Noble Class

“In the city it’s not the heat that’ll kill ya … it’s the ‘humility’…”
― Voluska, a bard on the outskirts of Nibenay

Nobles are the social elite of the world. Oftentimes they are members of a ruling class, tasked by birthright with lordship over the common classes.

But the term ‘nobility’ is also used in a more general sense to include those who are in a position of leadership due to wealth, political position, or special training. In addition to wealthy landowners and hereditary rulers, nobles can also be military commanders, heads of organizations, or simply natural-born leaders from any social class.

Favored Regions: Every culture in Athas has nobles, be they hereditary rulers born into their position, landed gentry, aristocratic priesthood, or just the strongest, richest, smartest, or luckiest person available at the moment. In the Nibenay, the nobility is generally tied to powerful bloodlines, jealously guarded and passed down from one generation to another. A labyrinthine system of primogeniture and feudalism dominates many of these cultures, but exceptions due exist. The aristocracy of Tyr, for example, is based heavily on a mercantile system. Outside the Tablelands, the concept of nobility is little changed. Among the Qin, for example, the aristocracy is at the top of a strict caste system, where nobles and aristocrats lord over those who were born into less fortunate positions.

Alternate Titles: Each country and culture has its own specific names for the nobility. In the Tablelands, traditional titles for minor nobility include Pasha, Hoca, Bey, Hanım, Efendi, and Beylerbey. In Draj, the nobility are collectively referred to as Pīpiltin. In Raam, the priestly nobility are called the Rajut and in the Qin Empire, the very top of the caste system is a dynastic imperial family known as the Ikhtilat.

Adventures: Nobles go on adventures for many of the same reasons as the other classes, namely, to expand their knowledge, influence, and wealth. Most adventuring nobles are not in the direct line succession to rule, but rather lesser nobles still seeking to make their mark on the world and establish a means of gaining fame and fortune. Others might be seeking foreign contacts for new trade routes or military alliances. Their reasons for adventuring may be just, selfish, or vile, as befits the particular noble in question.

Characteristics: Nobles combine exceptional leadership ability with strong social skills in order to manipulate others, rally troops, and in general get others to carry out their will. They are masters of subtlety and social interaction, able to read others’ emotions and actions and use that knowledge as a weapon or a lure depending on the situation.

Alignment: Lawful is the norm for most nobles, for they prefer to take charge, give orders, and supervise the performance of others. Still, neutral and even chaotic nobles exist. Ethically, nobles come in all types, from good to evil.

Religion: Many nobles are patrons of specific faiths, choosing to advance their careers and power through religion. In most city-states, the organized worship of the sorcerer-kings holds a powerful sway over the populace, and a smart noble will at the very least pay lip service to the sorcerer-king even if she does not follow his orders in practice. In other instances, nobles have the resources to buy themselves positions of power in other faiths, such as among elemental worshipers. In any event, the power of religion is not something that can simply be overlooked by the average noble.

Background: Most nobles are born into their position as members of the hereditary ruling class and trained from a young age to govern the lower social classes. These are considered the “true nobility” of the world, and they are the holders of honored family names that may stretch back for several centuries. Not all nobles fall into this category, however; it is becoming increasingly more common for those of lesser birth to advance to the aristocracy through personal power, riches, leadership, military or magical training, or by sheer luck. Although these “new blood” nobles are above the lower classes, they are looked down upon the “true nobility.”

Races: Nobles can be found among all humanoid races in Athas, although they are more common among humans, sauren, and qin than others. In the Tablelands, most nobles are human or dray, with some sauren, dwarves, and the assorted half-breeds filling out most of the rest of the nobility. Outside of the city-states, nobles are almost unheard of among the thranger and giants, who tend to focus more on survival skills than on leadership and study. Among the nomadic elven clans, nobles are rare, but among those who have integrated with human society, half-elven nobles are much more common. The Teotl, or “Inexplicable Ones”, are also disinclined to have nobles, preferring instead to concentrate in other pursuits. Nobles are relatively common in the highly structured societies of the qin, but not especially so among the halflinds. These are all rough guidelines, however; any society is capable of producing a leader who may come to the forefront to guide his people, even if only for a short time.

