Under A Bleeding Sun
A Dark Sun Pathfinder Campaign

Character Creation Guideline

At the bottom of the page are the house rules document, non-divine character classes documents, alternate-races info, life-shaping handbook, trade lords document(for trader class), the dark sun players handbook, and prestige class guides.  All divine Classes will be found in the divine caster guide.

Special thanks for Paizo,  athas.com, Tri-Pod Machine, Blue Goblin Studios, and the countless people I stole ideas from off the internet, and who without there ideas, this campaign would not be happening.  If you see that I’m using one of your classes, or anything else here please let me know and I will give you credit.

Let me start with this- I am all about customization in that it makes sense for the campaign.  More than half the classes are custom, so if you want to create unique favored class bonuses, archetypes- even Alternative race traits I’m totally down with that.   OF course I have final say, but I am willing to work on almost all aspects of the character-but it must still fit in the post apocalyptic theme of Dark Sun.  I highly recommend at least reading this whole doc once before starting Character Creation.

Good or evil campaign- If we haven’t discussed this before now- we should establish ahead of time if we are going good or evil.  I recommend good- Athas is a hard enough place without worrying about your team betraying you.  Also, as most the power centers are evil, good is really more epic(about 75% of those in power are evil) If you are evil I will(likely) force party members at certain points to kill each other or loose grace.

Everyone starts at level three- I mean everyone- commoners/slaves/etc. are level 3/classes- Athas is a high power world.  So 3rd is basically first still in terms of starting out


Point-buy system. 26 pts.

08 -> -2 pts.
09 -> -1 pts.
10 -> 00 pts.
11 -> 01 pts.
12 -> 02 pts.
13 -> 03 pts.
14 -> 04 pts.
15 -> 06 pts.
16 -> 08 pts.
17 -> 11 pts.
18 -> 14 pts.

2.  Race:  You may pick any race from the house rules guide or from the alternate races doc.

You can also pick an Undine, Sylph, Oreads or Ifrit monster races as outlined on D20PFSRD.  They work slightly different as out lined here:

All of them gain naturally psionic.

They also gain the following powers.  They cannot be augmented.  All caster levels are equal to class level.

Ifrit- Gains Matter Agitation

Oread: Gains Vigor

Sylph: Gains Catfall

Undine: Gains Float

Maenads may be chosen with the following differences:

Maenad Psionics:  Their energy ray ability is now a standard power, and uses the rules as other races psionic powers use.

Any race except for Rhulisit and Rhul-thaun can gain an extra PP at level up instead of skill point or hp.

At tenth level Humans gain an additional 3PP, and can pick any power of third level or less.  They also gain any fourth level power(or less) at level fifteen, and an additional 3 PP.

Alternative race traits:  A race may only switch out features they get from the race in the House rules books (i.e. dwarves get hardy, so they could switch that out for stubborn, but they do not get greed, so cannot switch that out).

They cannot switch out a racial trait for one that has to do with an environment outside of desert or wasteland terrains (i.e. a half-elf cannot switch out for water child)

Favored Class bonuses- any character who has a power point pool may gain a PP instead of a skill point or hp.  A race may take any favored class option given on the d20pfsrd.com.   I am very big on custom Favored Class bonuses though- especially if they make more sense for the setting and race!

3.  Choose your character class:

There are over twenty core classes in dark sun that will be allowed, along with some alternates (Bard and Templar) in google docs.  You may also use the alternate Gladiator or fire cleric from the house rule document.  You can also play the wilder, Corbie and psychic warrior from D20PFSRD.com.   You can also check out the denari doc, and play that gladiator(another alternate gladiator) the scout or the spy.  If you really want to play a class that’s not on here- ask me and tell me why and we will see what happens.  Likely you will have to be sent there from another plane- making you an outsider and subject to all kinds of nasty spell effects(including banishment).

There are some major differences in how classes are used and how they are viewed in the world, and some specials to power them up to Dark Sun Status.  Some are outlined below.  The rest will be under their class info.  If playing a divine caster make sure to read the Divine Caster guide as it has some very important Information.

