Nobles Question

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Nobles Question

Postby GurgleSnuff » Thu May 31, 2007 6:49 am

Yeah I know Im a noobie, and I have lots of questions. So bare with me will ya:)

When it comes to titles u have count and knight and the likes. But what do they do. I see in the source book that nobles often get the leader part in a group. So...A knight per se is like a palladin in D&d representing nobillity and state religion towards Mitra? Nobles also get to be governors and selisitors and such?

Im new! Im a noobie!

Thanks if u got any!
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Postby Aholibamah » Thu May 31, 2007 9:54 am

It's 'solicitors' btw.

You might want to take a look at Signs and Portents issue #44--it is a free download and gives you an idea about noble retinues.

It kind of depends on your setting but generally nobles are the most likely people to be delegated tasks by a king. Therefore they tend to fill the upper ranks of the military, ambassadors and government ministries. (viziers, ministers or whatever titles are used) This is in part because power, authority and recognition of both are necessary to carry out such offices. Remember that in this kind of era government tends to be made up of those who are rich and powerful.

For pcs I would suggest either making them younger children of nobles or of upper class type but not necessarily titled people. A titled person such as a count is likely to be a powerful landowner with other titles and offices. Of course just as easily a titled pc might be in exile or in financial difficulties of some kind.
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Postby kintire » Thu May 31, 2007 10:55 am

The exact role of "Knight" as a title varies a little, but it generally means that you are a member of the warrior aristocracy deemed competent to serve your realm in battle. The title isn't hereditary, but tends in practice to be limited to families who are in that class already (if nothing else, its very hard to become competent at horse and lance combat in armour unless you can afford horse lance and armour!)

Knights are divided into several grades with several names, but roughly correspond to how much standing they have from freelance through attachment to a household or order to landholder.

A landed knight can be considered the lowest level of the baronage, who are the people who hold lands from more powerful lords through hereditary arrangements that cannot normally be disturbed: ie they have some security of tenure. These are styled Lords, viscounts or Barons.

At the upper level is the peerage. These are people who have no overlord but the monarch, and rule areas of the country on the kings behalf. There are a number of grades of peerage, but the differences between the types are often precedence rather than real resources. The grades, lowest to highest are Count (or Earl if in England), Marquis, Duke and Prince. The last two are basically the same, but a Prince is in the immediate line of succession to the throne whereas a Duke is not.

Of course, it is more complicated than that, as several of the above titles, especially Prince, are often used as courtesy titles without any actual land grant. Also, one person can hold several titles, and rules vary on which they use. It may not be the highest. For example, in the 1450s Richard Plantagent was a prince of the realm, but his princehood was a mere courtesy title with no land attached. Therefore, he was generally known by his highest full title, Duke of York.

Also, many titles exist solely to provide dignity and precedence to a noble's children. A Duke's eldest son might be made Viscount or Baron of a city the Duke holds, his younger sons might get Lordships the same way. These are not purely courtesy titles, they are associated with areas of land, but the transfer of power is usually entirely fictitious; the father retains control of the areas. Most PC noble's titles will probably be of this nature, unless you are actually running a political campaign.
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Postby GurgleSnuff » Thu May 31, 2007 10:57 am

So in your opinion its best he is a nobles son or something. "Go out son and make a name for yourself, and do not return before you have. Then the heritige will be yours" haha! But then next question. In the source book it declares that a noble has a lot of spending cash. Like 200 sp and 200 more fore every Int score was it? Or was it CHA...Anyways! My question is...thats a lot of money for a beginning character. I think they are aiming at titled characters maybe? Cuz other beginning characters has like only 20 SP or something.

Any ideas?
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Postby rgrove0172 » Thu May 31, 2007 11:27 am

I started one of my players running an Aquilonian Noble with a bump on his head and a missing horse and belt pouch - so it didnt matter!
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Postby Clovenhoof » Thu May 31, 2007 11:42 am

You can always set the starting money/equipment in any way that fits your scenario.
For example, I gave my players an allowance of 50sp each to buy all their stuff - so swords were out of the question but they could buy axes no problem.

(Then immediately before the first session, I changed plans and had them start jailed up in a dungeon, so effectively they started with nothing at all.)
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Postby Ray » Thu May 31, 2007 2:29 pm

It's Conan after all. Starting the story in a jailcell or pressganged onto a ship is pretty much par for the course.

"But, what about my fortune?" "You showed it to the wrong person, they knocked you out, stole it, and sold you into slavery to get a few extra silver." "You want to do this just to keep us poor." "And to give you an overriding goal to get even. And to keep faithful to the series."
Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum - Let him who wishes for peace prepare for war.
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Postby blackenedwings » Thu May 31, 2007 2:36 pm

I give my Noble character a lot of leeway with money in general. Wealth is one of the class abilities and I think taking that away with too great of frequency would be unfair to the class. I started my Noble in his noble house, in a screwed up situation to be sure, but with fine armor and weapons. The rest of the characters had robes and loincloths, but my Noble was wearing a scale corslet and an Akibitanian broadsword. He is training to be a knight, from a family of knights, and his class feature gave him the silver to spare.

