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We've been discussing on the MML the diffusion of darts in Mystara last week, and I mentioned the Biaoshi class from Dragon Magazine, which is appropriate to Ochalea (and which I've used as the basis for some organisations in my recent mini-gaz). It is an AD&D 1e/Oriental Adventures class, but its powers are remarkably similar to those of an OD&D Fighter/Merchant (the secondary class from the Darokin GAZ).

So, here is a Biaoshi variant of the Merchant secondary class.

Since the dart and the dao (Chinese sabre/broadsword) are among the most likely weapons for the Biaoshi, I'm also including Weapon Mastery charts for these weapons.


by Giampaolo Agosta

The Biaoshi (see the Ochalean mini-gaz for background info) is similar to the Darokin Merchant. Biaoshi, however, require more adventuring skills and less management abilities (they're escorts, not merchants), so they must also belong to the Fighter or Thief class (the class could be open to demihumans, but the Ochaleans don't trust the latter at all; independent priests could become Biaoshi, but these would be very rare), and their Biaoshi level cannot raise higher than twice their primary class level.

In order to join a Biaoshi guild, a retainer must show promise, which means he must have some preexisting fighting ability (i.e., being of level 1 and having the required weapon mastery), and some of the basic skills needed by the Biaoshi organisation -- most Biaoshi start their career as hired guards. The Biaoshi cannot be Chaotic (even a non-evil Chaotic is not dependable enough to be allowed to join a Biaoshi organisation).

The Biaoshi also needs many other skills (that's why Biaoshi work in groups rather than relying on hirelings), which are highly recommended.

Intelligence is a key ability for a Biaoshi, due to the focus on skills, though these characters need to be well rounded, since Charisma and Wisdom are also necessary to deal with customers and bandits, and physical abilities are often called upon to survive in the wilderness.

Other than for the modified Merchant Abilities (see spell list below) and for the abovementioned changes, the Biaoshi progresses exactly as a Merchant (this includes using MXP rather than XP; Biaoshi get MXP based on their caravan escort dues, even if these are shared with/mostly go to their parent organisation).

Weapon Masteries:

Required: Martial Arts (any) or Dart (see below the WP chart), at Basic level.

Recommended: sabre/dao (see below the WP chart), hand axe, bow.


Required: any three of Ride (Horse), Mountaineering, Navigation, Language (usually Ogrish, Thyatian or Pardasta).

Recommended: Tracking, Swimming, Boating, Ride (Horse), Read/Write, Snares, Danger Sense, Stealth, Leadership, Mapping/Cartography, Signalling, Alertness.

Biaoshi Abilities

(modified spells w.r.t. Darokin Merchant class are starred; where there is no other comment, the power works as the spell of the same name)

First Level Spells

1. Calm Animal
2. Clear Sight
3. Detect Disguise* (counters the use of the Disguise skill)
4. Detect Evil
5. Evaluate
6. Ignore Road
7. Orientation
8. Predict Weather
9. Resist Climate
10. Trust

Second Level Spells

1. Check Load
2. Crowd Control* (allows to keep Charisma+level people from dispersing when routed, as well as to affect them as with a successful Leadership roll)
3. Detect Ambush
4. Detect Magic
5. Hold Animal
6. Quicken Pace
7. Detect Poison*
8. Silver Tongue

Third Level Spells

1. Charm Animal
2. Detect Lie
3. Find Traps
4. Read Languages*
5. Detect Illusion* (detects all illusions cast by a wizard of lower level than the Biaoshi)
6. Pass Without Trace*

Fourth Level Spells

1. Detect Forgery* (detects whether a document is forged)
2. Charm Person
3. Check Caravan
4. Neutralise Poison*
5. Resist Magic

Sabre/Dao Weapon Mastery Table
  Mastery Ranges Damage Defense Special
[P = H] Basic - 1d6 - -
  Skilled - 1d6+2 H: -1AC/1 Deflect (1)
  Expert -/-/5 1d6+4 H: -2AC/2 Deflect (2)
          Disarm (Save)
  Master -/-/5 P:1d8+6 H: -2AC/3 Deflect (3)
      S:1d6+5   Disarm (Save +1)
  Gd Master -/5/10 P:1d8+8 H: -3 AC/4 Deflect (3)
      S:1d6+7   Disarm (Save +2)

Dart Weapon Mastery Table
  Mastery Ranges Damage Defense Special
P=M Basic 10/20/30 1d3 - -
  Skilled 15/25/35 1d4 H: -1AC/1 Extra Attack (1)
  Expert 20/30/45 1d6 H: -2AC/2 Extra Attack (1)
  Master 25/35/50 P: 2d4+1 H: -2AC/2 Extra Attack (1)
      S: 1d6+1    
  Gd Master 30/50/60 P: 3d4 H: -3AC/2 Extra Attack (2)
      S: 2d4+1