Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Noble House

There's some kind of challenge floating around in the OSR Discord about downtime rules - so here's a class that acts almost entirely in downtime. You get to play as an entire noble lineage, and engage in domain-style play right from the beginning of the campaign! So long as you're okay with actually controlling an absolute brat of a useless noble heir adventuring far, far above their capabilities (though far, far below their means). An absolute fop, with gambling debts or too many enemies or convicted for a crime they most certainly did not (did too) commit. 

Noble House
by IvanColi
"No foie gras? No champagne? No stuffed partridge? How could you possibly fail to properly provision for such an adventure? Incompetent sycophants, the lot of you."

Level 1: Estate, Heirs, 1 Estate Action
Level 2: My Father Will Hear Of This, Retainers, +1 Estate Action
Level 3: Inheritance, +2 Estate Actions
Level 4: Royal Favor, +2 Estate Actions

Hit Die: d4
Starting Equipment: 3d20gp in pocket change, fancy jeweled weapon (deals damage with disadvantage), 2 sets of fine clothing, flask of expensive liquor
Skills (d6): 1. Dueling, 2. Etiquette, 3. Groveling, 4. Snobbery, 5. Tax Collecting, 6. Trivia

Estate: You play as an entire noble house, with access to land and money and resources beyond most adventurer's means. Any heir of the family has access to the house's resources, and is a representative of the house's name and honor. They will be rightfully treated as nobility, so long as they make it known.

As a Noble House, you have 3 ability scores instead of the traditional 6: Might, Status, and Coffers. Each is generated with a 4d6k3 roll. Whenever they take an action that leverages the resources or reputation of the House, heirs can roll Might instead of Strength/Constitution, Coffers instead of Dexterity/Intelligence, and Status instead of Wisdom/Charisma. The actions of the heirs, however, reflect upon the reputation of the house. Every time an heir fails the a challenge they make this way, the house takes -1 to that stat. A Noble House "dies" (falls into infighting and ruin) at 0 Might, 0 Status, or 0 Coffers.

During downtime, between adventures, your house can take (templates) of the following actions.
Profit: Your current heir gains an allowance of Coffers*10gp.
Host: Host a large social gathering for the well-to-do. +1 Status, then make a Status test. On a success, you can invite someone and be sure they show up.
Tax: +1 Coffers, then make a Coffers test. If you succeed, you may also gain +1 Status or +1 Might (your choice).
Conscript: Levy your peasants. +1 Might, then make a Might test. If you succeed, you may send (templates) peasant soldiers with your heir as retainers on the next adventure.
Recover: Restore 1 of your House ability scores to maximum.

As you gain additional Noble House templates, you gain access to additional Estate actions from the following list:
1. Alliance: You make some new friends in (hopefully) high places. Make a Status test. On a success, gain an ally/contact with someone of greater status than you. On a failure, gain an ally of lower status.
2. Battle!: Send your heirs, vassals, and conscripts to go fight a brush war somewhere in the name of your Lord and Country. Make a Might test. On a success, return with +1 Coffers and +1 Status, as well as an intriguing piece of loot. On a failure, -1 Might and -1 Coffers, and your next heir is Scarred in addition to their other disadvantages.
3. Educate: All current and future heirs learn 1 skill of your choice.
4. Gossip: Learn d6 rumors relevant to the party's aims or the House's fortunes.
5. Heirloom: Entrust the current heir with a magic item; the pride of the house. If the heir loses it, you lose access to this ability.
6. Hire: Make a Status test. If you succeed, send a Retainer of your choice with the Heir on your next adventure.
7. Influence: Pull some strings to get something done. Make a Status test. On a success, get someone of lower status your family knows to do you a favor. On a failure, -1 Status, and while they'll do the favor they need a bribe, or a favor in return.
8. Obtain: You can, in fact, always get what you want. Make a Coffers test. On a success, gain access to a single asset of your choice that costs less than Coffers*100gp for the next adventure. On a failure, -1 Coffers, and the price of the asset must be less than Coffers*10gp.
9. Oppress: You push your subjects to follow your commands. Make a Might test. If you succeed, rustle up a bunch of scared peasants to do your bidding. If you fail, they do your bidding, but also start planning a peasant rebellion. Take -1 Coffers
10. Schmooze: The next test you make as part of a House action is an automatic success. You owe a debt to whoever you got to help you.
11. Subvert: You take a rival down a peg. Make a Might test. On a success, an enemy of yours is denied a valuable connection or resource. On a failure, they still lose it, but they realize it's your doing and are coming at you with a vengeance.
12. Venture: Invest any number of points of Coffers in a lucrative business opportunity, then make a Coffers test. On a success, gain 1.5 times that many points of Coffers (round up). On a failure, lose those points of Coffers. Either way, gain a connection or item related to that opportunity worth (invested)*100gp.

Heirs: In the course of the game, you control a single heir as the house's representative, who's decided to go on a grand adventure. They have some sort of disadvantage from their noble upbringing. When the heir dies, another shows up. Each further heir begins with another disadvantage, until you level up, at which time the House has decided that the heir has proven themself worthy enough to clear their debts and reset the whole process.

