Traveling Merchant Adventurer (3.5e Class)
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Traveling Merchant Adventurer
This class is a variation of the Merchant class. Since every class has an opportunity to sell items in a merchant way, this variant overlay class was created to accommodate this idea. To use this variant, chose any base class. Saves, Base Attack Bonus and spells and other abilities come from the base class. The starting gold, number of skills and additional class skills and abilities from the Traveling Merchant Adventurer class are added to those of the base class. Previous items in the Merchant class were removed to make this class including spell lists, spells per day, saves, attack bonuses and trade routes. Most were removed in favor of the base class although trade routes were removed under the idea that this class would remain traveling from place to place and would not be in a position to create trade routes.
Note to DMs
The Traveling Merchant Adventurer class revolves somewhat on the economy of your world, and as such, it is, in a sense, highly DM-dependent. In a high arcana world with plenty of magic items, the Traveling Merchant Adventurer might become too powerful a class variant despite the fact that at first glance, many of its abilities seem innocent or heavily underpowered. In an extreme low arcana setting, the Traveling Merchant Adventurer will fall back on their base class with a hint of bard (a good negotiator), finding themselves somewhat taxed when it comes to buying spells or bonus feats. The abilities you must watch closely are Uncanny Barter and Bribery. The first one, because it stands to reason that it should depend directly on your economy, the latter because it depends on the former.
Traveling Merchant Adventurers are as complex in their actions as they are straightforward in their objectives, namely, to turn a profit. Traveling Merchant Adventurers represent prosperity and civility, while their thirst for wealth caters to a more adventurous life style, always in search of the perfect product or to establish a more profitable trade route. They excel at gathering information, bartering and negotiating their way out of all but the most dire of situations. Usually, they resort to bribery should it further their agenda, and have an uncanny ability to make even the most strict individuals take these "gifts" (often without their knowing it).
Adventure: A Traveling Merchant Adventurer adventures for the possibility of obtaining wealth, which in turn may be used to establish his business empire or for some other purpose the character might desire. Traveling Merchant Adventurers have no shame in admitting to this, and while they would never willingly risk their lives for the usual "causes", their lust for gold tends to make them take more risks than they should. For a Traveling Merchant Adventurer it is never a bad idea to check out the red dragon's lair to see if there's an interesting bargain to be had, or treasure to be obtained.
Characteristics: Roguish in their approach, bardish in their demeanor, and with a penchant to outshine most clerics with their fervent belief in the power of money, Traveling Merchant Adventurers are at the same time generalists and experts. They are heavily focused on bartering and negotiating, making them the ideal face of the party. In combat, they are as useful as their base class, but their ability to "throw money" at problems means they will be better equipped (armor and weapon-wise) than the average character of the same level.
Alignment: Money has no preferred alignment, nor does the Traveling Merchant Adventurer. While they tend to favor neutrality (for it broadens their customer base), it is not unheard of of good Traveling Merchant Adventurers that act as patrons of the arts or benefactors to their towns or cities.
Religion: They favor travel, wealth and trade deities above all others, but any worship of choice will do.
Background: Traveling Merchant Adventurers have the most diverse backgrounds. Sometimes the inherited their family business, sometimes they come from poverty and have the will to overcome their disadvantageous starts. They usually learn the principles of the craft by two means. Specialized Traveling Merchant Adventurers (such as jewelers, magic wand dealers, etc) are more likely to have been trained under the watchful eye of a fellow expert in the field, while the more generalist Traveling Merchant Adventurers learn the trade directly from the streets.
Races: While all races have Traveling Merchant Adventurers, their sociability and flexibility makes humans and half-elves the most likely races to take up the Traveling Merchant Adventurer career path. The money loving Ikasus take an easy knack to the Traveling Merchant Adventurer career as well, given their high charisma and intelligence.
Other Classes: Traveling Merchant Adventurers make a purpose in and of itself to get along with anyone they encounter, even if it is just for the sake of making a new contact that may open new business opportunities. They get along perfectly with rogues, who share their outlook on life. They also relate well to bards, understanding their sociability and their need for attention. Paladins and good aligned clerics tend to distrust Traveling Merchant Adventurers, regarding them as nothing more than money grubbing trouble mongers. The monk isolationist and self sufficient demeanor means he has no common ground with a Traveling Merchant Adventurer, and they tend to ignore each other (a monk really is not a good customer prospect). Barbarians and warriors tend to see eye-to-eye with Traveling Merchant Adventurers, especially when they are in their pay roll. Wizards and Sorcerers contact Traveling Merchant Adventurers for spell components or rare items, and tolerate their jolly behavior to the best of their ability.
Role: The best role of the Traveling Merchant Adventurer, aside from their primary base class, is as face of the group. He will obtain information, pull some strings and call in some favors to get to his objective. In combat, the Traveling Merchant Adventurer is essentially the same as their base class.
Game Rule Information
Traveling Merchant Adventurers have the following game statistics:
Abilities: Charisma is the most important attribute for a Traveling Merchant Adventurer, aside from stats required by the base class. Getting along well with people is his first business, and his limited spell selection is Charisma based. Intelligence is a close second: a stupid Traveling Merchant Adventurer is a broke one. Constitution and dexterity may be of importance to improve his durability in battle.
Starting Age: Complex, since Traveling Merchant Adventurers will have spent some time developing their merchant skills.
Starting Money: 300gp
|1st||Skill Focus, Equipped, Trade Knowledge|
|2nd||Contacts +1, Bribery, Uncanny Barter +1|
|6th||Leadership, Uncanny Barter +2|
|13th||Uncanny Barter +3|
Class Skills (9+ Int modifier per level; ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Traveling Merchant Adventurer:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Traveling Merchant Adventurer is proficient with weapons of their base class and armor will affect casting as per their base class.
