This site is games | books | films



Mercenary, Frans Hals (1582/1583–1666) Pieter Codde (1599–1678) Title The company of Captain Reinier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz. Blaeuw, known as the ‘Meagre Company’.Date 1633-1637
Frans Hals (1582/1583–1666) Pieter Codde (1599–1678) Title The company of Captain Reinier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz. Blaeuw, known as the ‘Meagre Company’.Date 1633-1637

Heroes of Fantasy
Author August Hahn, Tim Hitchcock, Joseph Miller, Ian Sturrock, John Thompson, Paul Tucker & Patrick Younts
Series Power Classes
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2005

The mercenary is the master of mass warfare. A hardened fighting man well versed in all facets of strategic and tactical combat, the mercenary performs a vital function in training and bolstering the militaries of most civilisations.

Often, the mercenary is viewed with a combination of scorn, fear and reluctant admiration during wartime, a mercenary is valued for his tactical genius and battlefield prowess, but in peacetime he is seen as an overly violent thug and, more importantly, a burden on the kingdom’s resources. Mercenaries rarely give much thought to the opinions of others, since they are too busy training and carousing away their hard earned pay.

The Mercenary

Adventures: Mercenaries rarely, if ever, adventure for altruistic purposes. The acquisition of wealth, power and prestige are foremost in their minds at all times. With the proper cash incentive, however, a mercenary will quite willingly align himself with any cause.

Die fünf Landsknechte“, Eisenradierung von Daniel Hopfer aus dem frühen 16. Jahrhundert
Die fünf Landsknechte“, Eisenradierung von Daniel Hopfer aus dem frühen 16. Jahrhundert

The vast majority of mercenaries are members of permanent, or semi-permanent, free sword companies. Mercenaries of this sort trade their freedom for regular wages and will have little to no time for dungeon delves and other traditional adventures. Instead, their lives are an often brief cycle of marching, training, fighting, healing and carousing.

Independent mercenaries who align themselves with a traditional adventuring band will be most comfortable in adventures involving heavy combat. They thrive in situations where their martial prowess can be brought to the fore, but have little patience for matters of intrigue or Diplomacy.

Characteristics: Mercenaries are swords for hire, hardened men and women who trade blood for gold. A mercenary’s strength is his adaptability – where a fighter learns a wide range of feats, the mercenary learns to adapt his fighting style to match that of his employer, allowing him to blend seamlessly into any party.

A mercenary also commands a wide range of useful skills, as he is able to customise his skill list, giving him a versatility that few other adventurers can match. Further, he is a natural leader and strategist, well versed in all aspects of planning, organising and leading a prolonged military campaign. As he gains in power and experience, soldiers flock to his banner, so a high-level mercenary will adventure at the head of a well-trained, absolutely loyal army.

Alignment: Mercenaries are a diverse group, drawn from all nations and all walks of life. As such, they may be of any alignment. Lawful mercenaries most often find employ in the armies of benevolent kingdoms or churches, while Chaotic mercenaries often find themselves allied with small, elite strike forces, for example the average adventuring band.

Religion: Understandably, most mercenaries pay homage to the gods of war and, though they may favour a particular war god, they are careful to offer proper and diligent sacrifice to all. Most mercenaries offer at least lip service to the gods of fate and wealth as well, and cautious mercenaries always leave a sacrifice to the gods of death, that they might survive to collect their pay.

Background: A mercenary could conceivably come from any background. Many are former soldiers, who, chafing at the low pay and endless monotony of guard duty, fled their duties for the fast paced and comparatively wealthy life of a free sword. Others are former peasant conscripts who found they had a taste for war and no desire to return to the joyless, oftentimes backbreaking life of a peasant farmer. Still others are third or fourth generation mercenaries who carry heirloom blades into battle – for them, it is a matter of honour and few born into the life of the mercenary ever willingly leave it.

