Upperclass PC

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74 COMMENTS

  1. In one of the campaigns I’m in one of the players belongs to one of several noble families with strong ties to the Empress of the setting, and these family ties are integral to the plot as they have made certain negotiations a lot less…..lethal.

    So a Noble PC can be done well.

  2. I mean, look at Avatar. Toph was from a rich, noble background and so was Zuko.

    Upper class PC’s can help lower class PC’s appear more regal or proper in political situations, opening the doors for them in places where typically they would either be closed or require some ridiculously treacherous side quest just to be able to speak with the King of Queen about an invading force from another land.

  3. I have a noble rogue in the group I DM and I’ve pretty much excommunicated her from her family after a fashion. This will be resolved in a future story arc, but I’ve been able to get her away from digging further before I’m ready.

  4. I absolutely love systems which allow for character creation to directly allow for player(s) to start out as actually being rich/nobility and for that to have some amount of actual mechanical relevance.

    In Star Wars: Saga Edition, for example, there’s an explicit “Noble” class, which can gain an ability called Wealth, which gives them an absolute *truckload* of credits every time they level up. Is it overpowered? Possibly, if the GM doesn’t know how to handle loot. Is it fun as hell? Absolutely.

    In Mage: the Ascension (20th Anniversary Edition, anyway; IDK about other ones), you can spend your points on various ‘backgrounds’. The more points you put into individual backgrounds, the more powerful that background is. You can put all your points into starting out as a millionaire (possibly billionaire).

    ​

    As much as I love DnD 5e, the closest thing it has to any of this is the “Noble” background, which gives you… some nice clothes, and an extra 25gp. And a “position of privilege” feature, but I find that ability is only as useful as the DM will let it be, and it’s uncommon to see a GM make it *that* relevant.

  5. After his family killed nine children trying to end a bloodline curse, they were locked away and my noble paladin grew with his rich granpa.

    He hates the things his parents did and decided to walk the earth ending suffering in name of his god.

  6. I’m confused; why should a player playing a noble character be a warning sign? Noble is a perfectly valid background… some of the best characters in fiction are nobles, hell, the legendary Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowsky de Rolo III is a noble.

  7. Playing a noble zealot barbarian that’s out in the world looking ti prove himself worthy to become his family’s champion. Accidentally stumbled into Barocia, and he figures slaying a tyrannical vampire would be a good way to prove his valor.

  8. One of my players became buds with a noble who traveled with the party and because he was rich he just gave any money he earned on their adventure to the player because he wasn’t interested in adventuring for wealth. It was funny because the players character couldn’t speak fluent common and didn’t really understand currency so he’d overpay for everything. Staying the night at the inn? Slams a hundred gold on the table and runs to his room for the night. Buying a beer? Slams a hundred hold on the table and chugs the thing. Bribing a street urchin to figure out where the local gang is holed up? Toss that kid a platinum piece. The noble NPC helped makeup for this players affinity for losing money lol

  9. In a recent campaign all/most of the PCs were basically the elite of this little town that was under threat. It worked really well, and actually didn’t change too much gameplay because very little of the adventure took place in the town. So it just gave us all some flavorful backstories like owning the town bar, brothel, yoga studio, or “herb” shop. We started out as sort of chaotic neutral corrupt lords of vice but after we got saddled with the burden of defending our home town we basically played the campaign as lawful/neutral good lol.

  10. While I understand setting thematic limits on a campaign and being wary after a bad experience, I honestly think that a DM who picks and chooses character options, especially base character options like a noble background, as “red flags” is just being lazy. And probably aren’t much fun to play with.

    I joined my current campaign about ten months into its run with a human archfey warlock from a merchant background with two (NPC) siblings in her backstory and a general “My backstory is forcing me to be an adventurer but I’m not going to be happy about it” bad attitude.

