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Reymerswaele, Marinus Claesz. van Title Deutsch: Zwei Steuereinnehmer

Reymerswaele, Marinus Claesz. van Title Deutsch: Zwei Steuereinnehmer

Ink & Quill
Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publisher DWBP
Publish date 2002
Pages 65
ISBN none
OGL Section 15 i-q
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Netbook can be found on the following website

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The material below is designated as Open Game Content

The creation of intricate secret codes used by governments and clandestine organizations owes its birth to cryptographers, specialists in the formulation as well as the deciphering of covert messages. In addition to these responsibilities, cryptographers also authenticate documents, meticulously scrutinizing suspicious books, scrolls and letters for evidence of Forgery.

Introspective and secretive, cryptographers avoid public acclaim or notoriety, preferring to conduct their business in complete anonymity. In fact, many cryptographers disguise themselves as members of another Profession. Most cryptographers ply their trade for a governmental entity, however a growing number of cryptographers practice their craft for criminal enterprises and paranoid merchants. Regardless of their employer, they operate primarily in a shadowy world of deceit and espionage. They move inconspicuously through all social classes, equally comfortable mingling at a palatial estate or a seedy tavern.

Adept manipulators of language and mathematics, cryptographers formulate and decipher a wide assortment of secret codes utilizing their intellect and experience. They engage in three primary forms of encryption: codes, steganography and ciphers. The simplest and most common method of encryption is the use of code. Codes basically substitute one word’s meaning for another. For example, the code’s originator designates the word apple as a substitute for the word attack. Of course, in order to use a code, both parties need to understand what the new words mean, therefore necessitating a codebook containing all of the new meanings for the encoded words. The integrity of this system depends entirely upon the security of the codebooks. If a codebook falls into enemy hands, deciphering the code becomes extremely easy. For this reason, cryptographers insist that the recipients of such codebooks adequately protect them from theft or copying.

Although less common, steganography enjoys popularity especially among clandestine organizations unable or unwilling to distribute codebooks to its membership. This method utilizes tools such as invisible ink, microscopic writing and hidden code words to secretly communicate with another party. Examples of invisible ink include milk and lemon juice, substances that only appear on the page after heating it, and then disappear when the paper cools again. Microscopic writing is probably the most difficult form of encryption, requiring the use of a powerful magnifying lens to enable the originator to write her compacted message in a tiny space. Unlike codebooks, hidden code words do not substitute meaning, but instead conceal the text for an entirely different message.

For example, a message written with hidden code words makes sense if read normally, however the real message can only be deciphered by reading the message in a different pattern such as reading only the third letter of each word. In this instance the phrase “head out until Adam encounters Jake” translates as “attack” because a, t, t, a, c, and k are the third letters of each word in the phrase. Of course, both parties communicating in this fashion must possess the code pattern, however it does not require the usage of a codebook.

The most complex form of encryption is the cipher, a system where individual letters are either substituted or transposed in order to conceal the message’s actual meaning. A substitution cipher requires the reader to substitute the letter written in the message for the intended letter based upon a preordained pattern. Usually the patterns involve a simple mathematical computation such as moving three places to the left or right in the alphabet in order to obtain the correct letter. For instance, if both parties decided that the actual letter would be three places left of the written letter in the message, the letter “f” would actually be a “c”, because “c” appears three letters to the left of “f” in the alphabet. On the other hand, the transposition cipher maintains the word’s actual letters, but transposes them in a set pattern. An example of a transposed cipher is the word “velo”, acquired by transposing the first and third letters of the word “love”, followed by transposing the second and fourth letters. Extremely important messages contain both types of ciphers, making the message virtually impossible to decode.

In addition to their writing and deciphering skills, cartographers also authenticate documents through handwriting and material analysis. Although a less exact science, cryptographers excel at detecting fraudulent and counterfeit items such as treaties, letters and paper currency. Nearly all governments that issue paper currency employ a staff of cryptographers to prevent the widespread issuance of counterfeit money. Because of the extremely specialized nature of this prestige class, only bards and rogue possess the necessary tools to become cryptographers.

Hit Die: d6


Race: Any humanoid
Decipher Script: 7 ranks
Disguise: 4 ranks
Forgery: 4 ranks
Innuendo: 4 ranks
Other: The character must be literate.

Class Skills

The cryptographer’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Intelligence), Bluff (Charisma), Decipher Script (Intelligence), Disguise (Charisma), Forgery (Intelligence), Gather Information (Charisma), Innuendo (Wisdom), Read Lips (Intelligence), Search (Wisdom), Spot (Wisdom) and Use Magic Device (Charisma).

Skill points at each level: 4 + Intelligence modifier

Class Base Attack Bonus Fort. Ref. Will Special
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Break Code, Detect Forgery, Encrypt Message
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Classified Information
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Forge Documents
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Word Traps
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Illusory Script
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Identify Written Works
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 secret page
8th +6 +2 +6 +6 Read Magical Message
9th +6 +3 +6 +6 Subliminal Suggestion
10th +7 +3 +7 +7 true seeing

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cryptographers are proficient with all light armors and simple weapons.

