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Heralds are aristocrats who specialise in the art of heraldry in order to make sure that their lords can identify each other while on the battlefield. In an era when combatants are covered nearly head-to-toe with armour, it can be difficult to tell one another apart on the battlefield save for identifying marks such as heraldic devices displayed on shields and standards. Even these symbols can become confusing, however, given the sheer number of different devices that may appear on a battlefield or at a tournament. Heralds are the masters of this craft, having memorised hundreds of symbols and patterns and remembering the name of the lord or lady associated with each one. They also keep genealogical records and act as a spokesperson, announcer, and official record keeper for their patron lords.
Adventuring: A herald takes up adventuring usually to accompany her patron as he goes off to war or sets out to complete a task assigned to him by the church or the king. In this case, a herald acts like an aide to her patron, providing extensive knowledge, information gathering, and interpersonal skills that her patron can use to his advantage. Other heralds adventure simply as a way to gather more information about key topics so as to make themselves more useful to current and future patrons.
Role-Playing: Heralds typically have very jovial and outgoing personalities which they put to good use for their patrons. The herald uses her sharp wit and cheerful disposition to advance the cause of her patron, and ultimately to make her patron look better among other courtiers and nobles at court and during tournaments. Given their vast array of interpersonal skills, heralds often enjoy being in the limelight. They make excellent party spokespeople during encounters with new and unfamiliar Non-Player Characters. Of course, if travelling with her patron, the herald will usually take a subservient, behind-the-scenes role.
Bonuses: Heralds have memorized a great deal of information relating to the noble and royal families of the day, and receive a +2 competence bonus to all Knowledge (nobility & royalty) skill checks. Additionally, they gain a +2 competence bonus to all Perform (storytelling) checks, as they are trained to announce their liege at tournaments and at court functions. Lastly, heralds may add Decipher Script to their list of class skills; they use this skill to evaluate the various symbols, designs and patterns on other people’s heraldic devices.
Penalties: The limited focus of the herald’s duties results in less time for training in other areas. Heralds count Handle Animal, Swim and Survival as cross-class skills, and they are proficient in light and medium armour only.