Economist (3.5e Class)

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An economist with silver standard activated.


Economics is not about things and tangible material objects; it is about men, their meanings and actions.
—Ludwig von Mises, human economist

Making an Economist[edit]

The economist is versatile, to an extent. Because of her opportunity cost, it would be unfair to pigeon-hole her into one set of strengths or weaknesses. An economist may be thought of as a more diversified fighter. As such she combines best with either pure fighter types or pure spell-casters and skilled types.

Abilities: The determining statistic for the economist's special abilities is Intelligence. Beyond that, it's all relative.

Races: Any race may become an economist, but dwarves and humans are most likely, perhaps a reflection of the inherent love of gold or greed that seems to characterize these two species.

Alignment: Any.

Starting Gold: 6d4×10 gp (150 gp).

Starting Age: Moderate.

Table: Economist

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st * ** ** ** Guns or Butter, Opportunity Cost
2nd * ** ** ** Decision Lag, Inflation
3rd * ** ** ** Fiat Currency
4th * ** ** ** Inelastic
5th * ** ** ** Nonrivalrous Consumption
6th * ** ** ** Deflation
7th * ** ** ** Antitrust Statute
8th * ** ** ** Silver Standard
9th * ** ** ** Normative Statement
10th * ** ** ** Speculation
11th * ** ** ** Recognition Lag
12th * ** ** ** Hyperinflation
13th * ** ** ** Ceteris Paribus
14th * ** ** ** Shoe Leather Cost
15th * ** ** ** Free Rider
16th * ** ** ** Hyperdeflation, Knowledge Spillover
17th * ** ** ** Gold Standard
18th * ** ** ** Rainy Day Fund
19th * ** ** ** Fragmentation
20th * ** ** ** Stagflation, Technology Boost

Class Skills (4*** + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Int), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Use Magic Device (Cha).

* An economist's base attack progression is dependent on her opportunity cost.
** An economist's saving throws are dependent on her decision for which base attack progression she chooses as part of her opportunity cost.
*** The economist may receive more than four skill points per level depending on the results of her investment at first level.

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the economist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An economist is proficient with all simple weapons, light armors, and shields, provided she does not choose to train any further (see Guns or Butter).

Guns or Butter: Just as developing nations much choose whether to invest in military or consumer goods, so too must an economist. The economist may increase one of her physical attributes by two (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution), or one of her mental attributes by two (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma). In addition to this, an economist must choose to receive either martial weapon proficiency or two more skill points per level (including 8 at first level due to the multiplier), as well as deciding between medium armor proficiency or a further two skill points per level (again included in the first level multiplier).

Opportunity Cost: Sure it'd be nice to hit like a fighter, dodge like a rogue, and resist spells like wizard, but no one has the time to learn how to do all of that. An economist can choose where she specializes, but her decision will have consequences. If an economist takes a full (+20 at level 20) base attack bonus, she receives only one high (+12 at level 20) save (of her choice). If an economist takes a moderate (+15 at level 20) base attack bonus, she receives two high saves (again, of her choice). If an economist takes a poor (+10 at level 20) base attack bonus, she receives three high saves.

Decision Lag (Ex): The economist's body reacts instantaneous to external threats, even though her brain may be a step behind. If the economist is subject to an ability that would normally allow a Reflex save for half damage, on a successful save the economist takes no damage.

Inflation (Ex): More! But sadly, they're all worth less... A second level economist may make one extra attack per round at her highest base attack bonus, but if she does so he takes a -2 penalty on each of her attacks.

Fiat Currency (Sp): Some currency is backed by guarantee, but not this economist. An economist may enact a mirror image spell once per day for every two economist levels she has.

Inelastic (Ex): An economist is a sturdy individual, resistant to outside fluctuations that attempt to influence her. At fourth level the economist acquires the Iron Will and Great Fortitude feats.

Nonrivalrous Consumption (Ex): A number of times per day equal to her Intelligence modifier (minimum 1), an economist may take an ability that is normally self-targeting (fiat currency, silver standard, gold standard) and have it affect herself and one other individual, whom she must be in contact with or hit with a melee touch attack (if the subject is unwilling). Furthermore, an economist only requires a half-dose from a potion to receive the benefits of a full dose.

Deflation (Ex): Less! But they're worth more! An economist may sacrifice one of her attacks in a round to receive a +2 bonus to all of her other attacks in that round. More than one attack may be sacrificed in this manner. No matter how many times an economist attacks while using this ability, using deflation is considered to be a full-round attack action. An economist cannot combine her inflation and deflation abilities, nor their upgrades.

Antitrust Statute (Sp): At 6th level an economist may cast dispel magic (targeted variant only) at will (with a recharge time of 1d4+1 rounds) with a caster level equal to her economist level.

Silver Standard (Sp): Faith in the system is all well and good, but sometimes is nice to know you're okay when the recession hits. The economist may cast stoneskin as a sorcerer of her level once per day for every four economist levels she has. For the duration of the effect the economist's skin has a silver sheen.

Normative Statement (Sp): Someone should really do something about that... An economist may lace her words with the persuasive powers of economics in an attempt to deliver a suggestion as cast by a sorcerer of her level. The economist may deliver one suggestion per day for every three economist levels she has.

Speculation (Sp): Speculation is inherently evil, unless of course you're the one speculating. An economist may recreate the effects of an major creation once per day for every six economist levels she has without the need for a material component. When trying to figure out where the object of your salvation came from, let's just assume the economist showed great foresight and bought it ahead of time.

Recognition Lag (Ex): My brain says I should be dead, but my body says otherwise... If an economist is targeted by an effect that would allow a Fortitude or Will save for reduced effect, on a successful save the economist suffers no negative effect at all.

Hyperinflation (Ex): As inflation, except an economist now gains two extra attacks at her highest base attack bonus in exchange for taking a -2 penalty on each attack she makes in a given round.

Ceteris Paribus (Sp): All other things being equal (i.e. quit flying away from me you stoneskinned, mage armored, fire shielded, contingency-protected pansy)... I think I could kick your ass. Once per day for every six economist levels she has an economist may create an antimagic field centered on herself.

Shoe Leather Cost (Ex): Keeping up with inflation is an exhausting business. An opponent targeted by an economist's full attack action while the economist is using inflation (or hyperinflation) must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 0.5 ½ economist level + economist's Intelligence modifier) or become fatigued. An opponent who is already fatigued and is targeted by an economist's inflation or hyperinflation full attack action must make a Fortitude save (same DC as before) or become exhausted.

Free Rider: If a beneficial spell or spell-like ability is activated within 50' of an economist, she may make a caster level check (1d20 + economist level) against the opponent's caster level check. If the opponent's caster level check is higher the spell functions as normal. If the economist's check is higher, the spell functions as normal, although the economist receives the same benefits of the spell as the intended recipient(s). An economist can piggyback onto an effect cast by a party friendly to her (who can in turn voluntarily fail their caster level check), but she can only benefit from one spell at a time through the use of this ability. A spell piggybacked by an economist lasts for as long it would normally given the caster's level, although an economist can end the effect prematurely as a free action. If an economist chooses to reap the benefits of a new spell while she is still under the effect of an older one by means of this ability, the older spell is automatically discarded, regardless of the economist's caster level check against the new spell.

A economist with gold standard activated.

Hyperdeflation (Ex): As deflation, except that for each attack sacrificed all other attacks are boosted by +4.

Knowledge Spillover (Sp): All your knowledge belong to us. A 16th level economist may cast brain spider once per day per ten economist levels she has at a caster level equal to her economist level.

Gold Standard (Sp): Because paper sucks. Once per day per ten economist levels she has the economist can now recreate the effects of an iron body spell as cast by a sorcerer of her level. The economist appears to be made of gold rather than iron for the duration of this ability.

Rainy Day Fund (Su): If an economist is reduced to negative hit points, a heal spell is cast upon her as by a cleric of her level as though via a contingency spell. This ability can only be used once per week.

Fragmentation (Ex): The economist has succeeded in globalizing her vital functions throughout her body. She is no longer subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, or sneak attacks.

Stagflation (Su): "... and so when the aggregate supply curve shift shifts to the left at the same time as the aggregate demand curve, the economy is said to be experiencing stagflation, where prices increase while at the same time output falls." An opponent who declares a full attack action against an economist loses his highest base attack bonus for the round, and each subsequent attack take a cumulative -1 penalty (that's the diminishing product of labor, you know). For example, Katarina Juselius is a 20th level economist, who is attacked by a pit fiend. The pitfiend loses one of its claw attacks (+30), takes a -1 penalty on its second claw attack (+30), -2 and -3 penalties on its two wing attacks, respectively, a -4 penalty on its bite attack, and a -5 penalty on its tail slap attack.

Technology Boost: An economist's speculation ability now recreates the effects of a true creation spell, rather than major creation. Also, the economist's antitrust statute now functions as greater dispel magic.

Epic Economist[edit]

Table: The Epic Economist

Hit Die: d8
Level Special
22nd Bonus Feat
24th Bonus Feat
26th Bonus Feat
28th Bonus Feat
30th Bonus Feat

4* + Int modifier skill points per level.

* The epic economist's skill points per level are the same as she gained as a non-epic character as a result of her Guns or Butter decision at first level.

An economist's epic levels are counted for determining how many times per day she may use her spell-like abilities. For example, a level 24 economist would have the following daily limits:

Bonus Feats: The epic economist gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic economist bonus feats) at level 22 and every two levels afterward.