Barbarians – A barbarian gets +5 to movement speed at level 7.  At level 13 a barbarian can get a +5 to movement speed or an extra rage power.  At 19th level a barbarian can get a +5 to movement speed, and extra rage power, or an extra DR 1/- that stacks.

Bards- there is a caster and non-caster option for bards.  Bard casters (Alternate Bard Document) Cast their spells as an alchemist, so do not incur the wrath of other arcane casters(see below) and do not have a defiling or preserving rule.  I believe the caster version is vastly superior.

Clerics – The gods are dead on Athas- so clerics have become conduits for the elemental powers.  They worship elemental powers and pull their energy from the inner planes.  This reduces their spells known. Athas is also cut off from the outer planes completely, so there is no travel from here to the outer planes.  There is also a silt cleric, that I do not have rules for, but we can make them if you’d like.  Silt would be the para-element of Earth and Water.  See the Cleric document for more information.

Druids – even though they are divine casters, pull their energy from the world around.  This has a few effects.  They will suffer a reduced caster level when in a guarded land outside their own. This is dependent on the associated domains of their land.  They lose one level (as soon as they enter the terrain) for each element away they are.  This affects caster level checks, spells per day, and possibly even highest spells cast.  A druid with Air and Earth who went to a terrain that was air and fire would lose one level.  If he went to a terrain that is fire and water he would lose two levels.  This level loss persists until the druid is in a more favorable terrain.  They can also loose caster level and effect(see house rules page 26) as a wizard can- for a possible total loss of -4. Druids are always preservers, and can learn any associated feat that preservers can learn.  In the Druid guide, it says they must spend half their time protecting said terrain- this will not be true for PC’s.

Fighter:  A fighter gains a +1 on damage with one group of weapons(as weapon training) at level 7. A fighter can choose to benefit from an extra level of armor training  or a +1 with one weapon group at level 13. A fighter can choose to benefit from an extra level of armor training, a bonus combat feat  or a +1 with one weapon group at level 19.

Nobles – Nobles are treated with respect and have a higher authority than everyone else, even to a limited degree outside their homelands.  They are the only class besides templars, wizards and rogues who have literacy as a class skill, and them and templars are probably the only ones who can read publically without being lynched.

Psions and wilders – Psionics are highly respected, and people are likely to see psions for things they would see wizards for in other worlds.  Psychic reformation can only ever be used to change the last level of choices you made, and cannot go back further than that.  See psion, divine, magic transparency below for more info.

Ranger – Rangers cast their spells as druids, but their casting level is decreased by two if they are in a terrain that is not their favored terrain.  Gain an extra favored enemy at level 7.  Gain an extra favored enemy or favored terrain at level 13.  Gain an extra favored enemy, bonus combat feat or favored terrain at level 19.

Rogue- Gains literacy as a class skill.  Literacy is now used to forge documents.  Gains a bonus rogue talent at level 7.  Gains a bonus rogue talent or extra 1d6 to sneak attack at 13.  Gains a bonus rogue talent, bonus combat feat or extra 1d6 to sneak attack at 19.

Shaman – Casts spells as a cleric, but they choose which spirit guide’s to worship at the beginning of each day.  They can choose one elemental spirit guide per day, and must choose fey as their other choice.  Any spell with a descriptor (other than healing) that does not have fey, or the associated elements for that elemental spirit guide attached to it cannot be learned that day.  They can change their elemental spirit guide at the beginning of each day as they learn spells.   See Divine Caster Guide.

Templars-  Templars serve the sorcerer-kings and draw their divine energies from reservoirs that the sorcerer kings keep powered.  Dangerous downfall is- if your sorcerer-king is slain or incapacitated during the campaign- you will be rolling a new character or royally sucking.  They also have very high authority, at higher levels with the ability to just say someone is a villain and slay them on the spot.  Your word is basically like gods at higher level.  If we decided on a good campaign you SHOULD follow Oronis.  The part of the storyline we are in- Kalak has been recently killed, so cannot grant powers;  Tectuktitlay and Abalach-Re have also been killed and cannot grant powers- probably shouldn’t pick them.  Andropinis has been imprisoned in the black, but he is still able to grant powers.

