The Expert NPC class was one of my favourite things in 3rd ED D&D, a great and useful class, which I could use as sages, craftsmen, investigators (nice for Player characters) non-combatat thieves, or whatever. However, they aren't in 4th ed D&D, so far. So this is my take to make this class for your fun :)

  • Role - non-combatant, most of the time...Experts are smarter and more learned than a typical worker or citizen.
  • Power Source - Their own wits!

  • Key abilities: - Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, sometimes Charisma.

  • Armour Proficiencies: Not proficient in any armour, except as noted below or with DM's approval.

  • Weapon Profiencies: Not proficient in any weapon except as noted below or with DM's approval.

  • Bonus to Defence: +2 Will, +1 Will +1 Fort if take Heavy Crafter build, +1 WIll +1 Reflex if Thief.

  • Hit points at 1st level:
    Alchemist, Sage = 10+ Con modifier
    Artist, Craftsman, Physician, Thief = 12 + Con modifier
    Heavy Crafter, Priest = 15 + Con modifier

  • Hit points per level:
    Alchemist, Sage = 4
    Artist, Craftsman, Thief = 5
    Heavy Crafter, Priest = 6

  • Healing Surges per day:
    Alchemist, Sage = 6 + Con modifier
    Artist, Craftsman, Physician, Thief = 6 + Con modifier
    Heavy Crafter, Priests = 9 + Con modifier

  • Trained skills: 8 of their choice + Int modifier

  • Build Options: Sage, Artist, Craftsman, Heavy Crafter, Physician, Thief

  • Class features: lot of skills!

  • ALCHEMIST, each town has an alchemist, folk who make their lives' work the crafting of odd materials, healing drugs for physicians, elixirs and even magical potions. It's often a dangerous job and most places have careful limits on the dangerous wastes and fire risks the job implies. Many an alchemsit dreams of finding secret tomes of alchemical lore, while wizards may sneer at their lesser colleagues in esoterica, alchemists are widely regarded.
    -The prime skill for Alchemy is Intelligence, Dexterity and Constituion also help with craftign and preventing accidents. High Constitution may help survive accidents...alas, Wisdom is not always a trait alchemists necessarily have, which may explain the high death rate in the experimental alchemy community!
    -Useful skills for alchemists are: Profession (herbalist) to gather and grow herbs; Craft (glassblower) to make bottles and vials; Profession (Prospector) to find rare minerals; Appraise for buying and selling; Nature to find and identify useful plants and creatures.
    -Alchemy Mastery: Alchemists must take trained skill "Alchemy". They get Skill Focus - Alchemy, free.
    -Used to Being Poisoned! Alchemists get a +2 bonus on any defence against poison.
    -Potion Up My Sleeves: An alchemist character can have free alchemical items that he himself is able to make, up to 100gp worth/level, at the start of an adventure, with the DM's permission.

  • SAGES are are learned folk, bookworms, and masters of rare knowledge. They use their minds primarily, rather than manual skills, so are rather sedentiary, and usually have wealthy backgrounds. Such folk maybe a king's advisor, a person people pay for information etc. It has to be understood in places where the printed book and the Internet doesn't exist, knowledge is power! Thus sages are very respected and well paid.
    -Intelligence is the prime ability of sages. Wisdom and Charisma are helpful as well.
    -Personal Library: Sages maintain a library, and have 10 books or scrolls per level at a miniumum, freely aquired. Note that books are very rare and expensive.
    -Wide Knowledge: Sages have a bonus of an extra feat of their choice (often Jack of All Trades, Linguist, or another Knowledge Skill Focus) , gained from their widespread studies, and a bonus Skill Focus (Knowledge) feat.
    -Upper Class Respect: +2 on Diplomacy checks with nobility and wealthy citizens, who value the work of sages.
    -Genius: +1 per 3 levels on Knowledge checks. Sages are masters of their branches of study.

