Today we’re here to discuss the unscrupulous Careers of the Rogue Class. Bawds to Bandits, Grave Robbers to Charlatans. If you wan to play a character with dubious morals or unique skills, a Rogue might be for you!
(Halfling, High Elf, Human)
Another Career that I had never heard of before reading this book, I initially thought a bawd was another word for a bard. Not even close! You wanna deal in illicit and/or illegal goods? You wanna be a scoundrel that sells information, drugs, and people (in the form of brothels, probably not slaves)? Then be a bawd! A Career almost completely lacking in combat ability, bawds are great at what they do, and it isn’t fight. Their Income Skill is Charm and they start with Agi, Dex, and Fel as their Career Characteristics. They’re smooth talkers and know how to haggle a good deal for themselves. Some Skills and Talents that help with this are Bribery, Gamble, Haggle, Intimidate, Lore (Local), Evaluate, Attractive, Gregarious, Carouser, Criminal, and Embezzle. Due to the nature of their work, their Status starts incredibly low at Brass 1, but if they’re good at their job and can make some sales, they can move up to Tier 4- Ringleader and Silver 3. A bawd as a PC would likely be a slimy creep, but a blast to play. An enemy bawd would be a real danger for the Party, with a gaggle of ruffians and others that don’t want their supplier to be rounded up or worse!
(Halfling, High Elf, Human)
Want to play a character that has absolutely nothing to do with combat? Then a charlatan is for you! Masters of talking people out of their money and belongings, Fel is your best friend with this Career, which they have as a Starting Characteristic along with I and Dex. Lowlifes that don’t stay in one place for long, they have a pretty low Status, starting at Brass 3 increasing to Silver 4 at Tier 4- Scoundrel. Naturally, they have social Skills and Talents for days. Bribery, Charm (Income Skill), Gamble, Slight of Hand, Evaluate, Pick Lock, Luck, Fast Hands, Secret Identity, Cat-tongued, and Gregarious help them to swindle and trick anyone and everyone out of their hard earned Karls. With literally no combat Skills or Talents to speak of, they rely on their wits and their feet to stay alive. Dodge at Tier 2- Charlatan helps, but that’s really about it, so keep those gums flapping if you don’t want a sword in your guts! Clearly charlatan’s are going to shine in a more urban campaign where they can talk their way into and out of trouble, but a more adventurous adventure with blades clashing they’re going to struggle. A PC charlatan sounds like a blast to play, possibly even using their skills to pinch a few coins from their party members. A charlatan NPC or enemy would be great fun for a GM, messing with the players and trying to get whatever out of them. Charlatans know things (and drink) so they might specialize in collecting information on the characters themselves, becoming a real thorn in their sides.
(Dwarf, Halfling, Human)
Dorbi the dwarf fence makes a few appearances in the Professional Casual playthrough of The Enemy Within as a source of illicit goods and information. He’s great for getting forged documents and for selling treasures found out in the wilds that more… reputable places might start asking questions about. Fences won’t though, they generally don’t care where the merchandise comes from, as long as they can sell it at a profit. Evaluate as their Income Skill makes perfect sense here, allowing them to determine the price of goods that they’re willing to pay so they can sell it for more! I, Agi, and Fel are their starting characteristics, and oddly, they don’t get Int until Tier 3- Master Fence. Again, a great social career with very few combat abilities, fences excel in campaigns surrounded by other people. Skills and Talents like charm, gossip, haggle, Trade (Engraver), Lore (Art, Local, Heraldry), Dealmaker, Numismatics, Super Numerate, and Briber allow them to shine. Their skill at buying and selling gives them a respectable status (as long as others don’t know how they’re making their money) starting at Silver 1, rising to Silver 4 at Tier 4- Black Marketeer. PC fences can make a lot of money with their adventuring, maybe even sharing it with the rest of the party! NPC fences, like Dorbi, are perfect as neutral or helpful to the party, buying the cool stuff they find and selling them things they need. Swindling a fence is a great way to make an enemy though, and they’ll likely have friends, so watch out!
