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While rolling up my Canite merchant for the Hunt: Rise of Evil, I thought of the half-elven merchant prince in my High Speed D&D campaign I ran recently. Although he began play as an assassin / magic user, in the end he was a major economic force in the region (all the better to be able to smuggle assassins in and out of the area for his guild).

He joined a magic user’s guild focused on trade and similar magics, instead of the two other major guilds in the region (one was of the Sorcerer-Priests of the Hill Islands, the other a more traditional guild of wizardry).

Typically in my games the Magic User / Thief multiclass works well for this style of character (as shown by the afore-mentioned character), but I prefer to get rid of multiclass combos as much as possible, crafting instead a class that combines the key elements with some differences in abilities and spell lists (particularly since I prefer to keep my games down to the classic 12 spells per caster level of B/X D&D and Labyrinth Lord instead of up to 30 spells in a level as in AEC which we were using for that particular campaign. Anyways, multiclassing just seems wrong in B/X games.



Merchant Prince

Requirements: Cha 9, Int 9
Prime Requisite: Cha
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: None

Merchant princes may wear armour up to chain mail and can use shields. They can use any weapon. They attack and make saving throws as a thief of their level.

Merchant princes, upon reaching level 3, can cast spells as a magic user, and always cast spells as a caster two levels lower than their actual level. They keep spells in a spellbook and prepare them each morning just like a magic user, but have their own spell lists to choose from. (All spells are described in the Labyrinth Lord core rules.)

Business: Upon reaching level 4, a merchant prince may construct a place of business. A merchant who has constructed a place of business will attract 2d4 employees (merchants, securityand so on), each a level 1 or level 0 character (20% that each employee is a level 1 character, usually a fighter, but possibly even a level 1 merchant prince, elf, halfling, or other character class). They will be generally loyal, but will not be replaced if killed. The business will turn a small profit (1d6 x 10 gp x Merchant Prince level) every month. Money earned this way does not give XP to the merchant prince.

Trade Network: Upon reaching level 9, a merchant prince with a successful place of business can invest in a trade network (typically buying and equipping a small fleet of boats or wagons). Such a network not only brings in a good revenue stream (3d6-5 x 20 x Merchant Prince level) but also provides for information from distant lands and access to said places. Note that a trade network may actually have a negative income some months.

      Hit   Spells per Day   Spot Spot
Lvl XP Title Dice 1 2 3 4 5 Thief Magic
1 0 Gopher 1d6 - - - - - 11+ 12+
2 1,826 Haggler 2d6 - - - - - 10+ 12+
3 2,651 Trader 3d6 1 - - - - 10+ 11+
4 5,301 Merchant 4d6 2 - - - - 9+ 11+
5 10,601 Appraiser 5d6 2 1 - - - 9+ 10+
6 21,201 Fixer 6d6 2 2 - - - 8+ 10+
7 42,401 Financier 7d6 3 2 1 - - 8+ 9+
8 85,001 Prince 8d6 3 3 1 - - 7+ 9+
9 170,001 Merchant Lord 9d6 4 3 2 - - 7+ 8+
10 280,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+1 4 3 2 1 - 7+ 8+
11 390,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+2 4 3 3 1 - 6+ 7+
12 500,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+3 4 4 3 2 - 6+ 7+
13 610,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+4 4 4 3 2 1 6+ 6+
14 720,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+5 5 4 4 2 1 5+ 6+
15 830,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+6 5 4 4 3 2 5+ 5+
16 940,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+7 5 5 4 3 2 5+ 5+
17 1,050,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+8 5 5 4 4 3 4+ 4+
18 1,160,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+9 5 5 5 4 3 4+ 4+
19 1,270,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+10 6 5 5 5 3 4+ 3+
20 1,380,001 Merchant Lord 9d6+11 6 6 6 5 4 3+ 3+

Spot Thievery: Thievery is the bane of the merchants, and all merchant princes are skilled in spotting those who would pilfer from them. Whenever someone uses a thief skill (move silently, hide in shadows, pick pockets and so on) in the presence of the merchant prince, the merchant prince rolls 2d6 and checks the table above to determine if he notices the attempt. If the thief is higher level than the merchant prince, then the merchant prince gets –1 on this roll. If the merchant prince is 4 or more levels higher than the thief, then he gets +1 on this roll.

Spot Magic: Merely by handling an item for one minute, a merchant prince can attempt to determine if the item is magical. The DM rolls 2d6 for the merchant prince, using the table above. If the item is magical, and the 2d6 roll is successful, then the merchant prince notes that the item is magical. If the roll succeeds by 3 or more points, then the DM can provide some basic information about the magic involved. If the roll succeeds by 6 or more points, then more detailed information is available (potentially including command words, number of charges, or exact bonuses).

Level 1 Merchant Prince Spells

  • Charm Person
  • Detect Invisible
  • Detect Magic
  • Floating Disc
  • Hold Portal
  • Light
  • Read Languages
  • Read Magic
  • Sleep
  • Ventriloquism

Level 2 Merchant Prince Spells

  • Arcane Lock
  • Continual Light
  • ESP
  • Find Traps
  • Invisibility
  • Knock
  • Know Alignment
  • Levitate
  • Locate Object
  • Mirror Image

Level 3 Merchant Prince Spells

  • Clairvoyance
  • Detect Lie
  • Dispel Magic
  • Hold Person
  • Infravision
  • Lower Water
  • Remove Curse
  • Water Breathing

Level 4 Merchant Prince Spells

  • Arcane Eye
  • Dimension Door
  • Hold Monster
  • Neutralize Poison
  • Polymorph Self
  • Quest
  • Wall of Fire
  • True Seeing

Level 5 Merchant Prince Spells

  • Contact Other Plane
  • Control Weather
  • Grasping Hand
  • Move Earth
  • Polymorph Other
  • Stone Tell
  • Teleport
  • Wall of Stone

PS: Merry Belated Xmas!

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