Bonus Languages: A Traveling Merchant Adventurer starts with the major languages of humanoids: Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Hafling, and Orc. Having traveled a great deal before starting adventuring, they have picked up on how others speak in their travels in order to expand their customer base.
Spells: A Traveling Merchant Adventurer casts spells as their base class.
Traveling Merchant Adventurer register: Spell-caster Traveling Merchant Adventurers keep their spells in a Merchant register which resembles a spellbook. He begins with spells as normal for his base class, but the Traveling Merchant Adventurer does not automatically gain new spells as he gains levels. Instead, they must be purchased or by other means, such as copying from a spellbook or a scroll.
Bonus Feats from base class: Similar to spells, bonus feats are also not learned automatically and must be purchased at a rate of 1,000 gp for the first, 1,500 for the 2nd and so forth. While this can be expensive for fighters and other melee classes which have a great deal of bonus feats, they do not need to buy spells as spellcasters do.
Skill Focus: A level 1 Traveling Merchant Adventurer gains the Skill Focus feat. Selectable skills are: Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Decipher Script, Forgery, Gather information, Handle Animal, Sense Motive, Profession (any), Craft (any).
Equipped: The Traveling Merchant Adventurer starts his adventures with 300 gp and a Masterwork weapon of his choice.
Trade Knowledge: Like a bard, you have a knack for picking up odds and ends of knowledge. This ability works like the bardic knowledge class feature. If you have bard levels, your Traveling Merchant Adventurer levels and bard levels do NOT stack for the purpose of using bardic knowledge or trade knowledge.
Contacts: Once per week per bonus point of the ability you have the chance to pull some strings in order to gain some advantage or obtain some information. You make a contact roll, 1d20+Cha+Contact bonus. The DC to beat depends on the kind of favor you are requesting, as follows:
DC 10 – Simple request: Obtain information regarding matters not known to the common public.
DC 15 – Average request: Obtain secret information (for example, a secret entrance to the castle), obtain simple aid (for example, obtain lodging for one night).
DC 20 – Difficult request: Obtain information that risks the life of the informer, obtain more complex aid (for example, a loan).
DC 25 – Illegal request: Obtain information that is forbidden and may attract the interest of powerful individuals, obtain a forbidden item, request aid to assassinate, etc.
The DM should determine the DC according to the request, and must take into account the availability of contacts (for example, finding a contact in a desert is close to impossible and the DM might disallow it). The contacts ability may in no way enable a player to circumvent adventuring.
At lvl 1 you get a +1 Contacts bonus, and then at lvl 11 and 17 you get a +2 and +3 respectively.
Bribery: The Traveling Merchant Adventurer can use his wealth to sway others into doing his bidding. Whenever the Traveling Merchant Adventurer makes a Diplomacy check to change the attitude of others, he may spend gold pieces or items to improve the effect of his Diplomacy check. He may invest 100 gp per HD of the creature per level of attitude to improve, while still keeping the DC of the next attitude level. For example, a hostile 2 HD creature may be bribed with 600 GP to improve his attitude to Friendly, while keeping the DC at 20 (that would originally improve the attitude one level, up to Unfriendly). You cannot improve the attitude beyond Helpful with this ability, even with further uses of Diplomacy. This abilty does not work on non-intelligent creatures, undeads, constructs, or creatures that are otherwise unable to comprehend the Traveling Merchant Adventurer (this includes creatures unable to speak). The Traveling Merchant Adventurer 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. You may used Bribery while rushed with half the normal penalty for a rushed Diplomacy check (that is, a -5 penalty).
Uncanny Barter: Beginning at level 2, the Traveling Merchant Adventurer sells his items at a minimun price of 75% the market price value instead of 50%, provided that he has successfully 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 makes an opposed Diplomacy check against the potential buyer. If the Traveling Merchant Adventurer beats the check, the buyer purchases the item at full market price. If he beats the opposed check by 15 or more, he sells the item at 125% market price.
Connoisseur: Upon reaching level 3, the Traveling Merchant Adventurer has become an expert when it comes to appraising the items of his trade. He automatically and successfully appraises common or well known items. He may also take 10 in his appraise rolls for rare or magic items.
Identify(Sp): Starting at level 5 he may attempt an appraise roll to identify an item, as per the identify spell. The DC is 20 + 1 for every 1000 gp in the base price. Only one attempt per item allowed.
Leadership: At level 6 the Traveling Merchant Adventurer gains Leadership as a bonus feat.
Find Treasure(Sp): From level 8 onward, the Traveling Merchant Adventurer may make a Trade Knowledge roll vs. DC 25 to determine the general direction of an item, as per the Locate Object spell, up to three times per day.
Trading expertise: A Traveling Merchant Adventurer of level 15 with trading expertise may once per month sell a rare item of his choice for twice the market value. This is automatic and needs no Diplomacy roll. It represents the sale of a specific item to a wealthy customer.
Master trader: The Traveling Merchant Adventurer 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.
Epic Traveling Merchant Adventurer
Upon Reaching Epic Level the Traveling Merchant Adventurer gains the following abilities.
Skill points: (9 + Int modifier per level)
Contacts: Every 9 levels starting at level 22 the Epic Traveling Merchant Adventurer's contact bonus goes up another point.
Uncanny Barter: Starting at level 21 and every 7 levels after, the Epic Traveling Merchant Adventurer gains another point to his uncanny barter ability.
Bonus Feat : One every 3 levels about 21.