Dune Trader

"I’ve crossed the Tablelands, survived the Ivory Triangle, slipped away from Hamanu’s half-giant thugs, and sold sand to a tarek. I’ve seen it all, and there isn’t much left that can surprise me."

Dune traders roam every civilized corner of the known world. From crowded marketplaces crawling with thieves, to caravans wending across difficult wastes, to the isolated settlements and trading posts found in the places between the great city-states, dune traders are everywhere, pushing their wares on anyone they encounter. Dune traders bring needed goods to remote areas, offering water, food, arms, and more, but their work is not charity. Such offerings come at the highest prices a merchant can ask and still be able to move the merchandise. It’s all about making a profit, and no one does a better job at looking out for themselves and their wealth than the dune traders of Athas.
    Many small traders and merchant cabals exist, but they pale next to the dynastic houses that dominate trade across the Tyr Region. These houses are nations unto themselves, sworn to no sorcerer-king but allied with all. They field their own armies, hold their own lands, and take an active part in political and social developments affecting the region. A merchant house’s leadership might rest in one family’s hands, but these houses readily accept new members, always looking for new talent to bolster their presence and influence in the Tyr Region. Regardless of the position sought, candidates must swear several oaths to the house leaders. In exchange, a candidate receives protection, status, and regular pay. The particular oaths vary from house to house, but the following are common to them all.
• Forsake any citizenship or membership in a city-state or tribe.
• Swear allegiance to the merchant house.
• Always act in the merchant house’s best interest.
• Deal honestly with stranger, friend, and foe.
• Flaunt no wealth gained through employment by the house.
• Uphold the local laws and always act in accordance with them.
• Protect your own, lending help to merchants in need and refusing to deal with those who unjustly imprison or harass any merchant.
    In contrast to the great dynastic houses of the city-states, elven merchant tribes are small and mobile. They do not enjoy the peaceful relations enjoyed by the dynastic houses and, for this reason, they are not beholden to any oaths or promises. They foist off junk, deal in contraband, and sometimes resort to base robbery if given sufficient cause. Elven houses tend to be tribal in structure, but they are as widespread and as dangerous as any human organization.

Dune Trader Feature Quick Formation

You lash at your enemies and move your allies into a defensible position.

Encounter        Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee or Ranged weapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 1[W] + ability modifier damage, and either you shift 4 squares, or each ally within 5 squares of you can shift 2 squares as a free action.
Level 11: 2[W] + ability modifier damage.
Level 21: 3[W] + ability modifier damage.


Dune Trader Utility 2Slick Negotiator

You don’t let a gaff sabotage your negotiation, and move on as if the misstep never occurred.

Encounter        Martial
Free Action      Close burst 5

Trigger: You or an ally in the burst makes a Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Streetwise check and dislikes the result.

Target: The triggering creature

Effect: If you are the target, you gain a +3 power bonus to the skill check result. If an ally is the target, the ally can reroll the skill check, using either result.


Dune Trader Attack 3Delaying Strike

A painful hit against your opponent helps you make good your escape.

Encounter        Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee or Ranged weapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + ability modifier damage, and the target is slowed until the end of your next turn.

Effect: Either you shift your speed, or each ally within 2 squares of you can shift one-half his or her speed as a free action.

Level 13:

  Hit: As above, but 3[W] + ability modifier damage.

Level 23:

  Hit: As above, but 4[W] + ability modifier damage.


Dune Trader Attack 5Blunt Force Strike

Your weapon strikes with a satisfying crunch, leaving your opponent unable to defend itself.

Daily        Martial, Reliable, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee or Ranged weapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + ability modifier damage, and the target is dazed (save ends). In addition, either you make a basic attack against the target, or two allies within 5 squares of you can each make a basic attack against different creatures (but not against the target) as a free action.

Level 15:

  Hit: As above, but 3[W] + ability modifier damage.

Level 25:

  Hit: As above, but 4[W] + ability modifier damage.


Dune Trader Utility 6Deft Avoidance

You duck out of the way, slipping to where you can best land your next attack.

Encounter        Martial
Immediate Reaction      Close burst 2

Trigger: An enemy in the burst you can see misses you with a melee attack.

Target: The triggering enemy

Effect: The target grants combat advantage until the end of its next turn. In addition, either you can shift 2 squares, or each ally in the burst can shift 1 square as a free action.


Dune Trader Attack 7Sly Gambit

Your quick strike lures your enemy into a rash counterattack.

Encounter        Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee or Ranged weapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 1[W] + ability modifier damage, and the target makes a melee basic attack against a creature of your choice as a free action. Until the end of your next turn, either you gain a +4 power bonus to AC, or the target provokes opportunity attacks when shifting or making melee attacks.

Level 17:

  Hit: As above, but 2[W] + ability modifier damage.

Level 27:

  Hit: As above, but 3[W] + ability modifier damage.


Dune Trader Attack 9Hounding Presence

You step in close to your enemy to land your attack but stay in motion, using its proximity to your advantage.

Daily        Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee or Ranged weapon

Target: One creature

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + ability modifier damage, and the target cannot shift (save ends).

Miss: Half damage.

Effect: Until the end of the encounter, while you are adjacent to the target either you gain a +4 power bonus to all defenses, or the target grants combat advantage.

Level 19:

  Hit: As above, but 3[W] + ability modifier damage.

Level 29:

  Hit: As above, but 5[W] + ability modifier damage.


Dune Trader Utility 10Command Decision

As your enemy’s blade comes down, you are forced to decide—your life, or that of your ally?

Encounter        Martial
Immediate Interrupt      Close burst 1

Trigger: You are hit by an attack

Target: You or one ally in the burst

Effect: If you are the target, you lose a healing surge and gain temporary hit points equal to your healing surge value. If an ally is the target, that ally is hit by the triggering attack instead of you.


Published in Dark Sun Campaign Setting, page(s) 42.