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Rockphed
2007-02-09, 01:09 AM
Now the NPC class Aristocrat is almost worth taking as a PC, except that the only way they really beat a bard is with a larger hit die, and although the bard is okay at most stuff, they don't actually do anything very well.

So, to make the Aristocrat PC worthy, do I just sub in a will save bard, or is there a better way? I was thinking bard because aristocrats often dabble in magic, know how to use weapons, and somehow know how to do all sorts of other stuff.

Not that I want to be able to thrash wizards, druids, clerics, or anybody with the class, I just want it to have enough of an oomph to actually make a difference. Not that bards can't make a difference, but bards don't normally seem like aristocrats.

So, please advise. If this is done in a book, please note that. If you think that a base class from one of the completes or PH2 would work best, please note the source.

Thankyou for your time.

Jack Mann
2007-02-09, 01:12 AM
Pretty sure that the Dragonlance Campaign Setting has a noble class. There's also a courtier class from Oriental Adventures. You might try looking at those.

oriong
2007-02-09, 01:18 AM
Honestly, there's not much reason to make an aristocrat a PC class. Specific forms of nobility might make a good PrC or even an odd sort of substitution class, or maybe something along the lines of the Racial Paragon classes

The problem is that Being Aristocratic doesn't come with anything that's actually a part of the PC. The defining characteristics of an 'aristocrat' are social and economic: i.e. they have lots of money and a beneficial social role.

Neither of these things make a lot of sense when gained by class levels, even less so than normal PC abilities and they're rarely balanced, either being excessively weak or excessively powerful.

Avicenex
2007-02-09, 02:54 AM
Wait, how is the Aristocrat NPC class even close to being PC worthy?
-You get 3/4 BAB, which is mediocre at best
-You get 4+int skills. That's two less than a bard (Though I don't know why you're making the comparison), and if you're going for skills, Aristocrat is a horrible skill monkey.
-You get one good save: Will. That's standard, though many classes (like the bard) get two good saves.
-A d8 HD. Amazing. You potentially could get two more hit points per level--if you're lucky.
-That's it.

Aristocrat gets no spellcasting, no special abilities, and no bonus feats. Everything that they have is mediocre at best (and for the record, bards already have a good will save). I'm honestly puzzled as to why you would want a PC with levels in any NPC class, epecially Aristocrat.

If you're looking for nobility, just make a backstory that connects whatever class you are to that title. A third born of a obscure Lord somewhere might have levels in fighter, since there was no chance of inheretance. A more learned noble might be a bard, or even another spellcaster. Even a renown noble might be a rogue, simply because they have a knack for spying on rivals and dodging danger. See the pattern?

Thomas
2007-02-09, 05:18 AM
Avicenex and oriong hit it spot on.

The aristocratic PC classes (Noble in Dragonlance, various mostly identical ones in other d20 games) are pretty useless anyway. Abilities like Contact etc. are always best represented by RP. All a noble character could need is specific skills as class skills; making a feat for it would be smarter than making a class of it. ("Noble [General], Benefit: Diplomacy and Sense Motive are always class skills for you.")

The only relatively useful Noble-type PC class I've seen is the one in Conan d20, and even that's no real use unless the campaign involves a whole lot of courtly intrigue.

Caelestion
2007-02-09, 05:26 AM
The Courtier in Rokugan is extremely powerful in the right situations. They have rogue skill points, loads of social/courtly skills, d6s for HD, poor BAB, good Will saves, simple weapons and several class abilities, such as +4 to social Cha checks (Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Info, Intimidate and Sadane) in courtly situations etc.

Calenestel
2007-02-09, 07:59 AM
Another class worth consideration is the Noble class in the Wheel of Time Campaign Setting. Have actually used it.

Day shall come again!
Calle

spotmarkedx
2007-02-09, 08:59 AM
The Conan d20 has a fairly amusing Noble Class, if only because they eventually get the ability "Do You Know Who I Am???"

clarkvalentine
2007-02-09, 09:13 AM
I'd disagree that the noble as a PC class is out of place. It works well in a certain style of game, and really does represent something that other classes don't.

