How to make standing relevant?

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Lifstan
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How to make standing relevant?

Post by Lifstan » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:58 am

Hello,

My players seems to think that standing is not important. We have been playing Darkenning for a while, and they don't even try (or care) to raise their standing. One of the reason, I think, is that often they represent Radagast at important meeting (aka Radagast officially send them) so that their real standing doesn't matter.

I'd be curious: how do you "penalize" characters with low standing? How do you implement standing in your campains?

Thanks!

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Geomtje
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Re: How to make standing relevant?

Post by Geomtje » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:21 pm

Do they know that standing is a thing? If so, what about them going for a title? This also affects standing and might make it more appealing to raise it, since it’s easier to maintain the level of standing because of it (P. 199).

Or what about making them less believable with a lower standing. They might say that they speak in the name of Radagast, but who says that they are speaking the truth? Why should the officials believe a bunch of nobodies? You could make the encounter much more difficult because of this by letting a NPC give them a hard time because of the low standing. You could use the chart on page 135 to see what level compares to what type of people and thus the level of influence and credibility.
J.J.R. Tolkien wrote:...so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Stormcrow
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Re: How to make standing relevant?

Post by Stormcrow » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:15 pm

Since Standing is about your social station in your home culture, if you spend all your time wandering about Mirkwood as a vagabond, you have no standing, nor does it matter. Settled peoples will see you as the vagabond you are.

There's no reason you HAVE to raise your Standing; you can play as a murder-hobo your entire career and that's perfectly fine. But you're probably missing out on the deeper interactions and world-building that comes with establishing your character's place in his society. You probably don't get influence much during the Year's End Fellowship Phase.

WHY did Radagast choose your players' company as his representatives, besides "because it's in Darkening"? Whatever that reason is will be their answer to challenges to their right to speak for Radagast. Assuming they are known to actually be his representatives, then outside of speaking for Radagast they will be ignored as vagabonds.

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Falenthal
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Re: How to make standing relevant?

Post by Falenthal » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:06 pm

In my experience, Standing can be important in a campaign because of two factors:
1) Because the players like to role-play their characters ("I want to be the Major of The Shire!")
2) Because the LM makes it important during the Adventure phase

For the first, Stormcrow pointed out a very good issue: not everyone needs or wants to be a noble or counselor or sheriff or whatever. Some adventurers just want to come home and tend to their family and herd, or go hunt with their childhood friends. It's a way of leaving the Darkness behind after those terrible Adventure phases.

But of course, the players can gain interest in raising their Standing if the LM shows them that there might be consequences and changes in the campaign related to it. Then we come to the second point.

How can the LM then make it interesting to have a high Standing?
Again, Stormcrow highlights what is probably the main problem: when using pre-written adventures, we allow for everything that's there to happen "because it's in Darkening".
In a campaign, characters should only get some of the more important missions on behalf of Beorn, or Bard, or Thranduil if they have a good Standing in their culture, or at least if they are their Patrons. Otherwise, there should be other high ranking NPCs more trusted to do so (Legolas or Ruithiel for Thranduil, Merovech the Mighty or Ennalda for Beorn, Elstan for Bard, etc.).

But, as our adventures say that "Beorn gives the heroes X mission", then we do so.
Also, the boost to Tolerance that a high Standing grants is mostly unnecessary, as we've seen for other discussion about how difficult or easy Encounters are.

What I would recommend, even if using pre-written adventures, is that you take a time to think "What extra benefits could the heroes have if they had a high Standing among this culture?" Maybe they are denied extra help because they are not trusted enough? Or someone annoying is send with them in their mission to, explicitly, keep an eye on them? Something that wouldn't happen if there was some noble among them, of course. And whatever you think, make it expicit to the characters and players. Beorn can tell them "I can't lend you horses, I need them for my thanes, so they can inform the farthest villages of the incoming attack. You'll have to do on your own, and fast". And tell the players they should Force the March if they want to accomplish their mission on time, because Beorn didn't consider them important enough to lend them his horses.
And if someone among your players increases his Standing, be sure to make it count during the next Adventures, so that everyone notices the differences in how they are treated because of it.

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Falenthal
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Re: How to make standing relevant?

Post by Falenthal » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:07 pm

A rough idea to make Standing more important mechanically, not only because of role-playing, would be to somehow make a low Standing reduce the Tolerance of an Encounter.

If a barding with a Standing of 0 is present when talking to a noble Barding (let's consider Standing 3), Tolerance could be reduced by some amount.

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Falenthal
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Re: How to make standing relevant?

Post by Falenthal » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:32 pm

More thoughts... :D

Make them "feel the pain" of being excluded from the decission making of the "grown ups". As with the effect during the Fellowship phases, where heroes with a high Standing can influence outcomes and plans (another point to enhance in your games!), make this also happen during the Adventure phase: after saving someone important and bringing him home, the elders or the king will thank the heroes... and tell them to wait outside the doors of the inner halls for a decision on how to proceed and what their next duties will be. Make them feel that their low Standing in the Culture doesn't allow them to enter the court and make their thoughts heard or considered. They might be very wise, that said Culture surely has his own wise people, proven through the years of service to the king and the folk.

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Rich H
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Re: How to make standing relevant?

Post by Rich H » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:02 pm

As an aside, I personally have deeds affect a PCs reputation (both at home and in other cultures) through the use of a set of Renown house rules which I can PM you if you want rather than it cluttering up the discussion here.

However, going this from a purely RAW perspective...

How to make a character's cultural Standing relevant when they spend all their time away from home? Don't, it really isn't relevant so don't worry too much about it. As 'adventurers' there are other options provided by the RAW for use within Encounters, from page 189:
Additional Modifiers
If the Loremaster deems it necessary to improvise additional modifiers based on the current circumstances,
he should go ahead and choose a value between +1 to +3 or -1 to -3. Here follow some examples:
• The adventurers’ arrival in a place recalls some local legend or song (+3)
• The adventurers are already known and appreciated among the people they meet (+2)
• The company is carrying a message or is on an errand from someone respected by the people encountered (+1)
• The adventurers are coming from a area feared or shunned by the people they meet (-1)
• The company insists in carrying their weapons in a hallowed place (-2)
• The adventurers are asking for passage across forbidden territory (-3)
Depending on the type of campaign you're running then these factors can be more important than Standing so just go with those.

However, can I just ask whether you feel something is missing from your game by Standing not being valued by the PCs? Are you wanting to run more political/social adventures based in one or more of the PCs' home cultures? Do you want the PCs to have more input with their home cultures? Something else?
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

Lifstan
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Re: How to make standing relevant?

Post by Lifstan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:08 am

Thank you all for your replies! I have ideas now. ;)

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