Power of Faerûn is a comprehensive guidebook to playing high-level heroes and running high-level campaigns in the Forgotten Realms. This supplement introduces new options to players and Dungeon Masters as well as guidelines for starting a temple, running a guild, leading an army, serving the crown, and participating in political intrigues. The excerpts below include information on earning titles, leading armies, adding dragons to your adventures, and using the merchant prince prestige class in your game. You can get more information from recent previews for this book, as well, so be sure to check there for cover copy and dragon statistics, too!
A merchant prince (known as a merchant princess if female) is a member of the merchant nobility who has acquired his position and wealth either by being born into a wealthy family or by earning every last coin himself. Merchant princes dominate economic activity across Faerûn, using their great fortunes to acquire almost anything imaginable and to defend the foundations of their mercantile empires.
Becoming a Merchant Prince
Most merchant princes are rogues, literally and figuratively, although aristocrats, experts, clerics of Waukeen, and clerics of Shaundakul are not uncommon. Few fighters have the skill to become merchant princes, although fighter/rogues often do. Bards are well equipped to become merchant princes, although surprisingly few have the inclination. Those rangers who become merchant princes usually make their fortunes as caravanners. Wizards and sorcerers rarely seek material gain at the expense of furthering their magical talents. Barbarians, clerics of other deities, druids, paladins, and monks rarely, if ever, become merchant princes.
Your key abilities support the primary and secondary skills of your profession. Intelligence impacts many of your class skills and might provide additional skill points. Charisma impacts many of your class skills as well.
Skills: Appraise 4 ranks, Bluff 4 ranks, Diplomacy 4 ranks, Profession (merchant) 8 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks.
Feats: Business Savvy, Favored in Guild, Skill Focus (Profession [merchant]).
Languages: Common, any two others, must be literate.
Special: You must own a business. If you no longer own a business, you cannot advance further in this class.
As you advance in level, you gain abilities that reflect the blessing of the gods who oversee commerce and your innate ability to make a profit. In addition, you learn enough magic to assist you in your daily trade.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple weapons and light armor.
Spellcasting: You have the ability to cast a small number of arcane spells. To cast a merchant prince spell, you must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spell's level, so if you have an Intelligence of 10 or lower, you cannot cast these spells. Bonus spells are based on Intelligence, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + your Int modifier. When you get 0 spells per day of a given level (for instance, 1st-level spells for 1st level), you gain only the bonus spells you would be entitled to based on your Intelligence score for that spell level. Your spell list appears below. You prepare and cast spells just as a wizard does.
You must study your spellbook each day to prepare your spells. You cannot prepare any spell not recorded in your spellbook, except for read magic, which all merchant princes can prepare from memory.
TABLE 4-1: THE MERCHANT PRINCE HIT DIE: D6
|| Master of commerce, mercantile knowledge
|| Lliira's heart
|| Gond's forge
|| Shaundakul's cloak
|| Waukeen's coin
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level): Appraise, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Forgery, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Knowledge (any), Profession, Ride, Sense Motive, Speak Language, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, Use Rope.
At 1st level, you have a spellbook (often disguised as a business ledger) containing two spells from the merchant prince 1st-level spell list. You learn two new merchant prince spells of any spell level you can cast at each merchant prince level thereafter. There is no limit to the number of these spells you can learn from this list. At any time, you can also add spells found in other spellbooks or scrolls to your own.
Master of Commerce (Ex): Merchant princes have mastered the art of commerce. You receive a +2 insight bonus on your profit modifier (see page 183 of Dungeon Master's Guide II) per class level and a 10% reduction in your capital costs per class level.
Mercantile Knowledge (Ex): Like a bard, you have a knack for picking up odds and ends of knowledge. This ability works like the bardic knowledge class feature. If you have bard levels, your merchant prince levels and bard levels stack for the purpose of using bardic knowledge.
Lliira's Heart (Su): At 2nd level, you receive the favor of the Joydancer, who held Waukeen's portfolio in trust for over a decade. Lliira grants you a +2 sacred bonus on saves against compulsion and fear effects.
Gond's Forge (Su): At 3rd level, you receive the favor of the Wonderbringer, who oversees artifice, craftwork, construction, and smithwork. Gond grants you a +2 competence bonus on Craft checks.
Shaundakul's Cloak (Su): At 4th level, you receive the favor of the Rider of the Winds, who oversees the caravan trade. Shaundakul grants you a +2 resistance bonus on saving throws against cold effects and a +1 competence bonus on Survival checks.
Waukeen's Coin (Su): At 5th level, you receive the favor of the Merchant's Friend. Waukeen gives you a +1 insight bonus and a +1 luck bonus on all your class skill modifiers (for a total bonus of +2).
MERCHANT PRINCE SPELL LIST
1st Level -- alarm, charm person, comprehend languages, create water, cure minor wounds, detect magic, erase, expeditious retreat, feather fall, know direction, mage armor, mage hand, message, mount, prestidigitation, purify food and drink, read magic, shield, unseen servant.
2nd Level -- arcane lock, continual flame, cure light wounds, detect thoughts, endure elements, identify, locate object, obscure object, Leomund's tiny hut, Leomund's trap, make whole, misdirection, Nystul's magic aura, Nystul's undetectable aura, protection from arrows, Tenser's floating disk, undetectable alignment, whispering wind.
