Special goodies for the female Noble


Banded Mongoose
The Noble class is designed for a male warrior (proficiency for all armours and all weapons, relatively good fighter, high hit points), but there a lot of female nobles out there, for whom neither the Noble nor the Temptress class is fitting. The same problem presents itself with civilian nobles like merchant princes. I hoped to find some ideas in Hyboria's Finest, but while it lives up to most of my expectations (and goes beyond in some reagrds), it sys nothing about this problem.

How do you handle it in your campaigns?
I think it may depend on the culture the lady comes from. The ability Rank Hath Its Privileges may come into use here. A female noble may have different privileges to her male counterpart. However this brings up another alternative the female noble may well have masqueraded as a male noble to train with the men in order to have gained skill in martial weapons and armour.

Perhaps if it is deemed to require that women nobles have significantly different skills and abilities to the men a new variant of the class may be created: the "Courtesan" maybe. However in this respect non-combatant noble courtiers could be of any sex.

For simplicities sake I personally would allow a player to create a less combatative-more courtly noble by discarding the proficiencies for martial weapons, light, medium and heavy armour and shield use in favour of a Social Ability gained at 1st level (and then as normal from then on), the Negotiator feat at level 1 and a different skill progression from normal Nobles of:

Skill points at 1st level (6 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill points each additional level 6 + Int modifier

They'd also have the following:

Hit Die: d6.

All other abilities would remain the same as a normal Noble, although I'd rename this class Courtly Noble to differentiate it from the standard noble character class.

I think this reflects that a less combatative Noble would spend less time practising with weapons and armour and concentrate more on developing his/her skills and paying more attention to political intrigue and social interaction.
weapons can be bought as can strong arms but a female noble with the ear of both houses in a blood feud is pricless as is the queens lady in waiting who protects her ladys honor and has more contacts and power than a dozen spy masters 8)
I'd been thinking about an NPC class like that myself- but you saved me the trouble. I agree with the "Courtly Noble" class idea, but say men would be found in the class as well. There are loads of non-combatant Nobles of both sexes found in the beaucracy of a kingdom. Likely too many. Perhaps the name "Courtier" would work as a name of the class as well?

Toothill- you are referring to some cultures that trained the ladies in waiting to act as bodyguards for their charge- in order to prevent the need for placing men in her entourage, right? While I remember this in fiction, did it actually ever happen in history? In any case these women would likely be the original Noble variety, or Noble/Soldier multiclass.
Are you having dificulty with an NPC who is a female/merchant or a PC?

If its an NPC then you could either use the Expert class instead or simply leave them as Noble but completly ignore their ability to use weapons (justify it as a psychological thing, they are too afraid/soft/unused to bloodshed to pull their act together in a time of stress).

If its for a PC. Well, at the end of the day it is probably best for all PC's to have some combat capibility. You could simply downplay that aspect of the character. Think of the classic scene where the "princess in danger" snatches a weapon and sticks whatever it is that is menacing her. Mechanically she has a bonus to use that weapon, role-play wise its described as a "lucky blow".

Hope that helps.
With the example class I presented above the character (male/female) would still be proficient in simple weapons. and if the player wanted he could very well take combat feats to make him a little tougher.
Adventures: Most courtiers will be seldom found in an adventuring group, Often a courtier will demand that he lead a group of adventurers unless there is a noble or courtier of greater ability than himself. He will often demand that he do the talking for such a group in most social situations. Often the scheming of a courtier will land him into an adventuring role especially if fame and fortune are at stake.

Characteristics: Along with the Noble character class, a Courtier is the most aristocratic and social of characters and are often found adventuring with a retinue of followers. They favour brain over physical might even more than that of the Noble character class. The courtiers of each nation have slightly different characteristics, reflecting the roles courtiers play in such societies has for its leaders. Similarly female courtiers may have a different range of skills to their male counterparts. In addition each courtier may select a number of different social abilities during his career, which help make each courtier different than the rest of his peers.

