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September 05, 2015

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May 05, 2015

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September 05, 2015

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Messenger O.C.C.

Optional Class


In the Palladium World the need to transport messages from one place to another is a necessity of life. Messengers can come in all shapes and sizes, from gnome to human to wolfen from male to female. Perhaps the most important aspect to being successful is being trustworthy. This does not mean a good person, just trustworthy. If a messenger cannot be trusted, then a customer should never be expected to put the safety and security of a message into his/her hands. Even if a messenger is not truly trustworthy a code of professionalism, or at least the appearance of (appearances can mean everything), can often suffice.

Anyone can simply carry a message from one point to another, but not everyone can truly call themselves a professional. A mercenary is capable of doing so as is a knight, but these are tasks they cando, not their true profession. When someone comes to a messenger, they are coming for a professional. This means doing so in a timely manner, maintaining secrecy when it's called for, and seeing it is delivered to the intended recipient at all costs. Types of messengers vary greatly depending on the types of tasks.


Messengers & Armor

Messengers rarely wear heavy armor. They tend to prefer light and maneuverable suits to move quickly and with as little hindrance as possible. Similarly, wearing heavy types of armor shows an expectancy to fight. This can scare clients and recipients alike, not typically a wise idea for a class that relies most often more on people skills than warrior skills. Additionally, seeing someone dressed in full plate is more likely to cause bodyguards to see a threat rather than a messenger, causing messages to be harder to deliver.


Messenger Guilds

Usually messengers are part of a messenger guild. These guilds are not a major organization like some thieves, assassins, or wizard guilds, but far more subtle. This helps to provide training, work, and supplies for the various members. The guilds do not take a major hand in the affairs of the members, but are more in place as a method to help ensure quality. If a member does a poor job, breaches a client's trust, fails to deliver the message, or any number of other unprofessional task it will also reflect poorly on the guild. It is then the guild steps in to take action to try and redeem their name.

The actions of the guild will typically vary upon the reason for discipline and the guild itself. Some will only result in a minor fee while others may cause the messenger to never be seen again. For this reason a messenger should always take careful consideration what type of guild they join. In addition, some guilds will limit types of jobs as they only operate within a city, while others operate on a larger scale of an entire region or even across the world.

Each guild can have their areas of specialization. In turn the specializations of their members. Trying to become a messenger without a guild though can be tricky at best as there is no reputation for a potential customer to base judgment, but it is possible. Make a random roll on the following table for fun or simply select one that best fits the character concept. All bonuses are in addition to the normal O.C.C. skills and equipment.

01-15 City Runners: The guild is located only within one city. As a result, they know the city well and go nearly everywhere on foot.

Bonuses: These messengers have developed a specialized method of running called Natural Movement, similar to the Earth style of parkour. It is called Natural Movement because all the movements the messenger makes are based on natural body movements without the use of animals or equipment. The objective is to get from one point to another not only running as fast as possible, but also using as least energy as possible and in as direct of a way. This means often using a straight line regardless of obstacles. It is not uncommon to see these individuals running across a city using just rooftops, climbing the side of a building using narrow ledges most would think impossible, or even jumping from amazing heights landing in a roll and come up running like nothing happened. As a result of this free moving style it can often cause them to feel an added sense of confidence.

Climb/Scale Walls: Same as the normal skill, +5%.

Sense of Balance: 40%+5% per level of experience.

Back Flip and Somersault: +2 to dodge by quickly jumping or rolling out of the way. Like all dodges uses up one of the character's attacks per melee round. 40%+5% per level of experience.

Jump/Leaps: 5 feet (1.5 m) long and 4 feet (1.2 m) high, plus 1 foot (0.3 m) to both per level of experience.

Natural Movement: Whenever coming across an obstacle or performing a stunt not normally covered by another skill, such as climbing, the character must roll on this skill. This means running on highly uneven ground at a steady pace, rolling under an obstacle and coming up running without missing a step, running momentarily on the side of a wall, going over delicate surfaces (such as damaged bridges ready to collapse), or other fitting acts. A failed roll means the character messed up, fell, didn't clear the obstacle, etc. 30%+5% per level of experience.

+2 to roll with punch, fall, or impact.

+1 to M.A.

