Robbing the Noble

One of my players met a snooty braggart of a noble, and wants to rob the man blind to bring him down to size.

I want to turn this into a bit of a story if possible, rather than just a simple catburglery, so I wonder if you all can help me with any details.

The encounter with the noble was an improv'ed thing, so the only thing I've established about him is that he lives on an estate north of Barcelona, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The nobleman's ancestors took a bunch of land from a Basque village, and enslaved most of the people there. A few of the descendants who work the land still hold a grudge.

So... there'd be dogs and guards. Maybe some of the guards are sympathetic. What other obstacles can I throw at the character? (if no obstacles here at the estate, then can there be something on the way there or back?)

As far as loot, I was thinking that besides some expensive baubles, and maybe a lockbox with coins, there might be a crusader's sword, and some sort of holy object stolen from the Levant. Something that could lead to another story. Perhaps an old pagan object, or a holy muslim thingamabob.

I know this isn't a lot to go on, but I just wonder what immediately comes to mind?


How about finding evidence (doesnt have to be true)
that he is the son/older brother/other relation of said noble with a potential claim on the estate.
He could promise to return the land to the descendants of the original inhabitants if he inherits.

Books are often one of the most sought after items.
A summa or two (or a caribou) of high quality , covering an author of antiquity.

Seems to me, since you haven't fully fleshed out the details of the noble, that therein lies the opportunity for the story:

  1. Is he growing something demonic in the basement?
  2. Is he acting as a beard for a magus, and the magus is interfering muchly in mundane affairs?
  3. Is he involved someway in some plot (mundane) against his liege lord, that may be discovered during the burglary?

How abot the nobleman's wife.

Good-looking, mistreated thing - helps, but expects the magi to take care of her ever after (she'd be the kind of woman that's hard to get rid of.

What about children trying to stop the magi? They are physically weak, but you don't want to PoF a few kids (and if your characters do, give them a new personality trait: cruel).

It might be helpful to tell us about the magus who intends to bring about the comeuppance of the noble.

Knowing his flaws, virtues, arts, and so on is essential when discussing what obstacles to confront a wizard with. Speaking stereotypically, a Flambeau can destroy an army, but be thwarted by the lies of a child. A Jerbiton can maneuver through a city and court with ease, yet be stymied by a locked door, and so on.


I don't have the character sheet in front of me at this time, but he's a verditius mage-thief. He's sneaky and clever, and has several items that he's created to help him in his nefarious schemes (items that snuff out torches, put people to sleep, etc.)

The saga has had quite a bit of supernatural activity lately, so I think I want to keep this on the mundane level.

(although I was possibly thinking that perhaps a meddlesome house fairy might take offense to his mistress being robbed. What curious way could this creature react?)

I'm thinking that the obstacles here might not be so much getting in and out of the manor house, but rather transporting the goods. If the wealth is in tapestries and barrels of grain, then how can he get it all out? And then there's the trouble with fencing the goods. He doesn't have any contacts in the Barcelona, so it'll take some doing to sell the stuff. I may throw some bandits at him too.

There is an enchanted item , Loom of Elfin Proportions (page 59 , MoH) , which shrinks to 7 inches tall.
Maybe he could design something which shrinks items for ease of transport.
Mundanely , he would recruit Basque Separatists to aid in theft and transport.

If he is robbing a noble , why not steal his horses?
Losing his Warhorse would be expensive and replacing all the work animals would delay manor production.

As for a house fairy , any item removed from the Manor will shriek in a loud voice:
"I belong to Chrestomanci Castle!" not subtle but will alert staff.

Hm, interesting. The character seems a bit like Garrett from Thief: The Dark Project. I'll try to think of it in those terms and come back with some thoughts.

Another option is for the apparent simple break in to turn into something more: Perhaps the thief stumbles upon a meeting of dire import that concerns things the thief might care about in the mundane world. The assassination of a king, the building of a cathedral close to the character's covenant that might impact the aura of the area, or a trove of holy relics (perhaps the 'treasure' of the noble, a bit hard to fence) being brought into the area to give protection against... some sort of supernatural threat? Perhaps connected to the characters?


Maybe he rules with the help(officially or not) of some more or less corrupt representative(s) of the church?
Running into someone that magic doesnt work on at all might be a nasty/nice little surprise. Or maybe they run into a priest who is convinced that magic is ineffective on him, but in reality his corruption has bereft him of his holyness, or even given him an infernal bent.

One of the intricately sewn warflags(with the patterns made out of tiny texts) perhaps.

Some small pieces of bark with active rune magic inscribed? A fertility fetisch? (yes i was reading through parts of Ancient magic yesterday...)

Minor/simple illusions that tries to misdirect or confuse the magi?

