Merchant Rogue

The Merchant-Rogue treads a fine line between honest trade and swindling, and their definition of both is quite loose. Ultimately, however, trade is their lifeblood, not outright theft. Success in the marketplace may cover up a multitude of smaller sins, but if those sins get out of hand, they stifle the very trade that makes them possible. Merchant-Rogues are as honest as they have to be; if they obviously cheat their customers and fellow businessmen, they’ll soon have no trade left. Further, the forces of law and order tend to frown on wholesale gouging, the diluting of goods, and cheating the public. Therefore, such manners are to be avoided (except, of course, when a really juicy profit can be made).

Most people assume that any merchant is little more than a rogue. That makes the life of a Merchant-Rogue much easier. After all, the public is not expecting fair and free trade, so why confuse them by acting in a totally honorable manner?

Haggling is also expected in the marketplace, and the buyer should always seek to be as informed as possible before approaching the stall. No merchant in his or her right mind would negate a sale by telling the outright truth about a product.

The motto of many Merchant-Rogues is this: “It’s legitimate as long you don’t get caught.” They have few qualms about dealing in stolen (or, rather, “previously owned”) merchandise, provided the original owners cannot trace the sale. If a powerful or wealthy patron quietly requests a special item, Merchant-Rogues may even engage in a little thievery themselves.

Adventures: Merchant-Rogues are not confined to the marketplace or even a settlement. While there are good profits to be made in sales, there are even better fortunes to be made in the company of brave adventurers who slay monsters and have first dibs on treasure. Indeed, for the Merchant-Rogue sufficiently protected by these brave souls, a great amount of wealth is waiting to be acquired.

Characteristics: Merchant-Rogues are highly skilled, and they concentrate on developing several categories of skills. While not equal to members of many other classes in combat, a Merchant-Rogue knows how to hit where it hurts, and they can dish out a lot of damage with a sneak attack.

Merchant-Rogues have a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding danger. Experienced Merchant-Rogues develop mystical powers and skills as they master the arts of stealth, evasion and sneak attacks. In addition, while not capable of casting spells on their own, rogues can “fake it” well enough to cast spells from scrolls, activate wands, and use just about any other magic item.

Alignment: Merchant-Rogues follow opportunity, not ideals. They are more likely to be chaotic than lawful, they are a diverse bunch, so they may be of any alignment except Lawful Good.

Religion: Since Merchant-Rogues are so diverse many of them worship a variety of deities, or none at all.

Background: Some Merchant-Rogues are officially inducted into an organized merchants guild. Some are self-taught; others learn their skills from independent merchants. Most though learn their trade from family members and relatives. Often, an experienced Merchant-Rogue needs an assistant for travel, or in a bazaar or market to watch their back. They typically recruit a likely young family member or youngster, who then learns the skills of the trade on the job. Eventually, the trainee is ready to move on, perhaps because the mentor has run afoul of the law, or perhaps because the trainee desires to start their own business.

Merchant-Rogues do not see each other as fellows unless they happen to be members of the same family, guild or students of the same mentor. In fact, Merchant-Rogues trust other merchants less than they trust anyone else. They’re no fools when it comes to business.

Races: Adaptable and often unprincipled, humans take to the Merchant-Rogue’s life with ease. Kalish, Halflings and Dwarves also find themselves well suited to the demands of the career.

Other Classes: Merchant-Rogues love and hate working with members of other classes. They excel when protected by warriors and supported by spellcasters. There are plenty of times, however, that they wish everyone else was as quiet, guileful, and patient as they. Merchant-Rogues are particularly wary of paladins, so they endeavor to prove themselves useful when contact with paladins is unavoidable.

Role: The Merchant-Rogues role in a group can vary dramatically based on their skill selection. They aren’t capable of prolonged melee combat, so they focus on opportunistic sneak attacks or ranged attacks. The Merchant-Rogue’s stealth and merchant abilities make them one of the best diplomats in the game.


Merchant-Rogues have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Dexterity provides extra protection for the lightly armored Merchant-Rogue. Dexterity, Intelligence and Wisdom are important for many of the Merchant-Rogue’s skills. A high Intelligence score also gives the Merchant-Rogue extra skill points, which can be used to expand their repertoire.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d6.

Starting Gold: 5d4 × 10 (125 gp)

Class Skills

The Merchant-Rogue’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Pick Pocket (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Use Magic Device (Cha), Use Rope (Dex). See Chapter 4: Skills for skill descriptions.

