Character Concepts

To Rogue

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The Quintessential Rogue
Author Michael Mearls
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2002
OGL Section 15 qrog

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The material below is designated as Open Game Content


Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620, oil on canvas, the Uffizi, Florence, Italy)

Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620, oil on canvas, the Uffizi, Florence, Italy)

In the criminal underworld, the assassin is a deadly tool that strikes with the precision of a scalpel, neatly slicing away a troublesome rival or a rabble-rousing, ambitious underling. The classical assassin is a silent, highly accomplished killer. He strikes in cold blood, his ethics and morality as easily bought and sold as his loyalty.

Adventuring: No assassin springs onto the scene fully trained in the art of murder, his combat skills honed to a razor sharp edge. Many begin as simple thugs who manage to pick up a few tricks here and there. Others begin as adventurers, testing themselves against monsters, traps, and other hazards in order to prepare themselves for their chosen vocation. More see adventure as simply another opportunity to accumulate wealth - after all, most assassins work not for a love of killing but because of the tremendous fees their unique skills demand. Some rare assassins adventure as a cover for their assignments. A killer hired to take out an orc warlord may ally with a band of heroic paladins, using them as unwitting bodyguards and helpers to fulfil his contract.

Role-Playing: Killing for money is an inherently evil act, and while an assassin does not have to be a murderous, unstable psychotic, it’s the rare assassin that does not have a strong, greedy, self-centred streak. Assassins tend to look at people as things, rather than individuals. Their work requires a certain detachment from others. The assassin is a murderer, an important distinction from the heroic paladin who slays an evil priest or the fighter who rides to war in his liege’s name. He kills not for ideals or a belief but for his own gain. Thus, assassins are often cold, detached, and calculating. They are liable to look at others purely in terms of their value as allies and only rarely develop true friendships.

Bonuses: The assassin focuses fighting skills to a greater extent than the typical rogue. Weapons are the tools of his trade, and he must be adept at their use in order to fulfil his foul vocation. The assassin is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, shields, and light armour. He also gains Alchemy as a class skill. The assassin’s sneak attacks deal an additional 1d6 damage to humanoid creatures as the assassin studies humanoid anatomy in order to learn its weaknesses.

Penalties: Because assassins focus on weapons training, they are not as flexible as most rogues. The assassin has fewer class skills than the rogue does. He does not count the following skills as class skills; Appraise, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Forgery, Intuit Direction, Perform, Search, Sense Motive, and Use Magic Device. They all count as cross-class skills. Furthermore, the assassin starts with 6 plus Intelligence modifier times 4 skill points and gains 6 points plus his Intelligence modifiers at later levels.


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo "Beggar Boys Eating Grapes and Watermelon",(1618–1682)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo "Beggar Boys Eating Grapes and Watermelon",(1618–1682)

Wherever civilisation manages to produce large urban centres, soon after it creates an underclass of city dwellers who rely on the charity (or naivete) of others for support. Beggars scrounge for money, using a variety of social means to extract coins from travellers and other strangers. While some beggars genuinely need charity in order to eke out an existence, many are little more than hucksters who bilk others out of cash as a vocation. The beggar character concept covers the latter type, a smooth-talking Constitution artist who uses his ingenuity, wit, and personality to support himself.

In some cities, the beggar population organises into a guild, with neighbourhoods and city blocks carefully apportioned to senior beggars and their followers. Such a guild often rivals a thieves’ guild in terms of income and stratagems, often forming protection rackets and other schemes that bring it into conflict with their rival thieves. Many beggars look at burglars and cutpurses as inelegant, crude practitioners of the art of robbery, reasoning that risking life and limb in a robbery is pointless and stupid when one must merely put on a good face and lure others into giving you their earnings.

Adventuring: In many ways, heading out into the unknown to face humanoids, undead, and worse is antithetical to most beggars’ way of life. After all, if they were interested in toil and hardship they probably would seek out a regular vocation rather than beg for a living. However, much like thieves, most beggars have an insatiable appetite for wealth, driving them to sometimes risk life and limb for a shot at a big payoff.

Other beggars tire of pleading for cash on street corners and decide to apply their talents to a more lucrative venture, particularly if they operate under the auspices of a beggars’ guild that strictly regulates the amount of money they can take in and the neighbourhoods where they may operate.

Role-Playing: Beggars tend to be slick talking, lazy, and greedy. They strongly believe in letting others do the hard work, especially if they can profit by it. However, beggars are not necessarily evil or selfcentred. A good beggar may avoid work, but in times of need or if a life is at stake he leaps to his friends’ aid as readily as the most heroic paladin. Some beggars have a strong sense of independence, wandering the land as vagabonds, unwilling to live the stable life of a job and family. These wanderers are often resourceful, daring, and ready to jump at the chance of a quick fortune.

