View Full Version : The New Face of Diplomancy (Base Class) [PEACH]

Realms of Chaos
2011-06-04, 06:03 PM
ďAs everyone knows, a sucker is born every minute. What few people realize, though, is that other people are born rather rarely. Everyone out there is either a chump or a champ and you, my friend, are most definitely the latter. Unlike that rabble out there that asks and begs and works for what theyíve got, people like us can take what we want. We can take their good-will; their money; their hearts and minds. I canít promise you that this road is perfectly bloodless what I can promise is that you'll never wake up to a cold bed; never stand before an empty larder; never clutch an empty coin pouch. Well... What are you waiting for? Just a small payment and all of those dreams in that skull of yours could come true. Trust me.Ē

-Carl Spencer, Charlatan

Alignment: Any but Lawful Good.
Starting Age: As Rogue
Starting Gold: 2d6x10 gp
Hit Dice: d6

The Charlatan
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

+2|Devilís Tongue, Masterful Speaker, Urban Tracking

+3|Backstabber +1d6, Inconspicuous

+3|Charlatanís Wit

+4|Combat Puppeteer (Minor Control)

+4|Mask of Gentility

+5|Backstabber +2d6

+5|Deep Influence

+6|Combat Puppetry (Combat Interrogation)

+6|Improved Wit

+7|Backstabber +3d6

+7|Slippery Mind

+8|Combat Puppetry (Major Control)

+8|Improved Influence

+9|Backstabber +4d6

+9|Masterful Wit

+10|Combat Puppetry (Seeds of Influence)

+10|Unassailable Mind

+11|Backstabber +5d6

+11|Absolute Influence

+12|Combat Puppetry (Total Control),[br] Endless Guile[/table]
[b]Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, x4 at 1st level): Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Disguise, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Any 2 skills, chosen at 1st level), Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Perform, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, Spot, Speak Language, Use Magic Device
Notes and Explanation: Just so that nobody gets confused, spellcraft may seem like an extremely odd skill here but it has been included mostly to allow a charlatan to fake being a spellcaster more effectively (much like the Use Magic Device skill). At least, that was the original intention.


Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Charlatan gains proficiency with all simple weapon and with light armor, but not with shields.

Devilís Tongue (Ex): A Charlatan knows exactly how to ply the minds of others when needed, making allies out of sworn enemies if necessary. As a move, standard, or full-round action, he can have a single creature that can hear and understand him make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Cha modifier). If a target fails, they are beguiled by the words of the Charlatan, becoming friendly towards him and up to one other being of his choice/2 class levels. This ability lasts for 1 round if used as a move action, for 1 hour if used as a standard action, or 12 hours if used as a full-round action. If the saving throw succeeds, the creature is unaffected and is unaware of the attempt. Regardless of whether or not the saving throw succeeds, a charlatan canít target a single creature more than once in a 24-hour period.

At any given time, a Charlatan can only possess a number of beguiled targets up to 1 + half of his class level. Once this ability wears off, a creature is freed as this limit is exceeded, or when a being that the target was made friendlier towards takes an aggressive action against them, a creature realizes that they have been manipulated and their attitude towards the Charlatan is worsened to unfriendly unless it was originally worse. Furthermore, for the purpose of diplomacy checks, a target is treated as possessing their previous attitude towards the charlatan and selected beings. This ability is a mind-affecting, language-dependent, charm effect.

Notes and Explanation:Behold the key mechanic for the Charlatan. Yes, this guy basically gets charm monster at will starting at 1st level. Donít take out your pitchforks yet, though, because there are some significant limiting factors.

First of all, there is the fact that a Charlatan can only manipulate a certain number of creatures at a time, meaning that that this ability can only really go so far. If a 1st level Charlatan encounters 2+ creatures (even 2+ kobolds), there is rather little chance of escaping that encounter without some degree of combat unless you manage toÖ umÖ ďpersuadeĒ a leader. Even then, it will take several levels before a Charlatan can make a creature warm up to his or her entire party so even though that 1st level Charlatan may make the Kobold Chieftain like him (or her), making that Chieftain like the Charlatanís friends (and thus avoiding the combat) will at least involve another skill check.

