Money and Equipment

To understand commerce and the avaiIabiIity of equipment in the DARK SUN campaign, one must understand that Athas is a metal-poor world. In game terms, all metal items—including swords, armor, and coins-are worth considerably more than they are in other settings.

Virtually all Athasian city-states issue coins minted in tribute to their sorcerer-kings. Also, some independent dwarf communities and some wealthy merchant families mint their own coins when the precious metals are available to them. Though the currencies vary (a gold coin minted in Tyr might be a bit heavier than square gold coins bearing the Ryharian family crest), they all fall under the standard exchange rates given here.

The standard unit of measurement is not the gold piece, however, but the ceramic piece (cp). On Athas, 100 cp = 10 sp = 2 ep = 1 gp = 1/5 pp. Ceramic coins can be manufactured from the most common clay available, then glazed in specific colors and kilned to discourage forgery. The molded shape of ceramic pieces allows them to be broken into 10 separate pie-shaped bits. Each of these bits is worth 1/10th of a ceramic piece.

Starting Money

All PCs (except those starting play as slaves) begin the game with 250 ceramic pieces. The player should use this starting money to equip his character; campaign time need not be spent to role-play these purchases unless the GM deems it important to the adventure.

Monetary Systems

Societies on Athas exchange goods and services in three ways: coin, barter, and service. In both barter and service exchanges, the GM must make certain that the goods or services offered for exchange are needed or desired. (For example, desert nomads need neither a barge nor a stonemason.)


Transactions where goods or services are purchased with money are quite common on Athas, despite the lack of metals; after all, Athas is metal-poor, not metal-depleted. Coins are a readily accepted means of payment and, considering the increased value of coins, are less bulky to carry than other forms of payment.

Buying & Selling

The gear listed in this section represents some of the more commonly available items on Athas and are of average quality. These things are easy to track down in any of the city-states. In the populated areas of the barrens, standard items require a Streetwise roll to locate while enchanted weapons and items are much harder to come by, requiring a raise on a Streetwise roll and may be attempted once per day. For average quality items normally requiring metal in their construction, a snake eyes on the trait roll means the item is broken and must be repaired.

Naturally, finer quality items can be purchased and often are. Merely multiply the costs given 5 or 10 times to represent items of good or excellent quality, while metal items cost 100 times the listed cost. These items do take a bit of hunting down and are most often available in the wealthier sections of the city-states. A good item lends itself more easily to being enchanted. Such items could be fresh bloodgrass stalks or well crafted swords. A character trying to use their Creation edges on any such items receives a +1 to their roll. Likewise, an excellent item may include rare metals, family heirlooms, or items made of exotic or extraplanar materials. Any attempt to use Creation edges on such items may be done at +2 to the roll.

Poor quality items are available for Mundane Items and Weapons, representing previously owned or used items in poor condition. They are half the listed cost. For items that might break when used, such as a rope, a 1 on a skill roll means the item is broken, while snake eyes means it is broken beyond repair.

Characters often acquire varied and sundry goods on their travels through the city districts and the barrens.

When they wish to unload their goods in the city-states, they must make a Streetwise roll to sell their goods for a quarter its normal value while a raise gives them half. Snake eyes means their peddling has come to the attention of the Templars or City Guard and the characters must pay 10% of the retail worth of their goods or have them confiscated.

In populated regions of the barrens, selling things is a difficult and dangerous proposition. The people want the goods, but often have little money. They will pay a quarter of its normal value with a success, while two raises are required to get half. Snake eyes represent their goods being confiscated in these lawless areas.

Characters can attempt to negotiate a better price using their Persuasion skill should they have the Dune Trader edge. Whether these negotiations result in an exchange of coins or goods or a combination of the two is at the GM’s discretion.


The services a character renders-from those of unskilled laborers to those of prized engineers—all have an asking price, as noted on TABLE XXVlll below. A character may receive payment for his services in other services, goods, or coins, depending upon the situation.

Service Daily Weekly Monthly
Archer/artillerist 1 bit 1 cp 4 cp
Cavalry, light 1 bit 1 cp 4 cp
Cavalry, medium 2 bits 1 cp, 5 bits 6 cp
Cavalry, heavy 3 bits 2 cp, 5 bits 1 sp
Engineer 5 cp 3 sp, 5 cp 15 sp
Footman, militia - 1 bit 5 bits
Footman, light - 2 bits 1 cp
Footman, heavy 1 bit 5 bits 2 cp
Shieldbearer - 1 bit 5 bits
Unskilled labor - 2 bits 1 cp
Skilled labor* 1 bit 1 cp 4 cp
Special classed labor † 3 bits 2 cp, 5 bits 1 sp

*Available only to a character who has a proficiency related to the job.
†Available only to a character who is being employed to function as his specific profession (i.e. a cleric hired to cast divine spells).

