A question about Reputation

In our new campaign, we're using Lords of Men alot, and Reputation will play a much bigger role as a result. So I have a few questions about Reputation:

  1. Shouldn't just about every character begin with Local: (Character's Name) +1, unless the character hasn't lived in society at all?
  2. Would it be realisitc for a Landed Noble and Knight start with Noble: (Lord of Manor) +1, Noble: (Prudhomme) +1, and Ecclesiastical: (Lord of Manor) +1? As far as I understand it from Lords of Men, he starts with Noble: Lord of Manor or something similar at +1, and Prudhomme +1, but the Church and the Locals would know about him, at least the ones in the same fief, right?

Or have I misunderstood the Reputation rules :stuck_out_tongue:


According to RAW a character starts with no reputations, unless they have a Virtue (or Flaw) that gives them one. That's possibly not very realistic.

I think that reputations are meant to be reputations for particular things. Its not just knowing about the existence of the character. Everyone in the fief knows of him, sure. He's the local knight. That's what their Area Lore tells them (although they might not be able to identify him by sight), and characters with little Area Lore won't know much beyond the location of his manor/castle. The knight doesn't need a reputation for that.

His noble reputation is his reputation amongst nobles for something (which might not be true) --- like being particularly strategic, or foolish, or womanising, or whatever. So it is quite possible for him to not have a reputation for anything in particular amongst the clergy or locals, except the fact that he occupies his office, which is something they know from their Area Lore.

If he has no reputation in the church, the local clergy will still know of him, they just don't have any collective opinion about him one way or the other. For a knight who interacts with the church a lot this is unrealistic. For a knight who just doesn't interact much with the clergy this seems fine. So, I would just think about the character, "has he interacted with the clergy lots", if he has, then give him a reputation amongst the clergy for something (which might not be true). If he hasn't interacted significantly with the clergy there is no reason for him to have a reputation amongst the clergy.

Ah, that clarifies things a bit. :slight_smile:

However, Lords of Men says that the character gains Noble Reputation +1 just by being noble. But I'll have to reread that, I think.


Many people haven't got a reputation, as they are not really spoken of much. Basically think of it like this - is this person a topic of gossip? If so, then he/she should have at least a reputation of 1 (which you get as soon as you do something that people will talk about), othervise having no reputation would fit perfectly.

Think of reputation as what those who have never meet you know about you...

I think that the intention in Lords of Men is that this reputation is a reputation among nobles for something specific (like being "a dreadful bore", or "a friend to scholars", or "a bloodthirsty maniac", or "a gullible fool, swayed by his courtiers", or "haunted by his ancestors" or whatever). An initial reputation might well be something to do with one of his Virtues or Flaws (or it could be something else entirely, of course).

The reputation is not simply a reputation for being a noble; other nobles know he is a noble (because their Area Lore, or their herald, tells them so).

I can't speak to intention but given the text of Lord of Men (Improving Noble Reputation, page 25) I would be forced to disagree with you. "[Entering feudal life] gives the character a Noble Reputation of 1, with some boring content like "son of Lord Corvinius" or "vassal of the Count of Champagne." The section goes on to discuss how to advance the character's reputation and the fact that the content of the reputation will change depending on how it is advanced. However, given those examples, it seems to me that a characters intitial the Noble Reputation is simply for being a noble.

They are still reputations for something specific, not just that he is a noble.

However, the Lords of Men examples do seem a bit weird, because they are things that Area Lore (or a herald) should tell you. They are not, IMO, reputations. They are facts about the fief. To be a reputation they need to be things about what sort of noble he is: "loyal son of Lord Corvinius" or "reluctant vassal of the Count of Champagne."

You can't really have a reputation for being the "son of Lord Corvinius". It is something that you are or you aren't. Although, you could perhaps have a reputation for being the "secret bastard son of Lord Corvinius".

The reputation mechanic is being used for something different in Lords of Men: it's being used to represent your ability to use social power among nobles. As such, if you turn up at the court of the Duke of Albany, your reputation as the son of Lord Corvinus shows how much social clout you have, and how well known your connection to that power is. It's not about just you as a person, its about you as a piece of the social fabric of the nobility: who will be offended if you are shunned or hurt, for example, and what resources you have at your disposal. This is, to noblemen woh do not know you, far more important for their social calculations than if you are a big drinker, or personally brave, or what have you. They can find that out if they like (because the noble reputation mechanic doesn't prevent you having other reputatons)/

You can find out about someone with Area Lore, sure...but that's not what your noble reputation is for.

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That seems very confusing.

Well, it works for me, and it reflects how reputation was used by nobles in period to create regional power blocs, so...sorry you don't like it, but there you go. It's no weirder than the recycling of Confidence for the purposes of Satanism.