The vital part of contact-type class abilities (and related ones, such as Call In A Favor) is that they put the power to do that squarely in the player's hands, rather than leave it up to the GM. Nobles know people, and know people who know people, and use their influence to get those people to do things for them. This is not well represented by a simple Gather Information check, and it empowers the player to essentially say "There is someone in this town that's heard of me, and I need their help" and make it stick.

Dragonlance's noble (directly inspired by the revised Star Wars d20 noble), while a bit underpowered, isn't a bad implementation of that idea, and it's further developed by the Armiger substitution levels in DL's knights sourcebook (Knightly Orders of Ansalon). Those sub levels represent a martial noble, essentially a classic aristocratic knight.

However, the best representation of the noble I've seen is in A Game of Thrones d20 with its Influence mechanic. Nobles in that game can make very big things happen half a continent away with only a word. It's fantastic. I'm running an AGOT campaign now, and most of the PCs have at least one noble level.

Ramza00
2007-02-09, 10:41 AM
Use feats, not the base class. Feats to add skills to the class skill list. Feats to add bonuses to certain skills in certain scenarios.

MrNexx
2007-02-09, 10:46 AM
Actually, if you want someone who is the equivalent of the NPC aristocrat, but is more PC-worthy, try a Marshall (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20030906b).

They're social-types, but also semi-warriors. The only thing a noble would really want is to make sure to pick up leadership at 6th level, but that's such a useful feat for Marshalls that it's a good idea, anyway.

clarkvalentine
2007-02-09, 11:32 AM
I'll agree with MrNexx - you can get a lot of mileage out of marshal for an aristocratic character.

AtomicKitKat
2007-02-09, 12:09 PM
One NPC class worth getting:

Expert. For when you need a cross-class skill to get something done.

codexgigas
2007-02-09, 12:33 PM
Another class worth consideration is the Noble class in the Wheel of Time Campaign Setting.

I'd agree, although WoT d20 is a completely different game from D&D, not just a campaign setting. That said, Nobles get 3/4 BAB, a good will save and a 3/4 reflex save, the medium defense progression (which has no counterpart in D&D), four skill points, and proficiency in light armor and all martial weapons. Ability wise, they're a little light, but most of the WoT classes are, but they get a bonus class skill, gain favors at odd levels, and gain support abilities at even levels, which increase the effectiveness of party members performing tasks. I've never personally played a Noble in a WoT game, but others in my group have, and they enjoyed it.

Personally, though, it isn't worth the problems of tracking down the book just for that one class, though. Wizards discontinued support a long time ago, and copies can go for upwards of $40 on Ebay. However, if you've read the books, it's a pretty fun game (even if not entirely true to the source material) that offers some interesting twists to the d20 formula. I'd personally like to see the WoT magic system replace the D&D one in 4.0. Casters still manage to be powerful, but they're no longer teh uber.

Kaerou
2007-02-09, 12:38 PM
Why would the Aristocrat ever be a PC class?

They're not fighters, and tend to not lift a finger to do anything manual in their lives. They're d4 HD and poor AB. 4-6 skill points with their education. Unless they're in a military family and get training, at which point they would be a knight or marshall or whatever.

Am i the only one that thinks 'hero' when i think of PC classes?

MrNexx
2007-02-09, 01:23 PM
Why would the Aristocrat ever be a PC class?

They're not fighters, and tend to not lift a finger to do anything manual in their lives. They're d4 HD and poor AB. 4-6 skill points with their education. Unless they're in a military family and get training, at which point they would be a knight or marshall or whatever.

Take another look at the DMG or SRD, Kaerou. The Aristocrat NPC class is D* HD and moderate BAB, with 4 SP, and all simple/martial and all armors and shields.

kamikasei
2007-02-09, 01:35 PM
They're not fighters, and tend to not lift a finger to do anything manual in their lives. They're d4 HD and poor AB. 4-6 skill points with their education.

So uh... they're wizards? :smalltongue:

Arceliar
2007-02-09, 03:11 PM
They have a slightly usefull skill selection. If you're really good at d&d, make smart feat decisions, etc, then you can probably pull it off.

