Prestige Classes


“The best defense is to never let an enemy see your true self.”

—Laughing Cedric, mountebank

Mountebanks are frauds and con artists, capable of slipping into new identities as others change clothing. While they can fit in just about anywhere they go, they are also adept at getting out of tight situations.


Bards are the most likely to branch into the mountebank prestige class. Their versatile skill selection enables them to meet the class’s Knowledge and Spellcraft requirements and to develop other skills. In addition, the bard’s spellcasting ability enhances the mountebank’s class features.

Rogues, sorcerers, and spellthieves sometimes become mountebanks to improve their battlefield mobility or to enhance existing talents of deception. Spellthief plus mountebank makes an excellent class combination for characters who fight creatures that use spell-like abilities.


Shrewd and quick-witted, you construct numerous false identities to keep your enemies off balance and do whatever it takes to complete your mission. With your ability to assume a flawless disguise and to slip away if the situation sours, you are nearly impossible to pin down. You are confident, irreverent, even insolent.


You’re certainly no front-line fighter, but you have the potential to deal considerable damage against enemies who never see it coming. Your work best with teammates, maneuvering to get flanks and help bring down opponents with your sneak attacks. Use your sideslip ability to pop around the battlefield, slipping in and out to distract opponents while the real heavy hitters in your group mop them up.


You were born to become a mountebank. Prior to entering the prestige class, you were probably a ne’er-do-well, a daring rogue and adventurer. The mountebank’s deceit and elusiveness let you express yourself fully in the only way you know.

Now you have at least one alternate identity to maintain cover and to put distance between who you really are and how you want others to perceive you. An alter ego is especially useful for brokering secret deals with unsavory types, letting you keep “your” hands clean.

As you advance in the class, continue to max out your ranks in Bluff, and invest skill points in Disguise and Sleight of Hand. Ambush feats (page 71) and many feats in the Complete Adventurer supplement make the most of your sneak attacks. Improved Feint is an excellent choice with your expertise in Bluff, and Combat Reflexes lets you take advantage of your battlefield repositioning to land unexpected attacks. Deft Strike and Expert Tactician, both from Complete Adventurer, are good choices. If you play up the infiltrator aspect of this class, consider magic (or psionic) items that help you cloak your true intentions, such as an amulet of proof against detection and location.


Under your various identities, you could belong to several organizations, taking advantage of the benefits derived from each. You might even join opposing groups, selling information from one side to the other, whether for noble or selfish ends. At heart, though, you are a loner. You exploit an organization only for as long as it offers you some benefit, then abandon it when it ceases to be useful.


“It’s all smiles and pleasantries until a knife ends up in your back.”

—Cralbus, high priest of Dispater

A mountebank’s chaotic tendencies and ability to mask his appearance enables him to infiltrate cults and other secretive organizations, to learn more about them and ultimately find their weak points. Those who serve the cause of good are invaluable in the fight against evil. On the other hand, wicked mountebanks use their deceptive abilities to spread discord and suffering.


Mountebanks are not attached to any particular organization. Many operate in several, often contradictory groups, working to bring them down from inside. Good mountebanks infiltrate cults devoted to devils and demons, while evil ones slip inside good-aligned religious organizations, working to dissolve the clergy from within.

NPC Reactions

Since mountebanks develop multiple personalities to move freely within communities, reactions to a given individual depend on the nature of the persona he assumes. Those within an infiltrated group see him as an ally and colleague, and react positively as long as he maintains his cover. If the mountebank’s true nature is revealed, he finds less than a warm welcome. People do not like to be deceived, and NPCs who discover they have been fooled by a mountebank are unfriendly or hostile. Indeed, an evil or overzealous organization might kill the unmasked infiltrator.


Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) can research mountebanks to learn more about them. When a character succeeds on a skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Mountebanks are con artists and varlets, a thoroughly untrustworthy lot.

DC 15: What separates a mountebank from a common charlatan is his ability to switch personas. A mountebank can have several alter egos.

DC 20: Mountebanks are hard to capture. Not only do they avoid being connected to anything, they also have a knack for slipping out of impossible situations.

Player characters trying to locate a mountebank must succeed on a DC 20 Gather Information check to locate someone who can set up a meeting. It’s entirely possible that the contact is the mountebank himself, though he might never reveal his true identity.


