The Dragonlance Nexus

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D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Cam Banks

The noble is a character usually born into high station or great privilege, but may also represent somebody who has climbed the ranks in the political, social, or mercantile arenas and gained influence and prestige. Nobles represent not only aristocrats and royalty, but anyone who has access to great resources, wealth, fame, popularity, or responsibility. Their abilities focus on the leadership and inspiration of others, as well as skills and talents that result from their improved status and position.

Not all nobles have levels in the noble class. Some have sought a given career or taken up a specific set of talents that bears little connection to their social class. The noble class is really intended to represent those characters that focus on and develop their potential in those areas that nobility and power tend to dominate.

Adventures: Nobles are as often driven to adventure by accident or misfortune as they are by a need for excitement. Some of Krynn's most famous noble heroes have been carried along by sweeping events and found themselves thrust into positions of power they may have avoided most of their lives. Others deliberately seek to free themselves from the monotony and stifled atmosphere of their noble house, finding their place in the dangerous outside world.

Characteristics: Nobles are natural leaders and diplomats. Raised in an environment of privilege, they also benefit from the finest educators and trainers, so they are skillful individuals. Their backgrounds give them a wide network of individuals in positions of importance from whom to draw favor, and they excel at accentuating the performance and success of others.

Alignment: Nobles tend to be lawful in alignment, as they usually occupy the highest rungs on the social ladder. Even nobles whose families have fallen on hard times or suffered disrepute still tend to think of the world in terms of order and security. Nobles can be good and kindly, selfish and aloof, or cruel and wicked. Indeed, many an evil tyrant or crafty crime lord is a member of this class.

Religion: Most of Krynn's nobles pay at least some homage to the Gods. Typically, however, when the greatest trials and disasters have occurred throughout Krynn's history, it is the nobility who lose faith first. The common people have more to depend upon spiritually, it seems. Many nobles have turned to the Holy Orders of the Stars, however, especially those who are not destined for leadership of their family, guild, or fiefdom. The ties between religion and nobility are thus quite strong.

Background: A noble in the Dragonlance setting could have come from any noble house, merchant's guild, aristocratic family, or position of office. A noble could even hail from a barbarian tribe, as one of the chieftain's kindred. Nobility is a quality that other nobles recognize in each other; although as wars, feuds, disputes and disagreements are very often started between the upper classes and leaders, there is no guarantee of companionship or support from others in positions of power.

Most noble characters won't already have some kind of high rank or office. This is often the reason that they are adventurers, as their futures don't look as bright as their brothers or sisters. It's also possible that the noble is an illegitimate child of a true noble, or else part of some very large minor house that makes gaining a title or office unlikely.

Races: Almost all races have nobility of some kind in Ansalon, though the elves are perhaps the most well-known. The sons and daughters of a dwarven thane, the brothers and sisters of a kender chief, and even the Respected Diplomatically Elected Official Union of Directors of the gnomes of Mount Nevermind are nobles.

Other Classes: Nobles work well with most character classes. They are less likely to associate with rogues, barbarians, or the more rustic and seedy classes, but some nobles deliberately seek out such company to get away from their own social entrapment. Traditionally, nobles and wizards do not get along, although this is often a sign of conflicting types of power more than anything else.

Examples of Nobles in Dragonlance: Laurana, Amothus, Porthios, Alhana Starbreeze, Gilthanas (multiclassed noble/wizard), Crysania (multiclassed cleric/noble), Gerard (multiclassed noble/fighter), Gilthas (multiclassed noble/rogue).

Game Rule Information:

Nobles have the following game statistics:

Abilities: Charisma is a noble's most important ability score, as the noble's skill at interacting with others and projecting a sense of confidence are crucial for his or her success. Wisdom and Intelligence form the basis of other important skills, so these ability scores are also significant. Nobles who focus on their roles as military commanders benefit from high Strength, Dexterity and Constitution scores as well.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d8.

Wealth: A 1st-level noble starts play with 8d4x10 steel pieces.

Class Skills:

The noble's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Innuendo (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Perform (Cha), Read Lips (Int, exclusive skill), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language, Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Wilderness Lore (Wis). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) X 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Table
Level Base Att. Fort Ref Will Special
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Bonus class skill, Favor +1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Inspire confidence +1
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Favor +2
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Command +2
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Leadership
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Inspire confidence +2
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Favor +3
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Command +4
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Leadership +2
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Inspire confidence +3
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Favor +4
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Command +6
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Leadership +4
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Inspire confidence +4
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Favor +5
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Command +8
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Leadership +2
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Inspire confidence +5
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Favor +6
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Command +10

Class Features:

All of the following are class features of the noble.