One way to (possibly) make aristocrat worthy... give them massive amounts of bonus $ at every level. For being spoiled rich kids. That or just throw in a bonus feat every 4-ish levels, I dunno.

Here's a semi-worthy combo, if you want to have fun. I was talking to my d&d party one day about the Vow of Poverty feat... and it occurred to us that commoners are circumstantially in poverty. Perfect candidate for the feat. Human Commoner w/ Sacred Vow and Vow of Poverty at 1st level, just go from there. Not exactly a mechanically fun character, but it can be a lot of fun to roleplay or throw in as an npc.

Rockphed
2007-02-09, 03:29 PM
So, to make the Aristocrat PC worthy, do I just sub in a will save bard, or is there a better way? I was thinking bard because aristocrats often dabble in magic, know how to use weapons, and somehow know how to do all sorts of other stuff.


This is why I was comparing them to the bard. Sorry for the mishmash that was the OP, but I was thinking of giving them magic. The marshall looks good, but I want to make the class PC worthy so I can have a Princess running around, and actually be useful. The marshall, however, is perfect for a prince who actually knows what he is doing. Although the marshall is lacking in the skills that an aristocrat has, namely, forgery, disguise, appraise, and gather information.

And so, for the magic, I was thinking making it intelligence based, limited spells known, no spellbook type thing. Any suggestions on making the noble a magic using noble.

Tengu
2007-02-09, 03:37 PM
What about Beguiler? There's intelligence-based, though spontaneous magic and social skills in one package.

Neek
2007-02-09, 10:07 PM
You must ask yourself a question to consider an effective Aristocrat PC class: What sort of campaign am I running? One of roleplaying and intrigue will definitely call for a noble class. One of orc-bashing and kobold-mashing, nitty dungeon crawls and slaying three headed dragons atop Mountain Damavand... then no, there's no real purpose.

And I think that's why some of you are saying feats, the others are saying class...

Ishmael
2007-02-09, 10:17 PM
Well, I suppose if you run the type of campaign that would allow a character to play an aristocrat, you wouldn't need to worry about statistics too much, because the only real campaign that could use an aristocrat in it would be a roleplay heavy one, right?

TheThan
2007-02-09, 10:50 PM
I made a noble class for dnd, I borrowed a bit from starwars d20, but thatís ok not that big of a deal.

Hereís a link:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10759&highlight=socialite

Itís an old thread so please donít raise it.

Avicenex
2007-02-09, 10:51 PM
How to have a noble who can use magic:
-Be a Wizard or a Sorcerer
-Roleplay

If you don't like those spellcaster classes, search through Complete Arcane and Mage, or just homebrew a new one.

clarkvalentine
2007-02-09, 11:51 PM
... because the only real campaign that could use an aristocrat in it would be a roleplay heavy one, right?


It's still handy to have rules mechanics to support that style of play, though. I'm running a very roleplay heavy campaign, full of political intrigue - game mechanics still matter. A lot.

I_Got_This_Name
2007-02-10, 12:07 AM
Yeah, Wizard seems to be a pretty solid class for a noble to take, albeit one isolated from the court. Some old wizard gets paid a lot of money to teach the noble's kid, and, bam, you have a wizard.

Beguiler also looks like a good noble class, and has all of the skills necessary at court. I can also second the Marshal, for those nobles that train to lead.

Magnus_Samma
2007-02-10, 01:19 AM
I created an Aristocrat variant for a homebrew game, just because I liked the class for the same reasons you do. I gave them better starting cash and a bonus feat at each even-numbered level, and provided a list of bonus feats. This arrangement really worked best in Eberron, because all the Dragonmark feats were on the list, which could make a character a real social powerhouse if they played their cards right.

cupkeyk
2007-02-10, 12:36 PM
I must say I loved playing a courtier in a Rokugan game. Bust since that game let's you win most things with a proper whisper in the correct ear anyway, it's not as powerful in DnD sense. It's almost a Mindbender as you can Charm and Dominate creatures.

Oh, Star Wars' had a Noble class with an amazing one use per campaign ability: Call in a Favor. It's not awesome game breaking but can totally come as an edge for a noncombatant face type character.

Marshal s good.