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    Voyageur

    The word voyageur means “traveler”, and the men and women who are voyageurs do quite a bit of traveling, but simply traveling is not what makes a voyageur. A voyageur is part explorer, part merchant, part labourer and part diplomat. Often, a voyageur is employed by a merchant or company to transport trade goods over both waterways and land, usually in wilderness areas, where the company trades with the local — often barbaric — inhabitants. Voyageurs are experts at navigating waterways with canoes, and usually are at least competent in constructing canoes.

    At the start of their career, voyageurs are hired hands, usually working in teams of as few as three or as many as twenty, called brigades. These young voyageurs are usually the ones who provide the power for the canoes the brigade travels in and who carry the bulk of the load when the brigade must portage over land. As the voyageur progresses in skill, he takes on new roles, moving up to avant (bowsman) and later to gouvernail (steersman) in the canoe. Eventually, the voyageur can become the bourgeois (gentleman in charge) and become a brigade leader and possibly even a partner in the company he works for.

    Role: The voyageur can serve as a scout, a diplomat or negotiator, a merchant or merchant’s assistant, or a translator. They are competent with many weapons, but not as many as fighters or rangers. Most are good with a bow or crossbow and can serve as competent archers when necessary. Voyageurs have enough wilderness skills that they can track foes as well as hunt, though the voyageur is not as good at such things as a ranger.

    Alignment: Any, though most are chaotic neutral, neutral, or neutral good.

    Hit Dice: d8.

    Class Skills

    The voyager’s class skills are: Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Handle Canoe (Str), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).

    Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Table: Voyageur

    Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
    1st +0 +2 +0 +0 Milieux
    2nd +1 +3 +0 +0 Bonus feat, linguistics +1, stout +1
    3rd +2 +3 +1 +1 Paddle making, self-sufficient
    4th +3 +4 +1 +1 Wilderness diplomat +1
    5th +3 +4 +1 +1 Bonus language, linguistics +2, stout +2
    6th +4 +5 +2 +2 Avant, bonus feat
    7th +5 +5 +2 +2 Wilderness diplomat +2
    8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +2 Bonus language, linguistics +3
    9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +3 Bonus feat, stout +3
    10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +3 Gouvernail, wilderness diplomat +3
    11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +3 Bonus language, linguistics +4
    12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +4 Bonus feat
    13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +4 Wilderness diplomat +4, stout +4
    14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +4 Bonus language, linguistics +5
    15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +5 Bonus feat, bourgeois
    16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Wilderness diplomat +5
    17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Stout +5
    18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Bonus feat
    19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6 Wilderness diplomat +6
    20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Wintering partner

    Class Features

    All of the following are class features of the voyageur.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency The voyageur is proficient with all simple weapons, as well as with the handaxe, shortbow (including the composite shortbow), short sword, and throwing axe. Voyageurs are proficient with light armor and with bucklers.

    New Skill: Handle Canoe (Str; Trained Only)

    You are proficient at handling canoes and other similar watercraft. You can maneuver canoes through rapids, shallow water, and across deepwater lakes.

    Check: A Handle Canoe check is usually not required to maneuver a canoe through most calm waterways. However, some particular maneuvers do require a check.

    Task Skill DC
    Maneuver through shallow, slow rapids 10
    Traverse deepwater lakes 10
    Maneuver through swift, deep rapids 15
    Reverse direction 15
    Right an overturned canoe 15
    Traverse shoals and shallows 15
    Perform a 90 degree turn 20
    Traverse low (10 ft. or less) falls 20
    Maneuver through dangerous rapids 25
    Traverse medium (11 ft. to 20 ft.) falls 30
    Traverse high (20 ft. to 30 ft.) falls 40

    Maneuver through shallow, slow rapids: Maneuvering through shallow, relatively slow rapids is not as difficult as some other maneuvers. Shallow rapids are those with few protruding rocks and not much whitewater. This is a full-round action.

    Traverse deepwater lakes: Deepwater lakes — lakes with a maximum depth of 50 feet or more — are not always as easy to cross as a slow-flowing, calm river. Deepwater lakes can have hidden currents that can take a canoe, and winds often gust over the surface of the water, creating whitecaps. One check represents up to an hour of travel, however if any other action of any type is made during that hour, another check to traverse deepwater lakes must be made following that action.

    Maneuver through swift, deep rapids: Swift, deep rapids are those rapids with some protruding rocks and at least a small amount of whitewater. They are more dangerous and difficult to move through than shallow, slow rapids. This is a full-round action.

    Reverse direction: Reversing direction is a difficult maneuver even in the best of conditions. The maneuver consists of first bringing the canoe to a relative stop, then working the canoe back in the other direction. The maneuver is a full-round action.

