I am working on the first setting supplement, for Boondock's Hideaway, and was thinking about how helpful it would be to have a 'rating' for how well a hero or villain is known. I started tinkering, and came up with a system I like and will be play testing - this is not "official" yet, but an official set of rules will be with the first supplement in this series. Feedback is most welcome!
It’s a negative or positive value that reflects how well known a character is. While CHA is your ability to use your personal charm and influence, reputation is your larger popularity in the game world.
Reputation ranges from -20 to +20. It is used as a check in any situation where you might get a public response to your name. Every time you do something that might affect your reputation, attempt a 1d20 check. If you roll on the OPPOSITE side of your reputation in the relevant direction, it moves 1 point that way. When you do something good, you want to roll above your current reputation. It is hard to maintain a strong reputation in either direction; if you want to be greatly feared, you better not accidentally help someone out - you might get caught on camera and have people say nice things about you. A 20 always ‘succeeds’ (moving in the direction of the check) and a 1 always ‘fails’, moving you towards reputation 0. Villains do bad stuff and want a 20 to get 'more negative' in their reputation, and heroes do good stuff and want a 20 to get 'more betterer' in their reputation. Or something like that.
For example, as a new hero, you have a reputation of 0. You rescue a kitty from a tree. The old lady who you helped immediately posts on social media (yeah, old ladies have Facebook, too.) You attempt a check, with a target of rolling over a 0. As long as you don’t roll a 1, you succeed; good news, 95% of the time you are at reputation 1. After several adventures, your reputation is now 7. You are rocking it. Unfortunately, you get some bad press when you get into a fight with Mr. Awesome (it was a misunderstanding that you totally worked out). Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t see it that way; You roll 1d20, and you want to avoid rolling below your current reputation; if you roll 6 or less, your reputation drops 1 point; a roll of 7 or better doesn’t help you (because this is a ‘negative’ reputation check) but at least the only fallout from the fight is literal fallout from the thermonuclear device that was set off over the Pacific (it was a BIG misunderstanding).
Reputation in Play
Reputation allows you to make a reaction check when you aren’t there, or when your name alone is being used in some context, but you are not the one making a CHA check. In many situations, you are trying a reputation check before a CHA check. “You’ve never heard of Magnet Master? Oh. Well, look guys… if you could help me out this time, I’d really appreciate it…”
You attempt a check based on your reputation rating. While a reputation of 1 is going to make it unlikely for something special to happen, a reputation of 10+ is going to be helpful. Reputation also works for epic checks; with reputation 14+, you can do amazing things. “Because Lord Wrack threatened to attack the America’s Day Parade, we are canceling the whole thing - and all parades forever until he is in prison.”... “Normally, we don’t just hand out F-16s to civilians, but you are Doc Stalwart after all…”
The default setting for reputation for existing characters would be level x3. Therefore, Lord Wrack as a villain 5 starts you game at -15 reputation, and he's trying to really, really hard to get to -20.
New Talent: Popular
You start with 1d4+2 reputation. You score critical success on a reputation check with a roll of 19 or 20, and you may attempt a Feat to avoid reputation loss when you roll a botch on a reputation check. You automatically receive +1 reputation every time you level up.