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Bisected8
2007-06-22, 12:48 PM
Just a random idea I had, its probably been done before but here's my interpretation of a courier NPC. Its also my first attempt at a NPC class;

Run, run as fast as you can, I could do with a gingerbread man - Hermes the heavy legged

Messenger (Alt names: postman, courier, runner)
{table=head]Level|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|
+0|
+1|
+2|
+1|Uniform

2nd|
+1|
+1|
+4|
+1|Athletic

3rd|
+1|
+1|
+4|
+2|+10 base land speed

4th|
+2|
+2|
+4|
+3|

5th|
+2|
+2|
+6|
+4|Swimmer

6th|
+3|
+2|
+6|
+4|Endurance feat, +10 base land speed

7th|
+3|
+3|
+6|
+4|Gossip

8th|
+4|
+3|
+7|
+5|

9th|
+4|
+3|
+7|
+7|Integrity, +10 base land speed

10th|
+5|
+5|
+10|
+7|

11th|
+5|
+5|
+10|
+8|

12th|
+6/+1|
+7|
+10|
+8|+10 base land speed

13th|
+6/+1|
+7|
+11x|
+9|

14th|
+7/+2|
+9|
+11|
+9|

15th|
+7/+2|
+9|
+11|
+9|Run, +10 base land speed[/table]

Everyone knows that there's easy and honest money to be made in delivery, even a mindless thug can earn a decent wage guarding carts, however delivering letters this way just isn't economical. Even a small horse would cut too deeply into the profit margins. As a result most correspondence is delivered by messengers working either privately, working in a business or for a government (or other ruler) who run on foot equipped with little more than a bag, rations and some gold (always useful if supplies run low) delivering messages as quickly as possible, no questions asked. They tend to be single minded in their work (i.e. survive the journey and deliver letters in that order of importance) and thus have surprisingly good will saves.

Messenger's are notoriously poor combatants, as a result anyone they attempt to strike gets a +1 circumstance bonus to AC. They are otherwise proficient with all simple weapons and no armour or shields as a commoner would be, however they rarely carry weapons because of the weight. If they are attacked they will either flee or fall back and allow someone else to do the fighting.

Uniform All messengers will wear a uniform to identify them as such regardless of how they are employed. The appearance of this varies but it will always include the universal sign for a messenger (An M over the image of a stickman) and a messenger's bag. A messenger's bag has enough space for 10 letters (one letter consists of a single page folded over itself twice and sealed with wax), it is watertight to protect the letters. The bag also has room for a weeks worth of rations. The uniform will also have symbols along the front, these are the crests of various noble families, who will print them on the uniforms of messengers who do a good job as a sort of recommendation.

+10 base land speed At level 3 and every 3 levels thereafter the messenger gains an extra 10 feet to their base land speed

Athletic At level 2 the messenger gains the Athletic feat

Swimmer At level 5 a messenger becomes able to swim at 3/4 their base land speed regardless of encumbrance as long as they remain on the surface of the water (otherwise their swim speed is normal for their stats).

Endurance At level 6 the messenger gains the endurance feat

Gossip Messengers tend to hear all the latest rumours of the last place they visited, and be only to happy to pass them on for a few spare coins.

Integrity Most messengers pride themselves on discretion and gain a +1 circumstance bonus to bluff checks to lie about the details of a job and to resists mind affecting enchantments attempting to discern the same.

Run At level 15 the messenger gains the run feat

Interaction with PCs

A messenger can be paid to deliver a letter (a single page of writing folded and sealed with wax) to someone in any nearby settlements (within about 10 miles). They will charge a base price of 10sp, though this can be haggled up or down. Higher level messengers and dangerous journeys will often increase the cost. The client can choose to pay the full price or pay half the price and have the recipient pay the rest (the recipient will not receive the letter if they do not wish to pay).

There is a chance a messenger will fail to deliver the message, the percentage chance for this is 10% (+ the modifiers below) (-the messenger's level). A successfully delivered message will arrive after 1d2 days.


