We started off with an adaptation of the Dragon Quest Hero class, and this time we’re tackling The Trader! Based on the Dealer from Dragon Quest III and on the character Torneko, this class is all about wheeling and dealing and the skills one might pick up from that lifestyle. Apparently, that may include discovering your latent psychic powers. Whoops. My mind went in some weird directions with this one.
HP: Start the game with either 6 HP or the amount of HP your system starts you with, and increase every level as directed by the game. Assume d6 hit dice if your game uses per-class hit dice. Shadow of the Demon Lord doesn’t use hit dice, but increasing health by 1d6 per level (or 3 every level) should work fine.
Saves: If your game uses old school D&D-style saves, progress as a Fighter.
Professions: You’re no stranger to an honest day’s living, and your trade has helped you pick up some extra skills. You start with two Professions/Backgrounds instead of one, though one must be related to trading, mercantile, economics or being some kind of artisan.
Weapons: If your game uses weapon proficiencies, a Trader can use any simple weapon (club, staff, sling, dagger, etc.) plus short spears, light and heavy crossbows or firearms, whips, and abaci (or an equivalent item used for calculation, which can hereafter be substituted for references to abaci).
Abacus: D4 damage. Like a quarterstaff, but with an set of slideable counters used for performing calculations. A trader with an abacus can never make a mistake with a calculation, as long as they have time to meticulously perform it using the abacus and it is plausible for the Trader to perform the calculation. A Trader starts with this.
Armor: Traders may wear light or medium armor, and use light shields.
Magic: You don’t start with any magic points (MP) or spells. If your MP maximum becomes 1 or more, however, you can restore 1 point by:
- Making a profit of 50% or more on a deal (if you sell something you found in a dungeon, use its base or average cost as the initial price)
- Convincing a likely hostile character not to attack you.
- Discovering a valuable treasure or treasure trove (the table decides what qualifies).
You may gain more MP than your maximum, but your MP becomes equal to your maximum when you complete an adventure and enter downtime.
Bargain: Whenever you sell a good, you gain +25% value of the final offer for it that the GM gives you. If two or more player characters with the same ability participate in the same transaction, use the highest bonus. This bonus increases by 5% every time you gain a level.
Appraise: You can always make an Intellect roll to to check the average or actual value of an item, even if it seems magical or or otherwise hard to discern.
Storied Treasure: Describe some kind of non-magical item with no obvious use in combat described in the old stories. It is worth a fortune in money, historical or educational value, or some combination of the two. You decide what it looks like and the context of its original use or creation. The GM decides what, if any, abilities or other functions it may have, and puts it somewhere in the game world. The item must become discoverable (though you may not succeed at obtaining it) at some point during the campaign.
Starting Equipment: In addition to the equipment provided by your system of choice, you start the game with an abacus and one of the following:
A) A loyal animal of burden. It can carry 10 slots for you, or an amount equivalent to an average human, whichever is higher. It has 6 HP and no practical combat ability beyond that of a small animal. If it dies, you can replace it (functionally) for free the next time you enter a town. You still have to feed it (it eats as much as you do).
B) A tricked-out backpack. While you have it on, you can carry 5 more slots (or 1.5x your normal carry weight, whichever is higher) than you normally could.
Random Advancement: At level 1, roll twice on the table below. At subsequent level ups, roll once on any random advancement table in this series.
Games with an Attack Bonus: +1 ATK and +1 HP
The Black Hack 2e or Into the Odd stat gains: Follow the normal rules for level up with regards to stats (i.e. you get a chance to raise each stat once). When you roll an asterisked entry, you get +1 extra HP and get to increase any single stat by 1, even if you’ve already increased that stat once this level.
Shadow of the Demon Lord: When you roll an asterisked entry, increase any stat by 1 and Health by 1. You cannot gain more than 14 in any single stat other than Health by doing this. If you have increased no stats by level 4, increase a stat by 1. Do the same at level 7 and at level 10.
Random Advancement Entries
01 **Muster Strength: You don’t fight often, and need to psyche yourself up when you do. You do this by yelling loudly and assuming what you think is a fighter’s stance. Any successful attack you make in the turn after allows you to roll your damage dice twice and take the better result. However, your stance is not quite as brilliant as you may think: enemies also get this benefit if they successfully attack you.