Religion: Courtiers almost always follow the same state religion or other main religion from their land of origin, at least in public. Sometimes a courtier may practise a religion which are less than orthodox. In a similar manner to the Noble character class, courtiers are often not devoutly pious, as like Nobles, priests are their political rivals.

Background: Courtiers, in a similar manner to the Noble character class are often titled aristocrats, but are just as likely to be other upper class characters such as poets and the idle rich. All begin their careers with the potential to be highly influential both locally and in their home country as a whole, though most will not achieve that potential for some time. Typically, a courtier is a more socially aware younger son of a landed aristocrat, rather than a direct heir.

Abilities: As born leaders, courtiers will usually rely on Charisma above all other attributes. For those courtiers who wish to concentrate on political intrigue, a high Wisdom is also favourable.

Hit Die: d6.

The courtiers class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis) and Spot (Wis).

Skill points at 1st level: (6 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill points each additional level: 6 + Int modifier.

All of the following are class features of the courtier.

Level Progression: The courtier uses the same level progression chart as the noble. However his special abilities are as follows.

Level Special
1 Social Ability, Negotiation
2 Special Regional Feature +1/+1d6
4 Social Ability
5 Lead By Example +2
6 Enhanced Leadership
7 Special Regional Feature +2/+2d6
9 Social Ability
10 Lead By Example +4
11 Do You Know Who I Am?
12 Special Regional Feature +3/+3d6
14 Social Ability
15 Lead By Example +6
16 Rally
17 Special Regional Feature +4/+4d6
19 Social Ability
20 Lead By Example +8

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: A courtier is proficient with simple weapons. Note that armour check penalties for wearing medium or heavy armour apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight-of-Hand and Tumble. Also Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armour and equipment carried.

Title: The courtier bears a title of nobility within his native country. He comes from noble birth and family and can expect to ascend to his father’s title if he is in the direct line of succession. If not in the direct line, he can still better his title by deeds of note, diplomatic or possibly martial and still retains his title and status. Sample titles suitable for a character include:

Lord (Direct heir or child of a landed noble)

It is not recommended for a beginning player character to be a landed noble, such as a Patrician, Baron, Duke, or Count. A landed noble has little time to devote to adventuring, being even more devoted to maintaining his position in court and his lands than a courtier. A relative, however, has far more freedom and mobility and makes an excellent adventurer, albeit one who is likely to look down on less than salubrious inns and taverns. This is an extraordinary ability.

Rank Hath Its Privileges: The character is a noble within his native land. As such he possesses all benefits and privileges entitled to one of noble birth or title. Depending on his country, such benefits might include: the right to bear arms, the right to have armed and liveried retainers, the right of hospitality in another nobles domain, the right to attend the King’s court and the right of trial by his peers. Along with these benefits, however, comes the responsibility to uphold them. The character is expected to uphold the nobility of the land and support the King (Queen, Khan, Prince. Duke as may be appropriate). As such he is expected to behave in a manner befitting his station, to remain free of the suspicion of treason and to appear, in all ways, to be a peer of the realm. Should the character fail to uphold his status then at the best he will become a social outcast, at the worst he will be executed for treason. This is an extraordinary ability.

Wealth: The courtier starts with amazing wealth for a first level character. In addition to his normal starting money and equipment, the courtier receives 200sp + 200sp for every point of Charisma modifier he possesses, if positive. Some or all of this initial bonus money can be added to the courtier’s starting equipment budget if desired. This money is a stipend from the courtier’s family and is provided to ensure the courtier does not drag the family’s name into disrepute by appearing unkempt. Each year, the courtier receives another allowance of the same amount. If he publicly squanders this money, however, he will receive no more. This is an extraordinary ability.

Special Regional Feature: At 2nd level, the courtier gains a special regional feature, representing additional training or other bonuses he gain by virtue of his regional origins. As courtiers are expected to be exemplars of their nation and race. Similarly all female courtiers have additional abilities and restrictions due to their status in court. See the Courtier Special Regional and Gender Features table listed below for full information. All special regional features are extraordinary abilities.