Epic Economist Bonus Feat List: Additional Magic Item Space, Armor Skin, Energy Resistance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Reflexes, Epic Reputation, Epic Skill Focus, epic Toughness, Epic Will, Extended Life Span, Great Charisma, Great Constitution, Great Dexterity, Great Intelligence, Great Strength, Great Wisdom, Polyglot, Superior Initiative

Human Economist Starting Package[edit]

Famke Hamrin is a first level human economist who has chosen a high base attack progression, access to martial weapons, access to medium armors, as well as choosing to apply her Guns or Butter class feature to her Intelligence. Famke was created by a 24 point buy system of character creation.

Strength - 12
Dexterity - 13
Constitution - 11
Intelligence - 15
Wisdom - 10
Charisma - 13

Weapons: daggers (3), longsword, shortbow

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Appraise 4 Int
Bluff 4 Cha
Diplomacy 4 Cha
Gather Information 4 Cha
Intimidate 4 Cha
Knowledge 4 Int
Listen 4 Wis
Profession 4 Int
Search 4 Int
Sense Motive 4 Wis
Spot 4 Wis

Feat: Combat Expertise

Bonus Feats: Reckless Offense

Gear: Hide armor, light shield, backpack, flint and steel, grappling hook, small steel mirror, hemp rope (50 feet), waterskin, arrows (60), bedroll, hammer, common lamp, oil (3 pints), piton (5), trail rations (5 days worth), signal whistle, torch (3), whetstone, cold weather outfit, explorer's outfit, traveler's outfit (2)

Gold: 31 gp, 1 sp, 5 cp

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing an Economist[edit]

Religion: An economist may worship any deity or none at all and be extremely pious or rather negligent in keeping up with her communion. Her discipline is not restrictive nor does it channel her along any particular path. The mostly likely portfolios for an economist are community, creation, nobility, liberation, and knowledge.

Other Classes: Economists are largely disparaged by the world at large, primarily due to perception of economics as a pseudoscience and the inexact nature of an economist's work. Commoners are likely to treat the economist with a kind dismissal, if they are not more blunt about it. Many fighter types (fighters, barbarians, rangers, and paladins) will likely treat an economist the same way until the economist proves her worth to the party. After this has happened these classes tend to be accepting of the economist, but dismissive of her specialization. Experts, rogues, bards, and other similar, skill-based classes tend to be curious of the economist, maybe even appreciative, but they usually keep their distance, finding the details of it all rather tedious relative to having an outsider's view of the big picture. Wizards are one of the few classes to really appreciate the economist, and even with wizards it is because they share similar modus operandi rather than any philosophical views that the two tend to get along. Druids and economists also tend to get along quite well, probably because of their universal preference for equilibrium. As for the economist, she sees the value (even if it is miniscule) in each and every individual being, and is more than willing to cooperate with anyone to get the job done.

Combat: An economist who selects a high base attack and extra weapon or armor proficiencies is likely to be a frontline combatant, working side be side with the fighters and barbarians of the world. An economist who opts for more skill points will fill more of a support role in combat in addition to being a capable spokesperson for the party and a well-rounded leader. The former variant of the economist will probably make use of her inflation and hyperinflation abilities to deal damage, while the latter will consolidate her strikes with deflation in order to make them count. Both can be decent 'tank' types as well due to their various defensive abilities (fiat currency, silver standard, gold standard, decision lag, recognition lag, fragmentation).

Advancement: An economist makes a viable complement to nearly every other class due to her opportunity cost. It would not be surprising for a character to only take a level or a few levels as an economist to round out their weaknesses, but being an economist offers enough abilities of suitable strength that it can stand alone by itself as well.

Economists in the World[edit]

It is not a widely held view, but there is a lot to be said for economists.
—unknown, but probably an economist

Daily Life: Differing from the common garden variety economist, adventuring economists can be found doing anything a normal adventurer might, from spelunking, to roaming the planes, to clearing out orc-infested catacombs. That said, economists are also commonly employed by individuals in influential positions for their insight into the trends of the economy.

Notables: John Maynard Keynes, Adam Smith, Twoflower, and Milton Friedman (a rare hafling economist).

Organizations: There are no official, prestigious organizations for economists. There are smaller groups that occasionally gather, as economists do have a tendency to congregate when more than a few of them can get together, in order to discuss the ramifications of the latest economic news, but nothing so widespread or popular that it has an official name or spans multiple countries in any sort of formality. When these economists do gather they tend to talk about much without ultimately doing much as a collective, since their collective more often than not holds minimal influence.

