2015-10-31 Reputation, again

I’ve been thinking about a system to track reputations again and again over the years. They never seem to work as intended. The players are not too invested.

In 2009, I thought of something I called “the gods are watching you.”. If you do something to please or annoy a particular god, you gain a reputation. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. The gods will know you whether you’re building their temples or desecrating their altars. Reputation is neutral, so to say. I still like this part. The trouble is keeping track of it all.

In 2010, I proposed a system based on quests. Depending on the importance of the deed, the limit for gaining reputation would shift. To raise your reputation from +2 to +4, for example, it was no longer enough to save a life (or sacrifice a life) – you had to basically save (or destroy) entire settlements.

In 2012, I proposed to modify the system in order to allow players to roll dice. I thought that this would get players more invested. They might ask me, “Hey, don’t I get to roll my reputation die?” If I modify their reputation between sessions as part of writing the session report, it doesn’t have the same kind of impact as when we’re sitting at the table, negotiating reputation effects and rolling dice. Sadly, it still hasn’t taken off.

Today, I saw a blog post by Cecil Howe called Guilty By Association: A Simple, Visual REP System which has a little PDF with a system that allows you to keep visual track of reputation. (Also on Google+.)

                     Character: ______________



Faction             Negative     Bonus      Positive
	       ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌───┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ 
               ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ │   │ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ 
_____________  └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └───┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ 
	       ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌───┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ 
	       ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ │   │ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ 
_____________  └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └───┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ 
	       ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌───┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ ┌─┬─┐ 
	       ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ │   │ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ ├─┼─┤ 
_____________  └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └───┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ └─┴─┘ 

Perhaps I should do something similar? You could keep track of both positive and negative elements and get a clearer picture. Perhaps if we had a sheet at the table, they’d be more invested?

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Comments

I just thought... maybe the problem is more one of control? Give the PCs a sheet and let them decide how to align themselves? Or they have a few points at the start of the career and can get more by using contacts and questing for different factions... wich could lead to loss at other factions. Depending on how they spent their points, they either add to the ones gained by the quest or the lower the negative effect on an opposing factions... This could be done mechanically or via social encounters. Let’s say the PCs raided a warehouse of the thievesguild. The paladin gets a point he adds to the good standing with the police force, even further alienating the guild, while the thief gives gold and information to the guild to lessen his loss in reputation with the guild (maybe by roleplaying how he convinces the guildmaster that having one who the police regards as “reformed” is more worth than whatever was in the warehouse... “Oh, and by the way, they put the crates with the drugs in cell number 3...”) Just my 2 cents.

rorschachhamster 2015-10-31 10:08 UTC


Indeed, making it more visible, and giving players more control. A good point!

– AlexSchroeder 2015-10-31 13:09 UTC


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