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How Does the 'Status' skill work, and would it be adjusted for Nobles, etc?


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#1 QueenJadisOfCharn

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:58 AM

I was wondering if I could get a rundown on the mechanics and reasoning behind the Status skill. I'm not sure I understand what it's supposed to represent. It seems to have something to do with position and wealth?

#2 seneschal

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 05:41 PM

More position. A tenured college professor, an 18th century lord, a scheming teenage queen bee, a church archbishop, or an acclaimed research scientist might each have high Status within their respective social/professional circles. They'd have pull and influence with their peers and with people their group influences. For instance, that professor's Status would give him perhaps more authority than rivals in his department, might indeed enable him to draw a larger salary (although wealth is a separate thing), and his on-campus reputation might be good enough to enable him to ease out of encounters with the local police that would get other characters a ticket or a stay in jail. On the other hand, his Status rating might not help him with the regional mob boss -- who has a high Status within the criminal community but who is considered scum by the authorities and decent people.

You're right. The mechanics of the skill are sort of nebulous, partly because its effects are variable and broad, depending on the situation. Gamers often discuss mechanics for "social combat" in their campaigns. For BRP, Status is the designated tool. It's about knowing whom to know, throwing your weight around, calling in favors from all the folks who owe you one

#3 rust

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 06:04 PM

There are many ways to use Status, depending on the setting and the intentions of the referee
and the players.

For example, in my current setting I use Status to measure a character's success as a member
of the community as well as the tool to give the character new options for his activities. When-
ever the character succeeds in doing something that helps his community his Status increases,
and whenever he does something that harms the community his Status decreases. A high Sta-
tus is required both to get a position of influence / power in the community (e.g. to become a
candidate for an election) and to be permitted to use certain resources of the community (e.g.
to use the community's starship during an adventure). High Status also gives a bonus for the
use of most social skills with members of the community, and low Status gives a penalty.

As mentioned, this is just one way to handle Status, there are many others.
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#4 QueenJadisOfCharn

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 06:50 PM

It would be interesting to make Status increases dependent on experience checks, having the brains to make good on reputation and accomplishments. This would make increases in Status more difficult at high levels, and make INT bonuses more important for maintaining a high status.
The setting we're working on is AD&D meets Conan. I wonder how Status and Allegiances might interact? I intend to make some cults and bands allegiances in themselves, to represent the hard core of members (of course some members might just be using the organization, or waffling in their views).

#5 soltakss

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:22 PM

Status is only important in settings where status is important.

So, at a feast, the local bigwig puts you at the lower table, even though your Status is higher than his. You could use it to move to a higher table - "Don't you know who I am?".

You play an impoverished noble who turns up as a beggar to a court. You use your Status to cadge a free meal and new clothes.

You play a socialite who wants to get ion on the best parties but the bouncers try to stop you. Use Status to intimidate them into letting you in.

Status measures your status in society. Allegiance measures your status in a cult or organization. They can be used together but are not the same skill at all. In fact, some cults might not care about your Status - "I don't care who you are, unless you have passed the fourth degree then you cannot enter this part of the temple".

Obviously, having a high Status can win influence in certain situations.
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#6 QueenJadisOfCharn

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:04 AM

I'm helping a friend with Hackmaster, and Status sounds similar to Hackmaster's Honor rating; Allegiance would also be useful for Cults and other organizations.

#7 Mankcam

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:58 AM

Status is basically Call of Cthulhu's Credit Rating skill.

I tend to additionally use it instead of recording coinage for most of my settings, with occasionally Wealth bonuses, such as 'Windfalls' etc which temporarily add to Status rolls for purposes of acquiring resources etc Its a little vague but seems to work okay, and sure beats writing down every copper coin the players are carrying.

#8 soltakss

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 01:13 PM

Status is basically Call of Cthulhu's Credit Rating skill.


Well, yes and no. High Status often comes with wealth, but there are exceptions.

The Noble family who have been ruined and just have their titles.
The youngest son of a youngest son of a high ranking noble, he has the Status, he has the Title, but he has no wealth.
The merchant who has made it rich but came from the sewers - he has a high credit rating but not a high Status.

In Merrie England, I used Status (Wealth) or something similar as a Wealth score and Status (Social) as the social standing. It makes things a lot easier to manage.
Simon Phipp - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982.
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#9 Gollum

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 08:09 PM

Call of Cthulhu 6th French edition solved the Status issue by making several Status skills. Dr Henry Armitage, for instance, has Status (Miskatonic University) 99%. It gives him a lot of Status when he is in Miskatonic University. Everyone knows him and almost every teacher will listen carefully to what he tells, and probably do all what he can to help him. But if Dr Henry Armitage goes in London, he won't have such an amazing Status in George V's, Edward VIII's or George VI's court.

#10 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 08:59 PM

Is there the possibility of adapting Status into a Reputation skill with even more variables? Like Status in CoC (or possibly as a subclass of Status), it would also affect the way people react to you -- but because of what they think you can or will do as opposed to who you are. If you have a Reputation for Ferocity or Having a Temper and the power or skill to be dangerous, those who know about it might well go out of their way not to tick you off -- for fear of what will happen to them if they do. If you can level a small town with one spell and are known for a short fuse, interactions with you get "interesting" in a hurry.

There will be times, of course, when you will not want a high Reputation skill (or whatever Reputation mechanic your campaign adopts) because the wrong kind can make things harder. A reputation for being generally untrustworthy can be a career-killer for an adventurer who is dependent upon patronage and doing "jobs" for important people.

#11 Gollum

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:27 PM

Is there the possibility of adapting Status into a Reputation skill with even more variables? Like Status in CoC (or possibly as a subclass of Status), it would also affect the way people react to you -- but because of what they think you can or will do as opposed to who you are. If you have a Reputation for Ferocity or Having a Temper and the power or skill to be dangerous, those who know about it might well go out of their way not to tick you off -- for fear of what will happen to them if they do. If you can level a small town with one spell and are known for a short fuse, interactions with you get "interesting" in a hurry.

There will be times, of course, when you will not want a high Reputation skill (or whatever Reputation mechanic your campaign adopts) because the wrong kind can make things harder. A reputation for being generally untrustworthy can be a career-killer for an adventurer who is dependent upon patronage and doing "jobs" for important people.

In GURPS, reputation are bonuses or minuses that add to reaction rolls, but also to influence skill rolls such as diplomacy, fast talk, sex appeal, and so on...

So, in my humble opinion, the best way to handle reputation would be to build such bonuses and penalties: Known for being untrustworthy, -20%. Known for being brave, +15%.

The advantage of such bonuses and penalties is that it can also be reversed if necessary: Famous criminal hunter, +20% for honest citizen, -20% for criminals.

In James Bond RolePlaying Game, the reputation was a disadvantage: "Hey, guys, this man is James Bond and not the lawyer he pretends to be..." Then, the reputation bonus, either positive or negative, could be the chance of being recognized. Famous criminal hunter +20%/-20%, 20% chance to be recognized by someone in the crowd... And that chance could be modified as any other skill, depending on who exactly makes the roll: 20% to be recognized in his state, but 40% chance to be recognized in the town where he did his exploits and only 10% to be recognized in another country.

Edited by Gollum, 03 February 2014 - 09:31 PM.


#12 jp42

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 12:30 AM

Status is actually the first thing that I change about bare-bones BRP when I'm putting together a campaign. It rubs me the wrong way that Status is the only "skill" that isn't actually a skill. So I promote it to Social Standing, and I make it a Characteristic alongside strength and dexterity. If I need a roll, Status is computed from SOCx5. I still use it in many of the same ways, but I don't like the idea of it being the only non-skill in the skill system.

#13 Michael Hopcroft

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:32 PM

In James Bond RolePlaying Game, the reputation was a disadvantage: "Hey, guys, this man is James Bond and not the lawyer he pretends to be..." Then, the reputation bonus, either positive or negative, could be the chance of being recognized. Famous criminal hunter +20%/-20%, 20% chance to be recognized by someone in the crowd... And that chance could be modified as any other skill, depending on who exactly makes the roll: 20% to be recognized in his state, but 40% chance to be recognized in the town where he did his exploits and only 10% to be recognized in another country.


Maintaining a cover identity, even temporarily, is an essential espionage skill that Bond (at least in the movies, when he's made his reputation) seems to have difficulty with -- when he even attempts it. Being well-known makes traditional espionage work virtually impossible. Which means that by the time you're a 00 you're mainly going to be doing the sort of troubleshooting where a high profile is less of a disadvantage. Just about anyone who knows anything about the espionage world will sweat profusely at the notion that James Bond is after them.

Being recognizable at all, though, is overall a major disadvantage for a spy, con artist, or anyone else whose success depends on winning (and then exploiting) the trust of your enemies.




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