Other Classes: As natural leaders, nobles have learned how to benefit from the skills and abilities of other classes, and tend to work with members of all classes with little difficulty. In particular, nobles get along especially well with classes that are used to hierarchical social structures, such as survivors, traders, and members of military organizations like templars, fighters, and even some rogues. Nobles are often counseled by psions and wilders who act as psychic advisors and mentors, and they rely on bards as courtiers, information-gatherers, and court performers. Rogues are also valued for their infiltration and spying abilities, and are used as tools by nobles in their games of power. Of all the classes, barbarians, druids, rangers, and monks have the least in common with nobles. The social structure and class abilities of the noble class are more focused on urban settings, where barbarians and druids have difficulty fitting in. Monks are typically more concerned with their philosophical studies to have any time for the political games of the nobility. Exceptions exist, however, and there are cases of druidic advisors to pashas, and barbarian or monk bodyguards of powerful sultans, but such instances are rare.

Game Rule Information

Nobles have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Charisma is the most important ability for the noble, as almost all leadership and social interaction depends on it. Intelligence and Wisdom can both be of great benefit to a noble as well. Dexterity, Constitution, and Strength are most important for those nobles who come to their titles through martial means, than to those who are born to the class.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d8.

Starting Gold: 3,000 cp (see below).

Class Skills
p{text-indent:25px}. The noble’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), +Sense Motive (Wis). See Chapter Four: Skills in the Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook for skill descriptions.

Skill Points per level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table 2–3: The Noble
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Noble archetype, noble breeding, linguist
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Inspire 1/day, material aid
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Influence +1, retinue
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Connection, inspire 2/day
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Noble breeding, organize +1
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Inspire 3/day, linguist
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Influence +2, leadership
8th 6/1 +2 +6 +6 Inspire 4/day
9th 6/1 +3 +6 +6 Connection, noble breeding
10th 7/2 +3 +7 +7 Inspire 5/day, organize +2
11th 8/3 +3 +7 +7 Influence +3, linguist
12th 9/4 +4 +8 +8 Inspire 6/day
13th 9/4 +4 +8 +8 Noble breeding
14th 10/5 +4 +9 +9 Connection, inspire 7/day
15th 11/6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Influence +4, organize +3
16th 12/7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Inspire 8/day, linguist
17th 12/7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Noble breeding
18th 13/8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Inspire 9/day
19th 14/9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Influence +5, connection
20th 15/10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Noble’s decree, inspire 10/day, organize +4

Class Features

All the following are features of the noble.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Nobles are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and with shields (except tower shields).

Noble Archetype (Ex): Not all nobles are the same. Some are born to their titles, while others become nobles through their flair for mercantilism, their superior knowledge, or even their ties to powerful underground organizations. The noble must pick one of the following archetypes, which affects his noble breeding ability (below). Once chosen, his archetype may not be changed.

Academic: The academic noble has increased his position in society through formal education rather than through wealth. Often seen as the power behind the throne, academics may be found manipulating events and influencing those in power. Many academics are scholars, barristers, judges, scribes, and physicians.

Clandestine: The clandestine noble is a member of an extended criminal “family”, one that holds great power and influence in the realm. The clandestine noble may use his status to frighten and demean others, but just as often he may try to appear as a man of the common people, using his criminal connections to help those who are less fortunate. Most, however, are corrupt, selfish, and petty, seeking only to put themselves ahead by gaining wealth and power.

Eldritch: As a member of a powerful magical house, the eldritch noble trades upon his access to ancient arcane tomes and artifacts in order to maintain his position among the aristocracy. Similar to academics, many eldritch nobles can be found as advisors to great kings and emperors.

Industrial: The industrial noble is not a craftsman or other mere worker, but is a high-powered financier and leader of the guilds that support craftsmen and artisans. These nobles hold the purse strings and maintain their positions of power by funding the mercantile concerns of the middle classes. In fact, many industrial nobles are actually wealthier than the patrician nobles who were born into their titles.