    Months later, the DM told me all about how she’d been horrified when she heard my pitch, because one of the characters who had left the campaign before I joined was *also* playing a human archfey warlock from a merchant background with two NPC siblings and a general “My backstory is forcing me to be an adventurer but I’m not going to be happy about it” bad attitude; and she’d been horrible. The player had been the worst kind of “distant, brooding loner” sort who tuned out during any scene where she wasn’t the focus, picked fights with the others players, and whined any time her character suffered any kind of negative consequence. She burned a lot of bridges with the DM and her fellow players before leaving, and nobody was sad to see her go.

    Whereas my character has a great relationship with the entire party, grew and softened as a result of the adventures we’ve had together these last two years, and I now count every member of that gaming group among my closest friends (despite the fact that we’ve never met in person, because it’s all online).

    TL;DR – Concepts matter so much less than execution. It’s silly to get hung up on something like a *noble background* being a “red flag.”

  11. Oh, come on! The campaign practically writes itself!

    Noble PC brings the party to the grand ball to find information about a McGuffin. Noble PC tries to introduce party to fellow nobles and upperclassmen but constantly gets unnerved by their antics.

    Noble PC: “I am Theodore Skyraven the Third and these lovely fellows are—”

    Looks over to see the barbarian devouring the prized roasted pig that was meant for the main course. The rogue is wearing the various jewelry they’ve *already* pilfered. The bard is having wine thrown at his face from a failed charisma check. The druid is chastizing a random noble for wearing a fur scarf made from the hide of a rare snow fox.

    Noble PC turns to his other side to see the warrior, who is pretending to be his manservant guard, picking his nose with severe concentration.

    Noble PC sweating nervously: “*ahem*….I am not affiliated with these….heathens.”

  12. Every party/heist team needs a financial backer. Like Batman or the old guy in Ocean’s 11. Whether they are true friends that transcend class divisions or backstab them for the prize at the end is up to the player though.

  13. If I go noble I usually give them a good reason to be out adventuring, my Gnome Alchemist has spent the entirety of his life in either his lab or his homes garden, yes he’s a garden gnome, and is only out adventuring now because his dad told him he had to see the world for himself before becoming the next head, which basically means for the moment I’m locked out of the easy life at least until I go through a character arc

  14. I don’t quite get how it would be alarming, if anything it could help move things along if they’re someone of vague importance and they need to meet with a king they can just ask, for example.

  15. Gonna be honest the noble background is so full of opportunities, my first character (made with a lot of help from my DM) was a noble tiefling, his family was part of Vampire high society and they ruled with iron hand, the thing is one of their members, my character’s uncle, tried to start a vampire civil war to become basically dracula and be the king of all vampires he became insanely powerful and had to be sealed because they couldn’t kill him, now here is the twist, the ritual to seal him needed of a sacrifice, so they used my character who was just a newborn as the sacrifice and sealed the vampire. My character’s storyline was that the followers of his uncle infiltrated the mansion where he was kept hidden as servants and filled his head with ideas of leaving the mansion to see the world, once he managed to escape the servants tried to kill him, he ran away and that’s where he happened upon the party’s cart and they saved his ass, after that every vampire out there was sending people looking for him before anyone could use my character to break the seal and we are on the run hiding from everyone.

  16. My one and only campaign (I ended up leaving for many other unrelated reasons) I played a noble. First thing the DM did was make sure that I had no connections because “where you’re going, no one has heard of your family.” I’m still kinda annoyed. I couldn’t roleplay as a noble at all because every time I tried the DM would just make the NPCs make fun of me because my character was a nobody there. And every item you get for the background was useless to the campaign, no matter how hard I tried to use them.

  17. My favourite character to date is a character who abdicated the throne by getting his magical butler to polymorph into his majesty and assume my character’s identity.

    He ran away because he was a *shockingly* useless king, and singlehandedly tanked the economy by investing excessively into R&D projects which went nowhere.

    Karrnath had agreed to buy entire fleets of purely mechanical non-elemental airships, but the engineers were never able to resolve the ‘exploding’ problem. To this date, he reckons his projects were sabotaged by the dragonmarked houses who felt turfed by the airships.

