Gold Talon (Apath)

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Gold talons are undercover agents for the Gold Legion.


The Gold Legion is an alliance of mercenary companies, with a high level of professionalism and using gold accents (actually its mostly brass) on their banners and gear to identify themselves and build a shining reputation. This allows them to gain profitable contracts as mercenaries, specializing in guard duties. Because of the varied tasks they take on, units of the Gold Legion vary in size from adventuring bands to regiments.

But the gold legion also has another agenda—to free slaves and to bring an end to slavery. Originally, this was an ethos among only some members of the legion, but it gradually became a central tenet of the entire alliance. This in no way conflicts with members' self-interest—slavers are rich and former slaves make loyal recruits.

Gold talons are the deal-makers and informants of the gold legion, and the closest the legion has to a cross-career leadership. As neutral parties that are not part of any regiment or crew, they are trusted to settle internal disputes. Unparalleled negotiators with vast contact networks, they act as mercenary brokers while secretly gathering information on slavers and how to bring them down. And when the situation merits they don a disguise and strike out directly.

Other prestige archetypes of the Gold Legion include gold legionnaire (from Warrior Prestige Archetypes, also by Purple Duck Games), gold corsair, and gold falcon.

Naturally, some gold talons have left the Gold Legion and either work as freelancers or have taken up their own agenda. Such deserters often turn evil and become enemies of the Gold Legion. Without the resources of the legion they find it difficult to give new gold talons the magical tattoos that focus much of their power—the disciples of renegade gold talons are usually regular vigilantes.

Gold Talons of Porphyra

Slavery was once universal on Porphyra, and is still very common. Only recently have an organized resistance come to exist, under the cover of the Gold Legion mercenary band. Originally from the Bulwark nation, the legions early halfling membership quickly spread to any race and region suffering slavery. Still a small organization without much impact, the legion hopes to one day free the last slave and hang the last slaver.

Gold talons are spread thin over all civilized countries and some that are not so civilized. Keeping their role secret, gold talons are often forced to experience stomach-churning experiences, pretending to be tolerant of slavery in order to gain useful information. They work behind the scenes to end the practice while clandestinely freeing slaves, robbing slavers, and selling information to the rest of the gold legion. Many are impoverished aristocracy, with grand titles but little money, who combine idealism with financial necessity and revenge on old rivals—the motivations of a gold talon are rarely straightforward.

Class Information

This is a prestige archetype built on the twilight talon prestige class from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Adventurer’s Guide and the vigilante class.

Alignment: Any non-evil. Gold talons work towards a lofty goal, but must balance this against the costs of their lavish lifestyle.

Hit Die: d8.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 (average 175 gp). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp. or less.

Class Features

The gold talon has all the vigilante's class features, except as noted.

Gold Talon Tattoo (Su)

You gain an invisible magical tattoo that identifies you as a member of the Gold Talons. When you speak the command word, the tattoo becomes visible for 1 round before fading again. The tattoo has no magical aura when not visible and is not an illusion; it can’t be observed through magical means. The command word causes the tattoo to manifest rather than ending the magic concealing it.

Many Hats (Ex)

A gold talon is often required to take the role of a specific profession for the purpose of getting close to a target while remaining inconspicuous, becoming an everyday part of that target’s life until the time to strike arrives. As long as a gold talon is within 60 feet of another character using a Profession skill, the gold talon can pick up cues and practices in performing that job, effectively gaining one rank in the relevant Profession skill per three class levels (minimum 1 rank). This also provides a circumstance +10 bonus to Bluff and Disguise checks to impersonate someone of this profession.

Part of a gold talon’s training is the extensive study of the most common bureaucratic documents in major nations, allowing her to accurately forge documents. When forging a document associated with any government or larger merchant or mercenary organization, she automatically receives a +8 bonus on Linguistics checks to create a forgery (as though she had seen a similar document before).

This replaces the social talent gained at level 1.

Enchanted Tattoo (Sp)

As a gold talon gains levels, her gold talon tattoo gains enhancements, allowing her to use certain spell-like abilities. At 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the gold talon gains access to one of the spells listed for that level as a spell-like ability. It is possible to chose a spell-like ability from a lower level. Repeating a previous selection gives a total of three daily uses of that ability; an enchanted tattoo cannot be picked three or more times. A gold talon can gain an additional enchanted tattoo as a vigilante talent.

3rd level—disguise self or undetectable alignment;
7th level— alter self or invisibility;
11th level—glibness or secret page;
15th level—modify memory or zone of silence;
19th level—mislead or seeming.

These spell-like abilities function at a caster level equal to the gold talon’s character level, and each ability can be used once per day. The save DC for these spell like abilities is 10 + half the gold talon’s level + her Charisma modifier.

This replaces the social talents gained at level 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19.

Resourceful Agent (Ex)

A gold talon often can’t risk carrying traditional weapons, as doing so would seem out of place for many of the covers that she employs. Instead, she becomes a master at maximizing the potential in everyday objects used as improvised weapons. At 5th level, a gold talon increases the amount of damage she deals with improvised weapons by one step (for example, 1d4 becomes 1d6) and all improvised weapons used by a gold talon have a base critical threat range of 19–20. At level 11 she gains Critical Focus as a bonus feat. At 17th level, a gold talon gains Staggering Critical as a bonus feat. This replaces startling appearance, frightening appearance, and stunning appearance.

