Prestige Classes


"Let them think you're a fool, rather than know you're a rogue."

-J. V. Jones, A Man Betrayed

Irreverent, motley, self-indulgent, witty, and roguish, the jester has the ear of all. One skilled at his trade also gains the admiration, trust, and friendship of his audience. No one thinks ill of the fool, but the jester is no fool. The trusted clown with the ear of the noble court, the comic actor whom everyone flocks to see, or the juggler on the street corner bringing laughter to the poor - when you perform all eyes watch you and the crowd is at your mercy. You play the fool, but laughter is a poweilul tool and you use it better than anyone.


The bard class provides the easiest path to becoming a jester, as Bluff and Perform skills are class skills and many of the bard's abilities enhance the jester's abilities. Monks and rogues also make good entry paths, as rogues need not take any cross-class skills and monks need only pick up Bluff. Charisma (for Perform checks and spellcasting) and Dexterity (for sneaking and tumbling) are key ability scores for you.


Jesters come in various guises, from the scheming confidant plotting behind the throne to the humble street entertainer combining his foolery with cutpurse skills to make a living. Jesters can use their high Perform bonuses to build themselves considerable reputation and fame (or infamy). Various personages of power throughout the world might well come to notice their skills and give jesters opportunities that lead to various adventures.

Players can use the jester's mixture of performance magic to good effect in many situations and, combined with the skills of other mischievous classes, open interesting options of play. The character's Perform skill, when used to bluff, intimidate, or coerce through diplomacy, becomes a powerful tool.

Jesters tend to work alone, using their skills to achieve their own ends. Many nobles and powerful individuals recognize the usefulness of having a friendly face in an opposing court and utilize the jester as a capable spy or diplomat.


Jesters are generally weak combatants and rarely enter a fair fight. Use your Tasha's hideous laughter and other powers of persuasion to overcome those who start out as enemies and convert them into allies to do your dirty work.

Once you reach 2nd level you gain access to aggressive enchantment spells and even moree powerful attack spells from the enchantment and illusion schools.

Beginning at 3rd level you gain access to the potent ridicules. While 3rd levels ridicule of persuasion is good, 6th level's ridicule of insanity can lay low even the most powerful living creature. Finally, the ridicule of death has the potential to end a fight - maybe even before it starts.


Jesters tend to work alone, but many feel it's their duty to take on an apprentice to ensure that jesters always exist. On rare occasions, whole performing troupes of jesters congregate upon towns and cities to form guilds, where they send apprentices on missions to gather information and hone their Bluff and Diplomacy skills.

At first, you might be sent to gather intelligence or use your Perform as a distraction while allied rogues and jesters use your audience's laughter as both a cover and a signal. If apprenticed to a single jester, you might find him using your skill in Disguise to pretend to be him while he carries out other missions.

As you gain more levels ensure that your Perform skills rise appropriately. Use the freedom offered by the vice versa ability to train in a wide range of other skills, such as Climb, Disguise, and Tumble. Knowledge (nobility and royalty) can heighten your standing and give you an impeccable public persona. Spend your earnings on magic to bolster abilities and skills where you are weakest.


Successful jesters have the ear of the noble court, the trust of the public, and the friendship and admiration of all. They know secrets for which people are willing to pay. You can also purchase this knowledge from other jesters and get to know your new audience before you even take your first tumble or call out your first jape.

The more experienced jesters have rich earnings and fame. This gives them access to all kinds of unusual and magic items. It also allows the master jester to call in the sort of favors that cannot normally be bought, such as access to royal balls, special passes to restricted areas, and keys to royal libraries and houses.


"It is meat and drink to me to see a clown."

-William Shakespeare, As You Like It

If the PCs mingle in the courts of royalty or wander the alleys between the great theater of some metropolis they will eventually come across jesters. Most cultures have customs that allow every jester a chance to perform for a meal and bed. The jester might need to bear the heckles as well as the laughter. but those who impress might be asked to stay. Those who offend sometimes find themselves chased out of town. Connection with a friendly jester can give the PCs a chance to interact at a high social level.


Jesters occasionally work as a pair - master and apprentice - and rarely a whole company or ensemble forms within a theater or circus. On such occasions the ensemble usually takes some fanciful name to inspire the public, such as Hugo Horatio's Tumbling Twits, Mungo Mogwids Mordantly Meritorious Mirthmakers, or Cadwallader's Cackling Clowns. These ensembles might eventually earn considerable reputations and sometimes seek to employ other jesters.