Military: A military career has long been a way for those of common birth to be elevated to the aristocracy, and the military noble has taken this path. Admired for his ability as a leader, as well as for his keen sense of strategy and military tactics, the military noble can often be found as an advisor to the legitimate government. Just as often, however, a military noble may use his position as the leader of a powerful army to stage a rebellion and establish himself as a ruler.

Patrician: The patrician represents the landed gentry, persons who were born into their positions and titles. Actual royalty such as kings and princes are included among their number, as well as other titled nobles such as dukes, earls, and counts. Most often, patrician titles are hereditary, passing from father to son (or to the first born child, in some cases).

Religious: The religious noble is a devotee of the sorcerer-kings, and includes members of the aristocracy who have chosen to advance their careers and gain power through religion. Unlike clerics, the religious noble is not necessarily at the pulpit delivering sermons, but is more of a planner and power-broker. They help to advance the cause of their faith through impassioned speeches to the other members of the aristocracy, calling for increased donations to the sorcerer-king’s hoard, or even demanding a Jihad against a rival faith.

Noble Breeding (Ex): Nobles receive special training and tutoring to give them advantages over uneducated and less fortunate commoners. Considered to be noble breeding, this extra education often manifests itself as useful knowledge gleaned from endless hours of classes and training. The noble gains breeding at 1st level, and again at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels.

Each time, he may select one ability from the following, based upon the noble archetype he chose. The noble must meet all prerequisites for any noble breeding bonus feat he chooses.

Academic: Higher Education, Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Professional Researcher, Skill Focus (any Knowledge skill)

Clandestine: Deceitful, Eyes in the Back of Your Head, Multitalented (for Disguise and Stealth), Stealthy, Wary

Eldritch: Arcane Strike, Arcane Training, Bloodburn, Magical Aptitude, Multitalented (for Spellcraft and Use Magic Device)

Industrial: Born to Wealth, Diligent, Merchant, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Appraise, Bluff, Knowledge (local), or Sense Motive)

Military: Armor Proficiency, Armor Specialization, Combat Tutor, Mounted Combat, Weapon Focus

Patrician: Intimidating Wit, Iron Will, Negotiator, Persuasive, +Political Intrigue

Religious: Church Patron, Divine Training, Inspirational Leadership, Sense Infidel, Skill Focus (Diplomacy, Knowledge (religion), or Sense Motive)

Linguist (Ex): The noble is adept at picking up languages. At 1st level, the noble has an open language “slot.” When he first encounters a language he does not know, if he makes a DC 20 Linguistics check, he automatically gains this language. At first, he has difficulty in using this new-found language, taking a -4 penalty to all Charisma skill checks when using this language. After a number of days (10 – the noble’s Intelligence modifier), he gains total mastery of this language and may use it without penalty.

Wealth (Ex): All nobles are extremely wealthy. Nobles begin play with the effective wealth of 3rd level characters as defined here. There are a few restrictions on how they may spend their wealth, however:

  • At least one-third of a noble’s wealth must go toward their cost of living as defined here. In addition, nobles may buy property at roughly 100 times the cost of renting that property. This allows a 1st level noble, for example, to live an extravagant life-style in a noble house or palace, or to wholly own an apartment or loft in the city.
  • Consumable or temporary use items, such as food or potions, cost 5 times the normal price for nobles.
  • At each level, a noble’s wealth is reset to the effective wealth of a normal character two levels higher.
  • On each extended rest in their noble house, palace, or owned home, a noble may exchange all of their current belongings for any other items whose total cost is less than their current wealth.

At 6^th^ level, and again at 11^th^ and 16^th^ level, the noble gains an additional open language slot.

Inspire (Ex): A noble’s facility at interacting with others allows him to evoke various emotional responses in both friends and enemies.

