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September 30, 2009, 3:21 pm

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Cheka Man

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30 Aristocrats


A list of thirty aristocrats, ready to be dropped in the king’s court, the ball, or what have you.

The Fop
Always meticulously dressed in the most current fashions, a staunch defender of tradition, a bit of a pansy, often incredibly annoying, and terribly proud of his family name. Unfortunately, he is the last of it, and may or may not be able to continue the line.

The Harkonen
He’s the unquestioned master of his house. He’s also a bloody lunatic. Madness is in all of his family, but he’s one of the worst. And he enjoys it. He would like his sphere of influence to increase dramatically, and has been trying to exterminate his rival Atreides for an indeterminable length of time. Most of the rest of the aristocracy is on the one hand certain he will one day succeed, and on the other afraid that he will turn his attention to them when he does.

The Atreides
This aristocrat takes his responsibilities seriously, even if he may not have really wanted the job. He tends to think that all of the social niceties he’s expected to observe are slightly ridiculous and will often do what he thinks should be done without regards to how people perceive him, unless talked out of it. Between his duties and trying to keep his family safe from the Harkonen, he has very little time for much else.

The Monte Cristo
In a world where money can buy titles, it matters little that this aristocrat hasn’t a drop of noble blood in him. A former adventurer, he’s returned to his homeland unspeakably wealthy and unrecognized. He wants revenge for the betrayal he once suffered at the hands of supposed friends, and is using his wealth to get it. He’s very quiet, preferring to let others have the glory, and also very calculating. He can be very cruel and ruthless, but will only be so to those who have wronged him or who stand in his way. The sort of man who always settles his accounts in one way or another.

The De la Poer
Something terrible happened not long ago, and this aristocrat refuses to speak of it. He left his lands, his title, and his wealth behind with no thought to keep hold of them, and left his family dead. Peasants whisper that it is better that they are dead, but that is only so much talk. The De la Poer has no wish to exonerate himself, and only seems to want to forget anything connected with the bloodline of which he is the last.

The Iron Mask
For whatever reason or another, this aristocrat is not who he claims to be. He is an impostor, placed in this role by others. Hidden away from the world, he has been brought into the noble world to replace the man he greatly resembles. He was carefully trained by dissidents in positions of power, and is watched just as carefully to see that he does not slip up or that his deposed brother’s men do not harm him. Whether he will be better or worse than the man he replaced remains to be seen.

The Zorro
At first glance, he seems something of a fop, merely just another hanger-on of the social elite, albeit an attractive and honorable one. However, he is an unparalleled swordsman and rider (and is well loved by his horse, to the extent that no one else can ride him). He sees himself as a champion of the people, and what he cannot accomplish within the confines of the aristocracy, he is more than willing to do with his blade. He also has a rather acidic sense of humor, and has left an outraged opponent humiliated more than once.

The Bathory
This aristocrat seems to be a shining example of what the aristocracy should be, but in reality is a human monster who can make the Harkonen look sane. Almost definitely a psychopath, she thinks nothing of casually murdering her own peasants for whatever ends, be it a vain quest for eternal beauty or personal amusement. Only the protection of her title and the front she puts up for her fellow nobility has so far saved her from a rampaging mob.

The De Sade
Everyone knows that this aristocrat is a depraved maniac. Stories of his debauches, orgies, and other sexual depravities abound, and only the most destitute will enter service with him. An unapologetic freak and fetishist, he often and loudly criticizes the more “normal” of his peers, particularly the more religious. While it’s something of a mystery how he’s managed to get away with it for this long, it’s almost certain that someday he’ll be hanged for heresy, treason, or some less lofty crime.

The Machiavelli
This aristocrat is a master of playing both sides against the middle. He is quite adept at the eternal game of politics, and understands psychology so well that he doesn’t have a very hard time of getting people to do what he wants and serving his own ends. He won’t be a serious threat to the throne, but you can bet he will be the power behind it.

