After completing the game mechanics included in the races, roles, skills, and story, players are able to add some finishing details in the form of reputation, motivation, personality, and family. Everything up until this point is to establish what the character can do, this step defines why they are who they are.
Whether its fear or respect, players want a reaction, it's fun and enhances the roleplay experience. The reputation system has two components Notoriety and Reputation Rank.
Notoriety is the manner in which they are viewed by the populace, i.e. how they act in public. The examples include stereotypical traits that can be built upon. It determines how the character will be perceived by the NPCs during roleplay and combat.
Players may choose a notoriety example or create something unique. As play progresses, a notoriety can be changed at any time with no penalty, and characters can be known by different notorieties in different areas. This list is not complete, rather it is a general list of common mannerisms.
The character has a romanticized view of the brave and daring explorer and strives to emulate those traits.
This character has a strong drive or desire to achieve something, often a physical or ideological goal.
These characters are kind or caring in both action and purpose, displaying empathy and generosity with a desire to do good in the world.
The character is a person of action, willingly taking risks and never hesitating in the face of danger.
These characters are insensitive with a cruel disregard for others; unsympathetic in both action and response.
This character is quick to devise or apply new ideas to situations, inventive and original, with a quick wit.
The character will always stand their ground and is not deterred by danger, most often for a cause or individual.
These characters are fierce and intense, willing to take ruthless measures, typically lacking in compassion, pity, and mercy.
This character is poorly behaved, often causing disorder or turmoil either by their own actions or through instigating others.
These characters end to be conceited or self absorbed, often boasting of their own deeds or accomplishments.
The character presents a dark, aggressive, or otherwise formidable pretense that is meant to put others on the defensive or give them pause.
These characters come across as savage and prone to violence, making wild displays, often with a crazed appearance.
This character is very lively and animated, drawing attention with a combination of exuberance, confidence, and stye.
The character is willing to devote more time and/or resources to someone or something than is necessary or expected.
These characters tend to act quickly or suddenly without giving thought or care of consequences or repercussions.
This character often makes exaggerated or pretentious displays to in order to attract attention or impress others.
These characters seek to hold positions of authority or status to gain the respect and admiration of others.
The character takes great pleasure in their own accomplishments, typically with a high opinion of themselves and their own importance.
This character wants to ascend to a position of power where they can exercise their will and be adored by others.
These characters are astute and sharp witted, able to act decisively without allowing emotion to cloud their judgement.
Reputation Rank represents the characters level of fame and/or their authority, as determined by the starting Social Status. Each rank has a modifier that affects NPC reactions and any Influence attack skills (non-psionic) that they possess, based on their notoriety, i.e. characters who have a feared notoriety will get a bonus modifier to the Intimidate skill, but not to the Endear skill.
As characters level up, they gain Reputation Points that may be used to increase this rank. It is possible to have a separate rank for groups and individuals.
• Foresaken (-4/+4)
• Loathed (-3/+2)
• Shunned (-2/+1)
• Avoided (-1)
• Unknown (-0-)
• Rumored (+1)
• Recognized (+1/-1)
• Respected (+2/-1)
• Renowned (+2/-2)
• Celebrated (+3/-2)
• Famous (+3/-3)
• Legendary (+4/-4)
The character's reputation is so bad that most NPC interactions begin with hostility, carrying a -4 to skill checks and/or a +4 to opponent morale saves.
These character's make everyone around them very uncomfortable, beginning most NPC interactions unfriendly and carrying a -3 to skill checks and/or a +2 to opponent morale saves.
The character is treated with antipathy, distaste, or caution, most NPC interactions begin neutral-hostile, carrying a -2 to skill checks and/or a +1 to opponent morale saves.
Most people prefer to keep a distance from the character, generally ignoring them, most NPC interactions begin neutral-hostile, carrying a -1 to skill checks.
The character does not stand out from the masses anymore than anyone else, with most NPC interactions beginning neutral-hostile, carrying no modifier to skill checks or opponent morale saves.
Some people in the surrounding area have heard of the character's actions or deeds, most NPC interactions begin neutral, carrying a +1 to skill checks.
People in the area have heard enough about the character to know their name, most NPC interactions begin neutral, carrying a +1 to skill checks and/or a -1 to opponent morale saves.
The characters actions and deeds have earned them a public persona, most NPC interactions begin neutral-friendly, carrying a +2 to skill checks and/or a -1 to opponent morale saves.
These characters have a public persona that has reached adjacent areas, most NPC interactions begin neutral-friendly, carrying a +2 to skill checks and/or a -2 to opponent morale saves.
The character has earned a degree of fame and is known on sight, most NPC interactions begin friendly, carrying a +3 to skill checks and/or a -2 to opponent morale saves.
People everywhere have heard of the character and know them by sight, most NPC interactions begin friendly, carrying a +3 to skill checks and/or a -3 to opponent morale saves.
