For those who with an excess of martial skill and a lack of moral direction, there is ready employment to be found in wealthy armies across the known lands and beyond. A strong talent for killing makes him a sought after soldier who will reliably side with the highest bidder. More than a sell-sword or thug, a mercenary is a professional who outlives his competition by being not just better, but smarter. He may look dress or behave a savage, but is also determined, brutal and ambitious, in time becoming well-traveled, educated, and perhaps even worldly.

Role: A mercenary's specialty is in engaging the enemy face to face. While melee combat is where he excels, he is unshaken when out of his element and does not waver in a battle of words.

Alignment: Any (mercenary’s often have military training and therefore often prefer a lawful alignment).
Hit Dice: d10.
Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills
The mercenary’s class abilities are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: Mercenary

Attack Bonus
Fort SaveRef SaveWill
1st+1+2+0+2Adversary 1/day, cunning defense, stern gaze
2nd+2+3+0+3Mercenary exploit, weapon expertise
3rd+3+3+1+3Armor optimization, skilled expert
4th+4+4+1+4Adversary 2/day
5th+5+4+1+4Mercenary exploit
6th+6/+1+5+2+5Unified defense
7th+7/+2+5+2+5Adversary 3/day
8th+8/+3+6+2+6Mercenary exploit
9th+9/+4+6+3+6Preemptive strike
10th+10/+5+7+3+7Adversary 4/day
11th+11/+6/+1+7+3+7Mercenary exploit
12th+12/+7/+2+8+4+8Brutal warrior
13th+13/+8/+3+8+4+8Adversary 5/day
14th+14/+9/+4+9+4+9Mercenary exploit
15th+15/+10/+5+9+5+9Tough as nails 1/day
16th+16/+11/+6/+1+10+5+10Adversary 6/day
17th+17/+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Mercenary exploit
18th+18/+3/+8/+3+11+6+11Tough as nails 2/day
19th+19/+14/+9/+4+11+6+11Adversary 7/day
20th+20/+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Mercenary exploit, ruthless bastard

Class Features
The following are the class features of the mercenary.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: 

The mercenary is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with light and medium armor, and with shields (except tower shields).

Adversary (Ex)

Once per day a mercenary can study an opponent to gain advantage against her in battle. As a move action, the mercenary chooses an opponent that he can see and makes a Knowledge check appropriate to the creature’s type (DC 10 + the target’s HD). He can make this check even if he is not trained in the appropriate Knowledge skill. If the check is successful, the mercenary can designate that creature as his adversary. The mercenary gains a +1 insight bonus on attack, damage, and initiative rolls made against his opponent, and to his Armor Class and saving throws made against the target’s attacks. He also adds this bonus to his CMB and CMD when initiating or defending against bull rush, disarm, grapple, overrun, and trip combat maneuvers made against or originating from the target.

The bonuses granted by this ability increase by +1 at 5th level and every four levels thereafter, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. A mercenary can have a number of designated adversaries up to his Intelligence modifier (minimum 1). If he already has his maximum number of designated adversaries selected, he can end the effects of his adversary ability against one of his previously designated adversaries when he selects a new. At 7th level, the mercenary can use this ability as a swift action rather than a move action.

The mercenary can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus an additional time per day every three levels beyond 1st, up to a maximum of seven times per day at 19th level. The adversary remains in effect until the target is dead or unconscious or until the combat ends.

Cunning Defense (Ex)

A mercenary uses his wits and experience to repel attacks from his foes. When wearing light, medium, or no armor and not using a shield, a mercenary adds 1 point of Intelligence bonus (if any) per mercenary class level as a shield bonus to his Armor Class while wielding a melee weapon. A mercenary loses this bonus when he is unable to wield a melee weapon, wears heavy armor, or when he carries a shield. The mercenary can also apply this bonus to heavy armor if he gains the Heavy Armor Proficiency feat.

Stern Gaze (Ex)

The mercenary is skilled at sensing deception and intimidating his foes. A mercenary receives a morale bonus on all Intimidate and Sense Motive checks equal to 1/2 his mercenary level (minimum +1).

Mercenary Exploits

Starting at 2nd level, a mercenary learns a number of tricks that allow him to take advantage of any situation, in and out of combat. At 2nd level, a mercenary gains one exploit, plus an additional exploit for every four levels beyond 2nd. Unless otherwise noted, a mercenary can select an individual exploit more than once.

A mercenary can choose from the following mercenary exploits.

Alchemical Training (Ex): The mercenary has learned the fundamentals of creating mundane alchemical substances such as alchemist's fire and smokesticks. When using Craft (alchemy) to create an alchemical item, the mercenary gains a competence bonus equal to his class level on the Craft (alchemy) check. In addition, the mercenary can use Craft (alchemy) to identify potions as if using detect magic. He must hold the potion for 1 round to make such a check.