Trader- He’s a trader- will by far be the wealthiest party member if done right(even outshining the noble), and gets free housing eventually.  Highly recommend you at least skim the Trade Lords document, and read the section on the House you want to join.

Capstone: Master Trader- The trader continues to get a house boon for every level past twenty he achieves, even if it is not in the trader class.

Witch Doctor- Casts as Shaman- but instead of fey draws power from undead spirits.

Wizard – Ahh- the wizard has had a complete makeover.  First, in a good campaign- the wizard SHOULD NOT defile.  In evil- he can at will!  Second- wizards are the most hated SOB’s on the planet.  They destroyed the world after all!!  Because of this- only stupid ones keep spell books- they are the reason that literacy is illegal- they will stitch their spells into their robes, tattoo them on their body, tag their waterskins, anything to not carry a book.  Also, bluff is now their best friend(see skills section below).  Preservers are allowed to cast spells in Tyr and Kurn- in every other area they must conceal their casting or risk a lynch mob.  The wizard gains both a familiar and an arcane bond.  I highly recommend you make the arcane bond spell bands, as they already take an item slot, and can then more easily be enchanted later, but the choice is yours.  He also gains Tricky: +1 to bluff at level and every three levels thereafter for the purpose of deceiving that he is not casting a spell.  Wizards cannot be elemental wizards- though any of the other choices are acceptable.

Arcane, Divine, and Psionics in Athas:

House Rules for Magic/Psionics Interaction:

  • Detect magic detects the presence of psionic auras, but not the strength or discipline
  • Detect psionics detects the presence of magic auras, but not the strength or school
  • Dispel magic checks that target psionics are cast at a -4 penalty
  • Dispel psionics checks that target magic are manifested at a -4 penalty
  • Antimagic field has a chance to hinder psionics, and null psionics field has a chance to suppress magic; every 1d4 rounds, an opposing effect has a 50% chance to be hindered
  • Creatures with resistance to mind-affecting spells and effects gain resistance to psionic equivalents, and vice-versa
  • Creatures with spell resistance gain power resistance equal to their spell resistance minus five
  • Creatures with power resistance gain spell resistance equal to their power resistance minus five
  • The strongest spells and powers can be immune to tampering except by their associated magics.
  • Spells of 9th level cannot be affected (e.g. dispelled, etc.), but can be detected by the use of psionics. Power resistance functions against such spells, but the caster level check is made at +4.
  • Powers of 9th level cannot be affected (e.g. dispelled, etc.), but can be detected by the use of spells. Spell resistance functions against such powers, but the manifester level check is made at +4.
  • The following skills can be used interchangeably for skill checks, but at a -5 penalty to emulate the opposing skill;  if a character has ranks in both skills this penalty is reduced to -3.  Ranks in these skills never “stack” and are not interchangeable for other purposes (such as meeting prerequisites for a prestige class):
    • Spellcraft and Psicraft
    • Use Magic Device and Use Psionic Device
    • Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (psionics)
  • Counterspells do not affect powers and vice versa.
  • All other equivalent spells and powers are interchangeable; for example, identify and psionic identify can each detect magic or psionic properties


A special feat progression exists for overcoming these restrictions:

Mystical Intuitive

Prerequisites: A power point reserve or access to divine or arcane spells. The primary statistic for the caster or manifester class, that gave access to the requisite spells or power points, of 15 or higher (e.g. 15+ Cha for a sorcerer).

Benefit: When using a skill related to magic to analyze, search for or identify psionics (or visa versa) you suffer none of the usual penalties related to the mis-match between the two.

Normal: See above

Special: Any spell-casting or power-manifesting class that gets a list of available bonus feats may add this feat to the list.

Mystical Savant

Prerequisites: Mystical Intuitive

Benefit: No penalties are applied when attempting to overcome spell resistance with a psionic power or psionic resistance with a magic spell.

Normal: See above

Special: Any spell-casting or power-manifesting class that gets a list of available bonus feats may add this feat to the list.

Mystical Prophet

Prerequisites: Mystical Savant

Benefit: Spells and powers of 9th level may be affected by psionic powers and magic spells equally.

