Reputation

The people of Shimmering Kingdoms value their reputations as much as they do their strength, power, pride and accomplishments. Living well is important, but more important is living right. One’s reputation works as more than just a shortcut during introductions—it can be a key that opens doors. Reputation is a merchant’s livelihood. It’s a hero’s free room and board. It’s a lord’s triumph even before a battle begins. And most of all, it’s the birthright all citizens leave to their children, an unseen social currency of the land. Without a good reputation, one may as well live as a churl in the slums or scrub floors as a thrall.

Reputations involve Recognition of the character, their Name, and their Renown.

Recognition

Reputation is used to determine whether an NPC recognizes a hero, and how they interact socially when they do. Those who recognize the hero are more likely to help the hero, provided the hero has a positive renown. A high Reputation bonus also makes it difficult for heroes to hide their identities and go unnoticed.

Name

A character’s name is more than what he or she chooses to answer to. A name carries with it the honor of victories won and the infamy of dark deeds. A character’s Reputation influences his or her ability to interact socially, as well as indicates respect gained from peers and those of superior station. Anyone who intends to succeed in the world must be prepared to build a Reputation, whether to make others bow with respect or cower in fear.

Renown

Renown represents the qualities for which individuals and groups are best known. Every character can have a Renown Trait, chosen by the player when the character gains his or her first Reputation Point(s) award. Remember that Renown represents what is known and believed about the character, not necessarily what is true. Renown Traits do not need to be known by everyone, and will only provide bonuses or penalties for interactions with people who are aware of and believe the Reputation.

It is most often a character’s Nature (virtues and vices) that determines their Renown (if the Nature is played correctly).

Most of the time, the GM decides when a hero’s reputation is relevant to a scene. The GM makes a Reputation check for a NPC that might be influenced in some fashion due to the hero’s fame or infamy.

Reputations consist of Reputation Points, Renown Traits (which includes a descriptor and a bonus), and Prestige Points which may be spent in several ways to affect social interactions.

Reputation Points

A character’s reputation is represented by points, with a possible range of 0 to 100; a score of 0 represents a hermit who lives in a cave in the wilds, while a score of 100 represents a well-known ruler of a nation. Most kings have 90 or more reputation points, while most thralls or serfs have fewer than 10. Your reputation score does not reflect whether you are cruel or kind, merely how well known you are — you can be a King infamous for your sadism with 100 reputation points or a saintly thrall with 0. A character cannot have more than 100 reputation points or fewer than 0. Characters may earn (or even purchase) Renown Traits (see below) that are reputation descriptors which modify the character’s reputation (such as the Sadistic king or Saintly thrall, above).

Reputation is handled somewhat differently for PCs and NPCs, since it’s unlikely for an NPC’s reputation to change during the course of a game (barring influence by a PC), but a PC’s reputation may change often, improving or worsening in response to the choices he makes and the success or failure of his plans.

NPCs’ Base Reputation Points: An NPC’s base number of reputation points is generally equal to his (Social Station + Charisma) × 5, with any modifiers the GM wishes to apply.

PCs’ Base Reputation Points: At 1st level, a PC starts with a number of reputation points equal to her Charisma, +1 (for her 1st Role level) + Social Station . Whenever a PC’s experience level or Charisma score increases or decreases, her total number of reputation points increases or decreases by the same amount. A PC can gain or lose reputation points during play as well, as detailed below.

Gaining and Losing Reputation Points

As a campaign progresses, PCs gain reputation points by gaining levels and increasing their Charisma scores. In addition, a number of in-game events can alter a PC’s reputation. When one of these events occurs, it modifies the reputation of every PC who was directly involved in the event—for example, defeating a powerful monster would boost the reputation points of every member of the party, but earning a noble title would affect only the newly ennobled PC. Many of these encounters require the events in question to be performed “in public”—in order for the reputation point adjustment to occur, there must be surviving witnesses who can spread the news of the event in the days to come. Such events may have a delay before applying reputation adjustments, representing the time it takes for witnesses to spread word of the event.

