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Thread: PC Fame in D&D

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default PC Fame in D&D

    Does anyone have any good rules for determining how player characters acquire and are affected by fame and reputation?

    As individuals or groups become do more jobs and gain renown it makes sense that, to a certain extent, their encounters with the general public should reflect that fame. Certainly it could work negatively or positively for the players, I think of Fallout New Vegas's treatment of reputation with different places and factions as an interesting system.

    I feel like this has been an aspect that is missing in the games I run and I wonder if any other DM's have defined systems that describe how the players experience changes with their reputation. This is sort of a loose idea I'm playing with so feel free to post your thoughts on the concept even if you don't have concrete rules or theories on how it functions within a game.

    If it matters to anyone I run second edition AD&D and I'm beginning to dabble in 5th edition, but this seems like something that can span edition gaps and indeed it very likely has applications in a lot of different systems.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    I think there were the barest beginnings of a points system for doing good/bad deeds in the eyes of individual groups in one of the 3.5 supplements...it may have been Cityscape or perhaps DMG2.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2014-10-27 at 02:20 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    D&D has a reputation system. Is that what you're looking for?

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Try here. Minimum character limit.
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    Sith_Happens's Avatar

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Doesn't 2e/AD&D have titles and recognition levels tied to specific character level milestones by default?
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Try here. Minimum character limit.
    Huzzah! The part about event based reputation is closest to the kind of system I'm thinking about. Many thanks to the other posters as well.

    I'm not a huge fan of level based reputation. Also I would like to tweak it a bit so that it isn't just about a little bonus to skill checks. I'd like there to be real incentive for players to seek fame. Elevated status within certain societies, more important employers- that sort of thing.

    I'm playing with the idea of adding a page to the character sheet just to record reputation information. If I build it right this can generate an entirely new set of hoops for my players to jump through.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Here are my general guidelines.

    1. If nobody hears about it, or sees any effects, then it does not affect reputation.
    2. When the PCs first appear out of the wilderness, they precede any stories. When they travel from one city or town to another, the stories get there first.
    3. When rich PCs with stuff to sell show up about the time a major threat disappears, then they get all the glory therein, whether they had anything to do with it or not.
    4. If people see the effects (loot, disappearance of threats, blasted buildings, etc.) and don't have the facts, false stories will spread.
    5. The PCs will not be believed when telling their own stories.
    6. If the story is cool, it spreads faster.
    7. Bad things that happen when strangers are in town are ascribed to them (thefts, pregnancies, crop failures).
    8. Nobles hire bards to spread stories that benefit them.
    9. The DM's job is to create trouble for the PCs to have to try to get out of.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    "9. The DM's job is to create trouble for the PCs to have to try to get out of."

    I generally avoid this aspect of DMing, unless a player does something deserving, or "evil".

    So, unless it's "story" related or the PC makes a similar suggestion, it's generally unlikely to happen.

    There's plenty of "evil" going on in a given campaign world, some of which transpired before they were even born.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    3.5 PHB2 has affiliations, which are all about gaining perks as you rank up with a group. 5e DMG has factions. And while it's not explicitly spelled out, I've often considered remaking many of the prestigious organization PRCs as ones where you were trained in an organization specific ability if your rank grew high enough.

    Giving you both broad fame amongst the populace, and renown in specific groups in the two most popular editions.

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    I did something along those lines once. I figured out the main trade routes, some information links and a couple spy rings, a few wandering bard npcs, and put a couple other adventuring groups in the setting. I could track how far information had gone and had a rule of thumb for how accurate it would be. I told the players at the beginning that I keeping a fame/reputation score for the party.
    So, naturally, the players ignored all of it. They killed a dragon, a lich, and a fortress full of giants and didn't tell anyone. They found powerful magic rituals, secret messages, and blackmail evidence and didn't do anything with it. They told off the bards, insulted a mayor during a reward, and skipped meeting a king because...you know, I never did get a coherent reason out of them for that. They were infuriated that other parties claimed rewards or were offered high profile quests but they never did anything about it.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    You know, I've tried to write out a system several times, but imo is just easier to wing it.

    The PCs oust a corrupt mayor backed by the thieves guild? They hit local politicians' radars, gain the enmity of the thieves guild, and maybe some parties become interested in utilizing their skills. Or, more precisely, I just roleplay everyone who could have heard about the event accordingly.

    So... What, exactly, are you attempting to achieve, that "just role-playing" the NPCs wouldn't accomplish?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Don't forget to make this rather dependent on charisma. If all but the "face" have dumped charisma, expect "Roy and his merry bumbling lackeys". Remember, everybody remembers the story the way the bard told it, so don't be too surprised if you suddenly find yourself remembered as the bard's henchman (lucky for Roy, Elan will still sing of him being the hero).

    If anything, it might make powergamers have to get slightly more realistic in how they build a character.

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So... What, exactly, are you attempting to achieve, that "just role-playing" the NPCs wouldn't accomplish?
    If your PC's travel a lot over long distances it might pay to have a system for determining which of their deeds from two kingdoms away are known in their current location.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Randuir View Post
    If your PC's travel a lot over long distances it might pay to have a system for determining which of their deeds from two kingdoms away are known in their current location.
    ... interesting.

    Do merchants or bards travel between the two nations? If so, those who listen to such people know what such people have said, roleplay from there.

