View Full Version : [3.5 PrC] Goldbug

2011-12-01, 03:47 PM
This was originally for the GitP Pairs contest, but my partner punked out and it's done so... here you go!

Far back in the mists of history is a story of a great golden faerie lord whose name has been forgotten. He was capricious, as all fae are, and immensely powerful. During one particularly wild revel he made a dangerous boast to his subjects: if any of them could kill him that night, they could take his power and position. However, if they failed, they would be stripped of title and rank and cursed with mortality. His general took the bet, and stabbed the golden lord with a ornate sword steeped in ancient magic. The faerie lord's magic was stronger, and the general was banished. A powerful sorceress cast her most fell majyks at her king, but his force of will battered aside the spells as though they were but an errant breeze. Then a very large, very dumb, and very low class fairy stepped in to the light of the court and demanded his turn. The great lord agreed, and was surprised to be threatened with not a weapon or a spell but with a colossal rock. The impact could be heard throughout the enchanted woods, and where the gold faerie stood there was instead a golden coin. The large and slow faerie was elevated to kingship, but one day the golden lord will have the last laugh.


Filthy lucre? I'll have you know that this money matters more than you do.

Greedy people are entirely too common in the world of today. Whether it be the butcher who gives you too little change or the king who taxes too much, everyone seems to be out for gold. A few people seek gold not for its own sake, but for the dormant power it contains. These are the Goldbugs.

Becoming a Goldbug

Becoming a Goldbug is simplicity itself: all you need is sufficient gold and the knowledge of what to do with it.

Sidebars: a SidebarSidebars are used to clarify or explain various rules and pieces of fluff. An example is a sidebar explaining what a sidebar should do. Another example is a sidebar which explains a new mechanic which is unique to a class but is connected to many of its class features, not just one ability (see Expenses and Investment later in this class).

Special: Must have heard the story of the golden faerie lord (DC 30 Know: History, consult a sage, learn from a Goldbug, find it in a book...)
Special: Must own at least 8,000 gold coins.
Special: Character level 5 or higher

Class Skills

The Goldbug's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (Local)(Int), Knowledge (History)(Int), Listen (Wis), Open Lock (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand(Dex), Spot (Wis), and Speak Language (none)

Skills Points at Each Level: 4 + int mod

Hit Dice: d8

Laissez Faire
1st+0+0+2+0No Man Can Serve Two Masters, Simple Interest

2nd+1+0+3+0Touch of Gold, Monetary Policy
Bronze Bull
The Means of Destruction
3rd+2+1+3+1Rational Actor, Nose for Profits
Military-Industrial Complex
Invisible Hand
4th+3+1+4+1Expense Account
Shield of Gold
Strike of Gold
5th+3+1+4+1Compound Interest
Hostile Takeover
6th+4+2+5+2Life Insurance

Golden Calf
Expedited Delivery
8th+6+2+6+2Continuous Interest


Top Level Negotiation
Too Big to Fail

Weapon Proficiencies: A Goldbug gains no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.

No Man Can Serve Two Masters(Ex): A Goldbug must worship the missing golden faerie to draw power from gold. This has the unfortunate side effect of denying him access to powers granted by a divine source. For example, a cleric who takes levels in Goldbug loses his cleric spellcasting. A paladin likewise loses his paladin abilities. Divine casters who do not require worship of a god, like Ur Priest or a Shujenja, are not affected by this problem.

Simple Interest(Su)[Investment]: Gathering many fragments of the golden faerie lets you imbue yourself with some of his perfection. You may 4,000 gold and gain a +2 enhancement bonus to an ability score of your choice.

Investment: A Sidebar Every piece of gold has an infinitesimal fragment of the power of an ancient faerie lord. With this knowledge, one can draw forth the power of gold. To [invest] an amount of your gold, you must handle it for five minutes and murmur quietly to it. The gold must be your gold, as explained in the "Ownership" sidebar. You may only [invest] gold, you may not invest] the gold value of gems, art, silver pieces, real estate, etc. You may only [invest] a particular gold piece in one ability at a time, though you may change this by reinvesting it.

