Excerpts 01/05/2007

Complete Scoundrel Excerpts
By Mike McArtor and F. Wesley Schneider

Gain an upper hand in many situations by perusing the options and suggestions found within Complete Scoundrel. Whether your character defies gravity with acrobatic movements, has the right words for every occasion, or even moves behind the scenes with aplomb, you're sure to find something useful for your character. Check out some excerpts that give you a taste of what's in store for you. You'll find some information about making a scoundrel, some ideas for those acrobatic scoundrels out there, the master of mask prestige class, a list of new feats along with three feat you use in your game, information about skill tricks, and details about the organization called the Blind Tower.

The Blind Tower

"If you sign on the dotted line, you can consider it as good as done."
-- Mistress Eve, Blind Tower agent, closing a deal

The Blind Tower began with a crime spree that never ended. More than thirty years ago a single, daring cat burglar ransacked scores of heavily guarded vaults and noble treasuries. Today, that famous rogue leads an empire that has stretched beyond mere prowling and larceny, becoming an army of the most skilled and professional thieves, daredevils, adventurers, and assassins ever organized. The Blind Tower commands a view of the entire world's intrigues, but within its own walls it sees nothing at all.

Joining the Blind Tower

The Blind Tower has need for talented characters of all types. Because the group prides itself on its versatility and ability to accomplish any goal, any exceptional individual with a willingness to accept daring -- if morally questionable -- missions might excel as an agent of the Blind Tower.

Entry Requirements

Base attack bonus +3 OR
Any four skills 6 ranks each OR
Ability to cast 2nd-level spells.

Special: Must have completed an act of skill great enough to have attracted the attention of the Blind Tower.

Special: Must have completed an introductory mission for the Blind Tower.

The Blind Tower exists as a dual business venture and information network for its founder, Mister Dark. Aside from this, it allows some of the most talented and daring individuals in the world to test and improve their skills while making a tidy profit, regardless of their professions. Diverse talents both mundane and extraordinary are required to accomplish all the missions the organization is hired to perform. Fighter or cleric, rogue or mage, nearly anyone with the ability to keep a secret and skills considered "Blind Tower quality" might become a useful member of this elusive organization.

The Blind Tower doesn't insist that every agent serve it exclusively, although those who wish to do so can usually find enough work from its missions alone. The organization encourages members to go out and spread the word of its prowess by example.

Blind Tower Agent Benefits

The Blind Tower realizes that its members require support, information, and the best equipment available to complete assignments others might consider impossible. Thus, agents of the Blind Tower have access to a wide range of benefits.

Gear: The organization's main arsenal can be found at the Blind Tower itself (see Headquarters, page 136). Nearly any weapon of masterwork quality, even several of magical nature, might be found in the group's stores, along with armor, adventuring gear, and minor, reusable magic items. A member can, at any time, borrow up to 3,000 gp worth of equipment from the Blind Tower. These items are considered to be on loan for one mission and must be returned upon its completion.

As a character grows in experience and influence, he might be afforded special permission to take items of greater value from the group's stores, but always with the stipulation that such resources be returned so other members can later make use of them. The Blind Tower does not lend out single-use magic items or alchemical gear. Equipment is to be borrowed only for use on missions assigned by the Blind Tower.

Besides the stores in the Blind Tower itself, the organization maintains small troves of gear in other cities. Tower agents who succeed on a DC 20 Knowledge (local) check know the location of the nearest cache. These stores usually hold 5,000 gp worth of equipment. Just as at the Blind Tower, these troves are monitored by their guardians, and anyone who makes use of them is expected to return what they take. The contents of these caches are variable and might even include single-use items. Those who borrow from these troves can replace items with gear of equal value if they cannot return exactly what they borrowed.

Services: Blind Tower agents might take advantage of their fellow members' skills in a variety of fields. Though many are quite profit-minded in their dealings, even with other members, Blind Tower agents usually offer other agents a 50% discount on their services.

