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I realize that magic ignores physics, and that RPGs are notoriously inaccurate... but I'm curious if a close enough or approximate answer can be deduced from the existing lore.

Given that, do the changes to the sun of Athas match up with any scientifically known stellar life cycle. If so, roughly how much lifespan can be estimated for the sun of Athas to have left, barring further meddling or tampering with the star?

After all, there is a proven linkage between Athas and Earth in the game rules.

Regardless of scientific or magical, I'm curious if there is any indication in the published material as to what type or category of star Athas' sun would be given if humans from Earth made it to Athas?


I am looking for a rough estimate if possible, well reasoned justification if not. 2e, 3e, & 4e, and the book series lore are valid sources. I'm not looking for a edition specific answer, but a general answer from the published material.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. Anyone know why all the negative votes? I'm asking sincerely, here.... \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 27 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ If I had to guess, it's probably because you're trying to apply real physics to D&D... It's not really something RPG experts alone would really be expected to know. I'm not positive, though. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 27 at 21:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it’s asking explicitly for speculation. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 28 at 3:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmmm, they should be valid considering that they were acknowledged as official, and to my knowledge said status has never been revoked, despite any contradictions that introduces. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 29 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ As asked under the other question: Dragon Magazine articles (related to editions 2, 3, 4) also OK? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 29 at 20:17
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The sun of Athas doesn't follow known stellar evolution.

This is difficult to answer in a D&D context, since the sources don't explain how exactly magic was used to transform the sun, or whether the real-world laws of astrophysics apply in the Dark Sun setting.

We only know that the inhabitants of Athas used powerful magic to transform the sun from blue to yellow to solve an ecological crisis; later this magic was used to steal energy from the sun and turn it a dark crimson. An assumption that this was done by "aging" the sun along its standard stellar evolution would be speculation, and any deductions made from this would not constitute Dark Sun canon.

However, the closest star type in known astronomy would be a brown dwarf, based on its appearance. According to Wikipedia, tidal forces could trigger a greenhouse effect on orbiting planets, which would eventually render Athas uninhabitable. This could explain the planet's desert-like climate.

According to the Wikipedia entry, a brown dwarf cools quickly, with even the largest ending fusion within 10 million years. Eventually, they will cool to the point where they are no longer considered a star, but rather a gas giant. All life on Athas would likely be extinct long before then.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And here I was thinking it might be a dim red giant.... \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 28 at 5:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko I suspect you'd get a more scientifically complete answer at either the Astronomy or Worldbuilding Stack Exchange. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Jul 28 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @QuadraticWizard as far as I know, Astronomy sends most of fictional questions to Worldbuilding anyways. Rare exceptions are about well defined conditions that can occur IRL, described in a reasonably scientific way. But generally it's safer not to send people to Astronomy Stack. For Worldbuilding Stack, please read the FAQ. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jul 29 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would just get referred to back here because I'm looking for any indications in the lore and sources.... \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 29 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko Something that just occurred to me is that the appearance of the red sun may be explained not only by an actual red dwarf/giant star, but instead by Rayleigh scattering due to atmospheric changes or the like. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Aug 2 at 1:43

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