Starting Honour

A character’s alignment determines his starting honour score,
with lawful alignments tending to have higher scores than
chaotic or neutral, and good alignments tending to have higher
scores than evil or neutral.

Alignment Starting Honour Score

Lawful Good 25 Neutral good 20 Chaotic Good 15
Lawful neutral 20 Neutral 10 Chaotic Neutral 5
Lawful evil 15 Neutral evil 5 Chaotic evil 0

Earning Honour

Honour comes from action, not inaction. While a character can lose honour by not acting, he cannot gain honour by refusing to act. Actions that increase one’s honour score vary, depending on the individual character’s code and by the code followed by the land in question.
Some examples of actions and their impact on a character’s honour score appear below. This list is examples and not the only ways to effect honour and the DM may elect to not bestow honour for some of these actions.

Acquiring property +1
Avenging murder of family member +5
Completing an assigned task +3
Completing a great deed +5
Defeating an archenemy +2
Defeating a superior opponent of the same class +1
Defeating mighty monsters +1/CR above character’s ECL
Escaping prison +5
Fulfilling an oath +2
Fulfilling a family debt +7
Giving a valuable gift to an NPC +1
Granting a favor to an NPC +1
Healing, curing, or restoring NPCs +1
Heroic death +10
Leading a force to victory +5
Making a masterwork item +1
Saving the life of another at the risk of the character’s life +5
Serving a powerful person +2
Pulling a humiliating prank on an enemy +1
Removing a curse +1
Showing mercy to the fallen +1
Winning a contest +1

Losing Honour

Depending on the character’s code of honour, dishonourable actions—those that reduce one’s honour score—may include any of the examples below.

Accused of a crime –4
Banished –5
Breaking an oath –4
Convicted of a crime –10
Failing an assigned task –3
Killing unarmed or helpless foes –5
Losing a contest –1
Losing a masterwork or magic item –1
Losing to an inferior opponent of the same class –2
Murder of a family member –3
Overindulgence in food or drink –2
Ownership of a dishonourable weapon or item –4
Rash or improper social behaviour –2
Refusing a contest –2
Refusing your master –3
Requesting a favor –2
Taken prisoner –10
Taking a bribe –1
Treason –30

Family Honour

The idea is that characters can “inherit” some portion of their family’s reputation for honour, or dishonour. A character’s honour score can be affected by several factors related to the family’s status (honourable or dishonourable), alignment, and preference for a particular class, as shown below.

Honourable Family Honour Score Modifier

Same alignment as family +2
Alignment same as family’s in one dimension +1
Class favoured by family +1
Alignment opposed in one dimension –1
Alignment opposed in two dimensions –2
Class opposed to family –1

Dishonourable Family Honour Score Modifier

Same alignment as family –2
Alignment same as family’s in one dimension –1
Class favoured by family –1
Alignment opposed in one dimension +1
Alignment opposed in two dimensions +2
Class opposed to family +1

Honour Score Modifiers based on Family history

Family’s public reputation beneath contempt and private ethics untrustworthy or evil –2
Family’s public reputation beyond reproach and private ethics fair or good +2
Family’s public reputation undeserved and private ethics fair or good –2
Family enmity with state religion –2
Family open heretics (cumulative with above) –2
Family part of state religion +2
Family strongly committed to state religion +2
Family reputation good +1
Family reputation outstanding +2
Family reputation mostly bad –1
Family reputation bad –2
Family is part of the government +2
Family strongly supports government +2
Family loyal opposition to government +0
Family dissidents –2
Family radicals –4

Benefits of Honour

It is important to remember that the benefits of honour only apply when interacting with someone who shares the same or similar honour code. Refer to the following table, using the row that relates to your honour score, when you interact with someone of that sort.

Honour Score Effect

Honour –20 or less The next three effects and a –2 Leadership score modifier.
Honour –10 to –19 The next two effects and a +2 circumstance bonus on Intimidate checks.
Honour –5 to –9 The next effect and a –1 penalty on Will saves.
Honour –1 to –4 A +2 circumstance bonus on Bluff checks.
Honour 0 No benefit or penalty.
Honour +1 to +4 A +2 circumstance bonus on Sense Motive checks.
Honour +5 to +9 Previous benefit and a +1 circumstance bonus on Will saves.
Honour +10 to +19 Previous two benefits and a +2 circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks.
Honour +20 or more Previous three benefits and a +2 Leadership score modifier.

Examples of Honour Systems


Bushido is the code of the samurai. According to the code, a samurai must possess the
following seven virtues.

