Dark Sun for Sword of Cepheus: Part V – Merchants of Athas

Here’s the next part of my Dark Sun conversion to Sword of Cepheus – the Merchant career. I’ve also included rules for trading.

I was originally just going to create a quick merchant class, but I got to thinking as I read about the dynastic merchant houses in the Wanderer’s Journal.

For Tyr to trade its precious iron for ceramic pots from Balic, a merchant must purchase the iron in Tyr, carry it to Balic, arrange an exchange, carry the pots back to Tyr, and sell them. The merchant makes a tidy profit at both ends of his journey—which is only fair, when you consider the risks involved in transporting such commodities.

One of my reasons for converting Dark Sun to the Cepheus Engine is to make use of all of those rules and subsystems that Cepheus/Traveller have used over the years. AD&D didn’t really have rules for trade and commerce (though the Dune Trader supplement has some basic rules), but the Cepheus Engine has a whole interplanetary trading subsystem that can be easily modified to work in a fantasy setting.

Setting the players up as traders gives them a nice excuse to set out across Athas: seeing new places, blazing trails to find new trade routes, and generally just getting into adventures.

I’ll put the merchant class in this post, and the trade rules in a separate post.

New Skill – Broker

Broker: Used to find, buy, and sell trade items. Will serve as modifier to rolls on trade tables.

Merchant Career

QualificationINT 7+
SurvivalEND 5+
AdvancementINT 10+
RankTitleSkill or Bonus
2Regular AgentLiason-1
5Senior AgentRulership-1

Mustering Out Benefits

150 cpAlly
275 cpAlly
310 sp+1 INT
430 spKank
550 spMekillot & Wagon
65 gp+1 SOC
720 gpMagical Item

Skills & Training

1DPersonal DevelopmentService1DSpecialistAdvanced Education
1+1 INTStreetwise1RulershipMedicine
2+1 EDULiason2InvestigationRecon
3+1 SOCMelee Combat3SurvivalAnimals
4+1 DEXDeception4BrokerArt
5Melee CombatBroker5RidingCraft
6CarousingRiding6CarousingJack o’ Trades


1Dune Reapers attack! Roll on Injury Table
2Too Clever! You cleverly outwit a powerful person. Gain an Enemy.
3Lost! You are separated from your caravan. Throw INT 10+ to gain survival
4Bad Trade! You lose money for your house. Lose one advancement roll. Lose one benefit roll.
5Raid! A caravan is raided by a band of braxat. Throw STR 10+. If failed, roll on Injury Table
6You are accused of violating the Merchant Code (rightly or wrongly) – Lose 1 SOC, lose one Advancement roll.


2Mishap – Roll on Mishap table.
3Infiltration – You infiltrate a rival merchant house to sabotage their operations. Throw Deception 8+ or Streetwise 8+. If you succeed, get DM+1 on one benefit roll. If you fail, get a DM-1 on one benefit roll and lose one advancement. Succeed or fail, gain one level in the skill you rolled.
4You are assigned to a distant trading post. Throw INT 8+ to gain Broker, Liason, Melee Combat
5Serve with a caravan guard – Gain Melee Combat or Archery
6You work at an house emporium – Gain Broker and Liason
7Roll on Life Event Table
8Work on a Caravan – Gain Survival or Broker
9New Trade Route – You help establish a new trade route. Gain Broker, Riding, or a Language
10You win the friendship of a tribe. Gain an Ally.
11Bonus – You make a big trade. Gain 1d6x20 sp. DM+2 to next Advancement roll.
12Psionics – A latent psionic ability becomes active – roll on Psionics Table

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