Mercenary (3.5e Class)

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Whether it be a thug, a bounty hunter, or an honorable swordsman, they'll do whatever you pay them for.

Making a Mercenary[edit]

A strong and adaptive front line combatant. While more fragile than the fighter and barbarian, the mercenary's abilities allow for a more flexible style of fighting.

Abilities: As a primarily melee based class, strength, dexterity, and constitution are important. Intelligence also powers some of the mercenary's abilities in addition to supplementing skill points..

Races: Almost every common race has warriors who fight for money.

Alignment: Often neutral on the Good-Evil axis, but a mercenary can be any except for Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil. The nature of a mercenary often conflicts with or breaks the code of someone who's lawful good and people typically don't trust chaotic evil characters enough to offer them a paying job.

Starting Gold: 4d6×10 gp (140 gp).

Starting Age: Moderate

Table: The Mercenary

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spells per Day
Fort Ref Will 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Ear to the Streets, Tracker
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Bonus Feat
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Veteran's Instincts
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 0
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 War Stories 0
6th +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Bonus Feat 1
7th +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Mercenary Reputation +2 1
8th +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 1 0
9th +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 Making an Example 1 0
10th +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Mercenary Reputation +4, Bonus Feat 1 1
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +3 1 1 0
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +4 1 1 1
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +8 +4 Mercenary Reputation +6 1 1 1
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +4 Bonus Feat 2 1 1 0
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +9 +5 Hide in Plain Sight 2 1 1 1
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +10 +5 Mercenary Reputation +8 2 2 1 1
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 2 2 2 1
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 Bonus Feat 3 2 2 1
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Mercenary Reputation +10 3 3 3 2
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 3 3 3 3

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis).

Class Features[edit]

A strong front line combatant as well as a valuable party member in exploration. All of the following are class features of the Mercenary.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A typical mercenary is proficient with all simple weapons, martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, heavy armor, and shields.

Ear to the Streets (Ex): A mercenary gains a variant of bardic knowledge that applies exclusively to Knowledge (local) and (history). In addition, she gets a +4 bonus to Gather Information and Diplomacy checks when looking for a job or person.

Tracker: At 1st level, a mercenary gains the Track feat. In the wilderness she can use Search instead of Survival and in an urban setting, she can track using Gather Information as well as Search.

Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, a mercenary gains a bonus feat,a mercenary gains an additional bonus feat from either the list of general feats or fighter feats every four levels after.

Veteran's Instincts (Ex): A dead man doesn't get paid, at 3rd level a mercenary adds her Intelligence modifier (if positive) to her Reflex saves and Initiative as well as half her Intelligence score to his AC. This AC bonus doest stack with other Int bonuses to AC but it does stack with bonuses from other stats.

Spells: Beginning at 4th level, a mercenary gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells, which are drawn from the list below. A mercenary must choose and prepare her spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, a ranger must have a Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a mercenary's spell is 10 + the spell level + the mercenary's Intelligence modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a mercenary can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on the table. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score. When the table above] indicates that the mercenary gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, he gains only the bonus spells he would be entitled to based on his Int score for that spell level.

A mercenary prepares and casts spells the way a cleric does, though he cannot lose a prepared spell to cast a cure spell in its place. A mercenary may prepare and cast any spell on the mercenary spell list, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to prepare during his daily meditation.

Through 3rd level, a mercenary has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, his caster level is one-half his mercenary level.

Mercenary Reputation: At 7th level, the mercenary is developing a reputation in her line of work. She gains a bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks equal to the number listed on the table. Note that the diplomacy bonus only applies to people with a positive attitude towards her while the intimidate bonus only applies to those with a neutral or negative attitude towards her. Failure to live up to her reputation at any point may (at the DM's discretion) negate these bonuses.

War Stories: A mercenary has seen and fought some things you probably wouldn't believe. At 5th level, a mercenary gains Perform (Oratory) as a class skill and a bonus in Perform (Oratory) equal to 1/2HD.

