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Thread: Klingon Honor System

  1. #1
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    Klingon Honor System

    Anyone have any thoughts on an Honor system for Klingon characters ?

    I'm doing up a sourcebook for a planned Klingon setting ... early life packages, overlays, training, skills, traits, weapons, martial arts etc etc etc.

    It's going to be based on one specific House set in a sector they control, so the char gen is going to be specific to the House's particular training schools, early life etc.

    Klingon SRM for spacedock will be used plus lots of "borrowed" items (martial arts and weapon fighting styles) that I've found throughout the years.

    Now I'm trying to figure out a good way to do up an Honor system ... I could go with a basic carbon copy of Way of D'era's Glory system, even with the renown total indicating the rank rather than using the Promotion trait as WoD does.

    But I'm not sure if that's quite what I'm after .... thinking maybe that it might be nice to have something a bit more complex, perhaps with divisions for House honor and an individual's Honor ... kind of like honor was done in the old AD&D Oriental Adventures ...

    Any thoughts/ suggestions / systems that anyone uses that seem to work well ???

    p.s. most of the stuff to be done from scratch is still in the works, with char gen having the most progress so far. But I would be more than willing to share any of it as it gets done.

  2. #2
    So what do you want honour to *do*?
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  3. #3
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    I guess, again going back to my recolection of AD&D OA honor (I no longer have the book), I'm looking for something that gives benefits for high honor, beyond just indicating an applicable rank.
    Thinking maybe that it would also indicate status within the house.
    Also that there could be a negative honor that could lead to serious handicaps ... eventually I would suppose to discommendation itself ....

    Honor is such a stressed aspect for the TNG & beyond Klingons that I'm just trying to figure out a system that really makes the honor rating have significant meaning.

    I would think that taking actions that exemplify the Code of Honor (Klingon) would award Honor points, and behavior against the code would mean a negative penalty to Honor ...
    Last edited by RealPity; 02-28-2007 at 03:12 AM.

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    Couple other things that come to mind is that high Honor could award such things as commendations ... but then you're getting Advantages at no cost .... some rules lawyers types may think that's a scam ....
    Also thinking of something like inherited initial Honor, like honor points equal to 1/10th of you father's .... kinda Pendragon-ish
    Maybe even bonuses to initial Honor based on your House ... +2 HP for a lesser house, +5 HP for a great house .... -x HP for a disgraced house etc

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RealPity
    I guess, again going back to my recolection of AD&D OA honor (I no longer have the book), I'm looking for something that gives benefits for high honor, beyond just indicating an applicable rank.
    Thinking maybe that it would also indicate status within the house.
    Also that there could be a negative honor that could lead to serious handicaps ... eventually I would suppose to discommendation itself ....
    Neither of those things have really been shown to be directly connected to the honourableness of a Klingon's actions.

    Look at Gowron.

    EZRI : I think the situation with Gowron is a symptom of a bigger problem. The Klingon Empire is dying, and I think it deserves to die.

    WORF : You were right. I do not like it.

    EZRI : Don't get me wrong, I'm very touched that you still consider me to be a member of the House of Martok, but I tend to look at the Empire with a little more scepticism then Curzon or Jadzia did. I see a society that is in deep denial about itself. Were talking about a warrior culture that prides itself on maintaining centuries old traditions of honour and integrity, but in reality, it's willing to accept corruption at the highest levels.

    WORF : You are overstating your case.

    EZRI : Am I? Who was the last leader of the High Council that you respected?

    WORF : ...

    EZRI : Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to cover the crimes of Klingon leaders because you were told it was for the good of the Empire? I, I know this sounds harsh, but, the truth is, you have been willing to accept a government that you know is corrupt. Gowron is just the latest example.

    Worf, you are the most honourable and decent man I have ever met, and if you're willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?


    Honor is such a stressed aspect for the TNG & beyond Klingons that I'm just trying to figure out a system that really makes the honor rating have significant meaning.

    I would think that taking actions that exemplify the Code of Honor (Klingon) would award Honor points, and behavior against the code would mean a negative penalty to Honor ...
    I think, given what Klingon honour reflects, it should have a mechanical benefit similar to Courage. First of all, honour should be awarded, not by mechanics, but by social esteem of the players. At the end of the session, go around the table and ask everyone what the most honourable thing each of the players did, and then see how it rates on some honour chart or something. Same with dishonourable actions.
    Last edited by The Tatterdemalion King; 02-28-2007 at 03:48 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Would you think then that a WoD type Aggression+Skill+Discipline=Honor would work best then & that honor could be used as Glory is for Romulans ?

