Sellswords and hired muscle, those possessing skill with steel and strength of arms never long want for work. Often such warriors serve as simple guardsmen for a set term, though those with special skill might become hunters of men or monsters. Martial forces—from campaigning armies, to royal defenders, to criminal syndicates—often supplement their ranks with hired combatants, as there's no reason to risk their own forces when there are those willing to bleed for gold.
Caravan Guard CR 1
Human fighter 2
N Medium humanoid
Init +5; Senses Perception +4
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+7 armor, +1 Dex, +1 shield)
hp 16 (2d10+5)
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1; +1 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
Speed 20 ft.
Melee lance +5 (1d8+3/×3) or longsword +5 (1d8+3/19–20) or kukri +5 (1d4+3/18–20)
Ranged heavy crossbow +3 (1d10/19–20)
Str 17, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +5; CMD 16
Gear banded mail, buckler, heavy crossbow with 10 bolts, kukri, lance, longsword, light horse (combat trained) with saddle, 1 gp
Boon Caravan guards can arrange for PCs to travel with a caravan to a destination of their choice, either as guests or as guards.
Caravan guards are sturdy veterans with an eye for troublemakers. Often surly and pugnacious, they ride alongside pack and wagon trains with crossbows at the ready, but if real danger threatens most are more comfortable fighting with their boots safely on the ground and sword and shield in hand.
Caravan guards can serve as scouts, messengers, or outriders. Replacing a caravan guard's Alertness and Animal Affinity feats with Mounted Combat and Mounted Archery makes him more adept at fighting from horseback. Replacing Rapid Reload with Ride-By Attack or Trample, coupled with the Mounted Combat feats, creates a low-level nomadic horse warrior. For better flavor, exchange his longsword and heavy crossbow for a scimitar and composite shortbow.
Two slavers might use four caravan guards to watch their chattel (CR 7), while a squad of six caravan guards might accompany a highwayman (CR 8), or guard a group of six vagabonds (CR 8) or five pilgrims (CR 9). A troop of eight caravan guards is usually led by a sellsword (CR 9), or a traveling merchant or merchant prince can hire eight caravan guards to guard his caravan (CR 8 or 10).
Sellsword CR 7
Human fighter 8
N Medium humanoid
Init +6; Senses Perception +8
AC 25, touch 12, flat-footed 25 (+10 armor, +2 Dex, +3 shield)
hp 80 (8d10+36)
Fort +10, Ref +5, Will +6; +2 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities bravery +2
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 bastard sword +14/+9 (1d10+7/17–20) or spiked gauntlet +11/+6 (1d4+3)
Ranged javelin +10 (1d6+3)
Special Attacks weapon training (heavy blades +1)
Str 16, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +8; CMB +11; CMD 23
Feats Cleave, Improved Critical (bastard sword), Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (bastard sword), Weapon Specialization (bastard sword)
SQ armor training 2
Combat Gear potion of align weapon, potion of bull's strength, potions of cure light wounds (2); Other Gear +1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, +1 bastard sword, spiked gauntlet, javelins (5), cloak of resistance +1, 40 gp
Boon A sellsword may use her connections to help PCs buy +1 weapons or armor at a 10% discount, or lend her reputation to a PC with Leadership, granting a +1 Leadership score bonus for 1 month to recruit warrior followers.
Sellswords are the ultimate soldiers of fortune, owing loyalty to no one and nothing save cold, hard coins. Their only law is that once they are bought, they stay bought; there are no more paydays for a sellsword who proves treacherous. Still, even that law can fade when one's employer is on the losing side, and a bit of opportunism may help the sellsword live to fight another day.
Sellswords can be used as elite imperial guards or shock troops, royal swordmasters, or the heads of fighting academies. Wealthy and powerful individuals might also hire sellswords as expensive bodyguards.
A canny sellsword may travel with a battle mage (CR 8), or a medium and two acolytes (CR 8). A squad of four sellswords might find employ with a merchant prince (CR 11) or bandit lord (CR 12). A bounty hunter can also hire a pair of sellswords to help bring down a dangerous foe (CR 12).
Bounty Hunter CR 11
Human ranger 12
N Medium humanoid
Init +5; Senses Perception +16
AC 22, touch 15, flat-footed 17 (+5 armor, +5 Dex, +2 shield)
hp 98 (12d10+32)
Fort +10, Ref +13, Will +5
Defensive Abilities evasion
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk rapier +18/+13/+8 (1d6+2/18–20) or mwk sap +18/+13/+8 (1d6+2 nonlethal)
Special Attacks favored enemy (humanoids [human] +6, humanoids [elf] +2, humanoids [halfling] +2), quarry
Ranger Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +10)
Str 14, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 8
Base Atk +12; CMB +14; CMD 29
Skills Climb +10, Craft (traps) +10, Handle Animal +14, Heal +5, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (geography) +5, Knowledge (local) +1, Knowledge (nature) +5, Linguistics +2, Perception +16, Ride +12, Stealth +24, Survival +16 (+22 to follow tracks), Swim +6
Languages Common, Elven, Halfling
SQ camouflage, favored terrain (urban +4, underground +2), hunter's bond (tiger animal companion), swift tracker, track +6, wild empathy +11, woodland stride
Combat Gear wand of cure light wounds (CL 1, 50 charges), wand of speak with animals (CL 1, 50 charges), tanglefoot bags (2); Other Gear +1 chain shirt, +1 buckler, +1 merciful composite longbow (+2 Str) with 20 arrows, masterwork rapier, masterwork sap, belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of elvenkind, blue whinnis (6 doses), purple worm poison (1 dose), 11 gp
Boon A bounty hunter can arrange to kidnap an NPC of 10th level or less for the PCs at half his usual fee.
Bounty hunters rarely hunt animals or beasts. Instead, they make not only sport but a lucrative business of capturing humanoid targets at the behest of wealthy patrons. Bounty hunters often work alone, but may lead a press gang of a sellsword, torturer, and two slavers (CR 12).