Dark Sun for Sword of Cepheus: Part II – Races of Athas

Here’s the second part of my Dark Sun conversion to the 2d6-based RPG Sword of Cepheus. This covers all of the PC races that players can choose from. Previously in this series I listed some desert survival rules.

These are all based on the descriptions in the Dark Sun Rules Book, along with some ideas from the Non Humans for the Sword of Cepheus supplement by Stellagama Publishing. Probably the trickiest bit is converting the Charisma modifiers, which has no analog in Cepheus Engine. For most of the demi-humans, I’ve decided to leave it as a matter for roleplaying, with a few modifiers to reaction rolls.

Many of the D&D races have special abilities that appear at different levels (i.e. thri-kreen venom, half-elf survival skills). As Cepheus is a levelless system, I’ve decided they get these at the very start for two reasons: First, Cepheus games assume the characters have had some life experience before play begins. Second, as Cepheus is a much more unforgiving system, they’ll probably need these right away just to survive.

This is all very much a work in progress, so any suggestions would be welcomed.


  • Love toil
  • Become single-mindedly devoted to a single task, called a Focus

Cannot use Sorcery skill
+2 END -1 DEX +1 STR
DM -2 to NPC reaction rolls
DM +1 to all rolls related to their focus
DM +2 aging rolls
Can see in dim light, DM -1 to seeing in darkness


  • Society of nomadic raiders
  • Will not ride beasts of burden
  • Excellent runners

+2 DEX -1 END
DM +2 Stealth and Surprise rolls in desert wastelands
DM +1 to hit when using a bow fashioned by the Elf’s own tribe.
Automatically has Runner Trait, in addition to normal traits.
Can see in dim light, DM -1 to seeing in darkness

Half Elves

  • Self-Reliant
  • Not tolerated by elves
  • Looking for acceptance

+1 DEX -1 END
Starts with Survival-1 and Animals-1
Suffer DM -2 to reaction rolls with elves
Can see in dim light, DM -1 to seeing in darkness


  • Friendly, Eager to Please
  • Quick to fit in and imitate others

Roll 3d6 for STR & END
-2 INT
Large: DM+1 to Hit
Double the requirements for food and water


  • Insular and set in their ways
  • Curious

+2 DEX -1 STR -2 END
Automatically has Immunity Trait, in addition to normal traits.
Must make an 6+ INT check to avoid acting on their curious impulses


  • Crossbreed of human and dwarf
  • Infertile
  • Can labor for many hours without rest

+2 STR +1 END -1 INT
Can run for 4 x END rounds before coming fatigued. 8 hours of rest will remove all fatigue


  • Insectoid nomads
  • Obsessed with hunting
  • Loyal to companions

+1 DEX -1 INT
Exoskeleton provides 3 points of armor
Does not need to sleep
Suffer -1 to reaction rolls with elves
Can leap 6m upward or 15m forward as significant action
Starts with Survival-1 and Athletics-0
Can attack with claws: 2D
Can bite for 1D. Has venomous saliva: Target of a bite must throw END 8+ or be paralyzed for 1D rounds.
Signature Weapon: DM +1 to attack rolls with chatkcha, a crystal throwing wedge 
Chatcka: 2D Damage, Thrown
Dodge: Extra DM -1 penalty to all ranged attacks against a thri-kreen
DM -1 to Aging rolls
Have to make an 6+ INT Check to avoid risking their own safety when this would help a member of their group.

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