That everyone except the thief and anyone directly associated with him can hear. :smiling_imp:

Vrylakos, NICE ideas...

Vrylakos, would you hold it against my player if his character were named "Garrett?" :wink: Yup, you guessed it....

Good idea -- stumbling upon a meeting. I'll give that some thought. Knowing the player, though, who is EXTREMELY cautious, he may just hear voices, or see a light under a door, and leave, rather than go investigate, figuring he can come back at a more convenient time.

here's what I have so far:

The noble's Lord is getting more involved in the Cathar crusade (we're in 1203 right now.) He's summoned his vassals to war, and this noble doesn't want to go thank you very much. He's arranged for the Lord's ships to be raided, and plans on rebelling when his Lord is weak. I figured Garret could stumble upon some documents that mention as much, which could be used for blackmail, etc, later. Of course, if the Guernici hear of this....

But it could be good to have Garret overhear a gathering of several nobles all meeting to plan treason. If I can just figure out a way for the player to get curious enough to go inside the manor house, even though there are a lot of horses in the stable.

I may also use the "Scutage Raid" story seed (pg 19 of Lords of Men). Garrett, loaded with booty, is returning from the manor house, and encounters bandits in the woods who do NOT attack him. He might get curious enough to find out what's going on.

You could also have the thief steal something that is only being stored at the Manor for a short period, something possibly Church related-- which then brings down the constant hunt of a church inquisitor, a la Les Miserables, with the churchman substituted for the policeman and Divine based aid allowing him to harry the magus.

Depending on how the thief deals with that continued pursuit, then you've got a little arc.

I congratulate you for using Garrett as an archetype for a wizard! Great idea! Great way to use Verditius, if you ask me - they too often become the weird lab-monkey/enchantment blacksmith of a covenant. Making a more active Verditius sounds great!

Additionally, Thief occasionally followed a "Job seems simple/Learn something you should not have/run the hell away and assess what you've learned & what to do about it" pattern. Often unknown alliances played a part in that, with surprising people being at the scene of a burglary; this changes the lay of the land and how you need to proceed.

If the noble is striking a deal with some supernatural group, who might get wind of Magus Garrett as he skulks about (bound spirits on patrol, second sight, or any number of esoteric magical practices), you may turn the heist into a chase scene, and have that lead into a larger story. Who are the unknown magical group I've been running from? Did they just do something outside the bounds of Hermetic Theory? Why are they here?

Of course, you stated you wanted to stick to more mundane stuff, but something very subtle might serve to whet the appetite for delving into a larger mystery involving the noble.

As Garrett hides outside a door, or hangs from a rooftop next to a firelit shutter, imagine:

Voice One: "... so, with your assistance, we can carve up Carcassonne with little trouble, and turn the money towards paying the assassin to slay ruler of - "

  • the sound of a single, small bell
    Voice Two: "Silence. We are being spied upon..."

A potentially small magical effect, or enchanted item, and mystery-a-go-go. The noble summons guards and suddenly the castle is on high alert - escape if you can, Garrett!


I think the trick is to make the snippet of the conversation SO juicy as he hangs upside down sticking his enchanted rope to a wall that he WANTS to hear more.

For example, what if he hears his name mentioned? OR that of the covenant?

Perhaps to encourage said sneaky player from running off at first sign of a light under the door, if it gets out into Hermetic circles or at least to those of his covenmates that he was there the night some caper against them was planned this can come back to bite him.

Garrett: "Ha Ha! I totally got these from Count du Basque! He was too busy planning something behind that closed door to see me steal him blind. I got him!"

Other Magi: "By the way, our vis sources have been annexed by the local abbey thanks to that meeting he had that night. When were you going to do something about this plan you (should have) overheard?"

just sayin'


Those are some pretty good ideas, inspiration for use sometime perhaps.

At the mention of "snuffing out torches" I actually did think of the game Thief, despite having only playes it for 30 minutes years back. For one I dodn't remember his name was Garret.
Cool concept for a Verditius, an active and outgoing characters. Most of the Verditii I see nowadays are the stereotypical, introvert labrats. I did have one outgoing Verditius back in 4th. But he was a power character and difficult to play with. I never want to be a Killer DM, but characters shouldn't have it too easy. He did rob people more than once, and the ideas from this might have been good back then.

Also, in general the "magus overhears some conversation about a grand plot or important church business, that might affect himself or his Solades" sounds good. The initial situation need to be precarious so he risks a lot by trying to find out more, and most likely only has bits of information and doesn't know who (all) the conspirators are. He will need to find a way to prevent disaster without breaking the Code or angering his fellow magi. Perhaps he was in fact trespassing on the areas of interest of a powerful magus' and he can't admit to that, so he has a hard time convincing others about the danger. Cool stuff.