The Borgia
This aristocrat has friends and family in very high places, and makes everyone nervous as hell. Nebulous rumors abound about secret depravities, but no one has ever been able to come up with definitive proof. Her political rivals have a tendency to turn up dead, but there is none of the frothing of the Harkonen or the subtlety of the Machiavelli. That poisoning last month? Everyone is sure she had a hand in it, but no one can prove it.

The MacBeth
This man seems a loyal servant of the king, but he has a burning ambition to be greater than he is: he wishes to be king himself! He can be devious, and he has the king’s ear. While he might hesitate at first to do something as drastic as eliminating his rivals, once he conquers himself and commits the first deed, he won’t hesitate again. In the end, he will be king, or he will be dead. However, what he hasn’t yet realized is that his pride and driving ambition will one day be the death of him.

The Robespierre
Rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. He made his fortune himself, and earned a title on his own merits, and is justifiably proud of that fact. However, he has none of the manners and none of the delicacy of the born nobility. He often makes faux pas, and say shocking things. Most of his fellow aristocrats find him an insufferable fool, a common, low-born disgrace acting above his station, except for the Atreides, who finds him refreshing, and the de Sade, who finds him amusing.

The Jermyn
While he is a nice enough, well cultured fellow, and has beautiful manners, there was something terribly wrong somewhere in his bloodline. He’s hideously ugly, and tends to summon up unpleasant associations in one’s subconscious. Madness runs in his family line, as in many of the others, but the Jermyn madness is unique in its mostly self-destructive aspect. Four lords of the line have done away with their entire households, save one or two, and of those four, only two lived long enough to be confined to the madhouse. The current lord hasn’t exhibited the madness, true, but only time will tell…

The Madoc
The youngest son of his line, this aristocrat sensibly left home at an early age, letting his elder brothers fight amongst themselves for their father’s position. He has become an adventurer, sailing to far away lands, seeking a territory he might call his own. The time he’s spent in the wilds have roughened him, although he is not nearly so crude as the Robespierre. He is uncomfortable at court, and would much prefer his explorations.

The Romanoff
Bright lights, fine music, excellent food, this is the Romanoff’s world. He cares for little else, and cannot be bothered to alleviate the condition of his peasants, many of whom live in abject poverty. Any taxes he claims go to finance his beautiful clothes and trips to the social capitals of the world. He is always very popular at court, but his selfishness will get him killed someday.

The Brahman
He is considered very enlightened among the nobility, and is seen as a scholar beyond par. Older than most, he tries to caution the younger aristocrats to cool their blood and moderate themselves, but they pay him little heed. The ambitious ones regard him with suspicion, for he claims that he is not interested in expanding his power, in fact he is quite content with what he has. He tends to be deeply, but quietly religious, which often makes him a target for the de Sade’s insults.

The Marsh
Everyone hates him, although few will say why. His family is respectable enough, but like the Jermyn, there is something terribly wrong somewhere. The difference is that it’s almost a certainty that this family secured their original wealth and title by consorting with dangerous, unspeakable horrors from the very pits of hell. Rumors of devil-worship and pacts with evil powers are often, if vaguely heard. And it’s possible, even likely that he is still consorting with whatever powers his ancestors summoned to this world…

The Richelieu
This man is intimately connected with the state religion, most likely occupying some position of authority with in the church. However, he seems much more interested in the politics of court than matters of faith. He quite often uses his religious authority to force people to do what he wants, and puts up the merest show of adhering to the tenants of the faith. The Richelieu is corrupt and greedy, and will not hesitate to crush those in his way. His hypocrisy makes him the de Sade’s favorite target.

The Aladdin
This is the new arrival to court. Somehow, most likely in an unprecedented, cataclysmic fashion, an ordinary nobody was elevated to the aristocracy. He is trying desperately to fit in and mimic the other nobles, but doesn’t do it well. He is mocked, often viciously, by the others, although he seems to be oblivious to it so far. The Brahman and the Machiavelli are both considering taking him under their wing, for vastly different reasons.

