The world of Undista
The Empire’s legends describe honor as a gift passed from ancient spirits to mortals to help them maintain balance on the Material Plane. To the Empire people, honor is more important than power, love, and law. It is the standard by which every person is measured.
Although not required to play in the Game, the following mechanic allows honor to be tracked with points. Before introducing it into your game, make sure everyone in the group agrees and wants the addition.
A character’s honor is represented by points, with a possible range of 0 to 100; a score of 0 represents someone who is untrustworthy and regarded as devious, and a score of 100 represents someone whose honorable deeds precede her. Honor is not a measurement of fame or goodwill so much as a gauge of loyalty, trustworthiness, and fairness. One could be a kindhearted-but-flighty shogun with an honor score of 0, or a cruel-but-stalwart monk with an honor score of 100. A character cannot have more than 100 honor points or fewer than 0.
Honor is handled differently for PCs and NPCs, since it’s unlikely for an NPC’s honor score to change during the course of a game (barring influence from a PC or GM), but a PC’s honor score may change often.
NPCs’ Base Honor Points: An NPC’s base number of honor points is generally equal to his CR 5, modified by whatever modifiers from “Gaining and Losing Honor” the GM chooses to apply. However, NPCs who deviate from the strictures of Tian society may have strongly disproportionate honor scores.
PCs’ Base Honor Points: At 1st level, a PC starts with a number of honor points equal to his Charisma score (not his Charisma modifier) + 1 (for 1st level). Whenever a PC’s experience level or Charisma score increases or decreases, his total number of honor points increases or decreases by the same amount. A PC can gain or lose honor points during play as well.
If the PC is not from the Twin Dragon empire’s all honor gain is halfed and costs doubled.
Gaining and Losing Honor Points
As a campaign progresses, PCs gain honor points by gaining levels and increasing their Charisma scores. In addition, there are a number of in-game events that can alter a PC’s honor score. Some of these events modify the honor of every PC directly involved in the event—for instance, defeating a powerful oni would boost the honor points of every PC in the party. In other cases, an event may only modify a single character’s honor, such as when a PC loses an iaijutsu duel to a less honorable opponent.
Many of these encounters require events to be “public”—in order for the honor adjustment to occur, there must be surviving witnesses who can spread the news. A GM may delay applying honor adjustments 1d6 days or as appropriate to represent the time it takes witnesses to spread word of the event.
It’s possible to earn multiple honor adjustments with a single act. For example, a group with an Average Party Level of 11 who defeats a fire yai would earn the +1 bonus for defeating a creature whose CR is at least 3 points above the party’s APL and the +3 bonus for defeating a powerful oni.
The following modifiers do not represent all possible adjustments—if a PC does something particularly honorable or dishonorable, the GM may adjust the PC’s score as she sees fit, consulting the list below.
Spending Honor Points
Once per game session you can “cash in” some of your honor points to gain favors or to secure gifts Honor in the Dragon Empires Social and loans. Spending honor points in this way reduces your honor by a random amount. If you attempt to spend honor points and do not have enough to pay for the use, your honor score is reduced to 0 and you do not gain the boon.
Diplomacy/Intimidate Boost: You gain a +5 circumstance bonus on either Diplomacy or Intimidate checks for the remainder of the game session. Cost: 1d6 honor points.
Favor: You gain a favor from an NPC ally. Cost: From 1d6 to 5d6 honor points, depending on the GM’s whim and the difficulty of the favor. Favors might include unhindered passage through enemy territory, an audience with a person of importance, access to private resources, and so on.
Gift or Loan: An NPC ally grants you a gift or loan. The gift or loan in question must be one that the NPC could actually grant (subject to GM approval—requests for particularly expensive gifts or loans may be refused). The gift or loan can be in the form of wealth or a single item. A gift is permanent, but a loan lasts only for the game session in which it is granted. Cost: 1d6 honor points per 2,000 gp value of the gift. For a loan, this honor point cost is halved, but at the start of any game session in which the loan is not returned or repaid, the halved cost must be paid again to extend the loan for that game session—this extension counts as your use of honor for that session.
Consequences of Honor Point Loss
Beyond the shame of losing honor, dropping to 0 honor points is demoralizing. As long as any character has 0 honor points, she takes a –2 penalty on all Will saving throws and Charisma-based checks. Individuals with 0 honor who have adopted a code of honor or serve honorable institutions may shame their lord or temple and suffer additional penalties.
GAINING AND LOSING HONOR
Party is publicly defeated in an encounter of a CR lower than APL –5
Party publicly flees an encounter of a CR lower than APL –3
Party publicly defeats a monster whose CR is 3 or higher than APL +1
Party publicly defeats an oni whose CR is higher than APL +3
Complete a noble deed for an individual with an honor score of 50 or more and tell no one +2
Up to once per month, achieve a result of 30 or higher with a public Perform check or art-related Craft check* +2
Engage in public slander with the intent to dishonor another individual with greater honor –4
Challenge and defeat in combat a person who has publicly dishonored you +3
Up to once per month, achieve a result of 30 or higher with a public Diplomacy or Intimidate check +2
Publicly adopt a strict code of honor +8
Willingly (i.e., without being magically influenced) break one of the tenets of your code of honor –2
Publicly slay an honorable opponent who has already surrendered –5
Excessively brag of your accomplishments** –1
Public drunkenness** –2
Party publicly tricks a kami in a battle of wits +1
Craft a magic item worth at least 40,000 gp +1 per 40,000 gp of item’s cost
Publicly destroy an evil artifact worth at least 40,000 gp +1 per 40,000 gp of item’s cost
Publicly use an evil artifact worth at least 40,000 gp –2 per 40,000 gp of item’s cost
Successfully complete a standard adventure (module or Adventure Path installment) +1
Successfully complete an Adventure Path +10
Be convicted of a petty crime –2
Commit an act of treason or betray an honorable lord –10
Be directly responsible for the death of an honorable ally or loved one under your protection –20
Defeat an honorable daimyo or temple master in combat +20
Become a daimyo or temple master +80
*If this performance or work of art recounts the heroic accomplishments of another character via the Craft (any visible work of art like painting or sculpture) or Perform (act, comedy, oratory, or sing) skill, the +2 bonus also applies to the target of the performance or work of art. If the performance or work of art mocks and dishonors a character with fewer honor points, the performer or artist gains 2 honor points and the target loses 2 honor points. However, an individual who creates art with the intent of dishonoring someone with more honor points risks the –4 slander penalty for such an act if she can be associated with the performance or artwork. Every additional character the performer or artist attempts to honor or dishonor imparts a cumulative –5 penalty on the Craft or Perform check made.
**If this act is performed as part of a class ability, the individual incurs no penalty.