Besides serving as entertainers, jester troupes often secretly work as spies, saboteurs, or simple rumor mongers. Ensembles generally have several secret missions going on simultaneously and many performances might pass before the true mission unfolds. Sometimes the mission is simply to remain friendly with useful allies.

Laughter pays handsomely and the most powerful jesters can influence kingdoms as if part of the nobility. The words of these masters live on after their deaths, when their deeds and performances become legend. Such virtuosos command immense fees.

Jesters might use their wits in a barbed way, belittling or humiliating opponents or those who have dared to cross them. In fact, some members of royalty require their master jesters to mock hated rivals in public places. Such actions, of course, earn the undying enmity of those humiliated.

Failed performances live long in the audience's memory and horrific gaffes might haunt the jester for the rest of his life. One way around this possibility is for the jester to take on a stage name, which he then discards if he suffers a socially debilitating failure. The more dramatic and notable the name the easier it is for the jester's admiring public to remember it. Few remember Jobe Bog, famous wit with a grey smock and brown cap, but everyone who saw him remembers Babbling Jobe the Warbling Fool, with his distinctive copper megaphone carved with the likeness of laughing horses and his bright red jester's outfit covered in bells. Such a figure might be known across the city. Jobe can then peacefully go about his daily business anonymously while the Warbling Fool plies his trade by night, a figure known and welcomed by all.


Nobles and the public generally have a starting reaction to jesters of indifferent. However, regardless of an NPC's attitude, convention states that a jester is guaranteed an opportunity to perform for his meal and bed. Whether at a street corner tavern or a noble's court, how well the audience receives the jester depends entirely upon his performance.

Rival jesters always have an initial attitude of unfriendly. Competition is hot, rivalries intense, and no one gives up an audience without a fight.


Characters may attempt Knowledge (local) or Knowledge (nobility and royalty) to research jesters. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the information below, remembering that higher checks reveal information from lower DCs as well.

DC 10: "Jesters provide entertainment for all from the simple street juggler to the most admired comic actors in the land."

DC 15: "Tradition allows jesters a chance to make a performance in exchange for room and board."

DC 20: "Imagine having the ear of a local lord or lady! Jesters must know a lot of secrets and information."

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important information about specific jesters or ensembles in your campaign as well as the necessary protocols or intermediaries to contact them.

PCs trying to make contact with jesters must make a DC 20 Gather Information check. Remember that very few street entertainers, clowns, or mummers actually possess levels in the jester prestige class. If PCs have something useful to the jester, such as information or a magic item to offer, they should receive a +2 circumstance bonus on the attempt.


Because comics, street actors, tumblers, and jugglers show up everywhere, you can easily add a jester to your ongoing campaign.

The prestige class appeals to players who enjoy roleplaying and interaction with NPCs, infiltrating courts or theaters, and using legendary performances to enhance their already considerable reputation. Players can utilize these close relationships to their own ends. Everyone likes to laugh, and even the most depraved evil creatures might find some cruel comedy amusing. The jester can open doors that normally must be forced and with a captive audience the effect of some of his spells can be devastating. If you have a jester in your campaign, give him an unusual audience occasionally and an opportunity to open those doors, perhaps even giving the players a chance to circulate in noble courts or legendary theatres where doubtless adventure abounds.


The jester is a fairly generic class, and should fit into any campaign with little or no customization.


As the DM, jesters give you a double-edged sword to use. You can use the prestige class as a straight character, a villain of the worst sort who uses his reputation and skills to some fiendish end, or you can use the jester as lighthearted relief in your campaign, accommodating adventures to suit such comedic characters.

EL 12: Ruster Quiggley (CN male human bard 10/jester 2) has seemingly fallen on hard times, and performs nightly at the inn the PCs are currently resting in. Every night Ruster appears and tells particularly tall tales about his times as an adventurer, of the battles he's endured, and of the infernal alliances he's boldly faced. Terrible stories such as the vile collusion between the vampire spawn soul-eater ropers of Muggley Moor and their hellish ghost owlbear vermin-lord accomplices fill his repertoire. Of course, one night Ruster approaches the heroes asking for their help.

