Lots of nice ideas here.
I particularly like the one about uniting the clans. That one survives in memory as an example of how stupid that idea was.
And has the added effect that it reinforces an out of character design goal in-setting. That's really nice.
I am currently getting into Dark Sun, for the purpose of robbing it blind.
One thing that could work really well are the Veiled Alliances. However, instead of being a lose association of good and neutral wizards and their friends who are sitting in the same boat of being hunted by the evil wizard-kings, it would be about warlocks. They don't have to cooperate or like each other, but the rest of society throws them all in the same bucket and any of their enemies are enemies of all of them. So lots of them are keeping in touch with each other and after all you need connections to get your hands on forbidden knowledge and rare substances. I wanted something like the Old Republic Sith anyway, but not as an Evil Empire, and this could be the way to go, with a few small well hidden accademies in remote places.
Also: A Sixth Fundamental Truth about Life in the Clans.
- All actions of a clansman reflect on the clan, and the clans reputation applies to him. It is treated as a given that clan chiefs and their sub-chiefs have to keep their subjects in line. When individuals of a clan step out of bounds, it is assumed that they are acting with their chiefs consent. Otherwise the chief is weak and that means that all of his subjects are completely unpredictable and unreliable.
On the other hand, the good repuation of a clan is applied to all its members. When a chief is wise and strong and keeps order within his clan, than this is commonly accepted as a sufficient guarantee for all the clansmens honor and integrity. When individuals do not act according to the trust given to them based on their clans reputation, the chief has to show proof that this was not indicative for the people of his clan and that he has enough control over them to justify the trust in his reputation.
Which can be to force the offenders to pay reperations, at least assuring the other clans that there is no economical danger in dealing with the clansmen, or may in severe cases mean exile or death. If the offended clan believes the punishment is sufficient, it will hold no grudge to the other clan. If the chieftain appears weak, the reputation of the entire clan suffers, and if he seems insincere, it is assumed the offense has his consent, which can mean war. There usually is no concept of substitute revenge against relatives and other clan members for honor, but there is little distinction between chieftains allowing a crime and ordering a crime and unpunished crimes are treated as acts of war.
And an idea: Bronze weapon and armor can be normal or masterwork, but steel can only be masterwork. There is also iron, which can never be masterwork, but ignores the damage resistance of spirits instead of cold iron.
All equipment prices are changed from gp to sp (or sp to cp), except for steel equipment, which is still in gp, but with no additional masterwork costs.
Since weapons are dirt cheap in any editions of D&D, all characters can have steel weapons by third level, but it keeps the idea that steel is uncommon and not ordinary.