Normal: See above

Special: Any spell-casting or power-manifesting class that gets a list of available bonus feats may add this feat to the list.

Arcane Magic:  Arcane spell casters continue to gain spells in the way described on PFSRD for epic levels.  They do get access to Epic level spells that they can put in those spell slots.

Psionics:  Psionic’s will continue to gain manifester levels(and all the associated benefits, including spell points and spending more points on  manifestations) but do not get epic powers.  They can  however now augment their level capped abilities (like inertial armor) into epic levels.

Also of some note: Psionic/divine items will be in greater abundance than arcane, and easier to acquire legally- but magic items will be stronger overall when found.  THIS does not make a crafter not able to craft higher power objects- it only affects rarity in the world.



House Rules For Divine Magic:

  1. ALL divine casters have more limited access to healing magics.  After third level all healing (including restoration type abilities) automatically go up two levels.  so a normal fourth level heal or restoration spell is now a sixth level spell.  There are no forms of magic that raise the dead.  Create Water is a third level divine spell, or 2nd for a water cleric.
  2. All divine casters, except for druids and rangers, have a chance that their casting goes wrong.  Any spell above first level has a 5% chance of not going off at all (1 on a D20) or of being activated as a wild surge (2 on a D20).  Wild surges can be better, worse, or basically non-consequential about an even chance of any.  These percentages can go up or (very rarely) down depending upon circumstance.  Example: A fire cleric on the elemental plane of water will be severally nerfed, while a water wizard will have no chance of misfire.  What did you expect, there are no gods, your basically getting powers from lesser demi-gods(laughs evilly). This is actually how it goes in Asthas, and I’m being less dick than the main rules actually were(which scale these chances by the level of the spell.)
  3. There is also a chance your god, spirit or something else may not be around at a certain time in the campaign (I tell you right now, this CERTAINLY happens at least once, though whether it’s a templar, elemental cleric, or whoever will remain a mystery) making it harder and harder to gain access to certain levels of spells, and impossible for some spell levels.  Depending on how that arc plays out, you could completely lose your powers.  I still think the party should have a divine caster- just a warning that you will probably be pissed at some point.
  4. Looking through the divine caster list, they will all need a makeover.  I will work on them as people would like to use them.

4.  Skills:  All skills function the same except as noted on page 68 and 69 of the DS3 Document, page 23 of house rules and below.

Literacy: Literacy is now used to forge documents and decipher script- linguistics only adds languages.  Literacy is a class skill for bards, rogues, wizard, nobles, traders, and templars.  It is illegal for anyone besides a templar or noble to read though.

Psicraft, UPD and knowledge (psionics) – These are skills- there is limited transparency with spellcraft, UMD and knowledge (arcana) respectively.  The limited transparency makes these at a -5 check(You can make a spellcraft check with psicraft at -5 and vice-versa.)

5. Feats:  Normal progression- in addition to all pathfinder material feats(local feats must be ran by me first), there are several  feats in house rules doc and on the actual core class sheet docs, all these are allowed.  There are also custom feats in the DS3 doc, these were all 3.5 so must be ran through me but will likely all be allowed.  Non-paizo feats on D20PFSRD must also be ran by me.

Traits: Let’s just run all traits by me.  I will also allow you to trade both traits for one local feat that I approve.  You must qualify for the trait.

6. Max HP’s for level.  After that going with the 75% rule.

7.  Starting wealth- All characters start with 1500 CP unless noted below.

Read bottom of page 2 and 22-23 from House rules to see equipment and material types allowed and value of equipment.

page 112 of DS3 doc has custom mounts, equipment and other materials.  Make sure to check it out- like you don’t want to buy a horse!!  They have mounts unique to their land here.

Nobles: 2000 CP

Traders: Determined by house

Templars: 2000CP

Bard: 1750 CP

Rogue: 1750 CP

The five listed above can start out with one magic or psionic item.

Nobles, traders, bards, rogues and templars can all start with masterwork and/or iron.

Gladiators can start with Iron

Masterwork inferior material takes two failed rolls to break.

