How do you stat out rulers such as kings and queens in your games?
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  1. #1
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    How do you stat out rulers such as kings and queens in your games?

    The only NPC stat block that is explicitly meant to represent an "upper-class" noble type is the Noble stat block, but it's pretty weak and probably represents a town mayor, at best. There are other stat blocks with higher HP, etc. that could work, though, depending on the concept for the ruler (i.e. is he/she skilled at arms, or perhaps a mage or cleric, etc.) Also, I know in 2e/3e some rulers got character classes and levels - anybody care to post or direct me to such stats (not the whole thing, just something like "King Blueface of Nothingham - 15th level fighter" is all I really need to gauge how tough rulers were in prior editions.) Any contribution would be nice.

  2. #2
    For some reason many people feel the need to stat up kings and other rulers as high level characters. And while that makes sense for some, many kings in history were not very good combatants so I personally do not see the need to always make rulers high level.
    This is one of the cases where D&Ds weakness in form of its combat focus really shows.
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  3. #3
    Uh...I generally don’t stat up such characters... For how often their stats actually become relevant, it’s not worth the extra work. If you need a number for them to make an Insight check or whatever, it’s pretty easy to just eyeball.
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  4. #4
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    With a Custom Stat block that reflects their lore or narrative role in the campaign. Kings, Queens, and other such rulers of nations, are unique individuals. And it is worth pointing out that they don't have to be powerful mages priests or warriors in order to wield political power. The Rulers of the Forgotten Realms setting can have upwards of 30 or more of class levels with custom prestige classes. In contrast, the rulers of Eberron have like 5, and even those are generic NPC class levels. So yes, you could just use the noble stat block, depending on how much gravitas and oomph you want to give this monarch.

    However, I am of the opinion that NPCs need not bother with class levels: Stat them up like a monster, complete with special abilities, legendary actions, and Lairs with actions if you really want to drive home their potency.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elderbrain View Post
    The only NPC stat block that is explicitly meant to represent an "upper-class" noble type is the Noble stat block, but it's pretty weak and probably represents a town mayor, at best. There are other stat blocks with higher HP, etc. that could work, though, depending on the concept for the ruler (i.e. is he/she skilled at arms, or perhaps a mage or cleric, etc.) Also, I know in 2e/3e some rulers got character classes and levels - anybody care to post or direct me to such stats (not the whole thing, just something like "King Blueface of Nothingham - 15th level fighter" is all I really need to gauge how tough rulers were in prior editions.) Any contribution would be nice.
    I think the nobles work fine for 90-95% of rulers (kings and queens included) in my games. In fact, I tend use higher level NPCs for lords and such, while Kings, Queens, and Emperors would be typically be lower level / CR
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  6. #6
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    I seem to recall that King Azoun of Cormyr in FR 3e was a 20th level paladin. There is some books based on a home campaign where one is named king of the Bloodstone Lands in FR as well. Not sure if he was a fighter or paladin. You can also go with Blackstaff in Waterdeep was a ruler who was like 30th level.

    I tend to not get where the PCs need the stats for the ruler. They may meet a local lord or mayor type, but the king does not have the time for them. Maybe if I played high level I can see them meeting. I like to have most local lord types be around 5th level with some having been adventurers or such in the past. I would like to see NPC levels like in 3e where I can have a local lord just a farmer with 5 levels of commoner and not need to have him with a few fighter levels.

    I could just give them any stats I wanted and give them monster stat blocks. If I need a farmer ruler of the village to have 8 hit dice- I can just give it to him. 5e tends to not give NPCs PC class levels, so I guess in 5e go with whatever you feel. I tend to have a few high level guards hanging around when adventuring groups come by.

  7. #7
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    Noble stat block. Slightly modified on a case by case basis.
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  8. #8
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    Unless necessary, they are without stats. I focus on agendas (both public and private).
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  9. #9
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    I generally don't bother stating nobility, unless I expect combat from them. D&D is unfortunately combat focused, making non-combat characters have lower skill checks. When requiring checks to interact with them, such as deception, insight, intimidation, or persuasion, I set a DC, rather than doing a contested check.

  10. #10
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    Noble statblock.
    Why would the king be higher CR? It's not like they do any fighting. Or... engage in much activity of any kind.
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