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Nobby Nobbs (Pratchett's Discworld watch) sketch portrait

Corporal Nobby Nobbs


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Nobby is one of the lead characters from the City Watch series of fantasy novels, by Sir Terry Pratchett . These are in turn part of his greater Discworld series. Most City Watch action occurs in the unruly city of Ankh-Morpork .

The Discworld stories are highly regarded for their witty writing style, incisive satire, and charismatic characters. Their differences from more traditional fantasy stories such as Tolkien’s contributed to their great popularity.


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Background

  • Real Name: Cecil Wormsborough St. John Nobbs.
  • Other Aliases: Breaking Wind (goblin name).
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Errol (brother), Sconner (father), Maisie (mother).
  • Group Affiliation: Ankh-Morpork Watch.
  • Base Of Operations: Pseudopolis Yard, Ankh-Morpork.
  • Height: 4’0” Weight: ? lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers & Abilities

While ostensibly trained in armed combat, he’s even more skilled at avoiding it. He will generally only get involved after it’s over, at which point he’ll kick whoever’s down and, preferably, unconscious.

He can fight if absolutely necessary, but it’ll always be dirty, and usually effective.

He’s a competent pickpocket and petty thief, and extremely stealthy. At one point he sidled past the alert bodyguards of the Low King of the dwarves, and only Vimes noticed his approach. He’s also an amateur folk dancer, and keeps up to date on the latest advances in weapons technology.

The standard equipment for guards is a chain shirt, iron breastplate, and iron or brass helm to wear, and a short sword and truncheon as weapons. In times of emergency they also have access to a crossbow, and either a pike or halberd.


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History

(A general history of his time with the Watch can be found in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch entry.)

Growing up on the streets of Ankh-Morpork – which were safer than home on the occasions when Sconner wasn’t in tanty – Nobby became what’s politely referred to as an urchin.

In addition to petty theft he was a useful source of information and spying for a number of well-to-do patrons.

Night Watch

During the trouble caused by Lord Winder’s rule, Nobby served a number of patrons. These included Lady Roberta Meserole – who wanted him to keep an eye on new Watch sergeant Keel – and Sergeant Keel – who wanted him to report on anyone who wanted an eye kept on him.

Nobby got caught up in the troubles, but always managed to avoid most of it befalling him directly.

Military Service

As he grew up he joined some army or other, though he’d often change mid battle if it looked like he was on the losing side. Not that he actually got close to the battle while it was going on, preferring to wait till it’d moved along so he could loot in peace.

It’s known that at one point he served as quartermaster to the Duke of Pseudopolis’ army. This did not go well for the Duke of Pseudopolis’ stores.

Guards Guards

Finishing his time in the army (quite possibly having served in every available regiment, if only briefly) he joined the Ankh-Morpork Watch. It’s state of neglect by this time is evidenced by the fact they accepted him, and he generally patrolled alongside Sgt. Fred Colon.

Feet of Clay

On learning he was the Earl of Ankh, Nobby was introduced into high society. High society found him disturbingly mesmerising, but due to his rank everyone treated him well.

He started to enjoy it until a cabal of nobles tried to recruit him into a scheme to overthrow Lord Vetinari and install Nobby as king. (This’d been why his earldom was fabricated, to play on the rumours of royalty within the Watch, using someone more pliant than Carrot.)

Petrified at what Commander Vimes would say, Nobby leapt through a window and legged it back to the common life.

Jingo

Nobby and Colon were recruited by Lord Vetinari to escort him on a secret mission – since he valued their stupidity. They travelled in Leonard of Quirm’s submersible, covertly exploring underneath the risen island of Leshp.

They then travelled to the capital of Klatch, with whom Ankh-Morpork was at war. They reconnoitred in disguise, Nobby dressed up as a veiled woman.

Nobby found the experience liberating. When they returned home insisted on dressing as women when it was called for to entrap unlicensed thieves – even if female Watch officers were available.

Thud!

Nobby’s long-term, and probably imagined, relationship with Verity ’Hammerhead‘ Pushpram slid as he began seeing exotic dancer, Tawneee.

This only lasted until she tried making distressed pudding for him, which was nothing like the distress his mother could inflict on a pudding.

Snuff

Visiting the goblin caves near the Ramkin country estates, Nobby caught the eye of the goblin girl, Shine of the Rainbow. She moved to Ankh-Morpork, where they now live together.


