Reputation System 5e

miggyG777

Explorer
I am currently working on a reputation system for 5e. Here is the idea:

A 7 tiered system that is coupled to numerical modifiers as following:
  • -9 to -7 Hostile
  • -6 to -4 Hated
  • -3 to -1 Disliked
  • 0 Neutral
  • 1 to 3 Liked
  • 4 to 6 Loved
  • 7 to 9 Exalted
EDIT, after gathering feedback from you guys, @dave2008 suggestion is probably easier to manage and should achieve the same goal, he suggests to simplify the modifiers as such:
  • -10 Hostile
  • -5 Hated
  • -2 Disliked
  • 0 Neutral
  • 2 Liked
  • 5 Loved
  • 10 Exalted

The numerical modifiers are applied to persuasion checks, while the descriptions of the reputation score serve as a guideline for general interactions with NPCs, such as pricing of wares or offered favors for instance.

The party can earn or lose these reputation points due to their actions at the DMs discretion.

Example: The party is hated (-5) by the local populace but wants to trade. The trader offers wares at a 150% increased price for the party because he hates them.
The parties talker, tries to haggle for a better price. The particular vendor is not very hard to convince under normal circumstances, so the check would have the DC class of "Moderate" aka. 15. Since the parties reputation is at -5 however, the penalty applies to the persuasion check effectively raising the "Moderate" DC to a "Hard" DC of 20.

What do you guys think about this idea? Have you ever thought of adding a reputation system in your games?
 
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jasper

Rotten DM
I do it ad hoc. But the problem of a group rep.
Peter Parker The Purple Paladin of Pittsburgh, "WHIMPER WHINE WHIMPER WHINE. WHY DO I HAVE -5 to buy stuff."
JAY JONAH JETSON the BARBARAIN, " Could be I stole your armour last week and burned down the Cheese Cake factory!"
 

miggyG777

Explorer
I do it ad hoc. But the problem of a group rep.
Peter Parker The Purple Paladin of Pittsburgh, "WHIMPER WHINE WHIMPER WHINE. WHY DO I HAVE -5 to buy stuff."
JAY JONAH JETSON the BARBARAIN, " Could be I stole your armour last week and burned down the Cheese Cake factory!"
That actually is something I find to be a good thing. It helps to keep players in line better, if they know that they risk the parties reputation when they harass NPCs or steal stuff.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
While reputation matters, I don't boil it down to a system like you did. I simply adjust the target DC based on the perspective of the NPC. One group or faction may think the world of the PCs while another despises it. Goes everywhere from automatically aid as much as possible to attack on sight.

It's never been worth coming up with details though, it's just a general feel. In part that's because I keep the number of factions fairly low - a half a dozen at most and often only 3-4. More than that and things tend to get muddled.

What the PCs do and say certainly has an effect, but there are also times when there are things out of their control. If for example, if a certain PC gained a nemesis during downtime that may affect their chance to purchase items. Or maybe there's something I want to develop as part of a future plot hook.

So it's just something I make notes on and adjust as I see fit.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
I just use faction rules and then add any modifiers to social interactions by feel rather than specific modifiers. Too much book keeping to worry about specific numbers for me.
 

matskralc

Explorer
What do you guys think about this idea? Have you ever thought of adding a reputation system in your games?
I haven't. This strikes me as being fiddly and doesn't really add much to the game other than grinding roleplaying situations to a halt while charts are checked and cross-referenced.

It's probably better to make such adjustments on the fly, and only when it's going to matter. PCs in 5E already don't have much to spend their gold on, so why does it matter if this set of rations costs them a couple extra?
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
I like the concept, but I would simplify the modifiers. Maybe: -10/-5/-2/0/+2/+5/+10
That's basically the attitude track from Star Wars Saga Edition, which is one of my favorite things about that system. I like the way it turns social negotiations into a process rather than a single roll: someone starts out hostile to you, so you have large penalties to your attempts to persuade or impress them, but you can slowly bring them around to a more favorable viewpoint. And conversely, you can lose someone's good opinion and then have to work hard to bring it back around.

A -10 modifier might be prohibitively large for 5E, though.
 