The Merchants' Code

All merchant houses follow a strict code of behavior known as the Merchants’ Code. Anyone wishing to join a merchant house must agree to abide by this code. Failure to abide by the code results in immediate expulsion. While the code varies from house to house, in most cases it conforms to the following principles:

  • By joining a merchant house, an agent forsakes citizenship in any city-state or membership in any tribe.
  • Agents swear an oath of allegiance to their merchant house.
  • Agents promise to perform in the best interest of their merchant house in exchange for a salary.
  • Agents promise to deal honestly with stranger, friend, and foe.
  • Agents promise not to flaunt the wealth they gain through their association with their house.
  • Agents agree to uphold the laws of the city-state in which they are stationed and to do nothing to attract the wrath of the local officials.
  • Agents promise to cooperate with other merchants to make life very expensive for any person who unjustly imprisons, blackmails, or otherwise harasses any merchant.


The weapons commonly found in the brutal lands of Athas are made of obsidian, bone, and wood; rarely are there weapons of metal. Because they can be easily made without metal, the following weapons can be purchased for the price listed below: bows (and longbows), clubs, crossbows, lances, staves, slings (with sling stones), and spears. Note that these weapons can all be used normally and do not break on a roll of snake eyes.

The remaining weapons, because they can be constructed from a variety of materials, vary in quality and are prone to breaking when not made from metal: arrows, quarrels, daggers, flails, all axes, sling bullets, all swords, pikes, rapiers, halberds, mauls, and warhammers.

In the DARK SUN game and in corresponding text, weapons are always referred to with their material and make: wood long sword, bone axe, metal dagger, and so forth. As well as adding flavor to battle scenes, this indication helps the GM keep track of what type of weapon is being used. TABLE XXX, below, lists Athasian weapons, their costs, weights, and damage inflicted against opponents. Refer to the Savage Worlds rulebook for explanations of specific weapon notes. Descriptions of some of these weapons follow.

Athasian Weapons

The following weapons are commonly used on Athas and can be created from a variety of materials.

Type Damage Weight Cost Notes
Alhulak Str+d6 6 25 cp May be used to grapple
Dagger Str+d4 1 2.5 cp
Great sword Str+d10 12 40 cp Parry -1, 2 hands
Flail Str+d6 8 20 cp Ignores Shield Parry and Cover bonus
Long sword Str+d8 8 30 cp Includes scimitars, impalers
Puchik Str+d4 1 10 cp Parry +1
Quabone Str+d4 4 1 cp
Rapier Str+d4 3 15 cp Parry +1
Short sword Str+d6 4 20 cp
Talid Str+d4 1 4 cp Cannot be disarmed
Wrist razor Str+d6+1 2 40 cp Cannot be disarmed
Axes and Mauls
Axe Str+d6 2 20 cp
Battle Axe Str+d8 10 30 cp Includes carikkal
Forearm axe Str+d6 6 30 cp Parry +1
Great Axe Str+d10 15 50 cp AP 1, Parry -1, 2 hands, includes trikal
Maul Str+d8 20 40 cp AP 2 vs. rigid armor, Parry -1, 2 hands
Singing sticks Str+d4 2 10 cp 2 hands (used as pair)
Warhammer Str+d6 8 25 cp AP 1 vs. rigid armor
Pole Arms
Double-bladed spear Str+d6 7 15 cp Cannot be set against charge, Parry +1, Reach 1, 2 hands
Gythka Str+d8 17 35 cp Cannot be set against charge, Parry +1, Reach 1, 2 hands
Halberd Str+d8 15 25 cp Reach 1, 2 hands
Lance Str+d8 10 30 cp AP 2 when charging, Reach 2
Lotulis Str+d10 17 50 cp +1 to called shots, 2 hands
Pike Str+d8 25 40 cp Reach 2, 2 hands
Staff Str+d4 8 1 cp Parry +1, Reach 1, 2 hands
Spear Str+d6 5 10 cp Parry +1, Reach 1, 2 hands
Ranged Weapons
Bow 2d6 3 25 cp 12/24/48, STR d6
Chatkcha Str+d6 3 10 cp 3/6/12, returns on miss
Crossbow 2d6 10 50 cp 15/30/60, AP 2, 1 action to reload
Dagger Str+d4 1 2.5 cp 3/6/12
Longbow 2d6 5 20 cp 15/30/60, STR d8
Sling Str+d4 1 1 cp 4/8/16
Spear Str+d6 5 10 cp 3/6/12

