I submit that the confusion lies in believing that those are two different things.
It seems pretty clear that a noble can have a terrible, widely known, personal reputation in court as a whore-mongering, baby-murdering, bastard; but at the same time be a tremendously influential noble, because he is (say) the king. It is not clear that a "good wise" king would be more or less influential than an "evil bastard" king --- he is influential because he is the king, not because of his personal character or skills.
It seems equally clear that a noble can have a personal reputation in court as a cowardly idiot who has the strategic depth of a flannel; but at the same time be appointed the admiral of the royal fleet because he is the crown prince.
In other words, a noble's "influence" should tell us what he can do, his "reputation" might tell us something about how other characters might feel about this.
Or another way of looking at it, a noble's "influence" shows us whether the PCs should care what the noble does; his "reputations" might tell us something about how the PCs might consider go about trying to manipulate him into doing what they want.
My sense is that a saga which involves high society and mundane politics on a scale beyond the local would do better with a dedicated social status system. Recycling the Reputation mechanic works at the local level or in games that follow the classic AM model of seperation from the mortal world. I say this even though I generally oppose adding new mechanics to an already complicated game.
I think that the Influence you are talking about is actually reflected by the character's Social Status and their noble Reputation serves as a guide to show others how that influence might be used.
For instance, your example of the prince, who is an Admiral but is also a coward with "the strategic depth of a flannel" (very nice turn of phrase btw). His status as crown prince would be reflected by Social Status virtues (Greater Noble and Heir), his position as admiral represented by his office (a roleplaying consideration). However, his reputation as a coward with no strategic sense effects who other nobles - friend and foe - view him. No one will take him seriously as a military commander, and through him might not consider his navy a significant danger and so would discount him and it in their strategic planning and intrigues. Thus, his reputation effects how influential he actually is within the context of his social status and titular office. People will still bow to him. He still gets a prominant seat at the high table and gets to stand on the dock and watch the fleet being built... but when the nobles gather to plan for war, they will either politely ignore his input or simply not bring him to the table at all.
Yes. But that is at odds with what is apparently presented in Lords of Men.
No, the point is that they will bring him to the table. They will listen to his input, his schemes have to be carried out, precisely because of his influence, despite his poor personal reputation and patent inability.
Oh yes they most certainly will as not doing so means getting in BIG trouble with king daddy.
And that is influence. That isnt a reputation getting him preferential treatment, its having something very big, scary and powerful behind his back. Someone to whom its enough that he says a few proper words to get people killed or on the "official shitlist". Or promotions or titles...
Or maybe just a damn good price for grain if the influence happens to be with a traders guild.
I´ve now already gone ahead and added "Influence" to my character template next to Reputation.
And after a moment of thought i went ahead and added a "Prestige" section as well, as those 3 together will cover a character much better than "Reputation"s alone.
No, it really isn't. In fact, I re-read the section on Noble Reputation in Lords of Men just before I posted.
No. That's the point. This is the 13th century, not the 18th century or the 1st century. At this point in history, a noble's authority and power is as much based on his personal reputation as on the position that he holds.
Your interpretation seems at odds with what Timothy states (who I think is the author) here [url]https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/a-question-about-reputation/5396/1].
Either way, there seems to be much confusion created by making noble reputations mean something unexpected in comparison to what the existing reputations seem to mean.
Just curious: what would "prestige" stand for here? I am asking because one of our magi has a "reputation: prestige 2 (OoH): Hippian revival", so I found this curious
Frankly, it only seems that way because you are insisting on a distinction between influence and reputation that doesn't exist in this context. I'd encourage you to go and read that section in Lords of Men and I think you find it clearer.
However, I can see that this discussion has become circular and pointless.
If an actor once wins an Oscar, thats something to add to Prestige. If the award is also well known, its probably also a Reputation. The reputation may disappear over time but the Prestige wont, even if it may become irrelevant due to perhaps Reputation going negative in a way that nullifies the Prestige.
An award may also result in an influence score, but you´re more likely to have that if you know one or several of the jury well enough to change their mind.