Developers Amanda Hamon Kunz and Jason Keeley teamed up as the lead developers of Heroes of the High Court, a Pathfinder Player Companion that takes adventurers to the royal courts and noble houses of Golarion. Let's see what they have to say about the lords and ladies of high society.
This was the first book that I did a major amount of development on, having spent a few years in the word mines of editing—a place that holds a very special place in my heart and to which calls to me still. And I have to give major thanks to Amanda, who made sure I didn't spend my whole time on this project alphabetizing everything. It was exciting to take the glittering ideas fresh from our freelancer's minds and altering them to fit the needs of the product, much like a bespoke tailor creating a velvet doublet for his noble patron.
Speaking of clothes, we all know how much those courtly types enjoy their fashion, so of course Heroes of the High Court touches on this important facet. From mundane attire such as long, silk gloves that grant bonuses against contact poisons to magical accessories such as a fashionable shawl that provides the wearer with her own illusory entourage, you'll be able to dress to impress. Once so attired, you might look half as nice as the silksworn, an occultist archetype that trades dusty ancient implements for ostentatious garments and expensive magic items. A silksworn casts spells as a spontaneous arcane spellcaster, and actually gets a few more spells per day than the regular occultist. He even gains a bonus on Bluff and Diplomacy checks depending on how much fancy clothing he's wearing. I mean, just look at Mavaro here! Isn't he fabulous?!
For me, one of the most fun parts of character creation is coming up with a deep and intricate origin story. It might never come up in play, but my characters always have weird reasons for adventuring, and for being in specific locations when their adventures start. More than one has had traceable ties to a legendary hero (or has just made up a story and passed it off as fact!).
Regardless, Heroes of the High Court is rich in mechanical tools for building nearly any specific noble character you can imagine. The book accomplishes this in a lot of ways, but one of the most interesting is an expansion of the Noble Scion feat from the Inner Sea World Guide. The original feat gives you a mechanical benefit at 1st level based on the broad flavor of your character's noble family, but in Heroes of the High Court, we go a step further. With this expansion of the feat, characters can gain a mechanical benefit based on the actual nation from which their noble family hails.
Is your character, for instance, a member of frosty noble family from Irrisen? If they take the Noble Scion feat, they can reduce the amount of nonlethal damage taken from exposure to cold by 4 points (minimum 0). If they're from shadowy Nidal, they can gain low-light vision, or a +2 bonus on Perception checks in areas of dim light, and if they're from Taldor, they can gain a +2 bonus on Charisma-based checks when interacting with nobles or members of a noble court.
The Noble Scion options are really just a drop in the bucket of mechanical options that Heroes of the High Court offers to noble characters. Check out the book to find out more!