Nobility has its rank and privledges even in a role-playing game. In many campaigns (especially fantasy based ones) encountering a member of nobility more often than not seems to be a “run of the mill” type event but it should really be much more.
First off make it hard for the characters to meet with the noble. Nobles are busy people and they have personal assistants who schedule every available moment, they are the gatekeepers. Have the characters work through the system of pay-offs, bribes and waiting, these minor functionaries can be a wealth of information to them in the future. Be sure to have names for them and minor character traits to make them memorable.
Any member of nobility would have bodyguards to keep the “mere peasants” at bay, use them. Have the party stopped and searched, “no weapons allowed,” should be a standard policy. Think of the role-playing opportunities presented when the characters have to surrender their favorite items.
When a noble takes to the street the bodyguards take to clearing the way. Have the party be moved back for “the Baron to make his way through.” Maybe in your world everyone bows to a member of nobility, be sure the characters follow suit or pay the consequences.
Also be sure to take avantage of the noble’s power as well. A summons that leaves no doubt that the characters’ presence is required always makes for a good role-playing session.
I’m always interested in what you think, feel free to share your ideas for using a noble.
May your dice roll well.
Be sure to check out these additional encounter ideas