Fear not, for they are already dead! Grave robbers have a strange, and illegal, immoral, sometimes heretical or anathema to some job. Stealing from the dead is frowned upon by most cultures, but some enterprising individuals don’t feel the same way. Grave robbers begin with a very low Brass 2 Status that can increase to a healthy Silver 5 if they become a famous Treasure Hunter like Locke Cole (let me know if you get that reference). Their Career Characteristics and Skills don’t exactly match up, but they have an interesting mix of environmental and combat Skills and Talents. Notably Stealth (Any) is their income-Skill, but they never gain Agi as a Career Characteristic. They do gain Climb, Cool, Dodge, Endurance, Melee (Basic) Evaluate, Drive, Pick Lock, Set Trap, and Trade (Engineer) for skills throughout the Career Path. Flee! Break and Enter, Resistance (Disease), Read/Write, Tunnel Rat, and Fearless (Undead) are great Talents that help to make this class unique, especially among Rogues. I love the idea of a PC grave robber that doesn’t want to let the rest of the party know what they do, especially if there are any religious or squeamish types in the group. Keeping their nocturnal activities underwraps could be really fun for the PC and possibly the whole party, as they try to figure out why Claus keeps sneaking off at night.
An NPC grave robber, on the other hand, could easily be a small quest for an early party, catch them and then bring them in for questioning. Having a Treasure Hunter as a rival would give the adventure some Uncharted vibes, as the party and their rival race to get to the relic first!
(Dwarf, Halfling, High Elf, Human, Wood Elf)
A mostly combat-oriented career, the lowly outlaw can rise to become a Bandit King! While many outlaws don’t see themselves as such, just as many (if not more) embrace their lives outside the laws of civilization and can become a right menace. Their characteristics focus on physical prowess as they start with WS, S, and T- later gaining BS, I, and Fel. Outlaws are no slouches and are often quite skilled and scary, with Intimidate as their income-Skill. Other useful Skills include: Athletics, Cool, Endurance, Melee (Basic), Outdoor Survival, Dodge, Heal, Ranged (Bow), Leadership, and Ride (Horse). Their Talents are all great, like: Combat Aware, Criminal, Dirty Fighting, Trapper, Rapid Reload, Roughrider, Menacing, and Deadeye Shot. Their life outside the walls of larger settlements is reflected in their low Status, starting at Brass 1 and only increasing to Silver 2 if they do become a feared Bandit King.
A PC outlaw has a lot of choice with this career. They can go the Robin Hood route, and be a force of good that was either framed, or is like a dwarf Slayer, atoning for some wrong in their past. NPC outlaws are often used as fodder for their powerful leader, or as a group of people that have been wronged and want to fight to reclaim what had been taken from them such as we’ve seen in The Enemy Within (I won’t say any more for fear of spoilers, other than we do meet some outlaws like this in a Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure).
(Dwarf, Halfling, Human)
My first thought when reading the description of this Career was, ‘huh, they’re just Thugs,’ guess what, that’s the first Tier of the Career Path! Interestingly, they have the same starting characteristics as the outlaw: WS, S, and T. After that they gain Fel, WP, then Int. While they’re the muscle for their boss, they aren’t without cunning. Their Status as a racketeer is middling, starting at Brass 3 and increasing to Silver 5 if they can move up their ranks and become a Crime Lord. Their Income-Skill is also the same as the outlaw: Intimidate. Their Skills are mostly for combat or just scaring people: Cool, Dodge, Melee (Brawling), Melee (Basic), Bribery, Perception, Leadership, Ranged (Crossbow), and Lore (Law, Politics). Their Talents make them better at breaking kneecaps and collecting the money they’re owed (or getting someone else to do it): Criminal, Etiquette (Criminals) (I love this one), Menacing, Strike Mighty Blow, Embezzle, Fearless (Watchmen), Iron Will, Commanding Presence, Kingpin, and Frightening.
A PC racketeer might be trying to distance themselves from that life, or maybe they’ve latched onto another member of the party and are their personal (hired?) muscle. NPC racketeers come a dime a dozen as thugs, but Gang Bosses or Crime Lords can be long-term enemies that can make life miserable for a party, especially in an urban campaign. Just take a look at the Low Kings from Middenheim for ideas!
