athas by these names, as opposed to the name "psion":

  • Seer – Oracle
  • Shaper – Summoner
  • Kineticist – Telekinetic
  • Nomad – Traveller
  • Egoist – Shapeshifter
  • Telepath - Telepath

The Divine Hierarchy

Either slain or never-born, the divinity of Athas is nothing more than a colossal gap which welcomes any charlatan or opportunist in with open arms. Despite the sheer volume of these would-be religions, the spark of true power is, as always, marked in the annals of the Red Age by the prayer worship of the common people.

In Red Age games in particular, the influence of divine magic is intentionally kept to a minimum, with a few notable exceptions (for example, the player characters, and templars). Many priests, when it comes down to it, are simply talented healers and spiritual guides, and not having any divine class to speak of at all.

Elementals generally do not lend their power to mortals, nor do they exactly possess the ability to intrinsically do such. Elementals, like mortals, are beings who are conceived, live, and perish. There are some ancient or immortal elementals, but these are more abstract creatures, made up of raw elemental energies (and being somewhat divine through this power). By and large, elemental is a term which can broadly describe not only peoples, or individual godlike beings, but also base beasts and creatures.

Finally, there are the eight drake princes, beings of elemental strength directly comparable to the defiling power of the dragon kings. The presence of the drakes princes is eerily concurrent with the eight elemental alignments of clerics, just as there are only so many orders of templar as there are dragon kings. The distinction is, the drakes princes appear to have no active interest in being worshipped or obeyed, and largely focus their terrible and potent attentions on their majestic and often dangerous elemental courts.

It is the occasion where an elemental court is formed which results in a true divine conduit to form out of elemental energies. A court's formation is a natural process, much like the formation of a city-state. The actual size of a court is typically much smaller - say, the size of a small village or settlement. Despite the size, a court unites such a confluence of energies that over time, it creates its own elemental identity.

It is the unique connection mortals touched by this presence have, which makes them a cleric. This is not some indoctrinated faith, but instead a raw possession of the energy identity of a given court. Many clerics do not fully understand the elemental energies they wield, or why. Usually, they turn out to be descendants of these unusual settlements, or in fact chosen and directly blessed by a drake prince.

Druids practice the only true religion present on Athas: the adulation of the world itself, in all its powerful, merciless glory. Over the years, druidry has evolved dutifully to match the world it inhabits. There is nothing the world can do wrong to the druidic doctrines. Certainly, this is one of the only things that is common amongst these many, many different druid ways.

Druids are by habit very hermit-like, not venturing forth from their bonded locations willingly unless compelled by very dire reasons. This has created a vast splintering in the knowledge, ability and objectives of this once prevalent practice. Some conclaves of druids seek the return of the Green, or even Blue Ages, or the creation of a new age. Others are content, and seek merely to achieve a unity with Athas and its ecologies. Some practice magic from ancient writ; some are taught by spiritual manifestations of the land; some come about what they know by pure visceral instinct.

Apart from the elemental hierarchy exists a network of spirits which all of these druids, in one way or another, commune with. Even in its ruin, Athas is a thriving place spiritually speaking, every natural, unshaped creature, geologic feature, or weather phenomenon is embodied by a reflection of Athas' great persona. Some spirits are more potent than others, or simply more interactive. Together with their soldiers, the druids, these spirits hatch plans and make their mysterious movements across the face of the world, going to the distant, unmapped frontiers and back on their grave pilgrimages.


Weapons and Armor are extremely abstracted in Red Age games. Essentially, the most important factors are proficiency group, and material. The proficiency group of the weapon/armor determines the base damage or armor bonus of the item, and the material it is made of modifies this value positively or negatively. In the case of weaponry, the material either bumps the factor of the damage dice one way or the other. In the case of armor, the material gives a flat penalty or bonus to the armor bonus to a character's Defense stat.

Armor: Armor proficiencies are not used in Red Age. Instead, armor has certain ability or skill requirements for wearing it, as well as certain penalties in place while the armor is being worn. Armor does not improve a character's Defense score, unless it has been enchanted to do as much. Instead, it provides damage reduction against all physical attacks. Some armors protect, instead, against divine magics or psionics - a rare few are even reinforced against arcane magic.

