The Knight variant of the Noble background (PHB page 136) gives the following feature:


You have the service of three retainers loyal to your family ... one might be a majordomo ...

I can't find any other mention of a majordomo in the PHB, so what is special from a D&D perspective about a majordomo vs any other retainer?

It might be worth noting that this feature seems to have said squire once upon a time if this question is correct, and a squire is a specific NPC.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast PHB page 136. Sidebar to the noble background. Would link to D&D Beyond but it is blocked at work :( \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jul 10 '19 at 12:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ OK, thanks, I'll remove that. While I think it's an RP trigger, I don't have my books with me so I have nothing further to offer. I was going to suggest that what's special is that he outranks the captaindomo, but that's just me being silly. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 10 '19 at 12:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I now have titles for my other 2 retainers! \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jul 10 '19 at 12:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ The noble background never provided a squire as far as I know. The Knight is a variant to the noble background, and appears on page 136 of the Player's Handboook. A knight gets a squire in place of one of the servants from the Retainers feature. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 10 '19 at 12:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, both the noble and the knight can have Retainers (the noble just replaces Position of Privilege with that feature). The Knight specifically has a line that says "If you wish to be a knight, choose the Retainers feature (see the sidebar) instead of the Position of Privilege feature. One of your commoner retainers is replaced by a noble who serves as your squire..." in the description text. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 10 '19 at 13:51

It's the way you're supposed to use it that's special

As a retainer, a majordomo is a servant NPC friendly to you.

There are no stats for the majordomo in any of the books so you can assume that they are mechanically the same as any servant.

From the same sidebar :

Your retainers are commoners who can perform mundane tasks for you

The commoner has stats in the MM, so I suggest you use those.

As for their use to distinguish themselves from other servants :

From Wikipedia :

A majordomo is a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another. Typically, this is the highest (major) person of a household (domūs or domicile) staff, a head servant who acts on behalf of the owner of a large or significant residence.

It's not a cook, it's not a squire, it's a butler.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Does that answer your question better ? \$\endgroup\$ – Pierre Cathé Jul 10 '19 at 12:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I am still holding out hope that there is something that proves this answer false; yes it does, and it may end up being accepted if my dreams continue to be dashed. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jul 10 '19 at 12:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ A butler? What do you do? "I buttle, sir." \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Jul 10 '19 at 12:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri honestly it's still pretty cool, it felt awesome when my players wanted to set a trap for Strahd, and they had the gall to have the butler send him a formal written invitation. Let me tell you he was pissed \$\endgroup\$ – Pierre Cathé Jul 10 '19 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could always negotiate with the DM to have a Wisdom or Intelligence score of 12 for a majordomo vs 10 for a simple commoner. \$\endgroup\$ – JamesB Jul 12 '19 at 16:50

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