Reputation is, simply put, how well known someone is in the world. Reputation is neither good nor bad – it is simply a measure of how far knowledge of the person and his deeds has spread. So, for example, an evil warlord and a benevolent king can have equal reputation, in their own fashion.

The Reputation Score

As a person gains power and performs deeds, his reputation score increases. Everyone starts with a reputation score of 0; some few have immediately gain 1 or 2 points due to their birthright – the king's children, for instance, would be known - by name, at least – to most people in the kingdom. Reputation decreases the further away from a person's power center (the place where he is best known) he is. A good rule of thumb here is that every 50 miles of distance decreases the reputation score by 1. This can be modified according to the campaign world – if the power center is highly visible or receives a lot of traffic (word of mouth), or information travels very easily, you can increase the distance; if the power center is very isolated or information travels slowly (or not at all), you can decrease it.

Table 1: Deeds

Criteria Modifier
Performed a minor deed1 +1 to +2
Performed a moderate deed +2 to +4
Performed a great deed2 +4 to +6
Received an award3 +1 to +4
Establish a stronghold4 +1 to +3
Found an organization Special5

1 Taking part in a battle involving 1,000 or more participants (on the winning side); slaying a powerful demon, lesser dragon, minor warlord, etc.; saving or destroying a city; recovering a powerful magic item.

2 Taking part in a battle involving 10,000 or more participants (on the winning side); slaying a legendary being (demigod, demon lord, or archdevil status); saving or destroying a kingdom; recovering a major artifact.

3 This can take many forms, but in order to acquire reputation, the reward must be granted by someone in power – the leader of a guild, the head of a village or city, or the ruler of a nation. The bonus starts at +1 for minor rewards (guilds, small towns, etc.) and goes up to +4 for greater rewards (empires).

4 The bonus is based on the size of the stronghold and its proximity to population centers – a wizard building a tower out in the middle of nowhere would gain a +1 at best; a knight building a small castle in a relatively unsettled valley would gain +2; a cleric establishing a new temple in the middle of the city would gain +3 to +4.

5 See Organizations and Reputation, below.

Organizations and Reputation

Just as individuals can have reputations, so too can organizations – guilds, schools, orders, even mercenary companies. These organizations gain reputation in much the same way as people do, but they have several other things that can factor in also, as noted on the table below.

Table 2: Organization Reputation

Criteria Modifier
Per 250 members (round down)1 +1 (max +20)
Per 20 years the organization has existed2 +1 (max +20)

1 1,000 members for cities or nations.

2 200 years for cities or nations.

A member of an organization can use the organization's reputation to boost his own in order to gain favors, acquire goods or services, or simply to intimidate someone. The person gains a fraction of the organization's reputation added to his own, based on his standing within the organization. For example, Herne is a priest of the church of Tyr; the church has a reputation of 20. Herne, being a mid-level member, gains 1/6 of the church's reputation (3) as a circumstance bonus for certain checks, like meeting with religious leaders or priests of his own or other faiths.

Standing Portion
Normal member 1/10
Mid-level member 1/6
High-level member 1/5
Leader 1/3

Normal Member: The rank and file; includes former members who have quit or retired in good standing. Someone who was kicked out can gain this bonus only if the other person doesn't know of his status.

Mid-Level Member: Mid-level members are a step above the rank and file; they have increased duties, and often command or control several normal members. A sergeant in the military or a cell leader in a covert organization are good examples of mid-level members.

High-Level Member: High-level members of an organization are typically only one or two steps below the leadership – they carry out or the leaders' order (or delegate duties to those below them), control large numbers of normal members (usually through or with the aid of mid-level members), and may even run the organization themselves in the leader's absence. An enforcer for a thieves' guild, an officer in the military, or a ward captain in the city watch (head of an entire ward) are good examples of high-level members.

Leader: Someone who runs the organization, either by himself or with the aid of others of equal rank (a council, e.g.).

