Mountebank (5E Class)

Their wit is their greatest weapon and a good story makes better armor than steel. With a bit of deception and a few well chosen words, the mountebank can talk their way into a  heavily guarded fortress or out of a deadly trap.

A mountebank contemplates his next mark. (Character by Storn Cook, Map by Nathan Mangion)

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Race Any except orog and newardin
  • Culture Any except primitive

PREFERRED EQUIPMENT

  • Melee Weapons Light blades, parry dagger
  • Ranged Weapons Hand crossbow
  • Armor Any light armor
  • Mount Swift riding horse
  • Other Gear Fine clothing, disguise kit

SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS

  • Membership None
  • Patron Gods Zevas
  • Secondary Gods Elendra
  • Values Civility, comfort, attention
  • Aversions Violence, poverty
  • Public Opinion Romantically idealized—until the mountebank makes the person their mark, that is

History

Mountebanks and their kind have existed since the first enari walked the green fields of Aetaltis—or at least as long as there has been money to part fools from. They are charismatic and quick witted, and somewhere along the way they learned that they could get whatever they wanted using nothing more than their charm and a few well-chosen words.

Backgrounds

A mountebank may come from any background, although a good education is a valuable asset. Of course, if a mountebank doesn't know something, they can always pretend that they do. An individual with enough natural charm and talent can overcome a lack of education with a little creativity and effort, convincing others they are capable of anything.

Training

There is no such thing as “mountebank training,” but most mountebanks receive instruction in performance at some point during their lives. Some may have been members of an acting troupe, while others might be the local stars of their village's festival pageants. Whatever the source of the training, a bit of stage experience is invaluable to the mountebank.

Academic schooling is important for the mountebank as well. The tiniest seed of information can become a jungle of deception for a skilled mountebank. Even the shortest stint in the world of academia provides a wealth of material for a creative mountebank.

Equipment

From their clothing to their weapons, the mountebank’s equipment is designed to serve their trade. Armor festooned with bangles distracts the mark from the mountebank’s true intentions, silken shirts fit for a noble suggest a rank far higher than the mountebank has ever earned, and a gnarled walking stick suggests that the old man in the corner is almost certainly not a threat. Each item they carry has a purpose, tells a story, and directly supports the mountebank's tall tales.

The mountebank also keeps a well-stocked disguise kit at the ready. A touch of green-tinted powder gives a sickly pall that can deceive the target into thinking they are helpless and weak, while a bit of hair dye, a false beard, and a limping gait turns a lovely southern lady into a hard-bitten northland merchant.

Religion

The mountebank holds Zevas dear, and they often call on him to provide them with the cunning they need to accomplish their goals. Their favorite means of honoring Zevas is by talking someone else into giving a generous donation to Zevas’s temple.Mountebanks also worship Elendra, for she is the muse that guides them as they create the intricate narrative illusions of their craft.

Philosophy

Mountebanks believe that if a mark is fool enough to fall for their tricks, then the target deserved whatever loss was incurred. They further rationalize their actions with a belief that if the person is so dimwitted as to fall for their ruse, that person would have brought the same harm onto themselves one way or another. The mountebank simply made sure the mark’s blundering benefited them, rather than someone else.

Unusual Customs and Taboos

Mountebanks are highly competitive. When encountering another of their profession, they will take great risks and go to incredible lengths to out-do one another. These duels of wit are the downfall of many a mountebank, since they are often tempted to try stunts that are far more audacious than anything they’d attempt under normal circumstances.

Mountebank Class Traits


Level Proficiency Bonus Feature
1 +2 Favorite Mark, Cloak Defense
2 +2 Mountebank Luck, Expertise
3 +2 Mountebank Archetype, Witty Banter
4 +2 Ability Score Improvement
5 +3 Extra Attack
6 +3 Favorite Mark
7 +3 Mountebank Archetype Feature, Expertise
8 +3 Ability Score Improvement
9 +4 -
10 +4 Ability Score Improvement, Mountebank Luck
11 +4 Mountebank Archetype Feature
12 +4 Ability Score Improvement
13 +5 Reliable Talent
14 +5 Favorite Mark
15 +5 Mountebank Archetype Feature
16 +5 Ability Score Improvement
17 +6 -
18 +6 Mental Acuity
19 +6 Ability Score Improvement
20 +6 Stroke of Luck

Class Features

As a mountebank, you have the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per mountebank level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8+ your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per mountebank level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, hand crossbows, longsword, rapier, shortswords, and whip
Tools: Disguise Kit
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose four from Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, History, Performance, Persuasion, Perception, and Sleight of Hand

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) rapier or (b) a longsword
  • (a) shortbow and quiver of 20 arrows or (b) a light crossbow with a quiver of 20 bolts
  • (a) entertainer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
  • Leather armor, a dagger, a wedge of high-quality cheese, and a set of fine clothing including a finely crafted cloak.

Favorite Mark

Beginning at 1st level, you have a specialized understanding of people from particular backgrounds, social classes, or professions. Choose one type of favorite mark from any Background, Occupation, Culture, or Class. You have advantage on Charisma checks to influence your favorite mark and may use Intelligence (Investigation) to predict their habits and behavior. You gain additional favorite marks at 6th level and 14th level.

