Players Handbook 2 style Affiliations for Dark Sun?

Its crazy that we don’t have affiliations. Affiliations are an excellent fit for the Dark Sun setting.

Did anyone create any or know of any affilations for Dark Sun?

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It’s one of those things I keep meaning to get around to doing but never have.

Off the top of my head the following affiliations could/should be part of DS:

Veiled Alliance [city-state]
Templarate [city-state]
The Order (Epic level characters only)
Merchant House [individual house]
Local Village (Kled, Salt View, Bitter Well etc)
Slave Tribe (the Free etc)
Raiding Group (Black Sand Raiders, Werrik’s Stalkers etc)
Elf Tribe (Shadows, Night Runners etc)

You could add a Druidic affiliation, depending on how tight knit druids are in your individual campaign. I’d shy away from making an Elemental/Paraelemental Temple affiliation given the loner nature of most Athasian clerics.

A number of the existing affiliations in the PHBII could be tweaked with minimal effort to match one of the above - the Wintervein Dwarves could become the Scions of Kemalok, the Sun Fane a Templarate, the One and the Five or Darkspire College of Thaun for a Veiled Alliance chapter, etc.

I think adding in local affiliations (Kled, Salt View, Freedom, Black Sand Raiders etc) fit into the smaller world of Athas while giving characters a place to base themselves and the DM a source of angst and adventure for the party.


My advice about the Template is to have 4 templarate factions, each of which represents a different tendency within the templarate itself. So your affiliation would not be ‘templarate’ - templar is your job under the monarch - but for example ‘The Sons of Iron’, ‘The Believers’, ‘Masters of the Rod’, or ‘The Satraps’. You don’t have to make 4 original factions for each city state because they represent tensions within the templarate of each city itself. They just have to be renamed.

You could probably have a single affiliation for Veiled Alliance. However, membership in one doesn’t equal membership in another, so you would have to start all over again if you go to another city state and join. Its pretty clear that’s what happened to Sadira in Nibenay.


Yep. Although you could probably get away with some pretty significant duplication of benefits, especially in the lower scores because all members have the same expectations. Perhaps only the higher benefits need to be adjusted per merchant house.

I’m not sold on this. Why? Organizations should be doing discrete functions, and not overlap with the state. So these places, they are sovereign. The sovereign function should be kept apart from the discrete functions of affiliations.

Yes, yes and yes.

Good ideas.

For starters, i like the idea of including villages and such. You’re tracking HOW MUCH a group likes you with affiliations. There’s no reason you couldn’t track village governments with this system (if you wanted to). Even if you didn’t assign any benefits, it’d make it easier to track the opinions of various villages if, say, you were playing a version of the plot from the game Dark Sun: Shattered Lands…

So, I did do this for one of my home games. Link:

I’m sure no one will be 100% happy with the way I did it, but now we all have a place to start (liking or hating).

Some notes:

  • I was running each city state’s Templars as separate affiliations, but not the different bureaus, because I thought that once word got out that you’re useful, different Tempar factions would be just as likely to use you, whether you’ve been working for their allies, or they’re forcing an enemy asset to help them.

  • I ran the whole of the VA as a single affiliation mostly for ease of use (and because we only ever made it to a single city state). I planned on a heavy penalty for moving from CS to CS (in the -4 to -8 range). I could see reasons to keep them separate and reasons to lump them together. YMMV.

  • I house-ruled that you could have more than one affiliation, as you’re really just tracking HOW MUCH an organization likes a person, but gave a -5 penalty to the score for each affiliation you belonged to after the 1st, and made my players choose the order they ranked in. (so, you could: #1 - belong to the VA, #2 - be a gladiator, and #3 - be part of an elf tribe; then your elf tribe score would take a -10 hit). They could reorder the affiliations, if they needed to, but it would take 2-ish days of talking to people and schmoozing, similar to a Gather Information check.

This is what I did, do it the way you want. This is just a place to start.

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