  • ARTISTS, come in all sorts, from musicians, to acrobats, to sculpters to painters. Usually well liked by townfolk, very skilled artists are often celebrities and rich patrons vie to hire them to entertain their guests, or create works of art that will boast of their patron's wealth and taste for as long as the piece of art endures. Oddly, some divine boon or maybe their own will or health (if an acrobat) tends to make them a bit tougher than at first appearance, thus even a painter maybe a tad harder to kill than first looks may suggest.
    -Charisma and Wisdom are prime abilities for artists, along with Intelligence and Dexterity.
    -Acrobats tend to have good Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma.
    -Artistic Drive: Artists have a free Skill Focus feat, usually in Perform, or Craft (Painting) or the like,
    -Artistic Fame: In any civilized area where their name is known or folk can see their work or skills, they get a +1 bonus per 3 levels to Streetwise, Bluff, and Diplomacy skill checks due to their fame and people's enjoyment of thier abilities. Likewise, as they gain levels, their items or performances can attract great desire and payment...if the fates of fame and fortune are kind to them!
    -Fickle Fame: the DM can decide how well liked the artist is, usually each month or per major performance. Sometimes a bad performance, a change of fashion can leave an artist out in the cold, or a good show can have you snug in the King's Audience Chamber!
    Add the Artist's level, Perform Skill and personality scores (Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma) together, this is the percentage chance folk in this town or small region will enthusiastically enjoy his work, this month (or single performance if DM wishes). A failure just means disinterest usually, though rough crowds may boo and heckle. A roll of 100 on the dice however, is a catastrophic failure...oops!
    "Aid Another" can be added to this check, so a good promoter, or acting troop can help.
    Three consecutive failures and the artist is loathed and out of fashion for at least a year, but three consecutive successes bring renown and fame for 6 months!

  • CRAFTSMEN are artisans, stonemasons, jewellers and other folk who create objects, but without heaviest of labours. Note that a master stonemason was not a heavy manual labourer per se: hard work was involved, but much of their job was fine stone carving and overseeing building work, thus their job was actually a "Profession" not a "Craft" (see Skills below), and they were very highly paid. By comparison, a "mason" could be a specific, but lesser job of placing or carving stone (a Craft) or a Heavy Crafter. Usua;;y craftsmen can make good money at their trade.
    -Typically, Intelligence is the prime skill of a Craftsman, followed by Wisdom, dexterity and Charisma.
    -Professional Skill: Craftsmen get a bonus Skill Focus Feat in their chosen profession,
    -Local Knowledge: Craftsmen have a bonus of +4 to the Streetwise skill in their home region, as they survive on making contacts for their trade.
    -Appraisal: within their sphere of work, Craftsmen get a +4 bonus to Appraisal skill checks, such as, a jeweller would get the bonus when identifying gems or jewellry.

  • HEAVY CRAFTER, are not simple working folk or drudges, but have great skill, yet never the less do very hard toil..this usually means metalworker, such as an armour or weaponsmith, or a mining foreman, hunter. etc. Depending on their jobs, a Heavy Crafter cna actually make a very good living, indeed, such as a noble's weaponsmith, or a fur trapper.
    -Strength, Constitution, Dexterity and Intelligence are prime requisites for Heavy Crafters, Dexterity as well for Hunters.
    -Tough Worker: They get more hit points and healing surges than other experts to reflect their life style, they also get a bonus Skill Focus feat in their favoured craft.
    -Free Equipment: If they are a weapon or armoursmith, they may have a free mundane suit of armour or weapon that they can create, once per adventure, with the DM's permission, or 100 bolts/arrows, or 10 thrown weapons.
    -Tools Of The Trade: Most Heavy Crafters have a weapon proficiency in a tool of their trade. Smiths are usually proficient in warhammer and maul, miners in warhammer and pick, a copice master in bill hook (treat as halberd), battleaxe, handaxe and dagger (copice masters tend stands of trees to create straight, even branches for arrows and many other items),and hunters are proficient in hunting weapons, handaxes, dagger and leather armour.
    -Tools of the Craft: Heavy crafters have proficiency in any weapon or armour they make, as they need ot be able to use them, to craft them properly.

