Dark Sun for Sword of Cepheus: Part VII – Weapons of Athas

The following are some custom weapons for the Dark Sun setting, converted to Sword of Cepheus. The weapons mostly come from The Complete Gladiator’s Handbook. This is part of my ongoing series converting the AD&D Dark Sun setting to the Sword of Cepheus RPG.

A lot of the ideas for the rules come from Zozer Games’ Low Tech Weapons – A nice collection of hand weapons for Cepheus Engine/Traveller.

Gladiator Weapons

Some of the following weapons are quite powerful. GMs may want to limit their use to those who have had a Gladiator career or have a Melee Combat of at least 2.


A rope with a 4-bladed grappling hook that can snare and damage targets. If an attack by such a weapon is successful, the target must make an DEX 6+ (Average) roll or be entangled. While entangled, the target has a DM -2 for all rolls. The target can make a another DEX 6+ roll at the top of each round to escape.
Cost: 9gp Damage:1D Aspects: Entangle


Mekillot bone attached to a jozhal jawbone making a double-bladed bone axe.
Cost: 8gp  Damage:3D 


A basket(cestum) worn on the arm that is used to propel spheres(pelota) at targets.
Cost: 2gp Damage: by pelota type

Pelota TypeCostDamage
Fire50sp1D & Target must roll DEX 8+ to avoid catching on fire
PoisonVariesBy poison type
Agony Beetle5gpTarget throws END 8+ to avoid being incapacitated by pain. Target cannot remove beetle without help.

Double-Bladed Spear

If user has melee combat level of least 2, they can attack twice with this weapon in a action with a DM-1 damage roll
Cost: 2gp  Damage: 2D  Aspects: Bulky, Reach, Two Handed.

Forearm Axe

A double-bladed axe with a spike in the center worn like a buckler on the forearm. The attacker can choose to hit with the axe or the spike. Can be used as a shield if a two handed weapon is not being used (DM-2 to opponents). Cannot be used to shield bash. The spike can be poisoned.
Cost: 1gp Damage: 3D (axe)/ 2D (spike) Aspects: Shield


Long shaft with crescent blade on each end. Effective Parrying weapon (DM -1 to melee attacks)
Cost: 15gp  Damage: 3D  Aspects: Bulky, Reach, Two-Handed


Punching and parrying dagger.  Designed to trap an opponent’s blade. If an opponent attacks and misses with a melee weapon, the puchik wielder can roll Melee Combat 8+ to pin the weapon. The weapon cannot be used until the attacker makes an opposed STR throw. A puchik cannot be thrown.
Cost: 6gp  Damage: 2D  Aspects: Trap

Singing Sticks

Light wooden sticks, usually used in pairs. If a user has Melee Combat 2 or higher they can attack twice in one action without penalty, if using both sticks.
Cost: 6gp  Damage: 1D 

Talid (Gladiator’s Gauntlet)

A spiked gauntlet
Cost: 4gp  Damage: 1D 


A pole arm with one weighted end and one end with three blades. A skilled (Melee Combat 2+) user can hook a target. The target must make a STR 6+ roll to avoid being tripped.
Cost: 12gp  Damage: 4D  Aspects: Bulky, Reach, Two-Handed, Hook

Other Weapons of Athas

These are found in the Dark Sun Rules Book


Thri-Kreen throwing weapon. It’s a wedge of crystal that returns like a boomerang. GMs may limit its use to Thri-Kreen
Cost: 10cp  Damage: 4D  Aspects: Boomerang


Thri-Kreen bladed polearm
Cost: 6cp  Damage: 4D  Aspects: Bulky, Reach, Two-Handed


War fork for arena combat
Cost: 4cp  Damage: 3D  Aspects: Bulky, Reach, Two-Handed


Nearly useless bone weapons. Used in arena combat.
Cost: 1cp  Damage: 1D  

Wrist Razor

Three 6-inch blades mounted on a wrist band.
Cost: 1sp  Damage: 2D 

Complete Weapon List

Double-Bladed Spear2gp2DBulky, Reach, Two Handed
Forearm Axe1gp3D/2DShield
Gythka6cp4DBulky, Reach, Two-Handed
Impaler4cp3DBulky, Reach, Two-Handed
Lotulis15gp3DBulky, Reach, Two-Handed
Singing Sticks6gp1D
Trikal12gp4DBulky, Reach, Two-Handed, Hook
Wrist Razor1sp2D

2 thoughts on “Dark Sun for Sword of Cepheus: Part VII – Weapons of Athas

  1. I’ve been really enjoying this series but carrying over D&D’s utter contempt for stabbing/piercing weapons and their just … weird ideas around everything else (which SoC is absolutely guilty of as well) is a disservice. Here we have a spear doing 2D and a “war fork” doing 3D, meanwhile a “throwing crystal” and a “bladed polearm” both pull 4D somehow. Then there’s a lacrosse basket without the stick for leverage making 2D/3D with mundane projectiles while a spiked cestus is somehow only managing 1D.

    I’ve been avoiding the Zozer supplement for that very reason; I have a suspicion they’ve fallen into the same trap and I’ve always been hesitant to provide alternate weapon lists to my players since it provides two sources of information (and thus potential confusion). But then, SoC/Cepheus in general has odd armor rules, it’s just straight damage reduction, which kind of poses a problem when it comes to weapons because you can’t have situations where a large slashing sword is utter garbage compared to your foot-long stabbing dagger. Damage in SoC is then a combination of penetration and outright damage, which removes all nuance.

    Maybe I just care too much about that stuff.


  2. I see your point, but for me the Cepheus rules are close enough for my purposes. I’m just looking for a system where combat is generally deadly and you don’t have a D&D scenario where a high level character can get stabbed with a dagger a dozen times with no effect, or where heavy armor makes it harder for you get hit (I know it’s supposed to be abstracted, but it still _feels_ wrong)

    A low level mook with a 1D weapon can kill an person in CE, even an experienced person.

    Your observations are right, but if you look at it realistically, any weapons/armor system breaks down. I think there’s always going to be a tension between playability and plausibility, For me at least, CE comes close enough to the sort of gritty game I’m looking for. The details aren’t ever 100%, but the sword fights will be a bloody, deadly mess – which all I ever really wanted.

    And in the Dark Sun setting, the armor issue probably won’t come up as much, as there really isn’t a lot of it (at least the metal kind)

    ..and caring about the details is always good…


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