Friday, October 9, 2020

GLOG Class: the Rightful Heir

Your royal mother, the ruling Queen, has just been assassinated. The Queen's brother, your uncle, has seized power and usurped the Crown. You believe—you know—that your uncle was behind the killing, but you cannot prove it.

You have the better claim to the Crown; by rights, the realm is yours. Your uncle knows this, as do the realm's nobility: in order to secure his claim, your uncle needs you out of the picture.

You are on the run.

GLOG Class: the Rightful Heir

A: Crown Fugitive, Sworn Protector, Old Loyalties
AΔ: Child, Adult, Life Experiences
B: Noble Ally
BΔ: Noble Power, Church Blessing, Common Support
C: Evidence
CΔ: Evidence Acquisition
DΔ: Evidence Presented, Open Rebellion

Starting skills: noble youth, and also [1d3]: 1 = some diplomatic education, 2 = some military education, 3 = some religious education

Starting equipment: a symbol of your mother, a set of noble clothes, a set of ill-fitting travelling clothes, a piece of royal jewelry worth 100gp, a sworn protector (see below), a map of the realm, a letter of writ from a noble who secretly supports you (see below), and two fast horses.

(A) Crown Fugitive
You are a fugitive from the Crown; as far as the realm is concerned, you are a dangerous traitor who needs to be stopped. If you're recognized, the authorities will be called to arrest you.

Nobles, government agents, military officers, and other well-connected people will likely recognize you, though it will take them a minute or two. Common folk probably won't, so long as you aren't acting too regally in public.

Furthermore, your Uncle has sent soldiers, spies, and operatives to pursue you. By default, your uncle's operatives want to bring you back to court to be publicly tried and sentenced; this means they're out to capture you, not murder you in cold blood.

If you are arrested or captured, you'll be hauled back to court, bound and gagged on the back of a horse. Your companions, however, are more expendable: if they're as young as you, they'll be given a thorough thrashing and then be dragged back with you; if they're adults, they might well simply be put to the sword.

You should add your uncle's operatives to your table's random encounter tables; doubly likely if on the road or in a major town.

(A) Sworn Protector
You have a guardian watching over you, someone who has sworn a sacred oath to protect you, be it by life or by death. 

While in your presence, your sworn protector gains +[templates] Defense, and has advantage on saving throws against fear, mind control, or being moved against their will, as well as advantage on checks made to reach and stay close to you (like, say, digging through rubble, or prying off assassins). 

If they are right next to you when you are attacked, both you and they can make a save (probably DEX) to ensure warden guards ward; if either of you succeed, your protector takes the damage instead of you.

If you die while your protector lives, they will be ridden with guilt, blamed by other members of the resistance, and likely executed by your uncle.

If it's at all possible, your sworn protector should be another PC. Promise them whatever they want—in and/or out of character—to make it work.

(A) Old Loyalties
While your uncle has seized the Crown, the people of the realm may still be loyal to you. When you ask someone for aid in your struggle, roll 2d6:

Common Folk:
2–3: They recognize you but pretend not to, and will report you to the authorities at the soonest opportunity.
4–6: They won't help you, and tell you to scram or there will be trouble.
7: They won't help you unless you offer them some kind of payment.
8–10: They'll help you, provided it doesn't draw down direct harm upon them.
11+: They recognize you, and were deeply loyal to your mother; they'll do anything they can to help you.

Nobility (and other elites):
2–3: They recognize you, and summon their minions to clap you in irons; they'll send word to your uncle as soon as possible.
4–6: They recognize you and will summon their minions to clap you in irons; they'll spend a little while weighing their options before they report you, though, giving you a chance to either persuade them to release you—or try to escape.
7: They don't recognize you, and tell you to move along, or there will be trouble. If you can prove who you are, treat this result as a cautious 8–10.
8–10: They recognize you, and will provide significant aid and resources if you can make it worth their while (be that in gold or promises).
11+: They recognize you, are loyal to you and your mother, and will do anything they can to help your cause.

Modifiers to these rolls, both good and bad, should be flexible. If you've just performed some heroic deed and demonstrated your just and chivalrous nature, you should get a bonus; if you're covered in blood and mud and act like a common brigand, you should get a penalty. Work with your GM to see what seems fair.

This is meant for NPCs that you don't know or only kind of know; if they're already an ally or a sworn enemy or something, you don't need to roll.

(AΔ) Child
Earned if you are a child, less than twelve years old or so. Lost when you reach adolescence.
You have not yet started your proper education; lose the [ld3] skill.
Your uncle is not even sure you need to die, and slaughtering the children of the late Queen isn't a good look.
Your uncle's operatives might bully, manhandle, and bind you, but will never draw steel against you or intentionally cause lasting harm. The same can't be said for your companions.
When you roll for Old Loyalties with common folk, take +1 to the roll; when you roll for nobility, take -1.

(AΔ) Adult
Earned when you become a full adult, older than eighteen or so. 
You've finished your education, drop the "some" from your [1d3] skill.
You're simply too dangerous to be left alive, so your uncle's operatives have orders to kill you on sight, along with any of your companions and anyone else who might be loyal to you.
When you roll for Old Loyalties with nobility, take +1 to the roll; when you roll for common folk, take -1.

(AΔ) Life Experiences
As a youth raised in the palace, you don't have much in the way of real life experiences; while you're obviously in the middle of a succession crisis, you also are in the middle of growing up.

