Barkeeper (3.5e Class)

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He's been handing you drinks. He's been listening to your lame bragging about killing some orcs in a dark, murky place. He's kept you from burning his place down... how many times now? And now he's out with you... to adventure.

Making a Barkeeper[edit]

Characteristics: Barkeepers are good at talking to people, both sober and drunk, so they can serve as the face and information gatherer. With their ability to just pick up anything and join a brawl they are tough enough to stand on their own in combat, and the drinks they mix can power up the other party members.

Religion: Barkeepers are willing to follow any religion that supports drinking and entertainment, though sometimes they may choose to follow no religion at all to provide a non-biased locale for those with extra coin to lose themselves for an hour or two.

Races: Contrary to common perception, not every barkeeper is a dwarf. But most look like one after a few years. Humans, half-orcs, halflings, half-elves—barkeepers can be of pretty much any race.

Background: Bars and inns are found in cities and the countryside, so they can come from anywhere. Some come from a family of farmers, some from craftsmen, others inherit an establishment, others are entrepreneurs looking to make a little coin.

Other classes: Barkeepers are fine with everyone as long as they're able to relax, lay back and have a drink. While this works with pretty much anyone, some monks and stiffed-up paladins can cause some arguments. Probably the best companions will be fighters, rogues and bards.

Role: While barkeepers are happy to let others do the heavy frontlining and the spellcasting to others, they excel when the party has to interact with the common people. And of course, no-one is better at down-and-dirty bar-room brawling.

Abilities: Barkeepers need Constitution to keep standing every night, and they need some Charisma to keep the customers, standing or otherwise. Strength also is helpful for ending those bar-room brawls quickly and tidilly, without much loss of property.

Alignment: Any. If you're in a bar, watch out for the place's name to get a clue.

Starting Gold: As rogue.

Starting Age Simple.

Height and Weight Any, though as a rule, you know a barkeep serves good product if he looks like he's sampled a few in his day.

Table: The Barkeeper

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Improvised Weapon Damage 1 AC Bonus
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Professional Standing, Improvised Weapon Proficiency, Barkeep's Knowledge 1d6 +0
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Straight Knockout 1d6 +0
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Brew Potion 1d6 +0
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Mettle, Do I Know You? 1d8 +0
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 AC Bonus, Not In My Bar 1d8 +1
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Quick Gulp, You Could Use Another 1d8 +1
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Tavern Talk, Inebriation Exploitation, Mobile Bar 1d8 +1
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 Improved Unarmed Strike 1d10 +1
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 Braumeister 1d10 +1
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 Locate Bar 1d10 +2
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7 Master Of The Tavern Brawl 1d10 +2
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Improved Shield Bash 2d6 +2
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 House Special 2d6 +2
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9 We don't serve their kind here 2d6 +2
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +9 Really Quick Gulp 2d6 +3
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 I Need a Drink 2d8 +3
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 It Has That Effect 2d8 +3
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Improved Mettle 2d8 +3
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 We All Need a Drink 2d8 +3
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Never Lost a Customer 2d10 +4
  1. The value shown is for improvised one-handed melee weapons in the hands of Medium characters. See Table: Improvised Weapon Damage by Barkeeper and Weapon Size for Small or Large barkeepers.
Skill Points: 8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level

Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the barkeeper.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Barkeepers are proficient with all simple weapons, improvised weapons (see below), light armors, and all shields except tower shields.

Spell-like abilities: At higher levels, barkeepers gain a number of spell-like abilities. The barkeeper uses Charisma as the casting stat. His caster level is equal to his class level.

Professional Standing: Most barkeepers have never learned anything else, but they're good at what they do. At first level, they receive Skill Focus (Profession (bartender)) as a bonus feat.

A Barkeeper can take one shot of alcohol per class level per day without any consequences, i.e. he does not need to make a Fortitude save against the effect and it does not count when adding the number of shots he took for a Fortitude save DC.

Improvised Weapon Proficiency: The barkeeper is proficient in any kind of improvised weapon, i.e. anything that can be used to hit people even though this is not the original purpose of the item. Examples are empty or broken bottles, chairs, tables, pool cues, plates... The DM should use common sense to attribute size (light, one-handed or two-handed) and damage type (piercing, slashing or bludgeoning) to an improvised weapon. As for damage, refer to the table below. For example, a broken bottle would be a light piercing weapon, a chair would be a two-handed bludgeoning weapon.

