Reputation is something I've been pondering on and off for the last few months. Good deeds giving you a positive reputation, killing innocents giving you a bad reputation. At first I disliked the idea, thinking it was another useless number that modern RPG's could do without. But then I changed my mind.
First we have to think about player choice. Whether it's allowed or not.
There are games where you don't choose what your character says or does. What makes these games great is that they have the ability to tell a story about the main character. The game can show what your character says and does without the player interfering. In my mind I've always put most Japanese RPG's to this category.
Then there are games where you get to choose what your character does. In a sense the character is an extension of the player. What matters in this kind of a game is the choices you make. Some say the choices have to be big, do I kill the king or do I spare him. Or the choices can be a grey area, do I spare the king's life, knowing it will kill the princess. I think Driftmoon falls into this category. It's always been very important to me in any roleplaying game that you can choose what to do. I always play a good guy, but being a good guy means nothing if the choice to be bad is not there.
Whether choices are interesting or not, they have to mean something to be choices. If the end result is the same, whether you choose to kill the king or not, it's not a choice at all. That's one of the reasons RPG's tend to take more time to make, every choice you give to the player makes everything else a little bit more complex. But every little bit of consequence your actions have makes the world more believable and real.
That's why I've decided that having a reputation system is a good thing. It's a clear way of saying that whatever you do has a consequence in the world. It's overly simplified, but I don't think it has to be that complex. Of course it remains to be decided on what reputation actually does in Driftmoon. Usually in other games I've seen it affect relations to certain characters, you might get some quests depending on your reputation. And I think in Baldur's Gate it affected prices in shops. Please comment if you have any (good or not) ideas on what a reputation could affect in the game.