To be treated by a Noble in Vilefort and start claiming Prestige and Influence, players must complete three tasks: Prove parentage, display wealth, and act the part.
Task 1: Prove Parentage
The first task, claiming Noble birth, is easy to start. However, defending that claim can become a perpetual struggle. Established Houses will instantly take a disliking to any upstarts and they will likely attempt to publicly discredit your claims.
Defending a claim can also become an ongoing struggle as Nobles attempt to gain an advantage. For example, it was recently suggested that Lady Ferreaux was not a Noble because she was unable to show where her parents were currently residing or buried. Lady Ferreaux countered that all Dwarves are actually born from eggs of stone and therefore this complaint is irrelevant; As silly as this was, none of her detractors could prove otherwise and the only other Dwarven Family, the Marteau Consortium, had no reason to comment since this same complaint could then be leveled against them.
Players must get at least half of the Nobles in the City to accept their claims of Noble parentage to fulfill the first task. This can be a formal acknowledgement of support in writing, or merely by the fact that they are not actively attempting to discredit it.
Task 2: Display Wealth
Nobles are rich. To be considered Noble, Players must exude wealth, or at least the image of it. Nobles without money are hardly considered Nobles at all. At best, they are considered weak pawn pieces, best to be traded or married off for titles or favors. Players must create the image of wealth among other Nobles.
Noble players must have a recognizable, permanent residence in town, above the Gold Wall, or rent a room at the Vilefort Gentleman's Society. Nobles without a permanent residence or lodging at the illustrious Society will be mocked for being vagrants and disregarded.
They must have Noble garb. It is up to the DM's discretion what is considered sufficiently sumptuous and what is merely trying to pass as fashionable. In general, use this rule of thumb: If the player asks if the clothing is expensive enough, it is not. Even if the players do obtain a sufficiently impressive wardrobe, Nobles may still attempt to mock their fashion tastes.
They must have at least one permanent servant- This is the bare minimum for skirting by. Most Noble houses make fun of those who do not have an extensive staff (though most could not tell you how many servants they have because they have someone to handle these sorts of things).
They must have a family crest or sigil, with some sort of explanation why the symbols are meaningful.
Please note that players can actually try to fake all of these, through deception or magical means.
Task 3: Act the Part
Players must act Noble if they are to be taken seriously in court.
Following Etiquette: Nobles must be knowledgeable of the etiquette regarding conversation, dining, social gatherings, fights, and innumerable other actions, or they must have an advisor readily available to give them information on this. Players without knowledge Nobility and without an advisor can attempt to guess as they go along, but they run the risk of looking ridiculous and losing Influence as a result.
Note that while knowing the rules of etiquette is required, following the rules are not. Lady Ferreaux is notorious among Nobles for subverting the rules of etiquette, but she is not mocked for it because she has frequently demonstrated that she clearly understands what the rules are. When she shows up to a ball dressed in Dwarven platemail, she is intending an insult or attempting to provoke a response.
Making Alliances: A Noble who does not interact with other Nobles and who chooses to ignore the game will eventually be shunned. Noble players must engage in at least one plot or deal with another House; This will naturally make enemies.
Joining a Noble House:
Those not claiming Noble birth can still play the game by pledging themselves to an existing Noble house. There is no formal process to this, though it often involves swearing loyalty, extensive investigation by Seneschals, and doing favors or tasks to prove oneself. Unscrupulous individuals can soon find themselves acting as double or triple agents, pawn pieces in a complex dance of moves and counter-moves.
The Benefits of Nobility:
Establishing yourself as Nobility in Vilefort has definite benefits.
- Double the base value limit and the purchase limit available.
- You can reroll an attempt to find a specific magical item, but you will owe a random Noble Family a favor if you succeed the second time.
- The City Watch will not touch you and will completely ignore any actions you take.
- Constables will not be able to arrest you, but they will report any illegal actions you take to the Council, which may fine you or attempt to strip your nobility, if the charges are grave enough.