02-03 **Merchant Magnetism: Whenever you embark on a journey that lasts more than a day, you are guaranteed to encounter a merchant or other NPC willing to trade at some point during your trip. They are not guaranteed to carry anything valuable, but should have at least one healing item for sale and enough money on them to buy at least a couple of pieces of treasure you are carrying.
04-05 **Well-Prepared: A number of times per day equal to your level, you may produce and use a mundane item that you could have plausibly purchased at the previous town. Spend however much money it would have cost to buy it when you had the chance. Someone in the party must have the free inventory slots available for it. You cannot use the same inventory slots to invoke two different uses of this ability.
06-07 **Ear for Opportunity: You have advantage on any check to eavesdrop on a conversation, to hear something barely audible, or to gather information by hanging around town. You also learn twice as many rumors whenever you would roll on a rumor table.
08-10 **Business Adept: You’re not just good at buying and selling on your own; you’re good at enterprise in general. Your profits from running a business gain a bonus equal to your Bargain ability.
11-13 **Haggle: You can haggle down the prices of goods. With a little time and conversation, you can gain a discount on buying any good or service equal to that provided by your Bargain ability.
14-16 **Wheel-Greaser: You know how to navigate bureaucracy. You have advantage on any attempt to persuade, bribe, fool or otherwise influence those whose jobs are to enforce even the most mundane mechanisms of society.
17-18 **Master of Your Craft: Choose a Profession you already have. You become a Master of that profession, which confers various benefits. Here are a few examples:
1) You no longer need to roll to use that Profession unless doing something nearly impossible or impressive on a global/historic scale.
2) Students will travel from afar to receive training from you. You can make a tidy sum appropriate to the game every downtime if you charge them for lessons.
3) You are well-respected and essentially a celebrity in most cities in the context of your craft.
4) You may receive contracts or requests related to your craft from powerful figures. These will be lucrative jobs.
19-21 **Calcuchador: You roll a d6 damage die when you use an abacus in combat, and a d8 if you use it in two hands.
22-25 **Magic Training: You’ve always had the potential, whether you knew it or not. You gain 1 magic point.
26-27 **Armor Training: You gain the ability to wear armor! If you can already wear armor, you can now wear the next heavier step of armor (e.g. the Trader already wears Medium Armor, and can now wear Heavy Armor). You can also wield any kind of shield if you couldn’t before. If you can already wear the heaviest armor, you gain a natural source of 2 damage reduction.
28-29 **Barrister: Your time spent negotiating contracts has helped you pick up on the basics of law. Add the Lawyer profession to your list of professions (if you already have that profession, you get a different one of your choice). Additionally, you have advantage on any check to legally argue the meaning of a contract.
30-31 **Far Traveler: You’ve picked up some good techniques to help you with your milk runs. As long as you’re traveling on the road, you can move an extra hex/node/unit of travel each day without spending more resources.
32-33 **Diligent: You’ve learned to take care of your weapons and armor, and you ration supplies better. You have advantage/boons to any checks to take care of or repair items, and you may reroll a single result (per usage die roll) of 1 or 2 on a d4 usage die. The item still breaks/runs out if you roll a 1 or 2 after that. If you don’t use usage die in your game, you get a free use of each expendable item you own or acquire, as long as more can be plausibly be said to exist.
34-35 **I Got a Good Feeling!: Before you enter a dungeon, you may declare a single, specific thing you are looking for. When you enter the floor of the dungeon it is on, you know in your gut that you’re close. When you enter the room it is in, you feel once more in your gut that you’re very close.
36-37 **Contacts: Whenever you enter a town for the first time in a campaign, you know someone who works there that you had a prior dealing with. You may not have met them at this town (particularly if you’ve never been here before). Make a reaction roll to see their disposition towards you. If positive, they may give you a good deal on a contract related to their trade (determined by the GM). If negative, they are hostile towards you but owe you something from a prior contract determined by the GM (you have a written copy of the contract). Getting them to deliver may require some persuasion, threats, or for the law to get involved. It shouldn’t require money.