Touch of Gold (Su) [Expense]: One of the first skills a Goldbug develops is the ability to pull all of the energy from his money and hurl it at a foe. Though expensive, this attack is typically effective as well. As a standard action, a Goldbug may [expend] 10 gold to do 1d6 of untyped damage with a ranged touch attack with a range of 200', and may [expend] additional gold in increments of ten gold to add additional d6's of damage to a maximum amount of d6's equal to his character level.

Expense: A SidebarExpenses are painful, but sometimes necessary. If an ability requires you to expend gold, you may deduct it from your gold in any location, and it does not have to be gold you have [Invested] in abilities. The specified amount of gold turns to dust as you remove the speck of magic from it.

Monetary Policy(Ex): Some Goldbugs follow the path of Interventionism, which uses the power of gold for self-improvement and martial prowess. They were typically fighters, warblades, rangers, or similar before taking up the path of the Goldbug. Others follow a more[i] laissez-faire approach, which directs magical power outward. This can be in the form of gold constructs, direct attack abilities, and other things which look somewhat like spellcasting. As an actual spellcaster is unlikely to take this class, this path sees more rogues, bards, aristocrats, and other people who prefer being sneaky over being murderous. At level two a Goldbug must select either the Interventionist or laissez-faire path, which determines a number of class features they receive.

Bronze Bull(Su)[Expense]: For a 100 gp [expense], a laissez-faire Goldbug may create a 1 HD Bronze Bull, as detailed after this class. For each additional 100 gp [expended] he may add a hit die to the Bronze Bull. The Goldbug may not make a Bronze Bull with more hit dice than his character level. He commands his Bronze Bulls telepathically and they last for a number of minutes equal to their hit dice before disappearing. They also disappear if they run out of hit points.

The Means of Destruction(Su)[Investment]: An Interventionist Goldbug has the ability to improve his weaponry. He may [invest] gold in this ability and gain an enhancement bonus to hit and damage with all weapon attacks he makes. A +1 bonus requires an investment of 2000 gold, a +2 bonus requires an investment of 8000 gold, and so on following the normal weapon pricing table in the DMG for magic weapons. He may not gain a bonus larger than one third of his character level, with a maximum bonus of +5. He may not add special abilities to his weapon, only enhancement bonuses. This bonus applies to any weapon he uses, including natural weapons and unarmed strikes, and it only applies while the Goldbug wields the weapon. The weapon pierces DR as though it were magic and it resists sundering just like a magical weapon does.

Rational Actor(Su)[Investment]: There are many tricks, schemes, and scams which serve to separate a person from their money. You tap into your wealth to reduce this risk. You may [invest] 1000 gold in to this ability and gain a +1 insight bonus to Sense Motive checks and will saves. Each additional 1000 gold you [invest] increases this bonus by +1. You may not gain a bonus from this ability greater than half of your character level.

Nose for Profits(Su): A Goldbug has, by this point, handled so much money that he has become sensitive to the presence of gold. He automatically detects the direction, distance, and general amount of all gold within a 100' radius per class level. He can also detect gold through solid barriers, though each 1' of barrier counts as 5' of distance for the maximum range he can detect at. This sense is enough to give the square of any creature holding gold, but if they are invisible or otherwise unseen the Goldbug still suffers miss chance if applicable.

Military-Industrial Complex(Su)[Expense]: A laissez-faire Goldbug recognizes that sometimes his minions, companions, flunkies, etc need a little extra help. He taps the power of many gold coins to improve their striking abilitites. The Goldbug may, as a swift action, [expend] 200 gold to give every ally he can see a +1 enhancement bonus to attack rolls and weapon damages for one minute. He may expend 500 additional gold to improve the bonus to +2, 500 more gold (a total of 1300 gold) for a +3, and so on adding 500 gold to the cost each time. The duration, in minutes, is equal to the enhancement bonus, so a +4 bonus costs 1600 gold and lasts 4 minutes. The Goldbug may not grant a bonus larger than his character level divided by 3, with a maximum bonus of +5.

Invisible Hand(Su)[Expense]: An Interventionist Goldbug recognizes that sometimes he needs to reach further than he is normally able to. This ability allows him to throw a gold coin (long practice makes hitting a desired square within 100' so easy it requires no attack roll) and act as though he is occupying that square for purposes of which squares he threatens. This does not provoke an attack of opportunity, unlike most ranged attacks. This is an attack-equivalent action, so if the Goldbug has sufficient BAB to make iterative attacks then this ability only takes up one attack. This requires the [expense] of 100 gold. If the Goldbug is at least a 10th level character, he may make the coin hover in mid-air, instead of being restricted to the ground only, for no additional cost.