Honestly, if the class is allowed the use of it's abilities, it becomes very, very powerful. Just having money, equipment, and social skills in my setting makes him a ridiculously powerful character. The barbarian would be expected to be a better fighter, but in many situations he has problems. Social settings in particular, he has no understanding of civilized lands, few skill pts, and none in sense motive, appraise etc. Even when he was rewarded with a large emerald worth 1500 silver for his bargain with a Stygian he didn't get quite what he bargained for when he sold it. I handed the player a paper that listed what he received for selling it (at midnight in a tavern!):

450 silver
3 fine quality whores for the night
half-keg of good ale (perfect for traveling!)


He just laughed, because he knows it perfectly in character, and ended up spending a bunch of the money buying some used armor at double the price, and paying for drinks for the whole tavern. The Noble on the other hand returned to his holdfast, spoke with his father, simply added his gem to the house coffers taking out an amount of silver, and leaving with 5 brand new horses, including one of his father's warhorses which he talked him into parting with. It's good to be the Noble.
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Postby Aholibamah » Thu May 31, 2007 2:48 pm

You also have to as with any character type know your players as in the example above. In my game the pc playing a noble wants to be a hero and to live up to the family honor and that kind of thing--so there is the burden of responsibility when dealing with fellow countrymen, whether it is loyalty to the country or being expected to deal with the problems of peasants.
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Postby Ray » Thu May 31, 2007 6:04 pm

"450 silver
3 fine quality whores for the night
half-keg of good ale (perfect for traveling!)"

I don't know... Grundar, Prince of the Iceblood Tribe, is a shrewd bargainer. He should at least get a whole keg out of it!
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Postby Clovenhoof » Thu May 31, 2007 7:03 pm

"Whores, horse, what's the difference, main thing is you can ride."
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Postby argo » Thu May 31, 2007 7:20 pm

Might take a quick look at this article on titles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peerage

Now, for a starting noble/low level noble you have a few options. Making them children of a noble or nobility not in the direct line of succession and giving them a courtesey title is one good option. They will have a family with wealth, land and power and will legally be entitled to the status of nobility but have little of the actual resources implied by the title. You could also give them a full title but concoct some reason for them be dispossesed - their drunkard Uncle, the former noble, mortgaged all the holdings then died chocking on his own vomit. Now the noble PC has a title and quest to restore his family fortune but none of the land/castles/etc.

Or you could start them very low in the fudal system. A landed night whose small holdfast is barely self-sufficent. If he wants to improve himslef he must go out in the world to win glory and the spoils of war! Or a baron of a small border holding far from any imoportant action. Sure the player has a manor and its dependents, but they are all required to keep the place running and perform their obligations of holding the land grant. Unless the player wants to spend the entire game managing his household he will simply have to delegate authority to his chief buttler and ride off on his own like any good adventurer. In these scenarios the land holding provides a refuge and possibly a small income (the source of the Wealth class feature no doubt) but will also provide plenty of adventure hooks for any rat-bastard GM worth the name :twisted:

As for the Wealth class feature - you should absoluetly let the PC keep it! It is an important class feature and one of the noble's major advantages (note how well the noble's class features synergize with a heavy-armor, heavy weapon fighting style. They need the cash! ). I will admit that IMC the needs of the plot have dictated that I had the PC's stripped of their gear and tossed in the slave pits. But I have made a special effort folowing that to make sure that my noble's player just happens to get the choicest bits of gear/loot in the following scenario's. He's had his up's and down's just like the rest of the party but overall he has always been ahead on the money front.

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Postby Clovenhoof » Thu May 31, 2007 7:48 pm

Noble CAN be a very powerful class early on, IF he is in his homeland or at least in a country with a similar culture, i.e. where he is recognized as Noble.

If he is abroad, his only remaining power is wealth.
If you also take that away from him, the lowlevel Noble will be a pretty useless character depending on the kindness of strangers. A lowlevel Noble can't fight very well, he isn't very tough, and he won't have the ability to influence others to do his will, either.

Wealth is also relative -- adventurers are likely to gain quite a lot of money in a relatively short time, and once that happens, the Noble also loses his advantage of Wealth compared to the other characters.
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Postby Majestic7 » Thu May 31, 2007 7:52 pm

Well, in feudal societies, the nobility composed a very small percentage of the population while owning 99% of wealth before the rise of the bourgeois. Thus, I have no trouble whatsoever with nobles being richer and socially more powerful than other classes from the beginning. Most societies should anyway have a plenty of priviledges for the nobility, especially when it comes to justice system.
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Postby blackenedwings » Thu May 31, 2007 11:08 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:Noble CAN be a very powerful class early on, IF he is in his homeland or at least in a country with a similar culture, i.e. where he is recognized as Noble.

