The Merchant - a PC-rated urban Commoner/Expert

A character class for 3.5e D&D

This is an attempt at filling the gap between the solid and rather brutish Bloke and the highly-skilled Professional, with emphasis on persuasion and commerce. It runs to only 5 levels, and is expected to be mixed in with either or both of them.

Merchants come in many guises. From the wandering peddler, the street trader, the fishmonger and the barkeep all the way to the wealthy established businessman managing international commerce, merchants are ubiquitous.

Adventures: A merchant often goes where the money is, and that might take him into danger. Conversely, even if he wants to stay put, others may be attracted to his supposed wealth.

Characteristics: Merchants are usually nonviolent, preferring to amass money by persuasion and more subtle means. They learn to protect themselves with their words and behaviour rather than by force of arms.

Alignment: Merchants are primarily motivated by wealth and influence, so usually tend towards neutrality or sometimes evil. Hard bargaining leaves little room for strong emotion or generosity.

Religion: Merchants are seldom interested in religion, though many pay some manner of respect to gods of wealth, luck or travel.

Background: Most merchants are drawn from the middle classes, though some of the lower urban orders learn some of the merchant's arts.

Races: All races have some merchants, but they are most common among humans, halflings and half-elves, and rarest among dwarves and half-orcs.

Other classes: Other classes look on the merchant as an inconvenient necessity, merely a facet of civilised life. Conversely, the merchant views the adventuring classes as either a dangerous distraction or a necessary protection, depending on circumstances. As such, any association is likely to be temporary and commercial in nature. Many merchants will multiclass if that would provide useful knowledge or abilities connected with their trading, or simply help in self-defence.

Game Rule Information

Merchants have the following game statistics:

Abilities: The merchant depends on Charisma first and foremost, vital in trading at a good profit. Almost as important are Intelligence and Wisdom, for knowing his wares and his customers.

Alignment: Any.
Hit Dice: d6
Combat: Base Attack Bonus as a wizard (+ Level/2).
Saving Throws: Will is good (+2+L/2, down), Fortitude and Reflex bad (L/3, down).

Class Skills

The merchant's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (patter) (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (n/a) and Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (8 + Int modifier) x4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Table: The Merchant
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Appraisal, Patter, Security (+4), Sanctuary, Favoured Class
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Fascinate, Detect Magic
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Security (+10), Distraction
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Eyes in the Back of his Head, Calm Emotions
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Suggestion, Silvertongue, Sense Wealth

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the professional.
Armour and Weapon Proficiency: A merchant is proficient with two simple weapons. He is not proficient with any other weapons, nor is he proficient with any type of armor or shields.
Appraisal: add class level to all Appraise skill rolls.
Patter: add class level to all Bluff or Diplomacy rolls when bargaining.
Basic Security (Ex): A merchant is used to pickpockets, cheats and thieves. He gains +4 to any roll to spot a Sleight of Hand attempt.
Sanctuary (Sp): "I'm just a humble peddler, trying to make an honest groat!". At will, the merchant can try to affect 1 living creature per class level; the effect is as the Sanctuary spell. They must share a language. Will Save, DC = 10+Level+Cha bonus. Range 30', Duration 1r per level or until the merchant performs any overt hostile act.
Favoured Class: Levels in the merchant class are discounted regarding multiclassing experience penalties.
Fascinate (Sp): At will, as Sanctuary. The effect also Fascinates the target as does Bardic Music, but this assumes a potential sales environment and won't work on already-hostile targets (though is fine on subjects of Sanctuary).
Detect Magic (Sp): A 2nd level merchant can sometimes detect magic items by touch. Unlike the Detect Magic spell, this works only on magic items rather than spell effects. Roll d20 + Merchant Level + Wisdom Bonus plus half the item's caster level against a DC of 25.
Distraction (Sp): A 3rd level merchant's patter is so distracting that it will distract the attention of his audience if they fail Concentration rolls (DC 10+Level+Cha Mod). It affects any targeted creatures within 30' if they and the merchant share a common language. Affected creatures suffer a -4 penalty to attacks and skill rolls for one round. This will disrupt a target's spellcasting.
Eyes in the Back of his Head (Ex): A 4th level merchant is so used to looking around him that he cannot be flanked, except by a rogue of four or more levels. This is cumulative with rogue or barbarian levels with regard to Improved Uncanny Dodge.
Calm Emotions (Sp): By fourth level, the merchant's talk acts as the Calm Emotions spell, at will, DC = 10+Level+Cha bonus.
Suggestion (Sp): A 5th level merchant is so persuasive that his chatter acts as the Suggestion spell, up to (3+Charisma Mod) times per day. DC = 10+Level+Cha bonus.
Silvertongue (Ex): A 5th level merchant can communicate with any living creature of Int 3 or more, though it's likely to be quite slow.
Sense Wealth (Sp): A 5th level merchant can sense the presence of wealth, be it on a person, in a locked chest or even in someone's name. He perceives no details of the type or quantity of wealth, merely that it exists. Roll d20 + Level + Wisdom Mod. The base DC is 25 for 1000gp, range 5'. Increase or decrease the DC by 1 for each halving or doubling of the quantity; increase the DC by 5 for each extra 5' of range.

House Rules New Spells Level 0 Domain Spells Armour and Weapons New Feats Fumbles Monsters
Aaargh home Last Revised 7/4/07