This is a class I've designed, based on the Ranger's Apprentice
novels. While I'm designing it for a game I'm running based in that universe, I think it would work well in any historical/low magic setting or for anyone who is looking for a noble character who relies on social skills.
The Kings Couriers are an elite corps, unique to the Kingdom of Araluen. Charged with delivering messages from one noble's fief to another, The Couriers are far more than mere messengers. Indeed, The Couriers constitute the single most organized spy network in all the world!
Couriers are usually recruited from the ranks of minor nobility, though any youth of a certain age who shows promise and talent may be taken in and mentored by an established Courier. While Couriers may be of any gender, the corps tends to heavily favor women in their recruiting. This is partly due to the widespread belief that noblewomen are more tactful and inclined to think around problems than their male counterparts but also due to the inherent chivalry and/or sexism of most of the nations that border Araluen. Simply put, women are more often underestimated and that gives a skilled Courier another advantage in the field.
Couriers undergo an intense training regiment. While focusing primarily upon social studies Couriers frequently are sent on dangerous assignments and are taught how to defend themselves accordingly. Their signature weapon is an easily concealed long knife which are usually hidden somewhere on their person. Couriers also receive extensive training in the arts of disguise and acting and are frequently sent on undercover missions.
The courierís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills taken indvidually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Perform (all skills taken individually) (Cha), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language, Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis) and Swim (Str)
Skill Points at 1st Level
(8 + Int modifier) ◊4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level
8 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
| Level || BAB || Fort || Ref || Will || Special|
|1st || +0 || +0 || +0 || +2 || Social Art +1, Savoir-Faire|
|2nd || +1 || +0 || +0 || +3 || Comeliness|
|3rd || +2 || +1 || +1 || +3 || Composure +2|
|4th || +3 || +1 || +1|| +4 || Encode Missive, Bonus Feat|
|5th || +3 || +1 || +1 || +4 || Social Art +2|
|6th || +4 || +2 || +2 || +5 || Pull Rank|
|7th || +5 || +2 || +2 || +5 || Composure +4|
|8th || +6/+1 || +2 || +2 || +6 || Bonus Feat|
|9th || +6/+1 || +3 || +3 || +6 || Social Art +3|
|10th || +7/+2 || +3 || +3 || +7 || Exquisite|
|11th || +8/+3 || +3 || +3 || +7 || Composure +6|
|12th || +9/+4 || +4 || +4 || +8 || Bonus Feat|
|13th || +9/+4 || +4 || +4 || +8 || Social Art +4|
|14th || +10/+5 || +4 || +4 || +9 || Eidetic Memory|
|15th || +11/+6/+1 || +5 || +5 || +9 || Composure +8|
|16th || +12/+7/+2 || +5 || +5 || +10 || Bonus Feat|
|17th || +12/+7/+2 || +5 || +5 || +10 || Social Art +5|
|18th || +13/+8/+3 || +6 || +6 || +11 || Renowned|
|19th || +14/+9/+4 || +6 || +6 || +11 || Skill Mastery|
|20th || +15/+10/+5 || +6 || +6 || +12 || Glorious, Bonus Feat|
The courier is proficient in the use of all simple weapons. Couriers are proficient with light armor, but no shields.
Couriers have an inherent understanding of human nature and how to read people, so as to best take advantage of social situations. Couriers gain a +1 competence bonus on Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, Perform (any) and Sense Motive. This increases to +2 at 5th level, +3 at 9th level and so on.
Couriers are trained to carry themselves with poise and grace at all times. This gives couriers a certain undefinable flair that attracts attention like moths to a flame.
Whenever a courier succeeds on any skill check and their result is five or more higher than the required DC to succeed at the task, they are considered to have performed the deed with style. The Game Master is free to dictate any rules effects from this but possible outcomes could be that the courier gain a bonus on successive actions or a temporary bonus to their Charisma-based skills with those who witnessed the deed.
It is near impossible to embarrass a courier. for their training is such that they can make even a fall look graceful. Anytime the courier fails badly in a social situation, they may make an immediate Bluff check so as to mitigate the failure and make it look intentional. The DC for this check depends on the nature of the offense, but it is usually 15 or 20.
As a free action, the courier may make a Diplomacy check to oppose anyone actively attempting to embarrass them, even if they are unaware of what is going on. The Game Master makes the roll on behalf of the courier.
