Imperial Spy

The Aureshan Empire has endured for almost a thousand years, weathering civil war, barbarian invasion, religious turmoil, and economic privation and emerging from these trials with a rich and vigorous culture. The Empire’s ability to overcome the challenges posed by its size, its warlike neighbors, and its disparate peoples and religions owes to the expansiveness and dedication of the Emperor’s government and soldiers . . . and to the quality of the espionage service that feeds information to them so that they can act before a problem becomes insurmountable.

Imperial agents come to the espionage service from all walks of life. Most agents conduct their activities as part of another occupation; the Emperor’s tax collectors are commonly believed to double as agents of his secret service because they come into contact with many people and therefore have ample opportunities to gather news. Similar expectations surround post riders attached to the Imperial Legion to carry messages between forts. Such agents are both numerous and useful to the Emperor’s Master of Spies, since their combined observations give a detailed picture of events within the Empire.

Nevertheless, the Emperor also maintains a body of skilled professionals to carry out special operations. When the good of Auresh demands that an assassin’s guild or heretical cult must be infiltrated, or when a dangerous rabble-rouser must be silenced in foreign lands, the Emperor calls upon his spies. Like their passive counterparts, these agents frequently pursue other occupations when their expertise is not needed. But the nature of their civilian jobs is usually different—traveling merchants, itinerant bards, wizards, and even some adventurers take up employment in the espionage service, using their mobility and relative anonymity as cover for their real work.

All imperial spies have a few things in common. All spies employed by the Imperial secret service are bound not only by oath, but by a geas which helps to prevent them from betraying their oaths. All spies report to a handler, who in turn reports to the Master of Spies; most handlers are experienced agents themselves, and have retired from active fieldwork except on the rare cases in which they must contain the activities of a renegade spy. And all spies are kept ignorant of the identities of other agents. Most imperial spies serve willingly, but in extraordinary cases the Master of Spies and his subordinates have been known to conscript people against their will. Most imperial spies have levels in the bard or rogue classes, and many also possess levels of sorcerer or wizard. Clerics, druids, and paladins almost never become imperial spies because their professions lead to conflicting loyalties. Cunning barbarians, fighters, and rangers make fine spies for the Emperor. The occasional monk who has rejected cloistered life also can serve with distinction as an imperial spy.

Hit Die: d6

Requirements

To qualify to become an imperial spy, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +3.

Skills: Bluff 5 ranks, Gather Information 5 ranks, Knowledge (local) 5 ranks, Sense Motive 5 ranks.

Special: The character must be recruited by a handler associated with the Imperial secret service. This process usually involves the completion of at least one mission under the handler’s direction, which is used to screen the prospective spy for loyalty, discretion, and talent. Once the prospective spy has successfully completed screening, the handler extracts an oath of service on behalf of the Emperor, and arranges for a geas spell to be placed on the character.

Class Skills

The imperial spy’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Listen (Wis), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language, Spellcraft (Int), and Spot (Wis).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are features of the imperial spy prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Imperial spies are proficient with simple weapons, as well as with the kukri, rapier, sap, scimitar, shortbow (normal and composite), short sword. Imperial spies are proficient with light armor but not with shields.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: At 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th levels the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that she adds the level of imperial spy to the level of some other spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly.

Connected (Ex): An imperial spy gains a connection to a person or organization that will provide aid from time to time. The imperial spy can call upon this connection up to once per month to obtain a favor. The kind of favor available depends upon the spy’s choice of connection.

Arcane: The character can ask for the loan of magic armor, a magic weapon, or a wondrous item worth up to 500 gp per imperial spy class level he possesses. The character is expected to return the item in good condition within a month. If the item is lost or stolen, it must be replaced. As an alternative to a loan, the connection will conduct research for the character equivalent to a Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (planes) check with a bonus equal to the character’s level + 3. The character can arrange for a spell to be cast on his behalf from the sorcerer/wizard list. The spell’s level can be no higher than 1/2 the character’s imperial spy class level, and the character must pay for costly material components. Spells with an XP component are not available.

Criminal: The character can ask for the loan of a sum of money equal to 100 gp per imperial spy class level, or for the loan a magic weapon or wondrous item worth up to 250 gp per imperial spy class level. The character is expected to return the loan within a month. Failure to return a loan suspends the character’s ability to call for more favors until the debt is repaid. As an alternative to a loan, the connection will conduct fact-finding for the character with a Gather Information, Intimidate, or Knowledge (local) check with a bonus equal to the character’s level + 3.

