Deadlands

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Deadlands

Postby Big Mac » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:17 pm

Agathokles replied to my "How much surface area of Athas is actually defiled?" topic and mentioned the Deadlands:
agathokles wrote:South of the Tablelands are the Deadlands, an immense wastelands entirely covered in black obsidian, and full of undead demihumans.


That is an interesting concept, but how do the Deadlands work?

Are these undead mindless? Do they have civilisations? Is it possible to do anything in the Deadlands other than just fight the undead?
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Re: Deadlands

Postby agathokles » Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:43 pm

The Deadlands were created when a massive portal to the Inner Planes was opened. The portal covered in obsidian the land hundred of miles around the portal, until the portal was shut down. The undead are not all mindless -- actually, powerful defilers and psionicists arose as intelligent spellcasting or psionic undead. Besides, "fighting the undead" is simply not something you want to do in the Deadlands -- since entire cities where wiped out and their population turned undead, fighting them is all but impossible. Few people venture in the Deadlands at all, but you'd need to go there if you needed information about (or from) certain extinct species, such as gnomes.

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Re: Deadlands

Postby Big Mac » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:47 am

agathokles wrote:The Deadlands were created when a massive portal to the Inner Planes was opened. The portal covered in obsidian the land hundred of miles around the portal, until the portal was shut down.


That sounds good.

Did they keep that the same in 4e Dark Sun or give this a reboot?

agathokles wrote:The undead are not all mindless -- actually, powerful defilers and psionicists arose as intelligent spellcasting or psionic undead. Besides, "fighting the undead" is simply not something you want to do in the Deadlands -- since entire cities where wiped out and their population turned undead, fighting them is all but impossible. Few people venture in the Deadlands at all, but you'd need to go there if you needed information about (or from) certain extinct species, such as gnomes.


Were all the people that got killed turned evil, or have they retained their original alignments?

Do these undead cities retain some sort of culture? Do they still continue to do some of the things that the people used to do when they were alive?

Are there any connections (like trade routes) between cities in the Deadlands and cities outside the Deadlands? For example, does anyone sell slaves to anyone in the Deadlands, so that they can "replace" any undead that get destroyed?
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Re: Deadlands

Postby Seethyr » Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:23 am

The Deadlands sound kind of "Thay-ish" to me in flavor (which certainly isn't a bad thing), but I really like the origin story. It almost reminds me of what Pompeii might be like nowadays had the eruption occurred in a fantasy realm.
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Re: Deadlands

Postby agathokles » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:08 pm

The Deadlands are not that developed, so there isn't much more to add. However, since most undead (especially the mindless ones) don't need living commodities, trade doesn't really exist. I don't think the undead are automatically evil, but most Athasian undead have drives that put their agenda at odds with that of most living. There is no regular trade to the Deadlands -- the dead don't need much, and don't have much to trade either.

However, there's a net project at athas.org that deals with the Deadlands in more detail, called "The Dead Lands of Athas". You can look it up in google -- I can't find a direct link right now.

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Re: Deadlands

Postby Big Mac » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:41 pm

Seethyr wrote:The Deadlands sound kind of "Thay-ish" to me in flavor (which certainly isn't a bad thing), but I really like the origin story. It almost reminds me of what Pompeii might be like nowadays had the eruption occurred in a fantasy realm.


That sounds good, although I believe it was an eruption from another plane, rather than from magma, it should work the same.

agathokles wrote:The Deadlands are not that developed, so there isn't much more to add. However, since most undead (especially the mindless ones) don't need living commodities, trade doesn't really exist. I don't think the undead are automatically evil, but most Athasian undead have drives that put their agenda at odds with that of most living. There is no regular trade to the Deadlands -- the dead don't need much, and don't have much to trade either.


I do have to wonder what they "do".

agathokles wrote:However, there's a net project at athas.org that deals with the Deadlands in more detail, called "The Dead Lands of Athas". You can look it up in google -- I can't find a direct link right now.


I found a 4e version on this page: Net Project: The Dead Land of Athas 4e. That mentioned that this was originally a 2e net project.

I went looking for the 2e version, but found a 3e version instead: Terrors of the Dead Lands.

I use 3e, but I couldn't actually find the 2e version. ;(
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Re: Deadlands

Postby XstarkillerX » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:38 pm

This can shed some light on the matter.
Psionic Artifacts of Athas page on DMs Guild wrote:Sadly, Psionic Artifacts was the final AD&D book released for the Dark Sun setting. TSR pulled the plug fairly abruptly, as the line was gone by the time they released their 1997 product schedule in Dragon #236 (December 1996). TSR also had two books which were all or mostly done, to the point that manuscripts were reputedly distributed to some GMs at the 1997 Gen Con Game Fair (1997). The first of these was an adventure called "Dregoth Ascending" and the second was a sourcebook called "Secrets of the Dead Lands". Kevin Melka was also considering other possibilities. He says:

"Another halfling product, a book on the dwarves, and a book on the Order were the other three (of the four products, along with Dregoth) that were part of my official proposals for 1997. Beyond that we poked around the whole Kreen Invasion idea, the mystery of the Messenger, and a product on the Silt Sea to expand the world before DS was canceled."

They never appeared.

With the release of D&D 3e (2000), Wizards of the Coast gave some fan sites permission to produce material for their unused settings. For Dark Sun, that was athas.org. The site was also given the two unpublished manuscripts for Dark Sun and given the OK to release them once they had been converted to 3e. "Dregoth Ascending" (2005) appeared several years later, while "Secrets of the Dead Lands" (2014?) should appear soon; athas.org also published "Terrors of the Dead Lands" (2005), which lists "Secrets" as a source.

More recently, Wizards of the Coast themselves briefly supported Dark Sun for D&D 4e (2008) with their Dark Sun Campaign Setting (2010) and a handful of additional supplements and adventures.
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Re: Deadlands

Postby Big Mac » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:24 am

XstarkillerX wrote:This can shed some light on the matter.
Psionic Artifacts of Athas page on DMs Guild wrote:TSR also had two books which were all or mostly done, to the point that manuscripts were reputedly distributed to some GMs at the 1997 Gen Con Game Fair (1997). The first of these was an adventure called "Dregoth Ascending" and the second was a sourcebook called "Secrets of the Dead Lands".

<snip>

With the release of D&D 3e (2000), Wizards of the Coast gave some fan sites permission to produce material for their unused settings. For Dark Sun, that was athas.org. The site was also given the two unpublished manuscripts for Dark Sun and given the OK to release them once they had been converted to 3e. "Dregoth Ascending" (2005) appeared several years later, while "Secrets of the Dead Lands" (2014?) should appear soon; athas.org also published "Terrors of the Dead Lands" (2005), which lists "Secrets" as a source.


Aha. So that was what Raddu was asking for help with recently.

I wonder how close Secrets of the Dead Lands actually is.

Havard might be interested in this. There are a number of vapourware products from TSR, and not all of them have been handed over to fans to finish.
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