Skill Points at 1st Level: 8 + Int modifier × 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the Merchant-Rogue.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Merchant-Rogues are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, scimitar, shortbow, and short sword. Merchant-Rogues are proficient with light armor, but not with shields. They also start with one Exotic Weapon Proficiency choice at 1st level.

In a world where many of the other races and classes encourage poverty, frugality, or asceticism, Merchant-Rogues are very conspicuous consumers.

On a personal level, they flaunt their wealth with rich robes, gem-studded rings, and homes that stretch their funds to the limit. In business, they strive to boast the finest ships, the best camels, the most trusted mercenaries, and the greatest profits. Specialty items, such as works of art or magic with specific histories, are highly valued.

Bonus Languages: Enterprising Merchant-Rogues will travel to the ends of the world in search of new and exotic goods that they can sell to their customers. This travel frequently brings Merchant-Rogues into contact with a variety of foreign dialects and strange customs. Every two levels the merchant can learn a new language of their choice.

Sneak Attack: If a Merchant-Rogue can catch an opponent when they are unable to defend themself effectively from the Merchant-Rogue’s attack, they can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Basically, the Merchant-Rogue’s attack deals extra damage any time their target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the Merchant-Rogue flanks their target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and it increases by 1d6 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level thereafter. Should the Merchant-Rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. (See Table 8–5: Attack Roll Modifiers and Table 8–6: Armor Class Modifiers, page 151, for combat situations in which the Merchant-Rogue flanks an opponent or the opponent loses his Dexterity bonus to AC.)

Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. A Merchant-Rogue can’t strike with deadly accuracy from beyond that range.

With a sap (blackjack) or an unarmed strike, a Merchant-Rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. They cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty, because they must make optimal use of their weapon in order to execute a sneak attack. (See Nonlethal Damage, page 146.)

A Merchant-Rogue can sneak attack only living creatures with discernible anatomies—undead, constructs, oozes, plants and incorporeal creatures lack vital areas to attack. Any creature that is immune to critical hits is not vulnerable to sneak attacks. The Merchant-Rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A Merchant-Rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment (see page 152) or striking the limbs of a creature whose vitals are beyond reach.

Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level and higher, a Merchant-Rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If they make a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save (such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or a fireball), they instead take no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Merchant-Rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless Merchant-Rogue (such as one who is unconscious or paralysed) does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Buying in Bulk: Beginning at 3rd level a Merchant-Rogue the ability to “buy in bulk” at rock-bottom prices from other merchants. Merchant-Rogues may buy any common item in 1,000-unit lots if the item’s price is listed in copper or silver pieces. If the price is listed in gold pieces, Merchant-Rogues can buy the item in 100-unit lots. After paying bargain prices, they sell the items to another merchant elsewhere (not in the same city) for the normal price. A Merchant-Rogue, of course, pockets the difference.

Only items typically available in bulk can be bought and sold this way. For example, a Merchant-Rogue would not normally be able to purchase a hundred ships over the counter. The DM has final say on whether a given product is available in large amounts. Magical items and objects listed as “rare” or “unique” are never available in bulk.

To receive this benefit, a Merchant-Rogue must oversee the entire “bulk buy”—from purchase to delivery. That kind of supervision may involve a long trip across dangerous terrain, which could be the basis for an adventure. A PC merchant-rogue might reduce expenditures by hiring fellow adventurers as mercenary guards.

Intuition: Starting at 4th level a Merchant-Rogue has a knack for knowing exactly what their customer wants to hear. Many customers will be idly passing by when a Merchant-Rogue offers the price a customer simply can’t pass up. Merchant-Rogues receive a bonus to their Sense Motive skill roll of +4 at 4th level, +6 at 8th level, +8 at 12th level and +10 at 16th level. This bonus stacks with any other bonus the Merchant-Rogue may possess.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 4th level, a Merchant-Rogue can react to danger before their senses would normally allow them to do so. The Merchant-Rogue retains their Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if they are caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, they still lose their Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

If a Merchant-Rogue already has uncanny dodge from a different class (a Merchant-Rogue with at least two levels of barbarian, for example), they automatically gain improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.

Buying on the Black Market: Starting at 5th level a Merchant-Rogue has a knack for knowing where to obtain illegal and banned goods. These good typically are not accompanied by the appropriate record of transfer. Most of the time just how a certain customer got their hands on a particular item or goods is not something one wants to think or talk about.