Brawler (Ex): The mercenary gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat, but deals 1d6 points of damage (1d6 for Small, 1d8 for Large) with a successful unarmed attack. A mercenary may select this exploit every four levels beyond 2nd, up to a maximum of three times. Each time he selects this exploit, his unarmed damage increase by an additional damage dice category (1d6 to 1d8, 1d18, to 1d10, and so one).

Combat Training: A mercenary who selects this exploit gains a bonus combat feat. The mercenary treats his level as his fighter level, but must otherwise qualify for this feat.

Cunning Slash (Ex): When the mercenary scores a critical hit against an opponent, he can opt to deal normal damage and deal bleed damage instead of the normal extra damage. The amount of bleed damage is equal to the mercenary’s Intelligence modifier. Alternatively, the mercenary can deal 1 point of Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution bleed damage (mercenary’s choice) instead. Creatures that are immune to sneak attacks are also immune to these types of bleed damage. The mercenary must be at least 10th level to select this exploit.

Cutthroat (Ex): The mercenary adds his level to damage rolls against flat-footed opponents during a surprise round. This is precision-based damage and is not multiplied on a critical hit. At 10th level, the mercenary can perform a coup de grace against any flat-footed opponent that is unaware of his presence.

Deadly Strike (Ex): The mercenary can concentrate his power or take careful aim and pool all of his melee or ranged attack potential into a single, deadly attack. Once per day as a full-attack action, when the mercenary makes a melee or ranged attack against a single target, but makes as many attack rolls as he can, based on his base attack bonus. He makes the attack rolls in order from highest bonus to lowest, as if he were making a full attack. If any of the attack rolls hit the target, the mercenary’s single attack is considered to have hit. For each additional successful attack roll beyond the first, the mercenary increases the damage of the attack by the base damage dice of the weapon. For instance, if an 8th-level mercenary attacking with a greatsword hits with both attacks, he does 4d6 points of damage with the attack, instead of 2d6 points of damage, before adding any damage modifiers. Precision damage and extra damage from weapon special abilities (such as flaming) are added with damage modifiers and are not increased by this ability. If one or more rolls are critical threats, he confirms the critical once using his highest base attack bonus –5. For each critical threat beyond the first, he reduces this penalty by 1 (to a maximum of 0). The mercenary only misses on a deadly strike if all the attack rolls are missed. He cannot use this weapon with a weapon with the scatter weapon quality (blunderbuss, etc.). The mercenary must be at least 10th level to select this exploit.

Exploit Weakness (Ex): Whenever the mercenary scores a critical hit against an opponent, he can ignore any damage reduction the target might have for a number of rounds equal to his Intelligence modifier.

Hidden Weapons (Ex): A mercenary with this exploit can easily conceal weapons on his body. The mercenary adds his level on opposed Sleight of Hand checks made to conceal a weapon. In addition, he can draw hidden weapons as a move action, instead of as a standard action.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): The mercenary can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the mercenary by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has mercenary levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge from another class, the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue level required to flank the character. The mercenary must have the uncanny dodge exploit and be at least 8th level to select this exploit.

Monster Expert (Ex): The mercenary doubles his Intelligence modifier on Knowledge skill checks when making skill checks to identify the abilities and weaknesses of creatures.

Mount (Ex): The mercenary gains the service of a loyal and trusty steed to carry him into battle. This mount functions as a druid's animal companion, using the mercenary’s level –3 as his effective druid level. The creature must be one that he is capable of riding and is suitable as a mount. A Medium mercenary can select a camel or a horse. A Small mercenary can select a pony or a wolf, but can also select a boar or a dog. The GM might approve other animals as suitable mounts.

Mounted Archer (Ex): The mercenary becomes skilled at firing ranged weapons while mounted. The mercenary only takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls with ranged weapons while his mount takes a double move. This penalty increases to –4 while his mount is running.

Mounted Charge (Ex): The mercenary learns to make more accurate charge attacks while mounted. The mercenary receives a +4 bonus on melee attack rolls on a charge while mounted (instead of the normal +2). In addition, the mercenary does not suffer any penalty to his AC after making a charge attack while mounted. The mercenary must be at least 4th level, have the Mount exploit, and the Mounted Combat feat to select this exploit.

Poison Resistance (Ex): The mercenary gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws against poison. This exploit can be selected three times. Each time he selects this exploit, this bonus increases by +4, to a maximum of +6.

Poison Use (Ex): The mercenary is trained in the use of poison and cannot accidentally poison himself when applying poison to a weapon.

