About 80% of the way into writing this theme, I realized I could basically replace every instance of “noble” with “Mafia” and it would make exactly as much sense. I don’t know what this says about what I think about nobles, so rather than dwell on it too much I’m just going to present this as a two-for-one.
This does only represent a member of an entrenched, wealthy family. I decided not to do the “born a noble, but doesn’t have access to any of that influence” thing here because some of the abilities would conflict too sharply. “Disenfranchised Noble” would be a different theme.
Your name commands attention wherever you go. Your family is famous, and when others hear it they act accordingly. They may hate you for the cruelty your kin show knowing the rich and influential are above the law, or love you for their role in building the foundations of the country, or regard you with the standoffish reverence afforded to their betters. You can flaunt your name and its reputation or hide it out of shame or a desire to make your own way, but you cannot avoid its power forever. Eventually you must either embrace your family’s history or create a new one that erases the memory of the old.
Theme Skills: Appraise, Diplomacy, Knowledge (nobility), Perform, Sense Motive
Theme Feats: Combat Expertise, Iron Will, Leadership, Mounted Combat, Skill Focus, Weapon Finesse
Novice Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 3rd tier.
- Somebody is pretending to be a member of the noble’s family, using his or her name to gain favors and services. The family reputation is beginning to sink because of this person’s actions, and it falls to the noble to both apprehend the imposter and clean up the mess.
- A fellow noble is cashing in a debt made by the noble’s family generations ago. Reneging on the debt is both illegal and social suicide, but the request puts noble in a dangerous situation, either politically or physically. The noble must fulfills the debt as best he or she can without causing a catastrophe for the family.
Expert Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 6th tier.
- Some of the noble’s family lands are under threat. A government or military body is looking to seize the land for purposes that may or may not be legitimate. If they succeed, the noble’s family’s reputation will decrease significantly, to say nothing of what will happen to everything living off the land.
- A high ranking member of the noble’s family is accused of a crime, but the specifics are being kept secret. Rumors are swirling about what the crime could be and how terrible is must be to warrant moving against such a powerful person, and other nobles are lining up to take advantage of the family’s moment of weakness. The noble must find out what the charges are and whether their kin really is responsible, and either clear the family’s name or distance it enough from the accused that there is no longer a problem.
Advanced Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 9th tier.
- The noble’s family has entered a feud with one or more similarly-powerful families. The gossip, mudslinging, and backstabbing it already in full swing, and due to mysterious connections the noble’s family is beginning to lose badly. The noble must either find a way to win the feud or end it in such a way that the family remains as prestigious as before, which will not be easy if the government or other powerful bodies are aligned against them.
- Recent historical documents have connected the noble’s family to a reviled though long-dead criminal or traitor. This person died long enough ago that there are few if any living witnesses to their crimes, but their reputation lingers in stories and curses. Associating with such an infamous figure will only hurt the family and its members, so the noble must either clear the name of a villain entrenched in history or prove their innocence without a single living witness.
Legendary Quest: A powerful monster has demanded the death of the noble’s entire family for some slight generations ago. Its wrath extends to even family via adoption or marriage, and it will not rest until everybody who shares the family name or has a drop of the family’s blood is dead. While the monster can be defeated, the real threat is the promises of wealth and power it makes to any and all willing to assist it. The noble must protect their entire family, even those about whom he or she did not know, and defeat the monster before its allies grow too numerous.
Assess Resources (Ex): At a glance you can tell how wealthy someone is. As a standard action you can make an Appraise check to determine the most expensive item worn by a creature. The creature must be within 30 feet. The cost of the item does not include its magical properties unless you cast detect magic; this increases the time for this check to a full-round action. The DC is 15 for mundane items and 15 + the item’s caster level for magic items.
Deep Pockets (Ex): You always have some cash on hand. Each week you spend up to 5 gp per theme tier on services without affecting your actual wealth. This cannot be used to acquire permanent items, and anybody hired using this money will not perform any dangerous action for you, such as following you into a dungeon.
Dilettante (Ex): The idle rich have time to dabble in various pursuits. Choose one skill in which you have no ranks. You can make checks with that skill as though you were trained.
Do You Know Who I Am (Su): Your bluster can stop enemies in their tracks. Once per day when a creature charges you, you can make a Bluff or Intimidate check to prevent the attack. The DC for this check is equal to 10 + the creature’s Hit Dice + the creature’s Wisdom modifier. If you succeed, the creature ends its turn adjacent to you but does not attack. You cannot make this check against a creature that does not understand you or has an Intelligence score of 3 or lower. You must be at least 4th tier before selecting this ability.
Friends in High Places (Ex): You know somebody who knows somebody. Once per year you can gain an audience with the highest-ranking person or group within any military, government, religious, or mercantile group in the settlement nearest your noble house. The meeting happens within one week of you making this request. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the noble house ability before selecting this ability.
Honorable Duelist (Ex): You dedicate some of your free time to martial practice. You gain a +1 theme bonus to attack and damage rolls with melee attacks you make against an adjacent creature. You do not gain this benefit if there is any other creature adjacent to you or the target.
I’m Something of an Expert (Ex): You’ve dallied enough with something to spoof study. Choose one Knowledge skill in which you have no ranks. You gain a bonus to that skill equal to half your level and you can make checks with that skill as though you were trained. You lose this bonus if you take any ranks in the skill. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the dilettante ability before selecting this ability.
Noble House (Ex): You have a small personal residence on your family’s property. You gain a small house within one mile of a small city or larger settlement. The cost of the house cannot exceed 5,000 gp. You cannot sell the house, and you lose it if you ever lose your noble title.
Noble Manor (Ex): You are prestigious enough to warrant a grand residence. You gain a manor house within one mile of a small city or larger settlement. The cost of the house cannot exceed 50,000 gp. You cannot sell the house, and you lose it if you ever lose your noble title. This manor house counts as a base of operations for the purposes of determining your Leadership score. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the noble house ability before selecting this ability.
Power in Names (Ex): People who recognize your heritage react to you accordingly, unless you treat the name shamefully. You gain a +4 theme bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks against creatures who know your noble house. If you fail a Diplomacy or Intimidate check using this bonus, when interacting with the target you lose the bonus and take a -4 penalty on Charisma-based skill checks until you succeed against them using the same skill.
Event of the Season (Ex): Your gatherings are the thing of legends. Once per year you can host a well-attended party or other event. You must pay the costs for this event, including renting an appropriate location if you do not have access to one. You may determine the specifics of the party. You may invite up to two people per theme tier who will make every reasonable effort to attend regardless of the time, location, or type of party as long as they are members of society and physically able to attend without damaging their reputation. For example, you may invite the head of a local guild, but he will not abandon his trip abroad to return home for the party, nor will he cancel a guild event on the same night.
Command from on High (Sp): The weight behind your words makes them as good as law. Once per month you can cast lesser geas, and once per year you can cast geas/quest. You can only use this ability to give the target a quest that increases the reach, reputation, or assets of your noble family. If you try to give a target a quest that increases your family’s standing only tangentially by increasing your standing, the spell fails.