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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.

Limit Break (Su)

At 1st level, the merchant receives the Limit Break (Gold Dust).

Gold Dust (Su): This Limit Break allows the merchant to be more efficient with his gil toss and gil rain abilities. For a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four thief levels after 1st, the merchant doesn’t need to spend gil while using these abilities and gains an additional die of damage plus an extra die of damage per four thief levels after 1st. This limit break requires only a swift action.

This ability replaces the Limit Break (Vanish).

Gil Toss (Su)

At 1st level, a merchant places his material fortunes on the line to make an attack. The merchant can turn up to three coins into deadly projectiles that gain the velocity of a bullet when thrown. The coins retain their normal appearance but can be used as simple thrown weapons with a range increment of 20 feet and a critical multiplier of ×2. The transmuted coins are treated as ammunition for the purposes of drawing them. Like firearm bullets, the coins deal bludgeoning and piercing damage, and attacks with them are resolved as touch attacks within the first range increment. Regardless of whether a transmuted coin hits or misses the target, it is destroyed after the attack. Only the merchant can make attacks with the coins, though other creatures can safely handle them without discharging the ability.

The merchant can make a single ranged attack with a coin as part of using this ability. Different types of coins create different bullet effects. 1-gil coins deal 2d4 points of damage. 10-gil coins deal 2d6 points of damage and count as silver for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. 100-gil coins deal 2d8 points of damage, count as masterwork weapons, and are treated as adamantine weapons for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction and bypassing hardness. 1,000-gil coins deal 2d10 points of damage and count as +1 weapons (that improves by 1 for every four thief levels after 1st). All coin bullets deal an additional 1 point of damage per two thief levels (to a maximum of an extra 10 points of damage at 20th level).

At 7th level. the merchant can throw an additional coin at a -5 penalty as part of a full-attack. At 14th level, he can throw a third coin at a -10 penalty.

This ability replaces sneak attack.

Silver-Tongued Haggler (Su)

Also at 1st level, whenever a merchant makes a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Sense Motive check, he can, as a free action, grant himself a bonus on the roll equal to half his thief level (minimum +1). The merchant can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier.

This ability replaces trapfinding.

Blessing of Prosperity (Su)

A merchant is a patron of wealth and seeks to even the playing field for those who have unfair economic disadvantages. At 1st level and every 6 levels thereafter, the merchant can select a blessing (see Blessings below). The merchant can grant a boon to himself or a creature touched as a standard action. These boons do not stack with themselves or with blessings from another merchant. A blessing of prosperity lasts up to 1 hour, though the merchant who bestowed it can end a blessing’s benefits early (whether it affects him or another creature) as a free action. Using this ability requires only one free hand and is a standard action, unless the merchant targets himself, in which case, it is a swift action. A merchant can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier.

If he knows multiple blessings of prosperity, the merchant can bestow multiple blessings on a single target as part of the action and the expenditure of a use required to use this ability. If he bestows multiple different blessings, these blessings are cumulative. For example, a 7th-level merchant’s blessing of prosperity ability might grant a +4 circumstance bonus on Appraise and Sense Motive checks as well as a +4 circumstance bonus on Perception checks and to CMD against disarm and steal combat maneuvers.

Once a blessing of prosperity is chosen, it can’t be changed.

A character who has benefited from a blessing of prosperity cannot benefit from that same blessing again (whether bestowed by the same merchant or another merchant) for 24 hours.

Blessings: The following blessings are available to a merchant.

  • The target adds an extra 10% to the gil value gained when selling off treasure (normally 50% of the item’s original value). This blessing cannot result in selling treasure for more than 100% of its original value.

  • The target gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Appraise and Sense Motive checks.

  • The target gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Perception checks and to CMD against disarm and steal combat maneuvers.

  • The target gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Craft, Perform, and Profession checks.

  • The target can use locate object as a spell-like ability once, using the merchant’s thief level as the caster level.

  • The target can treat one settlement as having its base value and purchase limit increased by 30%. The target must choose the affected settlement when the merchant bestows this blessing.

  • The target can treat one settlement as being one size category larger for the purposes of determining available magic items. The target must choose the affected settlement when the merchant bestows this blessing.

This ability replaces finesse training and skirmisher.

Black Market Connections

At 2nd level, a merchant gains the black market connections thief talent.

This ability replaces a thief talent gained at 2nd level.


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.

Fence (Ex)

At 4th level, a merchant loots a dungeon or other adventuring complex of its mundane goods and sells them to his various contacts. These mundane goods include things like brass fittings, stewpots, scrap metal, and so on. The merchant automatically loots this junk while in the dungeon, and must spend 8 uninterrupted hours selling the objects in town. The amount typically equals 1d100 gil per thief level per dungeon.

This ability replaces debilitating injury.

Bargain (Ex)

At 6th level, a merchant is a cunning businessman that he can effectively con a person out of an item they have. The merchant makes a Bluff skill check. The DC of this check for the merchant is equal to 10 + his opponent’s hit dice + his opponent’s Wisdom modifier. If his opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + his opponent’s Sense Motive bonus, if higher. If the merchant wins, the merchant must pay 100% of the value of the item. For every 5 points the merchant beats his opponent, he pays 10% less (to a maximum of 50%). If the merchant fails the check by 4 or less, the character’s attitude toward him is unchanged. If he fails by 5 or more, the character’s attitude toward him is decreased by one step.

This ability replaces a thief talent gained at 6th level.

Appraising Eye (Ex)

At 7th level, a merchant has such vast experience with stolen items and trade goods used in bribes, he can instinctively and immediately determine the value of objects he sees. The merchant may make an Appraise skill check (to determine an item’s value, or determine the most valuable item of a hoard) as a swift action. If a merchant chooses to make such an Appraise check as a standard action, he may roll the check twice and take the better of the two results.

This ability replaces skilled liar.

Gil Rain (Su)

At 10th level, a merchant can use his gil toss ability to hit any number of creatures within 30 feet by spending gil (must use the same type of coins) and making a ranged touch attack for each creature. However, he cannot make multiple attacks with his gil toss ability through the gil rain ability.

This ability replaces mug.

Master Merchant (Ex)

At 20th level, the merchant becomes the pinnacle of wheeling and dealing. He can sell treasure and items at 100% of value, regardless of condition. In addition, he gains a bonus to all gil toss and gil rain damage rolls equal to his Charisma modifier. In addition, up to 3 times per day, he can maximize the damage dealt from these abilities.

This ability replaces master strike.

Thief Talents

While the merchant is unable to pick thief talents that enhance sneak attack, the following thief talents complement the merchant archetype: false friend, obfuscate story, steal the story; charmer, coax information, honeyed words; convincing lie.

Advanced Thief Talents

While the merchant is unable to pick advanced thief talents that enhance sneak attack, the following advanced thief talents complement the merchant archetype: skill mastery, hard minded; master of disguise; rumormonger.