Monday, April 21, 2014

D&D: Keeping Track of Reputation

It's rare to find D&D players who truly seem to respect the world and the characters that the dungeon master has created for them. More often, the players are preoccupied with the accumulation of wealth, getting more powerful, and chasing whatever strange, unplanned goal they've decided to pursue, and any inconvenience (object or NPC) will likely be destroyed without a second thought.

In both cases, it's good to have a system in place to keep track of a party's actions, so that their deeds both good and bad will be remembered by the world's inhabitants. A reputation system allows the inhabitants to treat the party appropriately, depending on what they've done to or for the people in question.

In my current game, I have a system in place which tracks the party's reputation on a scale of -10 to 10. The numbers play out like so:

0 means no reputation at all. The party is either totally unknown with this faction or otherwise haven't done anything notable that would sway their opinion one way or the other.

+1-4 means that the faction has a positive opinion of the party for some number of services. The people are likely to greet the party happily and try to be helpful, within reason.

+5-9 means that the faction considers the party to be heroes, and will likely bend over backward for the party, celebrating their arrival and helping in any way they can. Likely the party has done a great service for the faction that would demand great respect from them.

+10 means that the faction considers the party the equivalent of royalty, likely obeying most commands without question. The party would have to accomplish something truly extraordinary to attain this reputation, such as saving the lives of the entire faction from certain death (with them knowing about it).

-1-4 means that the faction considers the party undesirable, and its people will be gruff at best or violent at worst. The party must have done something to anger them, intentionally or not.

-5-9: the faction actively wants to hurt or eliminate the party. They consider the party an enemy, and most of its people will attack on sight or otherwise hinder the party to the best of their ability. The party probably set a village on fire or something.

-10: Nemeses. The faction will stop at nothing to destroy the party, sending assassins, armies, anything they can throw at the party to stop them. Very likely the party took the children from that village they burned down, chopped them up, cooked them, and forced the faction to eat the resulting dish. How could you.

That said, here's the party's standing in the realm of air, in case they ever return to their homeworld:

  • North Harbor: +6
    • fought orcs to defend the town, as part of the town's militia.
    • found a source of water for the townsfolk as refugees strained the town's supply
    • gained the approval of Captain Walgen, the head of the town's militia who commands great respect in North Harbor
    • gained the respect of the mayor, Gordon Sellick, who is well-respected in the town
    • freed the town from occupation by the forces of Gardas
  • The Human Kingdoms Gardas and Poria: +2
    • revealed an elven plot to keep the human kingdoms fighting among themselves
    • kidnapped Prince Mal on King Frank's behalf, causing him to disappear
  • Dwarves: +4
    • Fought the elves who were forcing them into slavery
    • Took Sheldon, the dwarven leader, to the upper realms
    • Returned Sheldon safely
    • Explored the Restricted Area, the Halls of Judgment, and lived
  • Elven Rebels: +1
    • Convinced Captain Arianus, an elven airship captain, to join the rebel cause
  • Mysteriarchs: -1
    • Killed their leader, Vinad, which also released Vinad's dragon
  • The Elven Empire: -5
    • Foiled their plot to keep the humans fighting among themselves
    • Stole one of their airships
    • Incited a dwarven revolt, costing them their primary water source
So, interestingly, the party seems to have more allies than enemies in the realm of air. Despite their often-greedy nature, the party clearly has no desire to make unnecessary foes. I believe the party may have more respect for the realm than it may seem at first glance.

1 comment:

  1. Charlie, we love the worlds you've crafted for us! Sure we may make mountains from anthills at every turn. but its because of how much fun it is to see your world react to our presence. I've only just discovered you've been chronicling our adventures, and I've got to say its been really nostalgic. I can picture the events in my mind as if they were actual memories. Of course none those moments would be nearly as impact full without the rich world they're set within. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to D&D.