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DSR2 Dune Trader (2e)


In the harsh lands of Athas, even the bare necessities of life are hard to come by. The caravans of the traders ply the shifting sands, daring raiders and the elements to bring goods and hope to both the teeming hordes of the city-states and the isolated villagers in the trackless wastelands. Without the traders, life on Athas would be impossible. 

Dune Trader explores the lives of the people who are the lifeblood of Athas. The major merchant houses of the Tyr region are described, as well as minor houses, elven merchant and raiding tribes, and the mercantile tendencies of all the races of Athas. The personalities who drive these houses and tribes are detailed fully within these pages.

A new character class is introduced here-the trader class. The DM receives complete instructions on how to run a trader-based campaign, and the players are shown how to play trader characters and start their own merchant houses. The most vital and exciting challenge on Athas await with this book!

Product History

DSR2: "Dune Trader" (1992), by Anthony Pryor, is the second Dark Sun Reference book, detailing the setting of Athas. It was released in April 1992.

Continuing the Dark Sun Series. By Spring 1992, the Dark Sun series was settling into a pattern of rapidly released adventures and reference books. "Dune Trader" was the second of the references, following DSR1: "Slave Tribes" (1992). Unlike its predecessor, which was a setting book, "Dune Trader" is more of a splat book, detailing merchants in the world of Athas.

Expanding AD&D. The Dark Sun Boxed Set (1991) had already massively innovated AD&D with its variant races, new classes, and high-level play. "Dune Trader" continued that trend by introducing another new class: the trader. Though it's not explicitly described as a rogue subclass, the trader uses the same experience and THAC0 tables and has access to rogue proficiencies.

"Dune Trader" also provides a rules system that simulates trading goods throughout the Tyr Region.

A History of Merchants in RPGs. Merchants first entered the roleplaying world through GDW's Traveller (1977). They were one of the game's original six classes and were later expanded upon in books like Paranoia Press' Merchants & Merchandise (1981) and GDW's own Merchant Princes (1985). Star Trek: The Role-Playing Game (1982) followed in Traveller's footsteps with its own Trader Captains and Merchant Princes (1987) and ever since merchants have been an important part of science fiction roleplaying.

Bireme and Galley: Naval Warfare, Egypt to Lepanto (1978) for Chivalry & Sorcery (1977) may have been the first FRP book with trading rules. Mercantile classes appeared pretty early in fantasy roleplaying games too, including the worshipers of Issaries in RuneQuest (1978), the merchant in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (1986), and the mercantyler in Hârnmaster (1986), but in some cases it took decades for these classes to get access to full merchant simulations as well.

A History of Merchants in D&D. In the mid-to-late '80s, a lot of the innovation in D&D appeared through the Basic D&D game (1983-1986), which was declining in popularity and so had more room to explore new game systems. Unsurprisingly D&D's merchants made their first appearance here. A naval merchant prince appeared in GAZ9: "The Minrothad Guilds" (1988), which also had supply-and-demand-based trade rules. A land-based merchant appeared the next year in GAZ11: "The Republic of Darokin" (1989), complete with experience points earned for trading.

However, it took a few more years for merchants to make the jump to AD&D, in "Dune Trader".

Expanding Athas. Over half of "Dune Trader" is fluff, detailing the major merchant houses of Tyr, including three elven merchant tribes.

Monsters of Note. "Dune Trader" introduces the crodlu — reptilian ostriches which are used as mounts in Athas. Many fans see them as adaptation of the chocobos from Final Fantasy II (1988) and later games.

About the Creators. Pryor authored four TSR books in 1992, two for Dark Sun and two for Greyhawk. His other Dark Sun book that year was DSQ3: "Asticlian Gambit" (1992).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Thanks to Robert Adducci for Dark Sun advice. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Lucas D March 18, 2023 1:13 am UTC
i know id find this one interesting but i like to read physical copies. POD please!
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PoD Please
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Pod please.
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POD please.
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