    One thing I was thinking, to avoid freebie Advantages, would be perhaps a development point bonus as Honor increases .... get your earned renown high enough, get high honor, earn some perk points & buy something like commendations, eventually Order of the Bat'leth & the like. But then how to reflect drops from negative renown ... if you loose x number of honor that drops you down you have to rescind something of DP value ????

    The corruption is an evil that exists, but by twisting things the corrupt appear blameless (Gowron, Duras et al), thus maintaining the illusion of their impecible honor, and the actual honorable ones get dishonorable things said about them and suffer the consequences of doing what they think is the right thing (Worf accepting discommendation for the good of the Empire).

    I think this is more of a treacherous play to manipulate things (and interesting for roleplaying's sake), but may be more the exception than the norm at the levels I would be dealing with.
    I guess I'm thinking more along the lines of the actual trying-to-be-honorable sort who can actually gain from it.
    But I definitely see the perks from a gaming perspective of an opposing "villian" manipulating things .... makes it harder for the truly honorable to just "earn earn earn" uninhibited.

    The fan-made Cardassian book (which I don't have on this computer) has a chart for awarding Vesala points IIRC.
    With my suggested +2/+5 (or +1/+3 type thing) award for Lesser House/Great House, it's that kind of thing I was thinking of as far as point awards/charts go.
    I agree to an extent about how your peers percieve you, but as far as game terms I was thinking that having an actual range would be good.
    This would be a good indication of whether peers would initially recognize you as a more honorable sort or not.

    Things such as Rivals or Enemies can still give you opposition regardless of how honorable you are (even if they grudgingly have to admit you are).
    So I'm not trying to create a system that makes virtual paragons of honor, and I'm not trying to scam advantages. I really do like the idea of penalties .... lets say you were able to earn DP and get a commendation, then drop down again, perhaps a consequence is a Reprimand disadvantage or Infamous Incident ... right down to discommendation ... or a stripping of the award.

    Just bandying about lots of ideas of how to make it work without it being the "be all and end all"
    Last edited by RealPity; 02-28-2007 at 05:45 AM.

  7. #7
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    Can't help but be guided buy this fine advice from UNTAKEN TREKS: NARRATING IN KLINGON ....

    Honor is Everything!

    And honorable behavior in the game should be rewarded
    . By the same token, dishonorable behavior should never go unpunished. While Klingons, like humans and others, may certainly find redemption for their dishonors, a tale can not be truly Klingon if dishonor has no price.

    What is "honorable" behavior, then, in terms that apply to writing and narrating good Klingon episodes? Honor doesn’t exist in a vacuum; there must be something to be honored. The most vital forms of honor among the Klingons can be lumped into four broad categories, each of which overlaps. A particularly rich and exciting Klingon series is one that reflects the value of each of them from time to time.

    Personal Honor: Klingons have no patience for liars, cowards and weaklings (hence, negative penalties). They have a strong sense of virtuous responsibility, and personal honor is about standing up and accepting the negative consequences of personal action (if the consequences are deserved), demanding the recognition for personal triumph when it is due, and defending choices that the Klingon knows to have been the right ones, even in the face of adverse opinion or mortal danger.
    Ties of Blood: Honor does not stop at a Klingon’s skin; it extends to his brethren, his trusted companions, and most especially to his name and his blood (perhaps an argument for an inherited 1/10th ... positive or negative ... from Father's honor). A dishonored Klingon dishonors every Klingon that will be descended from him, for many generations to come. And any threat to the honor of a Klingon who’s name you bear – even if that Klingon is long free from the confines of mortal life – is a serious attack on your personal honor. Familial honor is personal honor, extended to an entire bloodline.
    Duty to Superiors: It is honorable – in fact, commendable – for a Klingon to advance in rank by killing a weak or ineffectual superior. Such an act strengthens the chain of command by culling out the weak links in the chain. But a worthy superior is to be respected and obeyed, and this form of honor extends from a warrior’s immediate commander all the way up the ladder to the leadership of the Klingon Empire. Honoring the Empire and the will of those who rule it is vital to the survival of the species, the glory of all worthy warriors, and the personal honor of any who benefit from the Imperial might and prestige.
    Ancient Tradition: Honor of self, family and Empire are in many ways facets of a much larger concept, that of honoring the many traditions that have built the Empire and made it thrive. This is why honor is such a vital axiom in Klingon stories: Klingons are as they are for reasons – ancient reasons, tested by time and blood and fire and proven in expansion and prosperity. Klingon stories should recognize this and sing with the truth of it. Klingons aren’t just "hung up" on honor, honor is an essential part of being Klingon, and something to be celebrated.
    When devising episodes, it’s often handy to remember that honor is often best defined in negative terms. That is, it’s often easier to see what’s honorable by defining what’s dishonorable. Nearly any ordinary, productive life can be said to be "honorable," but that’s not of much use when you’re scratching your head with your pencil, trying to come up with an interesting story to challenge your Klingon Crew!