At 7th level and every five levels thereafter all the bonuses associated with the special regional feature increase by +1, and in the case of a female courtiers sneak attack this goes up by an additional +1d6 with each increase.

Courtier Special Regional and Gender Features table
Region: followed by Special Regional Feature

Hyboria: +1 bonus to attack rolls with hunting bow. +1 bonus to any two class skills.
Hyrkania: +1 bonus to all Intimidate and Ride checks.
Khitai: +1 bonus to all Magic attack rolls. +1 to all Knowledge checks.
Kush: +1 bonus to all Perform (ritual) and Craft (alchemy) checks.
Shem: +1 bonus to Fortitude, Reflex and Will saving throws.
Stygia: +1 bonus to all magic attack rolls. +1 bonus to Knowledge (arcana) checks.
Vendhya: +1 bonus to all Diplomacy, Knowledge (nobility) Gather Information and Sense Motive checks.
Zamora: +1 bonus to attack rolls with dagger. +1 bonus to Reflex saving throws.
Zingara: +1 bonus to Parry Defence. +1 bonus to attack rolls with an arming sword.
All female courtiers: +1 bonus to Diplomacy and Gather information checks. -1 to all attack rolls. Sneak attack +1d6

Social Ability: The courtier gains a social ability from the same list as shown in the Noble character class section at levels 1, 4, 9, 14 and 19. At the Games Master’s discretion, a courtier may declare he has simply been spending time socialising freely, in which case he may choose a bonus feat from the following choices: Skill Focus (Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information or Perform (Dance)).

Negotiation: The courtier is skilled at conciliation and bargaining with others. He gains the Negotiator feat for free, as a class ability.

All other abilities match those of the same name in the Noble character class.

Although there is no particular restriction on characters starting the game as courtiers other than the usual prohibited class restrictions for certain character races (which are the same as nobles), it is not possible for a non-courtier, non-noble to gain a level in the courtier class once play has begun, except by special dispensation of the Games Master. This can happen if the character somehow becomes ennobled by game play, such as seizing power or by being knighted for valiant service to a local lord.

This ruling matches that of the Ex-Nobles entry as written in the noble class section of the main rule book.

Starting Equipment by Character Class
Starting Budget 500 + 10d6sp
Starting Equipment Package*
1) Dagger, doublet and hose, riding boots, shirt and braes, belt pouch, belt.
2) Dagger, stiletto, noble’s outfit (all of noble quality i.e. cost is 50 times normal: coat, hat, doublet and hose, riding boots, shirt and braes, belt pouch, knight’s belt).
3) Dagger, stiletto, light mace, hunting bow, 20 arrows, cloak, hood, costrel, doublet and hose, riding boots, shirt and braes, belt pouch, knight’s belt.
The idea of this discussion has been bugging me since I initially read it.

It makes no sense to have a female noble who is proficient in combat the way the class is described. I think the class in the core rules was intended primarily for males. I'm sure that maybe in certain cultures it can be kept the same, but I don't think REH intended for Hyborian female nobles to be proficient in warfare and lead armies; I could see them administrating a fief for example. That's not to say that they couldn't concievably be trained in such things, but it would be out of the norm. If a player really wants to have female noble versed in warfare, ok, they are the exception. But when considering making NPCs, there needs to be a chagne to the class.

Since I have no females in my group, it hasn't come up. I guess my fix would be to replace lost class abilities with similar things; i.e. lose martial weapon proficiency, gain a feat choice (probably social in nature), etc.
The leadership feat for nobles, rally and their improved aid another abilities do not have to be used to lead soldiers. it could be that the followers she attracts are her ladies in waiting who become her close friends and confidantes.

Since I have no females in my group, it hasn't come up.

Same here.

I guess my fix would be to replace lost class abilities with similar things; i.e. lose martial weapon proficiency, gain a feat choice (probably social in nature), etc

That Courtier class was made to reflect this, but also allowable by male characters who are a little less versed in combat that their noble counterparts.