The Campaign setting, which has been in development for a quite a while now, several years counting the work I did back on it in 08/09, is now getting very, very close to its first real advenutre. Our first game as a group will be next Sunday, which should be a lot of fun. Reading over some of the elements in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting book, I thought it might be good if I also started to lay out some of the important elements to remember about my setting. These won't be in any particular order, but are more likely to come out as I feel it.
#1 The World exists in Many Different Stages of Technological Advancement
In the material world, technology is not equally divided among the people. Some civilizations have moved beyond the imagination in their interaction with the Weird Energy source. They have begun to acheive levels of technology which threaten the power of the gods themselves. However, societies such as these are few. On the other side, their are pockets of space in the world, that are either cut off from civilization as a whole or are totally disconnected from The Weird. The difference in technology levels across nations and nation states has created some intense jealousy among nations which strive for greater tech, but don't have the resources to achieve it. Some nations find themselves drawing on dark powers in order to gain similar levels of strength through different means.
This element is very important to me in this setting. I wanted, when I started making it, to create a single setting in which I could, quite fluidly, go from areas of intense Lord of the Rings style fantasy adventure i.e. classic D&D, to extremely futuristic and crazy worlds that would be more at home in an entirely different game system, much less setting. I also wanted to capture the worlds in between, making room for things like steam punk.
Like I had mentioned earlier, I decided, in this setting that I would use The Weird as a power source, but not just for the Aberrant Internet of Hive City. The Weird acts as an energy field throughout the material plane and areas where it is has higher density are capable of actually providing energy for powerful constructs and mechanical marvels. These type of machines are known as Weird Engines in the broad sense. A Weird engine could be anything from a small set of mechanical wings, which allows an individual to fly, to a massive giant fighting war behemoth (something akin to the more Escaflowne-esq side of Giant Robots).
With the way things are set up through this strategy, there can be areas of each throughout the world, providing various levels of play.