It’s possible to earn multiple reputation adjustments with a single act. For example, a group defeats an ice wyrm would earn reputation points for each character for defeating the creature. They each would also earn more reputation points for bringing its head back as a trophy.

The DM will assign reputation bonuses on a case by case basis.

Among the ways reputation can raise is: Publicly defeating an enemy or monster, bring back a trophy from an adventure, challenge and defeat an enemy, perform or otherwise excel in a public forum, raise your social status or earn a noble title, steal treasure from a noteworthy foe, complete significant adventures and spread the news of your success, exploration discoveries, participate in significant social events (become married, have a child), and more.

Losing Reputation

There are times when a character might lose reputation. The primary cause for reputation loss is inactivity. If a character goes into obscurity for a prolonged period of time (perhaps by assuming a different identity, or becoming trapped in the Faerie Realm), their score may drop. People’s memories are fickle that way, with so much going on in the world, and gossip exchanging lips on a constant basis.

It is very rare for a Reputation score to become lowered by failure, for word spreads of such ineptitude, and the character might well earn Renown for the failed act, such as “Craven +1,” “Conquerer of Nothing +3,” “Ship Scuttler +2”, or even “Butterfingers +1,” or “Dolt +2”. Knights might lose reputation for bland performance at Tournaments (but not for abject failure). Musicians and actors suffer the same results for less than impressive public performances, as the audience will yawn and move on if there are livelier performers nearby.

Consequences of Reputation Point Loss

Beyond the shame of a diminished reputation and the fear of fading into obscurity, dropping to 0 reputation points is particularly demoralizing. As long as a character has 0 reputation points, she takes a –2 penalty on all Will saving throws and on all Charisma-based checks.

Alter Egos, Aliases, and Secret Identities

Throughout the course of an adventuring career, the hero’s public persona and her true personality might begin to drift apart or become notably disparate. When this occurs, you may adopt an alter ego or alias for your character in order to rid them of a prior reputation. In this case, your Reputation and Prestige Points remain with your former name, allowing you to shed your former life and start a new one.

With an alter ego, you create an artificial persona to show the public. You might wear a mask or costume to hide your true identity. When performing deeds as your alter ego, you develop its Reputation and Renown instead of your own. Only when presenting yourself as the alter ego can you use its Reputation, Renown and Prestige Points to your advantage. Also in this way, a seemingly weak or unassuming character can adopt the identity of a famous masked vigilante, relying on her fame to persuade commoners and strike fear into villains while remaining unknown in her secret identity.

If it’s revealed that your two identities are actually the same person, your Reputation, Renown and Prestige Points may change when dealing with those who have found out. For example, a notorious bandit changes her name and becomes a humble village healer. If her former life is made public, the villagers react to her according to her (larger, negative) Reputation as a bandit, but she also loses face with bandits, who don’t respect her choice to live peacefully and react according to her (lower, positive) Reputation as a village healer.

Renown

During the course of play, your character may gain renown. It may occur because of a virtue (or vice), her Complication, a Drawback or even an Allegiance. Most likely it will occur due to good role-playing, and the events or traits will usually be witnessed by many, and the word of your reputation will spread. The GM usually assigns the Renown Trait (descriptors), as well as their ratings. It is possible, however, for the player to spend Prestige Points (see below), to assign renown to the characters.

The Renown Trait is a descriptor, a phrase or word that denotes the qualities the Renown describes. You also gain a magnitude bonus. The bonus is the magnitude of the Renown — the effect the Renown has on people’s opinions. A character with a higher-rated Renown is more well known, and believed more strongly by those who know of them, and tend to bring more attention for good or ill than lower Reputations.

For example, a character may be known as “Honorable +3,” “Wise +5,” or a “Dependable +2.” Renown descriptors may also be more evocative, such as “Honey-tongued Merchant +6,” “Mythic Warrior +9,” or “Sneaky Alchemist +4.”