Bonuses: Beggars learn to live off the land, scrounging food, drink, and shelter when their income falls short of their needs. Furthermore, beggars blend into the urban landscape, giving them an excellent sense for picking up rumours and other information. Beggars gain Wilderness Lore as a class skill. They gain a +2 competence bonus to all Bluff and Gather Information checks, as their line of work requires a
talent for tricking others and gives them access to a wide network of beggars who can pass along many valuable rumours and stories. Beggars may also pick up spare cash by working the streets. Each day, the
beggar may spend 8 hours panhandling to earn 3d6 silver pieces.

Penalties: Beggars focus on their ‘Profession’ to such an extent they never gain the chance to pick up a few skills other rogues take for granted. The beggar does not count the following as class skills; Craft, Decipher Script, and Profession.


Loki finds Gullveig's Heart illustrated by John Bauer in 1911 for Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg

Loki finds Gullveig's Heart illustrated by John Bauer in 1911 for Our Fathers' Godsaga by Viktor Rydberg

While the barbarian class covers the classic, primitive warrior, not everyone who hails from a rough environment believes a strong sword and sturdy shield are the best tools for dealing with tough circumstances. The barbarian rogue is a trickster and troublemaker. In his tribe, he is the one all eyes turn to when the chief’s prize goat trots into camp with a coat of fur dyed pink. While such an action could earn a barbarian a stiff punishment, in some tribes the same rascal that collapses the shaman’s tent ties a hill giant’s boot laces together in battle or sneaks into an orc camp and steals their champion’s magic sword. This rogue combines a barbarian’s boundless energy and determination with an active, cunning mind.

Adventuring: If a barbarian rogue is not currently engaged in an adventure, he is about to become embroiled in one. Barbarians seek out challenges of all sorts, hoping to increase their prestige and test their wits while making a small fortune in the process. They may take up a cause or seek to battle evil, but most barbarians approach adventures as an opportunity to show off their wit and prove their resourcefulness.

Sometimes, barbarian rogues adventure purely for treasure, seeking to build up a fortune worthy of one of their brilliant mind and inventive wit. These barbarians see wealth as something the world owes them, leaving them willing to do whatever it takes to pad their coffers.

Role-Playing: Barbarian rogues are as wild and free as their more traditional fighting counterparts. They tend to be tricksters, always pulling jokes and pranks on their comrades that are not always well-received by the more staid and proper members of an adventuring band. They are also energetic, ready to dive head-first into a situation that promises excitement, fame, or wealth, though they prefer all three. Barbarian rogues often approach life with a reckless enthusiasm that spills over into allies, invigorating their friends and serving as a beacon of enthusiasm and confidence even in the most dire circumstances.

Bonuses: The barbarian rogue grew up in the wilds with his clan or tribe, giving him access to several skills and abilities not normally associated with the rogue class. The barbarian rogue gains Handle Animal, Ride, and Wilderness Lore as class skills. He gains proficiency with all simple weapons and one martial weapons of his choice. He also gains +10 ft. to his movement when wearing light or medium armour. This movement bonus does not stack with the one granted by the standard barbarian class.

Penalties: Like their more traditional brethren, barbarian rogues begin play illiterate and must spend two skill points to learn how to read and write. His upbringing also denies him access to a few of the rogue class skills. The barbarian rogue may not spend skill ranks on Forgery, Innuendo, and Decipher Script. These talents are unknown in his simple culture. Finally, the barbarian rogue’s impulsive nature gives him a –2 penalty to all Will saves.


Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) A Lady and Two Gentlemen (detail)

Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) A Lady and Two Gentlemen (detail)

Amongst the nobility, some young scions grow weary of days spent with tutors poring over musty tomes, nights of parties and balls where tedious rules of etiquette and social expectations squash out any chance of excitement, and a life filled with mind-numbing combination of duty, leisure, and safety. Some of these bored young nobles strike out on a life of adventure, seeking excitement, fame, and unique experiences denied to them by the duties to their families and society.

Adventuring: Many dilettantes become adventurers to help ease the boredom of their existence. Many spend a few years outside of the noble fold, learning their way about civilisation and quickly growing as bored with it as they were back home. While at first glance a dilettante might appear to be as useful as a rubber sword, their wide range of experiences and often obscure, but useful, skills help adventurers deal with unexpected circumstances. As a class, rogues are known for their flexibility, and dilettantes stand as the pinnacle of the rogue’s capability to master any and all skills.

Role-Playing: Many dilettantes come from wealthy noble houses where they are either not in line for a leadership position or are too young to be trusted with critical duties. These dilettantes are stuffy, snobbish, and spoiled, prone to approach adventures like a tourist out for an exciting time. Others are simply wanderers that grew discontent with their daily routine and crave new experiences. More serious-minded races, especially dwarves with their rigid view on vocations and responsibility, see dilettantes as lazy brats. While some dilettantes live up to that view, many are resourceful, clever, and brave. Dilettantes might have a taste for the finer things in life, but they are willing to endure hardships and danger for an exhilarating venture.

