Klingon Reputation

Here’s a small module I made for Star Trek Adventures, something to facilitate Klingon-centered campaigns. My previous post set up things for playing Klingons but there are more changes required for it to really feel like a Klingon campaign. Below is the first tool in making that happen.

Code of Honor

Klingons are expected to follow a code of honor (batlh) which governs the actions of all warriors and determines their entry into Sto-Vo-Kor in the afterlife. Following this code is reflected in a Klingon’s personal honor (quv) which is reflected in game terms through the Reputation system described on pages 139-141 of the Star Trek Adventures rulebook.

Gaining and Losing Reputation

Reputation for Klingons is gained and lost just as with Starfleet officers, including the possibility of disciplinary action or promotions for loss and gain of Reputation respectively. The reasons for gaining or losing Reputation is different for Klingon warriors, however, since they follow a different code.

Player Activity or DecisionInfluence
Acted in accordance with orders and Directive.Positive
Lied or broke a promise.Negative
Ran from combat or showed cowardice.Negative
Killed enemy warriors.Positive; 1 Influence per character (Major or Notable) killed
Killed helpless enemies or killed someone dishonorably (poison, trick, etc).Negative, multiple Influences at Gamemaster’s discretion
Destroyed enemy vessel.Positive
Allowed insult to self or House go unchallenged.Negative
Took enemies captive.Positive
Achieved great victory for House or Empire.Positive, at Gamemaster’s discretion
Responsible for great defeat of House or Empire.Negative, at Gamemaster’s discretion

Social Rankings

Rather than rank, the privileges and responsibilities of a Klingon are determined by their social caste. Normal rank aboard a Klingon vessel follows the same system as for Starfleet characters (though with different rank terms, see below) but the amount of privilege and responsibility afforded to a Klingon officer is determined by their role in society rather than the ship.

Image © Paramount Studios

Nobles (chuQun)

At the top of Klingon society are the nobles, those who belong to one of the Houses and who lead society through the High Council. They control the lands of the Empire and serve as the local authority and military for their holdings. chuQun are expected to be the most honorable members of society but in practice, of course, this is not always true.

Warriors (Suvwl’)

Warriors and soldiers of the Empire are held in high regard, just under the nobles of the Klingon Houses. They follow the path of the warrior, serving in the army of a particular House, and gaining honor from association with the chuQun they serve. They are not truly “of the House” but instead are retainers who serve the nobles.

Professionals (vumwl’)

The professionals of the Empire are under the warriors but they still hold all the rights of a citizen. They are respected but, lacking the mettle of a w arrior, are not usually allowed into the service of a House. Without the opportunity to serve in an army and fight, they don’t have the chance to gain fame and glory to advance themselves.

Outcasts (Ha’Dlbah)

The bottom of the Klingon social ladder are the Ha’Dlbah, those with no social standing or rights. They may not serve in the military, may not bring a grievance against another Klingon, and cannot even move without the permission of local officials. For the most part, the Ha’Dlbah are alien subjects of the Empire, treated with contempt due to the Klingons’ adversarial past with outsiders. To call a Klingon by this term (which translates to “cur” or “inferior person”) is a grave insult. Sometimes subject peoples are called jeghpu’wI’ (“conquered people”) but this is a more insulting term.

Image © Paramount Pictures
Social RankPrivilegeResponsibility
Outcast011-20
Professional119-20
Warrior218-20
Noble417-20

The Outcast rank (Ha’Dlbah) is included on here for those outsiders or disgraced Klingons attempting to join the ranks of Klingons in good standing. At the end of a mission, such a character would roll d20s normally for their Positive accomplishments but they only score a success on a 10 or lower. There is no way for such a character to score two successes on this roll. If this makes it seem difficult for any Ha’Dlbah to gain standing in Klingon society, then you’ve begun to understand the system.

Personal Honor and Military Rank

In most ways, the rules for Klingon Reputation are parallel to those for Starfleet but focusing more on social pressures than military issues. So should you track two different Reputations for a Klingon, one for their social standing and one for their rank aboard their ship? No, for two reasons. First of all, that’s arduous and will slow down a game. Secondly, Klingons don’t track things this way and your rank aboard a Klingon vessel is the same as your social standing.

Promotions are offered to crew who have a high Reputation, as described in the Star Trek Adventures core rulebook. Because it’s easier to get successes on your Reputation roll as a high-ranked class like the Nobles or Warriors, those social classes tend to occupy the high military ranks aboard a ship. For the Klingons, this is a feature not a bug.

The following ranks are taken from the Klingon Assault Group, a long-standing LARP organization, and from the progression in Star Trek Online.

Federation RankKlingon Defense Forces Rank
Ensignbeq (Recruit)
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)SoghHom (Sergeant)
LieutenantSogh (Lieutenant)
Lieutenant Commanderla’Hom (Lieutenant Commander)
Commanderla’ (Commander)
CaptainHoD (Captain)
Rear Admiral‘ech (Brigadier)
Admiral‘aj (General)
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