38 **Fateful Treaty: You may only roll or select this ability once, and may only use it once per campaign. When you invoke this ability, you can force an NPC, even a major or god-like one, to make a deal with you. Suggest three things to the GM that you want to get out of this deal. If it is at all plausible in the fiction, the GM must have the NPC agree to at least one or more of those options, and the NPC is bound to follow it. In return, the NPC offers three things they want to get out of the deal. If you want to complete the deal, you must choose to grant the NPC at least one of those things, Geasing yourself in the process. You may negotiate with the GM and/or between in-fiction characters, but both parties must agree to to a deal once this ability is used.
39 **Multilingual: Whenever a situation pops up that may benefit you to know another language, roll a d6. On a 6, you speak that language fluently. On a 5, you can communicate in very basic terms and are aware of your limits. On a 1-4, you do not speak that language at all. Whatever the result, record it on your character sheet and do not use this ability on the same language again.
40 **Fashionista: You have impeccable taste. Your stylish clothes and confident demeanor grant you a +1 to all reaction rolls with sentient humanoid characters and advantage on any attempt to impress someone with your wardrobe or to design patterns and clothing.
41-44 Career Development: You gain a Profession. You either picked it up during downtime or always had it and never brought it up/couldn’t put it into practice until now. You also gain 1 magic point.
45-48 Parley in Every Language: You get +1 on reaction rolls with sentient creatures if you show a bit of cash when you see them (even if these creatures are encountered in the wilderness or a dungeon). You also have advantage on any attempts to bribe them. When they take the bribe, you can use sleight of hand to short them on the amount, giving them d100% less value than you promised.
49-51 Artificer: You gain 1 magic point. Spend any amount of MP to cast a spell that either you or a willing helper knows and attach it to an object, which takes about 10 minutes. Anyone who possesses the object can then use it to cast or gain the benefits of that spell, erasing it from the object. If you spend triple the MP cost of the spell you attach to the object, it can grant the benefit of the spell over and over for a single day.
52-53 Riding Shotgun: You often ride shotgun on carriages, carrying a weapon to protect the driver. Your damage dice using crossbows, firearms and other two-handed ranged weapons can now explode.
54-55 Physics: You gain 1 magic point. Your aptitude for math helped you pick up some applied physics. Using your abacus and taking a bit of time, you are able to make physics calculations which would normally not be plausible for a Trader. Using this for combat applications is possible, but takes a full round to perform necessary calculations. If you do so, you cannot miss with a ranged attack in the next round and you have advantage on the damage roll. It also works on a larger scale: using your knowledge of wind direction, gravity, etc. you can make attacks with ballistae, arbalests, etc. with advantage and at double the distance.
56-58 Diplomat: You gain 1 magic point. Your ability to wheel and deal makes you particularly good as a mediator. You have advantage on rolls to negotiate political treaties, mediate disputes, or otherwise create and ratify peaceful solutions to disagreements or political issues. This ability is unlikely to diffuse a situation that suggests imminent violence; it’s for situations where the parties are all open to a peaceful solution.
59-62 Estimate Price (1): You gain 1 magic point and learn the spell Estimate Price (1). You can undetectably cast this spell to see exactly what price the other person in a transaction will offer or demand, allowing you to offer it yourself. This seeming compatibility improves your relationship with the target and allows you advantage on future attempts to persuade or befriend them for the rest of the day. A trader may conceivably not realize this ability is magical or psychic. You can also cast this spell on an object to learn its average or actual price.
Second roll: You gain access to Mercantile Psionics. See (95-96).
63-66 IRASSHAI!: You gain 1 magic point. You can project your voice quite loudly, and can turn up or down the charm as you please. You have the ability to raise your voice such that it can be heard a whole town district away. While doing so, you can gain advantage on any check to invite a person to enter a shop or other storefront or generally to shepherd non-hostile creatures toward a given area. Alternatively, you can use spend 2 magic points to use this ability to intimidate an enemy. Pick an creature nearby or in the distance that you can see. They make a will save. On a failure, they become filled with fear and are likely to flee. A trader is unlikely to realize that this use of the ability is magical or psionic in nature.