  • PHYSICIAN, physicians are professional healers, who use mostly mundane abilities to treat the sick and injured, though some do multiclass with cleric, or know magicial rituals to improve their ability to heal. Relations between physicians and clerics maybe very good, or strained, depending on how things may be in the setting.
    While few folk have the innate ability to be a cleric, it's more common to have the requirements to be a physician, and their skills never run out of power unlike spells, so physicians are often found in town or military service, where many folk may need healing at once.
    -Medicine Use: It's common for physicians to have skills in Alchemy and Profession (Herbalist) to create healing drugs. Note that since they have legitimate call to use drugs, they may obtain many otherwise illegal poisons, legally, and thus, at 1/2 cost, if the DM permits, but note their "oath", below
    -Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma are vital to perform their duties, and good dexterity helps with surgery.
    -Disease Hardiness: Because of their constant exposure and skills with diseases, Physicians get a +4 bonus to Endurance skill checks against diseases, they also get a free Skill Focus Profession (Physician) feat.
    -Professional Regard: Civilized humanoids have a high regard for physicians, giving a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Streetwise checks when folk know them.
    -Deadly Surgery: Proficiency in knife and dagger. When using a dagger or knife in melee, a Physician of level 5 or more can score a critical hit on a natural living humanoid creature of Small or Medium size, on a 19-20, due to their knowledge of anatomy. At level 12 and higher this increases to 18-20, and at 17-20 at lvl 19 or higher.
    -Hippocratic Oath: Most physicians have a moral or legal code of ethics they must follow. Typically they are prohibited from killing except in self defence or performing a coup de grace on a natural living humanoid, or using poison except perhaps a knock out draught to sedate a violent being or the like. This is a roleplaying issue, not a hard and fast game rule. Typically, breaking thse oaths can lose the character Professional Respect, Medicine Use or even divine retribution, as well as the anger of the Law.

  • THIEF, thieves are not the same as rogues, Rogues are used to fighitng, thieves aren't: they are conmen, burglars, deceptive courtiers...but they aren't killers, at least not face to face! Skilled in stealth, lockpicking, stealing purses or what have you, these folk make a living in the shadows. Not all are dishnourable. Some are spies, some are vigilantes who have no combative abilities but brains and determination, some are criminal masterminds or detective sleuths, etc.
    -Sneakiness: Thieves get a Skill Focus feat in a sneaky skill of their choice, and a +2 bonus to Thievery, Bluff, Streetwise and Diplomacy.
    -Contacts: Thieves hase 1 "contact" per level. Contacts are sources of useful information, crooked soldiers in the watch, fences etc.

  • PRIEST , priests are folk who have divine zeal but lack a spark or drive to be a true divinely-gifted person like a cleric....or they maybe conmen...An Expert - Priest perfectly fits the role of a lay preacher or church official or officer, maybe multiclassed thus having some minor magical abilities. Priests are often more common in churches than clerics. but have respect and maybe the actual church hierarchy.
    -War Priests: Priests only have weapon proficiency if carrying or using a weapon is a central tennent of their deity, in which case they may have a free proficency in their god's specific weapon. Likewise, they usually don't wear armour unless their deity desires it, again, gaining free proficiency in the armour they are expected to wear.
    -Non-War Priests: Priests of gods who don't expect them to wear arms or armour, instead get a +2 bonus to one skill representive of their god's calling, such as Healing for a merciful god.
    -Ritual Casters: Priests can use Rituals, and have the Ritual Caster feat for free, but getting a spell booking and rituals is up to them, not all of them do use rituals.
    -Divine Toughness: Priests have the favour of their deity and a zest from their wills, so are pretty tough people, evena frail old priest can be surprisingly resilient, hence their hit points and healing surges are as high as a tough blacksmith.
    -Community Respect: Priests get a +1 bonus per 5 levels on Bluff, Diplomacy, Streetwise or Intimidate skills in a community that respects their faith.


