Stuff and Shackles
Infamy and Disrepute
Some pirates only do what they do for the promise of wealth, being little more than brigands of the waves. Others do it for the reputation, fearsomeness, and power that comes with numbering among the most notorious scallywags on the seas. That’s where Infamy comes in.
Recounting victories, boasting of treasures won, and spreading tales of your outrages can win you Infamy, but that alone isn’t the goal. Infamous pirates have the potential to press gang unfortunates into their crews, get repairs to their ships in nearly any port, and win discounts from merchants they’d prefer not to rob. As a crew becomes more and more infamous its legend stretches across the seas, garnering support from pirate lords, more favorable vessels, and eventually gather a pirate armada under its flag. The infamy system allows characters to track how their legend is growing over the course of the campaign and provides tangible rewards for building piratical reputations.
Infamy tracks how many points of Infamy the crew has gained over its career—the sum of all the outlandish stories and rumors about the crew being told throughout the Shackles. Infamy rarely decreases, and reaching certain Infamy thresholds provides useful benefits and access to impositions that can be purchased using points of Disrepute. Infamy is limited by actual skill, however, and your Infamy score can never exceed 4 × the average party level.
Disrepute is a spendable resource—the currency used to purchase impositions, deeds others might not want to do for the group, but that they perform either to curry the group’s favor or to avoid its disfavor. This score will fluctuate over the crew’s career.
Winning Infamy and Disrepute: A few things are required to gain Infamy: an audience, a deed to tell about, and a flair for storytelling. Proof of the group’s deed in the form of plunder doesn’t hurt either.
To gain Infamy, the crew must moor their ship at a port for 1 full day, and the character chosen by the group as its main storyteller spends this time on shore carousing and boasting of infamous deeds. He must make either a Bluff, Intimidate, or Perform check to represent the effectiveness of her recounting or embellishing.
The DC of this check is equal to 15 + twice the group’s average party level (APL), and the check is referred to as an Infamy check. If the character succeeds at this check, the group’s Infamy and Disrepute both increase by +1 (so long as neither score is already at its maximum amount). If the result exceeds the DC by +5, the group’s Infamy and Disrepute increase by +2; if the result exceeds the DC by +10, both scores increase by +3. The most a party’s Infamy and Disrepute scores can ever increase as a result of a single Infamy check is by 3 points. If the PC fails the Infamy check, there is no change in her group’s Infamy score and the day has been wasted.
Infamy and Disrepute per Port: No matter how impressionable (or drunk) the crowd, no one wants to hear the same tales and boasts over and over again. Thus, a crew can gain a maximum of 5 points of Infamy and Disrepute from any particular port. However, this amount resets every time a group reaches a new Infamy Threshold.
Plunder and Infamy: Plunder can modify a your attempt to gain Infamy in two ways. Before making an Infamy check for the day, the crew can choose to spend plunder to influence the result—any tale is more believable when it comes from someone throwing around her wealth and buying drinks
for the listeners. Every point of plunder expended adds a +2 bonus to the character’s skill check to earn Infamy. The crew can choose to spend as much plunder as it wants to influence this check—even the most leaden-tongued pirate might win fabulous renown by spending enough booty.
Additionally, if you fail an Infamy check, the crew can choose to spend 3 points of plunder to immediately reroll the check. Only one reroll attempt can be made per day, and the plunder is spent even if the second attempt fails.
Spending Disrepute: A group’s Disrepute can be spent to buy beneficial effects called impositions, though some impositions might only be available in certain places—such as at port—or might have additional costs—like forcing a prisoner to walk the plank. Spending Disrepute
to purchase an imposition requires 1 full day unless otherwise noted. When Disrepute is spent, the group’s Disrepute score decreases by the price of the imposition, but its Infamy remains the same.