Second Roll: You gain access to Mercantile Psionics. See (95-96).
67 Ultimatum: You are good at idle threats, though your enemies often can’t tell you’re full of crap. You have advantage on any roll to show false bravado, to deceive any enemy into thinking the situation is not what it seems, or to intimidate someone by implying you are better-connected or more influential than you actually are. Successful effects of these rolls should be appropriate or plausible within the context of the fiction. Additionally, any enemy within sight and hearing of you has their Morale reduced by 1. Offer a threat of some kind to justify the penalty.
68-69 Air of Importance: You gain 1 magic point. As a hopeful social climber, you’ve gotten yourself into a number of places you shouldn’t be. You have advantage on rolls to disguise or carry yourself a non-specific person of importance or to fit in with a faction you are infiltrating. You still need to obtain forged documents, seals, etc. if those are required, but you can source costumes for free.
Second Roll: You are a Master of Disguise, and have advantage on any roll to impersonate someone.
70 Body Slam: You know how to use the combined weight of your body and huge backpack together to create a deadly martial technique. You have advantage on any attempt to shove or tackle enemies, and enemies have disdvantage when they attempt to do the same to you. You also have advantage on any check to maintain balance or stand your ground against some force attempting to knock you over. Additionally, any attempt to fall from a tall height on an enemy to hurt them deals double damage to them and half damage to you.
71-75 Caravan Guard: You’ve been robbed one too many times, and have put in the extra time to hone your martial arts. You get a damage die (d6) when you attack with a weapon. Whenever you make a successful attack, you may apply this die either to your target or to a separate target within range. If your game requires attack rolls, make another attack roll for a new target.
76 Sturdy: You gain advantage on all physical saves to avoid harm, including against spells.
77 Lucky: Gain a fortune/luck point immediately. At the beginning of each day, if you have no points remaining, you gain a single point. These points can be used as they are in Shadow of the Demon Lord (spend a fortune/luck point to succeed on a roll, avoid dying and remain at 1 HP, turn a d6 roll into a 6, or to grant 2 boons to an ally’s roll). You also gain 1 magic point.
Second Roll, or already have this ability: You gain 2 magic points
78-79 Right Place at the Right Time: Whenever a non-allied creature within your sight or hearing would cast a spell intended to benefit someone other than yourself, roll a d4. On a 4, that spells benefits you instead. If the spell targets multiple characters, it also targets you. You also gain 1 magic point.
Second Roll, or already have this ability: You gain 2 magic points
80 Magnet for Magic: An item from your last haul turns out to be magical. Your GM selects a useful, reusable magic item of some kind, preferably chosen from amongst your current possessions. You automatically meet all requirements for using this item.
81-83 Identify (1): You gain 1 magic point and learn the Identify spell. Tells you the function and value of an item, including specific effects if it’s a magic item. If the item is historic or otherwise famous, you get a basic idea of why. Casting this spell as (3) instead allows you to perform object reading, which tells you about the previous owner of the object, how it was lost, and gives you a few snippets of memories of its use.
Second Roll, or already have this spell: You gain access to Mercantile Psionics. See (95-96).
84 Mind Reading (2): You learn Mind Reading (2). You’ve become so good at reading people to make deals that you’ve accidentally become psychic. You may cast this spell undetectably to read snippets of thoughts from a single person for about ten seconds. You can spend an additional magic point to increase the duration to 10 minutes or to switch the target of the spell (or 2 additional points for both).
Already know this spell and are not a Trader: You gain 2 magic points.
Second Roll: You gain access to Mercantile Psionics. See (95-96).
85 Alarm (1): You learn Alarm (1). You may cast this spell on an object or where you stand. The spell triggers a loud and audible or telepathic (you choose) alarm if someone either touches the object or enters the area you cast the spell on. An “area” for purposes of this spell can be a room, your camp, or an area as large as a two-story home. You also gain 1 magic point.
86-87 Weird Dance (3): You’ve weaponized a dance you sometimes use to shoo customers away from rival dealers. You may not even realize this is magic. You cast this spell by using your turn to perform a weird dance that mesmerizes (in an uncomfortable way) anyone who catches sight of it. Anyone who sees this dance immediately loses 1 MP, and must make a will save to cast any spell they would have cast this turn. People who see it tend to want to leave the area unless there’s a pressing reason not to. This spell costs only 1 MP to perform if you use it while not already in combat. In addition to learning this spell, you gain 1 magic point.