    Think about a few distinctly dishonorable acts, and work from their mirror image: Cowardly attack (by poisoning, for example) is highly dishonorable, to the point of being unthinkable for most Klingon warriors. So, an adventure that has an obvious "solution" via similar covert action makes an appropriate challenge for a Klingon group; they must find the more honorable, which in this case means the more direct, course of action.

    Honorable adventure is never about the simplest or most comfortable path; it should often be about tricky choices, and should require cunning and creativity.

  8. #8
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    Stupid question, but why don't you just use more or less the same rules for Honour as you do for the Renown track... Aka each Klingon has Honour that he earns according to a table of 'awards'. But run it as a seperate, parallel system (so someone could have high renown, with regards to Starfleet, but low honour in Klingon eyes).

    How much Honour a Klingon has will give him a bonus to certain social rolls, depending on it's level, but likewise a Klingon also gets a penalty if his honour has gone into negatives! Honour could also be used to 'resist' such tests, so that a Klingon with high honour can add his bonus to resist a less honourable Klingon's social roll.

    The Bonus could apply to skills which revolve around Klingon Custom, such as raising a fleet, asking allies for aid or proving one's self 'true' in a Klingon Court of law (where one's deeds and honour count!).

    Then equally when you bring in things like 'Dark secret' flaws, such as with the case of Gowron, those who know the secret, aren't affected by the bonus (and might even make it negative Honour, if it's really bad!). So that as in TTK's example, Gowron has a high honour, as with respects to most klingons understanding, but Worf knows it's entirely false, he knows he's completely dishonourable! The Flip side is true... Worf has low honour publically, but among close friends he has very high honour. Klingons who know the truth will act favourably to him, unless they are seen in 'public', and they have to treat him as dishonourable, or it could lowe their own honour.

    Honour is, after all, based on the perception of the majority!
    Ta Muchly

  9. #9
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    I was part of the group that was doing the ICON klingon netbook a LONG time ago before it fell apart. I still have a copy of it at home. I remeber there being something in it about tracking honor. I will dig it out when I get home for you.
    Duct tape is like The Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

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  10. #10
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    Tobian: So almost some Vesala-like characteristics to it as far as it's weight being able to call in favors.

    I definitely agree with what you say of the flip side ... I think certain advantages will give modifiers, either positive or negative, to Honor/Renown, much like WoD.

    IceGiant: That would be awesome & much appreciated !

  11. #11
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    I failed last night. I promise to get it tonight.
    Duct tape is like The Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

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  12. #12
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    No problem, it's gonna take me quite a while to do up this "House Sourcebook" anyways ! Lots to sift through & lots to create yet.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobian
    Honour is, after all, based on the perception of the majority!

    Fuck the majority!

    You have to decide whether or not you want this Honour stat to be a social stat, in which case it's generated by reactions of the people around them, or whether you want it to reflect an objective moral stance operating in Klingon campaigns.
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    Therein lies some of the difficulty ... some of my ideas start to seem to me like I'd be totally replacing/duplicating Renown, and yet I still want to have Honor be something special, yet not unbalancing ...
    I'm leaning towards the WoD Glory system but still want to expand a bit ...
    Kind of like torn between: do you buy ADV and get a renown (and thus Honor) bonus, or do you get perk points for high honor by way of DP and get to buy and applicable ADV.
    Part of the problem may well be that I have a fan's knowledge of Klingons but not an encyclopediac knowledge ... which is basically why my "sourcebook" will cover a lot of things specific to this one House ... if I tried an all out ala "Blood & Honor" type sourcebook I'm sure it'd end up laughable !

  15. #15
    Do you feel a separate system is really needed? It looks like you could just have a Code of Honour description that points to certain aspects of Renown and says "keep this up and you will not violate it publicly." And then the internal Code of Honour is a matter of roleplaying.
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