Bonuses: Dilettantes master a wide range of abilities. Their education and background grants them access to a far wider range of skills than those normally available to the rogue class. The dilettante chooses two skills not on the rogue class list as class skills. These skills may not be exclusive skills.

Penalties: The dilettante’s upbringing has its drawbacks. His esoteric knowledge comes at the cost of talents and skills normally available to rogues from lesser backgrounds. The dilettante must choose one of the following skills: Disable Device, Innuendo, Intimidate, and Pick Pocket. This skill counts as a cross-class skill. In addition, the dilettante must spend at least one skill rank per level in one of the two skills he chose to count as class skills. The dilettante enjoys dabbling in skills and maintains his talent with them.


Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) Title Officer and a Laughing Girl. Date ca. 1657

Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) Title Officer and a Laughing Girl. Date ca. 1657

When a situation spirals out of control and war, trade conflict, or any other clash of wills is ready to spin a region out of control, the diplomat is the first one to head to the front lines. He specialises in soothing hurt feelings, bridging the gap between two sides, and ironing out compromise. Often, the diplomat is caught in a crossfire, trying to mend fences that neither side truly wants restored. In many cases, one side sends in diplomats merely to delay the inevitable, hoping to catch their enemies off guard or buy time necessary to build up arms and troops.

Adventuring: Diplomats often turn to adventure as a way to earn more money from their skills. Most expeditions to foreign lands or alien environments attempt to hire a diplomat to serve as an envoy and unofficial spokesperson, helping smooth relations with humanoid species they encounter or foreign governments they must work with. Many expeditions that depart for the deepest areas of the earth count on diplomats to help hammer out alliances with deep dwarves, Gnomes, and other potentially friendly races in that hostile realm.

Role-Playing: Diplomats are compromise makers. They seek the middle ground in conflicts, trying to weigh the benefits and drawbacks offered by both positions and create a solution that keeps everyone happy, or at least equally discontent. In social situations they are extremely cool and collected, very rarely losing their cool or focus. Diplomats can be maddeningly detached, refusing to allow emotion or an extreme point of view to sway them from recognising that one side is rarely completely in the right. Of course, diplomats are fully capable of recognising right from wrong, they just are not quick to judge any group or viewpoint as one or the other without careful thought.

Bonuses: Diplomats excel in social situations. They deal well with a wide range of people, from courtiers to dockside thugs to alien humanoids. They gain a +2 competence bonus to all Diplomacy checks.

Penalties: Diplomats train extensively in dealing with others, leaving them without a few of the skills normally available to rogues. They do not count Balance and Use Magic Device as class skills.


Some rogues adventure for fame, excitement, or a pocket full of gold. The explorer seeks out knowledge of the world around him, endeavouring to push back the veil of mystery that cloaks the lands that lie off the edge of maps and charts. Explorers do not always have purely altruistic motivations behind their drive to uncover mysteries. Some seek to profit from their work, while others desire the fame and renown that come with great discoveries and legendary deeds. Explorers are adept at making their way through foreign cultures and surviving in tough environments. While their motives are sometimes questionable, their talents are not.

Adventuring: Explorers approach adventures with a calculating, careful eye. Their vocation takes them into strange, unknown lands where thoughtful planning always trumps rash, impulsive deeds. An explorer may research a dungeon before entering it, hoping to gain some advantage from his knowledge of its history, past occupants, and the legends surrounding it. More than a few expeditions have uncovered a great treasure or dodged a gruesome fate because of the explorer’s scholarly diligence.

Role-Playing: Explorers tend to break down into two different types. Those who adventure in the name of learning are often serious, strident scholars who wish to expand their understanding of the world and contribute to the existing body of knowledge. These explorers are often serious, dedicated, and brave. In their eyes, the quest for knowledge is as important as any crusade for justice or freedom. While they may be trained as academics, they have the same toughness, resourcefulness and wit of any more traditional, rough and ready rogue.

Other explorers are opportunistic, greedy pillagers. They use their knowledge to uncover wealth and track down forgotten artefacts. While their more altruisticminded fellows seek to uncover knowledge for the good of all, these explorers are concerned only with their own well being. Struggles between explorers are often rooted in this division, with one camp working to study an ancient site and another seeking only to uncover its treasures and sell them to the highest bidder.

Bonuses: Explorers are much more academically minded than the typical rogue. As such, they count Knowledge as a class skill. They may purchase any Knowledge skill, such as Knowledge (Arcana) or Knowledge (religion). Furthermore, explorers gain two additional languages as their studies of foreign cultures and ancient ruins require them to pick up many tongues. The explorer may select any racial and national tongue or magical language such as draconic, infernal, or celestial.

Penalties: While explorers are well-versed in ancient societies and forgotten lore, they are not quite as adept at dealing with social situations as other rogues. They do not count the following as class skills: Bluff, Disguise, Innuendo, Intimidate, and Pick Pocket.


