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The Random GM: Create a ruined noble NPC who needs help

The Random GM: Create a ruined noble NPC who needs help

Sooner or later, your players will ignore your narrative breadcrumbs in favor of aiding a random NPC. This is good and right. But it helps to be prepared when it happens!

One Roll Wonders are a way to throw together RPG locations and points of interest in the time it takes for a bathroom break!

Grab one of each of the polyhedral dice: d4, d6, d8, d1, d12, and d20. Roll them all at once and consult the tables.

The results provide a ready-made bit of adventure. You might need to massage the outcome to create something coherent, or you might find a result that appeals to you more than what you rolled. Whatever gets the game moving is the right call!

Want more help keeping things running? The Prepared! Expanded Collection is an group of pre-generated one-shot adventures that helps you look like an improv master.

The Ruined Noble

d4How old is the ruined noble?
1An emerging adult
2An established adult
3Middle aged
4Venerable
d6What is the ruined noble’s title?
1Lord/Lady
2Baron/Baroness
3Viscount/Viscountess
4Marquis/Marchioness
5Duke/Duchess
6Prince/Princess
d8What is a sign of the noble’s ruined status?
1The goblet from which the noble sips wine is no longer gold but brass
2The noble’s furs are stained from nights spent sleeping in barns and along highways
3A signet ring, normally worn on the a noble’s right hand, is conspicuously absent
4The noble’s hunting horn is cracked and no longer sounds
5Their bejeweled necklace contains inexpensive garnet gems
6Their noble’s elegant clothes are soiled in their flight from assassins
7The scepter, a sign of the ruined noble’s station, is missing gems that have been pawned
8Debt collectors pursue the ruined noble and his retinue
d10Who protects the ruined noble?
1Two lackadaisical guards named Beauriss and Meauriss
2A con artist who doesn’t understand the extent of the noble’s plight
3A knight who owes a life debt to the noble
4A druid who believes the noble’s promise to protect the natural realm once restored to their title
5A warrior from the northern wastelands who has taken pity on the noble
6A guild artisan who seeks to leverage the noble’s position into unending riches
7A cursed brass dragon that has been permanently polymorphed into humanoid form
8An assassin who has been charged with keeping the noble alive
9A cleric convinced that the noble is key to prophetic rumblings
10A warrior who is secretly the ruined noble’s illegitimate older sibling
d12What is a sign of the ruined noble’s former standing?
1The common gentry refer to the noble by their former title
2The noble’s aunt or uncle is renowned for authoring the definitive tome on a topic
3The noble’s hands are still soft and uncalloused
4The noble seems to look down on all others, no matter their respective height
5The noble refuses to accept an insult from a perceived lesser
6The noble is well trained with the rapier and stays in practice
7Given the chance, the noble indulges deeply with food and drink
8The noble has a small sack of electrum pieces with their parent’s face cast on the head
9The noble scrimps and saves to purchase fashionable clothing
10The noble easily recalls historical and military matters
11The noble maintains a romantic relationship with a scion of a rival house
12Other nobles show pity on the ruined noble, supporting them for short periods of time
d20What does the noble have to offer? (Magic items are from Vault of Magic.)
11d10 + 1 scrolls of correspondence, used to communicate with the noble’s secret allies
2A light crossbow of accuracy, used to harry foes from a distance
3An almanac of common wisdom used to navigate this lonely world from the bottom
4Precious gems worth 10d100 gp, tucked away in a velvet sack embroidered with the ruined noble’s family name
5A potion of courtesan’s allure, used to improve relations with fellow noble houses.
61d4 + 1 potions of ebbing strength, used to empower disposable minions
7A potion of liquid shadow, used to disappear into the darkness
8A scroll of treasure finding, used to seek out new riches
9A root of the world tree, intended to plant a new birthright for the ruined noble’s descendents
10A brazen band, worn when negotiating with frightful foes
11A rod of blade bending, used to render the noble impervious to mundane attacks
12A ring of hoarded life gained under dubious circumstances
131d4+1 arrows of grabbing, used by the noble’s protector
14A set of primordial scale, harvested from a beast slain by the noble’s parent
15A thirsting scalpel, taken from the corpse of a failed assassin
16A shield of missile reversal that refuses to attune to the failed noble
17A bag of bramble beasts, the contents of which were the noble’s childhood friends
18A bottled boat and a helm of the slashing fin for use by the sea
19A circlet of holly, which didn’t help with recent dealings with a certain fey lady
20A gazebo of shade and shelter, which is how the ruined noble and their retinue have used on rainy days

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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