(Dwarf, Halfling, Human)
Everyone knows what a thief is. My work is done for this Career.
Alright fine. They steal stuff, they’re good at it.
Twist my arm, fine, I’ll give them the same treatment as others, I jutz really want to get to the last Rogue Career! Their Status is low-middle of the road starting at Brass 1 up to Silver 3. Their starting Career characteristics are good- I, Agi, and WP, gaining Dex, S, and Fel later on. I wish they had Dex to start, but Stealth (Urban) is their Income-Skill (why not Any there?). Their Skills make them great at what they do, and what they do isn’t very nice. Athletics, Climb, Dodge, Perception, Pick Lock (not until Tier 2!!), Sleight of Hand, Bribery, and Set Trap are all super useful and some are quite rare, like Pick Lock and Set Trap. Their Talents can be cherry-picked to build your preferred type of thief from: Alley Cat, Flee!, Strike to Stun, Break and Enter, Etiquette (Criminals) (there it is again!), Fast Hands, Shadow, Nimble Fingered, Step Aside, Trapper, and Catfall. Some of these are even unfamiliar to me; they’re so unique!
A PC thief can either be a huge boon to a party with the same scruples, or might need to hide the fact that they are, in fact, a thief. NPC thieves can be a rival similar to the grave robber, trying to get to the MacGuffin before the party, or a friend that they hire to do the stuff they don’t want to, or aren’t good at.
(Human) No. I’m Lucky!
Everyone’s favorite (or least favorite) witch on A Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure, Lucky, ne Geraldine “Jerry” Crumpet, ne Wilhem Dreggs, exemplifies the craziness of this magical career. A witch, by definition, is simply someone in the Empire that can manipulate the Winds of Magic and isn’t officially licensed from the Colleges of Magic in Altdorf. Witches either live on the fringes of the Empire and never make the trek to the Colleges, or don’t care to. Some hide their abilities, while others go into hiding, removing themselves from society and becoming local legends. Others throw gold into the sewers, return to jail cells, and travel with a witch hunter willingly. All witches fear death by hanging or fire as their very existence is illegal and punishable by that self-same death. This is reflected in their low Status, starting at Brass 1 as a Hexer and only increasing to Brass 5 as a Warlock. Their Skills and Talents do a nice job of separating them from the learned Wizards and Hedge Witches. Surprisingly, their income-Skill is Language (Magick), even though they often try to hide this, their spells are used in secret to help them have something to sell and make Karls. Other Skills they get access to include Channelling, Cool, Sleight of Hand, Charm Animal, Dodge, Melee (Polearm), Trade (Herbalist), Haggle, Charm, Lore (Dark Magic) (Daemonology) and (Magic). Their Talents are what really separate them from other magic casters starting with Instinctive Diction at Tier 1! Others are Petty Magic, Arcane Magic (Witchery), Witch! (one of the coolest Talents in the book), Frightening, Magical Sense, and Aethyric Attunement (not until Tier 4!).
A PC witch will almost certainly need to keep their abilities hidden from their party, unless they have a fake license of course. Or, if their campaign is far from the civilized parts of the Empire, they might embrace their dark magics. One of my favorite things about witches is that they will miscast any time they channel magic unless they use a reagent- a fleshy bit of something that was once living. NPC witches can easily be a mark for bounty hunters or witch hunters (duh) or can be a powerful BBEG with access to insane magics. Luckily (‘No, I’m Lucky’ says Tim) Cubicle 7 released an expansion PDF for Hedge Witches and Witches with expanded spell lores called Blood and Bramble.
Swing Your Sword
The final Class is up next, the Warriors! Learn about Guards, Soldiers, Slayers, and more. Until then, make sure to check out our Patreon at patreon.com/professionalcasual for all kinds of awesome content. Also, if you’re looking for any of the books I’ve mentioned throughout the article, head over to beardeddragongames.online/shop or if you’re in our Discord, tag Anthony with anything you need!
Dan is a founding member of the PCN, GM/host of “A Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure,” and “Settling the Southlands” as well as a player in The Lost Omens Podcast, and The Slithering. Dan is also a novelist and writer of adventures.