Expense Account(Su)[Investment]: A Goldbug of moderate experience has discovered that one can skim just a little power off of a number of coins which reduces his hideous costs. A Goldbug can [invest] any amount of gold in to this ability but he can only change his [investment] in it once per day. Each day, he can [expend] 20% of the gold invested without actually losing the money [expended].

Shield of Gold(Su)[Expense]: A laissez-faire Goldbug can draw on the resistance of gold to elements to shield himself and his allies. As a standard action with the [expense] of 50 gold, a Goldbug can give himself and all of his allies within line of sight resistance 5 to fire, cold, electricity, or acid. For an additional 100 gold he can increase this resistance to ten; and for an additional 100 gold cost he can continue increase the resistance in increments of five. There is no cap on how high the resistance can be. The resistance lasts for a minute plus an additional minute for each five points of resistance above 5 the Goldbug provides.

Strike of Gold(Su)[Expense]: Living opponents are expensive. Sometimes it is worth the cost to put one down quickly. An interventionist Goldbug can, as a swift action, [expend] 10 gold to gain a +1 insight bonus to damage for weapon attacks for the round. He can increase the bonus by +1 per increment for an additional [expense] of ten gold. The bonus cannot be larger than his character level.

Compound Interest(Su)[Investment]: Your skill at drawing forth power from gold has improved. You may [invest] 16,000 gold and gain a +4 enhancement bonus to an ability score of your choice.

Hostile Takeover(Su)[Expense]: A laissez-faire Goldbug knows that fighting is sometimes a waste of time and money. Accordingly, they develop the ability to dominate minds. This is a standard action which requires an [expense] of 100 gold per hit die of the target, and it is [mind-affecting]. The target receives a will save with a DC of 10+class level+any mental ability modifier. The DC can be increased by +1 per 100 extra gold the Goldbug [expends], with a maximum increase in DC equal to the Goldbug's class level. If the target fails the will save, he or she is controlled by the Goldbug as though affected by a Dominate Person spell, though this ability works on creatures which are not humanoid. The effect lasts for a number of hours equal to the class level of the Goldbug.

Auction(Su)[Expense]: Sometimes the best approach to fighting is to take away the other guy's toy with which he hits you. An interventionist Goldbug has a number of abilities he can use while disarming someone. As a free action, he may [expend] gold to improve his disarm attempts for that round in a number of ways. If he [expends] 100 gold, his disarm attempt does not provoke an AoO even if it normally would. He can spend 20 gold to gain a +1 insight bonus on his disarm attempt, and he may [expend] more money in 20 gold increments to improve the bonus to +2, +3, and so on. He may not gain a bonus larger than his character level. Finally, he may [expend] 500 gold so that if the disarm is successful the weapon is now on his person in a sheath. If he has no suitable sheath, a nonmagical sheath is permanently created.

Life Insurance(Su, Sp)[Investment][Expense]: Dying is inconvenient. Sometimes it is even fatal. A Goldbug who is midway through his education discovers the secret to eternal life: don't get killed. As an aid to that goal, he may [invest] 10,000 in Life Insurance. If he happens to die of anything except old age, he may [expend] 5,000 gold (despite being dead) and cast a Revivify(Spell Compendium) on himself. If he was killed by a [Death] effect, he may still raise himself for the additional [expense] of 3,000 gold. After using this ability, all gold [invested] in it is no longer [invested] (but it is not destroyed, unless it was expended by use of the ability).