Rage Powers (Ex): The mercenary can choose from the following rage powers: bleeding blow, guarded stance, intimidating glare, knockback, mighty swing, no escape, powerful blow, smasher, strength surge, unexpected strike. Powers that can be used once per rage are instead used once per combat. The mercenary treats his mercenary level as his barbarian level for the purpose of qualifying for rage powers.

Ranger Combat Style (Ex): The mercenary selects a ranger combat style (such as archery or two-weapon combat) and gains a combat feat from the first feat list of that style. He can choose feats from his selected combat style, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites. At 8th level, he adds the 6th-level ranger combat feats from his chosen style to the list. At 11th level, he adds the 10th-level ranger combat feats from his chosen style to the list. The mercenary can choose this exploit up to five times, once at 2nd level and every three levels beyond 2nd. Each time he selects this exploit, he can choose an additional feat from those listed in his chosen combat style.

Ranger Trap (Ex): The mercenary has learned how to create a snare trap and one other ranger trap (extraordinary only) of his choice. The mercenary can use these traps a total number of times per day equal to 1/2 his mercenary ranger level + his Intelligence modifier. Each time he select this exploit, he learns another trap. Once a trap is learned, it can’t be unlearned and replaced with a different type of trap. The trapper cannot select an individual trap more than once.

Resolve (Ex): The mercenary gains resolve that he can call upon to endure even the most devastating wounds and afflictions. He can use this ability once per day for every four levels he possesses. He can use this resolve in a number of ways.
    • Determined: As a standard action, the mercenary can spend one use of his resolve to remove the fatigued, shaken, or sickened condition. If the mercenary is at least 8th level, he can alternatively remove the exhausted, frightened, nauseated, or staggered condition. If the condition has a duration longer than 1 hour or is permanent, this ability removes the condition for 1 hour, at which time the condition returns.
    • Resolute: Whenever the mercenary is required to make a Fortitude or Will save, he can spend one use of his resolve as an immediate action to roll twice and take the better result. He must decide to use this ability before he rolls the saving throw.
    • Unstoppable: When the mercenary is reduced to fewer than 0 hit points but not slain, he can spend one use of his resolve as an immediate action to instantly stabilize and remain conscious. He is staggered, but he does not fall unconscious and begin dying if he takes a standard action. He does fall unconscious if he takes additional damage from any source.
Rogue Talent: The mercenary can choose from the following rogue talents: acrobatic assist, black market connections, camouflage, canny observer, charmer, coax information, convincing lie, cunning trigger, deft palm, expert leaper, false friend, fast fingers, favored terrain, got your back, guileful polyglot, hard to fool, heads up, honeyed words, iron guts, nimble climber, peerless maneuver, positioning attack, quick trapsmith, resiliency, riding stunt, rope master, scavenger, sleight of hand stunt, surprise attack, swift poison, swift tracker, trap spotter, terrain mastery, wall scramble. The mercenary can use his level as his rogue level for the purpose of qualifying for rogue talents, but must otherwise meet the prerequisites of any rogue talent he selects.

Scrounger (Ex): The mercenary has a knack of acquiring what he needs. A mercenary with this exploit can make a DC 15 Appraise skill check to find any piece of armor, equipment, or weapon of 10 gp value or less in a Village size settlement. As the mercenary gains experience, the value of the equipment he can acquire increases. This value increases to 50 gp or less at 5th level, 100 gp or less at 8th level, 500 gp or less at 11th level, and 1000 gp or less at 14th level. Depending on the mercenary’s location when attempting to acquire a particular item, the Dc of his Appraise skill check increases or decreases according to the settlement’s size as follows: Thorpe (–4), Hamlet (–2), Village (+0), Small Town (+2), Large Town (+4), Small City (+6), Large City (+8), Metropolis (+10). Additionally, the mercenary gains a +2 bonus to the check if he has ranks in the Knowledge (local) skill. The GM may rule that certain items are unavailable, regardless of the rarity of the item or location.

Tactician (Ex): The mercenary receives a teamwork feat as a bonus feat. He must meet the prerequisites for this feat. As a standard action, the mercenary can grant this feat to all allies within 30 feet who can see and hear him. Allies retain the use of this bonus feat for 3 rounds plus 1 round for every two levels the mercenary possesses. Allies do not need to meet the prerequisites of these bonus feats. The mercenary can use this ability once per day for every four levels the mercenary possesses.

Track (Ex): The mercenary adds half his level (minimum 1) to Survival skill checks made to follow tracks.

Trap Sense (Ex): A mercenary with this exploit gains a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to armor class against attacks made by traps. The mercenary can select this exploit up to five times. Each time he selects this exploit, these bonuses increase by +1, to a maximum of +5. Trap sense bonuses gained from multiple classes stack.

