Friday, March 19, 2010

From the Attic: Nobles of the Ancient World

Normally my from the attic is stuff I pulled from way way back. This is a little more recent.

Before I got the license that allowed me to do the Majestic Wilderlands I had a few idea for different projects. Some I will do under Bat in the Attic others are of less priority now that I have the Majestic Wilderlands to deal with.

One of the project was a highly cultural centric project focused on humans. The idea was to use race as culture. The nominal target was D&D 4e but that fell by the wayside when the GSL Version 1 proved to be a really bad deal.

The idea was go through the Ancient, Classical, and Medieval periods of history and work up major cultural groups of society. They would be generic so that the referee could adapt them to his setting. This excerpt is the Ancient Noble roughly of the same time period as Ancient Egypt, and Babylonia.

Nobles of the Ancient World
Paragons of humanity, they are the rulers and defenders of civilization.

Special Abilities
+2 to Charisma

The noble of the ancient period is the best of humanity; he knows that life is too unforgiving to allow the weak to survive. Unlike later eras he does not assume that her special status is by right. He knows that he has to prove himself worthy of the responsibilities. He know that the nobles are all that stand between the monsters and the utter ruin of civilization.

Play a noble if you want…
to be a leader.
to defend civilization against the depredations of barbarians and monsters.
to have a chance to create a lasting legacy.

Physical Qualities
Being born of a king does give the nobles access to more food and the time to train and hone the body. Because of this they are taller and heavier than the average peasant. Having the luxury of time to train, their appearance is more muscular and fit then the rest of the people of the land.

Nobles wear fine linen and wool for their clothing. Using the harvest surplus they hire artisans to work at the palace not only to create weapons, tool, and armor but luxury goods as well. As the leaders they are expected to look their finest as a shining example. Their first duty is to defend the city-state against its enemies both monsters, barbarians, and rival city-states. To this end they train incessantly for war and the hunt.

Playing a Noble.
The noble is about duty. They receive the best because they are expected to be the best. They continually train, and are busy with their duties assigned by the king. They often find themselves in harm’s way so that the people and the city are protected. The nobles supervise the various construction projects that are underway after the harvest is in. They provide leadership and guidance to ensure that the walls, temples, and buildings are properly built.

The king is the leading noble of the land. In the late centuries of the ancient age the creation of the empire required the king to appoint governors to rules the subject city-state in their name. Within those cities the governor fulfills the king’s role as leader. The remaining nobles form his elite guard, and advisors. The king supports them and their families with the surplus from the harvest. The first bureaucracies are established as favored nobles are chosen by the king to supervise the distribution of the harvest to the peasant and artisans.

Weak nobles soon become scorned. They will be challenged time and time until they either reform or they lose their position. Those who suffer the loss in status often will live the city in shame to live in exile. A weak or tyrannical king will soon lose the support of his court, the priest, and the rest of the city-state and be deposed usually in favor of a close relative.

The noble’s view of the peasant’s is that they are the backbone of civilization. It is by their labor that he has the food he eats. It is by their labor that the great temples, walls, and palaces are built. If they grumble then the noble should listen. If they are attacked then they must be defended. The priests can be rivals but they are important to ensure that the city-state remains in favor with the gods. They are also the first line of defense against the supernatural. The artisans produce much that is useful and pleasing. Their wit and skills give the nobles the means by which the city-state can be defended.

When peasants are lazy, artisans do shoddy work and the priests neglect the altars, it is up to the noble to set matters right. He will give the elders a chance to rectify the problem but if it continues then he will enforce discipline. If fellow nobles are faltering, even the king, then it is the noble’s duty to issue the needed challenges. The noble is also sought by those who been wronged by a crime. Using the law set down by the King he will judge the accusation and decide. If justice is granted, those who have been wronged are free to seek equal retribution from the perpetrator.

A Kaddian noble feels loyalty to his king or governor first. The establishment of the empire has begun to broaden many noble’s view of the world. They have become aware of other lands like Goshen and Archonia. In some ways they are no better than the barbarians but it is obvious that they are far wealthier. Many nobles have started accompanies the artisan on trade missions to these far off lands for glory and opportunity.

The Goshen Nobles know he lives in paradise on earth. The gods have truly blessed him with the annual flood creates the bounty of the land. The pinnacle of the Goshen nobles is the Naswet the supreme king of all Goshen. In recent decades the faith in the Naswet has begun to shaken as the Naswet is unable to stop the raids of the Sea People. Travelers from the far off land of Saggiga tell stories of heroes who rise in times to depose weak kings and save the land. The nobles have begun to wonder if such a time has come for Goshen.

The Black Wizards have backed the Nobles of Archeronia against proverbial wall. Either they fight and die true to their ideal, or sell their souls to the wizards for the glory of conquest and pillage. In either case weak nobles quickly die in Archeronia. The ones that survive are of the stuff that legends are made.

Noble Adventurers

Urnungal was appointed to the court of Dumishar the governor of Kishnar. Dumishar had just arrived in Kishnar replacing the previous governor who let the city and its defenses fall into disrepair. As a consequence, Guti barbarians and monsters continually raided the region with impunity. Urnungal proved to be an adept leader, inspiring his men to victory and leading them on successful hunts. Dumishar has rapidly promoted Urnungal giving a larger share of the Kishnar’s defense. This has drawn the ire of Irmunkal, one of the few holdovers from the previous governor’s court. Irmunkal had expected to be rewarded for being one of the few to continue to be faithful their duties. But Urnungal’s rapid rise has eclipsed Irmunkal’s efforts causing her to be jealous.

As the fifth son, Sanakba had little prospect in the court of the Naswet. He was sent to be trained as a priest in the service of Ament the Sun God. His love of fighting and the outdoors proved ill-suited for either scholarly pursuits or the patience need to perform the exacting rituals for Ament. He was trained as a champion of Ament, a paladin, and sent to the court of Governor Nefkhare of Spaimeh, a province of the Goshen delta region. There he grew outspoken about the need for actions against the Sea People and offended Governor Nefkhare. For his offense he was exiled to the desert province of Herun. Reduced to chasing the elusive desert herdsmen he rages at Goshen’s continue impotence against the Sea People.

Eumenes was captured when the Black Wizards sacked his father’s citadel at Pylos at age 14. Taking advantage of his early training the Black Wizards had him fight for their amusement at various games they held for entertainment. Restless the night before a fight he explored the ruins of the amphitheater he was currently staying at. There in a forgotten store room he found scrolls detailing the pacts an individual can make to the powers of nature. That night he made his pact and escaped his confinement in a mist. Since then he has found others fighting the Black Wizards and joined them, resolving one day to retake Pylos.

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