Bigger Bads: Noble NPCs

Bigger Bads: Noble NPCs

Monsters are great enemies, but humanoid NPCs can be the greatest enemies of all!

The SRD and Creature Codex provide some useful standard NPCs to throw at players, but there are holes in the power spread . . . let’s fill those up with more great options!

Options for Nobles

Members of the nobility are commonly at the periphery of adventure. Due to their prestige and deep pockets, they neatly serve as quest givers who call the PCs to action with the promise of coins, gems, and favors.

However, the core game has only one NPC stat block for nobles—the titular noble. As a CR 1/8 foe with a meager 9 hp, the noble can be bested by a stiff wind, pitiful combatants for all but the lowest level PCs.

Reskinning Your Nobility

One way to make noble NPCs more threatening in combat is through the age-old concept of reskinning. Given a noble’s background and skills, you might determine that a different NPC stat block is appropriate.

  • Was the king a renowned warrior in his youth? Perhaps he is a veteran (CR 3) or even a field commander (CR 10, see Southlands Worldbook).
  • Did the viscountess attend a wizarding college? Perhaps she is a mage (CR 6).
  • Did the twin scions spend their youths in the royal forests communing with nature? Perhaps they are scouts (CR 1/2) or even druids (CR 2).

Sometimes however, you just want your noble just to be a noble.

More Maharajahs and Mikados

To expand our options, below are three new noble NPCs: the peer, the heir apparent and the monarch.


The peer is a higher ranking noble such as a duke, countess, or earl. Despite their rank, they have spent years defending their lands and are versed in the conniving aspects of battle.


Medium Humanoid (Any Race), Any Alignment
Armor Class
16 (breastplate)
Hit Points 33 (6d8 + 6)
Speed 30 ft.

12 (+1)14 (+2)13 (+1)13 (+1)10 (+0)15 (+2)

Skills Athletics +3, Deception +4, Insight +2, Persuasion +4, Stealth +4
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Any three languages
Challenge 2 (450 XP)            Proficiency Bonus +2


Multiattack. The peer makes two rapier attacks.

Rapier. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.

Hand Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.


Counterstrike. When a creature the peer can see targets it with a melee weapon attack, the peer makes a melee weapon attack against the targeting creature. If the targeting creature misses with its attack, the peer has advantage on its attack.

Redirect Attack. When a creature the peer can see targets it with an attack, the peer chooses an ally within 5 feet of it. The peer and ally swap places, and the ally becomes the target instead.

Heir Apparent

The heir apparent is the child of a monarch, raised from birth to succeed their parents in ruling the nation. These princes and princesses benefit from years of education from the best tutors, resulting in a well-rounded education of history, magic, and battle.


Medium Humanoid (Any Race), Any Alignment
Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
Hit Points 65 (10d8 + 20)
Speed 30 ft.

10 (+0)14 (+2)14 (+2)17 (+3)13 (+1)14 (+2)

Skills Arcana +6, History +6, Medicine +4, Nature +6, Perception +4, Religion +6
Senses Passive Perception 14
Languages Any three languages
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)         Proficiency Bonus +2

Spellcasting. The heir apparent casts one of the following spells, requiring no material components and using Intelligence as the spellcasting ability (spell save DC 14):

  • At will: mage hand, prestidigitation
  • 3/day: charm person, feather fall, jump
  • 1/day: invisibility


Multiattack. The heir apparent makes two rapier attacks.

Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or all its speeds are reduced to 0 ft. until the end of its next turn.

Firebolt. Ranged Spell Attack: +6 to hit, range 100 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d10) fire damage.


The monarchis the highest noble in the nation, to whom all other nobles pay open allegiance. Monarchs call upon the combined power of their courts to defend themselves against foes, especially court mages, who enchant the monarch’s clothing and jewels from danger.

Courtly blessings are minor worts gifted to the monarch by mages skilled in hedge magic. For different options, see hedge magic rules in Tome of Heroes.


Medium Humanoid (Any Race), Any Alignment
Armor Class 15 (breastplate)
Hit Points 99 (18d8 + 18)
Speed 30 ft.

14 (+2)12 (+1)12 (+1)16 (+3)14 (+2)18 (+4)

Skills Deception +8, Insight +7, Intimidation +8, Persuasion +8
Senses Passive Perception 12
Languages Any four languages
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)         Proficiency Bonus +4

Special Equipment. The monarch has a crown, royal garb, and three of each of the Courtly Gifts.

Always On Guard. When wearing the crown, the monarch can’t be surprised and has advantage on initiative checks.

Magic Resistance. When wearing royal garb, the monarch has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.


Multiattack. The monarch makes three attacks, or two attacks before using a Courtly Blessing.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 2) slashing damage.

Ray of Frost. Ranged Spell Attack: +8 to hit, range 60 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d8) cold damage, and the target’s speed is reduced by 10 feet until the end of its next turn.

Courtly Gifts. The court botanists have given worts to the monarch to be consumed at a moment’s notice:

  • Champion’s Lavender. By smelling the lavender, the monarch recovers 10 hp.
  • Emperor’s Garlic. For one hour after chewing on the garlic, the monarch has resistance to poison damage and advantage on saving throws against poison.
  • Nimbus Daffodil. By splitting the stem in twain, a 20 ft. sphere of fog emanates from the monarch, functioning like a fog cloud spell.


About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock Lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

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