Conversely, an organization can gain reputation from its members. This works exactly like members gaining reputation from their organization, except in reverse. Organizations don't gain reputation from normal members, however, and the impact of other members has a lesser overall impact – the bonus granted by mid- and high-level members and leaders is reduced by one step. So, for example, if Dekyon the legendary paladin formed the Legion of Light, a military unit, the unit would have a bonus equal to 1/5 of his reputation. This enables him to recruit members more quickly and easily, and gain the type of followers most likely to be compatible with his aims.

Cities and nations can count as organizations, of a sort. The larger and more influential a city or nation is, the more likely it will be that someone else will know of it. Claiming to be from a given city or nation has little impact on most interactions, however, unless the place has an especially good or bad reputation. Generally speaking, only high-level members or leaders of cities or nations can gain their "organization's" reputation bonus, and even those are halved. Cities and nations use the bonuses for organizations,

Gaining Reputation

Table 1 shows the relative scale of a person's or group's influence based on the reputation score. Someone with a reputation of 5, for example, would be known to most people in a small city or several districts in a larger city, but his name and/or reputation would probably not extend very far beyond that.

Table 3: Reputation

Bonus Scope of
1-2 +1 Village, neighborhood (up to 6 square blocks) Local thug, village healer
3-4 +2 Large town, city ward (up to 12 square blocks) Town sheriff
5-6 +3 Small city, multiple wards Thieves' guild
7-9 +4 Small city and suburbs, large city City watch
10-12 +5 County/city-state Local militia, small church
13-15 +6 Regional (up to 50 sq. miles) Master craftsman
16-18 +7 Multiregional (up to 100 sq. miles)/small kingdom Lesser mercenary company, large church
19-21 +8 Kingdom (up to 500 sq. miles) Legendary dragon, elite military unit
22-24 +9 Multiple kingdoms (up to 1000 sq. miles) A humanoid army on the march
25-28 +10 Continental Centuries-old order, epic mage
29-31 +11 Empire The tarrasque
32-35 +12 Multicontinental/empire Imperial legions
36-40 +13 Global Vast empire, epic heroes
41-45 +14 Inner planes/Astral and Ethereal Demigods, ancient beings
46-49 +15 Multiplanar Lesser/intermediate powers
50+ +16 Cosmos (other crystal spheres) Greater powers

Applying Reputation

As a person's reputation increases, he receives more and greater recognition, he can move through higher the circles of society, and he acquires more powerful (and numerous) enemies and followers.

Reputation adds a bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks and the character's Leadership score, as noted on Table 1. In order to apply the bonus to skill checks, the object of the PC's attention must know of the PC (a rule of thumb is to have it make an Int check, DC 20 minus the PC's reputation bonus). If the Int check fails, the PC does not gain his reputation bonus for that particular NPC (though he might gain it at a later time, subject to the DM's discretion).

Maintaining Reputation

Even the most famous heroes fade into oblivion over time as people forget who they are or cease to care about their deeds. Conversely, a minor hero or event can live on in song or stories for centuries, passed down through the generations. The best way to lower someone's reputation is to remove all trace of the person's deeds from existence, or discredit the person by proving that the deeds he supposedly performed were, in fact, lies or done by someone else. In either case, the quest to erase someone's reputation could be the focus of one or more adventures, or even an entire campaign.

As long as a person or group is in existence and active (i.e., not retired), his reputation remains more or less stable. When someone retires, goes into hiding, or otherwise disappears from the public eye, his effective reputation starts to decrease as people forget about him and his deeds. A good rule of thumb here is that a person or group's reputation decreases by 1 point per 10 years of inactivity, up to the first century; after that, it decreases by 2 every 100 years.

If the person is being constantly remembered (statues depicting him, songs written about him and/or his deeds, buildings or organizations bearing his name, etc.), the rate of decrease would be slower, or even nonexistent in rare cases (an ancient evil slumbering beneath the mountains, e.g.).

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