Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Mercenary Campaign: the petty sell-sword


In a mercenary company, there is a certain ... type of member.  They were recruited, but didn't quite turn out to be frontline material.  Still they are useful to have around - they stand guard, dig ditches, and watch your back.  They soak up the wisdom of the mercenaries, and can slowly become more than what they were.

These rules are meant to emulate the petty sell-sword you might hire, or the helpers assigned to you by your commander when he sends you on a mission.  They are not cowards, but they are survivors.  They are there to help you, not die for you.

The Petty sell-sword 

The petty sell-sword has leather armor, a dagger, 3 rations, a shovel,  and a random piece of looted jewelry worth 1d20 sp.

An NPC petty sell-sword has 9 in all stats (starts with 5 hp) and gains one knack per template.  A player who wants to enjoy the murderhobo experience and take this class has *two* knacks per templates and rolls stats normally.  Furthermore, all petty sell-swords can carry 1 extra slot of loot per template.

A  1 (or two) knacks.
B  1 (or two) knacks.
C  1 (or two) knacks.
D  1 (or two) knacks.

Knacks (roll 1d8)

1.  Low cunning.  Gain +2 to stealth and to crude forms of deception (you can disguise yourself as a beggar, but not a noble).  You also gain 1d4 daggers and 1 gold piece per dagger.

2.  Eagle eye.  Gain advantage to perception checks, a lantern and 1d4 silver pieces.

3.  Learned.  You know how to read and write.  If you gain this knack a second time, you learn the history skill and a book. If you gain it a third time, you gain 1 MD and a random wizard spell.

4.  Armored up.  You gain a shield.  If you gain this knack again, your AC increases by 1.

5.  Eating well.  You gain 3 hp and 5 rations

6.  Fell handed.  You gain +2 to your attack score (not +2 attacks per round!)

7.  A true swordsman.  You gain a real sword!  (and are proficient).  Look at that.  If you gain this template again you now have  a two-handed sword.  If you gain it a third time, you gain a +1 dagger

8.  Fight from afar.  You gain a short bow (and are proficient).  If you gain this template again you obtain a crossbow or snaphance.  If you gain it a third time you gain a longbow.

Background:  (1d3)

1.  Peasant.   You are particularly good at handling animals. You have a small donkey.
2.  Brigand.  You have a sling and +2 to set ambushes.
3.  Urchin.  You can pick pockets and have an extra 1d10 silver pieces.

A petty sell-sword expects a pay of 1 gp per month, and a nice bonus if there is a big windfall.  A level 5 NPC petty-sell sword either retires or becomes a minor officer in the company, and is no longer sent out.

The fact that this ruleset would also be good for a "civilized" goblin has not evaded me...

Edit:  this class has been playtested by myself and others.  It is solid for a PC, and immensely useful for NPCs.  It works for brigands, scoundrels, veterans, random adventurers... no goblins that I know of though :D

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