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miggyG777

Explorer
While reputation matters, I don't boil it down to a system like you did. I simply adjust the target DC based on the perspective of the NPC. One group or faction may think the world of the PCs while another despises it. Goes everywhere from automatically aid as much as possible to attack on sight.

It's never been worth coming up with details though, it's just a general feel. In part that's because I keep the number of factions fairly low - a half a dozen at most and often only 3-4. More than that and things tend to get muddled.

What the PCs do and say certainly has an effect, but there are also times when there are things out of their control. If for example, if a certain PC gained a nemesis during downtime that may affect their chance to purchase items. Or maybe there's something I want to develop as part of a future plot hook.

So it's just something I make notes on and adjust as I see fit.
I feel that giving the players more feedback in terms of where they are standing in reputation is a good idea. It might seem a little more gamey, but I have a feeling that players like to see the numbers go up or down depending on their actions. I believe it incentivizes better reflection upon their deeds as they seem to matter in a more tangible way rather than "the DM making it up".
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I feel that giving the players more feedback in terms of where they are standing in reputation is a good idea. It might seem a little more gamey, but I have a feeling that players like to see the numbers go up or down depending on their actions. I believe it incentivizes better reflection upon their deeds as they seem to matter in a more tangible way rather than "the DM making it up".
Which is fine, but I relay that with the RP; people don't have a numerical adjustment factor in real life, I don't see a need for one in the game. If you just burned the thieve's guild headquarters to the ground, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that some of the thieves may not be happy with you.

On the other hand, motivations are complex. A different member of the guild might secretly be incredibly thankful because it gives them an opportunity to take over since the old leader obviously failed.

But I just keep track of that with notes and relay it with RP and potentially insight checks. If a system helps you and if it works better for your group go for it.
 

matskralc

Explorer
It might seem a little more gamey, but I have a feeling that players like to see the numbers go up or down depending on their actions.
Have you asked them? If I proposed this to my group, they would probably look at me funny and roll their eyes over having another thing to track on their character sheets. Yours might be different, but you should probably make sure that you don't waste your time developing a system that your players don't want to use.

I believe it incentivizes better reflection upon their deeds as they seem to matter in a more tangible way rather than "the DM making it up".
How the world responds to the players' actions is explicitly the purview of the DM. If your players don't care that every time they enter the tavern, everybody else leaves, you probably need to have an out-of-game discussion with them about it rather than try to fix it with fiddly new mechanics.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Well, that is the most extreme situation and with expertise even that extreme can be overcome by level 13.
Sure, but it would mean no one but a rogue or maybe a bard would even have a hope of talking a hostile person around, unless they rolled a natural 20. Which is harsh enough that it might discourage players from even trying, and I think that's probably counterproductive to what the OP wants to achieve with this system.

Maybe just give it five steps--Disadvantage, -2, 0, +2, Advantage?
 

sim-h

Explorer
I think a one-size-fits-all reputation system oversimplifies the concept and reduces immersion in the game world. Your example focuses on the shopkeeper's hate, but omits fear. What if the shopkeeper hates the party, but is too terrified to overcharge them because he knows they will murder him at the slightest perceived affront?

Personally I prefer to keep it as an abstract concept and apply it on an NPC by NPC basis. A party of cutthroats will get a better reaction from people that admire a 'might is right' approach, for example - possibly a better reaction than would be given to a party of righteous paladins. So even the -5 Reputation party in your example might get a discount in the shop of retired bully "Bob the B*stard's Fiendish Flails"...
 

miggyG777

Explorer
Sure, but it would mean no one but a rogue or maybe a bard would even have a hope of talking a hostile person around, unless they rolled a natural 20. Which is harsh enough that it might discourage players from even trying, and I think that's probably counterproductive to what the OP wants to achieve with this system.

Maybe just give it five steps--Disadvantage, -2, 0, +2, Advantage?
It really depends on the original DC of the task. +/- 10 means you up or lower the challenge of the task by 2 tiers.

Very Easy <-> Moderate
Easy <-> Hard
Moderate <-> Very Hard
Hard <-> Almost Impossible

Convincing an outnumbered and cornered goblin to surrender: Usually a very Easy DC 5, Moderate DC 15 since he is hostile and doesn't trust you at all.
 

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