Learning from Other Games

Backer and blogger Sean Willis has a great post about how the Heroes RPG uses economics and social status to tie characters into the world: http://sean-n-sorcery.blogspot.com/2010/05/perpetual-endgame-vs-irresponsible.html
That post also mentions En Garde, which I’ve been meaning to get into a PbM game of to try out the way it handles character spending in different activities as a mini-game within the RPG. But I never seem to find the time, just as the copies of Greg Stafford’s Pendragon and Greg Stolze’s Reign that I picked up to study how they handle this stuff remain mostly unread.
The ACKS rules for repute and earning XP by spending GP on what Arneson called “special interest” are currently being playtested, which means among other things that we’re eager to see what works in other systems and how we can borrow from their success.
What RPGs do you know about that do similar things to ACKS? (I think someone mentioned the Dark Ages RPG too, which I know nothing about). What can we learn from them?

One of the things that Heroes does is keep the characters striving onwards and upwards, as I blogged a while back:
So I think than any sort of reputation/status mechanics must make the PC actively maintain their position or they start to slide down the social ladder. In Heroes this works by PCs losing XP, in ACKS it may occur when a character hasn’t enough wealth to maintain his position/manage his domain which has an effect on peasant Morale, Henchmen Reaction Rolls, even a Merchant’s trust in the PC etc.

Hey Sean – Tavis and I were just discussing this. As I shared with him, I have very mixed feelings on the notion of “decaying reputation”. The idea that fame exponentially decays with time seems like a very modern view. The ephemeral quality of fame (“15 minutes of fame”) is a very new notion. It’s due to the existence of an information/entertainment surplus which never existed prior to the 20th century.
This is important from a motivational point of view as well. In the past, heroic reputation wasn’t based on the notion of “hero today, forgotten tomorrow.” That notion would have been totally foreign! The whole point of much of ancient and medieval heroic culture was to do deeds that would be remembered forever, even though life itself was short. If Achilles had thought that he’d soon be forgotten by Greek celebrity culture as “yesterday’s hero”, he’d hardly have accepted a short life filled with glory. As noted in the book “Life After Death,” “in ancient Greece…the best that humans can hope for is enduring fame through exploits at war.”
I’m at something of a loss as to how to reconcile the notion of “great deeds done for undying glory” with a “yesterday’s news” Hollywood motif. They seem diametrically opposed. Thoughts??

That’s a very convincing argument, I suppose the ‘what we do today will last forever’ attitude is more appropriate. I happily stand corrected :slight_smile:

There is a difference between a live hero and a dead one- Once a hero is safely dead, it is natural and easy to canonize them and their deeds into legend. But a live hero who is still doing stuff is also still rubbing the local lords the wrong way, and creating trouble, (a.k.a. having adventures.)
It is almost like their relationship with specific powers may erode over time, bt their reputation with the common folk is cumulative. (The folks down at the inn sing tales of your epic deeds, but the ruler of the next kingdom is going to ask ‘what have you done for me lately’…)

‘The folks down at the inn sing tales of your epic deeds, but the ruler of the next kingdom is going to ask ‘what have you done for me lately’’
Yes and even if fellow rulers think ‘the gods have willed it’ they going to be jealous of your success if it doesn’t profit them. Best take that Diplomacy proficiency then.
Maybe reputation only has a chance of impressing those of lesser level, or if the same level - of lesser repute.
Also if you’re ruler of a domain and it’s becoming Defiant and Rebellious, surely that should have a negative effect beyond your borders in terms of reputation - if news spreads, maybe rival rulers may attempt to increase the unrest, backing bandits to weaken your rule ?