  • No Weapon Proficiency at all, except in their trade tools or wiht specific exceptions.
    -Woodworkers would be proficient with Dagger and Handaxe.
    -Weaponsmiths are proficient in the specific weapon class they are skilled at making, they have to be to understand how to make then with skill.
    -Armoursmiths likewise are proficient with whatever armour they are skilled at making.
    -Hunters are proficient with whatever weapons are used to hunt with and suitable tools, usually slings, bows, spears, dagger and handaxe.
    -Thief, thieves may be proficient in dagger, knife or sap. But are usually loathe to use wepaons

  • Expert Class Feature - Widely Skilled, chose 8 trained skillls of your choice, plus Int modifier.

  • Weapon crafting is split into types: axes; flail, mace, staff, light blade, heavy blade, polearm; crossbow; bow; spear, swords; pick, hammer.Each is a seperate crafting skill. A swordsmith can make daggers, he's just not as good at it if it's not his "thing", unless he also has trained skill Light Blade.

  • Knowledge and craft skills are likewise split into areas as determined by the DM, see below, or the D&D 3.5 Players Handbook for ideas.

  • No at will abilities. At will abilities are combat abilities, most Experts are not combat experts!
    -Hunters are an exception to this, they may use one Ranger combat at will power, with the DM's approval.
    -ANother exception maybe a knife-throwing artist.
    -Experts who often get into combat may, of course, multi-class to gain combat abilities.
    -Thus most Experts only ever have Utility powers, but they can use almost any Utility power, with DM's permission, that's suitable for their role.
    -Hunters may use 1 Encounter and 1 Daily power from the Ranger class, with the DM's approval, note, they hunt animals, they are not skilled warriors per se, so they don't take abilities that aren't useful for hunting!!

  • Semi-mystical abilities at high level, "expert" class folk should be able to do magical/miraculous things with their abilities, becoming the wonderous "magisters" of their millieu, the Da Vincis etc, of their era.

  • Taking the Enchant magic Item Ritual power, and Ritual Spellcasting feat should allow creating magic items.



  • Acrobatics
  • Arcana
  • Athletics
  • Bluff
  • Diplomacy
  • Dungeoneering
  • Endurance
  • Heal
  • History
  • Insight
  • Intimidate
  • Nature
  • Perception
  • Religion
  • Stealth
  • Streetwise
  • Thievery


  • Alchemy (Intelligence) - This is a complex and dangerous skill, that can create anything from acid to poisons, to magical potions.
  • Appraise (Intelligence) - Appraise is about valuing an item's worth, and also to sell it at good cost.
  • Craft (Intelligence) - Craft skill is broken down into many individual types, such as Carpentry (general woodworker), Cabinetmaker (making fine furniture). Note that for arms and weapons, each type of armour or weapon has it's own skill that must be taken to work it, such as heavy blade, light blade, scale armour, plate armour etc.
  • Decipher Script (Intelligence). - This a specific skill to crack codes.
  • Knowledge (Intelligence) - Many varied things can come under this skill, from knowledge of architecture, royal families, other Planes etc, and thus, a seperate skill is required for each. Note that "Monster Lore" is a Knowledge skill, and a successful check works to identify a creature, as would an Arcana, Religion, Nature or Dungoneering check.
    Some folk have narrow fields of study, such as "Knowledge - Goblin", they get a +4 bonus in their specific field and a -2 penalty in closely related fields, so, an expert in Goblins would get a skill check with -2 penalty when asked about hobgoblins. Where as, an expert who has Knowledge - Goblinoids can make a standard check on either hobgoblins or goblins.
  • Perform (Charisma) - Perform some type of entertianment in front of people, be it acting, music or whatever.
  • Profession (Wisdom) - The difference between a Craft and a Profession is that a crafter makes a specific item, where as a profession doesn't. Thus, miner, physician, architect, sage, seige engineer etc are all "professions".