Hit Die: d6.


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

Skills: Bluff 6 ranks, Perform (comedy) 13 ranks, Perform (any other) 13 ranks.

Class Skills

The jester's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility and royalty) (Int), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Jester

Level Base
1st +0 +0 +2 +0 Enhanced Perform, enthrall, Tasha's hideous laughter
2nd +1 +0 +3 +0 Little spell, vice versa
3rd +2 +1 +3 +1 Little spell, ridicule of persuasion
4th +3 +1 +4 +1 Silently enthralling laugh
5th +3 +1 +4 +1 Middling spell
6th +4 +2 +5 +2 Middling spell, ridicule of insanity
7th +5 +2 +5 +2 Quick enthralling laugh
8th +6 +2 +6 +2 Mighty spell
9th +6 +3 +6 +3 Quick and silently enthralling laugh
10th +7 +3 +7 +3 Mighty spell, ridicule of death
Class Features

As they advance in level, jesters gain abilities in Perform that make their spells more potent. They also gain a number of spell-like abilities to compliment their improved spells. For all spell-like abilities, your caster level equals your jester levels plus your bard levels (if any), and the DCs equal 10 + spell level + Charisma modifier.

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

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The jester gains no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

Enhanced Perform (Ex): Your exceptional talent allows you to make unequaled performances. Select one Perform skill in which you have at least 13 ranks. You gain a bonus on all checks of the appropriate Perform skill equal to your jester level.

Enthrall (Sp): You can cast enthrall once per day per two jester levels (minimum once per day).

Tasha's Hideous Laughter (Sp): You can cast Tasha's hideous laughter once per day per jester level.

Vice Versa (Ex): At 2nd level, your special training enables you to use your act as a fool to befriend, befuddle, or belittle. Once per day per two jester levels you can choose to use the result of a Perform skill in place of a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check.

Little Spell (Sp): At 2nd level and again at 3rd level, choose a spell from the following list to cast as a spell-like ability once per day: dominate person, modify memory, phantasmal killer, or shout. Once you have chosen a spell for this ability you may not change it later.

Ridicule of Persuasion (Sp): Beginning at 3rd level you gain the ability to infuse your jests and wordplay with magical energy. These ridicules, as they are called, take several different forms. A ridicule simulates a specific spell, but it has only a verbal component and it is a language-dependent, mind-affecting effect.

The least powerful ridicule, the ridicule of persuasion, mimics the effects of the charm monster spell, but with the modifications common to all ridicules.

At 3rd level, you may use only one ridicule per day.

Silently Enthralling Laugh (Su): At 4th level, you gain the ability to cast silent versions of your enthrall and Tasha's hideous laughter spell-like abilities, as if you were using the Silent Spell metamagic feat. This does not increase the number of spell-like abilities you may use in one day.

Middling Spell (Sp): At 5th level and again at 6th level, choose a spell from the following list to cast as a spell-like ability once per day: mind fog, mislead, song of discord, or mass suggeston. Once you have chosen a spell for this ability you may not change it later.

Ridicule of Insanity (Sp): Beginning at 6th level you gain access to the ridicule of insanity, which mimics the effects of the insanity spell, but with the modifications common to all ridicules.

At 6th level, you may use a total of two ridicules per day.

Quick Enthralling Laugh (Su): At 7th level, once per day you may choose to cast a quickened version of your enthrall and Tasha's hideous laughter spell-like abilities in place of a silent version, as if you were using the Quicken Spell metamagic feat. This does not increase the number of spell-like abilities you may use in one clay.

Mighty Spell (Sp): At 8th level and again at 10th level, choose a spell from the following list to cast as a spell-like ability once per day: demand, Otto's irresistible dance, scintillating pattern, or greater shout. Once you have chosen a spell for this ability you may not change it later.

Quick and Silently Enthralling Laugh (Su): At 9th level, you may cast quickened, silent versions of your enthrall and Tasha's hideous laughter spell-like abilities three times per day in place of normal, silent, or quickened versions. This does not increase the number of spell-like abilities you may use in one day.

Ridicule of Death (Sp): At 10th level, you gain access to the ridicule of death, which mimics the effects of the power word kill spell, but with the modifications common to all ridicules.

At 10th level, you may use a total of three ridicules per day.