Age of Heroes
These noble-blooded politicians achieve their ends through resources, persuasion and movement in the circles of power. Though they are born into their rank, they choose not to invest in armour and weapons. Instead, they devote themselves to rulership and verbal politics. An aristocrat does not fight; she has servants and allies to do that for her.
Aristocrats have many roles in the ancient world. They act as ambassadors to other countries or city-states, raise forces to invade their neighbours, fund expeditions, hatch plots and conspire in the circles of power. Aristocrats are the natural spokesmen for a group of characters and often assume a leading role when the group is engaged in social combat. An aristocrat will often go adventuring with a noble warrior of the same family. For example, a female Greek aristocrat might go on a diplomatic mission to a rival city-state with her noble warrior brother as her escort.
It is important to distinguish between an aristocrat’s personal wealth and the wealth that she can access. Aristocrats may draw funds or resources from their investments or family holdings, above and beyond any personal fortunes she might have. They do not gain any Reputation bonus from her societal role, even though the amount of money that she could access over the months could exceed the amount necessary to gain a Reputation bonus.
Each aristocrat is part of a household or organisation of some sort. The player must specify what this is. The household may, for example, be that of a wealthy family or a royal personage. The organisation may be the government of a Greek city-state or an extended alliance of Persian nobles.
Marrying well is very important for an aristocrat. All characters start the game unmarried; there is an especial pressure on an aristocrat character to find a husband or wife of suitable background. Examples of aristocrats from the myths include the Grand Vizier of Luxor, King Aeetes, King Minos, Hecuba, Clytemnestra and Helen of Troy.
Deity: Any. Aristocrats who are also governors follow Zeus, Athena or Ra.
Hit Die: d4.
The aristocrat’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are
- Acrobatics (Dex)
- Appraise (Int)
- Bluff (Cha)
- Debate (Int)
- Forgery (Int)
- Knowledge (any) (Int)
- Perception (Wis),
- Presence (Cha)
- Prayer (Wis)
- Profession (Wis)
- Perform (Cha),
- Sense Motive (Wis)
- Speak Language (n/a)
- Ride (Dex)
- Rhetoric (Cha)
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) x 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armour Proficiency:
An aristocrat is proficient with all simple weapons and one martial weapon her choice. She is not proficient with armor or with shields.
All of the following are class features of the aristocrat.
The aristocrat may draw upon an assured supply of wealth. Alone of all the character classes, the aristocrat does not need to adventure to gain riches. Once per month, an aristocrat may garner funds from his family’s holdings of 2d6x10 silver drachmas. Requisition Entourage: From 2nd level onwards, the aristocrat may requisition slaves, warriors and noble warriors allied to her house, region or city-state. See the table below for details of how big an entourage the aristocrat can request.
From 2nd level onwards, the aristocrat may requisition Slaves, Warriors, Hoplites, and other classes allied to her house, region or city-state. See the table below for details of how big an entourage the aristocrat can request.
Several factors can affect an aristocrats ability to requisition an entourage, causing it to vary from the base Requisition score (Character level + Cha modifier).
A character’s reputation (from the point of view of those she is trying to attract) raises or lowers her Requisition score: When the aristocrat tries to recruit an entourage, use any of the following modifiers that apply.
- Requisition Score:
An aristocrat’s base Requisition score equals her level plus any Charisma modifier. In order to take into account negative Charisma modifiers, this table allows for very low Requisition scores. Outside factors can also affect the aristocrat’s Requisition score, as detailed above.
The aristocrat can requisition a slave, warrior or hoplite of up to this level. The Games Master has the final say on which is assigned to the character. Regardless of a character’s Requisition score, she can only recruit a Warrior or Hoplite who is two or more levels lower than herself. The entourage member should be equipped with gear appropriate for its class and level.
The entourage member does not count as a party member when determining their experience points. Entourage members earn experience points as follows:
- Divide the entourage member’s level by that of the aristocrat with whom they are associated.
- Multiply this result by the total experience points awarded to the aristocrat and add that number of experience points to the entourage member’s total.