Possible Utility powers from the 4th ed players Handbook for Experts:

  • Holy Lantern - Cleric Utility 6, suitable for a character with arcane or divine multiclass.
  • Unstoppable - Fighter Utility 2, suitable for heavy crafters, used to hard, dangerous toil.
  • Iron Warrior - Fighter Utility 16 suitable for heavy crafters, used to hard, dangerous toil.
  • Astral Speech - Paladin Utility 2, suitable for Sages.
  • One Heart, One Mind - Paladin Utility 6, suitable for dwarf Craftsmen or folk used ot working in groups.
  • Cleansing spirt - paladin Utility 10, suitable for physicians
  • Death ward - paladin Utility 16, suitable for physicians
  • Gift of Life - paladin Utility 22, suitable for physicians
  • Crucial Advice - ranger Utility 2, suitable for all experts
  • Evade Anbush ranger - Utility 6, suitable for hunters
  • Skilled Companion - ranger Utility 6, suitable for any expert who works with others.
  • Undaunted Stride - ranger Utility 10 suitable for hunters
  • Longstrider - Ranger Utility 16 suitable for hunters
  • Forest Ghost - ranger Utility 22 suitable for hunters
  • Great Leap - rogue Utility 2, suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Master of Deceit - rogue Utility 2 suitable for Thieves and those who deal with others a lot in decietful ways.
  • Quick Fingers - rogue Utility 2 suitable for Thieves
  • Tumble - Rogue Utility 2 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Chameleon - rogue Utility 6 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Nimble Climb - rogue Utility 6 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Certain Freedom - rogue Utility 10 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Dangerous Theft - rogue Utility 10 suitable for Thieves
  • Shadow Stride - rogue Utility 10 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Foil The Lock - rogue Utility 16 suitable for Thieves
  • Leaping Dodge - rogue Utility 16 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Raise The Stakes - rogue Utility 16 suitable for Thieves and those who deal with others a lot in decietful ways
  • Cloud Jump Rogue - Utility 22 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Dazzling Acrobatics - rogue Utility 22 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Hide From The Light - rogue Utility 22 suitable for Thieves
  • Instant Escape - Cat Burglar Utility 12 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters
  • Impossible To Catch - Cat BurglarUtility 12 suitable for Artists (Acrobats), thieves and hunters

Human Expert-Sage, alignment: Unaligned (Good tendencies).
Init: +3 AC: 13 Fort: +14 REF: +13 WILL +17 Senses: Perception: +7
S: 10 Dex:11 Con: 12 Int: 17 Wis: 14 Cha: 14


  • Acrobatics (+5)
  • Arcana (+11)
  • Athletics (+5)
  • Bluff (+7)
  • Diplomacy (trained +10, +12 vs nobility and wealthy citizens)
  • Dungeoneering (trained +11)
  • Endurance (+6)
  • Heal (+7)
  • History (+8)
  • Insight (+7)
  • Intimidate (+7)
  • Nature (+7)
  • Perception (+7)
  • Religion (+8)
  • Stealth (+5)
  • Streetwise (+7)
  • Thievery (+5)
  • Alchemy (+8)
  • Appraise (+8)
  • Craft: Bookmaking (+8), Gemcutting (+8)
  • Decipher Script (trained +11)
  • Knowledge: Goblins (trained +16), Orcs (trained +16), Giants (trained +16), Mining (trained +13), Metallurgy (trained +13), Minerology (trained +13)
  • Perform (+7)
  • Profession: Sage (trained +10), Diplomat (trained +10)

FEATS: Skill Focus: Knowledge - Goblins, Linguist x2 (Goblin, Orc, Giant, Dwarven Elven, Draconic), Skill Focus: Knowledge- Orcs, Skill Focus - Knowledge - Giants, Jack Of All Trades.
Note, his knowledge is focused on tight groups of creatures, thus he gets a +4 bonus on those checks.

POWERS: -/-/-/2
Astral Speach, Crucial Advice

Bordan is an expert in some common local dangerous humanoids, and also metalwork and mning, because he's very interested in how metal and gems are found, worked and refined, and believes learning about other creatures, nominally enemies, can lead to finds of new ore or veins of gems. He also works as a diplomat to some humanoid tribes and other races when the Duke wishes mining and mineral contracts made.



Now, maybe some folk who're smarter than me can acutally design decent, balanced powers for the Expert class ? ;)

Hope this is of use to you! :)



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This article is copyright Silverblade the Enchanter 2008 ©