Honor is the system that serves to measure the social acceptability of the protagonists' actions in Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Red Dead Online. 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 the Hero honor rank 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.
Players can avoid changes in honor and fame altogether by use of the bandana.
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 in the story. Unlike in Redemption, the protagonist’s honor is capped at the beginning of the game, and - until later in the game - can't be maxed out as fully bad or good.
Arthur Morgan's honor affects his behavior and tone in many of the game's 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, prioritizing 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 and battle wounds, 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 Who 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" for the Cattleman Revolver becomes available. If the player reaches an honor rank of -4 (low honor), the "Gunslinger Ebony 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 recognizing the player. Players should also note that, in Chapter 6, an action that results in a change of honor will have a multiplier of x1.5 on the honor bar.
Red Dead Online
Honor in Red Dead Online works very similarly to Red Dead Redemption 2. Players start with neutral honor, which can be increased or decreased through their actions. Committing crimes in Free Roam such as murdering NPCs or other players, antagonizing people, and stealing horses will result in a minor honor loss. An honor increase can be obtained by various means, such as bonding with your horse, throwing fish back into the water after catching them, and sparing gang leaders after clearing gang hideouts. Players can visit Old Man Jones at any time to reset their honor level for the price of 3 gold bars.
Major honor gains/losses occur during the story missions. The missions "Love and Honor", "The Right Side of the Tracks", and "If the Hat Fits..." feature a moral choice that will significantly increase or decrease the player's honor level depending on the choice they made. These missions can be replayed at any time, allowing players to maximize/minimize their honor level in a quick fashion.
Doing missions for Strangers will also have a major affect on the player's honor level. There are different types of stranger missions, which will either earn the player honor (e.g. Caravan Escorts, Rescues, Deliveries etc.), or cause them to lose some (e.g. Paid Killings, Horse Thefts, Coach Holdups etc.). Before accepting a stranger mission, the player will be informed of its type and whether it will result in an honor gain or loss.
Honor plays a significant role only in the story missions. The player will be presented with one of two paths depending on their honor level: the Path of the Gunslinger (High Honor) or the Path of the Outlaw (Low Honor). Each path features four different missions, but doesn't affect the overall narrative, as the final mission will be the same regardless of the chosen path.
Red Dead Redemption
Performing specific actions will result in negative or positive honor:
|Defending a stagecoach against bandits||+400 honor|
|Completing a gang hideout||+200 honor|
|Disarming duel opponent||+200 honor|
|Bounty captured||+200 honor|
|Bounty killed||+100 honor|
|Helping random encounter strangers||+50 honor per non-lethal resolution|
|Nightwatch||+50 honor per non-lethal encounter|
|Killing an outlaw||+10 honor|
|(the adding info doesn't show, only rank change appears)|
|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|
|Cracking a safe||-100 honor|
|Looting the daughter's corpse in Twin Rocks||-200 honor|
|Looting the daughter's container in Twin Rocks||-200 honor|
|Bribing a lawman while wanted||-400 honor|
|-1000 honor if your bounty is $500 or higher|
Red Dead Redemption 2
|Calming, leading, and returning the man's horse after "Polite Society, Valentine Style".||Major Honor Gain|
|Saving Jimmy Brooks during the mission "Polite Society, Valentine Style".|
|Giving the health cure to Sampson Black and Wendell White during "The Ties That Bind Us".|
|Completing "Money Lending and Other Sins VII".|
|Absolving both debts, and giving the widow money, in "Money Lending and Other Sins VI".|
|Completing "Do Not Seek Absolution I".|
|Completing "Do Not Seek Absolution 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 Linton during "We Loved Once and True".|
|Taking Buell, Hamish Sinclair's horse, after "The Veteran".|
|Deciding to help Sadie Adler in "Mrs. Sadie Adler, Widow".|