Mercantile: The character can ask for a loan of a sum of money equal to 250 gp per imperial spy class level, or for free passage aboard a ship or as member of a caravan headed to a destination of his choice. Alternatively, the connection can perform an Appraise or Knowledge (local) check with a bonus equal to the character’s level + 3. If a loan is not repaid, the character cannot call upon other favors until he makes good on the debt.

Military: The character can acquire the services of soldiers or guards associated with the connection. The connection provides a number of guards equal to the character’s imperial spy class level + 3. The level of each guard is equal to 1/3 the character’s level. The guards will follow the character’s orders for up to three days, but will refuse orders which are obviously suicidal or illegal. If a soldier is killed in the line of duty while working for the character, the character loses the ability to call for favors from the connection for one month for every soldier slain. Alternatively, the character can use his connection to gain the benefit of a Knowledge (geography) check equal to his level + 3.

Political: The character’s connection can intercede to have charges dismissed for a minor crime (petty theft, trespassing, etc.), or arrange an invitation to a ball or other social event which would not ordinarily be open to the character. Alternatively, the connection will perform a Diplomacy or Knowledge (nobility and royalty) check on the character’s behalf, with a bonus equal to the character’s level + 3.

Religious: The imperial spy’s ties to a religion earn him the favor of a church or other organization. The connection will cast spells on the character’s behalf from the cleric or druid list (as appropriate to the connection). The character is expected to pay for the material components for these spells, or to reimburse the connection for XP components at a rate of 5 gp per point of XP. The spell’s level can be no higher than 1/2 the character’s imperial spy class level. The connection will also perform research equivalent to a Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (planes) check with a bonus equal to the character’s level + 3.

Regardless of which one the character chooses, the connection expects to be treated respectfully in exchange for its help, and may ask for favors from the character. The character is not obligated to fulfill every request made, but if a connection does not receive a substantial favor from the character within the space of a year, it will refuse further aid until the character acts appropriately. None of the character’s connections will perform more than one favor per month.

At 6th level, the imperial spy gains a second connection.

Bonus Feat: At 2nd, 4th, and 8th levels, the imperial spy’s continual efforts to hone his skills gain him a bonus feat. The character must select from the following list: Acrobatic, Agile, Alertness, Deceitful, Diligent, Investigator, Negotiator, Nimble Fingers, or Persuasive.

Sneak Attack: At 3rd level, the imperial spy gains the ability to make sneak attacks. If the imperial spy can catch an opponent off guard, he can strike a vulnerable point to deal extra damage. If the imperial spy’s target would be denied her Dexterity bonus to AC (regardless of whether or not she has a Dexterity bonus) or is flanked, the imperial spy deals extra damage. This extra damage starts at 1d6, and increases to 2d6 at 7th level. This ability is identical to and stacks with the rogue ability of the same name.

Imperial Dedication (Ex): At 5th level, the imperial spy’s training and discipline have toughened his mind so that he is better able to shrug off attempts to undermine his loyalty. If the imperial spy is affected by mind-affecting spell or effect and fails his saving throw, he may attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He only gets one extra chance to succeed on his saving throw.

Mystique of Imperium (Ex): The imperial spy’s exploits on behalf of the Emperor give him a reputation for having powerful connections. Bureaucrats, military commanders, and law enforcement officers know his name, if not his face, and their knowledge makes them deferential and earns their cooperation. At 9th level, the imperial spy gains a +4 bonus on Charisma-based checks to influence characters employed by the Imperial government.

Imperial Soul (Su): Time, training, and the hardships of office harden the geas used to cement the imperial spy’s oath of office into a protection against lesser demands upon his loyalty—even if those demands are magical in nature. At 10th level, the imperial spy gains immunity to mind-affecting spells and effects.

Table: Imperial Spy

Level

BAB

Fort

Ref

Will

Special

Spellcasting

1

+0

+0

+2

+2

Connected

2

+1

+0

+3

+3

Bonus feat

+1 level of existing class

3

+2

+1

+3

+3

Sneak attack +1d6

4

+3

+1

+4

+4

Bonus feat

+1 level of existing class

5

+3

+1

+4

+4

Imperial dedication

6

+4

+2

+5

+5

Connected

+1 level of existing class

7

+5

+2

+5

+5

Sneak attack +2d6

8

+6

+2

+6

+6

Bonus feat

+1 level of existing class

9

+6

+3

+6

+6

Mystique of imperium

10

+7

+3

+7

+7

Imperial soul

+1 level of existing class


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