A character’s Prestige Award (PA) is an abstract way to track his growing renown and reputation within a faction.
Total and Current Prestige Award Just as a character has a maximum hit point value when fully healed and a current hit point value when injured, that character has a Total Prestige Award (TPA) and a Current Prestige Award (CPA). TPA represents the character’s overall reputation within a faction. CPA represents how much inf luence the character currently has within that faction in terms of favors owed to him and his ability to inf luence others and make use of the faction’s resources.
Characters may spend CPA to acquire goods or services (see Spending Prestige Award), which means that a character’s CPA is usually less than his TPA, just as an adventuring character’s current hit points are usually less than his total hit points. CPA can never be higher than TPA.
Characters earn prestige for performing missions for a faction or otherwise advancing the faction’s goals. For example, a character allied with the a group of knights gains prestige with that faction for breaking up a slaving ring, while a evil cultist gains prestige for converting unbelievers to the faith and sending tithes back to leaders. At your discretion, a character may earn prestige for an adventure even if it’s not part of an “official” mission for a faction—a 7th-level paladin who’s freed many slaves probably has earned prestige with the the knights even if she’s never taken orders from a member of that faction.
When a character’s Prestige Award increases, her TPA and CPA increase by the same value. For example, Jothalia has 5 TPA and 2 CPA with the knight faction; if she completes a mission for them and her PA increases by 2, she now has 7 TPA and 4 CPA.
Not every adventure or encounter needs to relate to a faction mission, nor does every faction have an interest in every possible adventure, but as a general rule you should strive to provide equal opportunity for PCs of all factions to earn prestige. If you cannot find a place within a given adventure for the interests of a particular PC’s faction, make a point of integrating opportunities later on for that PC to achieve some faction goals.
The ability to earn prestige should be routine, but it need not be automatic. If a PC fails at her appointed tasks or passes up opportunities to further her factions’ goals, she does not earn prestige simply because her player showed up to play. By choosing to play using a faction, a player is agreeing to “play along” with faction goals in order to obtain faction rewards. If the PC does not fulfill her obligations as a member of the faction, she should not expect to rise in the faction’s esteem.
The rate at which characters’ prestige increases varies depending on the whether you use Fast, Medium, or Slow advancement Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, but on average, characters should be able to increase their PA by 3 to 5 points per experience level, whether acquired by completing several small missions or tasks or one more difficult or significant task. Over the course of a long campaign like a Pathfinder Adventure Path, characters might expect to increase their PA by 40 or more points, especially if the campaign is tightly linked to the factions players choose.
If you want to expand how you use prestige in a game, you could also use the characters’ PA to replace or supplement standard treasure awards. In a campaign where looting the dead or robbing tombs is frowned upon, you could use PA to help fill the gap in character resources that would normally be satisfied by pillage and plunder.
Prestige should be seen as an enticement rather than an instrument to punish PCs, but a character can lose prestige for betraying faction secrets to outsiders, causing the death of a faction member, stealing from or lying to their faction brethren, befriending or allying with members of opposed factions, and so on. A typical penalty would be the loss of 1–3 CPA. In extreme situations, however, a character might incur such a negative reputation within his faction that his CPA and TPA decrease by 5 or even 10 points for a major transgression, possibly resulting in loss of rank and privileges within the faction. This does not force characters to forfeit boons already acquired, but it may prevent them from obtaining any new boons or benefits for which they no longer qualify at their lowered TPA, and they must work to get back in the good graces of their peers.
A character’s Total Prestige Award represents her trustworthiness and status within their faction. The simplest representation of this prestige is that for every 10 points of her Total Prestige Award, she gains a +1 bonus on Diplomacy checks with members of that faction. In addition, she may learn certain feats or spells or be able to purchase unique magical items or other goods that are restricted to those whose TPA reaches a certain benchmark. Her faction contacts can allow her to buy or sell goods whose value exceeds the normal gp limit of the local area or that might be of questionable legality. Finally, depending on the organization, a character’s TPA might afford her certain titles and incidental privileges.
Many factions have close associations and alliances with other groups, and earning prestige in her faction can allow a character to enjoy some of the benefits of membership and prestige within allied factions as well. Each faction entry describes whether that faction is allied with any others. When dealing with members of an allied faction, a character may treat her TPA as if it were half its actual amount, including the related bonus on Diplomacy checks with, and buying and selling goods through, the allied faction; she can also spend CPA to obtain boons from an allied faction, though the costs are increased by 1.
