Nobles are a part of life on Athas and in this blog we’re giving you a full character class for nobles. The inspiration for this came from the additional content for City State of Tyr by Walter M. Baas and Gary Watkins, kindly shared with the Dark Sun community by Robert Adducci. In that material, some NPCs are given levels in the Noble class – which doesn’t actually exist under standard AD&D rules. So here’s one take on what that class might look like for use in your games. DMs may wish to restrict this class to NPCs, or may be happy to open it up to players as well.
As always, you can find a pdf with the class attached at the end of the blog.
Ability Requirements: None
Nobles are the ruling class of Athasian society, in theory second only to the sorcerer-kings and their templars in power. In reality, many are simply landowners with little actual clout, overshadowed by the immense wealth of the merchant houses. Nevertheless, nobles still control a significant niche in Athasian life and wield their power and privilege to achieve numerous goals.
If the DM restricts this class to NPCs, players who wish to play nobles should take a kit such as Noble Psionicist, Noble Dilettante, Noble Warrior, or a modified version of the Nobleman Priest. In such a case, this class is assumed to represent those who have dedicated their lives to leveraging their social rank – the adventurer’s life leaves no room for such pursuits. Of course, the DM may rule that players can take this class as well.
Nobles use the proficiency and saving throw progressions of rogues.
Command Slave: A noble can call upon one of his own slaves to do whatever he wants. Slaves who do not do as ordered face immediate execution. A noble cannot command slaves who belong to someone else.
Education: Nobles receive excellent educations. The noble receives the listed bonus on all non-weapon proficiency checks that fall within a single chosen field. The noble can choose from all knowledges, all crafts, all expression skills, or three other unrelated proficiencies.
Literacy: Nobles are taught how to read and write and, apart from templars, are the only social class for whom such a skill is not illegal in most Athasian cities. A noble receives the literacy non-weapon proficiency free of charge at 1st level. A noble never risks legal consequences for displaying their literacy openly.
Influence Reactions: When addressing a group that is not attacking (and not intending to attack in just seconds), the noble can try to alter the mood of the listeners. He can try to soften their mood or make it uglier through carefully chosen words and appealing to the listeners’ respect for the noble’s rank and status.
Everyone in the group listening must roll a saving throw vs. paralysation (if the crowd is large, make saving throws for groups of people using average Hit Dice). The die roll is modified by –1 for every four experience levels above second of the noble (as shown on the table overleaf). If the saving throw fails, the group’s reaction can be shifted one level (see the Reactions section in the Dungeon Master’s Guide), toward either the friendly or hostile end of the scale, at the player’s option. Those who make a successful saving throw have their reaction shifted one level toward the opposite end of the scale.
Psionic Schooling: Nobles enjoy access to the best psionic tutors. Every three levels, the noble may choose to gain 2 additional PSPs or a +1 bonus to power checks with one chosen power. After 18th level, no more tuition of this sort is available – the upper echelons of psionic power are jealously guarded by groups such as the Order.
Martial Training: Nobles enjoy training from some of the finest weapons masters on Athas. Every four levels, the noble receives a bonus weapon proficiency that can be spent however the noble chooses (apart from weapon specialisation). As nobles gain proficiencies at the same rate as rogues, this effectively means that the noble gains two weapon proficiencies every four levels.
Requisition Troops: A noble can requisition soldiers from his house starting from 4th level. He can call upon 1d4 soldiers per level – all 0-level house guards (treat as heavy infantry) – with one 1st-level sergeant. A noble can call on soldiers any time he wishes, but the soldiers cannot be ordered to leave the city without permission from the head of the noble’s house. Losing many troops in battle will result in this ability being sharply curtailed.
Implicate Slave: From 7th level, a noble can implicate any slave in any wrongdoing or crime he chooses at any time, reporting them to city guards or templars. Any slave so implicated will be subject to arrest, scrutiny, and possible judgement by the guards or templar.
Implicate Freeman: A noble can implicate any freeman in any crime or wrongdoing from 11th level, reporting him to the city guard or templars. Regardless of evidence, the freeman will be arrested and imprisoned until such time as judgement is rendered against him. Nobles often make use of the bureaucracy non-weapon proficiency to prolong the amount of time that their victims remain imprisoned while awaiting judgement.