Dead Drop (Ex)

A gold talon prepares for many contingencies and can tap her underground network for supplies, provided she pays into her dead drop fund beforehand. At 5th level, by spending an hour spreading around coin in any small town or larger settlement, the gold talon gains the ability to access dead drops of equipment in the field. A gold talon can pay any amount into her dead drop fund when she does so, but can never have more than a total of 100 gp per class level in her dead drop fund.

A dead drop functions as an emergency cache of gear that any gold talon agent can access while in the field. Part of the process of paying into the fund includes arranging dead drop locations in areas that the gold talon suspects she may visit in the future. Once per day, the gold talon can take 1d4 hours to seek out the closest dead drop, at which point she can purchase any mundane item from the dead drop, deducting the price from the amount of gold she has paid into the fund at that date. In particularly remote locations, a GM may rule that no dead drops can exist, but the GM should inform the gold talon of this fact when expeditions to such areas are planned. Dead drops shift locations often, so each time a gold talon seeks one out, she must spend the 1d8 hours to find it.

At 9th level, it takes a gold talon takes only 1 hour to locate a dead drop, and her maximum dead drop fund increases to 500 gp/level.

At 17th level, it takes a gold talon only 10 minutes to pay into her dead drop fund, it takes only 30 minutes to locate a dead drop, and her maximum dead drop fund increases to 2,500 gp/level.

This replaces the social talent gained at level 5, 9 and 17.

Unassuming Presence (Su)

A gold talon learns to quickly direct attention away from herself using subtle physical cues. At 13th level, a gold talon can attempt an opposed Bluff check as a swift action against each enemy creature within 30 feet. If she succeeds against every target, the gold talon can immediately attempt a Stealth check as though she had both a distraction and concealment; she gains a bonus equal to her gold talon class level on this Stealth check. She can use this ability up to three times per day. This replaces the social talent gained at level 13.

Table: Gold Talon

Level Base
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Dual identity, gold talon tattoo, many hats, seamless guise, vigilante specialization
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Vigilante talent
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Enchanted tattoo, unshakable
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Vigilante talent
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Dead drop (100 gp/level), resourceful agent,
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Vigilante talent
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Enchanted tattoo
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Vigilante talent
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Dead drop (500 gp/level),
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Vigilante talent
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Enchanted tattoo, resourceful agent (critical focus)
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Vigilante talent
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Unassuming presence,
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Vigilante talent
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Enchanted tattoo,
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Vigilante talent
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Dead drop (2,000 gp/level), resourceful agent (staggering critical)
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Vigilante talent
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Enchanted tattoo
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Vengeance strike, vigilante talent

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.

  • Dwarf: Gain 1 additional daily use of a single enchanted tattoo you have.
  • Elf: Increase the save DC of the gold talon's enchanted tattoos by 1/8.
  • Gnome: Gain 1/4 additional enchanted tattoo.
  • Half-Elf: Add +1/3 to the skill ranks given by the gold talon's many hats ability.
  • Half-Orc: Gain a +1/2 bonus on critical hit confirmation rolls made with a chosen weapon (maximum bonus of +5). When the bonus reaches +5, the hobgoblin can continue to spend points, gaining a bonus on confirmation rolls with all proficient melee weapons. This bonus does not stack with those gained through Critical Focus and similar effects.
  • Halfling : Add +1/4 additional identity the gold talon can assume using dual identity.
  • Human: Gain 1/4 vigilante social talent.

  • Aasimar: Add 3 ft. to the range of the aasimar's darkvision. Always round this down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.
  • Catfolk: Gain scent with a range of 1 ft. that can only sense slaves and slavers but cannot distinguish between them. Always round this down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.
  • Dhosari: Add +1/2 damage when a hostile slaver is within 30 ft.
  • Fetchling: Add a +1/2 bonus on Stealth and Sleight of Hand checks made while in dim light or darkness.
  • Grippli: Add a +1/2 bonus on Stealth checks and Perception checks made in swamps and in shallow or deep bog terrain.
  • Kitsune: Gain scent with a range of 1 ft. Always round this down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.
  • Kobold: Gain +1/4 on Craft (traps) and Disable Device checks.
  • Lizardfolk: Gain either climb speed 1 ft. or swim speed 1 ft., whatever the lizardfolk did not start with. Always round this down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.
  • Merfolk: Increase land speed by 2 ft. to a maximum of 20 ft. Thereafter, gain +1 ft. of climb speed. Always round speed down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.
  • Orc: Gain +1 bonus to damage when at 0 or fewer current hit points.
  • Polkan: Add 1 ft. of land speed. Always round this down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.
  • Qit'ar: Gain +1/4 to saves vs. mind-affecting spells and effects, and poison.
  • Ratfolk: Gain either climb speed 1 ft. or swim speed 1 ft. in any combination. Always round this down to the nearest increment of 5 ft.
  • Tengu: Gain a +1/2 bonus on critical hit confirmation rolls made with a with any one melee weapon listed under the tengu’s swordtrained ability (maximum bonus of +5). When the bonus reaches +5, the tengu can continue to spend points, gaining a bonus on confirmation rolls with all melee weapon listed under the tengu’s swordtrained ability. This bonus does not stack with those gained through Critical Focus and similar effects.
  • Tiefling: Add 1/2 to the resistances gained from the theifling's fiendish resistance ability.
  • Vanara: Add a +1/2 bonus on all Acrobatics and Climb checks.
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Section 15 Addendum

  • Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Adventurer’s Guide © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Crystal Frasier, Tim Hitchcock, Jenny Jarzabski, Isabelle Lee, Joe Pasini, Jessica Price, David Schwartz, and Josh Vogt.