Cloak Defense

When using a cloak in combat you perform dramatic flourishes with it that aid in your defense. When wearing a cloak and when you have a free hand to flourish it you gain a +2 shield bonus to AC. Magical enchantments increase the AC bonus of the cloak.

Expertise

At 2nd level, choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and tool proficiency with Disguise Kit. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies. At 7th level, you can choose two more of your proficiencies (in skills or with Disguise Kit) to gain this benefit.

Mountebank Luck

Mountebanks have the uncanny ability to twist the webs of fate without provoking Zevas—or perhaps with his blessing. This allows them to trade temporary misfortune for the potential of greater luck at a later time. At 2nd level, the mountebank may bank a critical success for later use. When the mountebank rolls a critical success on a check, they may choose to instead critically fail the check and bank the critical success. They may then spend the banked critical at a later time to achieve a critical success on a check of their choice. They must declare their intent to use the banked critical before they roll for the check.  At 2nd level a Mountebank may only have one critical success banked at a time. At 9th level, the mountebank may bank a second critical success, allowing them to have two banked critical successes at a time.

Witty Banter

At 3rd level, your sharp wit and fast tongue are a weapon to distract opponents in combat, allowing your allies to take advantage of the opportunity. As an action, choose a target that can hear you and make a Charisma (Deception) check contested by the target’s WIS Save. If they fail, you provide advantage to the first ally who attempts to attack the target. The target must understand your language and be able to hear you speak.

Archetypes

At 3rd level, you choose an archetype that you focus on in the exercise of your mountebank abilities. Your archetype choice grants you features at 3rd level and then again at 7th, 11th, and 15th levels.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. You can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Reliable Talent

By 13th level, you have refined your chosen skills until they approach perfection. Whenever you make an ability check that lets you add your proficiency bonus, you can treat a d20 roll of 9 or lower as a 10.

Mental Acuity

By 18th level, you have acquired great mental acuity. You gain proficiency in Intelligence saving throws.

Stroke of Luck

At 20th level, you have an uncanny knack for succeeding when you need to. If your attack misses a target within range, you can turn the miss into a hit. Alternatively, if you fail an ability check, you can treat the d20 roll as a 20. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Charmer Archetype

You've got a special something about you that wins other people's trust, even when they shouldn't let their guards down. You always make the best first impression, and somehow you can get people to forgive you for just about anything. Naturally, you use every one of these gifts to your advantage when working a mark.

First Reaction

At 3rd level you gain advantage on the first social interaction check you make when dealing with an NPC for the first time.

One More Chance

At 7th level, you can convince an NPC to give you one more chance when normally it wouldn't be allowed. On a failed social interaction check that wouldn't normally allow a second attempt, your character may try one additional time. 

Peaceful Resolution

At 11th level, you may make a DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check as a reaction before initiative is rolled for the first round of combat. If you succeed, the opponent holds their attack (for the moment) and gives you a chance to parlay. This only works on intelligent foes and they must be able to see you, hear you, and understand your language. This only delays the fight. Your GM may ask you to make additional social interaction checks to stall for more than a round or two or to talk them out of the fight completely if that's your intent. This ability cannot be used on other PCs, and if the other PCs ignore you and attack anyhow, combat proceeds as normal. On a critical success, you gain advantage on subsequent social interaction checks to control, delay, or defuse the confrontation. On a critical failure you make the enemy so angry that combat proceeds and the enemies focus their attacks on you.

Charming Personality

At 15th level you know your favored marks so well that your influence over them is almost magical. Once per long rest you can influence a target as if you'd cast Charm Person on them. The ability functions exactly like the Charm Person spell, except that it doesn't require somatic components. The Save DC is based on your CHA. The ability only works on your favored marks and may only be used on a single target.

Master of Disguise Archetype

A good story is fine thing, but you're a firm believer in backing up your tales with convincing visuals. You are a master of disguise, and you use your skills to lull your marks into a false sense of security. When their guard is down, you move in to close the deal.

Clever Disguises

At 3rd level you can make use of whatever materials and supplies are available to you to make checks that normally require a Disguise Kit, even if you don't have access to a Disguise Kit.

Uncanny Resemblance

At 7th level, checks made to see through your disguises are made at disadvantage.

Stunning Likeness

At 11th level, you may make a check using your Disguise Kit to impersonate a specific person of the same basic physical size and race as yourself. Individuals that fail to see through your disguise are convinced you are the person you're pretending to be.

Quick Change

At 15th level, you may make a check using your Disguise Kit as a bonus action when performing a disengage and disappear into the crowd. To use this ability you must move out of the target's line of sight at some point during your movement. This ability also requires a crowd for you to disappear into or a relatively busy room or street.

 

GAME DESIGN

  • Mountebank game design by Matt Eberle & Marc Tassin

ART & ILLUSTRATION

  • Character art by Storn Cook
  • Map background by Nathan Mangion

Discover Aetaltis...

To learn more about the World of Aetaltis, check out a full index of our past content posts here!

All game rules published under Open Game License v 1.0a.

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