Legacy of War
Types of Contacts
Contacts come in three varieties: information contacts, influence contacts, and skill contacts.
Information contacts are useful for what they know. They’re the ones who hear all the rumours—and they can discern which ones are true. Some just have an uncanny sense of what’s going on in their neighbourhood or town, such as the grumpy bartender, the talkative fruit merchant, and the watch captain who has seen it all. Other information contacts have more focused interests, such as the army sergeant who knows all about troop movements,
the fence who is privy to every major theft in the city, or the scribe assigned to write down every utterance of the high cleric-prophets.
An information contact is generally a commoner or an expert with one-third the class levels of his PC friend. It’s okay to give such a character a few levels in another class such as wizard, rogue, or fighter if it’s reasonable for someone in the contact’s position to have this experience. Most information contacts spend their skill points on interaction skills such as Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Sense Motive.
Influence contacts are useful because of who they know or who they are associated with. While a player can’t define the queen as his character’s contact, he can define one of her chambermaids as a contact. The maid doesn’t have a broad store of information, and she doesn’t have any skills the PCs might need. But she might be able to put in a good word with the queen, and she can certainly make introductions between the PC and the rest of the queen’s domestic staff. The purpose of an influence contact is to enable and smooth talks with more important, but less friendly, NPCs.
An influence contact has one-quarter the class levels of his PC friend, almost always in an NPC class (adept, aristocrat, commoner, expert, or warrior) unless the character is in an
environment such as a wizard’s academy where almost everyone has specific class levels.
Skill contacts are useful for what they do. Some skills—especially categories of Craft, Profession, and Knowledge—are rarely possessed by PCs. Skill contacts have those skills in abundance, so they’re useful when characters need a smith to repair a lance, an honest broker to appraise a giant pearl, or a herald who can identify the helmed knight displaying a two-headed wyvern on her standard.
A special category of the skill contact is the linguist, who can tell you what “Bree-Yark!” means in Goblin.
A skill contact is generally an expert with half as many levels as his PC friend. He has maximum ranks in the skill he is best at, and his highest ability score is in the key ability for the skill in question. A skill contact always has the Skill Focus feat related to his field of specialty.
Player characters automatically gain contacts as they rise in level; see pg 180 of Unearthed Arcana. When a PC obtains a new potential contact, he must select what type of contact it is (information, influence, or skill), but doesn’t define it further until it’s needed.