Mountebanks can easily fit into an ongoing campaign, since they can pass for anyone—even established NPCs. A long-standing ally could secretly be a mountebank who works against his own or another organization, using the PCs as a source of information. Alternatively, a character whom the PCs regard as a villain might be in fact a double agent who has infiltrated an evil organization.

The mountebank prestige class is a great non-evil alternative to the assassin. It is particularly attractive to players who like versatility and adaptability. In game terms, the prestige class offers a mechanical advantage when interacting with NPCs. In roleplaying terms, the class’s toolkit is tailor-made for fighting insidious evil. In a campaign that centers on foiling a dastardly plot, the mountebank gives rogues specialized abilities to fight hidden masterminds.

If a campaign includes a mountebank PC, the DM should provide opportunities for him to use his alter ego ability. Perhaps someone he crossed in the past has learned of his true identity, forcing him to spend more and more time in his alternate personas. Challenge the PCs with dangerous plots requiring subterfuge and deception; mountebanks can come up with plans that can get the party in the door without resorting to hack-and-slash combat.


The mountebank class has the strongest appeal to rogues and similar characters with social expertise, but it offers little to spellcasting characters. To make this class appeal to intrigue-loving spellcasters, remove its sneak attack class feature. Instead, the character gains one level of an existing spellcasting class at each level that ordinarily grants sneak attack damage. In this way, he can load up on more enchantment, illusion, and transformation magic to enhance the class’s misdirection talents.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a mountebank, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any nonlawful.

Skills: Bluff 8 ranks, Knowledge (arcana), (local), or (psionics) 4 ranks, Spellcraft 4 ranks.

Feats: Deceitful.

Class Skills

The mountebank's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (psionics) (Int), Listen (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Mountebank

Level Base
Attack Bonus
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Tongue of the devil
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Sneak attack +1d6
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Alter ego
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Sideslip 1/day
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Sneak attack +2d6
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Alter ego, sideslip 2/day
7th +5 +2 +5 +2 Slippery mind
8th +6 +2 +6 +2 Sideslip 3/day, sneak attack +3d6
9th +6 +3 +6 +3 Alter ego
10th +7 +3 +7 +3 Sideslip 4/day, sudden escape
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the mountebank prestige class.

This prestige class is all about deception in combat. As you advance, you develop sneak attack in addition to enhancing your Bluff skill, which keeps your opponents flat-footed. By the time you reach the apex of the class, you can transport yourself about the battlefield as you please, preventing your opponents from effectively fighting you.

Tongue of the Devil (Ex): Your cunning misdirection leaves others at your mercy. You add your Intelligence bonus (if any) to Bluff checks.

Sneak Attack (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage when you are flanking an opponent or at any time when the target would be denied its Dexterity bonus. See the rogue class feature, PH 50. The extra damage dealt by your sneak attack increases to 2d6 at 5th level and to 3d6 at 8th level. If you get a sneak attack bonus from another source (such as rogue levels), the bonuses on damage stack.

Alter Ego (Sp): Starting at 3rd level, you establish an alternate identity. This alter ego has its own distinct physical characteristics, quirks, preferred clothing, and so on. At will, you can switch your form between that of your normal identity and that of your alter ego. This ability works like the alter self spell, except that you can assume only the appearance of your alternate identity. Your caster level for this ability is equal to your mountebank class level.

As you advance in this prestige class, you develop additional alter egos, gaining a new one every three levels beyond 1st (two at 6th and three at 9th).

Sideslip (Su): Beginning at 4th level, you become supernaturally elusive. Once per day as an immediate action, you can transfer yourself from your current space to another up to 20 feet away. This ability otherwise works like the dimension door spell, except that you cannot transport other creatures with you. At 6th level, and at every two levels thereafter, you gain an additional daily use of sideslip.

Slippery Mind (Ex): Starting at 7th level, whenever you are affected by an enchantment spell or effect and you fail your saving throw, you can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. You get only one extra chance to succeed on your save using this ability.

Sudden Escape (Sp): Beginning at 10th level, you can expend two daily uses of your sideslip ability as a swift action to use dimension door, as the spell. Your caster level is equal to your character level.