The Cardsharps, c. 1594, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX.

The Cardsharps, c. 1594, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX.

Life is full of risks. A freak accident can prove just as deadly as an orc ambush or a rampaging red wyrm. Most adventurers seeks to cut down the risks they face to the greatest degree possible while preserving their shot at fame and fortune. The gambler is the exact opposite. To him, risks are life. He loves hanging on the edge of a single roll of the bones or draw of the cards, wagering his possessions and often his life in daredevil schemes that promise utter ruin or legendary success. The gambler feels that life has enough dangers that you might as well risk everything for a shot at it all. He lives life to the fullest, squeezing as much excitement and danger from each day as possible in his reckless quest to seize the one final prize that sets him up for life.

Adventuring: Many gamblers find adventures coming to them, especially when they fall neck-deep into debt with a criminal cartel or other dangerous organisation. Most gamblers lose money faster than they earn it, rarely managing to go more than a few months without piling up a sizeable tab at a thieves’ guild-managed dice game or gambling house. Thus, many gamblers head out on adventures in hopes of finding enough wealth to settle their debts. Other gamblers see adventures as large-scale games of chance, with their lives as the stakes and untold riches the prize.

Role-Playing: While gamblers love to take risks, they are not usually foolish or rash. It’s a rare gambler who hasn’t carefully weighed the odds and calculated the potential loss and gain presented by each course of action. The gambler’s willingness to take on a long shot in hopes of cashing in a huge payoff is what sets him apart from other rogues. Gamblers tend to put on a reckless, fearless front, but often this masks a cold, calm, calculating demeanour. After a lifetime of living on the edge, gamblers are cool, collected, and rattled only by the most dire circumstances. Some find the gambler’s seeming detachment and calm infuriating, failing to realise that while the gambler looks like he has no idea of the stakes involved in a situation, in reality he knows all too well the stakes at hand.

Bonuses: Gamblers are known for their luck. Despite the wild risks they take and the danger they court, they always seem to come out ahead of the game. Of course, rarely are stories and rumours of failed gamblers interesting or dramatic enough for the bards to repeat. However, what others see as luck is in reality the gambler’s finely tuned sense of the odds. Once per day, the gambler can judge the odds before making a skill check. Before rolling the dice, the Games Master tells you the DC of the check. If you use this ability before making an opposed skill check, your opponent rolls his result before you decide to make your skill check. If you opt not to make a check, you may choose a different course of action. In the case of an opposed skill check, your opponent does not use an action making his theoretical skill check and may react as normal to your action.

Gamblers, at least the ones good enough to survive for any stretch of time, also possess a lucky streak. The gambler gains a +1 bonus to all saving throws.

Penalties: Most gamblers take their chances at a card table, not in combat. While they know enough about fighting to defend themselves, their combat skills are not as well-refined as most other rogues. Gamblers receive the sneak attack ability at third level rather than first, gaining one fewer sneak attack damage dice than a standard rogue of equal level possesses. In addition, gamblers lack the wide range of experiences of most rogues, gaining six times four skill points at first level and six more at each additional level, modified by Intelligence as normal.

Simple Gambling Rules: Of course, a player who chooses the gambler concept probably at some point tries to wager a few coins in a game of chance. To simulate a game of poker or other Bluffing game, allow each participant to make one of the following rolls: a Wisdom, Intelligence, or Charisma check or a Bluff, Profession (gambler), or Sense Motive skill check. Bluffing games require a careful eye for reading others (Wisdom), an ability to judge the cards in play (Intelligence), or the chutzpah necessary to Bluff others (Charisma). Each participant keeps his result secret and then engages in a round of increased bidding. Other games, such as craps or blackjack, require both the dealer and gambler to select one of the six checks listed for poker and make opposed rolls.


Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title: Portrait of Nicolaes Ruts Date 1631

Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title: Portrait of Nicolaes Ruts Date 1631

Many people think of rogues as wily thieves and criminals, yet, some rogues work to oppose criminals, turning their skills against them to track down and capture the guilty. Inspectors are the elite members of a city guard, highly trained specialists who learn how to pick clues out of crime scenes, question witnesses and suspects, and piece together frsgments to build a useful body of evidence. Inspectors arrive at the scenes of murders, major robberies, and other serious crimes. They scour the area for clues, and often serve as a commanding officer with several lowerranking guardsmen assigned to their command. Other inspectors work freelance, serving trading companies, guilds, and governments on a case-by-case basis. These inspectors specialise in investigation, ferreting out spies and thieves, and tracking down missing persons.

Adventuring: Some inspectors turn to adventures in order to supplement their income, particularly those who rely on freelance work to sustain themselves. These inspectors have a rather mercenary outlook on expeditions, seeking profit above all else. Other inspectors, especially those who work on behalf of a benevolent government or temple, are driven to oppose evil in all its forms. They take up the adventuring life to more actively fight evil, preferring preventative actions rather than their normal investigative, reactive methods.

