The courtesan is a heady mixture of grace, sensuality and politics, filling a niche in noble courts and elite circles. She is more than a pretty face or a sexual servant, and she lives in a world apart from the tavern girl and the streetwalker. Instead, a courtesan is hand picked and well trained to provide companionship to those in power — and to gain power in return. She can be a confidant, a performer, a spy, or a dangerously influential enemy. Her weapons are beauty and pleasure, and the social stage is her battleground.
Courtesans are chosen because they stand out from the crowd in a thoroughly pleasing way. They are usually beautiful, and the more striking they look, the greater their pay tends to be. They are also known for personal magnetism and an ability to put others at their ease. On the dance floor they are lithe and supple, and in conversation they are quick-witted and well versed. A rare few are prized for their keen insight and fine advice.
Courtesans can be of any alignment, although the predominant alignment of their city or region influences their training. Good cities usually focus on entertainment, while evil cities train courtesans as spies. The institution itself is an orderly one and tends to become a matter of tradition – even law. The culture dictates the boundaries of the courtesan tradition: whether they can come from slaves or citizens, whether they must be of a particular gender, and so on.
Courtesans revere deities of beauty and passion, their stock in trade, although some prefer gods of luck and wealth. Those of an evil bent follow gods of deception. Courtesans sometimes act as official liaisons between temples and local nobles, and they can become generous church patrons.
Courtesans can be chosen from virtually any social class, but they spend the rest of their lives among the wealthy. They are often removed from their homes for training and become the property of a temple, a training guild, or a noble house. Once training is complete, courtesans find themselves in competition with one another for patrons and attention, so they do not always form bonds of friendship. Their services are too expensive for commoners to afford and their livelihood depends on their masters or patrons. They also work to receive favors, money, and gifts from admirers. The tools of their trade are numerous and by no means cheap; musical instruments, clothing, and perfumes are just the beginning, and owners may not pay for everything.
Role: A courtesan loves to accompany people of power and prestige, and adventurers often fit the bill. Heroes add romance to her image, and traveling allows her to spread her reputation far and wide. On the road, a courtesan can represent the party by making contacts and striking deals with merchants. At home, she can gain access to the upper crust of society and might provide access to the party, as well.
Hit Die: d6.
The courtesan’s class skills are: Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), and Stealth (Dex).
Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int bonus.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Poison use or healing touch|
|4th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Skill focus feat|
|7th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Skill focus feat|
|10th||+5||+3||+3||+7||Skill focus feat|
|13th||+6/+1||+4||+4||+8||Skill focus feat|
|16th||+8/+3||+5||+5||+10||Skill focus feat|
All of the following are class features of the courtesan.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Courtesans are proficient with the dagger, rapier, quarterstaff, light crossbow, dart, shortbow and whip. They are proficient with light armor and with bucklers. They learn such things through performing professional (non-lethal) duels for entertainment and private instruction on personal defense.
Courtesans are experts at judging the attitudes of people they meet and swaying them over to specific ways of thinking. As such, a courtesan receives a +2 circumstance bonus to all Diplomacy and Sense Motive skill checks.
At 2nd level, courtesans of evil alignment (and sometimes those of neutral alignment) are taught the types and delivery methods of various poisons. A courtesan skilled with poison never risks accidentally poisoning themselves when applying poison.
Good courtesans (and neutral courtesans not trained in poison use) are trained to apply mundane healing skills — mostly massage and muscle therapy, but including basic wound care — and gain Heal as a class skill instead of poison use. A courtesan can never be trained in both healing and poison use.
At 4th level and at every three levels beyond (at 7th, 10th, 13th and ending at 16th levels) courtesans gain the Skill Focus feat, which adds a +3 bonus to a skill. Each time this feat is taken, it must be applied to a different skill; the effects do not stack.
If a player decides they would like the roleplaying challenge of the courtesan, despite the class being less powerful than base (PC) classes, use the following table to determine the courtesan’s starting gold.
|Charisma Score||Starting Wealth|
|11 or lower||1d4 x 10|
|12-13||3d4 x 10|
|14-15||4d4 x 10|
|16-17||6d4 x 10|
|18+||7d6 x 10|
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.