Honor is the system which serves to measure the social acceptability of Arthur, John, or Jack's actions in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2. Specific actions in the game are considered honorable or dishonorable.
Red Dead Redemption
Performing certain positive actions like saving citizens under attack by criminals/animals or aiding lawmen will earn the player honor. Alternatively, taking negative actions like opposing or attacking lawmen, aiding thieves and outlaws, stealing, and violent actions toward innocents (such as Murder) will result in the loss of honor. If authorities are made aware of Marston's negative actions (usually when the actions are witnessed by law enforcement or an eyewitness), Marston will also incur a Bounty.
Honor will affect how NPCs interact with the player in different ways depending on whether one has accumulated high or low honor. The psychological effect of Honor on NPCs is relative to Marston's Fame level.
A player with high Honor is rewarded twice as much pay for jobs and bounties, is bestowed the Duster Coat, and finds that nearly all shopkeepers offer discounts while lawmen and eyewitnesses alike will sometimes overlook minor crimes. Players with Hero Honor rank have a chance of a random encounter with a nun who bestows the Obscuridad del Santo Andres, a kit item that makes enemies less accurate. If a Hero Honor is maintained after receiving the Obscuridad, random nuns will occasionally give the player gifts of money or ask for charity (~$70).
Players with low Honor can bribe eyewitnesses for less, enjoy discounts in the shady town of Thieves' Landing, their whistle can beckon a special, unique Dark Horse with a white face and red scars and eyewitnesses (but not lawmen) won't dare snitch for anything less than murder. Marston will also insult people instead of greeting them.
Honor also directly affects Marston's bounty levels. Bad deeds will increase Marston's bounty, while good deeds can reduce his bounty.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Honor is a returning system in Red Dead Redemption 2. Unlike its predecessor, Honor plays a more important role to the story.
Arthur Morgan's honor affects his behavior and tone in many of the games story cutscenes as well as changes in dialogue. A high Honor Arthur is more selfless and considerate of others, putting a greater emphasis on keeping the women safe and helping John's family. Contrarily, with low Honor, Arthur is depicted as a more selfish person, prioritising his own desires over those of others. Low Honor Arthur is also prideful and more motivated by money, displaying qualities of greediness and vengefulness, while being apathetic to the struggles of others. Arthur's death is ultimately determined by his Honor: with high Honor, Arthur succumbs to his Tuberculosis, but with low Honor, Arthur is killed directly by Micah Bell.
Arthur's level of Honor also affects his grave: with high Honor, Arthur's tombstone is pristine and adorned with flowers, with his epitaph reading "Blessed Are Those That Hunger And Thirst For Righteousness". With low Honor, Arthur's tombstone is without any flowers and is weathered-looking, while reading: "Blessed Are Those Who Mourn For They Will Be Comforted". Arthur's Honor level also affects the voice flashbacks present in both his last ride and after his diagnosis of TB. With high Honor, he remembers more positive and hopeful words; with low Honor, Arthur instead remembers negative and somewhat cutting voice flashbacks. The animal present in Arthur's visions is dependent on Honor: with high Honor, Arthur sees a buck basking in the sun's rays, and with low Honor, Arthur sees a black coyote in the rain. Finally, Arthur's Honor affects how characters remember him in the epilogue. One particular example of this would be that, when pursuing Micah, Charles Smith states that Arthur had lost interest in getting revenge towards the end, and that he wouldn’t have cared, while if Arthur died with low Honor, Charles instead states that Arthur would have wanted revenge.
Much like in Red Dead Redemption, the player can receive discounts from various stores if they have high Honor. At rank 2, stores offer a 10% discount, at rank 4, stores offer a 25% discount, and at rank 8, stores offer a 50% discount. Meanwhile, having low Honor allows the player to loot better quality items from dead bodies. Once the player reaches rank 4, the "Hero's Pearl Grip", a unique grip for the Cattleman Revolver becomes available. If the player reaches an Honor rank of -4 (low Honor), the "Gunslinger Ebony Grip", a grip exclusive to the Double-action Revolver, becomes available for purchase. However, players should note that the latter can sometimes be acquirable with the corresponding amount of positive Honor, likely as a result of a glitch.