If he is abroad, his only remaining power is wealth.
If you also take that away from him, the lowlevel Noble will be a pretty useless character depending on the kindness of strangers. A lowlevel Noble can't fight very well, he isn't very tough, and he won't have the ability to influence others to do his will, either.

Wealth is also relative -- adventurers are likely to gain quite a lot of money in a relatively short time, and once that happens, the Noble also loses his advantage of Wealth compared to the other characters.
Well, I think a lot of the weaknesses/strengths of all of the classes are entirely dependant on the GM running the adventure. One of my main concerns in this campaign is making sure that every character gets a chance to make the best of whatever class they play. Playing a combat monster of a Barbarian with a bardiche is going to be impressive in certain encounters, while being a smooth talking Noble will be impressive in others.

While a noble wouldn't necessarily be recognized as a noble in the far away kingdoms, he would have certain knowledge and skills of dealing with people, particularly in authority, and makes an ideal "face" for the party. Additionally with good equipment, and decent stats our party's noble is kicking ass in combat. In our last session the Noble was outside of his kingdom, but he knew how to speak to men of authority and convinced the Zuagir tribesmen in the Turanian desert that he was worthy of fighting for a place in the tribe. Then he fought an unarmored duel with daggers against a higher level Nomad and defeated him (barely). After taking his place in the tribe he ended up marrying some girls from the tribe, taking horses and heading into the desert.

The noble seems to be able to fight pretty darn well so far, especially in his element, where he is wearing signifigantly better equipment than his foes.

As far as the adventurers gaining a large amount of wealth in a short amount of time... I handle this a number of ways. My adventurers never, ever ever find big piles of coins waiting to be spent. They find crates of contraband, cursed gems, and armor with knife holes. When they do find such items, the Noble and the Thief are the best able to get rid of it for a reasonable price. The thief however has to worry about being stabbed repeatedly during the transaction while the noble has a number of more reputable contacts, and understands the above board business of working with merchants. Also the single biggest "house rule" of sorts I have enforced for my Nobles is that I enforce the High Living rule for every class except Noble. Nobles are rich, they are successful and they are trained to handle money. Yes, some nobles squander their resources buying things they don't need, but by and large they live within their (admittedly large) means. The first night back from a dangerous mission and my party sold off their cursed gems and stolen goods, most of them making shady deals in the darkness and then blowing much of it on whores, drink, and being overly generous to their drinking buddies. The Noble returned his goods to his house, put it in the treasury, got a number of horses, armor, and travelling supplies from the house stock, and took one of his slaves to bed. In my campaign the Noble will always have an eye for dealing with people and money, and be better able to hold onto the money... thats why he is a noble, not a thief or a vagabond.
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Postby Kyorou » Fri Jun 01, 2007 7:24 am

Nobles also tend to have high Charisma and social skills, making them able to stand their (social) ground even abroad.
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Postby Ichabod » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:42 pm

Kyorou wrote:Nobles also tend to have high Charisma and social skills, making them able to stand their (social) ground even abroad.
It's pretty easy for others to have a high Charisma and good social skills. Any Hyborian can choose diplomacy as a class skill, for instance. Thief can pile all of those additional skill ranks into social skills.

As said, the GM has to have people treat nobles differently or they get shafted by how lame they are mechanically. Nobles should have an aura about them that causes everyone everywhere to give a damn about them even though they are so much weaker mechanically than other adventurers on a 1:1 basis.

My problem with this, though, is that as a player one feels like one is being given a handout to compensate for general lameness. Tiffiney can kill me in one round, Elfiye can outperform me in every skill, Anne-Marie can take over my mind or go phoenix, but I'm important because I carry myself well ...

At least the temptress class (which really shouldn't be a separate class, but I digress) has some good specials, like sneak attack. Also seems to steal a lot of the noble's thunder with getting some of the social abilities that nobles have to "buy". Both just seem out of place as PCs. Where everyone else is about what they can do, these two are about what they can get other people to do. Enhanced Leadership may be superhot in the world, but I'd rather that my awesomeness be ... *my* ... awesomeness.

Of course, I don't want to fight a fight I don't really care about - the extreme case. I think it's easy enough to improve things mechanically to where you don't have to fudge (so much) to make everyone worthwhile.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:25 pm

Most classes depend on the kind of scenarios the GM has in store for his players. Some more, some less. Basically, almost every class can be shafted in some way.