Golden Calf(Su)[Expense]: The Bronze Bulls summoned by a laissez-faire Goldbug have their uses, but they are quite simple. Further practice lets a Goldbug summon Golden Calves instead. Golden Calves are identical to Bronze Bulls except their slam attacks do 2d6 base damage, and they have an Int score of 10 so they receive 2 skill points per level as well as feats. Spot, Listen, Climb, Jump, Swim, and Balance are class skills for Golden Calves. Their feats can only be drawn from the list of [Fighter] feats despite being feats gained by having hit dice. {Metagame note: please stat out your Golden Calves before combat, as choosing feats and skills takes some time.}

Expedited Delivery(Su)[Expense]: Sometimes you just aren't killing fast enough. As a free action which may be taken out of turn, an interventionist Goldbug may [expend] 300 gold and make an additional attack whenever he makes an attack action, initiates a martial strike, makes a full attack, or takes an Attack of Opportunity. This attack is made at his full BAB (unlike an iterative attack) and may not be taken if he is gaining an extra attack from Haste or similar effects. If used as part of an AoO, this attack takes another AoO use for the round. For example, if a Goldbug with Combat Reflexes and a +4 Dex mod had seven goblins run past him, he could attack five of them once or two of them twice and one of them once.

Continuous Interest(Su)[Investment]:You have reached the peak of mortal ability to directly enhance your base attributes. You may [invest] 36,000 gold and gain a +6 enhancement bonus to an ability score of your choice.

Liquidation(Su): Almost as an afterthought, veteran Goldbugs explore the relationship between costly magical ungents and the magical items they can create. It's such a waste to spend all that money, though. A Goldbug can, with a minute of uninterrupted concentration and physical contact with the item, disenchant any item short of an artifact. A shower of gold coins equal in value to the market cost of the item erupts from the now mundane item. If you team up with a PC who can craft items at half market cost and therefore you turn XP into gold, your DM has permission to end you. Or your character, whichever.

Top Level Negotiation(Su)[Expense]: A master laissez-faire Goldbug knows that even Death has a price. As an immediate action, he may reduce the effect of one attack/spell/effect which has just occurred. He can reduce hit point damage from the source at an [expense] of ten gold per hit point. He can offer a second saving throw to anyone affected by the effect at an [expense] of 1000 gold. Finally, he can negate a [death] effect at an expense of 5000 gold per person protected by this ability. More than one of these listed abilities can be used against the same effect, but this ability can only change the result of one affect per activation i.e. if the party is hit with three fireballs in succession this ability can only help against one of them.

Too Big To Fail(Su)[Expense]: Master Interventionist Goldbugs know that losing a battle is (almost) always more expensive than winning. He may, as a free action, activate a Too Big to Fail transformation. This ability increases the Goldbug's size by as many categories as he would like, to a maximum of Colossal. His equipment scales up to match his new size, and he gains a stacking +2 Str and +1 natural armor for each size increase. He also gains DR 10/Cold Iron, which becomes DR 15/Cold Iron if he increases by at least three size increments. This incurs an [expense] of 500 gold per round per size category.

Ownership: A SidebarOwnership of gold follows a few simple rules. 1) Gold remains possessed by its current owner until a new owner claims it. 2) To claim gold, you (or one of your agents) must physically acquire the gold. 3) Gold is not truly yours unless you are free to spend it as you wish and it is not borrowed or lent; the party treasury is not owned by one person, nor is a loan from a party member helpful in acquiring personal power via Goldbug class features.

Playing a Goldbug

You'll need to consider if you take your horde with you (via magic storage which isn't cheap) or to stash it in a horde somewhere (which is maybe riskier). You could just throw your cash into the ocean, but then you can't reinvest it and there are people living in the ocean.

Combat: A laissez-faire Goldbug should probably summon/dominate minions and buff them. An Interventionist Goldbug should hit people using weapons. That's about it, really.

Advancement: After Goldbug, you could consider returning to the class you were in previously. An Interventionist Goldbug might like Warblade or Crusader or similar, and a laissez-faire Goldbug could consider a delayed casting class like Ur-Priest.

Resources: You should have cash. Lots of cash. It's the best resource anyway.

Goldbugs in the world

I have to wonder where the king puts all the tax money he gathers. And this new invention of his: tokens which count like money? Ridiculous -Abthak, a local merchant

Daily Life: Goldbugs generally want to gather a lot of gold. As adventuring is a good way to make lots of money (if you survive) they often do that. Royalty can also gather fantastic sums of wealth, and might find the path of the Goldbug particularly appealing for that reason. Adventurers adventure, royalty reigns.

Notables: The kingdoms of Rochester and Verdomd are notable for two reasons. The first is that they are often at war over issues like serfs: natural resource or people? and whether drilling for mana is wise or practical. The second is that their respective kings are both Goldbugs. This leads to the presence of a king being a deciding factor in battles due to their ability to enhance their soldier's weapons, call forth minions, and otherwise complicate things.