The Addams
This fellow is generally weird and most likely insane. What he says, does, and thinks is almost the opposite of what normal people, of any class, would. This is made more awkward by the fact that he doesn’t seem to understand that he is not normal. His home is widely considered to be a haunt of spooks and monsters, and those who visit him should be very wary. However, he is essentially harmless. He never intentionally hurts anyone (unless he thinks they want him to), and has never done any lasting harm. The de Sade finds him remarkably enlightened, the Machiavelli finds him annoying, and he tends to make everyone else nervous.

The Stick
So named because he seems to have one up his backside. He is remarkably focused on honor, his image, and the sanctity of his family name, and has no sense of humor to speak of. He will never do anything dishonest or dishonorable, and if accused of any such will insist upon a duel. His uncompromising stance often makes him subject to ridicule, which has lead to a long-standing feud between him and the Robespierre.

The Connecticut Yankee
This man is so out of his element it is a complete mystery how he got here in the first place. He seems to be from a *completely* different land, and his views are so radically different from everyone else’s that he has trouble understanding others. However, he is quite intelligent, and makes use of what he knows. He has introduced many practices (and possibly technologies) from his native land, and is slowly gaining acceptance and influence. This does not make many of his fellow aristocrats happy, and it is just as well that he is always on his guard.

The Amalthea
This lady has quite entranced many of the younger men (and not a few of the older) of the court. She is remarkably beautiful, and has an almost unearthly quality that gives her an air of mystery. She doesn’t speak much, and socializes less, preferring the company of her own thoughts. The generally accepted story labels her the niece of a great magician, though the relationship is a bit difficult to place. Some malicious gossip has started to spread a different story around the court, claiming she isn’t quite as human as she appears. Surely that is only jealousy.

The Jason
This young lord does not spend much time at court. He is kept busy by the constant illness of his father, spending as much time as he can spare trying to find a way to restore his father’s failing health. He is unquestionably brave, having journeyed to many far off and exotic places searching for fabulous artifacts. His only real friend at court is the Madoc, because they both understand the love of adventure. The other aristocrats either mock him for his stupidity or criticize him for shirking his duties as a lord.

The Louis
Though he has money, title, and a respected name, this man only puts up the barest show of aristocracy. He has been deeply depressed since his wife and child died a few years ago, and has let more and more of his courtly duties slip or handed them off to others. He spends most of his time in an alcoholic stupor, too apathetic to even suicide. He is quickly becoming a non-entity in the world of politics, and it is only a matter of time before one of his stronger-minded peers takes his place.

The von Doom
He rules his lands with an iron fist, and is seen as a merciless despot by his peasants. However, his actions stem from a desire to improve the situation he came into, and the only way he knows how is by force. He does not aspire to any greater power, but merely wants to undo the damage caused by others before him- greedy pigs, soft-headed and soft-hearted fools. He is a bit of a wild card, since he will undertake any action he deems necessary without hesitation, up to and including the removal of rivals and anyone else standing in his way.

The Lucentio
This aristocrat should be perfectly at home at the court; he was born into wealth and name. However, at best he is utterly clueless about how to deal with other people, particularly those of the opposite sex. (Some have gone so far as to call him a blithering idiot.) However, he knows of his shortcomings, and has the sense to listen to those who do understand how things work (in particular, his personal servant is an invaluable help). As long as things do not deviate from the script he is given, he can avoid making a fool of himself. However, if something unexpected occurs, he will most likely make a mess of it.

The General
This is an older aristocrat. He may have been born into his title, or he may have earned it for his performance in battle. Either way, he finds it a nuisance. He doesn’t want to be at court, he wants to be out in the field at the head of the army. Though he is an excellent soldier and leader, and has a sound grasp of tactics, he is no diplomat. He is used to giving orders, not using finesse, and his brusque nature often leads to unpleasant scenes. He will not be at court unless he simply can’t avoid it, and in those cases will clearly be uncomfortable with his surroundings. Often, he will only put in a perfunctory appearance, and slip away as soon as he can.