Requisition Funds: A noble can draw on his house’s coffers when he reaches 13th level. The number of gold pieces he can draw from the house vaults is equal to the roll of a number of 10-sided dice equal to the noble’s level, multiplied by his level, per month. For example, a 13th-level noble would roll 13d10, then multiply the result by 13. Few questions are asked when gold is requisitioned, provided no attempt is made to withdraw funds more often than once per month.
Implicate Noble: At 17th level, a noble can implicate another noble in any crime he chooses. Similar to the ability to implicate freemen, this permits the character to take action against other noble houses, having their members imprisoned until judgement is passed.
Request Pardon: At 19th level, a noble can request a pardon for any character, having them freed from imprisonment or their sentence nullified. Only a templar of 17th level or higher can grant such pardons, as per the templar class ability. There is no guarantee that the templar will grant the request, but the DM may allow bribes, uses of the bureaucracy, etiquette, or fast talk non-weapon proficiencies, or even a Charisma check to influence the templar’s decision in this regard.
Arcane Schooling: The most powerful nobles gain access to the teachings of the Veiled Alliance, arcanamachs of the sorcerer-monarch, or other powerful spellcasters. This grants the noble the ability to cast spells from one school of magic when they attain 21st level. They are essentially wizards, with the usual restrictions for spell books and preparation. Nobles have no weapon or armour restriction, are not specialist mages, do not gain specialist advantages, and are not subject to specialist minimum ability scores requirements.
All spellcasting rules that apply to wizards also apply to nobles. They use components, prepare new spells out of their own spell books, and so on. Noble spellcasters begin as preservers but can defile as any other wizard, with the standard effects and consequences.
Seneschal: At 21st level, the noble gains a powerful individual aide. The aide must have been impressed by the noble’s accomplishments before he attained his new level. The DM determines the exact follower. Some examples include: a high-level thief, bard, or fighter; a tarek champion; or a wayward tohr-kreen. If necessary, use the Ranger’s Followers table to determine the seneschal.
Troops: When the noble reaches the heights of power and privilege, warriors eager to serve in a great house will seek him out. These troops will remain loyal to the noble for as long as they are not mistreated and there is honour and glory to be won. They do not require payment; the prestige of serving a great house is sufficient reward.
Troops are always gained in groups of 10 individuals called a stand. All 10 are of the same race and experience level with the same equipment. A unit consists of some number (usually 2–20) of identical stands.
Once a noble reaches 21st level, he attracts his first unit of troops. This first unit will always be made up of warriors of the same race and background as the noble. The first unit consists of 1d10+2 stands (30–120 individuals). Roll 1d2+1 to determine the unit’s level.
Every two levels beyond 21st, he will attract another unit of troops. These subsequent troops, though, may be of very different backgrounds than the noble himself.
A noble cannot avoid attracting troops. The fame of his achievements will draw the attention of warriors who seek to share in the accomplishments of his house.
Eminence: From 24th level, the noble exudes an aura of command and confidence. He receives a –4 encounter reaction bonus when acting in a friendly manner. If the noble behaves in a threatening manner, his eminence can strike fear into those who hear his words. Creatures of less than 4 Hit Dice flee until the noble is no longer in sight. More powerful creatures are allowed a saving throw vs. spell to negate the fear. The ability works against all types of creatures – even those normally immune to fear attacks, such as undead. A cloak of bravery or remove fear spell breaks the effect. Once a creature has resisted the fear effect, it is not subject to fear effects from the same noble for the rest of the day.
Creatures within 30 feet of an opposing character using the eminence ability are not subject to the fear effect if the opposing character’s level is equal to or higher than the noble using the fear effect.
Perfect Morale: From 28th level, the noble’s followers, henchmen, and hirelings become fanatically loyal to the noble and never fail a morale check. Their morale is treated as 20 at all times.
Try out the Noble class in your games and let us know how it works in play. You can download a pdf with the class below. Enjoy!