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In this system, every character gains a reputation of one sort or another as his career progresses, expressed as a reputation bonus. While a character might try to take advantage of his reputation from time to time, usually the character's reputation precedes him - whether he wants it to or not.

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 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.

Fame or Infamy

What a character's reputation represents lies in the character's interaction with the NPCs or monsters. Most characters with a high reputation bonus (+4 or higher) are considered well known within their profession or social circle. Whether this notoriety has a positive or negative effect depends on the point of view of the person who recognizes the character.

Nom de Plumes and Secret Identities

If a character successfully uses the Disguise skill or illusion magic to mask his identity, then what he accomplishes while disguised doesn't affect his reputatio 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 seperately 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 embarassing the captain of the guard, what better way to do so than simply removing his mask, hiding his weapons in an oxcart, and departing while in his secret identity of Beppo the Dung-Merchant?

Reputation Checks

Most of the time, a character doesn't decide to use his reputation. The DM decides when a character's reputation is relevant to a scene or encounter. At the moment it becomes pertinent, the DM makes a reputation check for an NPC or monster that might be influenced in some fashion due to the character's notoriety. A reputation check is equal to 1d20 + the character's reputation bonus + the NPC or monster's Int modifier. The DM 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.

Character is famous, known far and wide with either a positive or negative connotation +10
NPC or monster is part of a character's profession or social circle +5
Character has some small amount of fame or notoriety +2

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.

Skill Checks

When an NPC or monster with an Intelligence score of 5 or higher has a positive opinion of a character's reputation, the character gains a bonus on 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.

NPC Reputations

Players decide how their characters act. Sometimes, however, it's appropriate for a DM to call for a skill check using an interaction skill affected by reputation. For example, and NPC might use 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 DM can use the NPC's Intimidate check to determine which characters see the NPC as intimidating and which don't. Similarly, a Diplomacy check tells the DM which characters find the 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 DMs in these situations.

The reputation check to see if a player recognizes an NPC or monster is the same as described above. However, the DM 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 NPCss and monsters' interaction skill checks by their reputation bonuses when the interact with characters who recognize them.

Calculating Reputation

A player character has a reputation sore based on his class levels. The following table summarizes this information for the eleven character classes from Player's Handbook and the five NPC classes from the Dungeon Master's Guide.

Table: Reputation Scores
Level A1 B2 C3 D4
1st +0 +0 +0 +1
2nd +0 +0 +0 +1
3rd +0 +0 +1 +1
4th +0 +1 +1 +1
5th +1 +1 +1 +2
6th +1 +1 +1 +2
7th +1 +1 +2 +2
8th +1 +2 +2 +2
9th +2 +2 +2 +3
10th +2 +2 +2 +3
11th +2 +2 +3 +3
12th +2 +3 +3 +3
13th +3 +3 +3 +4
14th +3 +3 +3 +4
15th +3 +3 +4 +4
16th +3 +4 +4 +4
17th +4 +4 +4 +5
18th +4 +4 +4 +5
19th +4 +4 +5 +5
20th +4 +5 +5 +5
  1. Use column A for commoner levels.
  2. Use column B for barbarian, druid, monk, ranger, rogue, and warrior levels.
  3. Use column C for cleric, fighter, sorcerer, wizard, adept, and expert levels.
  4. Use column D for bard, paladin, and aristocrat levels.

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 as the rogue, and the blackguard would be equivalent to the paladin.

Event-Based Reputation

Rather than determining reputation increases purely by class levels, the DM 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 will earn them more fame, because their later social interactions will be more likely to succeed. But reputation is a double-edged sword in the D&D 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 later after the sheriff frames the PCs for murder.

If the characters earned public acclaim for ending a threat to the community's safety, aware 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, then each character gets a 1/2-point increase. A single 1/2-point increase has no effect on reputation-related skill checks, but two such increases combine to provide a fill 1-point increase. Of what the characters accomplishes 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 judgement call.

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