    Do the officials of one nation have spies and agents in the other? What might they have heard / reported? Roleplay from there.

    What I think would be most hilarious is if the PCs start heading rumors of some growing power in a distant land, only to later discover that someone was playing the Telephone Game about their exploits, and it's actually talking about them! Bonus points if the rumors were bad, and some king was so worried, he hired the PCs to kill this rising menace to order and stability.

    I leave you with these wise words: What is reputation? Is people talking, is gossip.

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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Hackmaster has some relatively good rules on Fame. Fame can go over 200, you get points for going up a level (with formal training), completing an adventure, building a stronghold, even hiring bards to sing about your deeds or going to taverns to brag can get you game. There's even a suggestion about granting a fame bonus temporarily, after completing an adventure, to represent a degree of temporary celebrity.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    For the most part, I keep my characters at a pretty low fame level. There are plenty of adventurers in my campaign setting, who are generally seen as a rowdy, flighty, albeit brave group. My characters also have killed an innocent fishing family (yelling at people for a boat makes them leave, that doesn't mean they don't care if you steal their boat). So fame can be pretty sketchy.

    That aside, though, it really depends on who their talking to, and how much they've really done. A farmer that lives near three other farming families and that's it might have heard either fantastic (and probably only partly true) stories, or absolutely nothing. People are more likely to keep track of those of like mind - and thus a knight in a fortress might have heard of the party's fighter, but know nothing of their wizard. A king might keep track of any heroes near his kingdom so that he could contact them in the event of a disaster. Cities will care less about smaller adventurers, but villages might have heard of them. Because of this, I never use the word "Fame" or anything like it, since all actions are tinted by perspective. I just measure it as if someone recognizes their name. Also keep in mind that the location of the event matters. Think of it as rocks being thrown into a lake. It is not that the size of the rock is equal to the importance of the players, and their reputation spreads more the bigger their importance, level, etc. Every deed done is a pebble/rock/boulder thrown in, and the ripples spread accordingly.

    However, if I had to put a system on it, I would say that level tiers are a good description. 1-4 is village important. 5-10 is kingdom important. 11-16 is world important. 17-20 is multiverse important.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    I'm working from memory, but a friend used a system a long time ago that tracked a combination of fame and infamy (may have been cobbled together from other sources). You could earn positive (fame) and negative (infamy) points, with more points earned the more significant the event is. The chance someone heard of you was based on the total of BOTH scores ignoring the negatives, so a fame of 20 and an infamy of -20 equaled a 40. But the differences between the two scores helped determine whether someone's view of you was primarily positive or negative, so a fame of 40 and an infamy of -20 meant that someone was 2/3rds likely to have a positive impression of you based solely on what they might have heard in rumor, song, etc.

    Obviously this could be altered based on first hand knowledge, information from trusted people, etc.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    ... interesting.

    Do merchants or bards travel between the two nations? If so, those who listen to such people know what such people have said, roleplay from there.

    Do the officials of one nation have spies and agents in the other? What might they have heard / reported? Roleplay from there.

    What I think would be most hilarious is if the PCs start heading rumors of some growing power in a distant land, only to later discover that someone was playing the Telephone Game about their exploits, and it's actually talking about them! Bonus points if the rumors were bad, and some king was so worried, he hired the PCs to kill this rising menace to order and stability.

    I leave you with these wise words: What is reputation? Is people talking, is gossip.
    I agree that reputation is best left as a RPing tool for the GM/players to sort out, unless you are specifically playing a political campaign, or where keeping a low profile is necessary (eg shadowrun)
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    In one of our previous campaigns, our DM made a NPC called The Immortal Scribe. A very high level character who would use cosmic level magic to spy on interesting people and write their tale. Of course most of the time the people had no idea about it. My character was getting confused by strangers coming up to him and pretty much going nuts around him. Until he finely found out about the books, so he gets them and reads through them (of course amazed by how accurate that they are) After quite a bit of searching he finally finds the guy and work out an agreement.

    It was rather fun trying to work that one out. Along with dealing with the fans along with some pretty strong enemies because of the books as well. He even had a stalker that called herself his number 1 fan. most of the time she was kind of annoying but there were a few times that she showed up and kicked the crap out of whatever was giving her idol a bad day. There are all kinds of possibilities to work with along those lines.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: PC Fame in D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Hackmaster has some relatively good rules on Fame.
    Bushido* had an amazing system for fame/social status. Being feudal Japan things like face, honor, and fame were pretty critical in a heroes life and carefully recorded on the character sheet. Be careful of where things stand before trying to get a legal blood feud going with that dastardly NPC.

    Fame points are also critical in Pendragon, although I've only read the first edition (it was recently free on pdf). Expect to need a ton of fame points before having a chance at getting to the round table (and plenty for making it) [from memory fame points went 0-1000, but I doubt a PC was expected to replace Arthur or Lancelot (presumably finding the Holy Grail was gamemaster dependent)].

    * I doubt I can really recommended it anymore. The "game side" seemed terribly derivative of AD&D even in the 1e era, and must look absolutely stone age by now. The integration of the setting (and thus the wonderful integration of fame, face, and honor) is still unmatched (except perhaps by Pendragon). I'd certainly recommend at least reading it to anyone interested in building a setting.

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