The word voyageur means “traveler”, and the men and women who are voyageurs do quite a bit of traveling, but simply traveling is not what makes a voyageur. A voyageur is part explorer, part merchant, part labourer and part diplomat. Often, a voyageur is employed by a merchant or company to transport trade goods over both waterways and land, usually in wilderness areas, where the company trades with the local — often barbaric — inhabitants. Voyageurs are experts at navigating waterways with canoes, and usually are at least competent in constructing canoes.
At the start of their career, voyageurs are hired hands, usually working in teams of as few as three or as many as twenty, called brigades. These young voyageurs are usually the ones who provide the power for the canoes the brigade travels in and who carry the bulk of the load when the brigade must portage over land. As the voyageur progresses in skill, he takes on new roles, moving up to avant (bowsman) and later to gouvernail (steersman) in the canoe. Eventually, the voyageur can become the bourgeois (gentleman in charge) and become a brigade leader and possibly even a partner in the company he works for.
Role: The voyageur can serve as a scout, a diplomat or negotiator, a merchant or merchant’s assistant, or a translator. They are competent with many weapons, but not as many as fighters or rangers. Most are good with a bow or crossbow and can serve as competent archers when necessary. Voyageurs have enough wilderness skills that they can track foes as well as hunt, though the voyageur is not as good at such things as a ranger.
Hit Dice: d8.
The voyager’s class skills are: Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Handle Canoe (Str), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the voyageur.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency The voyageur is proficient with all simple weapons, as well as with the handaxe, shortbow (including the composite shortbow), short sword, and throwing axe. Voyageurs are proficient with light armor and with bucklers.
Milieux means “middle man”, and it is the milieux that sits in the center of the canoe and provides the raw power to propel it up and down waterways. He is also one of the brigade members that are responsible for moving the canoe and its cargo over each portage as quickly as possible. At 1st level, the milieux voyageur receives Endurance and Fleet as bonus feats. In addition, the milieux voyageur receives a +2 bonus to Survival checks when looking for and setting up campsites and preparing meals at the campsite.
The voyageur is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades and picks up many skills. At 2nd level, the voyageur receives a bonus feat of his choice. He may choose the feat from among any feats for which he already qualifies. At 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th and 18th levels, the voyageur receives another bonus feat.
Voyageurs are constantly exposed to all sorts of regional and racial languages and dialects. As a result, voyageurs frequently learn other languages and can even make attempts to understand what someone else is saying even if they don’t speak the language.
Beginning at 2nd level, the voyageur receives a +1 bonus to all Linguistics checks and can even attempt to understand unknown languages as they are spoken.
The base DC is 20 for languages similar to those you know (related regional languages, for example), 25 for languages you have heard of but which are not similar to any you know, and 30 or higher for completely unknown languages (such as those thought to be dead languages or from other planes of existence). If the check succeeds, you understand the gist of what is said over a 10 minute period. You must make the check again every 10 minutes. If the check fails, make a DC 5 Wisdom check to see if you avoid completely misunderstanding what is being said. (Success means that you do not draw a false conclusion; failure means that you do.) Both the Linguistics check and (if necessary) the Wisdom check should be made secretly by the GM, so that you can’t tell whether the conclusion you draw is true or false.
The voyageur receives another +1 bonus to Linguistics checks at 5th level and every three levels thereafter, to a maximum bonus of +5 at 14th level. In addition, at 5th, 8th, 11th & 14th levels the voyageur picks a new bonus language with which they become proficient.
Voyageurs quickly become accustomed to carrying heavy loads. At 2nd level, the voyageur’s Strength is treated as 1 point higher for purposes of determining carrying capacity. At 5th level and every four levels thereafter the voyageur adds another point to Strength for purposes of determining his carrying capacity, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. This bonus does not actually increase the voyageur’s Strength, only his relative Strength for determining carrying capacity. The voyageur’s Strength bonus remains unchanged, and the bonus does not affect attacks, damage or skill checks.
At 3rd level, the voyageur has become so proficient at making canoe paddles that he receives a +2 bonus to his Craft (paddle making) checks. In addition, his well-made paddles grant him a +5 bonus to his Handle Canoe checks. This bonus only applies when using a paddle he has made himself, or one made by another voyageur. Paddles made by a character other than a voyageur do not grant the voyageur this bonus.
At 3rd level, the voyageur receives Self-sufficient as a bonus feat.
At 4th level the voyageur has become accustomed to meeting and interacting with new peoples, especially barbaric, semibarbaric and rural peoples. As such, he receives a +1 bonus to his Diplomacy checks whenever interacting with barbaric, semi-barbaric or rural tribes, nations or villages. This bonus does not apply when interacting with highly civilized peoples inhabiting large cities or towns.
The bonus increases by another +1 at 7th level and every three levels thereafter, to a maximum bonus of +6 at 19th level.
The avant is the voyageur who sits in the bow of a canoe, watching for dangers both in the river and along the shores. The avant is more experienced than the milieux and is paid a higher wage as a result. At 6th level, the avant voyageur receives Alertness as a bonus feat and adds +5 to all Perception checks when looking for hidden dangers in rivers and lakes (submerged rocks, snags, rapids, aquatic creatures, etc.).
The gouvernail is the voyageur that steers the canoe from his position at the stern. He is more experienced than either the milieux or avant, and as a result receives a higher wage.
At 10th level, the gouvernail voyageur receives Skill Focus (Handle Canoe; new skill, see sidebar) as a bonus feat. In addition, the gouvernail voyageur adds his Dexterity bonus to his Handle Canoe skill checks in addition to his Strength bonus.
The bourgeois is a voyageur that is in charge of a brigade. He is considered a ‘gentleman’ and is often a partner in the company he works for.
At 15th level, the voyageur receives Leadership as a bonus feat. If the voyageur already has the Leadership feat, he may add his Wisdom bonus to his character level and Charisma bonus to determine his Leadership score.
At 20th level, the voyageur has achieved high status within the company and proven himself capable. Wintering partners are in charge of tiny settlements in otherwise wilderness areas, usually consisting of a trading post and its employees and a small village or settlement of locals.
The voyageur can understand any spoken language, as if under the effect of a permanent comprehend languages spell. In addition, he receives a +10 bonus to all Diplomacy checks and a +5 bonus to his Leadership score.
Section 15: Copyright Notice – Paths of Power
Paths of Power. Copyright 2009, 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming; Authors Sean O’Connor and Patricia Willenborg, with Connie J. Thomson and Robert W. Thomson.