Talk:Merchant (3.5e Class)

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Here are my thoughts...

Uncanny Barter: Beginning at level 2, the merchant sells his items at a minimun price of 75% the  
market price value instead of 50%, provided that he has succesfully identified and appraised the item. 
In addition to this, he may also attempt a Diplomacy roll when bartering to increase his selling 
price, adding his Uncanny Barter bonus to this roll. The bonus is +1 at lvl 2, +2 at lvl 6 and +3 at 
lvl 13. He rolls against DC 25 to sell the item at full market price. For every 5 points past 25 in 
his roll, he adds 10% to his selling price. You cannot try again.

So it would be a DC 55 to sell an item for 60% above what you bought it at? May I point you to Politico (3.5e Character Optimization). I see problems even for a non-munchkin being able to purchase magic items and them sell them for more than they bought them for. Infinite gold is bad. Forcing DMs to have to come up with house rules to stop infinite gold is also bad.

Black Market: Gaining access to the Black Market means the merchant may now purchase items at 50% the 
base price. The origin of the items, however, is uncertain, and as such, the purchase of rare or 
unique items may attract unwanted attention to the merchant dealings (DM's discretion).

I'd make more explicit rules for using the black market. It shouldn't have to bu up to the DM to implement the rules (or be arbitrary for that matter!). This also gets crazy synergy with Uncanny Barter.

Master trader: The merchant adds his Intelligence modifier to all trade related skills as specified 
in the bonus Skill Focus feat gained at first level. If the key ability of the skill is 
Intelligence, he adds it again. Furthermore, he can now take 20 in any Appraise or Diplomacy check.

Using a modifier to a skill twice is REALLY good. This ability alone makes the merchant possibly a better skill-monkey than a rogue at 20th lvl.

Bribery: The merchant can use his wealth to sway others into doing his bidding. Whenever the 
Merchant makes a Diplomacy check to change the attitude of others, he may spend gold pieces or items 
to add a bonus to his Diplomacy check. He adds a +1 circumstance bonus for every 100 gp invested, up 
to a maximum of +15 (1500 gp). This abilty does not work on non-intelligent creatures, undeads, 
constructs, or creatures that are otherwise unable to comprehend the merchant (this includes 
creatures unable to speak). There is no possibility of reroll. The merchant is very skilled in 
making this bribery look like it is no such thing, therefore the attitude of no creature of 
intelligence lower than 18 may be lowered as a result of this roll.

This ability seems to make the character the best "Diplomancer" ever made. That doesn't even start to get into infinite gold synergies.

I like the spells and BAB. I like the saves and skill points. I just think some of the abilities that may seem innocent are actually crazy good. --Aarnott 17:44, 3 April 2007 (MDT)