Its a good idea, but might need a different naming, as to avoid the above kind of confusion?
"Influence" or something?

I don't think so: people are not so much unique individuals as local representratives of greater forces (their family, their alliance, their region, their sovereign). Your power is intimaitely tied to your social placem, and your Reputation is used by other nobles, in this sense of Reputation, to tell what your weight in their considerations should be.

I wasnt referring to a change of mechanics or anything, i merely meant that it might need differentiation from "normal" reputations beacuse it isnt the same thing in practise.

And also to avoid accidental overlap, when a reputation for being something can be misread as a reputation of social standing.

Yes, that was what I meant by "confusing". It would, I think, have been better to call this "Influence" or "Mana" or "Prestige" something instead of trying to redefine the "Reputation" mechanic.

This system also seems to make it difficult for a noble to be, say, very influential because, say, they are the Cousin of the King and Lord of a Strategically Important Castle and The General that Successfully Repelled An Invasion By The German Emperor, but also having a reputation amongst nobles for being, say, a serial adulterer. In this case, say, the noble's influence means that other nobles will defer to him, but his reputation also means that you will be nervous about bringing your beautiful maiden daughter to his court.

I think Timothy is perfectly right in that influence is strongly tied to social placement --- so in once sense nobles are mere representative of greater forces. However, they are not totally faceless. Nobles do interact socially with their court and the courts of their peers. They should therefore have social reputations amongst their peers.

I don't think there is necessarily a problem here. We're simply defining Reputation (Noble) as representing those repuations relative to the character's influence. The character in question above could easily be represented as having a the reputations: Skilled General (Noble) 3 and Adulterer (Local) 4. Alternatively, the character could be represented by having his reputation "experience" for being an adulterer and a general applied as competing reputations, as per the rules for Changing Reputations.

Sure, but at face-value that seems to suggest that he has a reputation among the local townsfolk for adultery, rather than the fact that he has a reputation in foreign noble's courts for adultery. Sure, some court gossip will leak into local town gossip, but court gossip should be stronger in court. How do we tell the difference between reputations that are principally about court reputations and those that are mere local reputations? This is what is confusing. At first glance, this looks like a character who has a reputation among foreign noble courts for being a Skilled General, and a reputation in own fief for being an adulterer.

The reverse might apply too, whereby a local reputation is almost unknown in court. For example, it seems perfectly plausible, that he might have a local reputation for being, say, Harsh on Outstanding Taxes, which is the sort of thing that might interest people in his locality, but is not necessarily of great interest to other nobles.

I'm not saying that there aren't ways around this confusion. It just seems needless to have created the confusion in the first place by using "Reputation (Noble)" to mean something unexpected.

But, then you are saying that a personal reputation for adultery affects the influence the noble can exert as a part of his position --- which is exactly the opposite of what these rules are supposedly based on (the idea that influence is not based on personal factors but merely your social position).

I think you're forgetting that reputations can be both good and bad. In the example here, the character has a good reputation as a general and a bad reputation as an adulterer. One represents the positive influence of his reputation on his standing in court and the other a negative influence.

Also, I think you're last sentence is mistaken. Noble reputation doesn't only represent your social position, it also represents personal factors. I think you might be confusing the fact that noble reputation for PCs starts as with relatively boring descriptor like "son of the duke" with the notion that noble reputation is only that, which is not the case at all. The idea, as I understand what is presented in Lords of Men, appears to me to be that that initial descriptor is quickly replaced by whatever personel factors come into play.

Yes, but the point is that noble reputations are apparently meant to represent influence amongst nobles --- as Timothy states, personal reputations for being an adulterer (or a big drinker, or personally brave) should not usually affect this one way or another.

That doesn't seem to be what Timothy claims in previous comments in this thread.

The confusion does not arise from the general idea that we should have a measure of the "influence" that a noble has in other courts. The concept that this "influence" is largely a matter of who the noble is allied to, and related to, and the resources and location of his fief, and perhaps some of his personal (particularly military) accomplishments, rather than his personal reputation (good or bad) or even his personal capabilities seems to be good.

The confusion merely arises from using the term "Reputation (noble)" to describe this measure of "influence". This is confusing because it seems a reasonable expectation that "Reputation (noble)" means the character's personal reputation amongst nobles.

We do not use this mechanic around here (we have no nobles that are not part of the background info/NPCs) but for what is being said, when LoM talks about "reputation" we would labbel it "Influence" and so be it. Works perfectly OK with a small change in the name :slight_smile: The mechanic is solid, just that it gets slightly mixed with the existing mechanic for reputations.


I agree, that would be my solution too.