Renown Descriptors and Bonuses

The description of a Renown Trait determines how it is applied in social situations. When dealing with others, their opinion of the character’s Renown determines whether that Renown acts as a bonus or a penalty to interaction rolls. The GM must decide when a particular Renown is a benefit or a hindrance.

A few examples of possible Renown Trait descriptors are: Bold, Brave, Carouser, Clever, Dedicated, Fierce, Generous, Honest, Honorable, Loyal, Rake, Strong, Stubborn, Valiant, Warrior, Well-educated, or Wise. More complex Renown descriptors include: Quick to Act, Wise Child, Sea’s Master, Horse Lord, Magi, Defender of the Crown, Berserker, Wolf Girl, etc.

A character might also gain a Renown descriptor based on his or her specific accomplishments, though such reputations become generalized over time, so that “Giantsbane” equals an excellent fighter, and “Hunter of the White Hart” suggests a master woodsman.

Using Reputation

At anytime during play either the player or the GM may ask for a Reputation check to determine if a character is known. This is a d20 roll modified by the character’s Reputation modifier (based on their Reputation Points), their highest Renown Trait bonus, and the target’s Intelligence modifier or appropriate skill modifier. An appropriate skill modifier is one that might give knowledge about the character. Nearly any skill can be appropriate. Knowledge (local) or (royalty/nobility) are most likely, but if the target has a craft or profession skill and the character is a known craftsman or professional, or the subject of a known work (such as a painting or sculpture) then craft may be an appropriate skill. Likewise, Acrobatics could help recognize a famous athlete or Heal could help recognize a famous healer. For all skills: use Intelligence as the ability modifier, regardless of skill. Also if the subject is wearing a uniform of any kind (military, clerical, professional, etc), there may be a bonus to the check as well. In this case, even a failed check might indicate a familiarity with the office the uniform represents.

REPUTATION MODIFIER =
Reputation Points divided by 5 (round down)

Reputation
Score
Reputation
Modifier
Reputation
Score
Reputation
Modifier
1-5 +1 51-55 +11
6-10 +2 56-60 +12
11-15 +3 61-65 +13
16-20 +4 66-70 +14
21-25 +5 71-75 +15
26-30 +6 76-80 +16
31-35 +7 81-85 +17
36-40 +8 86-90 +18
41-45 +9 91-95 +19
46-50 +10 96-100 +20

REPUTATION CHECK =

D20 + Reputation Modifier + Highest Renown Trait bonus + Target’s Int (or skill modifier)

DC for Reputation Checks

Location DC
Home Town 15
Home Province 20
Home Kingdom 25
Neighboring Kingdom 30
Non-Neighboring Kingdom 35
Modifiers to DC Modifier
Remote Location +5
Large City +5
Allies or minions spread tales
of your deeds before you arrive
-1 to −5
A troubadour spreads tales or songs
of your deeds before you arrive
-1 to -10
You have NPC contacts in the settlement -1
You have enemies in the settlement −1
Settlement’s primary language is different from yours +5
Wearing a uniform -1
The hero is famous, known far and wide with either a positive or negative connotation -10
NPC is part of the hero’s professional or social circle -5
The hero has some small amount of fame or notoriety -2

If the Reputation check succeeds, the target recognizes the character in his current identity. They will act appropriately towards the character.

Additionally, the recognized character may add their Renown bonus +1 (if a positive Renown, otherwise it becomes a penalty) to the character’s social interaction checks with the character who recognized them. Rolls related to hiding the character’s identity (such as Disguise or Bluff) suffer a penalty equal to the reputation bonus. A recognized character may add his Renown bonus +1 to Intimidate checks, regardless if it is a positive or negative renown.

Prestige Points

Prestige Points represent your ability to leverage your Reputation. Each time your Reputation increases, you also gain 1 (or more) Prestige Point(s). In the example above (defeating the ice wyrm), the characters would gain at least 1 Prestige Point, but they may not gain all of the Reputation points earned as Prestige Points.