Merchant Lore: Starting at 5th level a Merchant-Rogue picks up a lot of stray knowledge while wandering the land and learning stories from other merchants. They may make a special Merchant Lore knowledge check with a bonus equal to their Merchant-Rogue level + their Intelligence modifier to see whether they know some relevant information about local notable people, legendary items, or noteworthy places. (If the Merchant-Rogue has 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (history), they gain a +2 bonus on this check.)

A successful Merchant Lore knowledge check will not reveal the powers of a magic item, but may give a hint as to its general function.

A Merchant-Rogue may not take 10 or take 20 on this check; this sort of knowledge is essentially random. The DM can determine the Difficulty Class of the check by referring to the table above.

Merchant Lore Table

DC – Type of Knowledge

10 – Common, known by at least a substantial minority of the local population.

Example: A local mayor’s reputation for drinking; common legends about a powerful place of mystery.

20 – Uncommon but available, known by only a few people in the area.

Example: A local priest’s shady past; legends about a powerful magic item.

25 – Obscure, known by few, hard to come by.

Example: A knight’s family history; legends about a minor place of mystery or magic item.

30 – Extremely obscure, known by very few, possibly forgotten by most who once knew it, possibly known only by those who don’t understand the significance of the knowledge.

Example: A mighty wizard’s childhood nickname; the history of a petty magic item.

Illicit Venues: A Merchant-Rogue of 7th level has been in operation for some time now, the Merchant-Rogue has picked up on most of the “question-able” and probably illegal activities going on in the city. This ability grants the Merchant-Rogue access to such areas of the city in which he or she runs his or her operation and knowledge of similar operations in other cities. Examples of such illicit venues include: gambling, prostitution and slavery of the innocent.

Own a Business: Starting at 7th level a Merchant-Rogue can establish a self-sustaining business. For 5,000 gp, a Merchant-Rogue can set up a trading company that operates while he or she is away on other business or adventures. That amount pays for business space, stock, and an employee (often a relative or friend). The Merchant-Rogue may invest more money, as well as the money of allies.

A Merchant-Rogue may only run one business at a time, however. If, for whatever reason, the value of that business drops below 2,000 gp, it folds, and all investments are lost.

It takes a month to inaugurate a trading business. Each month thereafter, roll 1d10 and consult the Monthly Trade table to determine the results of that month’s business. Round up to the nearest gold piece.

Merchant-Rogues may withdraw any profit or investment money from their trading company as they see fit. It’s their prerogative as owners. (Other investors may wish to “look at the books” from time to time, however.) If an owner siphons off enough to reduce the business’s value below 2,000 gp it folds, and all investments are lost.

Once a year, the local government collects a tax for operating within the city or town. The tax covers all tariffs, fees for paperwork, permits, and the like. The amount normally equals 10 percent of net worth and is assessed at the start of the year. Draconian and corrupt governments may increase this to 20 percent.

Establishing and running a trading company is a background activity, which is not meant to overwhelm the high adventure of Merchant-Rogues. They can still discover new trade routes, bring back gems and rich fabrics, and bear tales of how bravely their employees have fought for them. The business makes such adventures possible; it doesn’t displace them.

A Merchant-Rogue may hire a head clerk to run the trading company in his or her absence. (DMs may strongly suggest this to Merchant-Rogue PCs.) The head clerk is an NPC hireling who manages the business for a monthly fee of 25 gp. A hireling who is mistreated or feels little loyalty may cheat on his or her boss, causing a -1 die modifier to the monthly roll for profits. The head clerk’s pay may be covered by the business or be paid directly by the Merchant-Rogue.

As a general rule, most trading companies with a value of 10,000 gp or less are considered small. Those with a value around 100,000 gp are still modest. When a company’s assets have climbed to 500,000 gp or more, it is a mighty trading empire, and is accorded the attention of those of import.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A Merchant-Rogue of 8th level or higher can no longer be flanked; they can react to opponents on opposite sides of them as easily as they can react to a single attacker. This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak attack the Merchant-Rogue by flanking them, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.

If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character.

Special Abilities: On attaining 10th level, and at every three levels thereafter (13th, 16th, and 19th), a Merchant-Rogue gains a special ability of their choice from among the following options.

