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Alternate Rakeby Lost Woodrake
I was reading Midgard's fascinating "Courts of the Shadow Fey" and thinking about the courtier drama genre (irrespective of the Shadow Fey themselves). The book has some really nice ideas about role-playing in court, gaining social status and working within all the gossip and the intrigue. Thyatis seems to me most suited for this kind of decadent court feel, surrounding the Emperor and the Senators. Perhaps the rake can be reconcieved as some kind of courtier character class?
Given the matter some further thought, and in order to turn a rake into a courtier, I would use the “Arena of Thyatis” version of the rake – which grants him a +1 bonus to Charisma (and maybe even change it to +2?), expand him beyond Thyatis to other courtly cultures, and offer some of the following skills:
Knowledge – Politics (Int)
Knowledge – Gossip (Int)
Knowledge – Fashion (Int)
Witty Repartee (Wis) – much of the duels in court are in fact verbal, and this skill enables the character to gain status and esteem by wittily responding to others, either insulting them or simply being quick to give a perfectly-polished reply.
Social Appraisal (Wis) – the ability to “read a room” and grasping the social dynamics, as well as read a person, quickly realizing his or her social standing and potential advantages (or lack thereof) for one’s own interests.
Arguably, such skills could of course be useful for courtiers from other character classes as well (the court wizard, court cleric, court bard etc.), without using the rake route. In such case, perhaps the courtier can work something like the GAZ9/11 Merchant class - an additional class that is added later-on, and progresses parallel to the regular class (but in this case, working with social status rather than money as the basis of XP).