So, October 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the Dark Sun setting. That means I was 16 and in the Fall of my Junior year. Over at athas.org, they're running a #30DaysofDarkSun celebration with 30 questions about your favorite aspects of Dark Sun. Of course, I'm late as usual, so I'm going to try to catch up and keep up.
What is your favorite setting element of Dark Sun?
I mean, good night! Probably the best way I can articulate this is the alienness of the setting. I was familiar with Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Ravenloft; all 3 of those are fairly interchangeable. Dark Sun was none of these. It was a revelation to me that you could play D&D in a completely different way. Surprisingly, it foreshadowed my interest in pulp; my only knowledge of pulp at that time was probably H.P. Lovecraft (from my love of Stephen King). There was something primordial about the alien world of Dark Sun. The concept of a desert planet as a fantasy setting seemed brand new to me and most likely reminded me of Tatooine. The requirement of psionics was so cool to me; I was basically a sci-fi guy and I loved the setting's reliance on it. And the take on races was great; obviously I was not familiar with Arduin's phraints, but thri-kreen as a playable race again seemed to key to my sci-fi background. All of these really interested me and caused me to buy the box set at the first place I found it.