Base Requirements

  • Races: Any
  • Sub-Classes: Any Rogue
  • Ability Requirements: Leadership 13, Knowledge 13, Aim 9
  • Alignments: Any
  • Starting Cash: By class

Weapon Proficiencies

  • Weapon Slots: By class
  • Bonus Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Required Weapon Proficiencies: none
  • Allowed Weapons: By class
  • Allowed Armors: By class

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

  • Non-weapon Slots: By class
  • Available Categories: By class
  • Bonus Non-weapon Proficiencies: Alertness, Appraising, Information Gathering, Local History
  • Required Proficiencies: none
  • Recommended Proficiencies: Ancient History, Animal Handling, Animal Training, Animal Noise, Artistic Ability, Blacksmithing, Boating, Camouflage, Direction Sense, Disguise, Etiquette, Fast-talking, Forgery, Gem Cutting, Land-based Riding, Literacy, Modern Languages, Navigation, Rope Use, Seamanship, Signaling, Swimming, Weaponsmithing, Weather Sense.
  • Forbidden Proficiencies: none

Overview: A smuggler is in a unique position. As a transporter of banned items or illegally imported or exported goods, the smuggler is the gateway into the black markets for sellers and buyers across the world, making theft profitable for all. Smugglers come from all over, but they are unlikely to live in their old homelands now if they angered legal authorities with their deeds. Many expatriate smugglers have thriving, if secret, businesses in western seaports like Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate, and Calimport, or in cities bordering the Sea of Fallen Stars. Pirate groups, particularly those in the Sea of Fallen Stars, usually have many smugglers among them, each specialized in transporting a particular assortment of items.

Description: A smuggler gives off the appearance of being a normal merchant or tradesman in all ways, and in fact may have a legitimate trade he practices part-time. This facade must be maintained to keep suspicion away from smuggling operations; an actual disguise is not required, only the proper dress, tools, and place of business. The smuggler takes pains to be noticed but not looked at with suspicion or recognized for what he secretly is. Contraband is always kept hidden, either on the smuggler’s person, in his dwelling, or in his means of transportation.

Role-Playing: There are a wealth of items that fall into the smuggler’s sphere of interest: rare magical items from Evermeet or Evereska, smoke powder (banned in Waterdeep and Cormyr), poisons and natural venoms, treasures looted from royal tombs in Tethyr, bones dug from graves for necromancers’ study, weapons and armor for revolutionaries, cheese from Luiren, spell components for outlaw mages, tobacco from Maztica (tightly controlled by Amn), spellbooks owned by Thayan sorcerers, holy items stolen from Kara-Tur or Zakhara, gems taken from dwarf strongholds, and magical devices for use against certain dangerous beings or groups. It is clear that a smuggler can be a boon for either good or evil, depending on what is being trafficked and who is buying it. Much needed items seized elsewhere can be donated for a homeland’s use. The export and import taxes of cruel realms can be evaded. But dangerous items can also be sold to wicked forces if one is foolish enough to do it.

Playing out the transportation of smuggled goods to or from hostile lands can put great tension into the game, not to mention just dealing with some of the sellers and buyers involved in black-market trade. The DM should create many NPC contacts for the smuggler to meet in order to perform some actual smuggling. The smuggler is asked to pick up a shipment from a fence, then must secretly take the goods to the buyer, whom he must locate using his own knowledge or instructions from the seller. The smuggler often receives half his pay from the seller, with the other half, plus a possible bonus or knife in the back, from the buyer. Mission payment can be negotiated in most cases. The smuggler can even serve as group leader for these missions, with his adventuring allies acting as guards for the shipment (but being paid only by the smuggler).

Mounts, pack animals, and vehicles (carts, boats, or passage on ships) must be purchased by the smuggler using his initial payment. He would be wise to acquire magical devices such as bags of holding, portable holes, dust of disappearance, and any other items allowing concealment. The player is encouraged to think up new tricks to allow his smuggler to ship goods undetected, perhaps looking up a little history on the topic in the library. This is an opportunity for creative interplay between an inventive player and DM.

Special Abilities:

  • Smugglers must be exceptionally alert; they therefore get a +1 bonus to their surprise rolls. This is in addition to the bonus granted by the Alertness proficiency.
  • Smugglers pick up languages during their travels, gaining a bonus non-weapon proficiency for Modern Languages at 2nd level and every two levels thereafter. Naturally, the new language must be one he or she has had contact with during the course of the previous two levels of experience.
  • A smuggler learns to cover his tracks in any terrain. When doing so, he moves at half speed but applies his level as a negative modifier to anyone’s attempt to track him using the Tracking proficiency.
  • From long practice, a smuggler can hide several small items on his person that are not found by anyone making a general search of him. If he is wearing voluminous clothing, as many items as his level, each item the size of a ring or coin, may be hidden on him. If wearing normal clothing, as many items as half his level may be concealed. If strip-searched, as many items as one-quarter his level (fractions rounded up) may still be hidden. In order to find each item, a searcher must make a Reason check with a penalty equal to the smuggler’s level added to the roll, thus harming chances for finding the items.
  • For every level he has, a smuggler gains 1d4 contacts: fences selling illegal goods, corrupt guards willing to sell government equipment, wealthy nobles looking for a variety of items, thieves’ guild contacts, or representatives of legitimate merchant guilds with shady interests. Each contact should be developed by the DM as desired but should be someone able to work with the smuggler for at least a few months, if not much longer (barring untimely “accidents”).
  • A smuggler hears about many secret routes and ways through the wilderness between cities, to avoid guards and possible bandit ambushes. As the DM rolls for encounters for a smuggler’s party on an overland route, any encounter with a patrol, guardsmen, bandit group, or other collection of relatively civilized humanoids (excluding real monsters) must be re-rolled if the smuggler can make a Knowledge check on 4d6 with a bonus equal to his level. When re-rolled, an encounter has a 75% chance to be nothing at all; the second encounter generated cannot be voided and must be used.
  • A smuggler has a +2 bonus to his appraising score when evaluating items of special interest to him. One such item is generated by the player for the smuggler per level. Thus, a 3rd-level smuggler has three specific items for which he gains this bonus. Examples include: tobacco from Maztica, rare Amnian gems, smoke powder, paper paintings from Shou Lung, religious wood statuettes from temples in Mulhorand, or burial jewels from dwarven tombs in the North. The player should choose these items based on what his character has seen and studied. Items chosen should not be vague, such as “stuff from Thay” or “Underdark valuables”; “spellbooks belonging to Thayan Red Wizards” or “drow-made religious items sacred to Lolth” are perfect.
  • The smuggler gains a +1 bonus on reaction rolls against NPCs in any area in which a smuggler has taken a Local History proficiency, as he can use this information to flatter the locals and gain their trust.

Special Disadvantages:

  • The most obvious problem for a smuggler is avoiding capture and prosecution for violating the law. Penalties can range from fines to imprisonment, maiming, torture, or death, depending on the nation and the smuggled item.
  • Another problem is the nature of some of the smuggled goods. Poisons and explosives must plainly be handled with great care. Stolen magical writings may have magical traps and destructive runes placed upon them to prevent their use.

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