Contacts, Noble, 15-point - This trait graces a character with an individual or individuals that she can make touch with in order to gain information. When this trait is first chosen, the type of contact must be specified. The various contacts and the type of information they can provide is shown below. A character may only choose one class of contact, though they make take this trait numerous times to gain other kinds. Contacts provide information only and will never render aid in any form beyond a simple call for help unless contracted to do otherwise.
At the 5-point level, the character has single individual that he or she may call upon. This individual is located in a specific locale and must be contacted in person or by messenger in order to draw upon his services.
For 10 points, the character has connections with a small network of individuals, offering a chance that he can find a contact in any town or city. To figure the odds, subtract 1,000 from the total population and use the result as a straight percentage, rounding fractions up. For example, in a town with a population of 32,564 people, the character has a 33% chance of knowing someone who can help. The odds need be checked only once for each town or city. If a contact is present, they will be available thereafter. If there is not one there, there will never be. The character and DM should record this information for future reference.
At the 15-point level, the character has connections to a large network of contacts with extensive reach. The Harpers or Zhentarim of the Forgotten Realms campaign are a good example of a network this size. Subtract 100 from the total population and use the result as a percentage to find the chance that the character can find a contact in any town, city, village, etc. As above, only one check need be made.
The contact will provide information appropriate to his or her field at greatly reduced rates (or possibly even no charge) and this information will be as accurate as the individual can be (i.e., the contact will not intentionally lie, though the information they have may be wrong). Contacts have at least one level of non-weapon proficiency appropriate to their category. There is no guarantee that a given contact will have information the character needs, but they should possess at least a minimum of useful data to impart.
Each contact should be fleshed out by the DM and may be of varying alignments, personalities, etc., though none should be openly hostile towards the character. Of course, how the character approaches and treats the individual should be considered. Contacts are not slaves, indebted to impart their information. They are other people whom the character happens to know.
UNDERWORLD: Underworld contacts represent connections with local thieves' guilds and the like. Contacts of this nature will have information on local fences, potential "jobs," bounties and contracts, smuggling timetables, and the like. Any given contact will, at a minimum, possess the Local History proficiency.
NOBLE: Contacts that are associated with nobility will be able to advise on events of importance to their social class (coronations, royal visits, who's who in the local nobility, and local gossip). It is recommended that the DM require etiquette checks (or substantial payoffs) to obtain information of this sort. Any contact will, at a minimum, possess the City Lore proficiency.
ARCANE: Contacts of this nature are represented by local wizards, whether simple hedge wizards or powerful archmages. These contacts can provide information on where to get magical items identified (or may even do it themselves), where magical items can be sold or purchased (if at all), and general details of a magical nature. They tend to be a secretive lot and their information often comes at high price. Each contact will, at a minimum, possess the Spellcraft proficiency.
MERCENARY: Mercenary contacts are represented by local sellswords and adventurers- for-hire. They can often provide information on local jobs, caravan schedules, travel information, details about certain monsters, and perhaps even some lore on nearby ruins or dungeons. As with Arcane contacts, their information tends to be pricey, ranging from the cost of an ale to several hundred gold pieces or an equal share of the take. Each contact will, at a minmum, possess the Local History proficiency.
RELIGIOUS: The character has contact within temples of the same faith as the character. Information available through these individuals includes important local events, where to find healing or similar aid, comings and goings of high-ranking church officials, and general spiritual aid. Each contact will, at a minimum, posses the Religion proficiency.
SCHOLARLY: This category of contacts includes sages, academicians, librarians, and the like. The type of information from a contact of this nature varies wildly, but each contact will, at a minimum, possess the Sage Lore proficiency for at least one subject (though this may not necessarily be the proficiency that the character needs at that moment). Most sages offer their information for sale at fairly high prices, but they may be talked down or offer a discount (at the DM's discretion).