I may be running a game of 7th Sea in the near future, and one of my players is looking to create a self-styled "king of the vagabonds." He found the Scoundrel advantage, and feels that his character should be looking to collect negative reputation to represent the character's underworld reputation.

I'm fine with the idea of a well-known thief as a player character but I'm confused as to how best to handle the reputation... Whether to give him positive reputation with a "criminal" roleplaying slant, or to give him negative rep.

The books seem a little vague on this point:

The Scoundrel advantage is very clearly an advantage for player characters (in the players' handbook).

The reputation system references "Villains (and Scoundrels)" in a couple of places, implying that a scoundrel isn't a villain.

On the other hand...

The reputation sections of the book make negative rep out to be pretty bad stuff. The "depths of depravity:" razing villages, murdering town guards, and so on.

There is a recommendation to convert heroes to NPCs at -30 reputation.

Scoundrel is MUCH cheaper than Citation (the positive reputation equivalent). While citation costs 4HP for 10 reputation, Scoundrel costs 3HP for -10 reputation and a 2HP skill. It's effectively one quarter the cost of positive reputation.

How is this supposed to work? Positive reputation with a "criminal" roleplaying slant, or give him negative rep?


Bear in mind that 7th Sea advantages are often about spotlight time -- if an advantage is a disadvantage in game world terms, but it will still give the character more attention at the game table, it's an advantage. I think Scoundrel is one of those advantages, which is why it's relatively cheap.

But if the character plumbs the depths of depravity, he's still going to turn into someone who's reviled. The game world effects are very bad and, as the recommendation on -30 reputation implies, they're untenable in the long term. Scoundrel is intended for someone who's a bit shady and doesn't mind suffering the consequences in exchange for more attention from the GM, rather than being a career path. Negative reputation means people don't like him, and I wouldn't avoid that by letting it be positive in certain circles. The people who like him would be the people who show up and ask him to go burn down an orphanage with them and get offended when he says no.

Thus, I'd go for reflavoring Citation. If he wants the underworld to like him, that's positive reputation. Call it Charming Scoundrel or some such, perhaps.


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