Yesterday at the GenCon roleplaying game convention, Wizards of the Coast announced the D&D campaign setting for 2010 will be Dark Sun, a gritty game world originally released in 1991.
In announcement’s official press release, Wizards’ game designer James Wyatt described the setting this way:
Dark Sun is a sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy, a world that’s been blasted and ravaged by out-of-control magic. The arcane magic of the world draws its power from the life force of things around it, and if it’s not wielded carefully, it can transform nearby plant life into ash and drain other living creatures of their vitality. That’s why the world is a desert, its civilizations concentrated in a handful of city-states ruled by evil sorcerer-kings and its wilderness haunted by marauding nomadic bands.
The gods of the setting are absent or dead, replaced by elemental spirits tied to the ancient primordials. Shamans and other primal characters draw on the forces of sun, sand, wind, and precious rain. Wizards practice their magic in secret or openly serve the sorcerer-kings. And psionic power is more common than on other worlds — which is handy, since this setting will come out a few months after Player’s Handbook 3, which introduces the psionic power source.
Halflings are cannibals, metal armor and weapons are rarities, and evil wizards and psionicists rule the land. I can’t wait to see how wizards fits Dark Sun’s unique sensibilities into 4th Edition D&D, but it promises to be excellent.