Thursday, August 20, 2015

New BX Character Class: The Varlet

Welcome to fourth post of "New BX Classes" week. A while back, I was talking about some character classes that I thought might complement the mystic from the Basic Psionics Handbook. This is one of those... the varlet. If you've ever watched the show "The Mentalist," the Patrick Jane character is sort of how I picture the varlet. So without further ado, here 'tis!


The varlet (pron. “vär-luht”) practices the art of deception in many forms. Through the use of his or her abilities, the varlet seeks to gain access to those places which are literally and figuratively prohibited to others. The varlet is a moderately capable combatant, but is out of his or her element in the dungeon. Instead, the varlet is more valuable as an asset in personal relations and adventures where interaction is crucial.

The prime requisites of a varlet are Intelligence and Dexterity. If a varlet has a score of 13 or greater in both Intelligence and Dexterity, the character will gain a +5% bonus on earned experience points. If a varlet has an Intelligence of 13 or greater AND a Dexterity of 16 or greater, the character will earn a +10% bonus on earned experience.

Varlets use the same attack and saving tables as theives.

RESTRICTIONS: A varlet has the same armor, shield, and weapons restrictions as a thief. A varlet must have a minimum score of 9 in Charisma.
Aliases: A varlet is never allowed to use his or her true identity, regardless of whom with the varlet interacts (including the varlet’s own party). Instead, the varlet must operate under a number of aliases. The varlet may choose as many or few aliases as he or she deems necessary. However, the varlet must have at least one alias for each assumed identity possessed by the character (see Assumed Identities below).
SPECIAL ABILITIES: The special abilities of a varlet are centered around the varlet’s goal furthering his or her agenda.
Pick Locks: As the thieves’ ability.

Pick Pockets: As the thieves’ ability.

Forge: This ability permits a varlet to make documents that appear as authentic (e.g., deeds, titles, etc.). A failed roll on this ability will result in the forgery being flawed and, therefore, easily detectable as such by any qualified person attempting to determine its authenticity. A varlet is able to forge a number of pages each day equal to their level. A varlet will never willingly accept commissions to produce forged documents. In fact, unless coerced (e.g., by charm), a varlet will never admit he or she possesses such a skill. Each forgery costs 100 gp per attempt (regardless of the attempt’s success).

Distract: This ability permits the varlet the following opportunities:
1) hold a person or monster’s attention while performing another unnoticed action

2) move a person or monster’s attention from one point to another (e.g., moving the monster’s attention away from the archer-rogue to another character)

3) intentionally draw a person or monster in motion to a specific area or object
Disguise: Allows the varlet to disguise him or herself as a general type of personage (e.g., an old lady, a priest, etc.). The percentage noted represents the chance of the varlet passing off as the alternate identity with someone familiar with the varlet. The chance of success is increased by +25% for total strangers, and by +10% for those with Intelligence scores of 8 or lower. Additionally, the varlet is able to appear as ±1" taller/shorter per level, to a maximum of 12". This ability is different than an assumed identity, in that it is used most often to have the varlet appear as someone else to someone who is familiar with the varlet, while an assumed identity is about convincing someone that the varlet is who he or she claims to be.

Assumed Identities: At each level, the varlet cultivates a new identity under which he or she may operate. This identity include details like personal history, tone of voice, mannerisms, etc. Identities will often include, but are not limited to the following: nobles, high-level classed characters, merchants & traders, and experts in various fields. The varlet gains no abilities possessed by any of these identities (e.g., posing as a high-level fighter does not give the varlet the abilities of a fighter). At first level, the varlet’s assumed identity must be a commoner, but requires no additional gp investment in clothing or accoutrements (beyond the character’s normal equipment). However, beginning at 2nd level, the varlet may choose to cultivate any type of identity, with the monetary investment required at the discretion of the GM (e.g., assuming the role of a noble may cost as much as 500 gp). The chances for a varlet to convincingly portray any of these identities among a crowd of peers (of that identity type) increases with each level gained by the varlet. The chance of the varlet convincingly portraying an identity outside of that identity’s group of peers is automatic. A peer is considered to be any character that might normally interact with that type of identity (e.g., a bishop might be considered a noble’s peer, but a parish priest might not, unless that parish priest was of noble birth).

Reaction Adjustment: Through personal experience and the ability to quickly “read” an adversary or acquaintance, varlets are able to gain positive reaction adjustments through a combination of body language, tone of voice, and choice of words. Noted adjustments are in addition to any bonuses the varlet gains from a high Charisma score. This ability does not affect reactions by non-intelligent creatures.

At 4th level, a varlet is able to read languages as a thief. At 10th level, a varlet is able to read magic-user scrolls as a theif.

A varlet is never allowed to build a fortress, nor attract a group of followers. However, upon reaching 9th level, a varlet may choose to accept an apprentice, guiding that apprentice in his or her career as a varlet. Often, the master of an apprentice varlet is the only person who will know the apprentice’s true identity.

1 comment:

  1. The aliases ability made me think of