Unlike with Arthur, John Marston's Honor does not affect his personality in any way, nor does it influence the events of the game. However, changes in gameplay such as store discounts do affect John.
There is no way to stop Honor from changing in Red Dead Redemption 2. Contrary to its predecessor, wearing a bandana does not grant the player amnesty from changes in Honor – it only prevents eyewitnesses from immediately recognising the player. Players should also note that, in Chapter 6, an action which results in a change of Honor will have a multiplier of x1.5 on the Honor bar.
Red Dead Redemption
Doing specific actions will result in negative or positive Honor:
- Killing an innocent: -50 honor.
- Killing your horse: -50 honor.
- Killing a Lawman: -100 honor.
- Killing a Preacher: -100 honor.
- Killing a nun: -100 honor.
- Bribing a Lawman (while wanted): -400 honor. -1000 if your bounty is $500 or higher.
- Looting the daughter's corpse in Twin Rocks (looting the container outside her room also counts): -200 honor.
- Cracking a safe: -100 honor.
- Killing an Outlaw: +10 honor (the adding information does not show, only rank changes appears).
- Nightwatch: +50 honor per non-lethal encounter.
- Bounties: +200 honor alive, +100 honor dead.
- Helping random encounter strangers: +50 honor per non-lethal resolution.
- Disarming duel opponent: +200 honor.
- Defending a stagecoach against bandits: +400 honor.
- Completing a gang hideout: +200 honor.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Small to Medium Honor Gains:
- Sparing, or otherwise not killing, captured foes if given the chance to personally decide their fate
- Donating to the camp's tithing box
- Donating provisions to Pearson
- Completing gang member item requests
- Greeting random people positively
- Completing chores at camp
- Assisting townsfolk in need (e.g., killing rats in town, etc.)
- Antagonising perverts in Valentine random encounters
- Helping good people
- Donating to poor people (in one variant of related random encounter, a person pretending to be a beggar but only a conman, can be donated to initially and then "looted", with no deduction to honor)
- Surrendering to lawmen while being pursued
- Paying off bounties
- Helping people attacked by local gang members (may occasionally result in a major boost in Honor)
- Completing "American Dreams" by saving the Valentine Sheriff and killing the murderer
- Completing "The Iniquities of History"
- Refusing duels
- Disarming duelists
- Intervening in conflicts in towns
- Turning in the Killer Prostitute
- Returning the man's horse after "Polite Society, Valentine Style" (returning the man's horse by first calming it and leading it, as opposed to merely dragging the creature by the lasso, offers the superior honor boon)
- Giving the captured slaves money during "Help a Brother Out"
- Accepting the bracelet from Penelope Braithwaite during "The Course of True Love V"
- Sparing Jean Marc at the end of the mission "Idealism and Pragmatism for Beginners"
- Allowing the Chelonians to let Arthur talk to Jamie Gillis peacefully
- Antagonising the KKK members in random encounters
- Returning caught fish to the water
- Going with John Marston during the mission "Red Dead Redemption"
Major Honor Gains:
- Saving Jimmy Brooks during the mission "Polite Society, Valentine Style"
- Completing "Money Lending and Other Sins VI"
- During "Money Lending and Other Sins VI", absolving both of the debts and also giving the widow money for the second one
- Completing "Do Not Seek Absolution I" and "II"
- Agreeing to help both Rains Fall and Captain Monroe
- Telling Brother Dorkins to give the change to the poor
- Donating food or money to Sister Calderón during "Of Men and Angels"
- Agreeing to help Mary during "We Loved Once and True"
- Deciding to help Sadie Adler in "Mrs. Sadie Adler, Widow"
- Visiting Rains Fall in the epilogue
Small Honor Losses:
- Robbing people
- Robbing stores
- Beating people
- Antagonising people
- Antagonising fellow gang members
- Being absent from camp for more than three days before returning
- Looting the corpses of people who were deceased prior to the player's arrival
- Defacing dead bodies (e.g., shooting them or using explosives on them)
- Spying on women in Valentine
- Killing fish with dynamite
- Not skinning an animal after killing it
- Wounding an animal and letting it suffer
- Killing a horse
- Animal Cruelty to local town animals
- Helping the Killer Prostitute in Valentine
- Shooting the bell of the Tiny Church
- Refusing to donate to Brother Dorkins
- Killing Jean Marc at the end of the mission "Idealism and Pragmatism for Beginners"
- Looting Professor Bell's corpse after "The Mercies of Knowledge"
- Going back for the money in the mission "Red Dead Redemption"
Major Honor Losses:
- Murdering people
- Killing or otherwise harming NPCs in the aftermath of helping them in a random encounter
- Refusing to save Lenny in the mission "Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall?"