Your Prestige Points can never exceed your Reputation. You can’t share Prestige Points with other characters; only the character who earned them can spend them. Most of the time, you spend points on rewards—favors, titles, temporary abilities, or bonuses on tasks associated with your interests. Spending prestige points in this manner can get you aid in court, help you avoid an unwanted arrest, or even secure gifts and loans, but doing so costs a random number of prestige points.

You may spend prestige points in this manner up to once per game session. Spending Prestige Points does not affect your Reputation score, unless you attempt to spend prestige points and you do not have enough to pay for the boon you seek. In that case, your reputation points are reduced (GM’s discretion) and you do not gain the boon.

Certain in-game role playing results will both grant and subsequently remove Prestige Points. Example: A character might be given a reward for completing a mission. His Reputation will go up, and any Prestige Points earned would be immediately spent on the reward, such as a fine steed or an enchanted sword.

When dealing with a character or group who are one of your Allegiances, reduce the Prestige Point Cost by 2 (minimum 1)

Examples of Spending Prestige Points

Renown Trait: You can spend Prestige Points to grant yourself a new Renown Trait, strengthen a Renown Trait modifier, even lessen a modifier or remove a Renown Trait. This expenditure of Prestige Points, no matter the results, may only be accomplished once per adventure (Note that Renown may be awarded/adjusted by the GM due to the character’s actions at any time). Generally, it takes time to intentionally modify your own Renown.

  • Cost: 1d6 prestige points to acquire or raise the modifier by 1. 2d6 to lower a modifier by 1, and 3d6 to remove a Renown Trait that has a +1 modifier. You must remove each bonus separately.

Diplomacy/Intimidate Boost: You gain a +5 circumstance bonus on social interaction checks for the remainder of the game session.

  • Cost: 1d6 prestige points.

Favor: You gain a favor from an NPC ally (this may not apply to a contact – contacts might grant favors without Prestige Point expenditures).

  • Cost: From 1d6 to 5d6 prestige points, depending on the GM’s whim and the difficulty of the favor.

Gift or Loan: An NPC ally grants you a gift or a loan. The gift or loan in question must be one that the NPC could actually grant (subject to the GM’s approval— requests for particularly expensive gifts or loans beyond what a character of your level could or should be able to earn through adventuring should generally be refused). The gift or loan can be in the form of wealth, or it could be a single item. A gift is permanent, but a loan lasts only for the game session in which it is granted.

  • Cost: 1d6 prestige points for a +25 bonus to a one-time Wealth Check. For a gift, the check cannot fail. For a loan, when trying to purchase an item, if the check fails, the prestige points are spent, and the item is not acquired. In such a circumstance, the money may be returned, or kept, but the prestige cost is still spent. Additionally, with a loan, the prestige point cost is halved, but at the start of each subsequent game session, if the loan has not already been returned or repaid, the halved cost must be paid again to extend the loan for that game session—this counts as your use of prestige points for that session. Note that some unscrupulous lenders may charge usury fees, use strong-arm tactics for the money’s return, or worse.

Weregild/Ransom Payment: Allies back home pay for your weregild and save you from being a hostage. Note that there are other ways for your family to raise money for your ransom. This is but one simple way to determine the cost.

  • Cost: A number of prestige points equal to your character level + Reputation Modifier +1d6.

Petition a title, rank or promotion: Generally speaking, being awarded a title (such as knighthood), or a rank (in the clergy), are a matter of role playing. One must earn their status, following proper channels. It is possible, however, for one to use their influence (i.e. Prestige Points), to petition for a title, rank or even a promotion within the ranks of your current organization.

  • Cost: Varies, at the whim of the GM. One may ask the GM if they have sufficient Prestige Points before making the attempt. There is, of course, a random element to the expenditure. Again, if you don’t have the Prestige to accomplish your petitioned promotion, you will lose all of your Prestige in the trying, and be denied. May only be requested between adventures, and also costs Wealth and time, as your character will be traveling and greasing the proverbial wheels. The GM has the final say on all variables, and on your success or failure. Note: A guideline for Prestige Point costs for Petitioning average around 30 points, again with a random element (which might look like 2d6 + 20 points, or even 6d6 +10 points).