As the barkeeper gains levels, he can use improvised weapons more effectively and deals more damage with them. The following table lists damage ratings for improvised weapons by both the size of the barkeeper and the size of the weapon, and the barkeeper level.

Table: Improvised Weapon Damage by Barkeeper and Weapon Size
Small Barkeeper Light Weapon One-Handed Weapon Two-Handed Weapon - -
Medium Barkeeper - Light Weapon One-Handed Weapon Two-Handed Weapon -
Large Barkeeper - - Light Weapon One-Handed Weapon Two-Handed Weapon
Level 1st–3rd 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8 2d6
Level 4th–7th 1d4 1d6 1d8 2d6 3d6
Level 8th–11th 1d6 1d8 1d10 2d8 3d8
Level 12th–15th 1d8 1d10 2d6 3d6 4d6
Level 16th–19th 1d10 2d6 2d8 3d8 4d8
Level 20th 2d6 2d8 2d10 4d8 6d8

Improvised shields: Some items can be used as improvised shields, especially plates (buckler), chairs (light shield) and tables (heavy or tower shield), and the barkeeper is also proficient in these. Improvised shields count as one-handed improvised weapons for shield bash damage.

Improvised thrown weapons: The barkeeper can use any improvised weapon as a thrown weapon with a range increment of 10 ft.

Barkeep's Knowledge: You'd be surprised what you hear when you serve drinks to epic wizards. Functions as the Bard ability Bardic Knowledge for all intents and purposes.

'Straight Knockout: Barkeepers regularly have to take out troublemakers without bloodshed. With this training, they can do nonlethal damage with any lethal weapon without the usual -4 penalty to the attack

.Brew Potion:' The barkeeper gains Brew Potion as a bonus feat, even if he does not fulfill the prerequisites.
Since he does not have spellcasting ability, he can make a Craft (brewing) check DC 20 + spell caster level of the potion to emulate it. He can also use the Craft (brewing) skill instead of Spellcraft to identify a potion. The DC is the same (25).

Mettle (Ex): Barkeepers are used to dealing with a lot of stuff and they're not easy to take out. Every time a barkeeper passes a save against a spell, or effect, that allows a Will or Fortitude save for a reduced effect, he instead suffers no effect.

Do I Know You?: Barkeepers have met nearly everyone from their surrounding area, and as such have quite an extensive network of friends. Once per combat, the Barkeeper may make a Knowledge (Local) check. If he succeeds, one humanoid enemy becomes friendly with the barkeeper (though not the party).

AC Bonus: Due to his training in ducking drunken punches and flying bottles, the barkeeper gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC, starting at 5th level. The bonus increases by +1 every 5 levels.

Not In My Bar (Ex): If the barkeeper is in a bar when a fight breaks out, he gains 2 temporary hit points per class level. These hit points go away at the end of the encounter.

Quick Gulp: The barkeeper can drink a potion as a move action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. To do that, he must have the potion ready in a belt or a similar, easy to reach place.

You Could Use Another: No one can resist a barkeeper with an ale in his hand. So long as he holds an alcoholic beverage in-hand, the barkeeper can make a Diplomacy check with one non-hostile humanoid opposed by the target's Sense Motive. If the barkeeper succeeds, he may give the target said alcoholic beverage and the target will drink it. Though this technique could be used to poison potential assassination victims, non-evil barkeepers frown upon such a use.

Tavern Talk: The barkeeper can make a Gather Information check in 1d6 x 10 minutes, provided that there is a bar around. In addition, he gains another Skill Focus as a bonus feat. He can choose between Gather Information, Diplomacy and Sense Motive as the skill.

Inebriation Exploitation: The Barkeeper has spent so much time among drunk people that he knows how to use the condition to his advantage. The Barkeeper gets +4 on all skill checks when the target is at least slightly intoxicated.