Next, you may notice that this ability canít be used on a creature more than once per 24 hours (which may utterly ruin some attempts to bypass encounters) and that the longest duration for this ability is only half as long. This ensures that at some point (at least for awhile), the target of this ability will break free of this control and become unfriendly or hostile towards the party again, which the Charlatan wonít be able to stop a second time.
Let me assure you that this is completely intentional. With traditional diplomancers, the strategy the strategy seems to be making permanent mind-puppets friends out of everything in sight so that other combatants donít end up with much or anything to fight. The philosophy behind this class, however, is to charm someone and violently betray them before the duration runs out, letting the Charlatan get some benefit from a charmed creature, delay the battle, and even ensure the battle occurs on their terms while still ensuring that the battle occurs at some point. In this way, a DM doesnít have to face you off against enemies immune to this ability (making you next to worthless) just to give the party warblade something to do.
Lastly, this ability is a mind-affecting, language-dependent, charm effect. As such, you must be able to talk, the enemy must be able to hear you, the enemy must be able to understand you (and thus must be sentient), and unlike diplomacy checks, immunity to mind-affecting effects protects from this ability even if the target is sentient (such as a lich or creature affected by mind blank).

Some of you may notice that this ability specifically doesnít make the target any more susceptible to diplomacy. There is indeed a reason for this, explained in depth on the bottom of this post.

Masterful Speaker: A Charlatan knows the mind well enough to gain a personís full attention, wrenching their consciousness from enchantments or distracting them completely. As a full-round action, a Charlatan can speak to the masses, selecting from one of two possible benefits. These abilities are language-dependent, mind-affecting effects.

Counterspeech: The Charlatan may suppress any or all active charm or compulsion effects with a spell level up to half of his class level (minimum 1st) on any number of creatures for as long as he continues this ability (this time counts towards the spellís duration). This ability also suppresses the Devilís Tongue when used by another Charlatan of an equal or lesser class level.

Distraction: By making himself an obvious distraction, a Charlatan can impose a penalty to spot and/or listen checks made by any number of creatures up to half of his class level (minimum -1) for the duration of the ability.

Notes and Explanation:Yeah, I realize that this ability is probably better than the bardís fascinate and countersong abilities, especially as they can be used at will and donít require dice rolls (which I feel makes everything a bit cleaner and simpler). Even so, I donít feel that either of those abilities was ever considered the central draw for the bard and they seemed to be things that a Charlatan should be able to do.

Urban Tracking: At 1st level, a Charlatan gains urban tracking (Cityscape, p64) as a bonus feat.

Notes and Explanation:Just a nifty trick that seemed appropriate. Iíd imagine the Charlatan ďknowing a guy who knows a guyĒ quite frequently.

Backstabber (Ex): When a rube loses all usefulness or when a ruse is soon to be uncovered, a blade can be a Charlatanís best friend. Starting at 2nd level, a Charlatan can use the element of surprise to deliver particularly deadly blows. When the target of a Charlatanís attack is friendly or helpful towards them or is deprived of their Dexterity bonus to their AC (whether or not they possess one), the attack deals an extra 1d6 damage. At 6th level and every 4 levels afterwards, this damage increases by +1d6. This extra damage can be delivered only with melee attacks or ranged attacks made within 30 feet of the target. This damage can be applied to an attack made for nonlethal damage if desired. This extra damage can only be applied to creatures with discernable anatomies and any creature immune to critical hits is immune to extra damage from backstabbing.

If this damage is dealt to a creature who was friendly or helpful towards the Charlatan, the betrayal often seems quite jarring and disturbing. As a result, for each dice of damage dealt in this way, the target takes a -1 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks until the end of the encounter. If the target was affected by your Devilís tongue class feature, they are immediately freed but this penalty is increased by -2. This penalty does not stack with itself and is a mind-affecting ability.

Notes and Explanation:And now we reach the Charlatanís main source of damage. The charlatan only deals half as much damage as a rogue but it was never intended as a primary attacker but it wasnít intended to be a real attacker. Hopefully, the Charlatan either has beguiled minions/party members to help them out or are otherwise betraying a creature (and are thus debuffing them for the encounter). Note that a target can use devilís tongue as a move action followed by a backstab as a standard action if necessary to gain full benefits.

