Kings, queens, princesses, and even a local baron or two often figure pretty prominently into any fantasy game worth mentioning. After all, who are you going to get your most important quests from, and who is going to handsomely reward you for your efforts? (Hint: it’s not the local innkeeper.) While nobles can make valuable allies and friends for the PCs, they can also make useful enemies and villains. In today’s article, we will look at ten nobles you can use in your games.
1. Lady Irabella Fleetheart, Adventurous Landholder. The daughter of a wealthy and influential prince, Lady Irabella was gifted by her father a vast tract of dangerous and unpleasant lands, infested with monsters but rich in treasure, both natural minerals and the various goods amassed by marauding monsters. An adventurous spirit, Lady Irabella has taken to her new post with enthusiasm, and through the funding of dangerous expeditions, has largely managed to keep the monster population in check. Now, however, her neighbors are eying her lands, and she has once again set to recruiting mercenaries and bands of adventures to defend her borders
2. Duke Windgrave, Paranoid Shut-in. The ruler of the town of Windgrave, as well as the surrounding holdings, the duke is something of shut-in. Though, through aides and messengers, he has proven to be a more than capable statesman, the duke has not shown his face in public since his brother’s death last year. During the intervening time, the duke spends nearly all of his days locked within the palace walls, relying on aides and lesser nobles to bring him news and tidings. Lately, however, he has grown increasingly paranoid that his normally reliable aides are plotting against him, and he requires help from outside adventurers to get to the bottom of things and let him know who he can trust.
3. Baroness Ducal, Champion of the People. A relatively minor noble, nevertheless Baroness Ducal plays an oversized role in local politics as an outspoken advocate of the people. So stirring are her calls for expanded rights and privileges to the common folk, that more than once she has had to fend off an attempt on her life. Now her stirrings have caused her to run afoul of the local clergy, who have levied charges that she has had an affair, and have launched an inquisition into the matter, the conclusion of which might find her stripped of her title, and possibly executed, if nothing is done to stop an inquisition with a reputation for finding exactly what they are looking for, whether it is there or not.
4. Lord Nobber, Goblin Aristocrat. No one is sure exactly how Nobber came to power, except that it was quite by accident. The exact stories vary depending on the tale’s teller, with the most common version being that he was accidently knighted instead of beheaded by a passing knight, and that he simply took up residence in the governor’s mansion, and that no one noticed for so long, they just made him their ruler. Nobber doesn’t do much as a lord, apart from a strict edict banning horses, and things in his district are relatively quiet, though occasionally the local garrison has to be raised to ward off bands of heroes who come to kill the goblin they errantly believe is enslaving the people.
5. Lady Quendilan Greymist, Suspicious Castle Dweller. Lady Quendilan is a hauntingly beautiful young woman who dwells in an ancient castle above her landholdings. Strange lights can be seen within the castle walls at all hours of the night, along with the sounds of the shrieking and howling of tortured humanoids. Visitors to the castle never find anything out of place, and the lady herself is quite polite, even pleasant, to converse with. Still, whenever a local goes missing, invariably someone is contracted to go visit the castle and see if the person is trapped within its walls.
6. Oliver Standir, Spiteful Son. The son of a just and noble king, Oliver Standir hates his father and has done everything in his power to spite him and ruin his legacy. As the autocratic ruler of a large swath of land taken in recent conquests, Oliver has been almost unbelievably cruel and harsh, imposing arbitrary and humiliating laws punishable by death, randomly torturing his subjects, and constantly war mongering, all simply to undermine his father. The reason for this animosity is a secret kept well by both parties.
7. Lord Humphrey, Wannabe Hero. A thin-framed, fragile man, Lord Humphrey is anything but a vision of heroism. Still, his admiration for heroes in general, and knights in particular, has caused him to want nothing more than to be a hero. This is a great burden on his own retainers, who have a difficult time performing their duties and keeping Lord Humphrey alive. As such, they are constantly on the lookout for passing heroes and adventurers to babysit the fragile nobleman. For his part, Lord Humphrey loves to travel, but is more likely to be a burden than a boon on the battlefield.
8. Lady Miran, Animal Lover. This lady is considered by her peers to be somewhat odd. After falling in love with a local druid, Lady Miran has taken all manner of unusual steps to provide her kingdom’s animals with additional protections. The new laws, seen more as silly than harmful by her people, are generally well obeyed, due in large part to the local druids having stamped out hunting in the wildlands long ago. Still, it is strange place, where one must greet local animals, converse with them, and feed them at restaurants. As such, many believe quite correctly that Lady Miran values the life and well-being of the average wild hog over that of her own people.
9. Tessa Guerve, Extravagant Princess. Tessa is the crown princess to the small and remote island kingdom of Aluvea, a beautiful land blessed with a great bounty of natural resources. Living in this paradise, the princess has had no small measure of wealth at her disposal and has decided to enrich the already incredible beauty of her land as much as possible. She has largely accomplished this with buildings made from crystals and a vast abundance of fountains. Her greatest claim to fame, however, are the gambling halls and drinking establishments which fill her land, and in which the princess can often be found hosting parties for people who catch her eye.
10. King Dragonslayer, Conqueror of Wyrms. The king is a stout man with a long grey beard and beady eyes; still, he came by his name honestly, and in his youth used his magic and knowledge of battlefield tactics to nearly reduce the local dragon population to 0. Now the great lizards are set on menacing his family, kidnapping his children, murdering his animals, and stealing his treasures. The king is now too weak to deal with the problem by violence, and is seeking help from anyone willing to help negotiate a peaceful settlement.