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Merchant Class

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The party made their way through a sanctuary decorated with ornate tapestries, incredibly life-like sculptures, and paintings which must have been the life’s work of a masterful artist. When the party made its way through the luxurious lair, they set their eyes upon the shimmering form of an adult red dragon, stretching out atop a mountain of gold pieces. His attention turned towards the adventurers, and he chortled. Just as he prepared to wipe the group from existence with a single breath, the small gnomish innkeeper of the group spoke, “If I might interject, would you like to make a deal?”

After raising a toast to the appointing of a new emperor, a shout is heard from the half-orc sitting two seats away. The legs of the wine the table was about to consume trickled slowly back into the liquid, atypical for this family’s blend he had traded often. His insight thwarted an assassin’s attempt at instilling international hostility between two nations and leading to war.

May they be an appraiser of rare magic items, a peddler of illicit substances, or a bookkeeper for the royal court, merchants are masters of exchange. They may invest into their allies to strengthen them or push coin to make sure the object of their ire has every skeleton dragged out of their closet for all to see.

Merchant Revised

This version of the Merchant Class is a complete overhaul of my Merchant Class published on the DMsGuild in August of 2018. Despite the extremely positive reception it received, I found myself looking at the design in 2020 after having worked on several other projects, including discussions about Fifth Edition class design with several prestigious DMsGuild class designers, and found myself unhappy with the amount of bookkeeping and calculations the original version had.

The Merchant went Copper Best Seller and I felt that I wanted to give this one another go, but really do it as polished as I possibly could and used my revisions of the Merchant as a series on homebrewing for my YouTube channel. I hired on two designers who’s work I highly respected as consultants, and commissioned my friend Jeremy to create completely original artwork for the class. Their work helped to create something incredibly special, and I’m excited for the stories you all will make with this new version of the class I’m most proud of having designed for the Dungeons & Dragons 5e community.

The Merchant’s Place in the Party

The class is intended to be a high-support spellcaster that helps the party stay equipped and rewards players that enjoy solving problems using  the equipment they have on-hand rather than spellcasting and skill checks. The class creates characters with the dynamic of a:

  • Buffer/De-buffer with spells and features that manipulate the abilities and overall power of other creatures,

  • Supplier similar to the Artificer, which gives the party guaranteed access to both mundane and magical items,

  • Delver well equipped for the perils of dungeons thanks to a large arsenal of virtually on-demand items through their Portable Storefront.

Update 11/29/2020

Changes have been made based on player feedback to a few features and spells that will hopefully more clearly convey the mechanics. There have also been some changes to layout design for a generally prettier merchant PDF!


 
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Reviews (2)
Discussions (14)
Customer avatar
Az Z September 13, 2020 8:50 am UTC
Hey! So I have two questions about the interactions between Portable Storefront and Top Shelf.

1. How would the "Top Shelf" feature interact with the Robe of Useful Items? Would you be able to take the Robe, remove all the patches and place the Robe back into the storefront to restock it or would you have you return the Robe alongside all the additional patches for it to be restocked?

2. In the same vein as the question above, the Portable Storefront feature states that, "when you gain this feature and when you gain additional levels in this class, the storefront is automatically fully stocked with the items from your supply list," and the "top Shelf" feature states that the magic items that you choose are added to your supply list. So by the interactions between the two features does that mean that if you were to have a Charisma modifier of +5 when you hit level 6, you would gain 5 uncommon magic items which are automatically restocked every time you level...See more
Customer avatar
Taron P November 29, 2020 11:24 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey Az! The new update has a targeted change for this specific mechanic. Thanks for your feedback!
Customer avatar
-- - August 29, 2020 4:19 am UTC
Let me preface a couple small queries concerning this class by saying that I really love the class. I originally found it after playing two artificers (one alchemist, one party damage buffer) and wanting a change of pace while still being a support caster, and stumbled upon your first edition of the class on reddit. Wanting to see the newest version, I dug around and found both the videos on your YouTube channel, and then the new version on this site.