Inconspicuous (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a Charlatan truly knows the benefits of keeping his head down when possible. While wearing light or no armor, a Charlatan adds his Charisma modifier to AC against the attacks of creatures who he has not damaged in the last 24 hours. Also, all Gather Information and Knowledge checks made to learn about the Charlatan take a -5 penalty.

Furthermore, as a move action, a Charlatan may attempt to avoid a creatureís attention. While this has no immediate effect, that creature must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Cha modifier) the next time it is damaged by another creature within the next round. If this saving throw fails, the target forgets about the Charlatanís presence for 1 round, taking no direct aggressive actions against him and becoming flat-footed against him. A given creature may only be affected once per encounter in this way.

Charlatanís Wit (Ex): Much as a bard can inspire others through music or poetry, so too can a Charlatanís encourage an ally with a well-place compliment or destroy an opponentís composure with the proper invective. Starting at 3rd level, as a standard action, a Charlatan can begin using their wit to help allies and hinder enemies in this way. Whenever an ally or enemy makes a roll, the Charlatan may choose to modify that roll according to that creatureís attitude towards him, as listed on the table below. A Charlatan can alter a number of rolls each round equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum 1) but canít alter more than one roll that a single creature makes each round. Furthermore, no creature can have rolls altered in this way on more rounds each day than the charlatan possesses class levels. This ability can be used at any range so long as the intended target can hear and understand the charlatan. This ability is a mind-affecting, language-dependent effect.

Charlatanís Wit Modifier
{table=head]Target isÖ|Bonus/Penalty







Affected by your devilís [br] tongue class [br] feature*|

*: This bonus stacks with any other bonuses that may apply.

Notes and Explanation:And at long last, here is an ability for the Charlatan to use when there are no charm-able/backstab-able creatures at hand. Not too powerful but a decent buffing tool if used properly and the debuffing function can stack with that gained from backstabbing enemies, letting the Charlatan serve as a serviceable debuffer as well.

Combat Puppeteer (Ex): In the midst of combat, a Charlatan can choose to focus less on actually harming foes and more on manipulating their each move with carefully calculated rhetoric. Starting at 4th level, a Charlatan may select an ability from the list below and make a special touch attack against a target in place of or in combination with any normal attacks they would make. This attack ignores any bonuses to the attack roll from his weaponry, uses his Charisma bonus in place of any other modifier, takes a penalty listed under the abilityís description, and deals no damage of any kind. Instead, if the Charlatan hits, the target must make a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Cha mod) or suffer from the effects of the ability. If the attack would otherwise benefit from the Charlatanís backstabber class feature, the save DC increases by an amount equal to the number of dice that would have been added to the damage.

Alternately, you can use a standard action to use one of the below abilities you have access to on any number of creatures that have been subjected to your devilís tongue class feature that can hear and understand you, though they are still permitted a saving throw (penalized as described above) to negate its effects. Using this ability in this way requires no attack and does not end your devilís tongue. However this ability is used, it is a mind-affecting language-dependent effect.

Minor Control: At 4th level, a charlatan can take a -2 penalty to the attack roll to control the targetís next move action (and thus force them to take a move action). This action canít be obviously self-destructive and a command that opposes a targetís nature grants them an additional Will save to resist at the same DC. This ability does not impart knowledge of what actions the creature may or may not be capable of and this ability fails if used to manipulate a creature to perform an action that they canít perform.

Combat Interrogation: At 8th level, a charlatan can take a -4 penalty to the attack roll to make the target get lost in the combat, revealing exactly what he wants to know. The target reveals the answer (to the best of their knowledge) to a single question or complies with a single request for information, so long as the answer or information can be given in no more than a couple sentences.

Major Control: At 12th level, a charlatan can take a -6 penalty to the attack roll to control the targetís next standard action (which may be used to perform a move action of your choice, if you wish). In all other ways, this functions exactly as minor control.

Seeds of Influence: At 16th level, a charlatan can take a -8 penalty to the attack roll to influence the targetís behavior long after the strike. The charlatan effectively delivers a suggestion to the target, coming into effect at the end of combat (or immediately if used on targets of your devilís tongue) and lasting for 1 hour afterwards or until completed.

Total Control: At 20th level, a charlatan can take a -10 penalty to the attack roll to control the entirety of the targetís next round of actions. In all other ways, this functions exactly as minor control.