The Scientist
This aristocrat fancies himself a scientist and scholar of the first water. He is almost obsessed with the advances of science, and keeps up with all of the latest scientific works and discoveries. He has a series of experiments or a pet theory he’s pursuing, and will often discourse on the topic, at great length. Whether you want him to or not. Few others in the court are as fascinated by the topic as he is, and fewer still can keep up with him. As a result, his “scientific discussions” are more pedantic lectures. (There is a rumor going round that he does not quite know as much as he says he does, and that, in fact, he often makes grievous errors. The Scientist, of course, would be greatly offended by the suggestion.) Often times, he will corner a younger member of the court, like the Lucentio or the Aladdin and talk for hours if not stopped.

A generator based on this list is available here:

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Comments ( 19 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

August 25, 2006, 5:35
Thats one helluva idea man can't wait to see the rest!!
August 25, 2006, 9:27
I would have to say that the archetypical "Fop" is most definitely not honorable to the point of ridiculousness. Aren't most fops and dandies weasels? :D

Also, Robespierre and "new blood" might be two different entries.

other than that, cool stuff!!
Ria Hawk
August 25, 2006, 20:29
I will point out that I was going off of what YOU said.
August 25, 2006, 20:57
sorry, I think I blended several archetypes in main chat. :D

1-Robespierre 2-New Blood

the fop thing is just an opinion. Fops are squirmy and dainty, arent they? I would say the uber-honorable-to-a-fault-guy is a seperate entry.

But what do I know.
Ria Hawk
August 25, 2006, 21:04
Glad that's cleared up.
Cheka Man
August 26, 2006, 11:38
I look forward to voting on this.
Voted Dozus
February 22, 2007, 21:57
Bravo! A vastly extensive list of aristocrats.
Voted Cheka Man
February 22, 2007, 22:11
This was well worth waiting for.
February 22, 2007, 22:19
Done, yay Ria
I love them all
Voted manfred
February 23, 2007, 3:22
Nice collection of stereotypes! Special thanks for Bathory and Atreides. :)
Voted Murometz
February 23, 2007, 7:32
ah, yes, the Aristocrats. Entertaining read, and of course a useful resource for any GM. There are some obvious ones, but there are also unexpected ones as well. Nicely done Ria!

favorites: Richelieu, Connecticut Yankee, Brahman, Borgia.
Voted valadaar
February 23, 2007, 8:20
A very good assortment. Like a mixed box of chocolates for Assassins...

Voted MoonHunter
February 23, 2007, 13:30
A nice list of archetypes. I perfer actual personalities (and more relationships between the people), but these are quite nice and fleshed out.

I connected this to The 30 Codex as well.
Voted CaptainPenguin
February 23, 2007, 18:21
Good list, nice references...
Though I might say that people are very uncharitable to the memory of the Cardinal Richelieu! He was not the scheming evil devilish character everybody paints him as, unless you view him through the lens of the moralistic, antinationalistic views of the aristocracy of his era. He was a patriot, first and foremost, and did what any modern politician does every day.
Voted Scrasamax
February 24, 2007, 9:07
Loved every entry, with my favs being the Harkonnen (Oh, you naughty Baron you!) and Addams.
Voted DrTurtlesse
May 20, 2009, 2:56
Ahhhh! You're amazing!
September 30, 2009, 15:23
This noble submission has been featured in the RPGTips Issue #463. Enjoy the position of privilege!

(Link to come soon. 4596.)
Voted Dossta
April 4, 2013, 14:15
It's nice to have a grab-bag of all the classics in one spot, to use for inspiration. You relied a little too heavily on the insanity ploy, methinks, but otherwise this is a very useful list!
April 4, 2013, 21:33
Wow, I never thought of there being so many different kinds of aristocrats, usually in my games it's just spoiled jerk or crazy eccentric. Happy to see these and will definitely use them.
February 10, 2014, 20:18
Update: Added link to generator


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