However, I do have a couple of questions/comments about how the class potentially plays:


1. The class itself is a half-caster without the half-caster’s survivability in combat. Paladins and Rangers get extra attack, and Artificer gets not only damaging cantrips, but also a subclass ability that gives either a bonus to that cantrip or extra attack as well. Instead, the merchant gets double carry capacity. While I understand that the class isn’t supposed to be great in combat, it honestly feels like it could be dead weight. Heck,...See more
Customer avatar
Taron P August 30, 2020 2:43 am UTC
CREATOR
1.) The survivability comes from the capability to use the Use and Object action twice, which would apply to magic items (including potions), as well as their Bang for Your Buck feature, which is essentially a more flexible Divine Smite. Additionally, the Apothecary can be scary potent for damage output, so it’s more about what KIND of merchant you want to build.
Is this going to be incredibly powerful on combat heavy tables? If you’re looking at it in a white room, no. However, this class isn’t designed for damage, it’s designed for high utility, support, and rewards creative plays by players who love trying to use what's in their equipment to overcome problems. If we’re considering the three pillars of play, this one leans heavily on Interaction and Exploration, and less so on Combat. It may not be right for absolutely every table, and that’s fine by me.

2.) That’s definitely a consideration, but I didn’t want to provide material that stepped on the toes of preexisting equipment...See more
Customer avatar
-- - August 30, 2020 11:06 am UTC
Thanks for the reply! It's really good to see a creator invested in their work and willing to listen to a rambling diatribe of a literally nameless and faceless commenter.

1.) I had to reread your comment twice, then go look in the PDF before I picked up on the pseudo-divine smite. THAT IS AWESOME! It gives the class the potential for some serious burst healing at later levels, as well as some burst damage. Whether it stacks up to a paladin's lay on hands, I don't really know, but that changes a lot. I understand now why the progression works the way it does, being based off the paladin's half casting to fuel smites. I still worry about the postponing of the lv. 5 bump in power to lv. 7, but that's less of a nail in the coffin than I originally thought.

2.) I understand the wish to expand on an underused existing mechanic, rather than add a bunch of new things in a brew. It's why I don't love the addition of extra spells to a homebrew class (Probably stems from a bunch of really OP...See more
Customer avatar
Taron P August 30, 2020 12:32 pm UTC
CREATOR
1.) Use an Extra Object HAS to be at 7th level. It’s insanely more versatile than Extra Attack and has the potential to deal way more damage than a martialist can with just the right item.
2.) I could argue that the Apothecary’s Decoctions are all “items” in a sense, and you could run with those as equipment? I’d suggest discussing what part of the action economy your DM considers those items to be before rolling this up.
4.) Yeah, I can write with as clear intent in wordage as possible, but I can’t design around stingy DMs. I’d just suggest talking this over with your DM before hand so you both are in agreeance as to how your features will work. Also, if the Portable Storefront is lost, you can create a new one really easily with all of the items still in it.
5.) Keep your eyes peeled here September 7th. Just saying!
P.S.) I generally avoid expertise when I’m designing, and I especially wanted to avoid it with the Merchant because it’s already close enough to Bard’s...See more
Customer avatar
-- - August 30, 2020 2:57 pm UTC
1.) Got it. I'll probably be hit by the reason over the head once I start playing it, and I'm really looking forwards to it.
2.) I really wanted to take a different direction from the apothecary for a number of reasons, mostly for a change of pace from alchemist, but those items do fit what I suppose I'm looking for. I'll give the guild another look for the upcoming campaign.
4.) I definitely understand that developers shouldn't ever brew around stingy DMs, and I guess that I get that. I suppose that that same sort of losing your gear could happen with rogues too, the merchant just felt more tied to their equipment than most characters. (Although, they are a merchant, so... it makes sense.)
5.) I can't wait! I'll have to write that down.
6.) As for the expertise, I get that. Some homebrewers can get a little too bit enthusiastic with expertise, and it's really just a feat away. Probably a good design philosophy.