Crippling Strike (Ex): A Merchant-Rogue with this ability can sneak attack opponents with such precision that their blows weaken and hamper them. An opponent damaged by one of their sneak attacks also takes 2 points of Strength damage. Ability points lost to damage return on their own at the rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability.

Defensive Roll (Ex): The Merchant-Rogue can roll with a potentially lethal blow to take less damage from it than they otherwise would. Once per day, when they would be reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), the Merchant-Rogue can attempt to roll with the damage. To use this ability, the Merchant-Rogue must attempt a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt). If the save succeeds, they take only half damage from the blow; if it fails, they take full damage. A Merchant-Rogue must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute their defensive roll — if they are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC, they can’t use this ability. Since this effect would not normally allow a character to make a Reflex save for half damage, the Merchant-Rogue’s evasion ability does not apply to the defensive roll.

Improved Evasion (Ex): This ability works like evasion, except that while the Merchant-Rogue still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks such as a dragon’s breath weapon or a fireball, henceforth they henceforth take only half damage on a failed save. A helpless Merchant-Rogue (such as one who is unconscious or paralysed) does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Opportunist (Ex): Once per round, the Merchant-Rogue can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent who has just been struck for damage in melee by another character. This attack counts as the Merchant-Rogue’s attack of opportunity for that round. Even a Merchant-Rogue with the Combat Reflexes feat can’t use the opportunist ability more than once per round.

Skill Mastery: The Merchant-Rogue becomes so certain in the use of certain skills that they can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. Upon gaining this ability, they select a number of skills equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, they may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent them from doing so. A Merchant-Rogue may gain this special ability multiple times, selecting additional skills for it to apply to each time.

Slippery Mind (Ex): This ability represents the Merchant-Rogue’s ability to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel them. If a Merchant-Rogue with slippery mind is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails their saving throw, they can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. The Merchant-Rogue gets only this one extra chance to succeed on their saving throw.

Feat: A Merchant-Rogue may gain a bonus feat in place of a special ability.

New Skills

Knowledge – Bureaucracy (INT) Trained Only

This skill represents a course of study that has left an individual with a keen insight into the working of government. This can allow one knowledgeable about such matters to avoid the red tape that plagues so many government actions.

Check: A successful check means that you have been able to weed your way through the governmental system, using your understanding of government as well as you mental quickness. This means that waiting time for papers is cut in half and any cases that are up for review will be dealt with quickly. The difficulty of this depends on the size of the bureaucracy. It is actually easier to move you agenda through a convoluted city government than it is the efficient ruling council of a small town. This has a DC of 10 (large cities), a DC of 15 (moderately sized towns), to a DC of 20 to 30 (small villages.)

A character can also try to use the government to bring trouble to their enemies. Trials can be put off, information mismanaged, etc.. This requires a DC of 10 plus the station of the person being targeted. Retry: Yes, for governments in cities and towns, in government there are always more than one way to get something accomplished. An attempt to bypass or circumvent the government of a small town, however, will only anger the rulers there.

Special: An untrained knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, a character only knows common knowledge.

Sense Motive: Haggling (WIS)

Normal Use: The traditional use of the sense motive skill is to detect body language, speech habits, and mannerisms of others. The traditional uses of the sense motive skill are fully described in the Player’s Handbook.

New Use: Haggling. The sense motive skill allows a character to get into the mind of another and tell them exactly what they want to hear. From a role-playing perspective, a successful haggling roll that results in a bargain price for the player character might describe the character noticing that the merchant selling some fresh dates seems a little desperate, there is a tremor to his voice and some sweat on his brow. Using this knowledge to his advantage the character convinces the desperate date seller to let him have a handful of dates at a price that nearly anyone would consider a bargain.

Check: A check for haggling. A successful check results in the merchant lowering the price for the item. Only characters with the Appraise skill can be sure that they are actually paying what the item is worth. Of the three prices listed for an item in the equipment chapter in Arabian Adventures, the asking price is exactly what it implies. This is the price the merchant want the player character to pay for an item. The normal price is how much the item usually goes for or how much the item is worth. The bargain price is a price in the player character favor.

If the buyer’s check exceeds the seller’s check by 5 or more, the merchant will sell the item for the bargain price.

If the seller’s check exceeds the buyer’s check by 5 or more, the merchant will not sell for less than the asking price.

If a tie results, or if the difference is less than 5, then the merchant will sell at the normal price.

Retry: No. The price set for an item as a result of a Sense Motive check holds firm throughout the day. The character may attempt to haggle over the price the following day, however.