    Anyway so yeah, it all went to shit, he abdicated, accidentally nearly introduced himself as a king but stopped halfway and assumed the first name of ‘King’.

    My wild magic sorcerer was the Ben Wyatt of the team.

    Christ I miss that campaign.

  18. I’ve played a few fallen nobles to great results.

    My favourite ones were an aristocrat barbarian whose dad gambled away the fortune and title. Think Brian Blessed in Blackadder or Robert Baratheon if they were in their early 30s.

    The other was was a hedonist narcissist that was disinherited after he blew the political engagement his family set up due to being caught in a compromising situation on his bachelor night with two women, a man and a goat. He’s having more fun as an adventurer.

    The key is to basically play a fallen noble. You get the background, manners and an interesting hook-heavy backstory, while still having very good reasons to be out adventuring (winning back prestige, funding lavish lifestyle, seeking thrills) and no commitments.

  19. I think this would make for a pretty fun party dynamic if the DM and players collaborated and planned around it. The noble and one of the other characters could have met as kids once when the noble snuck out Jasmine style to roam the paupervile and made friends with the street rat party member, and as they grew up they remained close and now as they’re coming to the point where they’re inheriting their families wealth and taking up an important position in society, he can bankroll a tight nit group of ruffians to send out on quests. Either maintaining peace in whatever territory his family has influence in, or to do more court politics wet work jobs. And also he tags along with them because fuck doing paperwork, just get a familiar to stamp wax seals on letters all day while he goes off with his adventure bros to have fun.

  20. I enjoy paladins a lot. Huge fan. So the last one I ran for any amount of time was a noble family, with a history of hunting demons. So years and years and years of paladins through the lineage.

    When it came time to fleshing out my hangers on, the group decided that the family butler was a demon that had been subjugated to the family’s will. Made all the better by one of the guys having an amazing impression of the butler in Black Butler.

  21. That’s almost how my current game is going. I’m playing a well-meaning but naive old money fop, and the rest of the party frequently takes advantage of that for free stuff. It’s real fun when not done maliciously.

  22. I have played a noble chaotic good elf in a chaotic neutral/evil party, and it worked because he was too refined to backstab anyone over their problematic choices, a less cultured do gooder may have had a problem with that.

  23. I had a noble duelist back I first edition and the story line was more or less civil war broke out and we went on a mission to reclaim the kingdom. Along the way we found a necromancer slave cult tugging the strings but my Playboy duelist had to learn the hard knocks emperor’s new groove style about the common man’s struggle to become a leader.

  24. In my everlasting campaign (6 players, each with 1-3 characters) we actually have three characters with nobility background, one of which ignores it as much as he possibly could but is relatively at ease with it, one is so detached from it that it essentially doesn’t affect her at all and one who used to care a lot about it but got pulled out of that lifestyle the hard way. They are all related and there’s a whole bunch more where they came from but it works because while for two of those this background occasionally comes into play, only one of them would actually take advantage of it (and he can’t currently, although that’ll change again some day).

    It’s really all about the DM and how he acts with those characters – and keeping problematic players in check. Luckily the player behind those three is a total gem and very mature but in a different party, I’d make sure the character, if trying to act out too much on it, would soon learn the limits of his status – and if that doesn’t get the message across, you see, events happen. Nobles do not have to remain nobles forever. Sometimes they even cast out family members… 🙂

    Edit: Also the one noble character who does try to take advantage of it (or would), it’s more of a hindrance for him because he is just a tad… you know… lofty and, well, many NPCs and party members don’t react too nicely to that, so he ends up being in trouble for it more often than it helps him. Luckily we have some very socially capable characters, too.

  25. My husband’s character is a noble who has a terrible relationship with his awful family. His horrible family was a background plot for a bit, but it didn’t really affect the party. Their issues and reason for being a party was not related to gold.

  26. In my first ever campaign my friend played a noble half elf barbarian, which could have been great, but he was also a first time player and therefor had no idea what he was doing

  27. I once played as a human noble elf-a-boo who wanted to become rich and famous like the characters in his storybooks.

    The funny part is that halfway through the adventure we ended up in dire peril while near my home, and someone else suggested we hit up my family for funds. So, I ended having to RP a very awkward dinner where I was begging for money from a disapproving father.