As you do the following, take the associated bonus:
  • First fight - +1 to-hit
  • First serious scar - +1 HP
  • First kill - some quantity of emotional guilt, then +1 to-hit (player's choice; both is fine)
  • First meal you made yourself - open a new skill called "self reliance"
  • First night sleeping on the road - +1 inventory slot
  • First time waking up in the middle of the night to flee - cannot be surprised
  • First short-lived love affair - brutal heartbreak, then +1 to mental & emotional saves
  • First time getting really shitfaced - a monstrous hangover, then +1 HP
  • First serious argument with your companions - +1 INT
  • First companion lost - +1 WIS
  • First mission you lead yourself - +1 CHA
  • First betrayal - open a new skill called "political intrigue"

(B) Noble Ally
You have a noble ally, of not-inconsiderable strength and power, who will let you shelter in their hall, and will provide you with support. You have access to the basic perks that a noble can provide: beds, food, proper gear, fresh horses, hidey-holes, a library, and guides to the region.

Your noble ally will offer some gold (a few hundred pieces, give or take) and perhaps a handful of soldiers or a couple knights, but won't provide an army or war chest.

To win back your throne, you want:
  • Support from a majority of noble power (meaning not necessarily a majority of nobles, just a majority of the power that the nobility collectively wields).
  • The blessing of the church / supreme cultural institution de jour.
  • The broad support of the lower classes and the peasantry.  

(BΔ) Noble Power
Earned when a majority of noble power in the realm supports you and your cause against your uncle.
Any noble that supports you provides the same benefits as your original Noble Ally. Take +1 to Old Loyalties rolls for the nobility.
When the time comes to take back the Crown, these nobles will support you, with coin and swords. 

These benefits can be lost and gained on a noble-by-noble basis. Earning a given noble's support requires one of: A) them to be a die-hard supporter of your mother anyway, B) your uncle to have really pissed them off at some point, or C) a large gift, or an even larger promise of gifts in the future (of money, land, station, etc.)

(BΔ) Church Blessing
Earned when the church, or other supreme sociocultural institution, gives their blessing to you and your cause. 
Priests and clergy will help you, provide you with food and shelter, and might hide you from your uncle's operatives if it comes down to it. Take +1 to Old Loyalties rolls for anyone particularly religious, be they high- or lowborn. 
When the time comes to take back the Crown, the religious hierarchy will give you access to some old relics that prove your authority and righteousness to the world.

This will depend on how religious organization operates in your world, but generally, once the church-as-a-collective has decided something, they stick to it. Earning the church's blessing either requires your uncle to really piss them off, or else for you to do something sufficiently monarchical, pious, and sneakily-political, like fund a new cathedral, recover some lost artifacts, or swear oaths of religious fealty.

(BΔ) Common Support
Earned when the lower classes prefer you over your uncle. 
Peasants will be awed when you publicly arrive in town; you'll be plied with food and drink at pubs; young people your age will take a romantic interest in you. Take +1 to Old Loyalties rolls for the lower classes. 
When the time comes to take back the Crown, your peasant levies will grumble less and your uncle's peasant levies will grumble more.

Generally speaking, the commoners will like you, young and attractive and tragic-heroic, over your uncle. That said, to really win their support, either your uncle needs to really piss them off, or you need to make some grandiose promise to them (which you may or may not keep).

(C) Evidence 
You have learned that there is evidence that your uncle was behind the Queen's assassination. Roll 1d6 to determine what the evidence is:
  1. An assassin who, with the right pressure, might be willing to talk
  2. An entry in your uncle's private diary
  3. A confession from a member of your uncle's inner circle
  4. A letter placed to the Assassin's Guild from your uncle
  5. A royal servant who happened to be at the right place at the right time, twice
  6. A drunken slip-up from your uncle himself
Naturally, acquiring this evidence will be tricky. It will be on the run, sealed in a castle, unwilling to reveal itself, or otherwise challenging to find.

(CΔ) Evidence Acquisition
Earned when you have the evidence of your uncle's treachery in hand, ready to present to the world. Lost if you lose the evidence.
If you take the time to show the evidence, explain why it proves your uncle is treacherous, and then prove who you are, you count as automatically rolling an 8–10 on Old Loyalties.

(DΔ) Evidence Presented
Earned when you present evidence of your uncle's treachery to the court—ideally with your uncle in attendance.
You are no longer considered a fugitive; your uncle's operatives will continue pursuing you, but ordinary guards and authorities will support you, rather than arrest you. If your uncle's operatives try to attack you in public, people will help you fend them off.
Your cause is no longer viewed as treason by the world; the law is now definitively on your side.

(DΔ) Open Rebellion
Earned when you call your banners and march against your uncle.
If you win, you regain the Crown and take your rightful place as your mother's heir. If you fail, you'll be executed.

You are now quite literally at domain-level play. Maybe check out my rules for rulers to get some basics on how to proveed.

--

This is a messy one; I'd highly recommend you make an r-map to help your players keep track of the different elements they're juggling.

Templates that have both a letter and a Δ require you to be that level and complete the associated task. 

If it's not obvious, this originally was the barebones of an adventure, but now it's a class. You could pretty easily just assign this to a given character that already has a class, and just let them level this class concurrently. The actual power benefits mostly come from Life Experiences, which you could honestly imagine giving to an entire party of young adventurers. 

I dunno about this one. Might be amazing, might just be clunky trash.

Inspirations: Hamlet, Malcolm, Simba, Emily Kaldwin, Daenerys I and (f)Aegon VI Targaryen, Charles II, and many, many more.

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