Honor

Description:

Beyond life and death, beyond good and evil, there is
honor. It is the abode of the eternal, which none can take
but which can be destroyed through a single rash act. It is
a measure of one’s place within a society, a status known
to all and sought by many. Whether in a samurai culture,
the frozen viking wastes of the northlands, or the dizzying
court intrigues of a byzantine kingdom, honor provides an
anchor and stable foundations for your life’s work. If you
lack honor, others view you as faithless, untrustworthy,
disloyal, and unfair. Honor inf luences reputation, status,
and legend, but transcends them all.
Who has honor varies from culture to culture. In some,
anyone from the lowliest peasant to the emperor can pursue
honor, and a life lived in accordance with honor is the
highest achievement. In another land, honor is a game only
for nobility, a scoring method in their battles over status.
Honor may be purely a warrior’s code or a more primitive,
largely unspoken understanding between combatants.
In some lands, the use of poison is an instant blight on
one’s honor. In others, its subtle and effective use might
be a mark of the truly civilized person who wants to avert
war and avoid innocent bloodshed. The general who
fights until his last soldier falls is counted as honorable in
some realms; in others, it is the general who surrenders,
recognizing that sacrificing her soldiers’ lives would be
a waste. A criminal’s code of honor is different from a
priest’s, and a school of wizards may have different rules
for honor than a cabal of sorcerers.
No matter what form it takes, honor is recognition of a
code larger than the individual, a willingness to subsume
one’s desires in the service of that code. Honor requires selfsacrifice.
It is often neither the most reasonable course of
action nor the most practical. It comes with a cost, but is
its own reward. Your honor must be protected and upheld
at all times; allowing another to besmirch it is almost as
great an affront as you performing a dishonorable act. A
dishonorable person may try to use your honorable code
against you, but honor does not equate to stupidity.
This section presents a system for representing honor,
as well as examples of various honor codes, including the
chivalric code, the criminal code, and the samurai code.
Honor is represented by points on a scale from 0 to 100.
A score of 0 represents a person who is seen as completely
untrustworthy, willing to sacrifice anything and anyone
for even a momentary gain. A score of 100 represents
a person of legendary stature whose reputation is
without blemish. Honor is not a measurement of
alignment, fame, or goodwill so much as a gauge of
loyalty, trustworthiness, and fairness—one could be a
kindhearted-but-f lighty shogun with 0 honor points, or
a cruel-but-stalwart monk with 100 honor points.
NPC Base Honor Points: An NPC’s base number of
honor points is equal to its CR × 5. The GM modif ies
this value according to the Gaining and Losing Honor
section. An NPC who deviates from the strictures of
his society may have an honor score very different
from this base value. Most NPCs’ honor scores rarely
change, though the GM might choose to bestow fortune
or disgrace on a particular NPC as a story or adventure
hook for the PCs.
PC Base Honor Points: You start with a number of honor
points equal to your Charisma score plus your character
level. For example, a 1st-level PC with a Charisma score
of 13 starts with an honor score of 14. Whenever your
experience level or Charisma permanently changes,
adjust your honor score accordingly. You can also gain
or lose honor points during play.
GAINING AND LOSING HONOR
You gain and lose honor points through events. Some
events affect all PCs in the party (such as destroying a
demon that’s attacking a village), and others only affect
you (such as losing a duel against a less honorable rival).
Most of these events require witnesses who spread the
word of what happened; if nobody outside sees the event,
and nobody in the party speaks of it, it has no effect on
your honor. The GM may decide that a delay of 1d6 days or
more is appropriate for a change in honor, ref lecting the
time needed for news to travel.
A single event can earn you honor points for multiple
reasons. For example, if you’re a paladin using the chivalric
code and your party’s APL is 8, defeating a CR 11 hezrou
demon earns everyone in the party 1 honor point for the
“party overcomes a challenging encounter” general event
and you earn 2 honor points for the “defeat a challenging
monster of the opposite alignment” chivalric event.
The tables of honor point adjustments for the various
types of codes provide examples of events that would cause
you to gain or lose honor points. The honor point values
are guidelines; the GM should adjust them as appropriate
to the situation and campaign.
SPENDING HONOR
You can spend honor points once per game session to gain
a temporary advantage for yourself, such as a gift, loan, or
introduction to an important person. Each expenditure
reduces your honor score by an amount determined by the
GM. If you try to spend honor points for an advantage that
costs more points than you currently have, your honor score
is reduced to 0 and you don’t gain the advantage—by reaching
too high, you lose honor and gain nothing. Examples of
honor point expenditures include the following.
Favor: You call upon an allied NPC for a favor. Examples
include access to private resources (such as a wizard’s
library), unhindered passage through enemy territory (such
as getting an official to write you a letter of passage), or an
audience with an important person (such as a high priest or
city governor). Cost: 1d6 to 5d6 honor points, depending on
the difficulty of the favor and the NPC’s attitude toward you.
If the GM is using the Contacts rules (page 148), the typical
cost is 1d6 honor points per risk level of the task.
Gift or Loan: You ask an NPC ally to give or loan you
something of value. The gift or loan must be in the form
of wealth or a single item. The GM may rule that an NPC
refuses to give away a particularly rare or expensive item.
The item must be something the NPC can actually grant—
you can’t ask a peasant for a suit of armor or a ronin for the
emperor’s personal sword. 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. If the request
is a loan instead of a gift, the honor point cost is halved,
but if you do not return the item at the end of the session,
you must pay this honor point cost at the start of each
session until the item is returned. This counts as your one
opportunity to spend honor points that session; you can’t
spend honor on anything else until you return the item.
Skill Bonus: Choose Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate.
You gain a +5 circumstance bonus on checks for that skill
for the rest of the game session. Cost: 1d6 honor points.
CONSEQUENCES OF LOSING HONOR
If your honor score reaches 0, you take a –2 penalty on Will
saving throws and Charisma-based checks, representing
your sense of shame. If you are part of an honor-bound
institution, your lack of honor may bring shame upon the
institution, and cause its leaders to punish you.
You may renounce your code of honor at any time. You
lose all honor points and benefits from honor, but do not
take the penalty for having 0 honor points (not having a code
is not the same as f launting your code). Any characters who
believe in that code refuse to speak or deal with you any more
than they must. Your NPC allies avoid you. Your honorable
institution declares you an enemy. Even those who have no
association with your former code may steer clear of you,
fearing retribution from your honorable institution