+1 to P.S.

+1 to P.P.

+1 to P.E.

+1D4 to Spd.

+1D6 to S.D.C.

Note: This skill is a specialized O.C.C. ability. If a G.M. feels it necessary to include it as a normal skill (not personally recommended), it should count as a Physical skill and count as two skill selections.

15-25 Noble House: The character is not a member of a guild, but owes fealty to a noble house. This type of messenger often doubles as a diplomat for the house, carrying the message but with power to make negotiations.

Bonuses: +2 to M.A., Noble Etiquette (+10%), plus select two scholar/noble/technical skills of choice (+10% each).

26-35 Scribes: This guild type specializes in languages and how to write. When not carrying a message they often double as editors, writers, and personal translators to foreigners from other lands.

Bonuses: Writing (+10%), Language: one of choice (+15%), Literacy: one of choice (+15%), and +5% to any other language/literacy skills selected as normal O.C.C. skills.

36-55 Military: Even the military needs messengers, carrying messages from one place to another, often through the field of battle or delivering a message to the enemy commander. This can be one of the most dangerous types of messengers, but one of the highest pays as well (see hazard pay under the Soldier O.C.C., page 81).

Bonuses: Military Etiquette (+10%), plus Military skills are available to these characters at +5% each as well as the ability to upgrade hand to hand techniques at a cost equal to the Soldier O.C.C. Note: Except for Military Etiquette, these are not free skills. This is the opening of skill selections not available to most messengers.

56-70 Travelers: A wide spread guild spread across a decent sized territory or even the entire Palladium World. Guild members are typically versed in various languages for travel through various lands. Often guild members will specialize in travel to only one region, with other members specializing in the same and different regions.

Bonuses: The character receives Horsemanship: General with a +5% bonus, plus a riding horse of good to excellent quality. The horse has 30+2D6 S.D.C. and 6D6 hit points, running speed 50 (35 mph/56 km) and a maximum speed of 66 (45 mph/72 km), value 1D4x1000. This horse is owned by the guild and not the property of the member. During delivering of messages though the member is likely to be issued the same horse (his in spirit if not in name). Note: Horse running speeds are taken from Monsters & Animals, not the main book under the Knight or Palladin descriptions.

71-80 Rogues: Not all guilds play by the rules. Some will use their assignments as a method to gain as much information as possible on their clients and recipients. This allows for blackmail later, or simply a secondary task by the original client. These guilds are typically only messengers as a front.

Bonuses: Select three rogue skills of choice (+10%) and hand to hand: assassin can be selected for one "other" skill.

81-90 Espionage: Either as a specialization or fealty to a king or noble house, the guild specializes in carrying top secret messages where secrecy is of the utmost importance.

Bonuses: +1 to M.E., plus select three espionage skills of choice (+10% each).

91-00 Freelancers: These men and women owe their loyalties to no one in particular. While this makes it more difficult to find work, they answer to no one.

Bonuses: The main advantage is to go wherever the messenger wants and whenever without anyone else to boss him around. The character may select two skills (+10% each) from the roguephysical, or wilderness survival.


Messenger Birds

It is a common trade among many messenger guilds to train birds to carry messages. These birds are often pigeons for a cheap economic method, but can be any type of trainable bird. This allows for a fairly speedy travel and cheaper delivery costs. However, there are a few problems with this method. The first is that the bird must be trained to travel only to certain areas. While this takes time, the main reason this is a handicap is it means the bird cannot fly to any targeted location (it MUST be a certain spot). Another reason is that this method can often be unreliable. The further area traveled the more likely things can go wrong.

Messenger birds are most commonly used in a designed network, carrying it from one messenger to another in a different city. This allows the second messenger to take the message to a nearby location. It is through this method many wide spread guilds function so effectively. For more sensitive information a humanoid is often favored. Intelligent beings are just more capable of adjusting to a situation and, if caught or attacked, can still take actions to protect the message. Meanwhile, if someone shoots down a messenger bird with an arrow the message will fall into another's hands without problem.

More successful guilds will also have a few Magic Pigeon scrolls on hand for convenience. These can be far more accurate and faster than a normal messenger pigeon, but naturally more expensive as well. The Magic Pigeon can be very useful for getting crucial information to a messenger in the field. The sender must still have a general area of where the messenger is, but knowing where he is headed can be an advantage and it is possible for the Magic Pigeon to find the messenger on the way (if not there yet) if he hasn't gone too far off course.