Barbarian - maybe least of all, due to versatility, but being a wilderness fighter class, he won't be so comfortable in social situations.
Borderer, two words: Favoured Terrain. If the GM doesn't feature FTs very often, the player will feel shafted.
Noble - opposite of the Barbarian; sucks at fighting, is rather dependant on the stuff he carries around (money and gear), but shines at social situations.
Nomad - only half a nomad without his mount
Pirate - can be useful on solid ground, but of course is much better on a ship.
Scholar - very vulnerable at low levels, can be unlucky in the spells he gets (which often the GM decides)
Soldier - can only fight and nothing else, and is only half as good if his favourite weapon is not available
Thief - is basically fine as long as he doesn't get into combat alone.

Actually, in my campaign, I think the Noble would be the very worst class choice, and as of yet, none of my players even gave it a second glance. We're plyaing a wilderness-heavy world with very little civilization, and no kingdoms bigger than one city. Sort of like after the lesser cataclysm, I guess. Really not much room for a Noble to shine.
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Postby blackenedwings » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:56 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:Most classes depend on the kind of scenarios the GM has in store for his players. Some more, some less. Basically, almost every class can be shafted in some way.

Barbarian - maybe least of all, due to versatility, but being a wilderness fighter class, he won't be so comfortable in social situations.
Borderer, two words: Favoured Terrain. If the GM doesn't feature FTs very often, the player will feel shafted.
Noble - opposite of the Barbarian; sucks at fighting, is rather dependant on the stuff he carries around (money and gear), but shines at social situations.
Nomad - only half a nomad without his mount
Pirate - can be useful on solid ground, but of course is much better on a ship.
Scholar - very vulnerable at low levels, can be unlucky in the spells he gets (which often the GM decides)
Soldier - can only fight and nothing else, and is only half as good if his favourite weapon is not available
Thief - is basically fine as long as he doesn't get into combat alone.

Actually, in my campaign, I think the Noble would be the very worst class choice, and as of yet, none of my players even gave it a second glance. We're plyaing a wilderness-heavy world with very little civilization, and no kingdoms bigger than one city. Sort of like after the lesser cataclysm, I guess. Really not much room for a Noble to shine.
Yeah the world and the environment the players will be in matter a lot for the characters to shine. In a world that is wilderness heavy with single-city kingdoms nobles aren't worth much regardless of what their stats say anyway. In a world where nobles shake the foundations and move thrones, being an unlettered wild man barbarian can be a huge handicap. I try to give my players situations such that everyone gets to be in the spotlight at some point. It won't happen every session, but there will always be something you can do better than someone else in the party. My party thus far is an NPC Scholar, Barbarian, Noble, Thief, Nomad... and everyone is loving it. The only class in fact that none of my players thought was worth playing was Borderer. The general feeling from them is that Borderer is the worst class available, and I doubt any of them will even multi into it.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:24 am

There was a lengthy discussion about over/underpowered classes a while back, and quite a few people said that the Borderer was underpowered.
Well of course, the Favoured Terrains are a very obvious instance of the GM permitting of denying class bonuses.

The Borderer does get some extra feats and his fighting styles, but what he _really_ shines in is Tracking and Guiding. "Three days' and nights' pursuit… no food, no rest, and no sign of our quarry but what bare rock can tell."
That's the kind of situation you need a Borderer for, pursuing a fast mark through difficult terrain. He can increase the party's speed and follow the tracks at the same time.
However, ingame opportunities for this are of course limited. Except if the party specializes in Bounty Hunting -- that might actually work.

Combat-wise, the Borderer can benefit from some multiclassing. Two-Weapon Combat is not as bad in Conan as in D&D, and it gets a lot better if you have any extra damage sources - specifically Sneak Attack. Flank your opponent and dish out up to eight attacks per round with 2 to 4 extra damage dice per attack, and your target is in a world of pain.
(For instance, Bor12/Thf8 for BAB +18, Dual Short Swords, +4d8 Sneak - with Finesse that's a potential 40d8+STR damage per round, and 5d8+STR are very likely to exceed the magical 20 points.)

Defense is a weak spot of the Borderer. He doesn't gain Uncanny Dodge or the Mobility Chain, he doesn't have a good Dodge or Parry track, he only gains Reflexive Parry very late, at level 11, and that doesn't protect him from getting flanked, but all the same he is forced to use no heavier than light armour. THAT is the real weak spot of the Borderer, if you ask me.
The only class in fact that none of my players thought was worth playing was Borderer.
Nonetheless, my players aren't shy of playing Borderers in general. When we started our group we had a player who absolutely wanted to play a "Hunter" style character, and he chose the Borderer as most appropriate. Then unfortunately, he had to drop out of our group due to a new job, and we hired a new player. He had a look at the classes, hesitated a bit between Soldier and Borderer, and then also chose the Borderer. Mind that I didn't push either player in any direction, because there's also a Barbarian in the party that can fill the "Wilderness Guy" niche very well.
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