Just as factions have allies, so too do they have enemies. The very same prestige that can make a PC famous within her faction and among allies can make her infamous in the eyes of opposing factions, and avoiding attracting unwanted attention from her faction’s enemies or those friendly to them is one reason that some characters keep their faction allegiances secret. If a character’s faction allegiance is known, the initial attitude of an NPC of the opposing faction is treated as one step worse than normal (for example, Indifferent becomes Unfriendly, Unfriendly becomes Hostile), and for every 10 points of the character’s TPA, she takes a –1 penalty on Diplomacy checks to influence that NPC. If the NPC’s faction opposes more than one of the PC’s factions, only the faction with which the PC has the highest TPA counts.
A character’s CPA total reflects the goodwill, political capital, and personal favors she has built up through service to the organization. While a character’s TPA can provide certain titles and privileges, most tangible benefits of faction membership are acquired when a character spends his CPA on temporary boons, favors, aid, spellcasting, or other services. Regardless of whatever honorific titles a character has earned through his Total Prestige Award, the cost for obtaining boons remains the same.
Once a character’s CPA is spent, it is spent permanently; it is not recovered automatically like lost hit points or ability score damage. The character can, of course, earn more PA, which adds to both her TPA and her CPA, but spent points are gone.
Characters may not spend CPA during combat, and for the sake of simplicity you may limit characters to spending CPA once per gaming session (this keeps players from saving up their PA in large amounts and spending it all at once, making an adventure too easy). It is possible for a player to spend his character’s PA even if the PC is dead; in essence, this represents the PC having made prior arrangements with his faction to perform certain actions on his behalf, such as recovering his dead body and returning it to a specific location or having it raised.
You can add to the services presented in this book or create your own factions. The monetary equivalent of 1 point of PA is approximately 375 gp, though characters should normally only be able to spend PA on services, not physical goods.
PCs may not pool their earned prestige to obtain items or services, or for any other purpose, even if they are members of the same faction. As a general rule, PA is designed to be spent by characters on themselves; PA costs increase by 1 when the benefit is to other characters instead of to the member of the faction. However, PCs in a home game are ultimately free to spend their PA as they see fit.
A character’s ability to spend PA is dependent on his being in contact with other members of his faction, and unless noted otherwise, most factions tend to have agents, contacts, or headquarters in settlements that are at least the size of a large city. To reflect the difficulty of contacting a faction agent in a smaller settlement, PA costs increase by 5 in communities smaller than 5,000 people. This change, of course, can vary by organization.
|TPA||MAXIMUM ITEM COST|
Note: Under normal circumstances, PCs should always be able to purchase certain items from their faction, even if the cost exceeds the value on this table. These items are the following: equipment from the Equipment chapter of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook (including equipment made from special materials, such as mithral); +1 weapons, armor, and shields; and 0- or 1st-level oils, potions, and scrolls at caster level 1.
|1||Mounts (light riding horse, camel, mule, or pony) for the PC and up to one companion per level|
|1||Boat travel (freshwater or coastal transport for the PC and up to 10 others; includes a crew of four 1st level experts)|
|1||Work detail of 50 1st-level commoners 1 Skilled craftsman (expert of 1⁄2 the faction member’s level)|
|2||Bodyguard (warrior of 1⁄2 the faction member’s level)|
|2||Ship travel (deep water transport for the PC and up to 20 others; includes a crew of 10 1st level experts)|
|2||Squad of 10 1st-level warriors|
|2||Combat trained mounts (light or heavy warhorses or riding dogs) for the PC and up to one companion per level|
Note: Services requiring NPCs or animals include appropriate gear for their class and level and all living expenses for them. For double CPA cost, these NPCs serve for up to 1 month. The character is expected to return any NPCs or mounts and their gear to the faction when finished with them. If the PC returns less than 50% of the mounts, gear, or NPCs acquired, she loses 1 TPA (and 3 TPA if none are returned).
|2||Atonement (8 CPA to restore cleric/druid powers)|
|2||Cure critical wounds|
|2||Greater dispel magic|
|2||Restoration (4 CPA to dispel a permanent negative level)|
|5||Contact other plane|
Note: Spellcasting is at minimum caster level.
|1||+4 to one skill check|
|1||Purchase a single item worth 375 gp**|
|1*||Wealthy cost of living for 1 month|
|2||Purchase a single item worth 750 gp**|
|2*||Extravagant cost of living for 1 month|
|5||Retrieval of a dead body to a faction-controlled location|
* Cost of living covers 1 month and is detailed in The Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.
** Characters can’t spend multiple PA for more items costing more than 750 gp.