- If an entourage member gains enough experience points to bring
it to a level one lower than that of the aristocrat, the entourage member does not gain the new level – its new experience points total is one less than the amount needed attain the next level.
- Slave Numbers by Level: The aristocrat can also requisition up to the indicated number of slaves of each level. Slaves are similar to warriors and hoplites, except that they are generally low-level
- Non-Player Characters. Because they’re generally five or more levels lower than the aristocrat they follow, they are rarely effective in combat.
- Slaves do not earn experience and thus don’t gain levels. However, when the aristocrat attains a new level, the player consults the table above to determine if she has acquired more slaves, some of which may be higher level than the her existing entourage.
An aristocrat of 3rd level is recognized as a person of importance by aristocrats of other city-states or countries. This is a campaign detail rather than a game benefit. If the aristocrat is injured, captured or killed, there will automatically be reprisals. An aristocrat who has earned diplomatic significance can expect her household or city-state to look for her if she goes missing, rescue her if she gets into trouble and bail her out if she should run into trouble with the law.
At 4th level, the aristocrat begins to acquire the steely tone of voice and steady eye that characterizes a person who is used to being obeyed. She benefits from a +2 competence bonus to all Bluff and Presence checks.
The aristocrat learns to stay out of the way of trouble. As she is not a combatant by nature, she has to make sure that she can survive if combat should find her. She receives the indicated bonus to all Active Defense checks.
The aristocrat has ties with her native land that steel her against the magic of foreigners and the followers of other Gods. As a noble, she has a bond to the earth that others do not. Aristocrats are ultimately protectors of their land and their land protects them in turn. When an aristocrat is on her native soil, she becomes resistant to the magical effects of those who are not themselves native to that region. She benefits from the indicated bonus to saving throws against such effects. ‘Region’ is here defined as ‘city-state’ or ‘home province’ for a Greek character. For an Persian character, the ‘native region’ is extended to all of Persia.
Aura of Importance:
The aristocrat is now self-evidently a person of power and influence, so much so that lesser characters find it hard to countenance the idea of harming her. Any character of lower level than the aristocrat must succeed at a Will saving throw in order to attack her at all. If a character fails their saving throw, they cannot summon up the courage to attack the aristocrat. The DC of the saving throw is 10 plus the aristocrat’s level of experience. The saving throw may be made afresh with each passing round. Only other human beings are affected by the aura of importance, animals and undead creatures have no such compunctions about attacking such individuals and are not affected by this ability.
As the aristocrat’s power grows, so too does her confidence. It becomes harder to unseat her by appealing to the Gods. The most entrenched of aristocrats come to consider themselves ‘as constant as the northern star’, coming dangerously close to risking the ire of the Gods with their faith in their own powers. The aristocrat with this feature gains indicated bonus to Prayer checks made in concert with spending divine points, whether to oppose another’s attempt to reduce her own die rolls or to reduce those of another.
Voice of Command:
The aristocrat’s inherent authority strengthens as she gains experience. The competence bonus she gains to Bluff and Presence checks is now +4.
The aristocrat is a figure of influence in the mortal world, which makes her very interesting to the Gods. She may open a direct channel to her deity. So long as the aristocrat is not in disfavor with her deity, she may take an automatic result of 20 on a single Prayer check once per day. If playing a less mythic setting, Games Masters may prefer to represent this ability by replacing the deity with the ear of a powerful public figure. Doing so grants the aristocrat an automatic result of 20 once per day to any single Presence check.
If an Aristocrat becomes the leader of a powerful City or Nation, they gain the Majesty ability
Only those who become kings and queens of legend gain this ability. The character’s aura of importance has developed to mythic proportions. An aristocrat with majesty has such presence that lesser characters fear to approach him, let alone attack him. A character who attempts to attack the aristocrat and fails their saving throw may not simply try again next round. Instead, they are stricken with panic for 1d6 rounds plus the aristocrat’s Charisma ability score modifier. A panicked character drops whatever they are holding and flees as fast as they can go away from the source of their fear, avoiding obstacles in the way. They can take no other actions and suffer a –2 penalty on saving throws, skill checks and ability score checks. If a panicked character is cornered, they cower and will use the total defense option if forced to fight.