8.  All the other stuff(saves, hps, BAB, etc.) you need to figure out- nothing special here.

9.  Background/history- You can check out chapter 8 and 9 of the DS3 doc for character background ideas, especially if you’re looking to prestige class into a class that must belong to a certain group.  The Dark Sun Campaign Setting has a lot And that brings me to the last thing…

10.  Planning Ahead-  Outside of a total party kill or you all getting board with this, the campaign should easily rocket into at least 30th level.   The campaign material has CR ratings all the way up to 70, with a lot of monsters all the way to 50.  Asthas is probably the best world for epic level play- and I have done some reading and believe that DND can go up to level 100+ and still be entertaining.  I have seen over a dozen people playing in long running level 50+ games now that say it is fun- difficult to pull off but doable.  It would be awesome if I could pull it off. Not saying will take it that far, but you’ll basically be level 18 before you make any real significant change in the world, and I have plans to run it through 30+.  So that being said, I hope we will go though at least some epic levels if everyone is still having fun.

To level 20:  You can have up to three classes/prestige(together) total until level 20.

Prestige Classes:  Ok, this is a big thing.  Only the prestige classes found in the google docs material may be used with certainty.  I have the books that are pure prestige in a separate folder, but many of the other books in the player info folder have a prestige class or two, and many have much more.  They are all set to 3.5, and will need to be converted.  You can either convert them yourself, and we can do a back and forth, or tell me which prestige you are interested in and I will convert it, and if you’re not satisfied we can do back and forth.  If you want to bring in an outside prestige bring it to me, and we can see.   I like converting this kind of stuff, so it won’t bother me if you ask me, I just don’t want to do it for something that will never be used or looked at(I don’t like it that much).  You can start off with the prerequisite(ones such as training from an army or by a master of this order) for one non-epic prestige class starting out.  This cannot be changed later.

Core Classes: You can always just take the core class to 20(which is ALMOST always better in Pathfinder), but you might want to have what you’re doing next planned out anyway(epically).

Epic Levels:  All Dark sun epic level material is in the Legends of Athas Document.

Unless Paizo’s epic level handbook is out, and good, I plan on doing this for epic levels through 30, might change things after we see how that goes:

  1. Normal BAB, Saves and HP progression based on class.
  2. No epic level classes, must take another class.
  3. As pathfinder has many more feats- epic feats will only be available every four levels (21,25,29).  At level 24 and 27 you will be taking a non-epic feat.  Oh yea, and all epic feats will have to be converted/balanced as well.
  4. You can have five classes/prestige (together) to level 30.
  5. You can have one epic level prestige class.
  6. Wizards ad druids get epic level progression and epic level spells.
  7. All other divine casters can get epic level progression, but not epic level spells(your deities aren’t even close to strong enough to grant them)
  8. Psions get epic level progression, but not epic level powers.  They can cast their lower level spells at an epic manifester level, but this is far from the same thing- though still extremely powerful.
  9. You can now craft/wield epic level items.   You must have the appropriate epic crafting feat.
  10. You can pick a new favored class at level 20- it must still be a core class.

House Rules

Alternate Race Options

Life Shaping Handbook

Trade Lords

Dark Sun Player’s Handbook

Prestige Classes – 1

Prestige Classes 2








Gladiator – 1

Gladiator – 2



Bounty Hunter

Bard – 1

Bard – 2


3 Responses to “Character Creation Guideline”

  1. Hi!

    How is your campaign going? Its nice to see that folks are enjoying all the hard work i put into creating/converting the classes. I’m curious as to what my take on defiling/preserving is working out. I will be putting out a HUGE pdf soon, let me know if you are still interested.


    Blue Goblin Studios
    p.s. i assume you downloaded the class pdfs from the 4shared site?

    • Yea, I got your classes and info off of the 4shared. I made some minor conversions, as you can see if you want to browse, but overall it was excellent. What kind of PDF are you putting out? I would definitely be interested, the sooner the better as we are already a ways into the game. Thanks for the good work.

      Matt Voegtli

    • Geez a Pathfinder Darksun!

      If you create anything, please send this to me! I just downloaded all the stuff here to have a look and I found someone else named :


      Very interesting stuff too.

      Sébastien Gamache

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