Wandering Monsters — Royal Court

As a famous poet once said. “It’s good to be the king.” Nowhere else is a king more at home than in the court of his keep. Here, the king meets with diplomats and hosts great events. PCs are likely to find themselves before a king or other member of royalty at some point in their travels. This week’s Wandering Monsters brings the court to you to do with as you wish. Let’s get fancy and find an audience in the royal court!

As always, many thanks to the Pyromancers dungeon painter tool for helping me create this week’s map.

Royal Court

This large hall is decorated with fine banners and elegant artwork. A long dining table rests on one end of the hall and a large throne sits on a raised stone platform at the other end.

Click on maps for a full-size version.

The royal court features easily in to most any keep or castle. Feel free to swap in other features such as additional thrones for more royalty or statues and other large artwork.

Court Features

The royal court’s floors and walls are made of worked stone. The ceiling is 20 feet high. The throne platform at the end of the court is raised 5 feet above the rest of the floor. The interior of the hall is lit by a number of continual flames on sconces connected to the supporting pillars in the hall.

1. Dining Area

A large dining table serves as a meeting place for royal discussions as well as seating for royal feasts. The table generally seats 12, but royal attendants can bring additional seating for up to 30 guests. If there are more guests than that, the table instead serves as a buffet while guests take their plates with them.

2. Hall

The main hall serves as the meeting area for courtiers and visitors. Chairs and benches on the side of the hall serve as seating for guests when entertainment is taking place.

3. Throne

The large throne is made of darkwood dipped in brass, providing an impressive but light throne which can move to other locations if the need arises. A secret compartment in the back of the throne holds the location’s treasure. Locating the compartment requires a successful DC 20 Perception check. The compartment is locked with a good lock, but is left unlocked while the king is at his throne. The king holds a copy of this key.

Encounters

The following encounters can take place here.

Encounter Challenge Rating Creatures Treasure
Mad Jesters CR 4 3 street performersNPC
Royal Menagerie CR 8 Harrying bruteNPC, 2 manticoresB1
High Court CR 12 4 expert bodyguardsNPC, kingNPC, 2 knightsNPC, seductive enchanterNPC
This week’s Wandering Monsters makes use of Bestiary 1 and NPC Codex.

Mad Jesters (CR 4)

A trio of royal entertainers make the court their home while the king is not hosting events or an audience. Without a true home, the jesters are left to their own devices so long as they do not bring harm to the king or the kingdom. To that end, the jesters occasionally take it upon themselves to “play king” with royal prisoners or other unimportant personalities, which may include the PCs. The PCs may be brought before the “mad royal family” and asked to pronounce their loyalty. Clever PCs might catch on to the game and play along with a successful DC 16 Sense Motive check. Playing along is relatively simple and if the PCs are able to impress the jesters, they reward the PCs by telling them of the throne’s secret compartment. Causing offence to the jesters or attacking them directly causes them to attack.

The three jesters tumble about the room, hiding behind columns and the throne to block line of sight. They attempt to charm the PCs or put them to sleep, keeping their distance as best as they can. When they run out of major spells, they resort to throwing daggers. If one of the jesters is knocked unconscious, the remaining two choose to fight defensively. If one of the jesters is slain, the rest call for the guards and the PCs may have to explain themselves.

Royal Menagerie (CR 8)

The king has a number of rare and exotic creatures he keeps for entertainment and as trophies. The harrying brute serves as a keeper for a few of these creatures. He is working on getting two manticores in place for an upcoming event. He intends to tie the creatures to the pillars in the main hall. The brute is quite aggressive in his treatment of the manticores and some viewing his setup may believe him to be abusing the creatures. The brute is quick to anger and a misunderstanding is quite likely. In this case, the brute releases the manticores to attack the PCs.

The manticores are conditioned to fear the brute and refuse to attack him directly. They instead focus on the PCs, acting independently and attacking whichever target is more appealing. The brute weaves in and out of combat, stunning opponents engaged with the manticores. If the brute is reduced to fewer than half of his hit points, the manticores catch scent of his blood and overcome their fear of the keeper. They quickly turn on the brute. After he is slain, they attempt to negotiate an escape with the PCs who they see as their liberators.

High Court (CR 12)

The king is never without his courtesan. Unknown to the king, the courtesan is secretly attempting to sire a child with the king so she may lay claim to the crown in the future. So far, her machinations are subtle and unnoticed. As part of her ploy, she has enchanted a pair of the king’s knights to serve as her agents throughout the kingdom. The king is currently hosting a court. He has a number of bodyguards acting as guards to the court and they are seated throughout the hall. The two knights stand at attention, flanking the stairs up to the throne. The king rests in his throne while his courtesan stands at his side.

If a fight breaks out, the bodyguards are quick to rush to guard the king. The knights stand as the first line of defense and try their best from anyone reaching the courtesan. The king quickly rises to defend his throne, fighting alongside his men. The enchanter uses her skills to try to work the attackers against each other and slip away with the king when she can. The enchanter and the king try to flee if reduced to fewer than half of their starting hit points.

 

That’s it for this week! If you use the royal court in your game, let me know!  If you have any request for a future Wandering Monsters, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com.

Luis Loza

Luis Loza is a freelance writer from Lincoln, Nebraska. He has written for Paizo Inc, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and more third-party publishers. His hobbies include gaming both tabletop and video, making jokes, obsessing over time travel, taking naps with Hugo the cat, and walks with Heather the wife. He is eternally plagued with a hunger for tacos.

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