Thanks for the conversation! I can't wait to run one. I'm thinking...See more
Customer avatar
Mr.Satterday S August 13, 2020 5:14 am UTC
PURCHASER
This class is great! I can't wait to try it out! Though please tell me there are more archetypes on the way, as I would love to see a Taverner or Brewmaster guild so I can sling drinks and good times like a travelling bar.
Customer avatar
Taron P August 13, 2020 6:05 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you! Yes, there are definitely more archetypes planned that I hope to get to soon! Brewmaster was one of the original concepts that I just unfortunately never got to, but I agree definitely needs to make an appearance.
Customer avatar
Lovett S August 04, 2020 1:20 am UTC
PURCHASER
Curious question! Would it make sense for the merchant class have the find familiar spell? Though, that's just my opinion, then again I just really love the spell
Customer avatar
Taron P August 04, 2020 8:08 pm UTC
CREATOR
It was one I had definitely considered adding because it would make sense for this merchant to have their little familiar shop assistant. However, in a consulting session we came to the consensus that Find Familiar is exclusive to Wizard for a reason, so I opted out of adding it. If your table thinks it's cool, go for it though!
Customer avatar
Gage R July 17, 2020 3:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have a bit of confusion with Insider Trading. Does it really mean half the value indicated in the portable storefront just to restock, or did it mean half the missing item/s' value.
Customer avatar
Taron P July 17, 2020 4:57 pm UTC
CREATOR
Ah... that might be worded a bit poorly. It has to be half the missing item's.
Customer avatar
Damian F July 06, 2020 10:39 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hm! I just noticed the update, and had to check it out. I had a player in my previous campaign play the old Merchant and it definitely got pretty crazy back then. I must say, I really like the new version and how much more streamlined it is. My former Merchant player laments some of the nerfs but I think you're right, they had to be done!

(Funny thing, back when he could share potions with everyone in range instead of only one person, that wound up saving the party's bacon against the BBEG).

I think the only change I somewhat miss is the loss of "Thrift's Wandering Post". It was more or less supplanted by the Portable Storefront, but I feel the idea of being able to summon a trader on demand was somewhat fun and I wound up playing around with it by letting my merchant player collect tokens of different merchants to summon them specifically. I'd definitely love to see Thrift's spell return in the future.

Kudos for the update!
Customer avatar
Taron P July 07, 2020 12:33 am UTC
CREATOR
Hahaha well I'm glad to hear it! Thrift's Wandering Post is something I did consider adding back into it, but I was so happy with the changes I made for Portable Storefront that it just felt a little unnecessary.

Socialized Medicine should still allow for those clutch Apothecary moments! I'd be glad to hear any feedback you have from having it played!
Customer avatar
Damian F July 07, 2020 9:05 am UTC
PURCHASER
Honestly, I think the biggest change is the removal of the Barter power. The old merchant class, when used, led to some really absurd cost-cutting over time as he began getting involved in more and more expensive projects, and managing to get luckier and luckier with his rolls. It definitely took over the game a bit, so in that regard I much prefer the far more support-oriented model you've gone for. It's just a pity that I have so many homebrew classes and subclasses available that I have to try actively pitching any class to my players these days! :P
Customer avatar
John L July 01, 2020 7:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Minor issue with the document format, The pdf can't be highlighted, and due to the length of some of the features, it makes it very time consuming to copy information from the document to the page. Is there any way this could be fixed? it'd really help me out.
Customer avatar
Taron P July 01, 2020 9:56 pm UTC
CREATOR
That's really odd. I'll create a format-less plain text and have it available tonight. Thanks for your input!
Customer avatar
John L July 01, 2020 9:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
thanks so much!
Customer avatar
Taron P July 01, 2020 10:55 pm UTC
CREATOR
Absolutely! It's up now, enjoy!
Customer avatar
Gage R June 25, 2020 3:06 pm UTC
PURCHASER
A few issues with your overhaul:

1: Very Rare items are 50,000 gold. There is no way even a level 20 merchant could stock it.

2. Wind Walk is a 6th level spell. There is no way that even a level 20 merchant could cast it.

3. The traveler's Those Who Wander feature is useless if the ignoring difficult terrain portion can't extend to the rest of the party.
Customer avatar
Taron P June 25, 2020 3:19 pm UTC
CREATOR
1.) There are ways for you to snag Very Rare items, but I'll add a distinction in the Top Shelf feature to make this more apparent.
2.) That's a legit mistake on my part, fixing it for a re-release.
3.) It was intended to extend to the rest of the party. I'll clear that up as well.