The mercenary fraternity is a close-knit one. Though individual mercenaries, or entire mercenary bands, can and do have blood feuds with one another, on the whole they prefer to keep things on the level of friendly rivalry. After all, mercenaries who face each other one day often stand shoulder to shoulder under the same banner the next.

Races: The bulk of mercenaries are of human, half-orc or dwarf stock, as those races place the most value on warfare and the role of the professional warrior. Elves, Gnomes and Halflings, who, as a whole, prefer to settle their problems through peaceful mediation, rarely have the stomach for the mercenary’s bloody life.

Other Classes: Mercenaries get along and function well with members of most other classes. They are most comfortable in the company of other fighting men, the fighterranger, barbarian and, to a lesser extent, the paladin, as those classes share an understanding of the rigors of the battlefield. They have a great appreciation for the divine power of clerics, particularly those who preach the dogma of the gods of war, but have little in common with druid, who, as a rule, view large scale warfare as a destructive waste of natural resources. bards, especially skalds and battlefield heralds, are welcome in any mercenary troop, as their songs of battlefield glory both raise morale and serve as free advertisement for the group’s prowess. Rogues are viewed with a mix of respect and suspicion their stealth skills make them useful, but their penchant for thievery and excessive greediness, even by mercenary standards, makes them a serious profit risk, something no mercenary will tolerate. Finally, most mercenaries try hard to cultivate good working relationships with wizards and sorcerers, as their spells are a vital component of any well prepared army.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: Strength is of supreme importance to a mercenary, as it allows him to both dispatch foes quickly and stand firm against the crushing press of bodies locked in mass combat. Constitution and Wisdom are valuable as well, the former helps the mercenary survive his dangerous career and the latter keeps him resolute in the face of death. Charisma is also useful, since experienced mercenaries often find themselves in positions of authority. Finally, a mercenary with a high Intelligence can command a larger fee, as his wide range of skills are an asset in any army.

Alignment: Any (usually neutral)

Hit Die: d10

Starting Gold: 3d6 gp

Class Skills

The mercenary’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Strength), Craft (Intelligence), Handle animal (Charisma), Intimidate (Charisma), Jump (Strength), Knowledge (fighting styles) (Intelligence), Profession (commander, siege engineer) (Intelligence), Ride (Dexterity), Speak Language (none) and Swim (Strength).

In addition, the mercenary can pick any four of the following skills as class skills: Appraise (Intelligence), Balance (Dexterity), Bluff (Charisma), Disable Device (Intelligence), Disguise (Charisma), Escape Artist (Dexterity), Gather information (Charisma), Heal (Wisdom), Hide (Dexterity), Listen (Wisdom), Move Silently (Dexterity), Open Lock (Dexterity), Search (Intelligence), Sense Motive (Wisdom), Sleight of Hand (Dexterity), Spot (Wisdom), Tumble (Dexterity), Rope Use(Dexterity), and Survival (Wisdom).

Skill Points Per Level: (4 + Intelligence bonus) x 4

Skill Points Each Additional Level: 4 + Intelligence bonus

The Mercenary
LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial
1st+1+2+0+2Feat adaptation 1
3rd+3+3+1+3Bonus feat
4th+4+4+1+4Feat adaptation 2
7th+7/+2+5+2+5Intuitive understanding (ignore attribute)
8th+8/+3+6+2+6Armour acclimation (reduced penalties)
10th+10/+5+7+3+7Feat adaptation 3
12th+12/+7/+2+8+4+8Leadership bonus +1
13th+13/+8/+3+8+4+8Intuitive understanding (ignore feat)
14th+14/+9/+4+9+4+9Armour acclimation (improved speed)
16th+16/+11/+6/+1+10+5+10Leadership bonus +2, second cohort
18th+18/+13/+8/+3+11+6+11Feat adaptation 4
20th+20/+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Leadership bonus +3

Class Features

All the following are class features of the mercenary:

Armour and Weapon Proficiency: Mercenaries are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Mercenaries are proficient with all types of armour (light, medium and heavy) and with shields. Note that armour check penalties for armour heavier than leather apply to the skills BalanceClimbEscape ArtistHideJumpMove SilentlySleight of Hand, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a –1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armour and equipment carried.