What would you change to make this better? Would you like to help make this good (adopt this)? --Green Dragon 13:12, 7 April 2007 (MDT)
Yes, actually after talking about it with a friend of mine, I realized that Bribery skill may be broken in combination with the uncanny barter. Diplomacy could in fact go epic by level 2, given enough gold.
Deep down I think the problem with this class is that is very Campaign dependent to be balanced. In a medium to low arcana type of adventure, where each magic item is at a premium, the merchant is truly underpowered (I don't see him making that much gp by selling common armor, for example). However, if by the first session all of the PCs in your campaign have +1 weapons, armors, amulets, etc, then I would argue that the merchant has the potential to literally buy his way out of everything. Alternatively, in the campaigns I usually participate money exponentially decreases in importance as the game advances. Specially when spells like Wish start to showing up.
The other big problem I see with the build is that sometimes economy is a sketchy subject at best. I would argue that Uncanny Barter, for example, is downright inapplicable in some settings, and there should be, in fact, a cap to the "total gold" in a given kingdom, or to put it in other words, it should be impossible to get infinite gold in a realistic setting. I recognize the abilities in this sense end up being too DM dependent, and that is certainly not good.
Uncanny Barter is IMHO not broken. The first part is in fact (unintentionally, I didn't know about it until I saw it) losely based on a feat from the Player's Guide to Faerun (Forgotten Realms), the regional feat "Mercantile Background". Since the best case scenario is you get to sell an item at 120% the selling price, wich is arguably not much in the first levels. It can get out of control if you go to deep into Diplomacy, so I'm thinking about capping it at 125% the base price or so. Plus, it is not stated specifically, but the DM should be quite liberal when applying modifiers to this particular skill. Why would an arms dealer full of +1 swords buy your +1 sword at an inflated price?. I do feel that I should limit the ability nonetheless, maybe capping it or increasing the DC? Or, better yet, since the barter is in fact a negotiation, the DC is actually an opposed Diplomacy Check in wich the Business owner has bonuses according to what the DM perceives to be the economic situation, as discussed above.
Black market is dangerous, and as you mention has crazy sinergy with uncanny barter, and the only reason I kept it from my original conception is because is also an automatic hook generator. But it something had to get canned, it would be this. What do you think?
Market trader bonus applies to a very limited list of skills (Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Decipher Script, Forgery, Gather information, Handle Animal, Sense Motive, Profession (any), Craft (any).), so I don't think it really competes with a rogue. It does, however, apply to Diplomacy checks, which could prove a problem if the epic usage is allowed (and even if it's not...). Maybe apply half this bonus? It is however, a lvl 20 ability. By now, monks are outsiders, rogues are almost immune to fireballs, druids can transform into Huge elementals, and so on, so I think in comparison it's not really that unbalanced. Another posibility would be for the bonus to apply to only one skill, altough that eliminates the "Master trader" flavor.
To be perfectly honest, I haven't had the chance to try it out yet, but some stuff may have to much synergy for its own good.
The character concept is really quite simple: it's a mediocre fighter, utilitarian spellcaster (has close to no offensive spells, unless you use Shrink offensively - shrink boulder, throw pebble, enlarge as a free action -), but can amass a fortune quickly. And the second concept that I wanted to introduce is that he uses money as a weapon.
I couldn't feasibly create an attack that throws gp at opponents, or something that made no sense. That's when I came across the Bribery idea, with the "more money spent, the farther you get" concept. It ended up being quite unbalanced, as a lvl 2 character with heavy focus in Diplomacy (5 ranks + 4 Cha mod + 3 skill focus + 2 Sinergy from bluff + 2 Sinergy from Knowledge (nobility) + 2 Sinergy from Sense Motive + 2 from Negotiator feat = +20 Diplomacy bonus) could, as I mentioned, go epic with the full Brivery bonus (+35 total bonus). Arguably, you can go epic fairly early with bluff + Glibness too, but that's another matter entirely.
To balance Bribery I would probably take out the bonus and make it so that the money invested actually enables you to improve the attitude to indifferent with a succesful roll (meaning you invest money to keep all your diplomacy DCs at 20). That would probably balance the ability. To power it back up a bit, I would make it possible for the PC to use this ability rushed without the -10 DC to the check (so as to use it in a "pre-combat" situation).
I'll try to make these changes and see how it looks. Thanks a bunch for all the imput and keep it coming. Also, if you have the opportunity to test it I would be much obliged.
Ps: I'm really not an expert at this wiki stuff, I hope my answer is formatted correctly ^_^ --Ronjun 01:05, 9 April 2007 (MDT)
There, I made some of the changes, what do you think now? I eliminated Black Market alltogether, and nerfed Bribery and Uncanny Barter. I didn't touch Master Trader as I still feel is not that big of a deal, as it only applies to a few select skills. I may want to narrow the list even further, tough. BTW, do you think it should have a worse BAB progression? Right now is at the "middle" level.
Again, thanks for all the help, and keep the sugestions coming. --Ronjun 01:37, 9 April 2007 (MDT))
Good work! I find the class to be a lot less broken now (a lot less is needed from the DM to make this class work, which is a lot better). I'd keep the BAB as it is and the spells as they are. They give the Merchant a capability to do stuff in combat. I still think Master Trader is extremely powerful, but on second glance at the skills it boosts, probably not as overpowered as I thought (craft skills and knowledge skills don't usually grant raw power). The class definitely will have a better balanced place, but I think it is still quite up to the DM to create that place for this class. In that way, I'd say this class is great if the campaign is designed to allow it, but should be carefully considered otherwise. Maybe you should put some sort of DMs note to that effect at the top. --Aarnott 13:51, 9 April 2007 (MDT)
Will do! Thanks for the help! (Ronjun 17:23, 9 April 2007 (MDT))

Rating - 7/10[edit]

A good class, almost useless in combat but in urban adventures where mercenarys are easy to find can become pretty powerful. Can get scary high diplomacy skills. Overall very fun to play. I say 7.5/10 (changed by Green Dragon to 7 as only whole numbers are allowed). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sakurasboy (talkcontribs) 12:08, 31 July 2007 (MDT). Please sign your posts!