Trapfinding (Ex): The mercenary learns locate and disarm traps. A mercenary gains Disable Device as a class skill and adds 1/2 his mercenary level on Perception skill checks made to locate traps and on Disable Device skill checks (minimum +1). A mercenary can also use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): The mercenary gains the ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. He cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does he lose his Dex bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible. He still loses his Dexterity bonus to armor class if immobilized. A mercenary with this ability can still lose his Dexterity bonus to armor class if an opponent successfully uses the feint action against him. If a mercenary already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead.

Weapon Expertise (Ex): At 2nd level, a mercenary gains an unparalleled expertise with a variety of chosen weapons. At 2nd level, the mercenary selects a one-handed melee weapon, a two-handed melee weapon, and a ranged weapon. The mercenary can draw these selected weapons as a free action as if he had the Quick Draw feat. In addition, whenever he threatens a critical hit with these selected weapons, he gains a +2 bonus on the confirmation roll. Finally, his mercenary levels count as fighter levels and stack.

Armor Optimization (Ex)

Starting at 3rd level, a mercenary learns to enhance the qualities of his armor. Whenever the mercenary is wearing armor, he increases the armor bonus by +1 and reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0).

As the mercenary gains experience, his ability to optimize his armor improves. At 5th level, he treats his armor as one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations. Heavy armors are treated as medium, and medium armors are treated as light, but light armors are still treated as light. This decrease does not apply to proficiency in wearing the armor. For example, a mercenary wearing full plate must be proficient in wearing heavy armor to avoid adding the armor's check penalty to all his attack rolls and skill checks that involve moving.

At 8th level, when the mercenary is wearing light armor, he increases the armor bonus by +1 and reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0). These benefits stack with those granted by armor optimization.

At 13th level, when the mercenary is wearing light or medium armor, he increases the armor bonus by +1 and reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0).

Skilled Expert (Ex)

At 3rd level, a mercenary learns to master a variety of skills. He selects a number of skills from his list of class skills equal to his Intelligence modifier. He adds half his class level (minimum 1) to these skills and may make all these skill checks untrained.

Unified Defense (Ex)

At 6th level, a mercenary can select a number of allies equal to his Intelligence modifier (minimum 1) as a swift action to act as a unified military unit. While a selected ally is adjacent to the mercenary, she gains a +2 circumstance bonus to her attack rolls and AC, is not subject to flanking, critical hits, and sneak attacks, and cannot be tripped, grappled, or bull rushed. At 10th level and every four levels thereafter, these bonus increase by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 18th level. These benefits end if a selected ally moves from her position adjacent to the mercenary.

Preemptive Strike (Ex)

At 9th level, a mercenary can make an attack of opportunity against any opponent that moves into any square the mercenary threatens, regardless of whether or not this movement would normally provoke an attack of opportunity. He can use this ability against each opponent once per day, but no more than once per round.

Brutal Warrior (Ex)

At 12th level, whenever a mercenary kills an opponent or reduces it to a dying state with a melee attack, he can immediately make another attack with the same weapon at the same attack bonus as a swift action. This additional attack can be made on any legal target. The mercenary gains a bonus on damage rolls with this swift action attack equal to his character level. If the target is helpless, the mercenary can attempt a coup de grace against the creature instead. In addition, when a mercenary confirms a critical hit with a weapon from his weapon expertise ability, he can opt to deal normal damage and bestow one of the following conditions roll on the following table rather than dealing extra damage. If the critical multiplier of the weapon is x3, the duration of the effect doubles. If the critical multiplier is x4, the duration triples.

Target is staggered for 1 minute
Target is nauseated for 3 rounds
Target is deafened for 3 rounds
Target is blinded for 3 rounds
Target is sickened for 1 minute
Target is fatigued

Tough as Nails (Ex)

At 15th level, a mercenary can once per day increase his resiliency to attacks as a swift action. He gains a number of temporary hit points equal to his mercenary level + his Intelligence modifier. All damage is subtracted from these temporary hit points first, without harming the mercenary. When these temporary hit points are expended, the mercenary takes damage as normal. At 18th level, a mercenary can us this ability twice per day.

Ruthless Bastard (Ex)

At 20th level, a mercenary becomes cold and calculating during battle. Whenever a mercenary makes a coup de grace attack against an opponent, he adds his level + his Intelligence modifier to the damage he deals. He can also make a coup de grace attack against cowering, dazed, pinned, or stunned targets. 

In addition, when a mercenary confirms a critical hit with a weapon from his weapon expertise ability, he can opt to deal normal damage and make a coup de grace attack rather than dealing extra damage. If the attempt is successful, the target dies. Once a creature has been the target of the ruthless bastard coup de grace attack, regardless of whether or not the save is made, that creature is immune to that mercenary’s ruthless bastard coup de grace attack ability for 24 hours. Creatures that are immune to sneak attack damage and death attacks are also immune to this ability.