Feat Adaptation: To be an effective free sword, a mercenary must learn to easily adapt his fighting techniques to mesh with those of his employer’s forces. A 1st level mercenary has the ability to adapt his fighting style to gain the use of his allies feats. 1/day, with a successful Knowledge (fighting
styles) skill check (DC 20), the mercenary can temporarily sacrifice one of his existing feats to gain the use of an ally’s feat. If the skill check is successful, he gains the benefits of the adapted feat, but no longer benefits from the feat he sacrificed – in essence, the mercenary’s permanent
feat slots are actually semi-permanent. At the end of every full day, the mercenary must succeed at another Knowledge (fighting styles) skill check
if he wishes to retain use of the adapted feat, though the DC of the check is reduced to 15. The mercenary can retain the adapted feat for an indefinite period, so long as he continues to succeed at his skill checks should he fail, he loses the adapted feat, regains the use of his sacrificed feat and is considered to have used 1 Feat Adaptation use for the day.

At 4th, 10th and 18th level, the mercenary gains additional uses of the Feat Adaptation ability, allowing him to temporarily gain the use of multiple feats. In addition, he can now adopt feat chains – so, for example, a 4th level mercenary could use Feat Adaptation to gain the use of both Power Attack and Cleave by using both of his semi-permanent feat slots.

There are restrictions as to what feats the mercenary can adapt with Feat Adaptation. First, Feat Adaptation only applies to feats assigned to slots gained by level advancement (at levels 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18, respectively). Next, in order to adapt a feat, the mercenary must meet or exceed all base attack bonus, ability score and skill rank requirements, as well as possess all necessary feats. So, for example, a 1st mercenary who wishes to gain the use of Improved Disarm must possess both an Intelligence of 13+ and the Combat Expertise feat. For the purposes of what may be adapted with Feat Adaptation, the mercenary is still considered to possess his sacrificed feats, so a 1st level mercenary cannot sacrifice Dodge to gain the Mobility feat. Finally, the mercenary can only use Feat Adaptation to adapt feats on the fighter’s bonus feat list, or those feats marked as ‘fighter other feats may be authorised by the Games Master, but under no circumstance may Combat CastingExtra TurningSkill FocusSpell FocusSpell PenetrationTracking, or Item Creation or Metamagic feats be adapted.

Bonus Feat: Mercenaries quickly become accustomed to the rigors of non-stop training and battle. At 3rd level, the mercenary gains a bonus feat from the following list – EnduranceGreat FortitudeIron WillLighting ReflexesSkill Focus (fighting styles), or Toughness.

Leadership: At 6th level the mercenary receives the Leadership feat for free.

Intuitive Understanding: Beginning at 7th level, a mercenary becomes so skilled at studying the mechanics of a fighting technique that his mind and body intuitively adapt themselves to its use, even if he does not possess the natural aptitude or training normally required to utilise it fully. When using Feat Adaptation to learn a feat, he can ignore a single ability score or skill rank requirement of that feat. So, for example, if he wishes to use Feat adaptation to utilise Combat Expertise, he can ignore that feat’s requirement of an Intelligence score of 13+.

At 13th level, a mercenary gains the ability to ignore a single required feat when using Feat Adaptation. So, for example, a 13th level mercenary could use Feat Adaptation to gain the use of the Improved Disarm feat, without having the required Intelligence of 13+ or the Combat Expertise feat. As with his Feat Adaptation ability, the mercenary cannot use Intuitive Understanding to ignore the feats Combat CastingExtra TurningSkill FocusSpell Focus, or Spell Penetration, nor make it ignore Item Creation or Metamagic feats.