Role-Playing: Freelance investigators are often cynical mercenaries. They deal almost exclusively with the dark side of human nature, uncovering corruption and delving into criminal affairs that often require them to at least partially trade-in their scruples. They assume the worst of other people, having seen that even the most benevolent facade can hide a criminal mind. Investigators who work for a city or religious organisation are usually more principled, seeing themselves as silent crusaders against the evil lurking in the heart of civilisation.

Bonuses: Investigators excel at picking out clues and extracting the truth from others. When using the Search skill, they gain a +2 competence bonus. They also gain a +2 competence bonus when using the Sense Motive skill to determine if someone is lying.

Penalties: Investigators spend more time ferreting out criminals than engaging in combat. They are not as adept at arms as other rogues, particularly with sneak attacks. Investigators reduce their sneak attack damage by 1d6.


Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title::Jan Six (1618-1700), painted in 1654, aged 36.

Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title::Jan Six (1618-1700), painted in 1654, aged 36.

Lurking at the edge of civilised lands, the outlaw is the scourge of travellers, merchants, and caravans. He and his band of followers live off the fat of the land, taking what they want and doing as they please. Most outlaws are hunted by the law and usually have steep prices on their heads, drawing bounty hunters to them like flies. While outlaws generally break the law with a callous disregard for justice, some fight as fugitives against a repressive regime or evil overlord. While labelled as bandits by their enemies, in truth these outlaws care more for the good of all and the prosperity of the people than the supposed authorities. The outlaw relies on his name and reputation to cow his enemies and gain the support of oppressed peoples. Good outlaws enjoy the love and respect of peasants and commoners, while evil ones have an excellent reputation amongst cut throats and other criminals.

Adventuring: Evil outlaws adventure to gain treasure and uncover items that help them pursue their crimes. While most adventurers seek their fortune in dungeons, unexplored wilderness, and other isolated areas, an evil outlaw sees a poorly guarded caravan or an isolated border town as tempting a target for an adventure as a dusty old tomb. Good outlaws try to tie their adventures in with their struggle against an oppressive regime, targeting their enemies or embarking on quests for magic items or treasures that improve their chances of toppling their enemies.

Role-Playing: Most outlaws are independent, Charismatic characters who cut a dashing figure. Few outlaws operate alone, and most have a strong personality that draws followers to them. Evil outlaws are cruel and coarse but possess a strong personality that attracts and cows thugs and other flunkies. Good outlaws are heroic beacons of hope for oppressed people, drawing followers to their cause with their strong example as a brave, irrepressible fighter against injustice.

Bonuses: Outlaws learn to survive far from the comforts of civilisation. They rarely venture into cities, as doing so courts disaster. The Prying Eyes of their enemies cannot penetrate into the wilderness, but in urban areas informants and town guards stand by, ready to bring the outlaw to justice. The outlaw gains Wilderness Lore as a class skill. He also gains proficiency with two simple or martial weapons of his choice.

Penalties: While the outlaw moves through the lower rungs of society with ease, he suffers a severe disadvantage when trying to deal with the authorities. When dealing with those of a higher social station, he suffers a –2 competence modifier to all Diplomacy checks. Furthermore, each time the outlaw enters a city he must make a Disguise check (DC 10 + the outlaw’s level) or a bounty hunter recognises and attempts to apprehend him. The bounty hunter can be any class and is 1d4 levels higher or lower than the outlaw, with a minimum level of 1 and an equal chance of being higher or lower in level.


Deep beneath the earth or high on forbidding peaks, pathfinders help guide and manage caravans that seek to dabble in the extremely profitable trade with deep dwarves, Gnomes, and other races. Pathfinders spend lonely weeks scouring the wilderness both above and below, mapping out secret paths for caravans and negotiating trade agreements with friendly or neutral humanoid tribes. A pathfinder maps out terrain, spies on enemy camps, and keeps a sharp eye out for threats, cutting them off before they can develop into a true menace. Particularly in the labyrinthine depths of the underearth, pathfinders fulfil a critical role in the maintaining the tiny trickle of commerce that flows between the surface and the deep.

Adventuring: Most pathfinders live out their lives in the service of a trade coalition or guild. Some are forced to adventure because of the dissolution, bankruptcy, or destruction of their homes, while others develop such a love for their work that rather than retire to a simpler life they wander into the world to find their fortune. As members of an adventuring band, the pathfinder’s skills with traps and scouting make him an invaluable member of the group, especially in the dark depths of caverns and dungeons. They often serve point duty for a party, ranging far ahead to identify threats and search out secret ways.

Role-Playing: Pathfinders often spend days at a time on their own, travelling across forbidding terrain and monster-infested caverns with only their knowledge and wits to protect them. Pathfinders tend to be withdrawn and secretive, speaking only when absolutely necessary and having little patience for buffoonery or other such foolishness.

