Book reputations

OK, for all the rules mechanics out there, I've been thinking about texts and how folks know about them. Setting aside a more "organic" or story-based method, I was thinking that a quick way to determine if a player's magus is aware of a text from the greater collection and its nature would be a Reputation roll using Intelligence and Order of Hermes Lore using a book's Reputation as a modifier.

So, for example, a player might think "Well, my magus has read everything in Rego in the covenant's library and he still wants to learn more. Is he aware of any other significant texts out there?" A quick roll might result in "Nope, but there has to be. You might want to write to the Librarian at Durenmar. Expect a one-year turn for the redcap." OR (after a very good roll) "You know, now that your magus thinks about it, there was an early master who spoke of using his local forest as a legion of soldiers in one of of your previous texts. You recall a discussion at Tribunal where a colleague visiting from Hispania mentioned another text of his in passing."

I was thinking that the highest rep a text could have Order-wide (with noted story expeptions) would be equal to an "ability" score using build point cost as experience points. For example: A tractatus with a Quality of 6 could have a Reputation no greater than +1, where a Level 15 Summa (Quality 20) that has 15 BP of labtexts in related spells included could have a Reputation as high as +4 if it old enough or the author is well known enough.

Again, this is to address Greater Collection texts that are not on a specific story track or are not otherwise artifically boosted or constrained.



Just as a thought , Books don't always have Good Reputations or require high Quality to get them.
Author Reputation should factor in as well.
If something is on the level of an Authority , no die roll required. Every Hermetic magus knows of Principia Magica.
A die roll on Order of Hermes Lore , with book Reputation as a bonus seems a bit too easy.
Perhaps some time doing Research or having to make that trip to Durenmar.

Infamous books... now that's a story hook waiting to happen. Al Azif!

I would consider examining the problem from two ends inward. Those ends would be very old books and books just written. The first reason I suggest this is that no one knows about a book just written from other readers because they don't exist. So how does word get out? In our current saga we do word of mouth marketing. The second reason is that really old books' authors won't be marketing them any more, but there are probably a bunch of copies around. You could learn about them from past readers.

In our world, consider MacBeth and the most recent Harry Potter book. Shakespeare doesn't spend much time marketing MacBeth these days. I don't think I've seen a publishing company doing it much for him, either. Yet thousands upon thousands read the book for their fist time each year. That is built up reputation. In the case of Harry Potter, you have a huge marketing campaign (in addition to the author's reputation).

I would suggest something like this for a tractatus:

Book Reputation = [(Quality - (7 or 8 )]{1-0.5^[(# years since it was written)/(author's highest relevant reputation)]} + (marketing value from 0 to 6 or so)(0.5)^[(# years since it was written)/(author's highest relevant reputation)]

Abbreviated for reading, that could be BR=(Q-7)(1-0.5^t/R)+M0.5^t/R, where Q is the quality, t is the time in years, M is the marketing value, and R is the author's reputation.

So at t=0 100% of the reputation is based on marketing. But that reputation has a half-life of the author's relevant reputation. You could make a lot of buzz, but if no one knows who you are it will die quickly. But if a noteworthy author publishes something new, people could be talking about it for a while. Meanwhile at t=0 the book has no reputation based on quality since no one has read it to ascertain the quality. Over time the book will be judged on its own merits. I figured the more well-known authors will have more people reviewing it and so this will show up faster. (Also, I like using the same time constant in each part of the equation.) In the end the book is judged only on its own merits.

I'm not sure where to set that 7 or 8. You choose that based on what you want the final reputation to be for a given quality book after a long time. As for the 0 to 6, I would award up to two of those based on the Bonisagus collection thing. The rest I would base on intentional marketing. Play with the numbers. See if you like what it does. If you do, I'll generate something for summas.


A book may have a reputation just for what he gives, even if the level or the quality is bad
for exemple a book that gives warp when read, or written on human skin (probably infernal lore) would have a (bad) reputation, or a book written by Bonisagus or one of the founder will have a great reputation even if 5 of quality...
Of course of summa of 20-20 will have a great reputation even if the author is unknown...

Good points, one and all. Thanks. I'll take the comments into consideration.

Mostly, this is oriented around a small database of titles that I am putting together for the saga I am running and I wanted to come up with a quick rule to apply globally so that all I had to do was manage the details of "exceptional" texts. The Reputations field entry (unless manually overridden) would something like "Vain tractatus in Rego, +1" or "Exceptional summa in Finesse, +3"

Adding a second field for secondary reputations makes a lot of sense for those books that I might want to specifically wrap into the story track.

Again, thanks.


Ah, well then, I guess I was doing overkill. :slight_smile:


PS: I find your sig amusing. My maga in her second time out (last week) just hit a 9-die botch roll and got a double-botch. Meanwhile another magus got a 13-die botch roll and managed to avoid a botch. Things get interesting/scary very quickly with about ten botch dice.

What on (Mythic) earth are you people doing over there??

We were in a level 4 faerie regio. I got snagged by some scary plant and tried to fast cast a mastered teleport to get out. 1+2+2x4-2=9 dice. Later we established a deal with a faerie whereby one of the PCs would make him a castle on our end of the deal. 1+4+2x4=13 dice. If I hadn't had my spell mastered and if he hadn't been Mercurian, that would have been 11 and 17 dice. I double-botched mine. Then the simple die for added warping came up 10. 12 warping for that. Good thing I rolled well to comprehend it.


Wow. I feel so inadequate... :slight_smile: