I played a character who was the third son of a count. Our lands were shit and I was unimportant in the schemes surrounding the family due to my distance from the family's seat.
Generally if you're the first son of a powerful noble you're very important. However, being level 7 or so makes you very important by merely existing. It can be fun and not destroy the game, it just depends on the circumstances.
Sure. There's plenty of fantasy out there where the prince of such-and-such runs off to go adventuring. It's practically a cliche. The problem, I think, comes in balancing all the intangible benefits a character gets from being a VIP with the rest of the party.
Like, you're going to get preferential treatment anywhere that recognizes your authority. You're going to be deferred do when decisions need to be made. You may have the power to impose legal penalties on people, or at the very least threaten them and have real weight behind it. Those are some powerful narrative abilities to just get by writing it into your backstory. It's important for the game to take this into account.
The best one I've found is Reign. Reign's character creation is a classless point-buy system, and it's one of those ones where you don't just purchase stats with your points, you purchase *everything* about your character with them. You can spend your character creation points to make yourself stronger and smarter, sure. And you can start with an animal companion or spells, or a special technique for sneaking. Standard stuff.
But there's also some more interesting ones. You can spend your points to start with a possession--let's call it a villa in the countryside, and it's your family's ancestral home. You can buy the "Status" advantage, and the more points you spend on it the more important you are. You dump a lot into that, you can be the crown prince of a nation. You'll want to drop some points on Wealth so you start with dosh, and probably buy the "Followers" advantage so you start with an entourage of footmen and clerks or whatever. And, of course, buy the "Patron" advantage so the King has your back. Drop some points into Lie and Charm and you're a Machiavellian dream.
Now, Joe Fighter probably spent all of those points on being tough, strong, and good at hitting shit. He will be hopelessly better than you at those things. But you bring a lot of intangible stuff to the table. You're wealthy, you're important, and you have a lot of friends. And the game takes the time to try to balance this mechanically.
>>45234371 Sure! Just go far enough down the chain of royalty and you're golden. Myself? I like "Viscount". >What's a Viscount? Well in terms of nobility it's a hereditary title given to the family of a soldier who assisted a knight or lord in battle at some point in history! >Wowie zowie! So what's a Viscount do? Normally? They are property managers and landlords on behalf of the family which granted them their title! >So... Uh... Have noble title, live in nice house, collect rent from peasants. >Not very romantic, is it? Depends on your definition. Functionally, Viscounts are the working Nobility. They have their family bootstrapped up from dying in the mud & blood to "Ahh, Viscount Eyer, has your of-age daughter met my unmarried son, the future Archduke of Umbria?" It's the medieval equivalent of getting your foot in the door. Any good Viscount / Viscountess should have their eyes on a position of higher authority, most likely through marriage or service. Plus, it permits for a ton of character archetypes. Grizzled warrior? He's the first generation Viscount, promoted by Prince Jeffery at the battle of Clarity for meritorious service. Social rogue? She's inherited her title after the tragic passing of her mother, God rest her soul. Gone into the clergy? That's a traditional and noble occupation for the second born son of a minor noble, and perhaps a hunting accident made him the first heir.
>>45234979 I mean, that's pretty much all a royal is though.
They're a normal person with the added political and social baggage. It's like playing a plumber and then getting upset the GM tries to include some kind of plumbing related bullshit. That's one of the few defining traits of being a plumber, doing plumber shit.
If you're playing a royal who does nothing a royal would do then why the fuck are you even playing a royal? And ok, you can play a royal like that, but for the most part people will expect you to get involved in nobility crap.
>>45234371 My character in PF Kingmaker is the bastard of a minor noble and another kingdom's royalty. My character is the 'ruler' of our startup kingdom and I made sure to let the other players know I was going for the 'ruler' position in the beginning of the game. As long as you don't pull the, "I am the King!" type shit unless the players are into it, then you're good.
>>45240579 All those intangible positives come with intangible negatives. The more you flaunt your authority, the more you'll be expected to step up with equivalent responsibilities. The more public you are in your actions, the more likely you are to draw enemies. The more legally binding decisions you make, the more you'll be turned to when difficult decisions need to be made. A prince who acts like a demanding little shit will find himself at odds with people who are above him in rank (Such as anyone closer to the throne, or working under direct orders from someone closer to the throne) A prince who acts like a judge will find himself swamped in legal work. Even an incompetent one will be turned to when someone else wants distorted justice. A prince who makes his presence known will find himself with a knife at his back or a lot of annoying invitations to meet with local leaders hoping to finagle some more government support for their little causes (Or prevent others from getting that support). The more you use it, the more it comes back on you.
Make him ashamed of his origins, he/she avoids talking about his/her past, saying it's too "dark", when really he/she just tries to hide his nobility, it would come up with hilarious or dramatic consequences (depending on the context, I suppose) when his/her bullshitting starts getting revealed or starts gets the party into trouble.
Maybe he/she says to have "street smarts" and says to know well the streets, slums and secrets of a city, when he/she really doesn't.
Maybe he is an incredible master of disguise and when his parents give you the quest to look for him/her they cannot realize that he/her is among the party of rescuers.
Buff him/her in charisma, acting, lying, performance, or other similar abilities.
Now that I think about it, you would be role-playing a role-player, he/her would be role-playing something he really isn't, making things Inception-y
For one of my characters I kind of made it a side note during adventures. He wanted to take back his throne so through out the adventure I let him spend free time making comrades and building and army. I left it all in my back pocket for when he wanted to retire his character.
>>45241657 You conveniently forgot the >where said royal is the center of everything I get they're gonna be important due to what they are, but you have 3-five other players at the table, getting railroaded so that that ONE character is the focus of everything gets tiring.
One game we played, an important but not derailing development was one of the players proclaiming herself monarch of a group of survivors that the party was part of. It was kind of selfish and she did some pretty questionable and depraved things, but her actions did bring stability to the situation and gave everyone something to work by in rebuilding and reestablishing.
You committed some crime or disgrace and have been banished from your family's domain.
2. Last Royal
You are one your line's few or only survivors. Your house was deposed in some way.
3. Lost Royal
You don't know it but you are actually are a Royal.
Classic Prodigal Son, instead of boning the chambermaids and nuns, decides to kick ass away from court. Technically may be informally banished.
5. Heroic Royal
Possessed with some sort of sense of righteousness has gone out for a cause that he or she strongly believes in,
6. Tasked Royal
Your House has given you an official mission, you are to complete it according to their wishes, but what's not fun about rebelling a little.
You can always just forget about your backstory and do other things.
Banished Royals can try to go back and depose their families, try to carve out their own domain or co-opt one, or do enough heroics earn forgiveness or just flat out bribe themselves back in.
Last Royals have similar options, depose the usurpers/save the old kingdom or at least it's surviving inhabitant's find, try to get revenge, and try to find your own new domain to continue your family.
Lost Royals find out if they can be brought back into the family without any shenanigans (or fight off said shenanigans) or find they are the Last Royal.
Adventuring Royals can try to carve their own land, come back with riches/prestige, or just depose their old family on the grounds of my wife is a dragon, bitch.
Heroic Royals just do what they feel is right, they may come back to their land only if called or it's their duty. Or they can run their own land if they feel called.
Tasked Royal, got a job to do and it depends greatly how they do it.
Nothing: You got a claim that your parent is important. Better than some of the Murderhobos you associate yourself with.
Token: You actually some proof and at least one perk of being a noble. This can be a bodyguard, servant, deeds, or a signet ring.
Actual: Greatly varies how much, but the idea is you have an entourage that isn't all Murderhobos and can strut around regally.
As a GM;
Players wanting to go back to their homeland need to either be agreed on as the focus of the campaign that is still adhered to. Or is a follow-up adventure the group wants to go on.
Players wanting to make their own domain or do their cause is a lot easier to work with, since it can be done with rest of the party in the adventure.
As a GM it is important to work with your player and give them some things, but be fair to rest and lay down the law. That just because you are a Pretty Princess, you don't have the entire campaign around you.
On the question of benefit: It all depends around the importance of the royal character in the campaign. Most of the time it's going to be either nothing or token.
My Personal Take:
Any sort of important ties has to be thought of by me. I might not want to have a royal, they can be aristocrats or gentry but not tied to an important crown in such a strong way.
But it can be rather funny how a disheveled collection of wandering adventurer's get's into an evil baron's castle when the party's rebellious prince Warlock does his routine. And how you all end up ruling a keep after a very bad game of poker.
The point is, it take's effort to make anything work. And just a little bit of that spirit.
Bearing in mind that without print, television, etc. most people have no idea what royalty looks like it wouldn't be that big a deal. Its not like he's going to be recognized in the streets outside of the most important cities.
He can pull the "do you know who I am" line but that doesn't mean people will believe him.
That could be an interesting character - is he royal or a just a capable liar?
>>45250532 Well that's why you'd have records and proof. "Do you know who I am?" should be followed up by an easily recognizable signet ring or a bunch of other shit with the royal crest on it or some paperwork signed and notarized by a recognized authority (Either the king or a religious authority, or a judge or something like that). Basically, some hobo running around claiming to be a prince is going to be ignored or thrown in jail for being a crazy hobo. A hobo with a signet ring and a fancy coat of arms will be acknowledged.
>>45250558 Note that this means that identity theft isn't very difficult if you can get your hands on that proof. They won't recognize royalty by their face, so anyone with the right trappings and demeanor can functionally pretend to be royalty until word gets around about an imposter.
>>45238661 We are glad our King Felipe VI accepted the hand of the most fair Skeleton Princess. This is trully a new age of prosperity for both our kingdoms, even if some discordant voices (who are probably traitors or catalonians) say that she is so fucking spooky.
>>45234371 Depending on setting Make them Royalty of some tiny tiny kingdom like the size of Cumbria or Ken their standing army being a 30-70 fighting dudes and if they really called up all the men elevate it further.
>>45234371 Depends on whether they try to abuse or not. I had a pirate prince in a 4e game, and never used it to my advantage. The DM used my background to move the plot along, and at one point save my character from unbalanced encounter. Basically I blew my stealth check and got jumped. The guys beat me into unconsciousness when they realized who I was. Other part of my background: mother was a scary as fuck pirate queen.
>>45234371 Not actually royalty, but some editions of Traveller can have you randomly roll a titled Noble one or two steps below the Emperor. (Usually Diplomats, rather than straight Nobles, because the Diplomat career spams +1 Soc like you would not believe.)
"So, OK, your character's a Duke, at least nominally the 'head of state' of a full subsector. *And* you're a full Ambassador. So we'll have a distantly-related retired Commodore and a few hundred bureaucrats actually run 'your' subsector for you, while one of the Archdukes employs you as his official errand-boy. The rest of the PC's more or less work for you, you get a fully crewed ship big enough for all of you, a government expense account, and a save-the-universe tier mission every week. Have fun."
>>45234371 Too far away from the throne for you to really matter aside from "try not to die pissing off our neighbors or in a manner that is generally embarrassing unless you do it where nobody will find the body."
>>45234371 Monarch of the fully depowered monarchy of a tiny country, has to go home every few years to welcome in the new government, do a few speeches and hand out a few awards, but most of the time has no duties and is free to do whatever, since parliament is running the place. Every once in a while, you can trot out the fancy title and hat, and have a fancy party type adventure, but only as often as the GM and player want.
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