3rd Level -- analyze portal, create food and water, eagle's splendor, fool's gold (see below), fox's cunning, gembomb, knock, Leomund's secure shelter, magic mouth, owl's wisdom, phantom steed, resist elements, secret page, see invisibility, speak with animals, tongues.
NEW SPELL: FOOL'S GOLD
Level: Bard 2, merchant prince 3, sorcerer/wizard 2
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Target: Metal objects of up to 10 cu. in. in volume/level
Duration: 1 hour/level
Saving Throw: Will disbelief (if interacted with)
Spell Resistance: No
This spell makes metal objects, such as a bronze statue or a handful of copper coins, appear to be made of gold. You can affect 10 cubic inches of metal -- the equivalent of about 150 coins or 3 pounds -- per level. If you want to affect multiple objects, such as a chest full of coins, you only need to touch one of the objects, providing that all of the other objects to be affected are in contact with one another.
Material Component: A powdered gem of at least 5 gp in value sprinkled over the object(s).
Playing a Merchant Prince
You are a master of commerce, amassing piles of wealth by controlling and manipulating the levers of production and trade. Your efforts are the economic lifeblood of your community, giving you great influence over the common folk of Faerûn. You look at adventuring as a means to grow your business, whether as a source of new capital or as a way to remove impediments to your business.
Most merchant princes begin their careers by founding, inheriting, or purchasing a business. Successful merchant princes concentrate on growing their business, vanquishing commercial rivals, and maximizing profits.
Your greatest weapon is your coin purse, for it gives you to the power to hire defenders and bribe potential foes. Master your chosen profession and seek every advantage available to you to increase profits. Then use those profits to bury your enemies under an onslaught of attacks by those in your employ without personal risk to you.
Qualifying for the merchant prince class requires a significant commitment of skill points and feats. As you gain levels, you probably want to focus on the primary and secondary skills of your chosen profession and increasing your profit modifier as high as possible. Skill Focus feats in your primary and secondary skills allow you to master your craft. You might want to select the Leadership feat, for careful placement of your followers can give you a significant advantage over rivals.
Thanks to their business income, merchant princes have access to significant piles of coin, allowing them to purchase nearly anything they desire. Their established position in mercantile society gives them regular access to "sweetheart deals." In a region in which you own one or more successful businesses, you can purchase any nonmagical item at 75% of the normal cost.
Merchant Princes in the World
Merchant princes can be found across the length and breadth of Faerûn. Most dwell in cities, but a sizable minority wanders the roads, seas, and portal networks of Faerûn, knitting the continent together through commerce. Merchant princes tend to live in the wealthiest districts of their homeland or in isolated estates surrounded by their retainers. Although some are frugal, most are relatively ostentatious, given to dramatic demonstrations of personal wealth.
Merchant princes are well known to commoners and aristocrats from across Faerûn, inspiring a mixture of envy, disdain, respect, and fawning admiration. Most merchant princes are seen as grasping, conniving scoundrels who would rather hire another individual to do their dirty work than risk danger to themselves, particularly among those who live in other communities. Among their fellow citizens, merchant princes are generally perceived to fall into one of two extremes -- greedy profiteers or noble benefactors -- with few shades of grey in between.
MERCHANT PRINCE LORE
Merchant princes are well known in the region in which they are based, but little known elsewhere. Characters who succeed on a Knowledge (local) check can learn the following information, including the information from lower DCs.
DC 10: Any noncriminal business in which the merchant prince has a significant investment.
DC 15: Any criminal business in which the merchant prince is rumored to have a significant investment.
DC 20: Average monthly profit of any noncriminal business in which the merchant prince has a significant investment.
DC 25: Average monthly profit of any criminal business in which the merchant prince is rumored to have a significant investment.
DC 30: Important deals under way whose success or failure could make or break the merchant prince's business.
Merchant Princes in the Game
Characters who establish businesses, rise to leadership positions within a guild, or emphasize lucrative skills are well suited to become merchant princes.
This prestige class appeals to players who like their characters to amass wealth through roleplaying and social interaction rather than "dungeon crawling." It works well in campaigns set in settled regions with thriving economies, where monsters are few but rivals and villains hide behind the public faces of civility.
NPC merchant princes occupy positions of great prominence in powerful trading cities and are usually members of the upper class, second only to the titled aristocracy (if such exists). Many merchant princes were born into (or even founded) powerful merchant houses. Others lead powerful guilds or wide-ranging trading costers. A few occupy positions in government with a great deal of influence over economic activity, particularly in cities where one or more aspects of trade are controlled by the government.
The merchant prince works well in mercantile societies such as Amn, Sembia, and Waterdeep. If you replace the spellcasting abilities with "+1 level of existing spellcasting class" at each level, add a requirement of "any item creation feat," add a requirement of "member of Red Wizards," and reduce the base attack bonus progression to that of a wizard, this prestige class could be called "enclave master" and retargeted at members of the Red Wizards who run Thayan enclaves in cities across Faerûn.
Merchant princes are most commonly encountered as potential employers, looking to hire adventurers to complete a specific task in exchange for a specified sum of money. Merchant princes also work well as foes, using their monetary resources and connections to cause problems for PCs who threaten the success of a business venture.
A sample merchant prince, Dabron Sashenstar, is detailed at the end of this chapter.