I run a game where characters apart of their mechanical advancement can become part of various organizations to gain standing and influence.

At the moment the barbarian became chief of a small tribe, the priest is an aspiring member of an organized religion (at the same time being a mole from a much less organized religion) and the wizard entered in partnership with another wizard with much greater power and worldly influence.

I would like to make it so that the players' decisions and characters' actions determine if they advance, keep or lose their positions.

I find the renown system from DMG too simplistic for my needs. In my impression it works well for ordinary rank-and-file membership but does not cover leadership positions.

So my question is where can I find a subsystem that I can steal for such a purpose (in whole or in parts)? It does not have originate from any D&D variation but need to be portable to D&D 5ed mechanics.

I would like to emphasize social aspects - showing that the king needs skill in playing lords against each other much more than butt-kicking.
I also would make it a meaningful choice for my players to either skip work doing heroic stuff or stay and work on their position boring day by boring day.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Asking for this kind of mechanics in any existing system may be a bit too broad for the stack format. If it does eventually get closed I do recommend checking the list of forums, namely leaving a message in rpg general chat where people may be able to suggest some appropriate systems. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 10:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sdjz any suggestion how to make question more specific/ better fit? \$\endgroup\$
    – AGrzes
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 10:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think it'd be fine to ask about mechanics that could be applied in D&D 5e specifically (regardless of where they originate). The focus is on your specific use-case, rather than on where they might be from. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 10:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking only for official sources? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o - no - as I wrote anything that work with core mechanics will suffice. Even if it is ported from entirely another game system. \$\endgroup\$
    – AGrzes
    Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 11:23

3 Answers 3


The book Rise of Tiamat may help

I'll avoid details below, but there is necessarily a structural spoiler.

One aspect of this campaign is unifying disparate interests. Those interests can be groups or individuals. They each have an opinion on the various doings of the adventurers or events the adventurers may influence.

On page 94 there is a grid with these interests on one axis and adventurer subgoals on the other. Each cell contains a '+', '+/+', '-', '-/-', or ' ' indicating how that interest feels about that action and how strongly they feel. To get the current feeling of a group, simply add up the symbols as if they were +1 or -1 (blanks are 0).

At the bottom of the grid is an area for totals, indicating what score is necessary for that group to generally support the party's efforts.

Here is a generalized example, because the official pdf contains spoilers:

\begin{array}{l|c|c|c|c|c|c} \ & \text{Baron} & \text{Undertaker's}& \text{Adventurer's} & \text{Pelor's} & \text{Clerics of} &\text{Seamstresses'}\\ \ & \text{Benevolent} & \text{Union}& \text{Guild} & \text{Paladins} & \text{Cuthbert} &\text{Guild}\\ \hline \text{Save Timmy} & & - & + & + & & ++ \\ \text{from Well}\\ \hline \text{Capture local} & & - & + & + & - & - \\ \text{crime lord}\\ \hline \text{Kill local} & + & + & + & - & + & \\ \text{raiders}\\ \hline \text{Rebuild Temple} & & & & + & - & \\ \hline \text{Current Total} & 1 & -1 & 3 & 2 & -1 & 1 \\ \end{array}

It's possible to justify these or not as you like. For example, the Baron is indifferent toward the local crime lord. He was getting kickbacks, which have now stopped, but the populace now sees him as doing things for them, which is good. The Rebuild Temple is a pretty direct choice between one of two disagreeing factions. The Clerics and the Undertakers both clearly want you to take a more, ahem, straightforward approach.

Some suggestions:

For your situation, you could easily just have a row with mostly blanks, one plus and one minus. This would represent something only two interests care about, and would be a direct trade off between them.

This system seems easily extended to include things like determining just how much the villains hate you, rather than just tracking possible allies. It also seems pretty easy to extend from a support/oppose binary view into a more nuanced hate/dislike/neutral/like/love scale by defining point values for those breakpoints. Disclaimer: I have not tried either of these ideas.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I reworked the text, rather than removing the columns. Better? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 1:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It still overlaps a tiny bit, but only the row separators; the text itself is still readable. (...I guess the last column header overlaps with the sidebar too.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 1:34

The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica has rules for tracking a PC's ranking and progression through the Guilds of Ravnica that could be used for similar organizations in other settings. In general, you gain two points of Renown for each relevant adventure that benefits those organizations, and each organization has a series of ranks that you can attain with that Renown, each of which grant certain benefits. Often, these ranks involve some degree of leadership, whether that's being the leader of a research laboratory, being a sergeant in charge of a squad of soldiers, or running a local church.

For instance, you might use the rules for the Gruul for your Barbarian, the Orzhov for your Cleric, and the Simic or Izzet for your Wizard.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are these rules more than implementation of Renown rules from DMG? \$\endgroup\$
    – AGrzes
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Checking the rules in the DMG, I'd say that they're more of an elaboration of that system, with a number of factions elaborated on and given a number of roles and benefits at various levels of Renown. For instance, if you're a member of the Izzet Guild, at 3 Renown, you can become a Researcher if you have spellcasting, and gain 1d4 Commoner laboratory assistants and the ability to make a Mizzium Apparatus magic item; if you don't have spellcasting, you can choose to become a Scorchbringer and be given a Pyroconverger magic item. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 3:11

The upcoming Acquisitions Incorporated book may include useful information.

Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast are collaborating on an upcoming Acquisitions Incorporated book, based on the D&D show(s) of the same name. The name refers to an in-universe adventuring mega-corporation around which the shows are based.

James Haeck's article on D&D Beyond provides more detail about what's included in the book:

This book includes eight roles, several of which will be new, even to Acq Inc. fans. The four familiar roles of cartographer, decisionist, documancer, and hoardsperson make their return in this book, and are joined by the lesser-known (but equally important) roles of loremonger, obviator, occultant, and secretarian. The exact nature of these roles are somewhat obscure, but we do know that these roles are more than just a social feature. As you grow more and more important within the hierarchy of Acquisitions Incorporated (rising from rank 1 to 4), you also gain more traits from your role.

The occultant, for instance, gains a few bonus tool proficiencies at rank 1, as well as the ability to “Read the Kill.” The exact nature of this trait was frustratingly obscured in the images shown at the panel today, but it seems to make it easier for occultants to “determine the impact of [creatures you’ve killed] on [your] franchise’s fate.” This extra progression, independent of your class, sounds like an interesting twist on the standard faction ranks as presented in books like the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. [Penny Arcade Producer] Elyssa [Grant] also revealed to me that the book will contain new spells—and that they may be linked to your position in your franchise!

The book does not come out until June 18, so the exact mechanics contained for organizational advancement are not yet public knowledge; however, it may be worth looking into in the meantime.


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