A long time ago, I once played a game called, The Atlantean Trilogy. It was a product by Bard Games. It was vaguely D&D-like, but it had it’s own unique twists. One of these items was a little rule where each player would have a renown percentage. Players would start off with a value from one to four percent. The idea is that each adventure would give the characters one or two additional points. When players would meet someone, the game master could make a rule to see if the NPCs had ever heard of the players’ characters before. Overall, I’ve always thought it was a great idea.
Sadly, it was just a little rule. I’m not sure how well it worked. A player could get numbers over one hundred percent. The reasoning was that there were penalties for being outside your home region. Think of it as your legendary figure of England and some people have heard about you in Japan. You could even get a really high renown score by doing something infamous. Basically you did something bad and now everyone knows about it. Needless to say, it had a few flaws in it.
Even with it’s flaws, I’ve often wondered if it or something similar could be used with other games? After all it was a fairly general rule that had no other system specifics attached to it. It also allowed for you to give a reward to your players without actually giving them a monetary reward.
If one wanted to apply something like it to a game, you may need to think a bit like a game designer for a bit. Do you want it to be some sort or number stat or ability score? There are good reasons for going that route. There are distinct values or levels of renown that you can track. You can use the number to influence die roll modifies. Do you want it to be some sort of trait that you have or don’t have? There are good reasons go that route as well.
In general, I like the idea of an attribute. Now it can be used as a comparison value at the very least. I am thinking of having both a fame and infamy stats. Fame for all the heroic things and infamy for all the non-good things. What I like about this is that both the good and bad can follow you around.
Since I’m currently playing Pathfinder, We need a way to make the rules work under those rules. Here is what I currently have. Each player gets 1d4 worth of fame or infamy points. They can split it up between the two stats. It make it more d20-like for every divide the points by five that’s now the modifier to a DC of 10 + target’s WIS or CHR bonus + target’s fame/infamy modifier. The DC can go higher if they are in foreign land. You can make one roll for fame and one for Infamy. Depending on the situation the players could get a +2 bonus to Diplomacy, Intimidate, or other interpersonal skills. I think this has the desired effect of allowing a person’s fame or infamy effect people without getting too powerful.
This concept is still a work in progress but I would sure love to hear what people think about it.