Armour Acclimation: By 8th level, a mercenary has become so accustomed to wearing heavy armour that he no longer suffers the normal armour check penalties when doing so. The armour check penalty of any armour and shield worn by the mercenary is reduced by two, to a minimum of 0. At 14th level, the mercenary is so accustomed to his armour’s bulk that he no longer suffers speed penalties when wearing medium or heavy armour. In order to benefit from armour acclimation, the mercenary’s armour and shield must be of at least Masterwork quality.

Leadership Bonus: The exploits of skilled mercenary bands are the stuff of legend and fireside tales. As a mercenary’s fame grows, soldiers flock to his banner. At 12th level, and again at 16th and 20th level, the mercenary gains a +1 bonus to his Leadership score.

Second Cohort: At 16th level, a mercenary attracts a second cohort. To determine the level of the second cohort, halve the mercenary’s Leadership score (rounding down) –the mercenary’s Leadership bonus is not reduced.

Irish gallowglass and kern. Drawing by Albrecht Dürer, 1521. This is now thought to have been derived from a 1518 written account by Laurent Vital, rather than a drawing from life.
Irish gallowglass and kern. Drawing by Albrecht Dürer, 1521. This is now thought to have been derived from a 1518 written account by Laurent Vital, rather than a drawing from life.

Human Mercenary
Starting Package Armour: scale mail +4 AC, medium armour, base speed 20 ft., armour check penalty -4, spell failure 25%, weight 30 lb.
Weapons: ranseur (2d4, crit. x4, Large-sized, weight 15 lb., piercing, reach), short sword (1d6, crit. 19-20/x2, Small-sized, weight 3 lb., piercing), Dagger (1d4, crit. 19 20/x2, range 10 ft., Tiny-sized, 1 lb., piercing)
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 5 + Intelligence modifier.                                                 
Skill Ranks Ability – Appraise 4 Craft (armoursmith or weaponsmith) 4 Gather Information 4 Heal 4 Hide 4 Intimidate 4 Knowledge (fighting styles) 4Listen 4Move Silently 4Profession (commander or siege engineer) 4 Ride 4 Search 4 Sleight of Hand 4 Spot 4 Survival 4
Feat: Weapon Focus (ranseur)
Bonus Feat: Skill Focus (Knowledge (fighting styles))
Gear: Backpackwaterskin, 1 week’s trail rationsbedrollflint and steel
Gold: 3d6 gp 

Alternative Mercenary Starting Package Same as human mercenary, except
Race: Dwarf, half-elf, or half-orc
Armour: speed 15 ft. for dwarf
Weapons: Battleaxe (1d8, crit. x3, Medium-sized, weight 7 lb., slashing) for dwarves and half-orcs
Skills: Pick a total of 4 + Intelligence. modifier
Bonus Feat: None 

Alternative Mercenary Starting Package 
Same as human mercenary, except
Race: Elf, gnome or halfling
Armour: studded leather armour +3 AC, speed 30 ft. for elf, speed 20 ft. for gnome and halfling, armour check -2, spell failure 20%
Weapons: longbow (1d8, crit. x3, range 100 ft., Large-sizes, weight 3 lbs., piercing) and longsword (1d8, crit. 19-20 x2, Medium-sized, slashing) instead of ranseur and short sword for elves, light crossbow (1d8, crit 19-20 x2, range 80 ft., Small-sized, weight 6 lb., piercing) instead of ranseur for Gnomes and Halflings
Skills: Pick 4 + Intelligence. modifier
Bonus Feat: None
Gear: Quiver and 20 arrows for elves, quiver and 10 bolts for Gnomes and Halflings

New Skill Uses

Knowledge (fighting styles)

The Knowledge (fighting styles) skill represents a character’s familiarity with the fighting techniques of various cultures, whether they be the simplistic but powerful blows of an orc barbarian or the precision strikes of a elven master fencer.

Check: With a successful skill check, the character knows the basic details of a particular fighting school – he recalls the general history of the school, including famous practitioners of the past and present, and knows the feats, techniques and skills most often associated with its practitioners. The DC of the check depends on the style’s notoriety. Schools or warriors that are famous kingdom-wide are DC 10, while a sword style taught only to the children of a single remote halfling village would be DC 30.