Description

Four foot tall, bandy legged, with the muscle tone of an elastic band, Nobby finds it hard to convince anyone he actually is human. Even a note signed by Lord Vetinari doesn’t do it.

He tends to speak out of the corner of his mouth, due to the cigarette usually stuck in the other corner. He smokes incessantly, cigarettes becoming dog-ends almost immediately in his hands, and remaining so until lodged in the elephant graveyard of cigarettes behind his ears.

While he lies as easily as breathing (which in Ankh-Morpork can admittedly be a challenge) if under any pressure his anxieties show on his face, which can be an open book – albeit one that’d be banned in many countries.

When out of uniform he tends to be a bit of a fashion peacock, dressing flashily.


Personality

A staunch coward and thief, Nobby avoids trouble until it’s over, but might stay out of sight nearby if it looks like there might be pickings worth nicking afterwards.

Easy-going and friendly, despite his kleptomania Nobby is a useful Watchman, if only for teaching new recruits the things it’d be useful to know on the job but wrong to teach them.

He’s lazy rather than stupid, and doesn’t put much effort into detectoring, but will often gently tease his closest friend Sgt. Colon, who’s never sure he’s being had.


Quotes

Captain Vimes: “What are you doing ?”
Nobby: “Searchingthebodiessir. For incriminating evidence, and that.”
Vimes: “In their money pouches ?”
Nobby: “You never know, sir.”

Captain Vimes: “Corporal Nobbs, why are you kicking people when they’re down ?”
Nobby: “Safest way, sir.”

“You two can bloody well stop that. Why shouldn’t I know a lady when I sees one ? She gave me a cup of tea in a cup fin as paper and a silver spoon in it. And I gave it back to her, so you can stop looking at me like that !”

Nobby: “I bin in there once. Checked the door one dark night and it just came open in my hand.”
Sgt. Colon: “Eventually, I expect.”
Nobby: “Well, I had to go in, didn’t I, to check there was no miscreanting going on.”

Vimes: “Our Corporal Nobbs has taken him off to the Watch morgue this morning, probably nicking any small items of personal jewellery he had on him, but that’s just Nobby’s way. He’s got a criminal mind has our Nobby. But I’ll say this for him: he hasn’t got a criminal soul.”

Nobby: “Well, I always came back with my shield. No problem there.”
Colon: “Nobby, you used to come back with your shield, everyone else’s shield, a sack of teeth and fifteen pairs of still-warm boots. On a cart.”
Nobby: “We-ell, no point going to war unless you’re on the winning side.”
Colon: “Nobby, you were always on the winning side, the reason bein’, you used to lurk aroun’ the edges to see who was winning and then pull the right uniform off some poor dead sod. I used to hear where the generals kept an eye on what you were wearin’ so they’d know how the battle was going.”
Nobby: “Lots of soldiers have served in lots of regiments.”
Colon: “Right, what you say is true. Only not usually during the same battle.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Nobby Nobbs

Dex: 05 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Watch
Inf: 02 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 013 HP: 020

Skills:
Artist (Dancing): 03, Charisma (Persuasion): 04, Detective (Police Procedure): 02, Martial Artist (EV for kicking prone opponents): 04, Martial Artist: 03, Thief (Stealth): 07, Thief (Pickpocket, Locks): 05, Weaponry (Watch weapons): 04

Advantages
Area Knowledge (Ankh-Morpork), Familiarity (Folk dancing, weaponry innovations), Police Credentials (Corporal in the Watch, Low).

Connections:
Watch (High).

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance, MIA (Kleptomania).

Equipment:

  • Document signed by Lord Vetinari, verifying that the weight of testimonial evidence seems to support that Nobby is actually human.
  • GUARD ARMOUR [BODY 04, Skin Armor: 01, Limitation: Partial Coverage (-1CS Trick Shot to bypass)].
  • Steel-Capped Boots [BODY 04, EV 02 (03 w/STR, 05 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Short Sword [BODY 05, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Truncheon [BODY 04, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 05 w/Martial Artist)].
  • In emergencies he can also be armed with:
    • Crossbow [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 01, R#02, Drawback: Long reload time].
    • Pike or Halberd [BODY 05, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)].

By Gareth Lewis.

Source of Character: Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 7th of September, 2014.

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