    Some conditions can make this maneuver more difficult. Rapids of any type add +5 to the DC. Strong winds also add +5 to the DC. If the canoe is within 50 feet of the top of a waterfall, the DC is increased by +10. The DC increase for multiple conditions stack, so that trying to reverse direction in rapids within 50 feet of the top of a waterfall on a windy day would add +20 to the DC. Only the most skilled canoeists could perform such a maneuver.

    Right an overturned canoe: A canoe that has overturned (whether completely upside down or on its side and swamped with water) can quickly become a deadly situation. Righting an overturned canoe is not easy, but can be done. This maneuver is full-round action.

    Some conditions can make this maneuver more difficult. Rapids of any type add +5 to the DC. Strong winds also add +5 to the DC. If the canoe is within 50 feet of the top of a waterfall, the DC is increased by +10. The DC increase for multiple conditions stack, so that trying to reverse direction in rapids within 50 feet of the top of a waterfall on a windy day would add +20 to the DC. Only the most skilled canoeists could perform such a maneuver.

    Traverse shoals and shallows: Traversing shoals and shallows along rivers is not as easy as some might think. It requires picking a way through the shallow water without running aground. One check represents up to a half-hour of travel, however if any other action of any type is made during that half-hour, another check to traverse shoals and shallows must be made following that action.

    Weight in the canoe can increase the difficulty of this maneuver. For every 100 pounds in the canoe — cargo and passengers combined — add +2 to the DC. If the shoals prove too difficult to cross, having some or all passengers wade alongside the canoe usually lightens the load enough to allow the canoe to continue.

    Perform a 90 degree turn: Like reversing direction, performing a 90 degree turn is an extremely difficult maneuver. Usually, this involves swinging the canoe crossways against either the current or the wind.

    Performing this maneuver is a full-round action. Some conditions can make this maneuver more difficult. Rapids of any type add +5 to the DC. Strong winds also add +5 to the DC. If the canoe is within 50 feet of the top of a waterfall, the DC is increased by +10. The DC increase for multiple conditions stack, so that trying to turn 90 degrees in rapids within 50 feet of the top of a waterfall on a windy day would add +20 to the DC. Only the most skilled canoeists could perform such a maneuver.

    Traverse low (10 ft. or less) falls: Some skilled canoeists are able to steer a canoe over a waterfall in such a way that the canoe does not overturn at the bottom, and no cargo is spilled. Performing this maneuver is a full-round action.

    If the maneuver fails, the canoe overturns, some or all cargo is spilled, and all passengers are sent into the water. Even if the maneuver succeeds, passengers (except the character performing the skill check) must succeed at a DC 10 Strength or Dexterity check to keep from being thrown out.

    Maneuver through dangerous rapids: Dangerous whitewater rapids are one of the most difficult conditions for a canoeist to maneuver through. Dangerous rapids are those rapids with many large boulders or rocks protruding from the water and more whitewater than other types of rapids. Performing this maneuver is a full-round action.

    Traverse medium (11 ft. to 20 ft.) falls: Even more difficult than falls of 10 feet or less are those waterfalls between 11 feet and 20 feet high. Performing this maneuver is a full-round action.

    If the maneuver fails, the canoe overturns, some or all cargo is spilled, and all passengers are sent into the water. Even if the maneuver succeeds, passengers (except the character performing the skill check) must succeed at a DC 15 Strength or Dexterity check to keep from being thrown out.

    Traverse high (21 ft. to 30 ft.) falls: The most experienced and skilled of all canoeists are able to guide their canoes in relative safety over waterfalls between 21 feet high and 30 feet high. Performing this maneuver is a full-round action.

    If the maneuver fails, the canoe overturns, some or all cargo is spilled, and all passengers are sent into the water. Even if the maneuver succeeds, passengers (except the character performing the skill check) must succeed at a DC 20 Strength or Dexterity check to keep from being thrown out.

    Waterfalls of 31 feet or more in height cannot be safely maneuvered over.

    Action: Varies, as detailed above. Generally, getting in and out of a canoe is a move action.

    Special: A 3rd level voyageur using a canoe paddle made by him or another voyageur receives a +5 bonus to Handle Canoe checks. A 10th level voyageur adds his Dexterity bonus to his Handle Canoe checks in addition to his Strength bonus.

    Milieux (Ex)

    Milieux means “middle man”, and it is the milieux that sits in the center of the canoe and provides the raw power to propel it up and down waterways. He is also one of the brigade members that are responsible for moving the canoe and its cargo over each portage as quickly as possible. At 1st level, the milieux voyageur receives Endurance and Fleet as bonus feats. In addition, the milieux voyageur receives a +2 bonus to Survival checks when looking for and setting up campsites and preparing meals at the campsite.

