This month’s RPG Carnival is being hosted by Donny the DM over at The Fine Art of the TPK, also known as the Flumph Sanctuary. The topic is homebrew.
Homebrew is a topic right at home here at the Labs, since the initial reason I started this blog was to document the brewing of my own d20 rules and the original setting to go along with it. You can find posts related to these topics on the menu on your right under the categories of Echelon (my d20 rules), The Dead Wastes (my original setting), and the Mad Menagerie (homebrew monsters).
I suppose I gravitate to the positiion of Game/Dungeon Master or Storyteller because I have this need for creation. It is like a fire I need feed inside my brain. Am I good at it? Well only time will tell. But regardless of the quality, the desire to create is always there. Thus, I have created over a dozen homebrew worlds, each one better than the previous. Most of them were pick up games that we played because the current DM didn’t have time to prepare stuff for our regular campaign, or we were missing key players. So I would basically create geography, hooks, encounters, and personalities on the fly.
I am going to take the opportunity presented by the RPG Carnival to outline a subsystem of the Echelon Gaming System: Factions & Reputation. I have never put much stock in alignments, and always felt that they either were ignored or were too constraining when actually applied. I think they were originally intended as a guide for roleplay, but I feel that players can create their own guide(s). So I have replaced them with a Faction node system.
I say node system because each Faction is represented in a node. A node can have mulitple parent and child nodes, so the system can become very complex, however it can also be quite simple, since technically there could just be one node. I like my games crunchy, and the Faction node system definitely delivers.
Factions work very similar to how Organizations were set up in 3.5, except I have expanded them. I have made the extremes of the traditional alignment axes [Good & Evil, Law & Chaos] top level nodes in my system. Each node contains two lists of behavior: Acts of Favor and Acts of Disfavor. Each act has a numerical value that is added to your Reputation score whenever you perform one of these acts. Every faction has a list of Benefits and Detriments. You gain access to a benefit when your Reputation meets or exceeds the value listed. Detriments automatically take effect when your Reputation is less than or equal to the value listed.
Some acts have a waiting period, which means it is either measured over that period of time, like Tithe, or you must continuously perform the act. Also, the Rep gained from certain acts can be lost after a certain time has elapsed without the character performing the said act.
GoodGood is the substance of moral fiber, selflessness, and making the right choice instead of the easy choice. The gods that serve the greater good can recognize the mark that doing good deeds leaves upon the soul. Agents of Good will aid those with this mark but will seek to intervene in the malicious activities of the agents of Evil.
Acts of Favor Value Waiting Period Lost
- Worship at Good Temple 5 Immediately 1 month
- Tithe 5% of worth to Good Temple* 10 1 Season 1 Season
- Feed the Hungry 20 Immediately 1 Month
- Save the Helpless* 30 Immediately Never
- Complete Good Quest* Variable Immediately Never
Acts of Disfavor Value** Waiting Period Lost**
- Acts of Favor for Evil Faction x 1.5 Immediately x 5
- Ignore the Hungry 10 Immediately 1 Month
- Theft for Personal Gain* 20 Immediately 1 Year
- Condemn the Helpless* 55 Immediately Never
- Kill the Defenseless* 100 Immediately Never
Benefits Value Uses
- Lodging 40 1/week
- Diplomacy I 60 Always
- Ritual Blessings 70 1/month
- Library Access 80 1/month
- Diplomacy II 100 Always
- Quarters 200 Always
- Discount Healing 250 Always
- Supplies 300 1/month
- Diplomacy III 400 Always
- Divine Assistance 500 1/season
- Sanctuary 600 1/year
- Free Healing 750 1/week
- Resurrection 1000 1
- Deny Healing -25
- Emnity I (negative diplomacy mods) -50
- Emnity II -100
- Emnity III -200
- Attack on Sight -350
- Pursue -500
- Hunted -750
* These acts can be performed more than once, Tithing is per 5% donated during the waiting period.
** A multiplier in a Acts of Disfavor means you multiply the original value with this figure.
This is just an abstraction, and I haven’t provided many of the details, but more than enough information for any DM to apply this sort of structure to his or her own campaign. Some variations on this idea included having the Church of Pelor be a child faction of Good. One of the benefits could include access to custom spells or prestige classes such as the Radiant Servant. As you can see, some complicated levels of Faction interactivity could be accomplished. Such as gaining Rep in one faction can reduce the Rep of another, and not at a 1:1 ratio.
There are some drawbacks to the system, with the obvious being the additional overhead of tracking Reputation, but things could be streamlined so certain Reputation points don’t expire. As a DM I expect you’ll either love it or hate it. And some people will make the MMORPG statement, but the idea of reputation and factions is far older than MMOs; in fact, I remember how fun messing with the factions from GTA 2 was back in the late 90s.