Dune Trader.jpg
DSR2 -- TSR 2407
Dune Trader
Author(s) Anthony Pryor
Publisher TSR
Released 1992
Type Accessory
Pages 98
ISBN ISBN 1-56076-543-3


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 is a supplement for the DARK SUN game world. It deals with the inner workings of the powerful Trading Houses 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 Dune 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!

Table of Contents

  • The Major Merchant Houses of the Tyr Region
  • Small Trading Houses
  • Elven Merchant Houses
  • Other Nonhuman Traders
  • The Trader Campaign
  • A House Inika Caravan
  • A Heavy Caravan
  • An Elven Market
  • Fort Prosper
  • Crodlu

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 Dune Trader. Though it's not explicitly described as a Rogue subclass, the Dune 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).

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