Renown

Renown is an optional rule you can use to track an adventurer’s standing within a particular faction or organization. Renown is a numerical value that starts at 0, then increases as a character earns favor and reputation within a particular organization. You can tie benefits to a character’s renown, including ranks and titles within the organization and access to resources.

A player tracks renown separately for each organization his or her character is a member of. For example, an adventurer might have 5 renown within one faction and 20 renown within another, based on the character’s interaction with each organization over the course of the campaign.

Gaining Renown

A character earns renown by completing missions or quests that serve an organization’s interests or involve the organization directly. You award renown at your discretion as characters complete these missions or quests, typically at the same time you award experience points.

Advancing an organization’s interests increases a character’s renown within that organization by 1. Completing a mission specifically assigned by that organization, or which directly benefits the organization, increases the character’s renown by 2 instead.

For example, characters with connections to the noble Order of the Gauntlet complete a mission in which they free a town from the tyranny of a blue dragon. Because the order likes to punish evildoers, you might increase each character’s renown within the order by 1. Conversely, if killing the dragon was a mission given to the adventurers by a senior member of the order, completing the task might instead increase each character’s renown by 2, showing the adventurers as effective allies.

Meanwhile, the party’s rogue might have looted a box of rare poisons from the dragon’s hoard and sold it to a fence who is secretly a Zhentarim agent. You might increase the rogue’s renown within the Zhentarim by 2 since this action directly increased that group’s power and wealth, even though the task was not assigned by an agent of the Zhentarim.

Benefits of Renown

The benefits of increasing renown within an organization can include rank and authority, friendly attitudes from members of the organization, and other perks.

Rank. Characters can earn promotions as their renown increases. You can establish certain thresholds of renown that serve as prerequisites (though not necessarily the only prerequisites) for advancing in rank. For example, a character might join the Lords’ Alliance after earning 1 renown within that organization, gaining the title of cloak. As the character’s renown within the organization increases, he or she might be eligible for further increases in rank.

You can add rank prerequisites. For example, a character affiliated with the Lords’ Alliance might have to be at least 5th level before becoming a stingblade, at least 10th level to be a warduke, and at least 15th level to be a lioncrown.

You can set these thresholds of renown to any numbers that work for your game, creating appropriate ranks and titles for the organizations in your campaign.

Attitudes of Organization Members. As a character’s renown within an organization grows, members of that organization are increasingly likely to have heard of the character. You can set thresholds at which the default attitude of an organization’s members toward the character becomes indifferent or friendly. For example, members of the Emerald Enclave – a faction dedicated to preserving the natural order-might be less friendly toward characters who have not cultivated at least 3 renown within that organization, becoming friendly by default only when a character has gained 10 renown within the Emerald Enclave. These thresholds apply only to the default attitude of most members of an organization, and such attitudes aren’t automatic. NPC faction members might dislike an adventurer despite that character’s renown – or perhaps because of it.

Perks. Earning a rank within an organization comes with certain benefits, as defined by you. A character of low rank might gain access to a reliable contact and adventure leads, a safe house, or a trader willing to offer a discount on adventuring gear. A middle-ranked character might gain a follower, access to potions and scrolls, the ability to call in a favor, or backup on dangerous missions. A high-ranking character might be able to call on a small army, take custody of a rare magic item, gain access to a helpful spellcaster, or assign special missions to members of lower rank.

Downtime Activities. You might allow characters to spend downtime between adventures building relationships and gaining renown within an organization.

Losing Renown

Disagreements with members of an organization aren’t enough to cause a loss of renown within that organization. However, serious offenses committed against the organization or its members can result in a loss of renown and rank within the organization. The extent of the loss depends on the infraction and is left to your discretion. A character’s renown within an organization can never drop below 0.

Piety

With a few alterations, the renown system can also serve as a measure of a character’s link to the gods. It’s a great option for campaigns where the gods take active roles in the world.

Using this approach, you track renown based on specific divine figures in your campaign. Each character has the option to select a patron deity or pantheon with goals, doctrine, and taboos that you have created. Any renown he or she earns is called piety. A character gains piety for honoring his or her gods, fulfilling their commands,. and respecting their taboos. A character loses piety for working against those gods, dishonoring them, defiling their temples, and foiling their aims.

The gods bestow favors on those who prove their devotion. With each rank of piety gained, a character can pray for divine favor once per day. This favor usually comes in the form of a cleric spell like bless. The favor often comes with a sign of the divine benefactor; for example, a character dedicated to Thor might receive a spell accompanied by the boom of thunder.

A high level of piety can also lead to a character gaining a more persistent benefit, in the form of a blessing or charm.

Renown

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