City of a Thousand Towers
In many ways, noble houses are shadows of the royal house, though smaller and less powerful, of course.
If you want a noble house background, you must describe the noble family in a few paragraphs. Anything goes from a mercenary house out only for power, glory or wealth, to one tainted by lycanthropy or vampirism, or one touched by angles or cursed by demons.
You can be:
- a member of the family, but note that in most cases the families are rather large
- a retainer of the family, which is usually a warrior but could be almost anything including a spy, magic tutor, or healer
- a servant of the house.
As a member of a noble house, you can expect the head of family to demand significant tithes, contribution of time, or duties.
Nobles have it all: wealth, power, and usually beauty. Of course, one has to be a noble to realize how precarious their position is given the enmity of other noble houses and, worse, members of their own family.
Noble PCs get:
- one trait
- +2 to charisma, wisdom or intelligence (max 20)
- 1000 GP of starting equipment
- 1000 GP of any combination of coins, gems or jewelry
- One contact in the royal family
- Full knowledge of one noble house (everyone in it is an acquaintance, friend or enemy)
- One mortal enemy within the noble family
- One other mortal enemy outside of the family
- Access to the resources of the noble house, including its casters and library, as long as the character remains in the good graces of the head of family
- Residence in the noble house’s tower
Your PC is an important retainer of a noble house, selected for prowess, knowledge or other value to the family. As a retainer, you are outfitted and supported by the family. Generally, this is a public role where you are expected to wear family livery and support the family in all ways but it could be something more clandestine, like a trusted spy or assassin.
Selected for their prowess or other abilities, retainers get:
- One trait
- One bonus feat or extra skill per level. (The feat is one time, not one feat per level!)
- +2 to any stat (max 20)
- 2000 GP of starting equipment
- 200 GP in any combination of coins, gems and jewelry
- You must describe one or two nobles who are your patrons
- If you also take an enemy in the family that is more powerful than your patron(s), you may take a second trait
Working almost unseen and unremarked, the servant’s life is a difficult one but it does have its advantages. As a player character, you must define your status in such a way that you have the opportunity to adventure. This means, your master must have a reason to send you into the larger world, or is perhaps incapacitated, captured, or for some reason indifferent to the absence of his servant.
Servants work from the shadows and through persuasion. Your character starts with:
- Two traits
- Two of the following feats: persuasive, stealthy, alertness, deceitful, deft hands
- 200 GP of starting equipment
- And one of:
- A magic item worth no more than 2000 GP stolen from the family
- A gem or piece of jewelry worth 3000 GP stolen from the family
- A member of the noble house who is a staunch and unyielding ally, due to love, obligation after saving his or her life, or for some similar reason
Stolen items can be expected to have long term consequences, but as long as the theft remains undiscovered and there are no other reasons for the family to disavow the servant, the character can expect shelter and some amount of resources at the noble tower.