d20 Noble Obligations

Privilege & Power: Using Nobility in Your World-Building and Plots. Read Part I here.

And happy Wednesday. Yesterday, we looked at the rights and privileges nobles may get in your world. This helps flesh out noble PC backgrounds, aids in world-building, and inspires plot and encounter ideas.

A fantastic way to balance out some of the powers nobles receive is to also add responsibilities, burdens, and obligations for being of high station in society.

These restrictions also offer great spawn points for plots, adventures, and encounters.

d20 Noble Obligations

  1. Fealty Oaths. Owing loyalty to a higher lord or monarch, including military support, resource bequeathments, and counsel.
  2. Levy Taxes. Responsible for collecting taxes from their lands and people, and ensuring the crown or state receives its due share.
  3. Maintain Peace. Ensuring local peace and stability, including suppressing banditry and clan feuds, posting and paying bounties, and settling disputes.
  4. Knights. The noble must provide trained and provisioned knights and soldiers for the ruler’s wars and campaigns.
  5. Court Attendance. They must attend royal court and state functions during specific seasons or events, a duty that often involves significant expense and time.
  6. Patronage of the Arts. Supporting artists, musicians, and poets, both to beautify their estates and to increase their prestige.
  7. Maintain Infrastructure. Keeping roads open, ensuring bridges do not collapse, and supporting public works within their domain.
  8. Hospitality. Providing lodging and protection to travelers, particularly those bearing the king’s mark, ambassadors, or other nobles.
  9. Paying Ransoms. The noble must orchestrate the safe return of any kin or nobles who’ve sworn fealty if captured in warfare.
  10. Judicial Duties. Serving on juries, presiding over trials, and rendering fair judgments in noble courts.
  11. Charitable Works. Establishing and maintaining almshouses, orphanages, and other charitable institutions.
  12. Education. The noble is expected to establish and fund schools, scholarships, and other forms of patronage to educate those in their region.
  13. Sponsor Feasts & Tournament. Hosting and funding expensive events like fairies, festivals, feasts, and tournaments, which can improve status and morale.
  14. Marriage Alliances. Arranging marriages, or having one arranged for them, to strengthen alliances and secure property, peace, or mutual interests.
  15. Succession Planning. Ensuring the family lineage is secure through legitimate heirs and managing the complexities of inheritance.
  16. Military Fortification. Building and maintaining forts, castles, or fortresses to defend the realm.
  17. Ceremonial Duties. Leading or participating in important ceremonial functions, which may involve religious, cultural, or royal traditions.
  18. Record Keeping. Bureaucracy! Maintaining accurate records of land holdings, births, deaths, and marriages, and other information crucial for taxation and administration.
  19. Magic Regulation: Regardless of whether magic is feared or revered, nobles must regulate its use, possibly by enlisting powerful yet loyal casters to oversee and enforce magic use within the domain.
  20. Defend the Realm: Being ready to defend the realm against invasions or rebellions, including border patrols, is a significant burden that may require risking their own life and resources.

These obligations make the lives of nobles not just about privilege but also about responsibilities, each with potential consequences and effects in your campaign. I hope you find the ideas useful!

Have more fun at every game!

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