Information: The Blind Tower has agents spread all over the world who make regular reports containing useful information. Any Blind Tower agent who makes a Knowledge check at the Blind Tower headquarters gains the benefit of her peers' vast and varied experience and information, gaining a +2 circumstance bonus. This bonus increases to +5 for Knowledge (geography) and Knowledge (local) checks.

Status: Agents of the Blind Tower gain a +2 circumstance bonus on interactions with members of organized criminal groups and with wealthy or noble individuals not directly related to the government.

Playing a Blind Tower Agent

Agents of the Blind Tower are the best at what they do and have been accepted into the organization for that reason. Given a place where they can continually test and improve upon their skills, as well as draw on near-unlimited resources, agents are expected to offer their services to any employer willing to pay. The Blind Tower also demands complete discretion about a member's fellow agents, the group's resources and holdings, and their employer's privacy.

Unemotional and secretive, even with fellow members, few within the Blind Tower could say that they're friends with their peers.While there are some exceptions, especially in the case of those who work well together and team up regularly, the organization is run strictly as a business, with the completion of missions and the furthering of group goals taking precedence over any individual.

All members of the Blind Tower are mercenaries. As an agent, you must eventually decide how far you are willing to go in service to the group. A skilled thief might have little problem with breaking into countless homes of the rich and pompous, but turning those larcenous skills against the truly needy merely to complete a mission might cause that same thief to question her allegiance. Sometimes you have to choose between your ethical code and a lucrative but immoral order, such as kidnapping or assassination -- even if saying no means turning your allies into enemies and earning the wrath of a powerful and far-reaching organization.

Combat: Blind Tower operatives avoid combat as often as possible. In situations when battle becomes necessary, they end such encounters as swiftly and as quietly as they can. Sometimes a specific mission calls for the retrieval of wayward individuals, in which case members seek ways to incapacitate their targets harmlessly.

Advancement: Only those with remarkable skill and promise are brought into the ranks of the Blind Tower. Potential members do not simply join; they're selected. Those who demonstrate exceptional talent and a capacity for subtlety, loyalty, and discretion are sought out by high-ranking agents of the Tower, who hire the prospect to fulfill some trying mission. Ideally, this mission tests several aspects of the would-be member's abilities. Always, it puts him in a position that tries his prudence and ability to keep a secret. The mission is often a scam, with the destination and people involved all being assets of the Blind Tower. Those who pass the trial receive a letter of congratulations, signed by Mister Dark, with directions to the elusive organization's headquarters.

Although most of its members are chosen, a rare few seek out the Blind Tower in hope of gaining entry. This act is a feat in itself, and those who successfully reach the tower gate alive are considered for membership if that is what they wish. Those lacking talent, however, and those who do not wish to join often become food for the abundant local alligators.

Each member receives a name, often a relevant yet nondescript item prefaced by the honorific "Mister" or "Mistress" (such as Mister Wand, Mistress Balcony, or Mister Axe). After joining the Blind Tower, agents are never referred to by their real names. No rank or distinction exists among members, although those with greater age, ability, and experience merit greater respect among the group's ranks. The three most senior members serve as the day-to-day leaders of the organization: stern and intimidating Mister Tower, charming and seductive Mistress Eve and cruel, poison-loving Mister Dagger. This trio is second only to Mister Dark himself, and they are the only ones allowed into his private sanctum (see Structure, below).

Missions: Individual members or small groups are regularly sent out on specific missions, prearranged by another member who was likely assigned to set up such tasks. All missions are assigned by Mister Tower, Mistress Eve, or Mister Dagger. These missions often involve retrieving lost items or stealing back stolen goods, finding (and sometimes kidnapping) "lost" parties, breaking into vaults to test their defenses, and spying. Members are not allowed to take anything from the target other than what they've been sent to acquire, no matter what else is available, unless the contract so stipulates.

Responsibilities: Above all other duties, members of the Blind Tower are expected to be discreet. No matter how potentially lucrative the revelation might be, they must keep the secrets of their employers, of discoveries made on missions, and of the Tower itself. Those who breach this barrier of professional secrecy might become the targets of their peers' next assignments.

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