    Bonus Feat (Ex)

    The voyageur is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades and picks up many skills. At 2nd level, the voyageur receives a bonus feat of his choice. He may choose the feat from among any feats for which he already qualifies. At 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th and 18th levels, the voyageur receives another bonus feat.

    Linguistics (Ex)

    Voyageurs are constantly exposed to all sorts of regional and racial languages and dialects. As a result, voyageurs frequently learn other languages and can even make attempts to understand what someone else is saying even if they don’t speak the language.

    Beginning at 2nd level, the voyageur receives a +1 bonus to all Linguistics checks and can even attempt to understand unknown languages as they are spoken.

    The base DC is 20 for languages similar to those you know (related regional languages, for example), 25 for languages you have heard of but which are not similar to any you know, and 30 or higher for completely unknown languages (such as those thought to be dead languages or from other planes of existence). If the check succeeds, you understand the gist of what is said over a 10 minute period. You must make the check again every 10 minutes. If the check fails, make a DC 5 Wisdom check to see if you avoid completely misunderstanding what is being said. (Success means that you do not draw a false conclusion; failure means that you do.) Both the Linguistics check and (if necessary) the Wisdom check should be made secretly by the GM, so that you can’t tell whether the conclusion you draw is true or false.

    The voyageur receives another +1 bonus to Linguistics checks at 5th level and every three levels thereafter, to a maximum bonus of +5 at 14th level. In addition, at 5th, 8th, 11th & 14th levels the voyageur picks a new bonus language with which they become proficient.

    Stout (Ex)

    Voyageurs quickly become accustomed to carrying heavy loads. At 2nd level, the voyageur’s Strength is treated as 1 point higher for purposes of determining carrying capacity. At 5th level and every four levels thereafter the voyageur adds another point to Strength for purposes of determining his carrying capacity, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. This bonus does not actually increase the voyageur’s Strength, only his relative Strength for determining carrying capacity. The voyageur’s Strength bonus remains unchanged, and the bonus does not affect attacks, damage or skill checks.

    Paddle Making (Ex)

    At 3rd level, the voyageur has become so proficient at making canoe paddles that he receives a +2 bonus to his Craft (paddle making) checks. In addition, his well-made paddles grant him a +5 bonus to his Handle Canoe checks. This bonus only applies when using a paddle he has made himself, or one made by another voyageur. Paddles made by a character other than a voyageur do not grant the voyageur this bonus.

    Self-sufficient (Ex)

    At 3rd level, the voyageur receives Self-sufficient as a bonus feat.

    Wilderness Diplomat (Ex)

    At 4th level the voyageur has become accustomed to meeting and interacting with new peoples, especially barbaric, semibarbaric and rural peoples. As such, he receives a +1 bonus to his Diplomacy checks whenever interacting with barbaric, semi-barbaric or rural tribes, nations or villages. This bonus does not apply when interacting with highly civilized peoples inhabiting large cities or towns.

    The bonus increases by another +1 at 7th level and every three levels thereafter, to a maximum bonus of +6 at 19th level.

    Avant (Ex)

    The avant is the voyageur who sits in the bow of a canoe, watching for dangers both in the river and along the shores. The avant is more experienced than the milieux and is paid a higher wage as a result. At 6th level, the avant voyageur receives Alertness as a bonus feat and adds +5 to all Perception checks when looking for hidden dangers in rivers and lakes (submerged rocks, snags, rapids, aquatic creatures, etc.).

    Gouvernail (Ex)

    The gouvernail is the voyageur that steers the canoe from his position at the stern. He is more experienced than either the milieux or avant, and as a result receives a higher wage.

    At 10th level, the gouvernail voyageur receives Skill Focus (Handle Canoe; new skill, see sidebar) as a bonus feat. In addition, the gouvernail voyageur adds his Dexterity bonus to his Handle Canoe skill checks in addition to his Strength bonus.

    Bourgeois (Ex)

    The bourgeois is a voyageur that is in charge of a brigade. He is considered a ‘gentleman’ and is often a partner in the company he works for.

    At 15th level, the voyageur receives Leadership as a bonus feat. If the voyageur already has the Leadership feat, he may add his Wisdom bonus to his character level and Charisma bonus to determine his Leadership score.

    Wintering Partner (Ex)

    At 20th level, the voyageur has achieved high status within the company and proven himself capable. Wintering partners are in charge of tiny settlements in otherwise wilderness areas, usually consisting of a trading post and its employees and a small village or settlement of locals.

    The voyageur can understand any spoken language, as if under the effect of a permanent comprehend languages spell. In addition, he receives a +10 bonus to all Diplomacy checks and a +5 bonus to his Leadership score.