Additionally, if a character with this skill spends a minimum of 3 rounds observing an opponent engaged in combat, he can gain great insight into that opponent’s fighting techniques. With a successful skill check, opposed by the target’s Bluff check, he learns, in general terms, the fighting ability of his opponent he knows if his opponent’s level is higher, lower or equal to his own, and any feats the opponent used while being observed are known to the character. Assuming the Quintessential Fighter is used in the campaign, the character knows the details of any fighting style abilities his opponent possesses as well.

Retry: A second opposed Knowledge (fighting styles) skill check can be attempted, though the opponent gains a +5 bonus to his Bluff skill check.

Special: fighter, mercenary and Monk characters with the Knowledge (fighting styles) skill can use it, instead of Bluff, when making opposed checks to Disguise their fighting style. Characters with five or more ranks in Bluff gain a +2 synergy bonus to their opposed skill check when doing so.

It is recommended that Games Masters include Knowledge (fighting styles) as a class skill for the fighter and Monk classes.

Profession (commander)

Characters with the Profession (commander) skill have an understanding of the complex logistical issues related to training, supplying and fielding large military forces; he knows how to establish and protect supply lines, how to best conduct field training and other exercises to see maximum benefit, how to organise troops and establish chains of command and how to create and enforce discipline within the ranks. A character with this skill also has an intimate knowledge of strategy and tactics, and is able to effectively direct troops on both a grand, army-wide scale and on a smaller, individual level.

Below are some common uses for the Profession (commander) skill, as well as their associated DCs. Many of the uses listed below include additional rules for use with Mongoose Publishing’s Open Mass Combat System, which can be found in the Quintessential fighter.

Efficient march (DC 20): The character’s army, or adventuring party, can attempt a forced march for 10 hours before needing to take Constitution checks.

Efficient deployment (opposed): Wise deployment of troops can ensure victory before the first blow is struck. If at least an hour is spent studying terrain and consulting with his subordinates, and if he wins a successful skill check opposed by the enemy leader’s Profession (commander) skill, the character manages to deploy his troops in such a way that he gains the battlefield advantage. He, and all his troops, gain a +1 bonus to their initiative check at the beginning of battle. If used with the Open Mass Combat System, the +1 initiative bonus applies to the first four rounds of combat. A character with five or more ranks in the Bluff skill gains a +2 synergy bonus to his skill check.

Issue battlefield orders (DC 20): In the chaos and din of war, it becomes almost impossible for a commander to keep control of his forces. Once battle is joined, a successful skill check is required to dispense orders. Skill checks are not required in battles involving less than a score of opponents on each side.

Rally troops (DC 30 or see text): Though commanders might wish it otherwise, soldiers are not immune to the effects of fear and exhaustion and even the most hardened troops will turn tail in the face of overwhelming opposition. With a successful skill check, a commander can rally fleeing troops, fire their courage and drive them back to the screaming heart of the battlefield. When used with the Open Mass Combat System, a successful skill check (DC 30) grants a fleeing unit a +2 bonus to their next morale check. A successful skill check can also reverse fear effects, such as those caused by dragon fear – the DC of the check is equal to the save DC of the fear effect. With a successful check, all fear-affected allies within vocal range immediately attempt another save, with a +2 morale bonus to the roll. An issue battlefield orders check can be made in conjunction with a rally troops attempt, allowing the commander to rally troops all across the battlefield. A character with five or more ranks in Intimidation gains a +2 synergy bonus to rally troops checks.

Organised retreat (opposed): A wise commander knows there is no shame in an organised withdrawal. When used in conjunction with the Open Mass Combat System, a successful skill check, opposed by the enemy general’s Profession (commander) skill check, allows a unit using the withdraw action to retreat without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Efficient Recovery (DC 20): The majority of casualties in mass combat occur after the battle is over, as wounded soldiers succumb to the effects of disease, or bleed out, or are slain by battlefield scavengers. When used in conjunction with the Open Mass Combat System, a successful skill check adds +5% to the number of unit hit points regained after a battle. An additional +1%, to a maximum of +15%, is regained for each point the skill check exceeds 20 by.