Bonuses: Pathfinders excel at identifying hidden passages and setting traps. Their duty requires them to make peaceful contact with other races. Pathfinders gains two additional languages at first level. In addition, they gain a +2 competence bonus to Search checks made to discover secret doors or concealed passages.

Penalties: Pathfinders focus more on military training than the general spread of skills that most rogues acquire. They do not count the following as class skills: Bluff, Escape Artist, Forgery, Innuendo and Open Lock.


Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title Rembrandt and Saskia in the parable of the Prodigal Son.Date ca. 1635 (1634-1636)

Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title Rembrandt and Saskia in the parable of the Prodigal Son.Date ca. 1635 (1634-1636)

The classic rogue of the high seas, the pirate serves aboard a vessel dedicated to plundering cargo from merchant ships. Pirates are often little better than bandits of the ocean, though some fight under the flag of a good-aligned nation, attacking smugglers, orc shipping, and hunting down pirate vessels. Pirates are adept at fighting aboard a ship and are excellent sailors, drawing on their experiences and knowledge as marines to make them valuable members of any adventuring party that operates on the high seas.

Adventuring: Pirates sometimes turn to adventuring if the ship they serve aboard sinks or their captain decides to pursue more legitimate business. Others discover a treasure map or stumble across some other reason to abandon the sea for a life on land. Pirates are at home on the sea, and many adventuring parties hire a privateer crew to ferry them across the sea.

Role-Playing: Pirates run a wide gamut of personalities. Those that engage in piracy for the thrill of chasing down defenceless merchant ships tend to be savage and capricious, given to random fits of cruelty and bouts of violence. These corsairs are little more than bullying thugs with access to a ship. Other pirates are honourable gentlemen, refusing to harm women, children and other innocents and seeking only to claim treasure and valuables they find aboard ships they raid. These buccaneers cut a dashing figure, wading into melee cutlass swinging, ready to take on the world for the right cause.

Bonuses: Pirates are at home aboard a ship or boat of any type. They receive a +2 competence bonus to Balance checks and a +2 competence bonus to all attacks when on a ship. They also gain a +2 competence bonus to all Knowledge (seamanship) checks. Pirates receive Knowledge (ocean lore) as a class skill, allowing them to recall marine myths, legends, and more practical information such as tides, laws, and the basic workings of a ship. Finally, the cutlass is a common weapon on the high seas and all pirates are proficient in its use. Treat the cutlass as a longsword.

Penalties: Pirates do not receive proficiency with the following weapons; Light Mace, shortbow, heavy mace, morning star, and quarterstaff. Pirates spend much of their time learning the ins and outs of sailing and ocean lore, leaving them little time to train at arms. fighters serving as marines aboard ship are expected to handle the bulk of the fighting duties while the pirate focuses on manning his post. Furthermore, few pirates wear armour while aboard ship. Pirates do not gain proficiency with any armour.


Most rogues try to avoid combat, preferring to serve a supporting role in battle or to use their feet or wits to avoid fights altogether. Scouts normally serve as members of an army or mercenary force, ranging ahead of the main body of warriors to seek out the enemy, root out ambushes, and track the movement of opposition forces. Scouts also serve as spies, creeping up on enemy positions or disguising themselves in order to blend in with enemy soldiers or civilians.

During a siege, they slip behind enemy lines to disrupt communications, eliminate commanders, or play havoc with the enemy’s defences. Scouts commonly serve as messengers and couriers, using their stealth to slip through blockades and evade patrols.

Adventuring: Most scouts serve in the military, though in times of peace or with the dissolution of their military unit some turn to adventuring as a source of income. After the excitement of serving on the front lines, they often find civilian life dull and unsatisfying. Scouts range ahead of adventuring bands, fulfilling many of the same roles they shouldered during their tenure with the military. Scouts also make able fighters, helping to support the group in combat, particularly with ranged weapons. Scouts typically receive extensive training with horses, as most armies rely on cavalry for scouting operations.

Role-Playing: Scouts tend to be quiet and observant. Their duty places them far from supporting units, leaving them to face off against the enemy on their own. Other scouts exult in this isolated role, cultivating a wild, daredevil personality that flaunts the dangers and risks they take in battle. Nations with a rich cavalry tradition produce scouts that carry themselves with the same serious, earnest manner displayed by a chivalrous knight or noble paladin.

Bonuses: A scout’s military training grants him several advantages over the typical rogue. He treats Ride (Dexterity)as a class skill. As most scouts operate as cavalry, they receive training that allows them to excel in Mounted Combat. They also gain the Alertness feat and Wilderness Lore as a class skill. Often, scouts move on foot, living off the land while keeping careful watch out for enemy movement.

Penalties: Scouts focus primarily on military matters, leaving them ill-prepared to deal with situations outside of that realm. They lose the following as class skills; Appraise, Balance, Open Lock, Pick Pocket and Tumble.