Messenger O.C.C.

Alignments: Any, but being trustworthy is almost a requirement to be successful in this line of work.

Attribute Requirements: I.Q. 11 and Spd. 12 or higher. A high M.A. and P.E. are also recommended but not required.

O.C.C. Bonuses: +2 to roll with punch, and +1 to save vs. horror factor at levels 1, 4, 7, 10, and 14.

O.C.C. Skills:

Cryptology (+15%)

Languages: Native Tongue at 98% plus two of choice (+20% each)

Literacy in Native Tongue and one language of choice (usually elf, +20% each)

Public Speaking (+10%)


W.P. Knife

Hand to Hand: Basic only (cannot be upgraded!)

O.C.C. Related Skills: Select two skills from the Communications skill category and five other skills of choice at level one, plus select one additional skill at levels three, six, nine, and twelve. All new skills start at level one proficiency.

Communications: Any (+15%)

Domestic: Any

Espionage: Any (+5%), except Sniper or Track Humanoids.

Horsemanship: General or Exotic only.

Medical: First Aid only.

Military: Heraldry (+10%) and Surveillance only.

Physical: Any, except Acrobatics, Gymnastics, and Wrestling.

Rogue: Any (+5%)

Science: Mathematics skills only.

Scholar/Technical: Any (+10%)

Weapon Proficiencies: Any

Wilderness: Any

Secondary Skills: The character also gets to select four secondary skills from the previous list at level one, and two additional skills at levels five, ten, and fifteen. These are additional areas of knowledge that do not get the advantage of the bonus listed in parentheses. All secondary skills start at base skill level. Also, skills are limited (any, only, none) as previously indicated.

Starting Equipment: Two sets of clothing, pair of boots, hat, belt, blanket, backpack, messenger bag, two large sacks, two small sacks, a water skin, food rations for 1D4 weeks, a notebook, a dozen sheets of parchment, two crow quill pens, a bottle of ink, a small lantern, and a tinder box.

Armor: Starts with a suit of hard leather (A.R. 11, S.D.C. 30).

Weapons: Starts with a dagger and one other weapon of choice. All are basic S.D.C. weapons of good quality. Magic weapons and other equipment must be acquired later.

Money: The character starts with 200 in gold, which can be used immediately to purchase more equipment or saved. Additional money will come from payment for jobs and/or booty.


Experience Point Table: Same as the Thief & Merchant.


New Magic Item

Enchanted Messenger Cylinder: This is similar in design to Enchanted Bags (page 258, Palladium Fantasy main book). Once a message has been placed into the cylinder and the top sealed any person who looks into it will see an empty cylinder. Where it differs is that even if they know something is inside or they turn it upside down, there is still nothing. This is because the cylinder actually accesses a pocket dimension where the item remains. The lid actually serves as a method to open and close it. A word must be written in blood upon the cylinder lid. Once written the blood burns away and disappears (cannot be seen with See the Invisible because it's not invisible, it's gone). The word is the key to opening the cylinder and retrieving what is inside and must be spoken aloud before opening it. This prevents others from viewing secret and personal messages.

Often the one carrying the cylinder will not even be trusted with the word. This is useful if the sender and receiver know the correct word to prevent anyone, even the messenger, from finding out what is inside. Even if caught and interrogated, the messenger can't give up information he does not have. Another method is to send the word (if the recipient doesn't know it) and the cylinder separately, often one by messenger and the other by messenger pigeon. This leaves any would be spies the need to catch not only one target, but two.

Limitations: The dimensional pocket the Enchanted Messenger Cylinder is linked to can only be opened once per day. This means by opening it to place a message inside, it cannot be retrieved until the next day. Or if opened once to show it is there it cannot be opened again to see the message until another 24 hours have passed.

Cost: Small cylinder only large enough to fit a single sheet of tightly rolled up paper or parchment costs 50,000 gold. Larger cylinder/tube large enough to carry larger objects such as rolled up canvas work costs 150,000 gold. Costs are triple if the cylinder is made indestructible.