Profession (siege engineer)

A siege engineer is a trained artillerist and sapper. He is responsible for training and directing an army’s artillery crews, and is also the commander’s chief consultant on matters pertaining to artillery placement and destruction of enemy fortifications. A siege engineer is an invaluable member of any army, and no smart mercenary general dares plan a battle without one.

Below are some common uses for the Profession (siege engineer) skill check, as well as the associated DCs. Again, many of the uses listed below include additional rules for use with the Open Mass Combat System.

Efficient placement (DC 20): If at least one hour is spent studying terrain, the siege engineer can, with a successful skill check, place his artillery in
an advantageous position, giving him a commanding view of the battlefield. The range increments of all his ranged artillery pieces are increased by 20%.

Quick strike (opposed): With a successful skill check, opposed by the enemy general’s Profession (commander) skill check, the siege engineer reduces the circumstance penalty of his artillery piece’s initiative check to –2, instead of –4. This skill use presumes the use of the Open Mass Combat System.

Fast reload (DC 20): With a successful skill check, the reload time for all artillery pieces is reduced by one full-round action. In regards to a battering
ram, a successful check allows the ram to be used every two rounds.

Efficient aiming (DC 20): With a successful skill check, the character reduces by two the number of minutes required to reposition and aim his artillery pieces.

Increase structural damage (DC 30): With a successful skill check, the structural damage dealt by a single artillery piece is increased by one die type. So, for example, a heavy catapult which normally deals 3d6 structural points would instead deal out 3d8 points of structural damage. The increased damage is the result of precision aiming, so the weapons’ reload time between each shot is increased by two rounds. During those two rounds, the siege engineer must perform several difficult calculations, so he may take no other actions in those rounds. A new skill check, attempted at the conclusion of the second round, is required with each shot the artillery piece still deals normal damage with a failed check. Rules for structural damage can be found in the Quintessential Fighter.

New Feats

Band of Brothers

You draw inspiration from your troops and they, in turn, draw inspiration and courage from you.
Requirements: Charisma 13+, Profession (commander) 9+ ranks, Leadership.
Benefits: For every 20 troops under your command, you gain a +1 morale bonus to Will saves, to a maximum bonus of +5. The bonus only applies while
you are in the presence of your followers, as when leading an army into battle. Conversely, all followers and cohorts within a 100-foot radius of you gain a +1 morale bonus to Will saves, so long as they can see you.

Blood Bond

When you stand at the head of your army, your battle fury knows no bounds.
Requirements: Charisma 13+, Profession (commander) 9+ ranks, Band of Brothers, Leadership.
Benefits: Each time one of your followers dies, while with a 100-foot radius of you, you gain a +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls in the following round. If more than one follower dies in a round, you a cumulative +1 morale bonus for each, to a maximum of a +5 to attack and damage. You gain bonuses only from those followers who are killed by enemy action.

Inspirational Charge

To inspire their troops, mercenary generals and regimental heroes often ride at the forefront of their army, charging headlong into the massed ranks of the enemy in an effort to inspire their troops. You are one such general.
Requirements: Ride skill, Mounted Combat.
Benefits: When you perform a mounted charge attack, all allies within visual range gain a +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls and to all Will saves made in the following round.

New Equipment

Battle Standard

A battle standard is a large square flag bearing the heraldry or symbol of an army or free sword company. Battle standards are borne into battle on long wooden poles, so that they soar high enough above the conflict to be seen from anywhere on the field, acting as both rally point and morale-boosting symbol. Outside of the field, battle standards are carried at the front of the army, serving as both a warning and advertisement to any who see it. Battle standards are often decorated with trophies claimed in battle, like the shattered helmet, or skull, of an enemy general, a broken war horn, sword hilt or crown from an overthrown kingdom, or even the tattered remnants of vanquished foes’ own battle standards.