Alhulak: This weapon consists of a 5-foot length of rope with a four-bladed grappling hook on one end. The other end is secured to a 2-foot-long handle, which can be used to block attacks. The bladed head is commonly carved from mekillot bone, while the handle is wood or bone. You may make grappling attacks using the alhulak to entangle a target.
Carrikal: By lashing a length of mekillot bone to the jawbone of any sharp-toothed creature, a kind of battle axe is created. Sharp ridges of teeth run down half the length of the bone handle, and the hinges of the jaw are sharpened to a keen edge. This gives the weapon two deadly axe heads oriented in the same direction. A leather thong connected to the bottom of the bone shaft ensures it remains with its wielder. Treat this as a battle axe.
Chatkcha: This thri-kreen throwing weapon is common among the steppes tribes. It’s a crystal wedge that can be thrown up to 12 yards and, due to its spin and effect upon the air, returns to the thrower if it misses the target.
Forearm axe: Worn on the forearm like a buckler, this weapon consists of a large, double-bladed axe on either end of a bracer with a spike protruding perpendicularly from the upper sheath. This weapon is particularly formidable in close-quarter fighting.
Gythka: This thri-kreen polearm has wicked crystal blades at either end. The weapon’s thick shaft allows it to be used like a quarterstaff against similarly armed opponents.
Impaler: An impaler is a weapon developed for arena combat. It has a single shaft about 4 feet long with a pair of long pointed blades, splitting to each side and forming a deadly "T". The weapon can be swung horizontally or vertically over the head.
Lotulis: Crescent blades with barbed spikes near the points and mounted at either end of a long shaft make this a particularly nasty melee weapon.
Puchik: This punching and parrying weapon is designed for close-quarter fighting. It’s a 2-foot-long dagger with hand guards and a grip positioned perpendicularly to the length of the blade.
Quabone: This weapon is constructed from four identical shanks of bone, lashed together to form a radially symmetrical, sword-length rod. With its lightness and crudely sharpened end, the quabone is a fairly ineffective weapon. However, it’s often used in arena situations where combat is intended to be drawn out for a long period of time. Treat this as a baton.
Singing sticks: Singing sticks are used in pairs, one wielded in each hand. Each stick is made from a springy, straight wood and measures 1 inch in diameter and 2½ feet long. The ends are slightly wider than the center. Extremely light, singing sticks rely more on agility and ability than on brute force. When twirled, the sticks produce whistling and moaning sounds, thus giving them their name.
Trikal: This small polearm is a 6-foot-long, mostly wood shaft. The uppermost 12 inches consist of three blades projecting from a central shaft. Beneath the blades is a series of serrations, generally extremely sharp. The other end of the shaft is weighted to increase the momentum of the weapon. Treat this as a great axe.
Wrist razor: Wrist razors consist of a trio of blades that protrude from a heavy arm band. The razors project out over the back of the hand, are extremely sharp, and can be up to 6 inches long. Wrist razors can be worn on one or both forearms, and cannot be disarmed.


All forms of armor listed below are available in Dark Sun.

Metal Armor in Dark Sun: Two facts on Athas conspire to limit the use of metal armor: extreme heat and the high price of metal. A suit of plate armor costs hundreds of gold pieces on Athas. Simply put, a sorcerer-king can either purchase several suits of plate or build a substantial addition to his city walls.

Likewise, the intense heat across Athas' barren surface makes metal armor an unpleasant experience, to say the least. In any daytime combat situation, a character wearing metal armor must make a Vigor check on every round of combat beyond the first or take a Fatigue level as they begin to suffer heat exhaustion. This applies to piecemeal armor if the character is wearing a metal corselet, or more than 2 limbs covered by metal armor.

Alternate Materials: Many types of armor can be constructed without metal on Athas, using more readily available materials.

Shields: Shields are mostly constructed with layers of leather stretched over a wooden or bone frame and hardened. Effective shields can also be constructed of chitinous materials scavenged from dead insectoids. Though made of alternate materials, shields on Athas come in the typical varieties: small, medium, or large shields.

Type Parry Weight Cost Notes
Small Shield (Buckler) +1 8 2.5 cp
Small Shield (Buckler) +1 12 5 cp +2 Armor to ranged shots that hit
Large Shield (Kite, Pavise) +2 20 20 cp +2 Armor to ranged shots that hit

Leather Armors: Perhaps the most common type of armor used on Athas, leather armor is shaped to the individual wearing it, and then hardened. Studded leather adds studs made of bone or chitin to a softer leather backing. Ring mail is identical to studded leather, except that the studs are replaced with carved bone rings. Padded armor is made from either heavy cloth and batting or giants' hair.