Armor and Weapon Proficiency: Nobles are proficient with all simple and martial weapons. Nobles are proficient with light armor and with shields. Note that armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a –1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armor and equipment carried.

Bonus Class Skill: At 1st level, a noble may designate any one cross-class skill as a class skill. This represents an area of expertise sought after as a hobby or one in which the noble's family perhaps did not approve.

Call in a Favor (Ex): The noble has the ability to call in favors from those she knows. By making a favor check, the noble can call upon contacts and resources most heroes don't have. This allows the noble to gain important information without going through the time and trouble of a Gather Information check, or to requisition resources without paying for them.

To call in a favor, the noble makes a favor check. Roll a d20 and add the character's favor bonus (+1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level, and so on). The GM sets the DC based on the scope of the favor being requested. The DC ranges from 10 for a simple favor to as high as 25 for highly dangerous, expensive, or illegal favors. The noble can't take 10 or take 20 on this check, nor can she retry the check for the same (or virtually the same) favor. Note that favors should help advance the plot of an adventure. A favor that would enable a character to circumvent an adventure should always be unavailable to the character, regardless of the results of a favor check.

A noble can try to call in a favor a number of times in a week of game time that's equal to half her noble levels, rounded up. So, as a 1st-level noble, Laurana can attempt to call in a single favor, while as a 7th-level noble she can attempt to call in favors as many as four times from different contacts.

The DM should carefully monitor the noble's use of favors to ensure that this ability isn't abused. The success or failure of a mission shouldn't hinge on the use of a favor, and calling in favors shouldn't replace good roleplaying or the use of other skills. The DM may disallow any favor deemed to be disruptive to the game.

Inspire Confidence (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, a noble can use his or her oratory training to inspire confidence in allies. To inspire confidence, the noble must be able to speak (and the allies must hear the noble speaking) for at least 1 round, and the noble must make a Diplomacy check with a DC equal to 10 +1 per five allies to be inspired (including the noble).

An ally inspired with confidence gains a +1 bonus to attacks, +1 to all skill checks, and +1 to Will saves (these bonuses are competence bonuses). The effect begins as soon as the noble ends an inspirational speech and lasts for 10 minutes per round the noble spent inspiring the allies, to a maximum of 5 hours for 30 rounds inspiration. The noble may attempt to use this ability once per day, regardless of whether the Diplomacy check succeeds.

The confidence inspired by the noble increases as the noble attains levels. For every 4 levels after the 2nd, the bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 18th level.

Command (Ex): At 4th level, the noble can direct the work of others by making a Charisma check (DC 15 + the number of characters commanded). This increases the bonus granted by cooperation by +2. This increase goes up by two (to +4, +6, etc) every four levels (8th, 12th, 16th and 20th). Commanding other characters takes as long as the task to be attempted (minimum of a full round).

Leadership: At 5th level, the noble gains the Leadership feat for free. Every four levels after that (9th, 13th and 18th level), the noble's leadership score gains a +2 bonus. This bonus applies when determinining both number of followers and level of cohorts.

Elven Noble Starting Package

Armor: Chain shirt +4 AC, small steel shield +1 AC, speed 30 ft, check penalty –3, 31 lb.

Weapons: Longsword (1d8, crit 19-20/x2, 4 lb., Medium-size, Slashing)
Longbow (1d8, x3 crit, 100 ft, 3 lb., Large, Piercing)

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Selection
Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Appraise 4 Int 0
Bluff 4 Cha 0
Diplomacy 4 Cha 0
Handle Animal 4 Cha 0
Knowledge (nobility) 4 Int 0
Listen 4 Wis 0
Ride 4 Dex 0
Sense Motive 4 Wis 0
Spot 4 Wis 0

Feat: Skill Focus (Diplomacy)

Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day's trail rations, bedroll, sack, and flint and steel. Three torches. Quiver with 20 arrows. Noble's outfit.

Steel: 3d10 steel pieces.

Alternative Noble Starting Package

As elven noble, except:

Race: Human, dwarf, half-elf, kender, gnome or minotaur

Armor: 20 ft (dwarf, kender and gnome only)

Weapons: Short sword (1d6, 19-20/x2 crit, 3 lb., Small, Piercing) instead of longsword (kender and gnome only)
Shortbow (1d6, x3 crit, 60 ft., 2 lb, Medium-sized, Piercing) instead of longbow (kender and gnome only)

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 5 + Int modifier (human only)

Bonus Feat: If Dex 13 or higher, Dodge (human only), if Dex 12 or lower, Improved Initiative instead.

Steel: 4d10 steel pieces (kender or gnome only)

Editor's Note: This class was an early concept class for the Dragonlance Adventures 3rd Edition project.

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