Making an Example (Ex): At 9th level, any time a mercenary deal enough damage with a melee attack to drop a creature (typically by dropping it to less than 0 hit points or killing it), all foes within 30 feet with line of sight must succeed on a Will save (DC 15 + Cha) or cower until the start of their next turn. If the blow that dropped the creature was a critical hit, add +4 to the save DC. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): While in any sort of urban terrain, a mercenary of 15th level or higher can use the Hide skill even while being observed.

Mercenary Spell List[edit]

Mercenaries choose their spells from the following list:

1st Level: alarm, disguise self, detect poison, expeditious retreat, feather fall, ghost sound, jump, obscuring mist, resist energy, sleep, true strike.

2nd Level: alter self, blur cat’s grace, cure light wounds, darkness, darkvision, fox’s cunning, illusory script, invisibility, pass without trace, protection from energy, shatter, snare, spider climb, spike growth, undetectable alignment.

3rd Level: cure moderate wounds, deep slumber, deeper darkness, false life, neutralize poison, magic circle against alignement, misdirection, nondetection, water walk.

4th Level: clairaudience/clairvoyance, cure serious wounds, dimension door, freedom of movement, glibness, greater invisibility, locate creature, modify memory, poison.


Most mercenaries either die young or survive long enough to amass a respectable amount of wealth and retire. If a mercenary changes to a forbidden alignment, he loses access to the abilities: Veteran Instincts, Ear to the Streets, Mercenary Network, Making an Example, and Mercenary Reputation

Epic Mercenary[edit]

Table: The Epic Mercenary

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
21st Bonus Feat
22nd Mercenary Reputation +12
24th Bonus Feat
26th Mercenary Reputation +14
27th Bonus Feat
30th Bonus Feat, Mercenary Reputation +16

4 + Int modifier skill points per level.

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

Mercenary Reputation: The epic mercenary's reputation bonus increases by +2 every four levels after the 18th.

Epic Fighter Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Combat Archery, Damage Reduction, Devastating Critical, Dire Charge, Distant Shot, Energy Resistance, Epic Endurance, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Weapon Specialization, Exceptional Deflection, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Manyshot, Improved Stunning Fist, Improved Whirlwind Attack, Infinite Deflection, Instant Reload, Legendary Commander, Legendary Rider, Legendary Wrestler, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Reflect Arrows, Spellcasting Harrier, Storm of Throws, Superior Initiative, Swarm of Arrows, Two-Weapon Rend, Uncanny Accuracy. In addition to the feats on this list, the fighter may treat any feat designated as a Fighter Bonus Feat, but not listed here, as being on his or her bonus feat list.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Mercenary[edit]

Religion: Due to the nature of their work, mercenaries, if religious at all, tend to worship gods of luck, wealth, and battle.

Other Classes: Most mercenaries have seen enough of the world to get along fairly well with most classes. They may not understand the altruism of the paladin of the self control of the monk, but he harbors them no ill will based purely on their lifestyles.

Combat: A mercenary is a front line combatant. He can only wear light armor but his veteran instincts helps mitigate that. His Weapon of Choice ability helps him keep up with characters like fighters and barbarians and his Field Medic ability helps support allies out of combat.

Advancement: The mercenary's code prevents him from multiclassing as classes with other codes, but some prestige as sorcerers and wizards or rogues. The good base attack and feat progression of the mercenary also sets him up well for prestige classes.

Mercenaries in the World[edit]

Sure I'll to that highly morally questionable thing you're asking, but it's going to cost you.
—Lenroc Tal, Half-Elf Mercenary

Mercenaries are universal to any world where people need jobs done that they'd rather not do themselves.

Daily Life: Wake up, do job, get paid, go to sleep.

Organizations: While there are no official, worldwide mercenary groups. They often band together to take on large scale, high paying jobs.

NPC Reactions: Reactions depend entirely on how the location treat strangers (if the mercenary is unknown) or his reputation (if he is known).

Mercenary Lore[edit]

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

Knowledge (local)
DC Result
5 Mercenaries are wandering warriors who will do most jobs if you pay well enough
10 Most mercenaries specialize in one weapon that they're quite fond of.
15 While they'll occasionally do jobs for free, if they're not paid, mercenaries rarely put their full effort forward unless there's something to gain.
20 Some skill mercenaries possess startling skills that are thought unique to other types of adventurers.

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