Dark Sun for Sword of Cepheus: Part III– Character Creation

Here’s the third part of my conversion of the AD&D Dark Sun setting to the 2d6/Cepheus Engine/Traveller based RPG Sword of Cepheus. This will cover the initial character creation process. I’ll also create one career – Nomad – to start out with.

Character Creation

We’ll be using the same basic rules as the Sword of Cepheus rule book with a few small modifications.

Rolling Characteristics – Only the Strong Survive

To reflect the toughened denizens of Athas, when rolling stats for a character, roll 3D, dropping the lowest die for the following stats: Strength, Endurance, Intelligence, & Dexterity. The normal 2D can be rolled for Education and Social Standing.

Background Skills

When selecting the background, you can choose one free skill.

BackgroundSkills (Choose one)
City-StateStreetwise-1, Carousing-1, Craft-1
Client VillageCraft-1, Steward-1
Slave VillageArt-1, Deception-1
CaravanLiaison-1, Animals-1, Riding-1, Steward-1
NomadSurvival-1, Recon-1


I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the whole career system for fantasy-based Cepheus/Traveller/2D6 games. The whole four-year term idea seems a little too wedded to Traveller-style military and institutional careers. Mike the data analyst has a career, Merlin the magician had a mysterious past steeped in myth and legend. However, I want to make this thing completely compatible with Sword of Cepheus, so I will make full careers. (Maybe I should call them sagas – that would at least make it feel more fantastic)

I am however, also going to include the optional choice of a package-based creation, similar to the one used in Mongoose’s Traveller Companion.

Here’s my initial idea of a list of careers (I may be getting a little ambitious here)
Nomad, , Elvish Herdsman, Gladiator, Slave, Merchant, Warrior, Defiler, Preserver, Templar, Elemental Cleric, Druid, Thief, Bard, Psionicist

I’ll start off with one here, and gradually add more of them in the next few weeks.


Erdlu - the avian flocks of the nomads.

This is a career for the Nomadic Herdsman, a member of the small tribes (or douar) that wander the Tablelands, herding the avian erdlu – This career is not available to elves. Nomads have no rank titles. (Honestly, I just couldn’t think of any)

QualificationEND 7+
SurvivalEND 7+
AdvancementSTR 6+


RankTitleSkill or Bonus

Mustering Out Benefits

110 cpWeapon
220 cpArmor – Erdlu wing leather – Protection 4
330 cp+1 END
410 spArmor
520 spKank mount
630 spSmall (1d6+2) flock of erdlu – Can be sold(10 cp each) or eaten
710 gpRetainer
The coinage list is provisional. I haven’t 100% decided how I want to translate Athas coinage into COS coinage.


1Raiders! A band of raiders come for your flock of erdlu. You drive them off, but at a cost. Roll on Injury table.
2Drought! – Your normal water supplies dry up – Reduce END by 1
3More Raiders! –  A band of raiders seized your tribe’s entire flock of erdlu and scattered your douar. You will need to join another douar. Lose all benefit rolls and reduce rank to 0.
4Betrayed – A fellow nomad turns on you. Gain an Enemy
5Stampede! You are injured in a erdlu stampede – Roll on the Injury table.
6Dragon Attack! – The dreaded Dragon of Tyr devastated your people. Roll END 10+ to survive


2Mishap – Roll on Mishap Table
3Caravan – You spend some time dealing with caravans – Gain Liaison, Deception, or Language
4Raiders – You lead the defense against a band of gith raiders – Throw 8+. If you succeed gain one level of either Melee Combat or Archery. If you fail, roll on the Injury table.
5Hard Times – Defilers spoil your grazing land. Throw END 8+. If you succeed, gain a level of Survival. If you fail, roll on the Injury table.
6Enslaved – You are enslaved and brought to a city, though you eventually escape. Lose one Benefit roll for one turn and gain Streetwise
7Life Event – Roll on the Life Event table
8The Great Hunt – You lead a hunt to take down a dangerous wounded megapede. Gain one of Archery, Recon, or Survival.
9Treasure- You find a treasure hoard in the wastes. Gain an extra benefit roll.
10Greener Pasture – You find a better pasture for the flock. Gain a DM+1 on one Benefit roll
11Wizard – The Preserver wizard who leads the douar takes a liking to you. Gain an Ally.
12Psionics – A latent psionic ability becomes active – roll on Psionics Table (I’ll write one up eventually)

3 thoughts on “Dark Sun for Sword of Cepheus: Part III– Character Creation

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I don’t have a specific conversion system for monsters. My plan is to just compare the monsters in the Sword of Cepheus to their AD&D equivalents and use that as a guide to make SOC versions of Dark Sun monsters.


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