How do you stat out rulers such as kings and queens in your games? - Page 2
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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    I'll chime in with the others here, why do they need a stat block? And why why should they be powerful combatants? And, stat them as NPC with special abilities.

    Why should they have lots of hit points? They are not adventurers.
    Why are they "better" than a noble? Because they wield political power? Because they were born into their role?

    Do you imagine Queen Elizabeth to be 20th level? Do you imagine her to have more hit points and a better attack bonus than the queen's guard at the gate to the palace? But, she probably has a few special traits like 'royal decree' and 'unflappable decorum'.

    I mean unless your king/queen is Conan or a warrior/wizard that took the throne by force or built the kingdom from the ground up...
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  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    I would use the Noble statblock, and perhaps throw on a +2 to a skill (basically expertise) if I feel they are going to be particularly amazing at something.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    If I needed a stat block and for whatever reason the noble stat block wasn't suitable then I'd pick something like the veteran and give them skills relevant to being a ruler such as diplomacy and insight. A modified veteran would work well for a king who was noted as being an active combatant in their youth. Most of the time though I don't bother statting up any NPCs that aren't expected to get involved in combat.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    dark rural wet rainy Britain
    All the npcs in my game have a full character sheet. I do this because quite often one or more of my players brings a friend along to "watch" and I offer them a npc to play rather than just sitting there. For the group it makes the game more fun and for me it helps to round the npc out by being able to see how someone else would have the npc react to a given situation or event.
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  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Commonly, the noble is sufficient for my purposes.

    Where that isn’t the case, and the ruler is notably powerful, I like to use that same NPC stat-block and add to it pursuant to that ruler’s reputation.

    For instance, if this ruler was ordained by a priest and chosen among deities, I might grant them a divine boon to their attack rolls and AC, or make them immune to damage except by weapons blesses by a rival deity. Or maybe the ruler pulled a legendary sword from some kind of hard substance - i might make it so that he never missed an attack and always dealt critical damage.

    I like to play with the setting, rather than kit up some levels, for stuff like this.

    That said, sometimes a properly designed NPC is exactly what you need for a specific encounter- and if so, that’s what i make.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    No need that kings be high level, they can even be based on CR 1 guard with some social skills if needed.

    Power of kings comes from their retainers and all who serve under him.

    Also wealth is a power also.

    You could make CR 2 king with +3 sword, +3 plate, +3 shield, cloak&ring of protection.
    And while his base attack, damage, AC, HPs, saves would be average, gear would push it into excelent

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    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.
    Stat blocks are for combat encounters. A few individual stats are for non-combat encounters.

    Are you going to fight the king/queen? If yes, then give them full stat blocks. Use PC-like stats if the king/queen is (or was) and adventurer, otherwise use NPC stats from the MM (use Commoner if the king/queen has nothing special).

    Are you going to encounter the king/queen "socially"? Define only a couple of stats that you will use, typically the Cha/Wis/Int scores and a small set of proficiencies in skills related to those 3. Or don't define them at all and just roleplay.

    There is a fundamental flaw in thinking that top world rulers must be high level in a class, which essentially means being good at adventuring and at combat in particular. Nearly all the top fighters in the real world (military, professional wrestlers/boxers, hitmen) effectively live the life of minions, not rulers, in the sense that their whole 'work' is about obeying orders.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    London England
    I use the NPC stat blocks, like Knight, Champion, & Warlord. The Noble stat block is ok for noncombatant nobles.

    Sansa Stark - Noble
    Arya Stark - Assassin
    Bran Stark - Druid
    John Snow - Champion
    Robb Stark - Knight

    That sort of thing.
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  9. #19
    It's extraordinarily rare for me to stat up an NPC who's not an adventurer. "Civilians" just get a couple hit dice (12 hp specifically) and a +2 bonus to whatever rolls they might make, getting advantage on ability checks in their wheelhouse to make it a bit tougher for a player to haggle with a merchant or intimidate a bouncer.

    So the king's handled the same way, getting advantage on checks involved in getting his own way (so it's essentially harder to persuade, bully or trick him into do what he doesn't want to).
    Last edited by Satyrn; Friday, 9th November, 2018 at 09:02 PM.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    Arya Stark - Assassin
    Who's that?

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