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The merchant is the thread that binds the underworld together. He is the buyer and seller of illegal goods, the middle man for contract thieves, and the heart and soul of the black market. Many of the world’s most powerful thieves guilds started out as just a merchant and his contacts. Some merchants keep their identities a secret, letting underlings handle the day-to-day activities as the merchant himself hides in the shadows. Some are actually merchants, selling stolen merchandise at prices the more honest merchants could never match. Some are even nobles, using underworld connections to sabotage their rivals and keep their coffers full. Whoever they may be, the truth is always the same: If a merchant can’t find it for you, it cannot be found.

The merchant is an archetype of the thief class.

Skill Ranks per Level

A merchant gains 2 fewer skill points per level.

Black Market Connections

A merchant gains the black market connections thief talent as a bonus talent at 1st level.

This ability replaces trapfinding.


A merchant gains a +1 morale bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks at 3rd level. This bonus increases by 1 at 6th level, and again every 3 levels thereafter, to a total of +6 at 18th level.

This ability replaces danger sense.


At 3rd level, the merchant’s network of contacts, connections, and informants gives him an organization in a community. A merchant always succeeds at checks to sell stolen goods (via his black market connections thief talent) when in a community where he has an organization, and he gains 1d6 (minimum: the merchant’s Charisma modifier) 1st level thieves to serve as underlings in that community.

Underlings are neither hirelings, nor henchmen, nor followers, but are instead professional thieves who buy and sell goods through the merchant’s organization. While these NPCs may be customized by the GM, assume they have 1 archetype and a +10 modifier in one skill (1 rank + class training + 3 from their attribute modifier + 3 from the Skill Focus feat).

For every underling a merchant has, he gains 15 gil a week as his cut of his organization’s business. This cut is either delivered directly to the merchant, or stored in a secure location for him to retrieve later if such a delivery would be impossible.

A merchant may ask a favor of each of his underlings once per week. A favor may be used to give the merchant a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information, Knowledge (local) checks, or Diplomacy checks made to use the merchant’s black market connections. The merchant may ask favors from multiple underlings for the same check. These bonuses stack.

The merchant may also hire his underlings to do specific jobs for him, such as follow a suspect, break into a building, cause a distraction, forge a document, or anything else relating to the underling’s skills or archetypal abilities. Hiring an underling for a job usually costs 10 gil, with extended jobs costing 25 gil per week, or 100 gil per month. An underling will usually only accompany the merchant on an adventure (thus becoming a temporary henchmen) if his safety can be assured, and may demand more payment for dangerous work. If an underling is caught or injured on a job for the merchant, the merchant is expected to pay the underling’s fines and bills, or the merchant might find his other underlings reluctant to take on similar jobs. If an underling is incarcerated, killed, or on adventure, the merchant does not gain that underling’s gil per week. Replacing underlings must be done through adventuring, gaining levels, or making new contacts.

At 7th level, and every four levels thereafter, a merchant gains 1d6 (minimum: the merchant’s Charisma modifier) new underlings, that may be added to an existing organization or used to form a new organization in a new community. Alternately, the merchant may instead increase the level of 1d6 underlings (minimum: the merchant’s Charisma modifier) by 2. Higher level underlings bring the merchant 15 gil per level per week. Asking a favor of a higher-level underling grants a bonus equal to the underling’s level for the check in question. When hiring a higher-level underling to do a specific job, multiply the cost by the underling’s level.

For the purposes of this ability, a community is any settlement consisting of 100 or more individuals. The community may be larger than this minimum. Outlying farms, fields, and houses are not considered part of a community.

This ability replaces uncanny dodge and improved uncanny dodge.