  28. In my main campaign i have a gnome that’s part of one of the uper class families of the gnome empire (in my campaign gnomes became one of the main races in the World through their knoledge of technology and inventivity) and he is probably one of my best player ^^

  29. I’m currently running curse of the crimson throne and all but one of the starting characters are the youngest members of some of the most powerful noble families in the city, and two of them have become good friends with the queen. I see no reason why young nobles aren’t appropriate character ideas for PCs.

  30. I play a half-dragon sorceress named Kali whose father (she’s half high elf, half white dragon) is the king of the elven city in the campaign I’m in. It’s been very interesting as her older half sister Ari is the one recognized as crown princess, whereas Kali is treated as lesser and often unrecognized as royalty by most of the common folk. The conflict she’s had with her step mother Lenora (her sisters’ mother and current Queen) has also been really fun to play through.

  31. Only time Ive ever gotten Inspiration was when I was joining a new group as the only Noble after they already had session 0. I introduced myself by launching into a haughty tirade about how lucky the party was to have an esteemed Half Elf Noble as me, how amazing my Sorcerer powers were and then topped it off by using Prestidigitation to clean the nearby Barbarian. It was the moment where I realized how much fun Roleplay could be and I’ve focused on it more ever since!

  32. I’ve been playing a noble bard in our friend group campaign, he’s essentially rejected being a prince (only 2nd in line) but since the surrounding regions are so poorly informed of what’s happening in the capital due to poor infrastructure, I’m still able to use my noble perks in every area besides the big sort of upperclass city. It’s led to some fun moments like me trying to flex my nobility to help the party unaware of the fact that the business man I’m negotiating with knows I’m being tracked by the kings guard. Fun stuff.

  33. I had a noble of a lesser family one time, dude read too many dime store pulp hero novels and fancied himself a hero-in-waiting and shoved off to adventure, gamble and quest. He’s an absolute idiot, and he’s great. Big fake hero voices out the wazoo.

  34. “Child born to a rich family becomes professional dungeon delver and trap disarmer after man of similar profession helps family recover ancestral relic.”

    Ie, my rogue’s backstory.

  35. I played a character that was the inheritor if large, once powerful crime family that had fallen quite far from its apex. But he was like a super good dude that was really bad at actually getting up the gumption to commit crimes despite calling himself the Prince of Crime.

    It seemed to give the DM a lot to play with and made him a fun character to be. Like a better dressed Aladdin or the vegetarian shark from shark tale.

  36. I love Noble PC’s.

    I give them a run-down manor house on the edge of town they can spend vast sums of money to ‘improve.’

    Currently have some players roleplaying a pair of failed merchants, they are quite adept at convincing the other PC’s that they ‘need’ a new wine cellar.

  37. I played a noble Eldritch Knight once who had disgraced the family name by refusing to go along with his arranges marriage and attempting to elope with a stable hand instead. He fled south to a different nation and ended up doing mercenary work, which is where he met up with the rest of the party (which included another ostracised noble, funnily enough).

    Every now and then a random encounter would be “a relative of your ex-fiancée shows up and challenges you to a duel for her honour”. He was a lot of fun. Absolutely a bumbling incompetent fool, thanks to my rolling, but fun.

  38. I love the idea of the Noble born slacker who becomes a warlock, “you are just gonna give me power for my first born… is it ok that they are already born. There’s a bastard to a prostitute in town that I’d love for you to take off my hands.”

    And proceeds to be the laziest adventurer, can I just pay them to not fight us. Ugh Eldrich Blast I guess. Why do you want to go in the dungeon. My parents have more magic equipment at the castle than you’d find down there. I could probably just take it. They’d never notice.

    Or he has a butler or servant who’s actually a defender battlemaster fighter and that the actual character you play in combat. Just roleplay the warlock.

    Nevermind this character is just a massive douche!

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