Mobile Bar (Ex): You can take the barkeeper out of the bar, but you can never take the bar out of the barkeeper. For 10 minutes per day per class level, the Barkeeper can have the area around him in a 20 foot square be treated as a Bar for the purposes of his abilities, including Not In My Bar.

Improved Unarmed Strike: The barkeeper gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat.

Braumeister: The barkeeper can brew a potion in just 10 minutes per spell level. In addition, he incurs half the gp and XP cost. This does not stack with other feats that reduce item creation costs. He gainst Skill Focus: Craft (Brewing) as a bonus feat.

Locate Bar (Sp): Once per day, the barkeeper can use the Locate Object spell as a spell-like ability, to locate a bar or an inn, or any other place that sells alcohol.

Master Of The Tavern Brawl: As long as the barkeeper carries an improvised weapon, he can attack with it as if he had the Power Attack feat. As a swift action, the barkeeper can pick up something that serves as an improvised weapon, no matter how improbable that might be under the circumstances (DM permitting).

Improved Shield Bash: The barkeeper gains Improved Shield Bash as a bonus feat.

House Special: The barkeeper can make potions that contain spells of higher than 3rd level. These are: Cure Critical Wounds (4th), Death Ward (4th), Neutralize Poison (4th), Remove Curse (4th), Restoration (4th)

Really Quick Gulp: Once per round, the barkeeper can down a potion as a swift action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

I Need A Drink (Sp): Once per day, the barkeeper can use Teleport as per spell as a spell-like ability. The target of the teleport must be a bar, inn or similar establishment.

We don't serve their kind here: When using an improvised weapon, the barkeeper ignores damage reduction.

It Has That Effect: Once per day per Constitution bonus, the barkeeper can drink a shot of any alcoholic drink. This drink is treated as a potion of his choice, of a spell up to third level. There is no XP or gp cost. Using this power is a standard action.

We All Need A Drink (Sp): Once per day, the barkeeper can use Greater Teleport as per spell as a spell-like ability. The target of the teleport must be a bar, inn or similar establishment.

Improved Mettle: Everytime the barkeeper fails a Will or Fortitude save against an effect that has a reduced effect if you make the save, he takes the effect as if he had made that save.

Never Lost a Customer: The Barkeeper can create a special concoction that works as a Potion of Raise Dead. As per Braumeister, he must pay half of the raw material cost.


You could be a movie star, if you could just get out of this place. The truth is, once you are a barkeeper, you stay one. If you consider the amount of time that adventurers hang out in taverns, there isn't really a difference anyway. In fact, there are probably more adventurers who retire and become barkeepers, than there are barkeepers who retire and become adventurers.

Epic Barkeeper[edit]

Table: The Epic Barkeeper Hit Die: d6
Level Special AC Bonus
21st - +4
22nd - +4
23rd Bonus Feat +4
24th - +4
25th - +5
26th Bonus Feat +5
27th - +5
28th - +5
29th Bonus Feat +5
30th - +6

8 + Int modifier skill points per level.

AC Bonus: The barkeeper's AC bonus is increased to +5 at level 25, +1 for every 5 levels after that.

Talk Bonus: The barkeeper's talk bonus (see above) is raised to +7 at level 21 and increases every 3 levels.

Bonus Feats: The epic barkeeper gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic barkeeper bonus feats) every 3 levels after 20th.

Epic Barkeeper Bonus Feat List:

Dwarven Barkeeper Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Beer Bottle (Improvised Weapon, 1-handed/Thrown (10ft Range))

Armor: Padded Armor (Light Armor), armor bonus +1

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 8 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Appraise 4 Int
Bluff 4 Cha
Craft (brewing) 4 Int
Diplomacy 4 Cha
Gather Information 4 Cha
Knowledge (local) 4 Int
Intimidate 4 Cha
Profession (barkeeper) 4 Wis
Sense Motive 4 Wis
Spot 4 Wis
Sleight of Hand 4 Dex 0

Feat: Weapon Focus

Gear: Standard Adventurer's Kit, beer keg

Gold: 5d4x10 (125 gp)

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Barkeeper[edit]

Religion: In the Greek pantheon, Dionysos, patron of wine and debauchery is also the patron of barkeepers. However, any deity that does not frown upon inebriation and well-meaning exploitation of drunkards would work as a deity. Olidammara would be a good choice for a barkeep, though depending on how the character is played, Kord and even Pelor would be good matches.