Sten'ka Razin (1906). The Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Sten'ka Razin (1906). The Russian Museum, St Petersburg

Gliding into port under the cover of darkness, meeting at the base of a seaside cliff for a clandestine transaction, or carrying banned items hidden in his pack, the smuggler is a master of moving goods in secret. He trades in restricted items, such as narcotics, poisons, banned weapons, and sometimes even human cargo such as slaves or fugitives. The smuggler masters the ins and outs of law enforcement, learning how to skirt the law’s watchful eye with bribes or well-hidden pathways. Often, rival criminals represent a much bigger threat than any paladin or crusading watchman. In the smuggling game, the laws of the traditional business world do not apply. Murder, violence, and bribes play just as much a role as finding cheap suppliers and cultivating a large customer base. After all, a merchant who dabbles in illegal trade is not likely to report his troubles to the authorities and bring the law down on his own head.

Adventuring: Many smugglers turn to adventuring as a side project, chasing down buried treasures or hidden hoards in order to strike a fortune and leave the business behind. Sometimes, smugglers pose as adventurers in order to provide a convenient excuse for moving from city to city laden with bizarre goods and strange treasures.

Role-Playing: Smugglers often have many criminal contacts and have a slick, crafty personality. They are used to dealing in secrets, and are slow to confide in others or trust strangers. An adventuring smuggler might never reveal his previous line of work or side business to his fellow adventurers, even if the goods he ferries are neither banned nor harmful. A smuggler who helps escaped slaves flee an oppressive regime would be fearful even of confiding in an honourable paladin, knowing full well that each additional person knowledgeable of his operation is one more potential leak that could doom him.

Bonuses: The smuggler excels at guiding boats, horses, or carts in a quiet, Stealthy manner. He also has many contacts in the criminal underworld and can find a seller offering almost any item imaginable. The smuggler may use his Move Silently skill with a vehicle or animal without penalty. He may also use the Hide skill with such transports, but cannot use it to hide in plain sight. The smuggler gains a +2 competence bonus when using Gather Information to find an item for sale or to locate black market merchants.

Penalties: When using Gather Information for any purpose other than tracking down an item, the smuggler receives a –2 competence penalty. The smuggler has trouble finding information outside of his area of specialisation, as he usually attempts to draw as little attention to himself as possible rather than actively socialise with others.


Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title Self Portrait, 1629

Rembrandt (1606–1669) Title Self Portrait, 1629

The spy sees all, while none see him. He watches and takes notes, trading in something often more valuable than pure gold - information. A warlord who has a copy of his opponent’s battle plan has already won the battle. A merchant who knows a rival’s business goals and the routes for his trading ships can quickly cripple him with a few well-placed bribes to pirates. The spy slides between the cracks of society, lurking in the background and waiting for the one chance he needs to uncover his quarry’s secrets. Spies play a strange game of cat and mouse, carefully cultivating friendships solely to one day betray their allies and aid their enemies. Often, spies become enmeshed in complex games of intrigue, unsure of who to trust or follow.

Adventuring: A spy’s line of work is an adventure in itself, but often fledgling spies work with adventurers to track down outlaws or monitor events and activity in a region. Spies often work on behalf of governments or large organisations, such as a church or trading cartel. They construct the facade of just another adventuring rogue, but in reality they pursue a hidden agenda determined by their true masters. Many spies work as sleeper agents, working in an area or observing a group until their masters one day contact them with orders. Most spies in such an operation live with the quiet fear that they will be one day ordered to betray those whom they have come to see as friends, though most accept such a risk as part of their Profession.

Role-Playing: The one constant with most spies is their quiet, drab nature. Spies try not to attract too much attention to themselves, fulfilling their tasks in an adventuring group to the best of their abilities while observing events around them. Other spies take an opposite attitude and gladly take the limelight, especially when working with others who know their true nature. These spies work more like commandos or Stealthy champions for their cause, focussing more on infiltrating castles and cities rather than slowly burrowing their way into deep cover.

Bonuses: The spy excels at clouding his true nature. Furthermore, the spy is an adept liar who can talk his way out of situations that leave other flustered, panicky, and confused. He gains a +2 competence bonus to all Bluff checks. In addition, he gains a +2 competence bonus on his choice of two of the following skills; Decipher Script, Forgery, Innuendo, Gather Information and Sense Motive.

Penalties: While the spy weaves a convincing web of lies, he has trouble opening himself up and working with others in a frank manner. He suffers a –2 competence penalty to all Appraise, Craft, Jump, Perform, Profession, Use Magic Item checks. In addition, to maintain his cover identity the spy must spend at least one rank per level on a Craft or Profession skill that represents his supposed line of work.