1. Debt. d10*100gp of it. Must be paid off in full before leveling up. Can't make Coffers tests.
2. Estranged. Doesn't count as a member of the house. Can't make Status tests.
3. Scarred. Roll for a minor wound, which can't be healed.
4. Inbred. Roll for a mutation. Can't make Might tests.
5. Coddled. Roll with disadvantage for restoring HP when they don't have access to the creature comforts they're accustomed to.
6. Addicted. The heir has an expensive habit. If they don't get their fix each week, they go into withdrawal, with disadvantage on all mental tests or physical tests depending on the nature of the drug. Doses cost 50gp, and are preposterously illegal.
7. On the Run. There's a bounty on this heir's head, for crimes they probably didn't commit (4-in-6 chance of actually being guilty). Each session, roll 1d10. On a 1-in-6 (+1 for each time they drew attention to themself or used the house's reputation last session), a bounty hunter shows up looking for them.
8. Bastard. Whenever you fail a Might, Coffers, or Status test, reduce the score by 2 instead of 1.
9. Hopeless Romantic. Stalwart believer in the goodness and rightness of all things. Gain 1 Stress whenever they're exposed to the harsh reality of the outside world.
10. Enemies. Another noble house hates this heir in specific. They will take all opportunities to undercut and scheme against the heir, fabricate crimes, attempt to have them assassinated... each session, there's a 2-in-6 chance, some scheme is in motion which will come to fruition against them.
11. Diseased. This heir has an incurable disease that's slowly catching up with them. Roll for which one.
12. Cowardly. Always goes last in combat, must make a Charisma save to risk own health or life.

My Father Will Hear Of This: You may take one Estate action at any point during the course of an adventure. Information resulting from this action is conveyed to the heir by suitable courier or message-bird.

Retainers: Your heir travels with (templates) retainers. Roll for which ones you have. List adapted from the Financier by Basic Red. Retainers always bring their own supplies (including a random item and random suitable weapon), paid for by the House. To replace a dead Retainer, -1 Coffers.

1. Biographer. Keeps meticulous notes of the heir's adventures. GM mouthpiece for "actually, you've met this person before". When you encounter someone or something, you can test Status to remember meeting someone or encountering something similar, recorded in the biographer's journals. Excitable, but possibly more interested in your failures than successes.
2. Chef. Has the Cooking skill. Ensures that the party is well-fed. Party members can spend 2 rations in a rest to roll to restore HP with advantage. Can also purify food or water. Irritable, perfectionist.
3. Doctor. Has the Medicine skill. Heals an extra point of ability damage each rest and provides advantage on saves vs. disease. Can also autopsy corpses, and does so with glee.
4. Fop. Chirpy devoted hanger-on, looking to siphon off a little status by proximity. Will do dirty-ish work (lying, cheating, acquiring items of dubious legality) for you without complaint. Won't do it particularly well.
5. Guard. d8 hit die, leather armor, helmet, random 2-handed melee weapon or 1-handed melee weapon+shield, will fight for you. You can get them to take attacks in your stead, if they can put themselves in the way. No-nonsense; here for your protection.
6. Guide. Will carry an extra 8 slots of inventory for you as part of the job. Knows d4 rumors about wherever you're going. Will draw maps for you, may already have maps (2-in-6 chance). Put-upon, just here for their pay.
7. Occultist. Has the Occult skill. Knows a minor maybe-magical trick from the Occultist list. Scheming, has a personal plan that will adversely affect the heir and/or the house.
8. Priest. Has the Religion skill. Will assuage the heir's conscience, perform religious rites, create elaborate excuses as to why the adventurer's are on holy business, brings air of legitimacy to proceedings.
9. Relative. Ornery, embroiled in more drama than you can imagine. Can make Might/Status/Coffers tests, has a disadvantage as another heir. Knows a family secret that can be revealed to bring turmoil to any dealings with other nobility.
10. Scholar. Has two skills from the Scholar skill list and one associated Talent. Literate, and eloquent to boot. Sees you as a source of funds, not a person.
11. Spy. Disguised as another retainer from this list. Has stilettos, poisons, etc. 2-in-6 chance of you being on their hit list (GM rolls, doesn't tell you).
12. Valet. Keeps your affairs in order, consummately polite and proper. This means the GM will do your bookkeeping of supplies, restocking inventory, etc. for you. Use this wisely. Also will carry around 10 slots of inventory for you, and hand them to you when you wish (even in combat).

Inheritance: Who died and made you baron? A wealthy, ailing relative quite enamored with your pursuits, as it turns out. Gain 1000gp, a substantial art collection, and a treasure trove of blackmail.

Royal Favor: You've come so far that the House is favored by the highest of the high. Each Estate action you take can draw on the powers and reputation of the royal family, though if you ever fail an action with their resources they will be *extremely* disappointed in you. Perhaps to the point where you lose that hard-earned favor...

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