NPC Reactions: Unless an economist makes an effort to divulge his profession he is likely to be treated like any other martial combatant. If the nature of his work is known he is likely to encounter varying degrees of skepticism from the populace, but this is almost never outright hostility and is more likely to take the form of dismissive condescendence from the lower classes. Higher classes and those with money are more likely to treat an economist with respect and maybe pick her brain for an interesting idea or two.

Economist Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge: History can research economists to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge: History
DC Result
5 An economist is a practitioner of the science of economics.
10 An economist has access to limited number of spell-like abilities, most of which are defensive in nature.
15 An economist can increase or decrease the number of attacks she makes depending on the situation.
20 An economist's strengths, including attacking ability and resistance to spells and other abilities, vary from one economist to the next.

Economists in the Game[edit]

An economist can any number of things, from frontline fighter to support combatant, or even as a secondary class to help the poor SRD:Fighter be not so pitiful. Her roles, PC or NPC, are numerous and varied.

Adaptation: If you've got an idea, go for it. Economics is a very broad field with lots of potential applications.

Sample Encounter: Bernard Slatkin is an interplanetary swindler running a Ponzi scheme based on tracts of land located on other planes. Slatkin uses his amulet of planeshifting to avoid the most unpleasant situations and convince the biggest potential targets, but otherwise makes use of his strong Bluff and Diplomacy skills as well as his access to large sums of money to mollify doubters and keep his 'investments' flowing from the common people. The party may be asked to investigate Slatkin by a potential investor, or perhaps by someone who has already thrown in their lot with Slatkin, or a third party yet unidentified. An interesting twist could be having Slatkin be a tool to weaken the economic state of the region by a rival nation as a prelude to war.

Slatkin will usually make use of his hat of disguise to appear as a charismatic young entrepreneur looking to help the common man at the same time as he helps himself; a system of mutual benefit. If unmasked he will target rogues first, after attempting to buff himself (and the griffin, if possible, via nonrivalrous consumption), since he trusts in his ability to resist most spells and in his limited damage reduction to help stave off fighters. Before doing so he will usually try to summon his bronze griffin to occupy other aggressors. If it appears he might lose, Slatkin may either retreat with plane shift or his potion of gaseous form, or, if the DM does not wish to make a potentially reoccurring villain, he can fight to the death or be further pursued by the PCs after attempting an avenue of escape.

Bernard Slatkin

CR 10

Male human economist 10
LE Medium humanoid (human)
Init/Senses +2/Listen +6, Spot +4
Languages Common, Undercommon, Infernal, Celestial, Draconic
AC 20, touch 13, flat-footed 18
(+0 size, +2 Dex, +0 natural, +5 armor, +2 shield, +1 deflection)
hp 75 (10 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +8/+8/+9
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee +1 morningstar of collision +10 (1d8+8/20) or
Melee full attack action: +1 morningstar of collision +10/+5 (1d8+8/20) or
Melee inflation: +1 morningstar of collision +8/+8/+5 (1d8+8/20) or
Melee deflation: +1 morningstar of collision +12 (1d8+8/20)
Ranged +1 returning dagger +10 (1d4+1/19–20)
Base Atk/Grp +7/+9
Atk Options inflation, deflation
Combat Gear +1 adamantine breastplate, mithral heavy shield, +1 morningstar of collision, +1 returning dagger, potion of gaseous form
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th):
at will—dispel magic (recharge time 1d4+1 rounds)
5/day—mirror image
3/day—suggestion (delivered via speech)
2/day—stoneskin (skin acquires silver sheen)
1/day—major creation (doesn't require material component), plane shift
Abilities Str 15, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 10
SQ DR 2/-, evasion, nonrivalrous consumption
Feats Combat Expertise, Great Fortitude, Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Persuasive, Power Attack, Superior Expertise
Skills Appraise +4, Bluff +10, Concentration +6, Decipher Script +5, Diplomacy +12, Intimidate+9, Knowledge: Economics +9, Listen +5, Profession: Economist +7, Search +9, Sense Motive +8, Speak Language: Draconic, Spot +4, Use Magic Device +4
Possessions combat gear plus amulet of planeshifting, bronze griffin, hat of disguise
Nonrivalrous Consumption Three times per day Slatkin may take an ability that is normally self-targeting and have it affect himself and one other individual, whom he must be in contact with or hit with a melee touch attack (if the subject is unwilling). Furthermore, Slatkin only requires a half-dose from a potion to receive the benefits of a full dose.


Bernard Slatkin uses a medium base attack bonus with strong Reflex and Wills saves, in addition to having applied his Guns or Butter class feature to his Constitution. He received 6 skill points per level having taken medium armor proficiency and no further weapon proficiencies.

Amulet of Planeshifting: This magical amulet allows Slatkin to cast plane shift once per day as a spell-like ability.

EL 7: Slatkin is intended to be a challenge (boss fight) for seventh level party of four adventurers.

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