|System Reference Document v3.5|
Reputation enhances noncombat interaction between characters by providing bonuses to certain skill checks. Those who recognize a character are more likely to help him or to do what he asks, provided the character’s reputation is a positive influence on the NPC or monster that recognizes him. A high reputation bonus makes it difficult for a character to mask his identity, which can be a problem if he’s trying not to be noticed.Disguise skill or illusion magic to mask his identity, then what he accomplishes while disguised doesn’t affect his reputation score for good or ill.
A character may adopt a nom de plume (as Robin Hood did) or wear a mask or other costume (as Zorro did) during his adventures. If so, the character tracks reputation separately for his true identity and his alter ego (much as comic-book heroes do). If the Crimson Cavalier needs to sneak out of town after embarrassing the captain of the guard, what better way to do so than by simply removing his mask, hiding his weapons in an oxcart, and departing while in his secret identity of Tallin the Dung-Merchant?
A reputation check is equal to
1d20 + the character’s reputation bonus + the NPC or monster’s Int modifier.
The GM may substitute a Knowledge skill bonus for the Int modifier if he decides the character’s past activities apply to a particular field. For example, if the character were a cleric, Knowledge (religion) might be appropriate. Additional modifiers that might apply include the following.Table: Reputation Check Modifiers
The standard DC of a reputation check is 25. If the NPC or monster succeeds on the reputation check, he or she recognizes the character. That recognition grants a bonus, or penalty, on certain subsequent skill checks, depending on how the NPC or monster reacts to the character.Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Perform checks equal to his reputation bonus.
When an NPC or monster with an Intelligence score of 5 or higher has a negative opinion of a character’s reputation, the character gains a penalty on Bluff and Intimidate checks equal to his reputation bonus.
The bonus or penalty on these skill checks applies only when a character is interacting with an NPC or monster that recognizes the character. Others present in the encounter are unaffected by the character’s reputation.Bluff to lie to player characters who, in turn, use Sense Motive to detect the lie. If an NPC tries to intimidate a player character, the GM can use the NPC’s Intimidate check to determine which characters see the NPC as intimidating and which don’t. Similarly, a Diplomacy check can tell the GM which characters find an NPC persuasive and which do not. At other times, players may want to know if their characters recognize a particular NPC or monster. A reputation check can help GMs in these situations.
The reputation check to see if a player character recognizes an NPC or monster is the same as described above. However, the GM should make the skill check privately and keep the actual result secret. Doing this prevents players from using reputation checks as a form of radar for measuring the importance of every NPC they encounter.
Modify the results of NPCs’ and monsters’ interaction skill checks by their reputation bonuses when they interact with characters who recognize them.Table: Reputation Scores
A player character has a reputation score based on his class levels; Table: Reputation Scores, summarizes this information for the standard player character and NPC classes.
A multiclass character has a reputation score according to his class level in each of his classes, regardless of what his character level is. For example, an 8th-level barbarian/6th-level cleric has a reputation score of +3 (+2 from his barbarian levels, +1 from his cleric levels). His score increases to +4 when he reaches 15th level if he takes 7th level in cleric, but not if he takes 9th level in barbarian.
For a class not mentioned on this table, determine the associated reputation score by assigning the class to a column with classes of a similar sort. (For instance, the assassin class probably has the same reputation score as the rogue, and the blackguard would be equivalent to the paladin.)
Benefit: Reduce your reputation bonus by 3 points.
Special:You can’t select both the Low Profile feat and the Renown feat. You’re either famous or you’re not.
Benefit: Increase your reputation bonus by 3 points.
Special:You can’t select both the Low Profile feat and the Renown feat. You’re either famous or you’re not.Rather than determining reputation increases purely by class levels, the GM can enhance characters’ reputations based on the characters’ actual adventures. At an adventure’s conclusion, he can hand out awards to the characters who were known to have participated, representing how much more famous (or infamous) their recent actions have made them.
This variant doesn’t change much about the game (beyond what the reputation variant does in general). Characters have a slight incentive to choose adventures that earn them more fame, because their later social interactions will be more likely to succeed. But reputation is a double-edged sword in the d20 game, because it can turn into notoriety with a simple twist of the plot. The same peasants who buy the PCs drinks at the tavern one night might try to turn them in for a reward a week later after the sheriff frames the PCs for murder.
If the characters earned public acclaim for ending a threat to the community’s safety, award each PC a 1-point increase in his or her reputation score at the adventure’s conclusion. If the accolades came from a narrower circle of people, such as the merchants of Mosston or the druids of Tallforest, then each character gets a ˝-point increase. (A single ˝-point increase has no effect on reputation-related skill checks, but two such increases combine to provide a full 1-point increase.) If what the characters accomplished in the adventure directly affected, or came to the attention of, only a few (or no) other people, the PCs don’t get a reputation boost.
This determination is obviously a judgment call. For guidance, the GM can consult Table: Event-Based Reputation, organized according to how much effect the successful completion of the adventure would have on the PCs’ reputation scores. If the adventure situation in your game is similar to a particular idea in the table, then the possible reputation award should be similar as well. (To generate an adventure idea randomly, roll d% and consult Table: Event-Based Reputation.)
From Table: Event-Based Reputation, it’s clear that site-based adventures in which the PCs function as explorers don’t usually earn reputation awards. Few people care that four brave people cleared a grown-over ziggurat full of monsters, because they probably didn’t know about the ziggurat out in the wilderness to begin with, much less that it was full of monsters.
Adventures that affect only a few people likewise don’t earn reputation awards, unless the people in question are themselves celebrities. But adventures that affect an entire town or small region are worth ˝ point, and adventures that affect a large city or nation are worth a full 1 point.
The nature of the danger that is overcome is important, too. Merely annoying or mysterious dangers, such as green smoke coming from a cave (entry 77 on Table: Event-Based Reputation) or a series of sabotaged wagons (entry 87), don’t enhance PC reputations as much as dangers that create widespread panic and mayhem.
Also, regardless of the severity of the danger, if those who benefited from the PCs’ success weren’t aware of the peril from which the PCs saved them, then the characters’ reputation award is ˝ point apiece at best.Table: Event-Based Reputation
Hard and fast rules for how far a character’s reputation spreads are more trouble than they’re worth; whether reputation applies in any situation is best left up to the GM. But in general, the “radius” of a character’s reputation slowly increases as she attains higher levels.
For example, a low-level character’s reputation score might apply only in her small town and the immediate surrounding countryside. Perhaps, by the time she reaches around 10th level, everyone in the province might have heard of her exploits. When she gets to 15th level or thereabouts, anyone in the country or region might know of her.
But what happens if she then visits the planar city of Xenast? She’s never been to the place before, and most Xenast residents have never been to the Material Plane, so her reputation doesn’t follow her there. But once she accomplishes something (often an adventure) that earns her a measure of fame in Xenast, her reputation “radius” expands to encompass that city. Not only do Xenast residents tell tales of her most recent adventure, some might be curious enough to find out what she accomplished on the Material Plane before coming to the planar city.
With the event-based reputation variant, a character who is a newcomer to her location has a reputation score of 0 until she earns at least a ˝-point increase by succeeding on an adventure in that location. Once she has done so, she gains the benefit of her full reputation score. (Don’t track a character’s reputation separately for different areas — people have either heard of her, or they haven’t.)
When using level-based reputation increases, a character is entitled to benefit from her full reputation score once she has been in her new location for at least one level’s worth of adventuring, even if the adventures themselves didn’t bring her any reputation increases.