Establish a Contact: Each contact is gained by spending (in this case, leveraging) Reputation in the form of Prestige Points, though your GM may grant them as well in the course of role-play. Not all characters have contacts — deep friendships and abiding trust aren’t part of every hero’s tale.

To establish a contact, a character may either choose an existing NPC (the preferred choice) or create a new one.

The reason(s) for a contact’s support should be determined before the contact enters play, and it’s a good idea to note a few additional details about the contact as well. At the very least every contact should have a name and home location. Adding one to three background details (banker to the Crown, owns hundreds of books, former militiaman) and/or one to three personality quirks (jovial, womanizing, afraid of horses) will help the Game Master run the contact in an expected fashion, rather than making them up on the fly when the contact is called upon.

The Game Master must approve each new contact before it enters play. Like everything in this chapter, contacts shouldn’t replace a character’s raw ability and the GM should be mindful of ways that contacts might be used — intentionally or accidentally — to circumvent or undermine a campaign’s challenge. For instance, a diplomat might be a great contact in a political intrigue game, so long as he doesn’t wind up doing all the talking for the party. Generally, contacts should be making the characters’ lives a little easier or getting them out of minor binds rather than replacing their need to adventure.

  • Cost: Buying a contact costs 1d6 Prestige Points times half the NPC’s Reputation Modifier (rounding up). Example: Sir Charles of Winfredsonshire has a Social Station of 8, and his Charisma is 2. His Reputation Score is ([82] x5 = 50) meaning his Reputation Modifier = 10. Gaining Sir Charles as a contact will cost the character 5d6 Prestige Points, wheras gaining Hilde the Barmaid (Reputation Score 25 (5 Modifier)) 3d6 Prestige Points. Contacts may be offered at no cost as an Instant Reward — assuming the characters treat them well. Contacts may also be purchased using the Contacts Feat.

Awarded a holding: Homes, hideouts, houses you rent, and places you squat are all holdings. Each holding is a separate place, with a Scale ranging from 1 to 12, as shown on Holding Scale. A holding’s Scale determines the maximum number of guests you can host and shelter there (in addition to yourself ).
The Scale of each of your holdings may not exceed your Reputation Modifier. You may keep any number of holdings at a time but each is a separate expenditure of Prestige Points.
Note that characters may also purchase (or rent) holdings using their Wealth, as well as having holdings granted to them as rewards by the GM. This cost in Prestige Points allows the characters to be rewarded them free of charge. In all cases, however there are usually drawbacks to having holdings (such as no control over the neighbors, an annual tax, duty to a liege, support for those who depend on the Holder.

  • Cost: A holding’s Prestige Point cost is 1d6 x its Scale. Additional Prestige Points may be spent to improve a holding with Assistants, Fortifications, Guards, Rooms, and Tradesmen, as described in Holdings. Improvements to one holding have no effect on your other holdings. In the case of temporary holdings, such as free ship passage for one particular journey, the Prestige costs are halved (minimum 1). It is also possible for a Holding to be lost (Bandits raid your holding while you are away, your lord grants the manor to someone else, etc.)

LOSING PRIZES

The spoils of glory are often fleeting: titles can be stripped away, friends can die in battle, territories can be raided or destroyed, and relics can be shattered or stolen. Losing a Prize can be a devastating blow and it takes time for a hero’s legend to recover. As with Wealth, spent Prestige doesn’t magically reappear when a Prize is lost; the hero must continue to adventure to gain more. Whether a hero replaces a lost Prize with newly gained Reputation is a choice for tomorrow.


Note: This system is based off of a number of different systems, including Crafty Games’ Fantasy Craft, AEG’s 7th Sea, and “Game of Thrones RPG” by Guardians of Order, Inc. and Paizo’s Lands of the Linnorm Kings Campaign.


Return to HERO CREATION
Return to RACIAL BACKGROUND

Reputation

Shimmering Kingdoms True20 PhoenixMark