This rating has been nullified with the implementation of the new Rating System. --Green Dragon 22:46, 20 February 2008 (MST)


Formatting - 3/5: I give this a 3 out of 5 on formatting because it uses an old style table (see the preload for the modern table), does not have enough links to the SRD, does not have any links to the class features from the table, and uses it's own formatting for the epic section (once again, see the preload for the correct epic section formatting). --Green Dragon 01:00, 24 February 2008 (MST)


Power - 4/5 I give this class a 4 out of 5 because it can be powerful even without a high arcane setting, however a DM must be careful so the Merchant's crazy high diplomacy doesn't twist every NPC to her will --Sakurasboy 21:59, 7 March 2008 (MST)

Wording - 4/5 I give this class a 4 out of 5 because it's understandable but some finer details may be debatable. --Sakurasboy 21:59, 7 March 2008 (MST)

Formatting - 5/5 I give this class a 5 out of 5 because it's readable and not overly complex to guide your way through it. --Sakurasboy 21:59, 7 March 2008 (MST)

Flavor - 5/5 I give this class a 4 out of 5 because it's one of the few classes that doesn't rely on magic of great power or brute force. Plus it gives a neat little twist to political campaigns. Could make a better NPC than a PC though. --Sakurasboy 21:59, 7 March 2008 (MST)

Why spellcasting?[edit]

So, looking over this, the non-magical class features aren't too bad, but why add spellcasting? Does a merchant really HAVE to be a spellcaster? Plenty of merchants wouldn't cast spells. -- Danzig 00:21, 26 January 2010 (UTC)


Power - 4/5 I give this class a 4 out of 5 because there are a few things that could be improved. 1. Adding concentration to the skill list, seeing as merchant is somewhat a caster. There are some useful feats based on concentration 2. Either gaining spells like a wizard or going to a bard system for gaining spells. If someone had to buy all their spells, they probably wouldn't bother. -- 00:32, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Wording - 5/5 I give this class a 5 out of 5 because it was well organized -- 00:32, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Formatting - 5/5 I give this class a 5 out of 5 because it was well formatted and easy to understand -- 00:32, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Flavor - 4.5/5 I give this class a 4.5 out of 5 because overall the flavor is excellent. However, the fact that the class gets high reflex saves and low fortitude saves seems to be odd. -- 00:32, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

I am looking for a Merchant class for a setting without magick.


I've been doing some testing of this class in several campaign types.

Game types: In a world where you're often on the road, only to rest in villages and small towns before your off to your next adventure, the class is a great addition to a group. In this type of adventure my character started out with some horses and wagons, to transport large amounts of trade goods, Clothes, jewelery, and different types of foods to sell, at each town and village. It didn't take me very long to gain large amounts of favors, new cargo from trading, large filled bags and pockets full of money. As long as my group kept on good terms with my character, they lived a life of wealth and happiness. If they needed some sort of item upgrades, they could come to me and i'd see to getting it. Infomation was also a great way of earning money. If your the kind of person who simply enjoys making quick money to buy new gear and hack&slash 5minutes later, then the merchant can provide you with the options to do so, even though he lacks in damage spells, and great destructive abilities. And if your the type who enjoys the acutal roleplay that can be gained though a game this class is also perfect for you. You can have near ENDLESS interaction with NPC's, which can give you alot of depth and lore into the setting that your playing.

Needless to say, this class is the ultimate choice if your playing in a city heavy game. If your spending ALOT of your time in a game, where say "Your group are the owners of a small town". If done right your merchant would quickly be able to raise in status and become the number one export & Import of the town, and would be able to help it grow at a rapid rate. Needless to say ofcause, should your merchant be a generous & goodhearted person he would quickly gain the trust of the entire town. And an enemy would be the towns enemy.

  • Caim_Frostheart*
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