Another day another idea.
This time of another flavor.
As a mercenary company we love our money, but do we have to be on the good side? I know there is raiding and the occasional event choice that makes you look like an asshole, But I am sure that in the medieval times there were occasions when the mercenaries didn’t had such noble employers and fancy contracts to fight evil of the land. I am pretty sure sabotage, kidnapping and manslaughter were a daily bred for some of the more infamous groups of individuals.
I read a suggestion on surrender in one of the other posts and this would go nicely with what I am thinking of.
DLC: Bad Company
Party would be obtaining not only renown, but also infamy for every dubious or illegal action.
Thing like raiding would raise your infamy, or when you accept the deals to break the contracts. Those would be the first steps to open up doors to more profitable infamy contracts.
How I see it is that party would be able to have a normal contract (Public) and also infamy contract (hidden), in a way that the party has a public goal which they tell the people on their way if needed, but nobody would be running around telling that we are on our way to burn the militia house of Freistand, because the rivaled noble house paid us to do so.
So two layers of contract.
Infamy contract types as an example – employed by noble houses that want to remain incognito, you would be tasked to raid caravans of rival house/City, burn certain production building (there would be local militia or noble fight) to give the other house trading edge on their wares, there could be kidnapping of nobles protected by their guards etc.
Contract from non-noble houses could be of more dubious sources, you could be tasked to kill mercenary band that is too helpful in clearing raiders in certain region, you would be tasked to kill explorers that want to have a look on old ruined heirloom. Get enough living humans for local necromancer (that is why surrender mechanic would be nice). These types of contract would be also event based that you would be approached on your way by employer, you can imagine that necromancer would not be chilling on the village square waiting for a party to approach. Similar if you want to get somebody killed you don’t hire them in the town hall (possibly at the tavern :)).
Crime does pay so you would have incentive to do the jobs as they would be very lucrative, but they would be counter weighted by the reputation hits, reputations would have to be adjusted slightly to incorporate the mechanic when you are shuffling between factions backstabbing them but still keeping the opportunity to do work for them. Infamy contract would have less of a reputation penalty than normal action (lets say your party would conceal themselves before they go on a kidnapping action).
Similar to renown, higher the infamy the more difficult the contract/better reward.
It would be on choice so you could still play like before, or get some extra cash ;)