Qualities: The DM may give your magic item(s) special qualities you discover throughout the game. For example:
- You staff glows in the presence of magic
- Your sword “sings” harmoniously in the presence of truth, and discordantly when lies are told.
- Your warhammer burns like an everburning flame.
- Your magic cloak also allows you to spend a healing surge
- Your magic gauntlet can also be used like Mage Hand
- Your spear will point to any drow nearby
- The face painted on your magic shield can talk, and can speak with statues or bas relief faces like speak with dead once a day.
Gambits are special treasures that represent abilities and resources you gain from your improved position in the campaign as you advance.
DM: With the Bloody Jesters dead, you have a moment of peace. Out of game, I can tell you that you have about a month of downtime. We’ll spend the last hour of tonight making purchases and whatnot, and then next session we’ll pick up with the next adventure. Wizard: Finally! I’m making that staff. DM: Awesome. [turns to rogue] How about you? Rogue: I’d like to fill the power vacuum left by the Bloody Jesters. DM: Oh.
Item creation is a great mechanic, giving dungeoneers a way to spend resources in a precise, efficient fashion. However, it often leads to situations where the party sits around tapping their feet while they wait for the wizard to finish his business. Proactive players like the rogue above are a thrill to have in any game, but their downtime efforts suffer from a severe lack of mechanics. Yes, we want our rogue to start her own thieves’ guild, but unless her efforts become the focal point of the next adventure, they run the risk of monopolizing table time at the expense of other players’ fun.
Gambits provide a means to quickly incorporate such schemes into a campaign. Priced and balanced similarly to wondrous items, they stretch the boundaries of the game by giving a dungeoneer the ability to ‘rewrite’ the story to their advantage. A gambit allows a dungeoneer to field unplanned reinforcements, locate caches, commit sabotage, spread rumors, or pull a dungeon map out of his pocket.
Just as item creation condenses days of research and experimentation into a single easy mechanic, so too do gambits condense the labors of back alley deals, diplomatic negotiations, and other productive downtime tasks into a single, smooth mechanic.
DM: How much do you have to invest in this little scheme of yours? Rogue: Five thousand. Maybe six. DM: [hands him Fourthcore Armory] Turn to Chapter 6. Pick out some powers that you think your new thieves’ guild would give you access to and deduct them from your budget. Rogue: Okay. Well, I want them all, but I think I’m starting out with Scouting Reports and You and What Army. DM: No Preemptive Sabotage? Rogue: Nah, not yet anyway. The guild’s still pretty small for the time being, and we’re not risking our best members on anything more dangerous than scouting.
Gambits function exactly like divine boons, grandmaster training, or other intangible rewards. Consumable gambits are lost after being used. Unless otherwise noted, any dungeoneer may purchase and use a gambit, provided it has a rarity of common. Uncommon and rare gambits must be negotiated from NPCs or given as treasure. Normally, a gambit may not be sold or given away, though the Dungeon Master may rule it possible if he or she chooses.
Gambits can be purchased in appropriately sized settlements like any other item, but purchasing them requires one day of uninterrupted activity per 1000 gp in the base price. A dungeoneer may not have more than one of the same gambit at a given time unless specified otherwise.
Aerial Evacuation Level 22 Common By investing in an airship to shadow your movements, you insure that a quick escape is never far from reach.
Gambit 325,000 gp Requirement: You must be aboveground, or in an underground space accessible to a flying vehicle. Power (Action Point): Standard Action. At the end of your next turn, an airship or similar aerial transport appears 20 squares above you, and a rope ladder appears in an adjacent square of your choice. You may use this airship as you see fit until the end of your next extended rest.
Convenient Alibi Level 4+ Common Faced with an (admittedly true) accusation, you demonstrate how there’s no way you could have been where you were.
Lvl 4 40 gp Lvl 14 800 gp Lvl 24 21,000 gp
Gambit Power (Consumable): Free Action. Use this power after failing a Bluff check regarding your whereabouts at a previous time. You may reroll the Bluff check with a +5 bonus. Level 14: +10 bonus Level 24: +15 bonus
Doppelganger Agent Level 6+ Uncommon With the help of your loyal doppelganger, you deceive friend and foe alike to assure your safety.
Lvl 5 50 gp Lvl 13 680 gp
Gambit Power (Consumable): Free Action. Remove yourself from combat and place a single doppelganger sneak (MONSTER VAULT) in your square. You have control of the doppelganger until the end of the encounter, at which point it explains itself to the party and goes to fetch you. You arrive five minutes later in a highly fashionable manner. Level 13: Your doppelganger is a doppelganger infiltrator (MONSTER VAULT).
Fame Precedes Me Level 7+ Uncommon Word of your exploits – exaggerated as they might be – travel far, and rarely do you miss an opportunity to capitalize on it.