Using any inspire ability requires a standard action. Additionally, the target of the inspire ability must be able to observe and hear the noble and must be within 60 feet. The noble may target a number of enemies or allies equal to half his noble class level, and the effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to his class level. The noble may not target himself with this ability. When used against enemies (or friends who do not want to be affected), the targets are allowed a +Will save+ (DC 10 + ½ the noble’s class level + the noble’s +Charisma+ modifier) to negate an inspire effect. All inspire abilities are language-dependent, mind-affecting abilities. At 2^nd^ level, the noble may use this ability once per day. He gains an additional use of this ability at 4^th^ level and every two levels thereafter.

Each time the noble uses the inspire ability, he may select one of the following effects:

Inspire Awe:* *The noble awes those around him, distracting them by the power of his presence. Subjects of inspire awe take a -2 morale penalty to all +Reflex saves+ and a -1 morale penalty to +AC+.

Inspire Complacency:* *A character targeted by the inspire complacency ability is convinced by the noble to relax his vigilance or let down his guard. Subjects of inspire complacency take a -4 circumstance penalty to +Perception+ checks.

Inspire Confidence:* *The noble firms the resolve of those around him by his mere words. Subjects of inspire confidence gain a 1 morale bonus to all "attack rolls": and"+saving throws":

Inspire Fear:* *The noble can elicit nigh-paralyzing fear in his enemies. Subjects of inspire fear become +shaken, taking a -2 penalty on "attack rolls":, +saving throws, "skills checks":, and ability checks.

Inspire Valor:* *The noble inspires others to reach the heights of their valor. Subjects of inspire valor gains a 2 morale bonus to "Will saves": and a further +1 bonus to all saves against fear spells and effects.

Inspire Zeal:* *A character targeted by the inspire zeal ability is compelled by the noble’s rhetoric to throw the full weight of his righteous fury or bone-deep hatred behind any attack he makes. Subjects of inspire zeal gain a 2 bonus on all "damage rolls":

Material Aid (Ex): At 2nd level, a noble is able to exploit the standing obligations of hospitality owed to nobles and other rules. As long as he travels in his home city, the noble can provide himself and a small party (e.g., his retinue plus members of an adventuring party) with basic lodging and food at no cost.

DC Task
10 Borrow another noble’s coach and horse team, get a private dining room, get a random commoner to carry baggage.
15 Gain entrance to an exclusive dinner, convince an innkeeper to move commoners out of a room and give it to the noble instead, book passage on a smuggling ship.
20 Get an all out of jail, have an enemy thrown in jail, encourage a blacksmith to craft a special weapon at a reduced price.
25 Gain entrance into a fortified city during wartime, bypass customs and security when entering a port by ship, gain an audience with a higher-ranking noble.
30 Gain an audience with the highest-ranking official in the land, have an enemy assassinated.
35 Gain an audience with the highest-ranking official in the land on the spur of the moment.

Influence (Ex): Through bullying, calling in favors, or even blackmail, nobles of 3^rd^ level or higher influence others to perform tasks to aid themselves and their allies. To do so, a noble makes a special influence check (1d20 + the noble’s influence bonus + the noble’s +Charisma). The DC depends on the desired outcome, as per the accompanying table.
A noble cannot take 10 or 20 on this roll, and can’t retry the same influence check until he has gained another level in the noble class. Failure indicates that the noble does not have enough influence on the people around him to get what he needs, or that the person performing the act was captured, killed, or otherwise prevented from completing the task.

A noble may use the influence ability a number of times per month equal to half his character level, rounded down.

At 3rd level, the noble has a 1 bonus to influence checks. This bonus increases by +1 every four levels thereafter (2 at 7th level, 3 at 11th level, +4 at 15th level, and 5 at 19th level).

The GM should be careful with the influence ability. Nobles should not be allowed to bypass major excursions and key plot points or affect the entire outcome of an adventure with this ability. Influence is typically used to achieve finite, short-term goals, smoothing the noble’s progress toward his long-term goals instead of achieving them outright. Also, the GM may disallow certain uses of this ability if he feels it would be disruptive or illogical in the context of the game.

