Besides the chance for fame, treasure and glory, what’s your personal link to the ruling king?
– You are of noteworthy noble blood. (Must be human and have the “Noble” background.)
– You are of minor noble blood. (If not of the “Noble” background, then you were born of very low standing or a very distant relation and grew up differently before being called to court.)
– You are a childhood friend of the king or once saved his young life by happenstance (“Entertainer,” “Folk Hero” or “Hermit”), and despite your differences, you have always stood by his side regardless of protocol or ceremony.
– You enlisted in the king’s military forces as a commoner or foreign mercenary (the “Soldier” or “Sailor” backgrounds) and earned renown through your past heroic deeds.
– If non-human or from a foreign land (“Outlander” or barbarian), you are an emissary in service to the king’s court for the sake of good diplomatic relations with your native people.
– If of the “Criminal,” “Charlatan,” “Urchin” or “Pirate” backgrounds, you are pressed into the king’s service as part of your sentence for past crimes. Failure to act loyally means your death and the execution of friends and family who you still care about.
– If of “Acolyte,” “Guild Artisan or Merchant” or “Sage” backgrounds, then your temple, guild or academy has lent your service as a form of payment to the king (either thanks for a past boon or simply in lieu of tribute or taxes).
– You were recognized through prophecy, an oracle’s vision or the king’s own dreams to have a special destiny in service to the king.
– The king is honor-bound to keep up his end of an agreement for your loyal service in exchange for a boon to someone your care about. (Inheritance of lands, another’s future release from prison, clearing the name of a family in disgrace, protection of your native people within the king’s realm.)
– The king’s court wizard, high cleric or some cosmic being (celestial or archfey) conjured your existence out of nothingness to live in loyal service to the court.
– The king swore an oath to always employ one of your kind in service to the realm (based on your family, your nationality or your subspecies race), and you are the last surviving member of that kind.
– You are the reincarnation of someone who owed a life debt to the royal family but your past self accidentally died before such an oath could be fulfilled. Now you serve in this life.
– You are the reincarnation of one of the king’s more infamous ancestors. In your current body and life, you hold no claim to the throne for yourself, but you serve loyally until your deeds balance out the great shame you caused in your past life. You hope your life and eventual next death finally brings you peace and honor. (Fits well for a “mostly reformed Lawful Evil” character.)
– The king has a dark secret and is being blackmailed by a devil, an archfey, a witch, a rival noble or some other villainous mastermind who demands you play an active role in the king’s affairs while also serving as “an agent on the inside” (Fits well as a warlock or another “Lawful Evil” option.)