Lvl 7 2,600 gp Lvl 17 65,000 gp Lvl 27 1,625,000 gp
Gambit Power (Action Point): Free Action. You identify yourself to a group of creatures of this gambit’s level or lower with whom you share a language. You gain a permanent +2 bonus to Charisma-based skill checks made against the creatures. Level 17: +4 bonus Level 27: +6 bonus
Friends in High Places Level 8+ Uncommon You have nurtured relationships with important members of a certain race. By invoking key alliances, you are able to manipulate their followers through secondhand loyalty.
Lvl 8 3,400 gp Lvl 18 85,000 gp Lvl 28 2,125,000 gp
Gambit Property: When first acquiring this gambit, choose a humanoid race or monster type (such as elf, tiefling, or ghoul; DM’s discretion). Your use of this gambit’s power is limited to that race. Power (Action Point): No Action. Gain a +5 bonus to your next Diplomacy check. Level 18: +10 bonus Level 28: +15 bonus
Getaway Vehicle Level 10+ Common When a hasty retreat becomes necessary, you make your way toward an escape vehicle stashed some days before.
Lvl 10 400 gp Lvl 20 10,000 gp Lvl 30 250,000 gp
Gambit Power (Consumable): No Action. Choose a single unoccupied square which no enemy has line of sight to or is within 5 squares of. That square just so happens to contain any combination of mounts and vehicles with a combined value of 200 gp or less. Level 20: 5,000 gp or less. Level 30: 125,000 gp or less.
Guardian Angels Level 17 or 22 Uncommon When all seems lost, a host of angels swoops down to protect you from your foes. Lvl 17 65,000 gp Lvl 22 325,000 gp
Gambit Power (Action Point): No Action. Trigger: You fall unconscious. Effect: Five angel of valor veterans (MONSTER VAULT) appear as close to your unconscious body as possible, acting immediately and continuing to act on your initiative each round. They act independently, attempting to stabilize you, pull you from danger, defend you against attacks, aid your allies, or anything else that seems like it would preserve your life. The angels return to the sky at the end of the encounter. Level 22: Ten angels appear.
Preemptive Sabotage Level 4+ Common A trap falls apart when it fails to activate, long disabled by your stealthy agents.
Lvl 4 840 gp Lvl 9 4,200 gp Lvl 14 21,000 gp Lvl 19 105,000 gp Lvl 24 525,000 gp Lvl 29 2,625,000 gp
Gambit Power (Action Point): No Action. Use this power when a trap of this gambit’s level or lower within line of sight activates. Make a Thievery check with a +2 bonus per gambit tier. If the trap requires more than one skill check to disable, you may attempt one check per success necessary. If a skill besides Thievery is required to disable the trap, you may attempt those skill checks as if you were trained.
Ranger Ambush Level 6 Common My brothers are with us.
Gambit 72 gp Power (Consumable): No Action. Trigger: You roll initiative. Effect: Place an elf archer or elf scout (MONSTER VAULT) in any unoccupied square no enemy has line of sight to. The elf acts on your initiative and serves you until the end of the encounter.
Scouting Report Level 5 Common Your minions have already scouted the room ahead, warning you of its dangers and appraising you of its spoils.
Gambit 1,000 gp Power (Action Point): Standard Action. You produce from your pack a thorough map of a dungeon room you can access but have not yet entered. The map reveals any traps, secret doors, and other features that can be observed with your passive Perception check.
Seed Rumor Level 5 Common With a few well-placed whispers, your fabrication spreads and takes on a truth of its own.
Gambit 50 gp Power (Consumable): Minor Action. Use this power outside of combat in a wellpopulated area. You whisper a lie to nearby creatures you share a language with. At the end of your next extended rest, you gain a +5 bonus to your next Bluff check made to convince creatures in the area that the lie you told is true.
Sleeper Agent Level 2+ Uncommon Through reconnaissance and well-placed bribes, your agents have infiltrated the enemy’s ranks.
Lvl 2 520 gp Lvl 7 2,600 gp Lvl 12 13,000 gp Lvl 17 65,000 gp Lvl 22 325,000 gp Lvl 27 1,625,000 gp
Gambit Power (Consumable): No Action. Use this power during your first turn in a combat encounter. Choose one non-elite, non-solo enemy you can see of this gambit’s level or lower. That enemy fights alongside you in the encounter instead of against you. At the end of the encounter, the monster nods knowingly and leaves.
Trap Snare Level 3 Common The ogre surges toward you, only to stumble into a hidden pit trap your cohorts dug and covered nights before.
Gambit 680 gp Power (Action Point): No Action. Trigger: You roll initiative. Effect: Place two hidden false-floor pits (DUNGEON MASTER’S BOOK) in unoccupied squares at least 5 squares away from any enemy.