|Visiting Rains Fall in the epilogue.|
|Sparing captured foes if given the chance to personally decide their fate.||Small Honor Gain|
|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.).|
|Antagonizing perverts in Valentine random encounters.|
|Helping good people.|
|Complying to free shop item requests of people whose lives you saved earlier.|
|Donating to poor people (in one variant of a related random encounter, a person pretending to be a blind beggar, but is actually a conman, can be donated to initially and then "looted", with no honor loss).|
|Surrendering to lawmen while being pursued.|
|Paying off bounties.|
|Helping people attacked by outlaws or wild animals (occasionally results in a major honor gain).|
|Rushing the wounded murderer to Dr. Barnes in Saint Denis during one random encounter.|
|Completing "American Dreams" by saving the Valentine Sheriff and killing the serial killer.|
|Completing "No Good Deed".|
|Completing "The Iniquities of History".|
|Completing "The Wisdom of the Elders".|
|Helping Charlotte Balfour during "The Widow of Willard's Rest".|
|Giving four of each requested flower (yarrow, sage, wild feverfew, currant) to William during "To the Ends of the Earth".|
|Intervening in conflicts in towns.|
|Turning in the Killer Prostitute.|
|Allowing Mark Johnson to say goodbye to his family during one Bounty Hunting mission.|
|Returning the man's horse after "Polite Society, Valentine Style" by riding or lassoing it.|
|Making friends with Mickey in Valentine and giving him a hug.|
|Giving the captured slaves money during "Help a Brother Out".|
|Agreeing to help Mary find her father during "Fatherhood and Other Dreams".|
|Buying Mary's family brooch from Ashton during "Fatherhood and Other Dreams".|
|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.|
|Antagonizing the KKK members in random encounters.|
|Returning caught fish to the water.|
|Going with John Marston during the mission "Red Dead Redemption".|
|Robbing people.||Small Honor Loss|
|Beating people up.|
|Taking too long to save people from getting killed.|
|Antagonizing 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.|
|Excessive, consecutive kills of an animal of the same species.|
|Not skinning an animal after killing it.|
|Wounding an animal and letting it suffer|
|Killing a horse.|
|Leading enemies or the law to camp.|
|Killing the first of the twenty-five parakeets.|
|Animal cruelty to local town animals.|
|Killing the Feral Man's wolves.|
|Helping the Killer Prostitute in Valentine.|
|Following Daisy the Black prostitute into a setup with Italian gangsters in Saint Denis.|
|Shooting the bell of the Tiny Church.|
|Refusing to donate to Brother Dorkins.|
|Killing any of the Crawfords at night during "The Spines of America".|
|Killing any one of the bounty hunters before approaching their camp in "Magicians for Sport".|
|Killing Ashton in "Fatherhood and Other Dreams".|
|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".|
|Murdering people.||Major Honor Loss|
|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".|
|Failing to disarm the bear trap in the random encounter with the hunter.|
Titles in Red Dead Redemption
These are the honor ranks in order, from highest to lowest:
|High||3||Hero||Lawmen and civilians only report crimes after the first murder in cold blood, though bank robberies will still be reported.|
|There is a chance of a random encounter with a nun who bestows the Obscuridad del Santo Andres.|
|2||Peacemaker||Shop prices are reduced by 50% when buying, and increased by 50% when selling (except in Thieves' Landing).|
|The duster outfit is unlocked.|
|1||Honest Joe||All jobs pay twice as much (including Bounty Hunting).|
|Low||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||Shop prices are reduced by 50% when buying, and increased by 50% when selling (only in Thieves' Landing).|
|The player can summon the Dark Horse, which they can continue to do as long as they don't pass into "Drifter" rank.|
|Marston insults people, as opposed to greeting them.|
|3||Desperado||No eyewitnesses report crime below murder, though lawmen still respond to all crimes if seen (bank robberies will still be reported by both).|
Red Dead Redemption
- Neither honor nor fame is 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 theirs.
- 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, though it is difficult to pull off.
- 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.
Red Dead Redemption 2
- In some cases, repeatedly committing an act which normally 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.