{table=head]Modifier|% Change

Clear road|-5%
Poor Road|+5%
Off Road|+10%
Patrols by law enforcement en route|-10%
Bandit infested road|+10%
Someone attempting steal the message*|See Below[/table]
*or another being carried by the messenger

Should the message fail to arrive roll a d6 to determine the reason and effect


{table=head]d6|Cause|Effect

1-2|Messenger is lost|1d4-1 extra days for delivery
3|Letter is dropped on route|Messenger gives refund 1d4 days later
4|Travel to destination is impossible|Messenger returns letter and deposit
5|Messenger is captured by bandits|Messenger returns in bad shape after 1d10 days
6|Messenger disappears|The PCs may feel/be obliged to search for him after a week[/table]

The messenger's employers (or other messengers) will usually get word of what happened to the messenger after 1d2+1 days and inform the client(s), i.e. the PCs.

Intercepting a message

To intercept a message the messenger must be successfully tracked (standard DC + half the messenger's level rounded down) or ambushed. If a messenger is attacked they will continue to run rather than fight (their high movement rates tend to allow them to escape) Pick pocket attempts on a messenger's bag take a -2 penalty. If the delivery lasts 2 days then the messenger will stop to camp out overnight or stay in a cheap Inn.

On the road

Most messengers the PCs will meet while traveling will be no higher than level 10, most messengers who get higher than that end up founding a company or being promoted within the one they work for and do administrative work. For a bit of change (about 10-15 cp) they will give them the latest gossip or deliver a short spoken message to someone who lives in the settlement they're delivering to (use the same check as above to see if the message arrives).

If the PCs frequently help messengers who are lost or otherwise in danger they may find it easier to negotiate a better deal (messengers talk with each other a lot and word gets around).

Plot Hooks

-A king who recently gave the PCs a quest has heard his messenger was captured by bandits [alt.: gone missing] and asks them to save the messenger and recover his correspondence.
-A local messenger has been losing colleagues to bandits and tasks the PCs with making the roads safer.
-A severely injured messenger returns to town and asks the PCs to recover his charge from the bandits who robbed him/her.
-Recently many fake and rogue messengers have been taking people's money and running (literally) or charging for letters which turn out to be nothing but blank sheets. The PCs are hired as PIs to get to the bottom of the problem.

Bisected8
2007-06-22, 02:33 PM
No suggestions for improvements?

Poppatomus
2007-06-22, 02:46 PM
It's a very cool idea. (also might make a good basis for a monster in the flintstones sense)

I would say is that you might want to differentiate the improvement in their long term travel speed from their base land speed. moving 90 ft in a turn is interesting, but I'd hate to see anyone actually try and fight against that unless they massivly over leveled the guy. might be more reasonable if they gained, say, 5ft at every point you've inidcated to base but then gained the equivalent of 15ft when traveling unaccosted.

Also, Do you want Gossip to just be a plot hook, or is it intended to be more bardic knowledg-ish.

Bisected8
2007-06-22, 05:32 PM
It's a very cool idea. (also might make a good basis for a monster in the flintstones sense)

I would say is that you might want to differentiate the improvement in their long term travel speed from their base land speed. moving 90 ft in a turn is interesting, but I'd hate to see anyone actually try and fight against that unless they massivly over leveled the guy. might be more reasonable if they gained, say, 5ft at every point you've inidcated to base but then gained the equivalent of 15ft when traveling unaccosted.

Also, Do you want Gossip to just be a plot hook, or is it intended to be more bardic knowledg-ish.

Well the idea is that their only real defence is to run away, they can't actually deal much damage (I should make that clearer). Plus since they are unlikely to attack they can be caught flat footed with a bow and some poison or be caught while they're sleeping.

As for gossip, I'd say more a mix of the two. If there's a need for a plot hook then there could be rumours that "The count's a vampire" or "A wizard is doing it" in a nearby town. And if they want to find out where the count's hiding place is or what exactly the wizard is doing then they can also provide. That said it is really more of a plot device, it's an NPC class after all.

BarroomBard
2007-06-22, 08:33 PM
I understand that they're only mood of defense is to run away, but under no circumstances can any human being, with no magic of any kind, WALK 90 ft in six seconds. The messenger's stride would have to be 15 ft. with every step.

I don't know about you, but I see something wrong with that.