A courier takes pride in their appearance and is always well-dressed and groomed. A courier receives a +2 circumstance bonus to all Charisma-based skills where their appearance may play a part.
A courier is trained to master the art of self-control early on, never allowing their true feelings or thoughts to show. At 3rd level, couriers gain a +2 competence bonus to all ability checks, skill checks and Will saves when someone is attempting force information from them, whether it be through simple persuasion, heated debate or severe torture.
Encode Missive (Ex):
The Couriers use an extensive system of codes to send messages to one another. This is done through numerous methods, from missives written in code words to flashing lights, floral arrangements and even items of jewelry! A courier can identify and understand a message left for them by another courier with a DC 10 Spot check (in the case of visual messages) or a DC 10 Sense Motive check in the case of verbal messages. Others attempting to intercept or interpret messages must first make a Spot or Sense Motive check (DC 25) to notice the attempt at secretive communication, then make a Decipher Script check (DC20 + the class level of the courier who sent the message)
The courier gains an additional bonus feat at 4th level and every four courier levels thereafter (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th). This feat must be approved by the GM and is encouraged to be of a social nature. Alternatively, the courier can devote themselves to their studies or the pursuit of activities like hunting or animal husbandry that - while not precisely social in nature - are a frequent topic of conversation among nobility. The courier may take Skill Focus in any of the following skills: Handle Animal, Knowledge (all), Ride, Survival
Some suggested feats are listed below.
The courier gains a +2 bonus on all Listen checks and Spot checks.
The courier has a close relationship with someone of authority who will go out of their way to help them in a jam. This assumes, of course, that they can be contacted in time. The exact nature of this relationship must be determined when this feat is selected. The Game Master makes an Ally check based on 1d20 + the courier's Charisma bonus + any applicable bonuses. The DC of the check depends on nature of the assistance required (DC 10 to borrow a small sum of money, DC 15 for an introduction to another person of equal rank to the ally to a DC 25 for direct physical aid). The Courier may make a request of the ally once a month, but the DC on later Ally Checks goes up by 2 for every request made in successive months.
The courier gains a +2 competence bonus on all Perform checks.
A courier with this ability has a flawless memory for sounds. They gain a +4 competence bonus on all Listen checks and with a successful Intelligence check (DC 13), the courier can recall entire overheard conversations, identify people by voice, discern numbers and groups of people purely by sound alone and make other sound-based identifications or deductions as appropriate.
The courier gains a +2 bonus on all Diplomacy checks and Sense Motive checks.
The courier gains a +2 bonus on all Bluff checks and Intimidate checks.
Pull Rank (Ex):
As a full round action, the courier may loudly declare their name, rank, heritage, honors and deeds to all who listen. Following this declaration, any who wish to attack or insult the courier must make a Will save of DC 10 + the courier's class level + the courier's charisma modifier. Should they fail this Will Save, they are unable to assault the courier, physically or verbally. Those affected must be able to see and hear the courier speak. They must also have some reason to fear the courier's power. Bandits, ruffians and the like all have some reason to fear the lawful authority of a courier but confirmed traitors to the crown, agents of a foreign power or wandering mercenaries may have little to fear (or at least little more to fear) about adding the death of a courier to their list of crimes.
At 10th level, a courier's sense of grace and poise has progressed them to a point beyond mere comeliness, making them exquisite. The courier now receives a +4 bonus on all Charisma-based skill-checks in situations where their appearance might play a part. This ability supersedes the Comeliness ability.
Eidetic Memory (Ex):
At 14th level, the courier is now able to recall any visual image they see with near perfect accuracy. The courier gains a +4 competence bonus on all Appraise, Knowledge, Search and Spot skill checks.
At 18th level, the courier is renowned as a hero of the realm. They may now use the Pull Rank ability without taking a full round action to declare their name and heritage.
Skill Mastery (Ex):
At 19th level, the courier selects a number of skills equal to 3 + their Intelligence modifier. When making a skill-check with one of these skills, the courier may take 10 even if stress or distraction would ordinarily prevent them from doing so. The courier may only use the following skills for this ability: Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge, Listen, Move Silently, Sense Motive and Spot.
At 20th level, a courier's sense of exquisite grace and poise has progressed to the point where they are now glorious. The courier now receives a +6 bonus on all Charisma-based skill-checks in situations where their appearance might play a part. This ability supersedes the Exquisite ability.