Break Code (Ex): Whenever a cryptographer encounters an encoded message, she may attempt to crack the code by rolling an opposed Decipher Script check against the encoder. The check takes one hour for every level of the encoding cryptographer, and the decoder adds a +1 circumstance bonus for each of her cryptographer levels. For instance, a 4th level cryptographer attempting to decipher an encrypted message written by a 9th level cryptographer receives a +4 circumstance bonus to her opposed Decipher Script check that takes nine hours to complete. A successful check indicates that the decoder has solved the code and can read the message, failure prevents the cryptographer from reading the message and prohibits any additional retries by her.

Detect Forgery (Ex): Specialized in the art of uncovering fraudulent documents, cryptographers receive a +1 competence bonus per cryptographer level to all opposed Forgery skill checks when attempting to reveal a Forgery.

Encrypt Message (Ex): Using any of the three primary methods of encryption, cryptographers draft encoded messages. The type of coding used determines the length of time required to complete the message as well as the difficulty in deciphering it. The chart below provides this information.

Encryption Method
Time Required per Page Circumstance Bonus to Opposed Decipher Script Check
Code and Codebook 1 hour +0
Steganography 6 hours +2
Cipher* 12 hours +5

After completing the message, the cryptographer rolls a Decipher Script check adding any circumstance bonus gained from the encryption method as well as an additional +1 competence bonus for each cryptographer level.

For instance, a 4th level cryptographer drafting a secret message using transposition ciphers receives a +5 circumstance bonus for using the cipher method and an additional +4 competence bonus for her level. She has nine ranks in Decipher Script and a 16 Intelligence; therefore her Decipher skill check receives a total bonus of 21. [9 (her ranks) + 3 (her Intelligence modifier) + 5 (her circumstance bonus) + 4 (her competence bonus) = 21]. If she rolls an “11” on her Decipher Script check, any cryptographer attempting to decode the message must roll an opposed Decipher Script check equal to or higher than 32.

Classified Information (Ex): Because of their exposure to secret communiqués, cryptographers receive a +2 bonus to all Gather Information and Knowledge (local) skill checks.

Forge Documents (Ex): Whenever a cryptographer forges a document, she receives a +1 competence bonus to her Forgery skill check for each of her cryptographer levels.

Word Traps (Su): A cryptographer can find traps involving writing as if she were a rogue. If she is already a rogue, she receives an additional +1 competence bonus for every two cryptographer levels. The ability affects any trap triggered by the reading or speaking of any written word, or where a written word is inherent to the trap’s functioning. This includes spells such as explosive runes and glyph of warding. There are no limitations on its daily usage.

Illusory Script (Sp): Once per day, she can cast Illusory Script as if she were a wizard of the same level. The difficulty class of the saving throw against this ability is 10 + ½ her cryptographer levels + her Intelligence modifier.

Identify Written Works (Su): Because of their exception analytical skills, cryptographers possess the ability to identify the general function of any magical written work. In order to ascertain the item’s abilities, the cryptographer rolls a d20 adding her cryptographer level and Intelligence modifier. Any modified result exceeding 25 accurately determines its general function. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to the cryptographer’s level.

Secret page (Sp): Once per day, cryptographers may cast secret page as if she were a wizard of the same level.

Read Magical Writing (Su): A number of times per day equal to her Intelligence modifier, a cryptographer may attempt to read a page or less of magically concealed written messages, such as Illusory Script and secret page. In order to decipher the mystical writing, the cryptographer must roll a successful Will save against a DC 10 + the spell’s level + the spellcaster’s key ability modifier. Of course, she must be literate in the message’s language; otherwise the ability has no effect. If she successfully uses this ability to read a glyph, she determines the glyph’s conditions. Failure prohibits any retries, and a natural “1” triggers a glyph or erases any magical writing.

Subliminal Suggestion (Sp): The cryptographer conceals a subliminal suggestion within the text of any written document, forcing the reader to make a successful Will save or fall under the influence of the suggestion. The difficulty class of the saving throw against this effect is 10 + ½ the cryptographer’s level + her Intelligence modifier. The ability’s effects are identical to the suggestion spell as if cast by a wizard of the same level. This ability may be used once per day.

True seeing (Sp): Once per day, she can cast true seeing as if she were a wizard of the same level.


While some of the prestige classes rely exclusively on their creativity for income, several others work for another entity. This class receives their income on a monthly basis according to the following formulas.

Government employee: (Cryptographer level x Intelligence modifier) x 2
Private employee: (Cryptographer level x Intelligence modifier) + Charisma modifier squared.
Thieves Guild: (Cryptographer level) x (Intelligence + Charisma modifier)


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