Thanks for your input!
Customer avatar
Taron P June 25, 2020 3:49 pm UTC
CREATOR
It has been fixed!
Customer avatar
Gage R June 30, 2020 1:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
When will the update be out?
Customer avatar
Taron P June 30, 2020 1:54 pm UTC
CREATOR
It was available last week. Is it not allowing you to download the new version?
Customer avatar
Gage R June 30, 2020 2:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I still see no clarification regarding the Traveller archetype and the ability to stock Very Rare magic items. I was referring to the minor changes.
Customer avatar
Taron P June 30, 2020 2:56 pm UTC
CREATOR
The PDF I uploaded should have Teleportation Circle as a 17th level spell for the Traveler and new wordage on Top Shelf. If your's doesn't, you have an old version.
Customer avatar
Gage R June 30, 2020 4:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
And the travelling benefits of Those Who Wander extending to the party?
Customer avatar
Taron P June 30, 2020 9:28 pm UTC
CREATOR
Yeah, that's supposed to extend to the whole party. I thought I had added wordage for that. I'll double check and hotfix if it doesn't.
Customer avatar
Jonathan H May 21, 2020 1:04 am UTC
Hey this class is super cool, its a concept ive been looking for. Just curious though, is the merchant's inventory only mundane or can it have magic items?
Customer avatar
Taron P May 23, 2020 7:18 pm UTC
CREATOR
It will be getting an update that overhauls the entire class here very soon. The Merchant's Inventory will be able to hold magic items as well in the future update.
Customer avatar
Taron P May 03, 2020 3:01 pm UTC
CREATOR
If you are interested in this class, I have a new version of it currently in the works that will play significantly easier. I have hired consultants to help me get it into a healthier state, and it's coming along really quickly!
Customer avatar
Vítor R April 04, 2020 11:26 pm UTC
How does his spell slots scales with a Warlock multiclass?
Customer avatar
Taron P June 25, 2020 5:19 am UTC
CREATOR
This has actually been majorly reworked to keep within the multiclass rules for spellcasters in 5e.
Customer avatar
Mont G January 02, 2019 2:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! Love the concept but 2 things still aren't really clicking for me.

First, how does the merchant inventory work? Is it a ever-restocking pouch of 200 gp worth of goods that the merchant can sell for their base price to buy stuff with? Also, can the items stocked in the inventory be taken out and used by the party to actually use them (The thing about Wonderous Items in the Esetericist has me questioning how that would work)

Second, could you be a little clearer on how Thrift's Wandering Post worked and the uses of it.

Finally, some real-game examples of how this would be used would be really good for the reader's understanding
Customer avatar
Mont G January 02, 2019 3:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Also, there seems to be some difference between the spell lists in this item and in the Anthology, Shush is replaced by Pay Day. Should both of these spells be counted or is one the right one?
Customer avatar
Taron P August 05, 2019 7:55 pm UTC
CREATOR
So sorry for the delayed reply! I haven’t been getting notifications about this product for some reason.

I will be doing an update to this class soon with all the correct information!
Customer avatar
Tom C December 24, 2018 9:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just curious, but have you been in communication with Emmet Byrne about getting a Class-specific character sheet put together?
Customer avatar
Taron P December 30, 2018 7:15 am UTC
CREATOR
I was considering that actually. I saw his work on Sterling Vermin's Pugilist and would absolutely love to work with him!
Customer avatar
Damian F September 05, 2018 6:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just read through this and I have to say, it is VERY intriguing. Not the greatest in combat, but the power of its abilities otherwise are particularly strong to make up for it. A nice balance.

I'm a little disappointed that the 13th level ability does not include Alignment restrictions, though I can see why it wouldn't be.

One clarification which I believe may be warranted is with the Trade of Auditor's Pagemaster ability:
When using spells from Spellbooks or Spell Scrolls, would they count as known spells for your class? Are they considered Merchant Spells for the user? How does this affect the attack bonuses?
Customer avatar
Taron P August 05, 2019 7:56 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you for bringing this to my attention and sorry for the delayed reply.

I will be releasing another version soon to address this! Thank you!
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File Last Updated:
November 29, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on August 30, 2018.