Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ACKS Classes: Dwarven Muleskinner

(yes, that was a Dwarf Fortress joke.  But do you know how hard it is to find a picture of a dwarf leading a mule?)

This class grew out of some thoughts on the Explorer and the Venturer, combined with a goodly dose of silliness and perhaps some slight influence from Dwarf Fortress.

Dwarven Muleskinner
Prime requisites: Str, Dex
Minimum stats: Con 9+
Hit dice: 1d6
Maximum level: 11

While the adventurous humans have their explorers of faraway lands, and the elves have cadres of rangers dedicated to defending their forests, one does not usually think of the folk-under-the-mountain as having much skill in the wilderness.  Indeed, there are but two sensible explanations for a dwarf taking up overland travel.  The first is that he has been cast out from his clan holdfast for some deeply shameful act, as sometimes happens when the alcohol flows too freely.  The second is greed; a dissatisfaction with the metal and stonework of the mountainhomes, a desire for the finer things in life as produced by the surface races, or a lust for the wealth that a life of trade might bring.  Most muleskinners claim to have begun their careers for the latter reason, though their companions often suspect that the former is closer to the truth.

Dwarven muleskinners are accustomed to defending themselves and their caravans as they journey across many miles of trackless and monster-infested wilderness, and so they advance in attack throws and saves at a rate of two points per three levels, just as a fighter.  They are skilled in the use of all one-handed melee weapons and all missile weapons except for longbows, which they may not use due to their short statue.  Muleskinners may fight with a weapon in each hand, with a one-handed weapon used in both hands, or with a weapon and a shield.  They eschew armors heavier than chainmail, as these restrict their movement and prevent them from keeping up with the mules or running for their lives.  Like explorers and rangers, muleskinners prefer to engage their enemies at range, and gain a +1 damage bonus with missile weapons, +1 more at each level divisible by 3.  They may use any magic item usable by fighters.

Muleskinners have a sense of direction well-developed by extensive overland journeys, and so begin play with the Navigation proficiency.  They are also responsible for keeping their pack animals out of dangerous terrain, and so are skilled at Land Surveying.  They are as stubborn as the mules they lead, and exhibit exceptional Endurance in harsh conditions.  The nature of their charges means that every muleskinner is familiar with the basics of the care and training of mules, and so they gain Animal Husbandry and Animal Training (Mules) as proficiencies (if you have a merciful Judge, he may extend Animal Training to 'pack animals' rather than mules specifically).  Further, an exceptional few muleskinners (those worthy of the class, rather than just being L0 dwarves) develop a preternatural bond with their animals and an excellent understanding of animal behavior in general, gaining the Beast Friendship proficiency.

Of course, being merchants, muleskinners must cultivate a second set of talents for once the journey is at its end.  They are Shrewd Bargainers, with skills earned through the sale of thousands of lead figurines and the acquisition of tens of discount mules.  Most successful muleskinners also take care to develop a Network of Buyers and Suppliers which permits them to lower the effective market class of settlements which they have already visited at least once by 1, as the Venturer ability.

Finally, as dwarves, muleskinners gain a +1 to surprise rolls while underground.  All are fluent in Dwarf, Gnome, Goblin, and Kobold, and they may detect traps, false walls, secret doors, and other such constructions while underground on a roll of 14+.  Due to their natural hardiness, they gain a +3 bonus to saving throws vs blast and breath, and a +4 bonus to all other saving throws (and so they save as a Dwarven Vaultguard of the same level).  As a result of their attention to detail, they gain a +2 bonus to proficiency rolls (including, from their skill set, Animal Husbandry, Navigation, Land Surveying, and Beast Friendship throws).

Upon reaching 5th level (Dwarven Mule Whisperer), the Dwarven Muleskinner masters the Secrets of the Carrot and the Stick, which motivate all mercenaries, mules, and henchmen that he personally leads to great acts of valor.  Through howled threats of the lash, promises of great rewards, and gently whispered reassurances, he provides his followers with +2 morale when he personally leads them.

When he reaches 9th level (Dwarven Caravan Master), the Dwarven Muleskinner may establish a fortified trading post, ideally located along a trade route through forbidding wilderness.  The trading post must be built in an area which is civilized by neither humans nor dwarves, and attracts a mostly human population, since few dwarves wish to be ruled by so eccentric a lord as a muleskinner.  Additionally, when the post is constructed, it will attract 1d4x10 0th-level human mercenaries, 10 1st-level dwarven vaultguards, and 1d6 1st-3rd level dwarven muleskinners, all seeking employment.

Dwarven Muleskinner Class Proficiency List: Alertness,  Ambushing, Animal Husbandry, Animal Training, Bargaining, Bribery, Combat Reflexes, Combat Trickery (Incapacitate, Wrestling), Command, Diplomacy, Dwarven Brewing, Fighting Style, Gambling, Illusion Resistance, Intimidation, Language, Leadership, Mapping, Mountaineering, Naturalism, Passing Without Trace, Precise Shooting, Riding, Running, Skirmishing, Sniping, Survival, Trapping, Weapon Focus

Fur Trader Template: This pre-generated template represents a small-time fur trapper and trader from the borderlands.  This template is ready for adventure.
Proficiencies: Alertness, Trapping
Equipment: Leather armor of uncertain providence (smells like mule), leather boots, broad leather belt with copper buckle with clan markings, hooded cloak, crossbow with 20 bolts, hatchet (hand axe), boot knife, tent, flint and tinder, hand-whittled whistle, two weeks' iron rations, mule, saddlebags (large sack x2).  Unusually successful fur traders may have some amount of furs or a fancy hat.

Build math: Fighting 2, HD 1, Thief 1, Dwarf 2
XP to L2: 600 dwarf 2 + 450 fighting tradeoffs + 500 HD 1 + 1000 fighting 2 + 200 thievery 1 -> 2750

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