Second roll: You gain access to Mercantile Psionics. See (95-96).
88-89 Contract (3): You gain 1 magic point. You also learn the spell Contract (3). It works like a mutual geas with terms you and at least one other target creature mutually agree to. All parties must consent to being targeted by this spell
Second roll: You gain 2 magic points.
90 Injunctive Return: You gain 1 magic point. You learn the spell Injunctive Return (5). Injunctive Return – you and anyone touching you may return to a location you’ve been to before, but only if you have an active contract (any contract, not necessarily from the spell Contract) in the area that you are able to fulfill. An ally may contribute up to 2 MP to help you cast this spell. If a magical effect, such as that of a Contract or Geas spell compels you to complete said contract, you can this spell for only 2 MP.
Second Roll, or know the spells Return or Teleport – You gain 1 magic point. You may now cast Injunctive Return on another person. The requirements are the same (and apply to you, the caster), but the person being teleported is someone you point to. If they are unwilling, they get a will save.
91 Name Your Price (5): You gain 1 magic point and learn the spell Name Your Price.
Name Your Price (5): When you cast this spell, identify a target you can see and name something you would like them to do. You can figure out what it would take for them to do that, at or near the minimum amount. It could be payment, services, threats, or something else, depending on the target and what you want from them. The target does not need to consciously know what price they would pay, but the spell is never wrong. (This spell was borrowed from Johnstone Metzger’s Nameless Grimoire which I would highly recommend as a spell list for your OSR game).
Second Roll – you gain access to Mercantile Psionics. See (95-96).
92 Jinxed: Your bad luck works against your enemies. When you roll a fumble of any kind in combat (such as a 1 or 0 on a d20), any negative result of your fumble roll immediately occurs to a random enemy as well. If the fumble is specifically on an attack roll, you also perform a critical hit (dealing double damage), though you look like an idiot while you do it. Describe how your bad luck somehow works in your favor.
93-94 Peep (1): You can cast this spell to discern information about the inside of a container. You can tell whether anything valuable or magical (set a minimum amount appropriate to the game) is inside the container and whether the container is a mimic. If you spend 3 MP to cast this spell instead, you can additionally identify the exact contents of the container and whether it is trapped. In addition to learning this spell, you gain 1 magic point.
Second Roll: You gain 2 magic points.
95-96 Mercantile Psionics: You might gain this ability as a result of rolling another entry on this list that gives it to you. In combat, you can spend 1 magic point to imperceptibly make a psionic attack against an enemy’s Intellect using your Intellect/Intelligence or Will/Wisdom (whichever is applicable to the game, or your choice). If your game does not allow you to attack stats, simply have them make a Will save.
On a successful attack, you either deal 2d6 psychic damage (making them aware of you, though not necessarily your location) or you can spend additional magic points to accomplish one of the following effects:
Trade Position (1): You and the target teleport to each other’s current positions.
Trade Knowledge (2): You switch a Profession you have with that of the target’s for 1 hour.
Trade Aptitude (3): Choose one of your ability scores. You and the target switch values for that score for 1 minute.
Trade Bodies (4): You switch bodies with the target for 1 hour. You each keep your memories, personality and numerical mental stats, but you gain the physical body and abilities of the other person, including spellcasting. They get an extra save against this ability. However, succeeding on the save still takes a toll on their mind and they take 3d6 psychic damage anyway.
97 Field Study:
A) If you have encountered magic in the form of a scroll or magical object, you may study it to learn a spell. Unfortunately, doing so destroys the scroll or object.
B) You gain 2 magic points.
98 Magical breakthrough!: Choose an entry on this list that allows you to learn a spell. You learn that spell or gain the benefit listed if you already know the spell, but do not gain magic points as you normally would from that entry.
99 Epiphany: Choose any lower-numbered entry on this list.
100 Remarkable Growth: Roll twice on this list, ignoring this result and re-rolling if it comes up again.
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