Matthew
2007-06-23, 12:01 AM
Heh, reminds me of Baldur's Gate and the messengers Roger, Wilco, Over Andout. Most NPC Classes are devoid of Level by Level Class Features. I find it kind of odd that an NPC Classed NPC could reach such Movement Rates.

Bisected8
2007-06-23, 06:37 AM
I understand that they're only mood of defense is to run away, but under no circumstances can any human being, with no magic of any kind, WALK 90 ft in six seconds. The messenger's stride would have to be 15 ft. with every step.

I don't know about you, but I see something wrong with that.

It was more of a reference to the various fictional postmen (e.g. the one from the LoZ series) who seem to run faster than you/your horse/other transport. Anyway, maybe they have a sort of hopping gait.

If you can suspend disbelief to the point where you accept magic then you can suspend it to the point where someone can teach himself to move quickly by hopping 15ft. every time you stride.

Riva
2007-06-23, 07:05 AM
This is obviously a "So, this might be cool.." idea. While I applaud your creativity, it appears very little actual thought was put behind it. Within the D&D universe, it is true magic exists. That said people still have roughly the same physical limitations, so asking people to bend credulity just that little bit further is somewhat ridiculous.

90ft/6sec=900ft/1min=54000ft/hr=10.2miles/1hr

That would be the speed that the character moves per round. If that were the run speed, perfectly acceptable (even on the slow side) but the run multiplier being x3 or x4, it becomes ridiculous. No one can run at thirty to forty miles an hour.

Keep it up though, just start thinking about all the implications.

Joltz
2007-06-23, 11:44 AM
I think messengers in a normal campaign could be taken care of just by Commoners with the run and dash feats, but This could work for unusual campaigns. I kinda like it

I think you should standardize the saving throws and BAB though. Right now his BAB and fort saves are below poor, his reflex maxes at 11 at level 20 and will is between a good and bad save? I recommend bad fortitude good reflex (since they're incredibly fast), and bad will. You could improve the will save by improving bonuses to the integrity feature though.

Also, since it's an NPC class I don't think they should get absolutely insane stuff like 10 speed every other level. Maybe every 3rd level? The anti-combat restrictions are crazy too. Enemies get a +10 circumstance bonus to AC and DR 10/magic? A level 20 messenger would have problems fighting a single wolf. Just give them the weapon proficiencies of a commoner and they're bad enough.

Hmmm... if I'm reading the speed bonus class feature description properly is says that they "lose the ability to run" I guess that may be ok. The wording makes it sound like they lose the ability to run permanently though. Just make them lose their speed bonus while they're running.

So basically, my recommendations are...
-standardize BAB and saves
-remove crazy combat restrictions
-make speed bonus +10ft every 3 levels (starting at one)
-allow them to run, but they lose their speed bonus while running

It's a funny little NPC class that's like a really fast commoner. I can picture my party's surprise when the king's messenger hustles past them at 120 feet per round on some random journey between towns.

de-trick
2007-06-23, 11:56 AM
i think if they have to run everywhere give them endurance because sure they could run 90ft a round but they would tired and have to slow down without endurance

brian c
2007-06-23, 12:21 PM
All I have to add about the speed thing is that a lvl14 messenger is faster than a lvl20 monk. That's a bit too much- maybe get them up to 60ft or something like that. Otherwise it's a nice class that can definitely fill a niche.

Neek
2007-06-23, 12:33 PM
Better yet, don't provide them with increases to their speed. Rather, provide increases for how long they can run, scaling with level. According to RAW, you can run for a number of turns equal to your Constitution score, afterwards you must succeed in a Fortitude check (DC 10), which increases every round. So you have a few options: Decrease the DC, increase their effective Con score for the purpose of running time, or translate it minutes/hours, rather than rounds.

sigurd
2007-06-23, 01:14 PM
I think you're better off to increase the messenger's endurance. Maybe give them pass without trace or tree\rock stride.

Even if their best defense is to run away most of their focus will be on covering geography quickly and safely.
Maybe a couple of extra languages as well and or a memory bonus for instructions\verbal messages.

I'd build it on the rogue tables but remove most of the combat stuff.


Sigurd

Bisected8
2007-06-23, 02:10 PM
I've made some changes. The messenger now gets the improvements to their base speed every third level and some bonus feats, their stats are based on a commoner's with higher will and reflex saves.