The painting "Joueurs de Dames" Date 1859

The painting "Joueurs de Dames" Date 1859

Most criminals try their best to avoid the law, placing stealth and a good plan above brute force and toughness. On the other hand, many criminals lack the brainpower and physical ability to sneak into a home unnoticed and carry off its owner’s valuables. Furthermore, there’s never a shortage of demand for tough, violent-minded brutes. Most criminal organisations use hired muscle to shake down merchants, deal with borrowers unwilling to make good on their payments, or provide some back-up and insurance for a robbery. While the guild rarely seeks to openly fight the town guard, it extends no such courtesy to mercenaries contracted to guard a treasure or do-gooder adventurers who do not know well enough to leave the guild alone. Thugs are simple-minded thieves who prefer a simple mugging or bar fight to what they see as the tedious hours spent planning a heist or robbery. Many thugs belong to small packs of rowdies who engage in low-level extortion schemes and neighbourhood protection rackets.

Adventuring: Few thugs have the guts needed to strap on a sword and head out to a dungeon or seek their fortune outside of the confines of the city slums. However, some thugs grow weary of their lot in life and seek to eke out something better. Others might simply be street kids who learned to fight in order to make it up through the world, and now want to turn that skill to something a but more lucrative. Thugs often downplay their past when dealing with others, seeing it as a mark of shame, while others wear it as a badge of pride that marks their toughness and resourcefulness.

Role-Playing: Most thugs are crude, obnoxious louts who prey on the weak but crumple in the face of determined resistance. Rarely does this sort of thug turn to adventuring, often finding that life as a low-ranking enforcer offers enough heads to bash and fights to pick to keep them content. Thugs who turn to adventure are often solid, dependable and tenacious, ready to apply the same grit and determination that allowed them to scratch their way up from the bottom to their quest for fame, fortune and glory.

Bonuses: Compared to other rogues, thugs are extremely adept fighters. Their base attack bonus advance is as the fighter class and they are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and shields in addition to the normal spread of rogue weapons.

Penalties: Thugs are simple-minded and often lack the talents and skills cultivated by other rogues. While they are often exposed to the same skills and abilities associated with rogues, their range of experience is much more limited. Thugs gain only half the normal skill points gained by rogues. In addition, the thug does not gain Decipher Script, Read Lips or Use Magic Device as class skills. These abilities require a level of finesse and specialisation beyond the thug’s rudimentary training.

Treasure Hunter

The Buccaneer was a Picturesque Fellow: illustration of a pirate, dressed to the nines in piracy attire. The oil painting, which the illustration was of, was sold in 1905 under the title The Buccaneer, and is currently part of the Delaware Art Museum's collection.

The Buccaneer was a Picturesque Fellow: illustration of a pirate, dressed to the nines in piracy attire. The oil painting, which the illustration was of, was sold in 1905 under the title The Buccaneer, and is currently part of the Delaware Art Museum's collection.

The treasure hunter, as the name implies, seeks out lost treasures to amass his own personal fortune. Not all treasure hunters are guilty, but a great number of them have quite an appreciation for gold, gems and jewellery. Treasure hunters risk life and limb for a shot at a fortune, dodging traps, evading monsters and slipping past guardians. What separates treasure hunters from other adventurers is their ability to identify valuable treasures and match the items they recover with collectors and other buyers willing to pay top prices for rare or unique pieces. Treasure hunters are often known as collectors for their tendency to accumulate large stores of bizarre items and other valuable trophies from their adventures.

Adventuring: Obviously, treasure hunters must adventure in order to track down the gold and items they lust after. Their unique skills benefit not only themselves but their fellow adventurers, as many groups that include a treasure hunter charge him with managing the valuable items and gems the group recovers from treasure hoards. Treasure hunters also excel at uncovering hidden treasures, mundane-looking artefacts that are in fact worth tremendous sums of money.

Role-Playing: While treasure hunters try to avoid slipping over to outright greed, most have seemingly one-track minds when it comes to gold and riches. They tend to obsess over the profit to be had from an expedition and offer argue over the costs incurred from an adventure. Some treasure hunters have been known to slip a few extra coins into their pouches while assessing the worth of the take from an adventure.

Treasure hunters like to flaunt their wealth, investing in creature comforts even when on the road, renting the most expensive room at an inn and spending lavish sums on food and drink. While some treasure hunters save their earnings like misers, most go through cash as fast as they earn it.

Bonuses: Treasure hunters have an excellent eye for assessing the worth of an object. They gain a +4 competence bonus to all Appraise checks. In addition, they have many contacts amongst nobles and collectors who pay top prices for unique and beautiful objects. The treasure hunter may sell any gems, jewels, or valuable items for an additional 5% of their listed price. Note that this only applies to unique items discovered on adventures. Anything bought on the open market does not gain this price increase, nor do simple gems or trade goods. The Games Master must specifically designate an item as unique enough to qualify for this bonus.

Penalties: While successful treasure hunters quickly pile up large sums of wealth, they also burn through cash at a disturbing rate. The treasure hunter always spends 10% above the listed value for all items he purchases.

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