Bio:

General Honor Events
These events are appropriate for most honor codes,
including the individual codes listed below.
EVENT HONOR POINTS
Complete a CR-appropriate Adventure Path 10
Complete a noble task for an honorable +2
NPC (50
honor points) and tell no one
Roll 30 or higher on a Craft check to +2
create a work of art or masterwork item1
Roll 30 or higher on a Diplomacy or +2
Intimidate check1
Roll 30 or higher on a Perform check1 +2
Complete a CR-appropriate adventure2 +1
Craft a powerful magic item +13
Destroy an evil or dangerous magic item +14
Party overcomes a challenging encounter +1
(CR 3 or more higher than APL)
Willingly break one of the tenets of your –2
code of honor
Party flees an easy combat challenge –3
(CR lower than APL)
Slander a person with a higher honor score –4
Party loses an easy combat challenge –5
(CR lower than APL)
Commit an act of treason or betray an –10
honorable lord
Be directly responsible for the death –20
of an honorable ally or loved one under
your protection
1 You can gain honor points this way once per month.
2 About the length of a 32- or 48-page published adventure.
3 Per 40,000 gp of the item’s price.
4 Per 40,000 gp of the item’s price. Artifacts with no price
grant 5 honor points for this purpose.
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Chivalric Code
These events apply to a chivalric or Arthurian knight’s code.
EVENT HONOR POINTS
Become a lord or similar rank +50
Defeat a noble lord in combat +20
Agree to protect and be responsible for +10
the protection of an honorable ally
Redeem a dishonorable foe +6
Acquire vassals +4
Offer sanctuary and defend that offer +3
Swear fealty to a lord +3
Defeat a challenging monster of the +2
opposite alignment (CR 2 or more
higher than APL)
Protect a site holy to your religion +2
against attackers
Protect an innocent against significant +2
odds (CR 2 or more higher than APL)
Swear a major oath and uphold it +2
Win a tournament +2
Accept an enemy’s parole +1
Participate in a tournament +1
Accept an enemy’s parole and refuse –2
to honor the ransom
Be betrayed by a “redeemed” foe –2
Be convicted of a petty crime –2
Offer sanctuary and betray it –4
Swear a major oath and break it –4
Win a tournament by cheating –5

Honor

Memories of Green wizardrisk