Notes and Explanation:This is perhaps the most cinematic ability that I have given the Charlatan and may or may not be the most useful. It allows the Charlatan to use enemies to help fight each other or allows the Charlatan to use his round to try mentally ďdominatingĒ any number of charmed creatures for a single round.

Mask of Gentility: At 5th level, a charlatan gains mask of gentility (Exemplars of Evil, p25) as a bonus feat, even if he fails to meet the prerequisites of the feat.

Deep Influence (Ex): Starting at 7th level, a charlatan can build the influence that they possess over others with a bit of time and work. To do so, a charlatan must spend one hour conversing with one or more targets of his devilís tongue class feature that can hear and understand him in an environment devoid of immediate stress. At the end of this time, each such target must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Cha modifier). If the target fails this save, the remaining duration of the Charlatanís influence is increased by one day and the target takes a stacking -1 penalty to attack rolls and sense motive checks against the Charlatan and to Will saves against his spells and abilities (including future uses of this ability) for as long as they remain influenced and for 24 hours afterwards. Regardless of success or failure, the charlatan can only make one attempt to increase the influence over a given creature every 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Notes and Explanation:Yep, starting at 7th level, a Charlatanís influence could theoretically last indefinitely. The charlatan spends one hour talking to his servants (much as a wizard prepares spells) and they continue serving loyally. Even so, each one gains a saving throw each day so a single natural 20 ends the effect and any creature controlled through an unlucky roll on their part isnít likely to stay around too long.

Improved Wit (Ex): Starting at 9th level, a Charlatanís ability to inspire (or dampen) competence in others greatly increases. The bonuses and penalties placed by the Charlatanís Wit class feature increase by +1 and -1 respectively and the Charlatan can apply a +1 bonus or -1 penalty to the rolls of indifferent creatures. Furthermore, the Charlatan can alter twice as many rolls each round (minimum 2) and can modify a single targets result up to twice each round. Lastly, this ability can now be used as a move action instead of a standard action.

Notes and Explanation:Take note that the bonus for being influenced by devilís tongue and the bonus for attitude both increase with this ability, allowing the Charlatan to really empower his or her minions. Now that the ability can be used as a move action, it can also be used more reasonably without getting in the way of other actions.

Slippery Mind (Ex): Starting at 11th level, a Charlatan can wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel him. If the charlatan is affected by a mind-affecting effect and fails his saving throw, he can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He only gets this one extra chance to succeed on his saving throw.

Improved Influence: Starting at 13th level, a Charlatan can pull a creature almost completely under their control. If a Charlatan keeps a creature affected by their devilís tongue for three consecutive days, that creature automatically becomes helpful towards you and the other beings you have designated. At the Charlatanís option, the target may come to see the charlatan and/or other beings as friends, family, rulers, deities, or whatever else the Charlatan declares them to be. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Notes and Explanation:At long last, a Charlatan can finally make creatures helpful towards himÖ if they fail a whole lot of will saves over a decently long period of time. Admittedly, this ability wasnít intended to be super-powerful, though it could come up.

Masterful Wit (Ex): Starting at 15th level, a Charlatan can greatly manipulate the course of battle with nothing more than a few well-placed words. The bonuses and penalties placed by the Charlatanís Wit class feature increase by another +2 and -2 respectively. Furthermore, the Charlatan can alter a number of rolls each round equal to three times his Charisma modifier (minimum 3) and can alter a single targets result up to three times each round. Lastly, this ability can now be used as a swift action if desired.

Notes and Explanation:At this point, the Charlatan is something of a buffing fiend. The Charlatan can give whopping +9 bonuses to charmed creatures and -5 penalties to enemies and isnít likely to run out of uses in a round unless taking place in a huge battle.

Unassailable Mind (Ex): Starting at 17th level, a Charlatanís mind has become as twisted and labyrinthine as the web of lies that they weave. As a result, the Charlatan is immune to all forms of mind-affecting effects unless they wish to be affected.