Type Armor Weight Cost Notes
Vest +1 8 lbs 2.5 cp Covers torso
Arms +1 3 lbs 1.2 cp Covers arms
Leggings +1 4 lbs 1.3 cp Covers legs

Mail Armors: Hide armor on Athas is usually constructed from mekillot or braxat hide. Scale mail is made from carved bone, chitin, or reptile scales. Brigandine is made from bone plates sandwiched between leather strips. Chain mail must be made from metal and is rarely used.

Type Armor Weight Cost Notes
Shirt +2 13 lbs 15 cp Covers torso
Arms +2 5 lbs 5 cp Covers arms
Leggings +2 7 lbs 10 cp Covers legs

Heavy Mail Armors: This includes banded mail, bronze plate, plate and chain, and splint mail. These types of armor must be made with metal components, making them both expensive and potentially deadly in the day's heat.

Type Armor Weight Cost Notes
Corselet +3 20 lbs 300 gp Covers torso
Vambace +3 8 lbs 150 gp Covers arms
Greaves +3 10 lbs 225 gp Covers legs

Heavy Plate Armors: These types of armor must be made with metal components, making them both expensive and potentially deadly in the day's heat.

Type Armor Weight Cost Notes
Corselet +4 25 lbs 400 gp Covers torso
Vambace +4 10 lbs 200 gp Covers arms
Greaves +4 15 lbs 300 gp Covers legs

Helmets These are commonly made from bone, shell, chitin, or wood. Metal helms may also be available (provide +4 Armor) but are much more expensive.

Type Armor Weight Cost Notes
Pot helm +3 4 lbs 7.5 cp 50% vs head shot
Enclosed helm +3 8 lbs 15 cp Covers head

Mundane Items

Item Weight Cost
Household Provisions
Waterskin (4 quarts) 8 lbs (full) 2 bits
Small barrel (120 quarts) 240 lbs (full) 2 sp
Tun of water (1,000 quarts) 2,000 lbs (full) 1 sp
Fire kit 2 bits
Inix, leather 240 lbs 35 sp
Inix, chitin 400 lbs 50 sp
Kank, leather 70 lbs 15 sp
Kank, chitin 120 lbs 35 sp
Mekillot, leather 1000 lbs 500 sp
Mekillot, chitin 1600 lbs 750 sp
One kank, one warrior 10 sp
Two kank, two warrior 25 sp
Four kank, three warrior 50 sp
Wagon, open
Wagon, enclosed
Erdlu 10 cp
Inix 10 sp
Kank, trained 12 sp
Kank, untrained 5 sp
Mekillot 20 sp
Crodlu, riding 10 sp
Crodlu, war 20 sp

Tun of Water: In most Athasian cities, water is drawn from a collective cistern maintained by the sorcerer-king and his templars. It is not at all uncommon for the price of water to increase dramatically during particularly dry periods or when the templars are attempting to extort more money from consumers.
Fire Kit: Though flint is readily available, steel is scarce on Athas. The standard fire-starting kit therefore uses a bow and sticks rather than flint and steel.
Barding: There are two types of barding for the various beasts of burden on Athas: leather and chitin. Leather barding is made with stiffened leather pads, often reinforced with bone or chitin, and joined together with cloth or soft leather straps. Leather barding affords the animal a +1 bonus to its Armor. Chitin barding is made from plates of insectoid chitin and bone, fastened together with leather and cloth. Chitin barding affords the animal an Armor bonus of +2. The two types of barding cannot be combined.
Chariot: A chariot is a lightly armored vehicle constructed of wood, chitin, and hardened leather, designed for riding and combat. The driver of the chariot uses the Riding skill to steer. The chariot driver can attack with single-handed weapons while the vehicle is moving, but suffers a -2 penalty to all attack rolls. Others in the vehicle suffer no penalty to melee attack rolls, but have a -2 penalty to missile attack rolls while the chariot is moving (unstable platform). Those in a chariot have medium cover (-2) from the front or sides, and light cover (-1) from the flank or rear. If one of the animals hitched to a multikank chariot dies or is maimed, the chariot's speed is reduced to 1/3 that of normal. The slain beast may also cause the chariot to crash, but the fallen animal can then be cut loose by survivors. Multiple deaths in the animal team bring the chariot to a halt.
Howdah: A howdah is a frame with seats designed to be mounted on the back of an inix or mekillot. A normal howdah is made of a light wooden frame and has one seat for the animal's driver. Normal howdahs do not count against the carrying capacity of the animal, but the driver's weight does.
A war howdah is constructed of much sturdier materials, affording cover to those within. An inix war howdah weighs 150 pounds and can hold four warriors. A mekillot war howdah is a more elaborate affair, weighing 1,000 pounds. Within the mekillot war howdah's two levels 16 warriors may ride, four of which can fight to any one side at a given time. Soldiers in a war howdah can choose to have light, medium, or heavy cover.
Anyone riding in a howdah is considered to be at rest and shaded.

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