Dungeons and Dragons – Mystara
Magical Item – Marks of Prestige Overview
Marks of Prestige Overview
Sometimes the most memorable reward for adventurers is the prestige that they acquire throughout a realm. Their adventures often earn them fame and power, allies and enemies, and titles that they can pass on to their descendants. Some lords and ladies began as commoners who ventured into the dangerous places of the world and made names for themselves through their brave deeds.
This section details the known marks of prestige that adventures might acquire during a campaign. These marks are usually gained along with treasure, but sometimes they stand on their own.
Known Marks of Prestige
- Letters of Recommendation
- Parcels of Land
- Special Favours
- Special Rights
Letters of Recommendation
When gold is in short supply, the adventurers’ benefactor might provide them with a letter of recommendation instead of monetary payment. Such a letter is usually enclosed in a handsome folio, case, or scroll tube for safe transport, and it usually bears the signature and seal of whoever wrote it.
A letter of recommendation from a person of impeccable reputation can grant adventurers access to NPCs that they would otherwise have trouble meeting on their own, such as a duke, viceroy, or queen. Moreover, carrying such a recommendation on one’s person can help clear up “misunderstandings” with local authorities who might not otherwise take the adventurers at their word.
A letter of recommendation is worth only as much as the person who wrote it and offer no benefit in places where its writer holds no sway.
Although they are often fashioned from gold and other precious materials, medals have an even greater symbolic value to those who award and receive them.
Medals are typically awarded by powerful political figures for acts of heroism, and wearing a medal is usually enough to earn the respect of those who understand its significance.
Different acts of heroism can warrant different kinds of medals. The King of Breland (in the Eberron campaign setting) might award a Royal Badge of Valor (shaped like a shield and made of ruby and electrum) to adventurers for defending Brei ish citizens, while the Golden Bear of Breland (a medal made of gold and shaped in a likeness of a bear’s head, with gems for eyes) might be reserved for adventurers who prove their allegiance to the Brelish Crown by uncovering and defeating a plot to end the Treaty of Thronehold and reignite the Last War.
A medal doesn’t offer a specific in-game benefit to one who wears it, but it can affect dealings with NPCs. For example, a character who proudly displays the Golden Bear of Breland will be regarded as a hero of the people within the kingdom of Breland. Outside Breland, the medal carries far less weight, except among allies of Breland’s king.
Parcels of Land
A parcel of land is just that, and usually comes with a royal letter affirming that the land has been granted as a reward for some service. Such land usually remains the property of the local ruler or ruling body, but is leased to a character with the understanding that it can be taken away, especially if his or her loyalty is ever called into question.
A parcel of land, if sufficiently large, might have one or more farms or villages on it already, in which case the recipient is pronounced lord or lady of the land and is expected to collect taxes, along with any other duties.
A character who receives a parcel of land is free to build on it and is expected to safeguard it. He or she may yield the land as part of an inheritance, but can’t sell or trade it without permission from the local ruler or ruling body.
Parcels of land make fine rewards for adventurers who are looking for a place to settle or who have family or some kind of personal investment in the region where the land is located.
A reward might come in the form of a favor that the characters can call on at some future date. Special favors work best when the individual granting them is trustworthy. A lawful good or lawful neutral NPC will do whatever can be done to fulfill an obligation when the time comes, short of breaking laws. A lawful evil NPC does the same, but only because a deal is a deal. A neutral good or neutral PC might pay off favors to protect his or her reputation. A chaotic good NPC is more·concerned about doing right by the adventurers, honoring any obligations without worrying too much about personal risk or adherence to the law.
A politically powerful person can reward characters by giving them special rights, which are usually articulated in some sort of official document. For example, characters might be granted special rights to carry weapons in public places, kill enemies of the crown, or negotiate on a duke’s behalf. They might earn the right to demand free room and board from any establishment within a particular community, or have the right to draft local militia to assist them as needed.
Special rights last only as long as the legal document dictates, and such rights can be revoked if the adventurers abuse them.
A stronghold is a reward usually given to seasoned adventurers who demonstrate unwavering fealty to a powerful political figure or ruling body, such as a king, a knighthood, or a council of wizards. A stronghold can be anything from a fortified tower in the heart of a city to a provincial keep on the borderlands. While the stronghold is for the characters to govern as they see fit, the land on which it sits remains the property of the crown or local ruler. Should the characters prove disloyal or unworthy of the gift, they can be asked or forced to relinquish custody of the stronghold.
As an additional reward, the individual bequeathing the stronghold might offer to pay its maintenance cost for a period of one or more months, after which the characters inherit that responsibility.
A politically powerful figure has the ability to dispense titles. A title often comes with a parcel of land (see above). For example, a character might be awarded the title Earl of Storm river or Countess of Dun Fjord, along with a parcel of land that includes a settlement or region of the same name.
A character can hold more than one title, and in a feudal society, those titles can be passed down to (or distributed among) one’s children. While a character holds a title, he or she is expected to act in a manner befitting that title. By decree, titles can be stripped away if the local ruler or ruling body has reason to question the character’s loyalty or competence.
A character might be offered special training in lieu of a financial reward. This kind of training isn’t widely available and thus is highly desirable. It presumes the existence of a skilled trainer-perhaps a retired adventurer or champion who is willing to serve as a mentor. The trainer might be a reclusive wizard or haughty sorcerer who owes the queen a favor, the knight-commander of the King’s Guard, the leader of a powerful druid circle, a quirky monk who lives in a remote mountaintop pagoda, a barbarian chieftain, a warlock living among nomads as a fortune-teller, or an absent minded bard whose plays and poetry are known throughout the land.
A character who agrees to training as a reward must spend downtime with the trainer. In exchange, the character is guaranteed to receive a special benefit. Possible training benefits include the following:
- The character gains inspiration daily at dawn for ld4 + 6 days.
- The character gains proficiency in a skill.
- The character gains a feat.
- The character gain/improves a Secret Craft or Weapons Mastery
This section is still under consideration for how it will fit into the setting ongoing. But I am expecting to have marks of prestige altered ongoing. While this is not a magical item, it is sorted in that section of my notes for my own references.
- 2021-08-26 – Update to layout and menu.
Tuesday Items: T001, T002, T003, T004, T005, T006, T007, T008, T009, T010, T011, T012, T013, T014, T015, T016, T017, T018, T019, T020, T021, T022, T023, T024, T025, T026, T027, T028, T029, T030, T031, T032, T033, T034, T035, T036, T037, T038, T039, T040, T041, T042, T043, T044, T045, T046, T047, T048, T049, T050, T051, T052, T054, T055, T056, T057, T058, T059, T060, T061, T062, T063, T064, T065, T066, T067, T068, T069, T070, T071, T072, T073, T074, T075
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