The character's actions and deeds are the subject of conversation and stories everywhere, most NPC interactions begin loyal, carrying a +4 to skill checks and/or a -4 to opponent morale saves.
Three factors establish the character's motivation, the Primary Motivator, Political Stance, and Religious View. Within each are options that can be used to define how and why characters behave, act, or react in specific ways during roleplay and combat encounters.
This is their ultimate goal in life. Why choose a life of adventure?
Governments are everywhere. What style does the character prefer or despise? What is their attitude towards law?
Belief can be powerful. What is the character's religion? To what degree do they adhere to it? How tolerant are they of others? How do they express their beliefs?
A Personality is as unique as a fingerprint; the nine factors presented here can help to define how the character sees and interacts with the world. The examples presented here are to offer players some direction and inspiration.
Peculiar mannerisms or habits, these traits add a layer of individuality that typically reinforce other aspects of a personality, allowing players to more easily immerse into the character role, and show rather than tell.
• Adrenaline Junkie
• Always Honest
• Animal Hater
• Beard/Hair Stroking
• Blade Sharpening
• Collects Odd Things
• Coin Flipping/Rolling
• Compulsive Lying
• Constantly Grooming
• Counts Everything
• Enjoys Stealing
• Facial Tics
• Fingernail Biting
• Foot Tapping
• Incessant Fidgeting
• Knuckle Cracking
• Lip Biting
• Name Dropping
• Needless Apologizing
• Opposed to Washing
• Profusely Sweats
• Recites Poetry
• Repeats Others
• Rigid Posture
• Sleeps in Odd Places
• Smells Things
• Substance Use
• Talking in Sleep
• Talks About Self
• Tree Climbing
Activities or interests that the character engages in for pleasure or to relax. While characters rarely engage in such activities during game play, they can often make for good talking points during roleplay scenarios.
• Star Gazing
If a person is the sum of their experiences, family, or the absence of family, is a big factor in defining a character. Between these five factors, family can be very detailed or comprised of just a few lines; there are no specific rules about family development.
This can be either where the character was born or where they grew up. There is a great deal of information that can be included, from the general to the specific, which can link with a variety of other factors. A great way to begin is with a general idea of the type of locale.
• Capital City
• Forest World
• Hidden City
• Moon Base
• Space Station
• Underwater City
• Water World
Everyone starts life with someone and those people are going to have a strong influence on the character's life for good or ill. A character may have been raised by:
• Adoptive Parents
• Single Parent
• Family Relation
• Family Friend
• Step Parent
• Local Priest
• Orphanage Matron
• Crime Lord
• Street Vagabond
• Hard Working
• High Class
...and are now:
• On the Run
• Alive (place)
• Being Hunted
Siblings, extended family, childhood friend, etc, can all be detailed in this same way.
All families have drama, whether positive or negative, leaving vivid and lasting effects. This can add a layer of complexity to the character that can be incorporated into the game, becoming ongoing subplots and spawning adventures. Some examples are:
In the past, was there a dark/heroic moment that defined the family?
Were there any unusual family injuries, deaths, or illnesses?
Was anyone in the family illegally taken captive, held for ransom or enslaved?
Did some event of great familial fortune or misfortune occur?
Was a family member taken away/drafted/recruited for training, war, etc?
Were there any odd traditions or holidays in the family?
Are there any family members no one talks about?
Have any family members been exiled, hunted, or imprisoned?
Does anyone in the family have a mental illness, talent, or disorder?
Is there an internal/external unresolved conflict that involves the family?
There's nothing like a mystery to make things interesting and one that involves a characters family not only adds some depth, but it can also show up in a campaign. These can be well known or only known to family members. Some examples are:
Is there an unsolved murder involving a family member?
Who are the biological parents of an adopted character?
Why do only girls in the family begin to display strange talents at age 10?
Why do all boys in the family have a strange mark on their chest?
Where do parents disappear to at the same time each month?
Why does a cryptic prophecy/dogma/story reference the family name?
Why was the family granted land/exclusive rights/amnesty 20 years ago?
What's in the lockbox/safe/storage that was left behind when a parent disappeared?
What happened to the familial crest/power armor/medals a grandparent used to wear?
Who provides an anonymous gift to the family on annual basis?
People outside the family can also shape a character's life; there are many people that have the capacity to leave a lasting impression. In any good story, incidental characters offer depth and scope, especially if they play a part in the campaign setting. Some examples are:
Did a stranger offer the character an unusual gift/opportunity/service?
Was there a local politician/soldier/hobo who took an unusual liking to the character?
Did someone of influence predict something strange or unlikely for the character?
Did the character have any unusual heroes/rivals/enemies growing up?
What affect did clergy/an event/family have on the characters religion?
Did a mentor introduce the character to adventuring/politics/warfare?
What affect did law enforcement/military/government have on the character?
Did the character suffer any injuries/trauma/upheaval growing up?
Was there someone/something/someplace the character was afraid of growing up?
Did the character cause someone injury or heartbreak in the past?