When carried into battle, a battle standard provides its army with a +1 morale bonus to all saving throws against fear. If the Open Mass Combat System is used, the battle standard provides a +1 bonus to all morale checks.

Battle standard; 50 lb.; 300 gp.

Wagon, Field Hospital

A field wagon hospital is a godsend to wounded soldiers. A wide-bodied, canvas-topped heavy wagon filled with all manner of medical equipment, including six stretchers, wrappings, splints, thread and needle and all manner of herbs, the hospital wagon trundles about the battlefield, the field surgeons that man it administering field surgery and first aid to grievously wounded soldiers. The equipment is stored on small shelves that run along the inside of the wagon and in reinforced boxes that ring the wagon’s outside. A field hospital wagon is very heavy, requiring a team of four draft horses to pull it.

A field hospital wagon grants a +4 competence bonus to all Heal skill checks. It carries enough supplies to be used in conjunction with 40 Heal skill checks. Restocking the field hospital wagon costs 250 gp. If used in conjunction with the Open Mass Combat System, a field hospital wagon increases the number of all unit’s hit points recovered after a battle by 10%. In this case, it is exhausted after a single mass battle.

Field Hospital Wagon; 300 gp.

War Drum, Grand

A grand war drum is fully 10 feet in diameter and weighs so much that it must be carried into battle atop a heavy wagon. A grand war drum is a potent psychological weapon, one that builds allied morale while shattering the confidence of enemy forces. The booming sound of a single grand war drum carries for more than a mile, but when an entire group of grand drums is played in unison, the sound rolls across the battlefield like thunder.

When played, a single grand war drum adds a +1 morale bonus to all saves against fear and imposes a –1 morale penalty to opponent’s fear saves. Extra grand war drums add cumulative bonuses and penalties to saves, to a maximum of five. The morale bonus gained from grand war drums stacks with that gained from a war horn. When used with the Open Mass Combat System, war drums provide bonuses to unit morale checks. Each grand war drum requires two musicians, each with at least four ranks in the Perform (drums) skill.

Grand War Drum; 200 lb.; 150 gp.

War Drum, Marching

Mercenary commanders use groups of drummers to set the marching pace, as a steady drum beat keeps a soldier’s mind focused and sharp during the long, boring march to war.

When played by a drummer with at least four ranks in the Perform (drums) skill, war drums increase the pace of overland movement by two miles per day. One marching war drum is necessary for every 100 soldiers in the army.

Marching war drum; 5 lb.; 10 gp.

War Horn

War horns are a vital part of any large military force. They are used to relay orders, to signal a charge or retreat and to rally troops when morale is failing.

When used in battle, a war horn grants a +2 morale bonus to its followers’ saves against fear for the first 1d4 rounds of combat, and a –1 morale penalty to enemy fear saves. If carried by an army’s general, or more likely his aide, it also provides a +2 competence bonus to Profession (commander) skill checks, save for those pertaining to efficient recovery.

War Horn; 2 lb.; 10 gp.

New Armour

Barding, Horned

Horned barding is a suit of reinforced barding with twin, forward facing four-foot curved spikes mounted on its shoulders. During a mounted charge, a mount equipped with horned barding can make a single attack, at the base attack bonus of its primary attack (+2 for the charge), to attempt to skewer its opponent this extra attack is in addition to the rider’s charge attack. The horn has statistics equivalent to a light lance and deals double damage on a charge attack (triple damage if the rider possesses the Spirited Charge feat). Horned barding can only be attached to Masterwork Half-plate or full plate barding – it adds 10% to the armour’s weight and 20% to the armour’s cost.


Often, a general or regimental champion will wear a set of armour that heightens his presence, inspiring awe in his troops and abject terror in his enemies. Armour designed to be imposing is larger and heavier than normal armour of the same sort, allowing its wearer to loom over lesser warriors, and is usually constructed with sharp points and heavy rivets and covered with military symbols and imagery. More bloodthirsty sorts will paint their armour black or red, or both, and invariably festoon their armour with more grisly trophies as well; severed finger bones, rings of teeth, scalps or even mummified, shrunken heads are common accoutrements. Imposing armour adds a +3 competence bonus to all Intimidation skill checks. Imposing is an option that can only be added to Masterwork suits of Half-plate or full plate armour. It increases the armour check penalty by one, the weight of the armour by 10% and the armour’s cost by 10%.

Shield, Reinforced Arm

In lieu of wearing a normal shield, many mercenaries choose to have the armour of their off-hand arm reinforced, giving them extra protection while still allowing the use of both arms. A reinforced arm can also be worn by itself and, in this fashion, is popular with barbarians and berserkers.

A reinforced arm functions as a light steel shield. You can fight using your off hand, as you would with a buckler, but suffer a –- 2 penalty to attack rolls when doing so. This penalty stacks with those for fighting with your off hand and, if applicable, for fighting with two weapons. A reinforced arm can also be used to shield bash and still retains its armour class bonus when doing so. A reinforced arm can be sundered as a normal shield would, but cannot be dropped or taken away – a broken reinforced arm seriously hinders the combat effectiveness of its wearer, imposing a –- 2 penalty to attacks made with his primary hand and rendering the reinforced arm incapable of making attacks. A reinforced arm shield is considered a masterwork item, and can benefit from any special ability that can be placed upon a shield, save animated.

Shield BonusArmour CheckArmour PenaltyArcane Spell FailureWeightCost
Reinforced arm+1015%5 lb.160 gp.


Obviously, magic is a potent force on the battlefield, with a competent spellcaster able to lay waste to massed ranks of fighting men with relative impunity. Worse, a simple spell can easily lay a mighty general or hero low, dealing a crushing blow to army morale. Among the most feared spells on the battlefield are stinking cloud and cloud kill, against which normal armour offers no defence. To combat the threat of these spells, generals, heroes and elite units often wear suits of sealed armour. To build a suit of sealed armour, the armourer inserts alternating layers of silk and cloth into the joints of the suit, providing a near airtight seal. To complete the seal, the wearer ties a damp cloth around his neck – before wading into the spell cloud, he pulls the damp cloth over his nose and mouth and then closes his visor. A suit of sealed armour provides a +2 circumstance bonus to all saving throws against airborne poisons, gasses and the effects of stinking cloud, cloud kill or other, similar, spells or spell-like effects. Only masterwork suits of Half-plate or full plate armour can be sealed – sealing armour adds 5% to the cost of the armour and, because of the extra stiffening at the joints, it increases the armour check penalty by one.

New Weapons

Arrow, Explosive

An explosive arrow is tipped with a thin, hollow arrowhead filled with a minute amount of explosive powder. On a successful critical hit, the arrowhead explodes, causing massive injuries and internal trauma.

Spiked Knuckle

A spiked knuckle is a three-inch reinforced steel spike, mounted on a metal grip that fits comfortably over a metal gauntlet. It is often carried as an
off-hand weapon by mercenaries, who use it to, quite literally, punch through heavy armour. When used against an opponent in medium armour, the spiked knuckle grants a +1 circumstance bonus to hit. Against heavy armour, the circumstance bonus increases to +2. A spiked knuckle is immune to resist disarm attempts.

Protection from Cloud Attacks 

When mercenary armies enter pitched battle against spellcasters or armies known to use virulent poison gas attacks, like goblins for example, they take precautions to protect themselves against such attacks. A simple wet cloth tied around the mouth and nose adds a +1 circumstance bonus to a single save against airborne poisons, gasses, viruses and the effects of stinking cloud, cloud kill or other, similar, spells and spell-like abilities. 

Simple Weapons – melee TinyCostDamageCriticalWeightType
Spike knuckle5 gp.1d3x41 lb.Piercing
Martial Weapons – ranged Large     
Arrow, explosive (10)10 gp.1d6x44 lb. (10)Piercing
Scroll to Top