Other Classes: Fighters, with their inherent strength, tend to make good barkeepers in rough lands. However, they're more suited to be bouncers for the bars in more well-off cities. This goes doubly so for Barbarians, though depending on the level of culture the bar wishes to bring, even they may be turned down from a position working there unless they straighten up. Bards make good barkeepers, as their knack for entertainment would keep patrons coming in, if only to witness the latest story over a mug of ale, or to sing along to a tawdry drunken ballad. Depending on the deity followed, Clerics might make the occasional foray into barkeepdom. Druids might be good at barkeeping as well, if only for their knowledge of nature aiding in the brewing of fine brews. Monks, Paladins, and Rangers would not be necessarily a good pick due to their inherent lawfulness. As for Sorcerers and Wizards, there's no reason they could not become barkeeps themselves; And the spells they weave could easily be used as entertainment, and flavor.


We were testing adventurers for a critical mission for the crown. This fat, hairy man came up to me for the sparring test. I picked up my sword, he picked up the waiting bench. I woke up later with a splitting headache...
—Rolfe, Guardsman

Depending on how you roll, you may rely more on feats and skills than actually fighting. Always keep this in mind: The barkeep has to be as flexible as his or her patrons. Do not automatically assume that every fight you are in will be a bar-room brawl. Tact, words, and maybe a little liquid courage may be needed to help diffuse certain situations. After all, property damage is costly.

Advancement: Barkeeps tend to stick to their own bars, though it is possible that one would prefer to be more of an entrepreneur, starting up a chain of bars around the land. It may also be that he sticks to just his one spot, but builds it so that people from around the land come to partake in his liquor.

Barkeepers in the World[edit]

All I did was start a barroom brawl...I did it in every town. But this Barkeep. He was crazy...
—Key, a thief

Daily Life: Get up, make sure the floor is wiped, make sure the kegs are clean, make sure enough beer is in the cellar, open bar, start serving customers, keep serving customers all night, make sure the last guests get home safe, close the bar, go home, sleep.

Notables: Every NPC barkeep in every published setting ever.

Organizations: Barkeeps will typically meet in their bars with other local barkeepers to exchange stories about drunk patrons and the adventures had by both the barkeepers and their customers, whether they be a notable barroom fight or a quest to find ingredients for a new ale or liquor. Some of these meetings will eventually develop into guilds of sorts whose size is variable dependent on the size of the town or city. These guilds can be a great place for the exchange of information surrounding the development of skills as a barkeeper, including class abilities, customer service, and the brewing and distilling of alcohol. A formal organization of barkeepers can also be a dangerous place for certain people since someone with something to hide, such as the nobility, may have accidentally let something slip to a barkeeper after one too many drinks, which could easily be used against them by the guild. These organizations also get along famously with the more roguish members of society since both barkeepers and rogues regularly associate with similar people and rogues will frequent bars to get information or have a good time.

NPC Reactions: Many people love barkeepers since they know about alcohol and provide a good service too society. Some people who see drinking as an indecent activity may view barkeepers as equally indecent for drinking themselves and also serving others spirits. Most people are more just the types that notice a barkeeper and either walk on by or just order another drink.

Barkeeper Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Bardic Lore or Knowledge (any) can research barkeepers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (any) or Bardic Lore
DC Result
5 Some barkeepers are far more talented than most people at handling customers and fighting a rough crowd.
10 The technique of a barkeeper allows for impressive skill with improvised weaponry, and the ability to drink like a dwarf at a halfling wedding.
15 Some barkeepers have almost superhuman skill at fighting and drinking, as well as the ability to brew potions.
20 Barkeepers may, with enough training, learn to teleport themselves and customers, breathe flames after drinking ale, and even gain mystical powers while drinking.

Barkeepers in the Game[edit]

Barkeepers stand behind bars, mix and serve drinks, and listen to the stories of their customers. When there is trouble, they kick people out.

Adaptation: The concept might need some tweaking for cultures that do not consume alcoholic beverages in public venues.

Sample Encounter: Doesn't every adventure ever played start in a bar?

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