“I have heard tales that suits of clothing fashioned from metal have even been found from time to time. It is generally agreed that these were worn by warriors to protect against the blows of enemy weapons. I can only speculate that the climate must have been far cooler in those ancient days. Any fool that would wear such clothing now would die faster from heat stroke than he would have from the weapons of his foes. Still, the idea that there was once enough metal in the world to allow such a garment to have been manufactured astounds me.
There are even rumors that mounds of steel, silver, and gold lie hidden in the deepest tunnels of certain forlorn cities. I have never seen such a thing myself, but if such treasures exist, they will reward those who find them most handsomely. Those who control such stores of metal can buy food, power, influence, and sometimes even the sorcerer-king’s protection.” —The Wanderer’s Journal
Equipping a Character
Characters in Dark Sun receive the same starting packages as their Core Rulebook counterparts. This means they receive the same starting funds (converted to ceramic pieces; see below for more information on the currency of Athas), have access to the same weapons, armor, and equipment that their funds allow.
Wealth and Money
All prices in Dark Sun are given in terms of ceramic pieces. 10,000 bd = 1,000 bits =100 Cp = 10 sp = 1 gp.
|Athasian Currency||Core Rulebook Equivalent||Ceramic Pieces|
|Lead bead (bd)||Copper piece (cp)||1/100|
|Ceramic bit (bit)||Silver piece (sp)||1/10|
|Ceramic piece (Cp)||Gold piece (gp)||1|
|Silver piece (sp)||Platinum piece (pp)||10|
|Gold piece (gp)||N/A||100|
Prices for goods and equipment in the Core Rulebook, except as stated here, convert directly fromgold to ceramic. For example, rather than costing 10 gp, a suit of leather armor would cost 10 Cp. Items that must be made using metal components, however, retain their full Core Rulebook cost.
Note: Cp (ceramic pieces) must not be confused with cp (copper pieces).
Ceramics are made from glazed clay and baked in batches once a year in a secure process supervised by the high templar that supervises the city’s treasury. Bits are literally one‐tenth parts of a ceramic piece—the ceramic pieces break easily into ten bits. Some cities’ ceramic pieces have small holes that can be threaded onto a bracelet or necklace. The lowest unit of Athasian trade is the lead bead (bd).
In general, the Athasian economy in the cities is relatively stable thanks to the Merchant Houses. Under normal conditions, supply is ample thanks to the caravans traveling back and forth between the cities. However, for smaller communities and trade outposts the price situation on certain goods can sway drastically. A raider attack or sandstorm can result in lack of necessities such as food and water, for which people will pay almost any amount of coin. Coins are not the only means of exchange. Barter and trade in commodities is widespread.
Metal is rare on Athas, and many weapons ordinarily crafted using metal components are extremely expensive. Unworked iron is worth 100 Cp per pound on average, but can cost much, much more in some places. Worked metal is even more expensive, as craftsmen who actually know how to craft metal items are rare at best. Most metal weapons are items dating back to the Green Age, or have been crafted from the meager resources of Tyr’s iron mines.
Due to the rarity of metal, weapons and other items constructed primarily from metal are priced at their Core Rulebook listed cost in gp — they are not converted to Cp. For example a metal longsword costs 15 gp (or 1,500 Cp). Weapons and items containing only small quantities of metal are priced at half their Core Rulebook listed cost in gp. For example, 20 metal‐tip arrows cost 50 Cp.
Due to the extremely high cost of metal weaponry, most weapons from the Core Rulebook are constructed from inferior, but functional, materials instead on Athas. Most common are bone, obsidian, and stone, but treated wood is sometimes used as well. These weapons cost half of the listed price in the Core Rulebook. Convert the listed Core Rulebook price to Cp, and then divide the cost by 2. For example a bone shortsword costs 5 Cp. Mundane weapons and armor crafted from inferior materials all have the fragile quality.
The following weapons from the Core Rulebook can be constructed from non‐metal materials without penalty:
They weigh the same as listed in the Core Rulebook. These weapons cost 1% of the listed price in the Core Rulebook. Simply convert the listed price in the Core Rulebook to Cp. For example, a spear listed at 2 gp in the Core Rulebook costs 2 Cp.
Furthermore, due to the rarity of metal, Athas has its share of unique weapons designed to be constructed from non–metal materials; as such, they do not suffer from the inferior materials penalties described above.
Bone can be used in place of wood and steel in weapons and armor. Other animal-based materials like horn, shell, and ivory also use the rules for bone weapon and armor. The cost of a bone weapon or bone armor is half the price of a normal weapon or armor of its type.
Weapons: Light and one-handed melee weapons, as well as two-handed weapons that deal bludgeoning damage only, can be crafted from bone. Hafted two-handed weapons such as spears can be crafted with bone tips, as can arrowheads. Other two-handed weapons cannot be constructed of bone.
Bone weapons have half the hardness of their base weapons and have the fragile weapon quality. Masterwork bone weapons also have the fragile quality, but magic bone weapons do not. Bone weapons take a –2 penalty on damage rolls (minimum 1 damage).
Armor: Studded leather, scale mail, breastplates, and wooden shields can all be constructed using bone. Bone either replaces the metal components of the armor, or in the case of wooden shields, large pieces of bone or shell replace the wood.
Bone armor has a hardness of 5 and has the fragile armor quality. Masterwork bone armor also has the fragile quality, but magic bone armor does not. The armor/shield bonus of bone armor is reduced by 1, but in the case of studded leather, the armor check penalty is also reduced by 1 (to 0)
This black volcanic glass is extremely sharp, and can be shaped into a variety of weapons that do piercing and slashing damage. Bits of obsidian inserted into a length of tempered wood create effective swords called terbutjes.
Obsidian weapons cost half of what base items of their type do, and weigh 75% of what base items of their type do.
Weapons: Obsidian can be used to craft light and one-handed weapons that do piercing or slashing damage, as well as spear tips and arrowheads.
Obsidian weapons have half the hardness of their base weapon and have the fragile quality.
Armor: The fragile glass nature of obsidian is perfect for creating sharp points and blades, but those same qualities make it unsuitable for creating armor. Armor cannot be constructed from obsidian.
Stone Age weapons almost always utilize stone in some way. From rocks lashed to wooden hafts to create early maces and axes, to flint knives and stone arrowheads, these primitive weapons are still deadly.
Stone weapons cost a quarter of what base items of their type do, and weigh 75% of what base items of their type do.
Weapons: Light and one-handed bludgeoning weapons, spears, and arrowheads can all be made of stone.
Weapons made of stone have half the hardness of their base weapons, and have the fragile condition.
Armor: Armor cannot usually be constructed from stone, but advanced, often alchemically enhanced stone armor made by dwarves or other stone-working cultures does exist.