The Barnacle's Revenge Campaign
Plunder and Infamy Subsystems
The acquisition of wealth and the spread of grim reputations motivate pirates to deeds of daring and depravity. Plunder and Infamy are 2 subsystems used to track PCs success as pirates. This information is extracted from the Wormwood Mutiny and are owed by Paizo.
Plunder and treasure are 2 different things. The latter is the actual items, coins, gems and other items individual pirates have on their person. Plunder is everything else that most adventures will not want to track, like trade goods, spices, foodstuffs and other non-treasure items that may be found while raiding other vessels. Plunder is still valuable but may be too tedious to track individually. So instead of lists of random goods on a ship, a single Plunder score is used to tracked what the characters have available as booty to pay off crew members and spreading loot around ports to increase Infamy. Plunder does not replace mundane treasure but is quick method to track the large assortment of valuable but generally useless goods collected while operating in the Shackles.
Plunder will be won at relevant points in the Adventure Path and at any point the PCs claim a ship’s cargo, conquer an enemy’s hideout, or find a significant treasure, a portion will usually be awarded as Plunder. A minor reward of Plunder of would equate to 1 point while a major haul might equal as much as 5 points. Characters can also buy plunder if they wish but run the risk of gaining reputations as merchants rather than pirates.
Value of Plunder
Plunder can be sold for gold pieces and it helps increase your Infamy. 1 point of Plunder is worth approximately 1,000 gp. Note, that to redeem Plunder for gold requires a full day spent in port with bargaining, intimidating and lying about the greatness of your plunder. The size of of the port determines the maximum amount of gold you can get for plunder, so trading in a small fishing village might only garner 400 gp, while trading in a metropolis like Port Peril might garner you more money, with the right check. No what what size of community, a PC can spend 1,000 gp to purchase a point of Plunder but only one point per community per trip can purchased. Also, each time the PCs sell Plunder, one point of Plunder is deducted to represent the wages for the crew.
While some pirates seek out new treasures to plunder, others ply the seas to enhance their reputations and acquire power. Infamy is the subsystem used to track the reputations, fearsomeness and prestige of the PCs. The least infamous pirates have the potential to pressgang unfortunates into their crews, get repairs to their ships in every port, and win discounts from merchants they’s prefer not to rob. Those whose legends stretch across the seas can garner support from pirate lords, win more favorable vessels and even rally pirate armadas under their flag.
Infamy tracks the overall reputation of the PCs over their career and is the sum of all the outlandish stories and rumors being told about the PCs throughout the Shackles. Infamy rarely decreases, and reach certain Infamy thresholds provides certain benefits and allows additional effects, called Impositions, to be purchased with Disrepute. Infamy is limited to by the actual skill of the PCs, though, and can never be more than four times the party level.
Disrepute is the ability to cash in on your infamous reputations in the Shackles. Disrepute will fluctuate over the campaign as the party purchases different Impositions, and can be as high as the party’s Infamy score or as low as zero. The party’s Disrepute score will only affect whether a certain imposition can be purchased and has no other campaign effects. Pirates with lower Infamy scores and correspondingly lower Disrepute scores, will not be able to purchase some Impositions, showcasing how your reputation can only take you so far before you have to claim another ship, find another treasure or eliminate another enemy.
Three elements are required to gain Infamy: an audience, a deed to tell about, and storytelling (or singing) ability. Obvious signs of Plunder to back up your tale can’t hurt either. To gain Infamy, a ship must be moored at port for 1 full day, and the PC’s main storyteller must spend this time on shore carousing and boasting of the crew’s infamous deeds. Bluff, Intimidate, or Perform checks will determine the effectiveness of their efforts. Success will earn at least 1 Infamy and Disrepute point, and can earn more depending on the check result. Please note that Infamy cannot go higher than four times the party level and Disrepute cannot be higher than your Infamy score.
Because even the drunkest lout only wants to hear the same story only so many times, you can only gain a maximum of 5 points of Infamy and Disrepute from a particular port for a given Infamy threshold. For example, a Disgraceful Crew pulls into Slipcove, the capitol of Bag Island and spends five days boasting about their deeds and gaining 5 points of Infamy and Disrepute. The locals will no longer care about these tales until the Crew leaves and gains enough Infamy to hit the Despicable threshold of Infamy.
Using Plunder to effect Infamy
Plunder can be used to modify Infamy in 2 ways. First, every point of plunder expended adds a +2 bonus to the skill check to earn Infamy, because any tale is more believable when someone is throwing wealth and buying drinks. Second, if a character fails an Infamy check, the party can spend 3 points of Plunder to immediately reroll the check. Plunder is spent regardless of the success of the reroll and only one reroll is allowed per day.
Disrepute can be spent to buy Impositions, and unless otherwise noted, all Impositions require 1 full day to spend the Disrepute. Some Impositions might only be available in certain places, such as a port, or might have additional costs, like forcing a prisoner to walk the plank. Spending Disrepute does not affect the party’s Infamy score. The availability of Impositions are determined by the Infamy threshold of the Party.