- Refusing to help Rains Fall and Captain Monroe
- Refusing to help Sadie Adler in "Mrs. Sadie Adler, Widow"
- Killing Jimmy Brooks during "Polite Society Valentine Style"
- Killing Milliken during "Visiting Hours"
- Killing the bounty hunter during "Magicians for Sport"
Titles in Red Dead Redemption
These are the high honor ranks in order from lowest to highest:
High Honor Ranks
All jobs pay twice as much (including Bounty Hunting).
|2||Peacemaker||Shop prices are reduced by 50% when buying and increased by 50% when selling (in all areas except Thieves' Landing), in addition to Honest Joe perks. The Duster outfit is unlocked.|
|3||Hero||Lawmen and civilians only report crimes after the first murder in cold blood, in addition to Honest Joe and Peacemaker perks, although bank robberies will still be reported. Also, there is a chance of a random encounter with a nun who bestows the Obscuridad del Santo Andres.|
Neutral Honor Ranks
|N/A||Drifter||No perks for neutral honor.|
Low Honor Ranks
Here are the low honor ranks in order from lowest to highest:
|1||Rustler||The cost to bribe eyewitnesses is reduced by 50%. If the player has already reached "Road Agent", the Dark Horse still responds to the player's whistle, and will continue to do so as long as the player stays below "Drifter" rank.|
|2||Road Agent||All shops in Thieves' Landing charge players 50% less to buy and pay 50% more to sell, in addition to Rustler perks. Achieving this title allows the player to summon the Dark Horse, which they can continue to do as long as they don't pass into "Drifter" rank. Additionally, Marston insults people as opposed to greeting them.|
|3||Desperado||In addition to Rustler and Road Agent perks, no eyewitness reports crime below murder, although lawmen still respond to all crimes if seen. The only exception to this is robbing a bank.|
- Red Dead Redemption
- There is a known glitch in which to earn extra honor: After having accepted a bounty, the game must be saved and the bounty returned alive for an increase in honor. Then, without saving, the player must kill themselves; the game will reload to before the bounty was claimed, but will still have the gain in honor and money and may claim the bounty again. This does not always work, and may only work once per bounty.
- Neither honor nor Fame are used in the Undead Nightmare DLC pack.
- Some characters like Trent Oxley and Wilton Glover only appear as dueling challengers when the player has low Honor. Their reasons for challenging the player are generally negative, such as getting revenge on the player for killing a family member of their's.
- The easiest places to lose honor are Thieves Landing and Casa Madrugada, since no bounty is incurred for crimes committed there.
- The fastest way to lose honor is by attacking lawmen, bribing them, re-attacking them and bribing them again, although it is difficult to pull off.
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- In some cases, repeatedly committing an act which may result in a small loss of Honor (such as not skinning an animal after killing it) may result in a major loss of Honor.
Red Dead Redemption
Honor is associated with this gameplay achievement/trophy:
Attain highest Fame rank and either highest or lowest Honor rank.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Completing Honor story missions is associated with these trophies/achievements:
Reach maximum or minimum Honor level.
Complete all optional Honor story missions.
Attain 100% Completion.