Ride – Camel (DEX):

Similar to the Ride Skill in the Players Handbook page 80.

Check: Typical riding actions don’t require checks. You can saddle, mount, ride, and dismount from a mount without a problem.

The following tasks do require checks.

Task Ride DC *Guide with knees 5

  • Leap 15
  • Stay in saddle 5
  • Spur camel 15
  • Fight with camel 10
  • Grab 10
  • Control camel in battle 20
  • Cover 10
  • Fast mount or dismount 20 (1)
  • Soft fall 10

(1) Armor check penalty applies.

Guide with Knees: You can react instantly to guide your mount with your knees so that you can use both hands in combat. Make your Ride check at the start of your turn. If you fail, you can use only one hand this round because you need to use the other to control your mount.

Stay in Saddle: You can react instantly to try to avoid falling when your mount rears or bolts unexpectedly or when you take damage. This usage does not take an action.

Fight with Camel: If you direct a trained camel mount to attack in battle, you can still make your own attack or attacks normally. This usage is a free action.

Grab: If you make a successful Ride check, the camel-rider can grab an item while riding past it, provided the item is within reach (typically having a handhold at least 3 feet above the ground). Living targets can fight back, and if they succeed the rider’s attempt to grab is foiled.

Cover: You can react instantly to drop down and hang alongside your camel, using it as cover. You can’t attack or cast spells while using your camel as cover. If you fail your Ride check, you don’t get the cover benefit. This usage does not take an action.

Soft Fall: You can react instantly to try to take no damage when you fall off a camel—when it is killed or when it falls, for example. If you fail your Ride check, you take 1d6 points of falling damage. This usage does not take an action.

Leap: You can get your camel to leap obstacles as part of its movement. Use your Ride modifier or the camel’s Jump modifier, whichever is lower, to see how far the camel can jump. If you fail your Ride check, you fall off the mount when it leaps and take the appropriate falling damage (at least 1d6 points). This usage does not take an action, but is part of the camel’s movement.

Spur Mount: You can spur your camel to greater speed with a move action. A successful Ride check increases the camel’s speed by 10 feet for 1 round but deals 1 point of damage to the camel. You can use this ability every round, but each consecutive round of additional speed deals twice as much damage to the camel as the previous round (2 points, 4 points, 8 points, and so on).

Control Mount in Battle: As a move action, you can attempt to control a camel not trained for combat riding while in battle. If you fail the Ride check, you can do nothing else in that round.

Fast Mount or Dismount: You can attempt to mount or dismount from a camel which is one size category larger than yourself as a free action, provided that you still have a move action available that round. If you fail the Ride check, mounting or dismounting is a move action. You can’t use fast mount or dismount on a camel if you are a race more then one size category in size difference then a camel.

_Action: _Varies. Mounting or dismounting normally is a move action. Other checks are a move action, a free action, or no action at all, as noted above. Special: If you are riding a camel bareback, you do not take the typical –5 penalty on Ride checks like when riding other mounts.

If your camel has a saddle, you get a +2 circumstance bonus on Ride checks related to staying in the saddle.

Double Movement: The rider can persuade a camel to move at twice its normal daily movement rate for up to 10 days without ill consequence, provided that a skill check is made each day. This does not mean that the rider’s camel is moving faster — only that the character has urged an otherwise recalcitrant beast to keep to its path.

A rider with the Ride – Camel skill is also a master at caring for camels, able to identify camel afflictions and immediately discern the quality of a camel.

A camel-rider who also has the Handle Animal skill can break a camel of unpleasant traits in 1d4 weeks, provided both skill checks are made. Similarly, an individual with both Ride, Camel and Handle Animal can train a camel to perform a particular trick in 1d4 weeks (such as “come when called” or “don’t bite unless I give the command”). Such a trick is not a bonus; it counts toward the total number of tricks (2d4) that any camel can learn.

This skill refers only to camels; if any other mount is used, the benefits do not apply. (To receive those benefits, the character must take the Ride skill for the new mount.)

The Ride – Camel skill is a prerequisite for the feats Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge, Trample. See the appropriate feat descriptions in Chapter 5: Feats for details.

If you have the Animal Affinity feat, you get a +2 bonus on – Camel checks.

Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Handle Animal, you get a +2 bonus on Ride – Camel checks.

Merchant Rogue

World of Amistade SilverBeetle