Retinue (Ex): Beginning at 3^rd^ level, the noble gains the ability to have a group of followers similar to those provided by the Leadership feat. The noble may attract a number of followers whose total levels equal his noble class level, and who have levels only in NPC classes. Any given member of the retinue may be no higher than 5th level and no higher than half the noble’s level rounded down. For example, a 4th-level noble could have four 1st-level +warriors, or a 3rd-level "expert": and a 1st-level +commoner, but no member of his retinue could be 3rd or 4thlevel (more than half his class level); and a 12th-level noble might have six 2nd-level "warriors":, or two 5th-level +warriors, a 1st-level "expert":, and a 1st-level +commoner+, but no member of his retinue could be 6th level or higher (over 5th level).

The members of the retinue can fulfill a number of roles: a +commoner+ might be a handmaiden, squire, or manservant to the noble, while an +expert+ might be a teacher or a trainer. +Warriors+ might be bodyguards, while +aristocrats+ might be officials or aides. The player chooses these followers with help from the GM as befits the character and type of campaign.

Each time the noble gains a level, he may increase the level of one of his retinue, or he may discard any or all members of his retinue for a new combination of followers.

These followers do not count toward the noble’s normal allotment of followers as gained by the +Leadership+ feat.

Connection (Ex): In the course of his travels, a noble makes many allies. In times of need, the noble can call upon these friends to assist him. Starting at 4th level, and every five levels thereafter, the noble gains a connection The GM should develop this NPC (or designate an existing NPC) to fill this role. A connection can be wide and varied in personalities and talents, although most fall into one of three categories: informants, professionals, and resources. Informants provide information about people, places, and objects. Professionals perform certain tasks and jobs. Resources provide physical items and money. Although the noble might be able to perform all these duties himself through +Diplomacy+ and other skills, using his connection ensures success with no skill roll required, and makes the job easier, as it is the connection who has to spend a night in the tavern asking questions or meet with black marketers to procure contraband items.

p{text-indent:25px}. Connections have an attitude of friendly (see *Diplomacy* in the Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook) toward the noble at all times, but they typically won’t go on adventures with the noble, nor will they risk their lives or the lives of their friends and family for the noble. A connection typically has access to a wider variety of resources and knowledge than an ally gained through other means.

Although the noble can make use of a connection several times, he must be careful not to abuse his friendship. If the noble calls upon the connection too many times, the GM may end the connection. Furthermore, the noble may be required to help out the connection if the NPC is in trouble – a fantastic plot hook for many adventures.

Organize (Ex): At 5th level, the noble develops his organizational skills. As a leader, the noble ensures all those working on a particular task contribute in a positive way. Likewise, he learns to give directions, laying out a plan of action for any task, making the group he commands more efficient.

Whenever a group of characters uses the +aid another+ action to enhance a skill check, the noble makes his own aid another check (adding 2 to the skill check of the primary character he’s helping) and then targets a number of characters equal to or less than half his class level. If successful, the noble confers a bonus (1 at 5th level, +2 at 10th level, +3 at 15th level, and +4 at 20th level) to the targeted characters’ aid another results if they are also successful in their checks For example, if he is successful with his own aid another check, a 5^th^-level noble can use the organize ability on two characters, conferring a +1 bonus on their successful aid another results (taking them from the normal +2 to +3).

This ability can only be used for skill checks that can benefit from the +aid another+ action.

*Leadership: *At 7th level, the noble gains the +Leadership+ feat as a bonus feat.

Noble’s Decree (Su): A noble’s proclamation carries the weight of tradition, justice, sovereignty, or just plain confidence to see it through, striking a blow to the hearer’s perception of reality. As a standard action, a noble can make a decree forcing a target within 60 feet to make a +Will save+ (DC = 10 + ½ the noble’s class level + the noble’s +Diplomacy+ modifier). If the target is hostile or unfriendly toward the noble, it receives a 5 bonus to its "Will save": If the target’s save fails, it is unwaveringly convinced of whatever decree the noble spoke. Once a creature has been targeted with a noble’s decree (whether successful or not), it is immune for 24 hours.

This is a mind-affecting, language-based ability with audible components.

Noble Class

Lighthouse for the Blind Nemquae Nemquae