Absolute Influence (Ex): Starting at 19th level, a Charlatan can gain total control over a creature that it has been around for long enough. If a Charlatan keeps a creature influenced by their Devilís Tongue class feature for at least a consecutive week, that creature automatically becomes fanatic towards the charlatan and the other beings he has designated. Whenever the charlatan deepens his influence over a fanatic creature, he may choose to make them a thrall if they fail on their saving throw. Each thrall counts as two targets for the purposes of your devilís tongue class feature but has the remaining duration extended indefinitely. The Charlatan can deepen the influence of thralls even further if desired.

Notes and Explanation:At long last, a creature can be made fanatic (giving them an additional bonus) if they have spent a full week serving you (failing a full 7 saving throws in the process). Furthermore, the Charlatan can finally gain indefinite control over such a target when they next fail another Will save, meaning that they donít have much chance of escapingÖ ever (although youíd end up with a grand total of 5 such servants at 20th level if you wanted to focus on them.

Endless Guile (Ex): At 20th level, a Charlatan knows few limits, if any, when talking others over to their side. When using the Devilís Tongue class feature, a Charlatan may choose to exclude an affected creature with HD up to half of his class level from counting towards the maximum number of creatures affected. The charlatan canít increase their influence over such a creature but the ability otherwise functions normally.

Why No Diplomacy? Some of you may notice that although this class tries (at least to some degree) to act like a diplomancer, it provides no actual support for the use of the diplomacy skill. Indeed, many of the various class features add up to form an inferior version of the diplomacy skill. The reason for this is actually quite simple: As a basic concept, diplomancers relying on the diplomacy skill is simply broken to incredible extents.

With normal diplomacy and a bit of optimization, a diplomancer can (and has no reason not to) leave a huge wake of very helpful friends in his wake (or take them along with him/her) and can also make friends out of even the most vile enemies, so long as they happen to be sentient and understand the diplomancer. Even with Richís suggested fix (the persuasion skill), an optimized character can still get just about anyone to agree to just about anything and can end entire combats in a single round without any real need for a dice roll.

With this in mind, there is something of a problem around such an incredibly powerful skill. Making this class [b]improve diplomacy would be somewhat crazy and even if I chose not to, building a diplomancer class would naturally make players feel that they have to trick out their diplomacy modifier, which is a problem in its own right.

Instead, I chose a very different option. Because so many class features of this class add up to a weaker version of the diplomacy skill, I believe this class actively dissuades diplomacy optimization. What I mean by this is that for most classes, tricking out diplomacy would be adding onto whatever abilities they have. With the Charlatan, however, optimizing diplomacy would render all of class levels and most of your abilities more or less obsolete as the benefits of the skill and class features donít really stack in any meaningful way.

Even with all of this said, the class still possesses the diplomacy skill (because thereís no real rationale for cutting it out altogether) and the class can make use of the diplomacy skill (especially Richís version) every once in a while (to convince enemies that the rest of your team isnít dangerous, to haggle over prices, to help one enemy convince others not to attack, and so forth).

Why Would I Use This Class?: As this class was intentionally made weaker than traditional diplomancers, some of you may wonder why anyone in their right mind would ever want to use it. Well, if you are the sort of player who is only satisfied with highly optimized characters (or who has no patience for those who expect them to play at a mechanical disadvantage), I understand where youíre coming from but this class honestly wasnít made with you in mind. Maybe next time.

For other players, I can think of at least a couple reasons why this class might appeal. For one thing, much like a beguiler, this class lets you act the part of a diplomancer as early as level 1 without need for any real optimization. For another thing, this class allows someone to actively act as a diplomancer without breaking the game or forcing your DM to build around you. For a third reason, this class fits the niche of a nonmagical manipulator, something that no other class quite seems to fit (although the pathfinder rogue and a heavily reflavored marshal might come close).

For DMsÖ well, the class was originally made for use by BBEGs. In addition to filling more social roles typically filled by rogues (Fences, Conmen, Forgers, Spies, Masterminds), this class was intended to make for quite an interesting combat (combining combat puppetry and backstabbing with the devilís tongue and inconspicuous as they use charlatanís wit to penalize enemy will saves and empower their own minions [which attack and provide the necessary distraction when using inconspicuous]).

Gideon Falcon
2011-06-04, 08:54 PM
Charlatan's wit needs a bit of depowering. It's basically exactly what the bard does, plus penalties on your enemies.

Interesting class, mind.

2011-06-04, 11:17 PM
My good...




...yeah, that was too easy. I'm sorry.