The two prestige class appendixes were published by Athas dot org long ago. I am not clear on the exact dates, but it was early in the 3.5e print run. Many or most of the prestige classes were directly inspired by Dark Sun lore or class kits from 2E. Because the WotC published material had not yet experienced all the power creep from the splatbooks at the time of publishing, the tier levels of the prestige class appendixes are comparatively high - generally tier 3 to tier 5 (the same goes for the Core Rules - bard tier 4, gladiator tier 5, templar tier 3). There were plans to revise all the classes, but Athas dot org became moribund, so it never happened.
Lets talk about these prestige classes. I will start the commentary.
Prestige Class Appendix Volume I 3.5
Myrmeleon: A defiler servant of Sorcerer Monarchs. Kind of like a wizard secret agent.
Shadow Templar: The Dark Sun version of the ur-priest (except they use arcane spells). A pity that I do not use the timeline in which Andropinis was imprisoned. For my game I would reskin them as servants of Rajaat or some outsider entity from the black (removing the requirement of ex-templar).
Royal Defiler: This prestige class is obligatory. The two dead levels unfortunately are not. Surely those dead levels could be filled out.
Additionally, most of the city states get a prestige class for templars, allowing for some differences between the city states.
Prestige Class Appendix Volume II 3.5
Arena Mage: This PrC suffers terribly from low BAB and 5/10 casting. To be gimped on one or the other might be countenanced, but both? Interesting fluff, but is gimped for some reason (to the extent that it is highly unlikely that a player will choose this PrC), something that we see elsewhere in this supplement.
Arcanist: Interesting 5 level class with 5/5 casting. Elf only.
Blind Fighter: Zatoichi on Athas. Pretty cool full BAB combat oriented Prc.
Dead Heart Interrogator: Psionic torturer/interrogator class. Spellcasting/manifesting is extremely gimped and downright parsimonious. 10 levels, 4/4 spellcasting/manifesting. Would it have been so terrible to advance one or the other each level for the entire 10 levels?
Master Shipfloater: A PrC for psions that helm silt ships. While they have the decency to limit this PrC to 3 levels, even that is too much. Not worth taking a class. That said, WotC is guilty of the same thing. This is much better handled with a feat, skill, or affiliation (I lean towards affiliation benefits).
Monarch’s Chosen: I love the fluff on this one. I don’t love the execution.
Obstinate Soul: A PrC leveraging dwarven focus. Advances class features (yes - class features) 3/5. Pretty cool.
Royal Animator: Great fluff, and well supported by Dark Sun canon. Gimped 5/10 spellcasting. The table has a cut and paste error mix up with the monarch’s chosen, but I was able to verify that table is correct except for the mislabelling. The gimped caster level actually makes the Royal Animator worse at creating undead than some other necromancer. This is in desperate need of revision.
Here is my quick fix for this PrC.
This PrC should be open to templars as well. Change prerequisites to Spells: Able to cast 3rd-level spells and allow templars with the death domain to take the PrC. Abolish the animation reserve. 10/10 casting.However, the Royal Animator gets a class feature similar to the Unseen Seer.
Necromantic Spell Power (Ex): At 3rd level, you gain a +1 bonus to your caster level when casting an necromancy spell. This bonus improves to +2 at 6th level, and to +3 at 9th level.
This benefit comes at a cost: Your caster level for all other spells is reduced by 1 at 3rd level. This reduction becomes 2 at 6th level and becomes 3 at 9th level. For example, a 10th-level wizard/10th-level royal animator would have a caster level of 23 for her necromancy spells, but only a caster level of 17 for her non necromancy spells.
Sensei: A non-gimped psion/monk. 8/10 manifesting. Full BAB 10/10. Although the sensei abilities stack with monk just in case a DM allows monks in his campaign, there are probably better entries into the class than monk. The Pugilist fighter variant is very suited to Dark Sun. The pugilist gains Improved Unarmed Strike and Endurance feats, and loses proficiency with shields and martial weapons.
Unfortunately, the writer of this PrC likely forgot that monk is not a base class in Dark Sun 3.5 Core Rules, and the entry requirements seem to assume a character taking this PrC has some levels in monk because there is a prerequisite of 5 ranks of Tumble. You could probably swap Tumble out for 5 ranks of Knowledge (psionics).
You could enter sensei at fighter (pugilist) 4, Psion 3. The sensei is what the psionic fist wants to be when he grows up.
OK. That’s all for now. I’d like to hear what other people think, whether in relation to these classes or the classes that I did not mention.