Trouble in Hiyasan
Utang, or more completely utang na loob, is a measure of indebtedness that a character assumes in relation to the world she resides in. In game terms, this functions in many ways as the Honor Ability score. (see the D&D 5E DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE for details on Honor.) Baranganic ulture demands reciprocity; good deeds must be returned in kind, and you help others because you may, in turn, need their help in the future.
Utang represents a combination of spiritual, social, and material wealth:
- Utang is used in place of Wisdom or Charisma when interacting with diwatas. They use and grant power through a complex system of deals and bargains, and the more powerful among them will only treat with mortals with high Utang scores. A character whose Utang drops to 9 or lower can no longer beseech diwatas for spells of 1st level or higher.
- Like Honor, Utang can increase or decrease during the course of play. Increases to Utang – or imposed reductions – can be given based on a character’s actions in relation to the society she moves in. Unlike Honor, however, a character can raise her Utang score with normal ability score increases.
- A character that uses the Utang Ability Score need not track her wealth. Instead, she can make an Utang check to determine if she has a good enough combination of gold, money, and social standing to purchase the item from its source.
Buying with Utang
- Note that the character still needs a source for the item. If no one readily has an item, she cannot use Utang to suddenly gain access to it.
- Items will have a purchase DC. If the purchase DC is at least 15, or if it is higher than the character’s current Utang score, then her Utang score decreases by 1 if she succeeds in buying the item.
- The DM may decide that if the purchase DC is lower than the character’s by 5 points or more, then an Utang check no longer needs to be made. (Buying such an item does not significantly affect the character’s wealth.)
Sample Utang Purchase DCs
These numbers are not definitive, and merely serve as a guide.
- (DC 5) 3sp A modest meal, perhaps fish, seaweed, and rice while living near the sea
- (DC 8) 5gp A handaxe
- (DC 10) 10gp An itak (short sword)
- (DC 13) 50gp A kampilan (great sword)
- (DC 15) 100gp A common magic item
- (DC 20) 400gp A breastplate
- (DC 25+) thousands A karakoa (items of this nature are difficult to procure via purchase, and are usually gained through story advancement, instead)
Here are some examples of how a character might increase his Utang score. The DM is the final arbiter on whether the situation will increase the score or not.
- Completing a quest of significance
- A successful raid on an enemy territory
- Marriage to someone of equal or higher Utang score
Here are some examples of how a character might decrease his Utang score. The DM is the final arbiter on whether the situation will decrease the score or not.
- Declining to help someone you went into sandugo with.
- Failure to provide the fair share of loot to your sandig
Advantage. Advantage may be given to Utang checks and saving throws if dealing with someone who owes you a favor.
Disadvantage. Disadvantage may be imposed on Utang checks and saving throws when dealing with someone who you still owe a debt to.
As with all ability scores, It cannot be reduced to less than 1 or increased to more than 20.