Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's up with those crazy nobles, anyway?

I've decided that for my next non-mutated D&D outing I want more Excalibur/You Know Who & The Holy Grail/Princess Bride style knights, castles, princesses with pointy hats and such. That's why I'm drawing up a list of all the major noble houses of the realm and giving them coats of arms. I want to make sure that arriving at the Thane of Mno's castle isn't just a cookie cutter duplicate of a visit to the castle of the Baron of Kishur. Obviously, a big random chart is in order.

Random Castle Shenanigans (d20)
1. Romance - A member of the household is interested in one of the PCs. One night stand? Stupid crush? Eternal love?
2. Haunting - The unquiet ghost of an ancestor prowls the halls on certain nights.
3. Hidden Catacombs - The place is built over a dungeon.
4. Knight Errancy - One or more of the younger sons are wandering adventurers, possibly off on a crusade.
5. Widow - A higher ranked noble is adjudicating the disposition of the dead lord's affairs, possibly to his own advantage.
6. Damaged Castle - Wreckage caused by last year's siege/monster attack/earthquake still being repaired.
7. Sibling Rivalry - Brothers and/or sisters engaged in petty mischief, may boil over to outright violence.
8. Amazons - The ladies wear the platemail in this family.
9. Family Curse - Lycanthropy? Innsmouth taint?
10. Keepers of the Flame - Protectors of the secret hiding spot of some artifact of the Old Kingdom.
11. Heretics - One or more members of the household not orthodox in their religious views.
12. Festival - Celebration of a wedding, birth, knighting or perhaps a fair or tourney.
13. Rowdy Lads - The lords younger sons and/or bastards are a rough and tumble bunch. Hard to control, but would make for brave adventuring companions.
14. Lurking Monster - Some mankiller has made a lair in the same hex.
15. Black Magic - Someone in the family secretly studies sorcery.
16. Secret Society - One or more members of the household belong to a secret political party, witches coven, etc.
17. Petty War - The barony down the road is getting too uppity, I tells you.
18. Blood Feud - A random noble house are mortal enemies.
19. Strong Ally - Another noble house? A wizard? Some creature?
20. Prisoner - either a member of the household is being held elsewhere or the locals are holding someone of note, awaiting ransom


  1. Perhaps in the same roll as border war one could choose between that and 5th column nastiness, such as someone in the family secretly working with France (or whatever its fantasy doppleganger is) to topple dad's kingdom.

  2. Damn I love your charts. Like the others, I've copy/pasted this into my great big folder of possibilities. Thanks again for being awesome.

  3. Um, I realize that it might not be your style, but you may want to check out the Birthright setting for ideas. If you don't mind converting between editions, has a 3.x edition version that can be somewhat useful to come up with additional ideas.

  4. such as someone in the family secretly working with France(or whatever its fantasy doppleganger is)

    Never mind the doppelganger, it's always France, even if it is a fantasy realm. A bit of dimension-hopping never hurt anyone!

  5. Efnisien3:18 PM

    If you want to emulate the flavour of medieval romances, one of the entries has got to be:
    Challege - a mysterious knight, armoured from head to toe [or wizened crone, or green man, or whoever] comes to the castle hall and issues one of the PCs with a challenge to a duel/contest/other quest.

  6. very useful chart! thanks!

  7. And Pendragon is a pretty damn good resource for running a knightly campaign. Even if one doesn't want to use the whole thing, it still has great information.