Divine Right of Kings for Kingdoms of Kalamar: Legacy

One of the clever parts of the old Kingdoms of Kalamar setting was the Divine Right of Kings mechanic which granted divine bonuses to nobility and royalty in the world passively. So, NPC kings really did have a sort of “divine right” to rule. It wasn’t that a particular God or Goddess chose them, so much as it was that because the world was very VERY friendly to divine magic (four dozen fleshed out deities and variant clerics, which we’re working on updating to 5e now) that the makers wanted to represent how that would influence the building of nations.

So, we’ve done and tested our own update for that system and simplified it. The pre-requisites are guidelines, of course–in one region a Duke may be a slightly different title or amongst one remote town, their “king” might be that in name but properly rank only a 5 on the Divine Right chart.  Flexible is the key.

The idea here, below is that PC’s have something to think about when meeting NPCs. Its one thing to RP naturally that the Duke is a powerful man, but it adds a whole new dimension when one is confronted with that same NPC having some stats and a sort of Divine Favor for their rule. At the least, it should make assassination plots harder and really emphasize why an Assassin Rogue needs all those dice to kill one simple non-PC character.

Variant Rule – Divine Right of Kings

Prerequisites and Structure

Rank
Category
Title
General Requirements
10
Imperialty
Emperor
Title is hereditary. Must be blessed by clergy of at least seven of the faiths of Tellene of at least Rank 9 each.
9
Royalty
High King
Title is hereditary. Must be able to claim a nation (at least two large cities or at least eight small ones) as domain.
8
Royalty
King
Title is hereditary or bestowed by Imperialty. Must be blessed by clergy of at least five of the faiths of Tellene of at least Rank 7 each.
7
Royalty
Prince
Title is hereditary or bestowed by Imperialty. Must be able to claim at least a large city (or several smaller cities in a nation) as domain.
6
Sovereignty
Archduke
Title is hereditary or bestowed by Imperialty. Must be recognized as a patron and protector of at least one of the faiths of Tellene and own a private army of at least 500 soldiers.
5
Sovereignty
Duke
Title is hereditary or bestowed by Royalty. Must be blessed by clergy of at least three of the faiths of Tellene of at least Rank 5 each.
4
Sovereignty
Marquis
Title is rarely hereditary, usually bestowed by Royalty. Must be able to claim a small city (minimum 15000) as domain.
3
Nobility
Count
Title is hereditary or bestowed by Royalty. Must have lands, at least three permanent buildings, structures as part of estate, and a number of permanent servants equal to or greater than level/HD
2
Nobility
Viscount
Title is hereditary or bestowed by a Sovreign. Must be blessed by clergy of one of the faiths of Tellene of at least Rank 3
1
Nobility
Baron
May be hereditary, purchased title, bestowed by a Sovereign, etc. Prices and inheritance laws vary from nation to nation

Keep in mind, again, different titles can exist for the ranks and DM’s are encouraged to bend the curve up or down for their games as they see fit on some of the pre-reqs.

Divine Protections

Rank
Category
Title
Divine Protection
10
Imperialty
Emperor
Venerated [iImmune non-magical damage]
9
Royalty
High King
+ Legendary (re)Action (Truly Blessed [as Counterspell, a passive effect in response to being the target of magical effects and spells]), total 3 LA/round
8
Royalty
King
Annointed [+ 50 hp]
7
Royalty
Prince
+ Legendary Action (Regal Bearing [target makes Wis save or be stunned; may retry if attacked, on a success ignore for 24 hours]), total 2 LA/round
6
Sovereignty
Archduke
Chosen [resistant to non-magical damage]
5
Sovereignty
Duke
Legendary Resistance 3/d
4
Sovereignty
Marquis
Revered [cannot be duplicated, impersonated, or shapeshifted]
3
Nobility
Count
+ Legendary (re)Action (Noble Bearing [in response to a successful attack, but before damage is rolled, a servant within 30ft may move inbetween attacker(s) and npc–adjusting npc 5ft without invoking an opportunity attack–and take damage on npc’s behalf), total 1 LA/round
2
Nobility
Viscount
Honored [adv Cha rolls vs. non-nobility]
1
Nobility
Baron
Lair (a physical estate, manor, keep, tower, castle, etc. worth at least 50,000gp and titled to the npc), grants advantage on all rolls while on it’s premises.

So, as you see, the higher the rank, the most abilities and bonuses are given over to the character. Your average king would be a hard character to deal with (not just combat, but in general) within their palace (Lair). They’d be stacked with extra HP, roll advantage naturally while in the palace, have the convenience of men-and-women-at-arms that will throw themselves before threats to the royal person, they are un-impersonatable, will pass lots of saves, hard to hurt with anything short of magic, and can Stun with a glance.

Hardly unkillable, but it makes any meeting “with the king” one where the PC’s are just going to be on their back foot. And it makes PC’s that decide to “go for it” and try and kill a royal or sovereign NPC have a hard time with it.  The gods, afterall, agreed to respect mortal rulers. Its not enough to “save” the NPC, but enough that they’d survive the first round or two in most situations and leave plenty of time for guards and servants to tackle and pin most threats.

It also gives players something to really look forward to.  It’s one thing to say “you can earn a title” like from the DMG… another to have that mean “you might get something from that”. I’ve found it encourages broad goals and RP. I have, by having things like this in my games, more players try to play outcast nobles, power hungry warlords in training… they want to rule and build and grow and become lords of the land. I like to think some of that motivation is from a Divine Right of Kings sort of mechanic.

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