Organizations: Goldbugs don't actually like each other, as they all want more gold. Good Goldbugs tend to greet each other peacefully and quickly leave, while evil Goldbugs often search for the hordes of other Goldbugs. This sort of activity does not build trust.

NPC Reaction

NPCs generally consider Goldbugs to be extravagant and grasping. Only learned sages and people with personal experience recognize the Goldbug as a wielder of a plentiful power source.

Goldbugs in the Game

Turning money into power is the sort of thing artificers and people with UMD tend to do. Goldbugs do it differently; they have a more narrow range of abilities but (hopefully) are more efficient in spending in that range.

Adaptation: The fluff is pretty mutable. Consider replacing the Golden Faerie with a primeval being the gods betrayed, a great gold dragon who was smashed by anything you like, or gold could just be innately magical without a complex backstory behind it.

Encounters: Goldbugs want more money; adventurers often have lots of money. There's a natural conflict. Interventionist Goldbugs will work best with backup, but the laissez-faire Goldbug can summon its own help given favorable terrain or pre-existing mooks to slow the party.

Sample Encounter

Look out! Jonid Coincrawler(Bard 5/laissez-faire Goldbug 5) is marching down the road with his band of mercenaries (four 5th level warriors) and roughing up travelers for cash.

Bronze BullA bronze bull is a medium sized mindless construct with the following stats: 16 Str, 16 Dex, - Con, - Int, 10 Wis, 1 Cha. They have natural armor equal to the character level of the Goldbug who summoned them. They have a 30' land movement speed. They have a natural slam attack which does 1d6 base damage, which is 1d6+3 for a 1 HD Bronze Bull. If they have at least seven hit dice, they gain a second slam attack which is identical to the first and also a primary natural weapon. All hit dice increases to stats go in to strength. A sample 7 HD Bronze Bull (summoned by a Goldbug with character level 7) follows:
Bronze Bull (7 HD)
Size/Type: Medium Construct
Hit Dice: 7d10+20 (96 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 20 (+3 Dex, +7 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+8
Attack: Slam +8 melee (1d6+3 )
Full Attack: 2 slams +8 melee (1d6+3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: Construct traits, Mindless
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2
Abilities: Str 17, Dex 16, Con , Int , Wis 10, Cha 1
Environment: Any
Organization: Summoned
Challenge Rating: 3ish?
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 1+ HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:

2011-12-01, 03:58 PM
Could you maybe format the class features by making the titles bold or using a list? As it is, my eyes keep getting lost each time I move the screen to scroll.

2011-12-01, 05:57 PM
Done! Bolding does help things, thanks for the suggestion.

I'm also not sure all of the sidebars are in logical places; Ownership probably should be sooner.

2011-12-02, 12:46 AM
I'm not really a fan of the class features, but I do find the idea of burning gold to power interesting. I can't really point out anything too wrong with it though.

2011-12-02, 08:41 AM
If you can summon bulls, can you also summon bears? :smallbiggrin:

2011-12-02, 10:38 AM

I feel like this would make an awesome class to RP; doubly so if I give my character the half-dragon template and pretend its part of his hoarding-instinct.

The only thing I think that could be added would be perhaps a few class-specialised feats that required a certain level of weath to take. That would make them good for the Goldbug, but available to other classes as well.

2011-12-02, 12:43 PM
What's with the Ns at 6th level for both Goldbug paths?

I'm rather intrigued but I'm not sure how well features work within the WBL framework, at least not without having a look at how the costs compare. I actually also expected there to be an ability to get a return on the gold invested so that you're not continually working at a loss whenever you expend in excess of your Expense Account.

2011-12-02, 03:02 PM
The N's at level 6 were an artifact of the website I used to generate the table. They have been... dealt with.

I have no idea how this stacks up against WBL. It's possible but discouraged to turn a profit using Liquidation. I'm a bit leery about giving class features that provide money, but in this case it could be allowable. Possibly either a flat bonus or a percentage of wealth invested in a new class feature; either way I think they should increase wealth every time you (help) defeat an encounter with an EL at least equal to your ECL. This would prevent dragons and elan from being fabulously wealthy due to life span.