The relentless passage of time sweeps across the burning plains, and the world beneath the crimson sun changes in its wake?
The Dragon of Tyr is gone, his evil scattered on the scalding winds. Torrential rains fall over the Sea of Silt, spinning off deadly storms that can strike anywhere in the Tablelands with only a moment's notice. Violent upheaval rocks the city-states of Raam, Draj, and Balic after the deaths of their sorcerer-kings. A new age has dawned on Athas, but will it be an age of restoration-or of destruction?
Beyond the Prism Pentad summarizes the key events from the Prism Pentad novel series and role-playing game products and updates all Dark Sun campaigns in anticipation of the revised campaign setting, Dark Sun: A New Age, featuring:
- The key events of the first 10 years of campaign time, with a detailed timeline of historical events.
- Updates and details on the changes in the world, including the seven city-states of the Tyr Region.
- Statistics for the major personalities, including Rikus, Sadira, and the remaining sorcerer-kings.
- A short adventure to tie player characters into the events of the climax of the Prism Pentad series.
What forces have seized control of Raam and Balic? Who is the real power behind Draj? How are the citizens of Tyr handling their second decade of freedom? The answers to these questions-and many more-are awaiting you.
"Beyond the Prism Pentad" (1995), by Bill Slavicsek, updates the Dark Sun setting. It was published in June 1995.
Continuing the Dark Sun Series. By mid-1995 it had been almost four years since the publication of the boxed Dark Sun set (1991). That was a long run for an AD&D 2e setting. It also matched the four-span between the release of Ravenloft: Realm of Terror (1990) and the updated Ravenloft Campaign Setting (1994). In other words, it was time for Dark Sun to get an update of its own.
"Beyond the Prism Pentad" was the book released just before the publication of Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Expanded and Revised (1995) four months later. It updated the metaplot for Dark Sun and also previewed the new iteration of the setting following those momentous events.
Plotting Along. Though the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms lines both depended heavily on novels, Dark Sun was probably the AD&D 2e line that pushed the hardest on metaplot in its RPG books. This largely came about through the five-adventure series that ran through the line's earliest days, DS1: "Freedom" (1991), DSQ1: "Road to Urik" (1992), DSQ2: "Arcane Shadows" (1992), DSQ3: "Astlician Gambit" (1992), and DSE1: "Dragon's Crown" (1993).
The first adventures in that sequence cleverly linked to Dark Sun's other arbiter of metaplot, Troy Denning's five Prism Pentad novels (1991-1993) . "Freedom" dovetails into the events of the first novel, The Verdant Passage (1991); then "Road to Urik" sets up the events of the second novel, The Crimson Legion (1992), whose revelations in turn inform "Arcana Shadows" (1992). After that, the novels and adventures diverged, confusingly creating two independent threads of metaplot for the Dark Sun setting.
"Beyond the Prism Pentad" puts everything back together by puzzling together a single timeline for the five Prism Pentad novels, both of Dark Sun's adventure sequences, and even singleton supplements like Forest Maker (1994). It further reunites the roleplaying game with the story of the novels by statting up five of the novels' characters and presenting a short adventure, "The Defiler's Gambit", which links to the events of the fifth and final novel, The Cerulean Storm (1993).
After "Beyond the Prism Pentad" moved the world of Dark Sun into FY 10, the setting's metaplot largely ended. There were plans for a Thri-Kreen invasion and the possible ascension of Dregoth, but the line ended before they could occur. Then the release of the Dark Sun Campaign Setting (2010) a few years later rebooted everything.
So consider "Beyond the Pentad" and its companion Dark Sun Revised and Expanded the last word on the story of Athas.
Exploring Athas. The timeline (and related adventure and NPCs) are the main expansions to Athas found in this book. They're the crucial link between adventure Athas and novel Athas.
The other half of "Beyond the Prism Pentad" features a look at the state of the world and the city-states in FY 10, but that material then reappears in Dark Sun Revised and Expanded, making its early appearance here redundant.
About the Creators. Slavicsek worked on the Dark Sun line a lot in his early days at TSR, starting with DSR1: "Slave Tribes" (1992), so this was a return for him; it would also be his final work for the setting.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.