  • Gi (honesty and justice): A samurai deals openly and honestly with others and cleaves to the ideals of justice. Moral decisions do not come in shades of gray, only right and wrong.
  • Yu (heroic courage): A samurai never fears to act, but lives life fully and wonderfully. Respect and caution replace fear.
  • Jin (compassion): A samurai takes every opportunity to aid others, and creates opportunities when they do not arise. As a powerful individual, a samurai has a responsibility to use that
    power to help others.
  • Rei (polite courtesy): A samurai has no reason to be cruel, and no need to prove his strength. Courtesy distinguishes a samurai from an animal, and reveals one’s true strength.
  • Meyo (honour): A samurai’s conscience is the judge of his honour. The decisions he makes and how he carries them out are a reflection of his true nature.
  • Makoto (complete sincerity): When a samurai has said that he shall perform an action, it is as good as done. He need not make promises; speaking and doing are as if the same.
  • Chugo (duty and loyalty): A samurai feels responsible for his actions and their consequences, and loyal to the people in his care. A samurai’s loyalty to his lord is unquestionable and unquestioning.

Code of the Knight Protector

The Knight Protectors, a loose organization of chivalric-minded warriors described in Complete Warrior, hold to this code of honour. It is the code for most lawful knights.

  • Courage and enterprise in obedience to the Order.
  • Defence of any mission unto death.
  • Respect for all peers and equals; courtesy to all lessers.
  • Combat is glory; battle is the true test of self-worth; war is the flowering of the chivalric ideal.
  • Personal glory above all else in battle.
  • Death before dishonour.


The “code of silence” is often used by thieves’ guilds or other criminal organizations. It is as follows.

  • Do what you’re told by your superiors.
  • Always look out for ways to make money for the Family.
  • Do not hide or hold back money from the Family.
  • Respect your elders in the Family, and in the Organization in general.
  • Never let a debt go unpaid.
  • Never be late paying your debts.
  • Don’t get caught.
  • If you do get caught, keep your mouth shut.

Paladin’s Code

Paladin’s have a strict code they must follow.

  • Never commit an evil act.
  • Respect legitimate authority.
  • Act with honour (don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t use poison, and so on).
  • Help those who need help (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends).
  • Punish those that harm or threaten innocents.

Don’t Tread on Me

This relatively short code of honour is followed by barbarians, rangers and other simple yet honourable people.

  • I won’t be wronged.
  • I won’t be insulted.
  • I won’t be laid a hand on.
  • I don’t do these things to others, and I require the same from

Thieves’ Code

Where there is “honour” among thieves’…

  • Never steal from another member of the guild.
  • Never perform another thief’s assigned task or “steal” jobs from another thief.
  • Never let your own jobs interfere with the guild’s jobs.
  • Don’t attract attention to the guild, especially not the attention of the town fathers.
  • 10% of the take from your jobs goes to the guild; you keep the rest.
  • 100% of the take from guild-assigned thefts goes to the guild, and maybe you get a taste.
  • Don’t kill anyone in the commission of a job, except in self defence, or if that is the job.

Heironeon Code

This “Book of the Code” is a code of honour taught by the god of honour, Heironeous before his death.

  • Duty to the People – This chapter teaches one to have courage; practice justice, mercy, and valour; protect the weak; and show faithfulness to superiors in the church.
  • Duty to the Arch-Paladin – This part of the Code reminds followers to practice obedience to Heironeous and the church, to be generous, to defeat evil wherever it stands, and emphasizes the needs of the church over the needs of one’s mortal life.
  • Duty to a Lady – This chapter talks of courtly love, devotion, and respect towards woman-kind.

Tenants of the Yellow Order

These are the tenants of the Fist’s monk faction, the Yellow Order. These are not to be confused with the “Way of the Fist” which are for those who seek to become a Disciple of the Fist, which are further listed below.

  • Defend those that cannot defend themselves
  • Find Peace and Harmony within yourself constantly
  • Be a leader
  • Destroy Evil, in whatever way you can
  • Gain trust and fellowship to common-folk
  • Spread the word and teachings of the Fist
  • Always remember, there is a greater Good and thus, a greater Evil
  • Take risks and grow from them
  • Find Peace, through War

Way of the Fist

Those who wish to gain further enlightenment and knowledge will follow these steps, in the hopes of one day being taught by the Fist himself.
The Fist will know if you lie.

  • Take a Vow of Silence and renounce your given name. Once you have been given a worthy name, your Vow is ended.
  • Rescue innocents from Evil
  • Be humbled by defeat, so you can rise and win over past mistakes
  • Defeat a great enemy in another Plane
  • Challenge a Good Outsider
  • Right a personal failure


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