Some examples of armor descriptions include, but are not limited to:

  • Leather (simple): Survival, 4 ranks
  • Skin-wreath (martial): Concentration, 4 ranks; reduces Will checks by -2.
  • Mail (martial): Endurance, Constitution 12+; mail armor reduces the character's Dexterity bonus by 1.
  • Splint (exotic): Endurance, Toughness, Strength 14+; splint armor halves the character's Reflex bonus, and reduces the character's Dexterity bonus by 1.

Weaponry: Weapon proficiencies are largely unchanged for Red Age, save that the category of the weapon (simple, martial, exotic) is now the determining factor of the damage a weapon deals. As such, unless it is granted by a racial or class feature, any exotic weapon feat is restricted to characters with a base attack bonus of +1 or better.

Proficiency GroupsSimpleMartialExotic
Armor DR2/-3/-4/-
MaterialsWeapon ModifierArmor Modifier
Bone-1 die factor+1
Ceramic-1 die factor-1
ChitinNo adjustment+1
Hide-1 die factor-1
Iron+1 die factor+2
ObsidianNo adjustment-1
Scale-1 die factor+0
StoneNo adjustment+1
Wood-1 die factor+0

Advanced Beings

These are the avangion, behemoth, dragon, drake, kaisharga, mind lord and shadow giant.
Avangion – Union of Preserver spellcraft and manifestation.
Behemoth – The blessed immortality of the most powerful of druids.
Dragon – Union of Defiler spellcraft and manifestation.
Drake – Union of elemental prayer and manifestation.
Mind Lord – Those who have taken on purely astral form, linked to an obsidian orb anchor.
Shadow Giant – Those claimed body and soul by Rajaat and the dark Hollow of the Pristine Tower.

Adjusted Advanced Being rules
Advanced beings may be assumed beginning at level 21. They are otherwise simply very powerful epic prestige classes, or epic templates broken down by level guidelines. Typically they have other requisites; for example, all advanced beings require an investment of at least 10 manifester levels. There are some advanced beings which also impose behavior guidelines or limitations.

Advanced beings are permitted in Red Age. As it’s been named, the story is about one of the most crucial times in the Red Age, and the characters should be the stuff of legend.

Each advanced being has a ceremony to enact in order to acquire the class, and each time he seeks to level the class. This ceremony is a quest of sorts that can be done in side-play or downtime, but overall merely represents a “training time” the character endures to level up.

Level RangeCeremony Time
1-3One year
4-5One decade
6-9One century
10One millennia

The Ceremonial Cache
A character who has obtained epic level and wishes to progress as an advanced being is going to run into a deliberate stop-gap imposed by the ceremony requirements for each level. This is in place to prevent characters from growing too powerful and outstripping the game or the other players. In exchange for the prohibition of the ceremony requisite, an advanced being level requires absolutely no investment of character levels to gain. A character merely completes the Ceremony and advances.


Assets and monetary gains are covered via a simple Wealth stat, not acute calculations of coin; the fact of the matter is, there are many things which quantify richness in Athas, and coin is often the least of these things (water, land, herds, etc). Essentially, Wealth is scored just like a skill and rolled just like a skill. The distinction is that it has no upper cap beyond what the game master assigns it. Characters begin with Wealth 1 in Red Age games.

Wealth is, as has been said, a representation of the character’s possessions as well as the money a character has. This means a character may choose to detail his or her holdings, describing what makes them so wealthy. Purchasing things with Wealth does not deplete the Wealth score, but rather builds a Debt score alongside it. Debt may equal or exceed Wealth; neither cancels the other out. Debt represents favors, loans, and many other things, including the deterioration of existing possessions – for example, a broken weapon may incur 1 Debt until it is fixed.

Simply put, Debt is a penalty on the bartering and trading impact Wealth would otherwise give. If the leader of a powerful merchant house has 53 Wealth, his bargaining position is rather strong – but as soon as his errant brother accidentally lands him into 50 points of Debt gambling with a Lord Templar, his seeming Wealth to those in the know drops to 3, and his bargaining position seems no better than your common free citizen.

Wealth may be spent to cancel out Debt in downtime, but not during play. The only way to assuage Debt during play is to pay it back in favors or assets directly – doing this during play is considered to be a role-playing solution, not a statistic solution, and the character keeps his Wealth score as-is.

(House Rules Index)-(Setting Items)