A rough draft. Comments welcome.

Aristocrats are minor aristocrats who have chosen the path of a warrior to make their way in the world.

Prime Requisite: STR and CHA.
Requirements: None.
Hit Dice: 1d6.
Maximum Level: 14.
Base XP: 2,000.

At first level, aristocrats hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws and saving throws by two points every three levels of experience (i.e., as fast as fighters), and use the saving throws of fighters. They may fight with all melee and missile weapons, and may fight with a weapon in each hand, weapon and shield, or two-handed weapon. They can wear any kind of armor, and use shields. They may use any magic item usable by fighters.

Aristocrats start with the Command proficiency, plus one of Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Seduction.

When hiring people (employees, mercenaries, henchmen, contracting a sage, and so on), aristocrats treat the market class of the city as one better (Class I markets remain Class I).

At third level, aristocrats automatically gain a second choice from Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Seduction.

At fifth level, battlefield prowess inspires followers. Any henchmen and mercenaries hired by the aristocrat gain a +1 bonus to their morale score whenever the aristocrat personally leads them. This bonus stacks with any modifiers from the Charisma or proficiencies.

At seventh level, aristocrats become immune to all natural and magical fear effects.

At ninth level, aristocrats can build a castle in the same fashion as a fighter. In addition, the aristocrat gains the Leadership proficiency automatically.

At 11th level, aristocrats gain the last choice from Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Seduction.

The 13th level, aristocrats are masters of their domain: increase the Land Value of their personal domain by +1 while they rule it.

(EDITS: Swapped a bonus to saves with the Land Value increase at level 13.)

Nice! I think that what you’ve got here captures the essence of a class of people born to command.

I was wanting a class like this for my campaign world, and this is way better than what I had come up with so far. This is built like the fighter class, trading the d8 HD and damage bonuses for the other features, right?

Starting with Command is great, and having them treat places as one market class better for hirelings is perfect. I also like that they get a choice between Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Seduction, and eventually end up with all of them.

Fearlessness and Leadership seem great for this archetype. My only question is: why improved saves at level 13? It seems like, at that level in a game world, the emphasis wouldn’t be on things like faster reflexes and a stronger will, but rather administrative and strategic skills.

Could Fearlessness also work at level 13, for an aristocrat who had quite literally seen it all? That would free up Level 7 for improved saves, which might fit into the narrative of an adventuring aristocrat in his or her prime.

I was considering putting Military Strategy into my aristocrat build, as well as giving them either Read Languages, their choice of 4 languages, or both. But looking at what you have here, I think those would be better left to the player’s choice.

Oh, and I think it might be fun to consider that a character can, according to the Domains at War rules, be a supporting hero on the battlefield after level 4. That also makes them eligible to be a general, and could conceivably make Military Strategy a useful proficiency!

Yes: I swapped the HD and damage bonus for the custom powers.

The saves are actually a hold-over from a slightly more divine leader build I tried out. I’ve been trying to think of something to replace them with.

shane wrote: Fearlessness and Leadership seem great for this archetype. My only question is: why improved saves at level 13? It seems like, at that level in a game world, the emphasis wouldn't be on things like faster reflexes and a stronger will, but rather administrative and strategic skills.
Actually, this is an interesting idea: rather than strategy (which can be better covered elsewhere), aim at something administrative like the hireling efficiency - maybe a small +1 to domain Land Value, or something you can't get elsewhere, but which would not be too unbalancing.

Swapped a bonus to saves with the Land Value increase at level 13.

Neat. Strikes me as more of a Warlord type than the usual fop or princess I would expect from an Aristocrat class.

Agreed, this is absolutely brilliant.

Thank you both :-). For a very slightly more foppish aristocrat (or at least less of a warlord), try the diplomat, which I built to be a “good enough” warrior with the skills to use the hijinks rules for court intrigue.

(Note that both are decent fighters because, well, the age in which they live “nobility” equals “killed a lot of people to get there.”)

Just looking at this again in anticipation of my own game (hoping my group will buy into it when I see them tomorrow), and have my fingers crossed one of them chooses this class.

Let me know how it goes if you use it :-)

One of the players is talking about a trader-spymaster type, who is a good fit for the Diplomat. Another is a warrior-princess, which is a good fit for the Aristocrat. We'll see.

I thought you should know that two of your classes (with my own slight tweaks, documented here), the renamed Aristocrat and Diplomat were chosen by my players. Two out of four!

The Warlord (ie Aristocrat) is a Celtic warrior-princess. The Diplomat is a Latin trader/spymaster/siege engineer/ship's captain/general Renaissance Man.

Very happy-making, yes :-).

Both sound pretty awesome, but I have to admit to a soft spot for Celtic warrior-princess aristocrats.

Should the Aristocrat and Diplomat be getting the Fighter's damage bonus? I'm presuming yes given the Assassin and Explorer both do.

I like this build even if the class name reminds me of the world’s dirtiest joke.

No, the damage bonus was traded off for some of their special abilities.

Ah, understood. This is what happens when you don't have the Players' Companion. No harm done, I'd originally assumed not, so nothing has changed.

The AP thread for my game is here and the two characters in question: Rhyanidd and Septimus.

You know, looking back on this I was surprised you didn’t give it the Bard’s inspire courage ability. The whole “This day, we FIGHT!” pep talk seems totally up its alley.

Command seemed a better first-level power: +2 to Morale, always on; vs. +1 to Morale, limited use, limited area, and limits on activation. Inspire Courage also grants a +1 to attack and damage rolls, but failing Morale tends to be a bigger problem, and that +1 extra really seems to matter, at least in the big battles.

At low levels, and with smaller groups of followers, Inspire Courage is a bit superior, and you could swap them out pretty easily for an aristocrat who is more bard-ish.