Dislike the Ars5 virtue/ flaw system

Agreed. The only difference would be a guy looking content and a guy looking merry at the funeral. The later will attract unwanted attention. The former might get unnoticed IF he is knocked unconscious or something. The important part is that he irks HIS COMPANIONS, not the local nobility. If he is not irking them, it is not a flaw and should be removed in favor of something else like making him blind or missing hand or something like that since he is not playing it.


But what you wrote, laughing when your lord is attacked might be good, too, if he orders to kill the character as a traitor. Depends on the situation.

Irking his companions? Hm, interesting. It might be cool if it leads to real conflicts.

Yeah. A lot of the mental/social flaws are stuff that needs to be played among the troupe. If it only comes up when they interact with foreigners (read: the SG) they lose A LOT of their potential. It is not like you can switch on and off your optimistic attitude after all :slight_smile: So you make few preparations to go after the dragon, for example, since what can possibly go wrong? :mrgreen:


Optimistic isn't stupid, though. Making few preparations to take on the dragon is borderline...
So I think this needs to be primarily enforced by and with the players and their interactions in-character.

Yes, but we are talking about an example MAJOR optimistic personality flaw, not a minor one, not a simple personality trait. If he think he can beat the dragon, off he goes. Unlikely he will make a plan B design if he is the leader of the party.
And yes, this os something that should be present in the saga and feature quite prominently. Up to the player to do a good job there. That was what I was trying to point out


That is overconfidence, a different flaw.
No the optimistic person prepares, thinks that they might still fail, but trusts that everything will work out fine. Yeah, that grog died, but it's ok, it was meant to be. Meanwhile all his companions can't stand him, because while their party failed, he thinks it was supposed to be this way. He'll make lemons out of lemonade. At least we learned what the Dragon's weakness is, or something.

Overconfident person will go out believing that they are fully capable and that no additional preparation is necessary. They'll get other people killed, and think, man, if only they were as good as I am, they'd still be alive. If only they were as good as I am, we would've beaten that dragon...

I'd say an optimist wouldn't necessarily neglect preparations for fighting the dragon, he'd neglect contingencies for if fighting the dragon goes wrong and he might leave it too late to cut and run because his next attack will surely finish the beast off.
He'll tend to be trusting and friendly with strangers because they're probably nice. He might even make excuses for them when it turns out they're not.
And yes, in the face of failure and tragedy he will be tooth grindingly upbeat. He can still be solemn at a funeral but his comments will be on the lines of "It is a good turnout I must say!", "She had a good life and now she's gone to a better place", "I'm sure the heir will do a great job", or "I hope they have cake at the wake."

Actually, if you feel insulted, I apologize. I did not mean to insult you.

I've played Ars Magica 4th edition (in fact, I've played Ars Magica since 2nd edition) and, for what is worth, I really think that Ars Magica 5th edition is more balanced, even though it gives characters so many more options. I'm surprised you find this not to be the case. Perhaps you can post specific problems of power-creep you feel are affecting your game?

As many other posters have said more eloquently before me, one of the great innovations of 5th edition is to try to strongly encourage the contributions of the whole troupe to the Story. Story Flaws (and to a lesser extent, Personality Flaws), Covenant Hooks and many more tiny rule twists all push that way. Which is great, I think, because it's a modern tack on one of the greatest innovations of Ars Magica 20+ years ago, Troupe Style play. Since you are saying you are new to this edition, I humbly suggest you try it out before saying you dislike it. You'll not be disappointed.

In our Troupe a player wanting to roleplay the above would just take a Flaw name Näive instead (we have actually used this once a while back). It is probably playable both in a Minor and a Major version. In some cases it is easier to find a more precisely defined, albeit similar, name/discription, and we promote this in our Troupe.

Laughing hard. Especially at the turnout and cake quotes :mrgreen:

We once had a pair of grogs who were one overconfident (Hans), and one optimistic (Grigori).
They were both played by a player who could make them very funny. The typical exchange was:

Hans: You know, we can steal .. ehm, borrow that set of lightning javelins that Magus Arliantus stole from that pagan god, and use them to kill the dragon of the Sauerland and take its treasure!

Grigori: I'm afraid the magical wards of Arliantus will turn us to ash... but ... hey, that would mean we don't have to face the dragon, right?

With all this talk of multiple twilights, I'm confused. I was under the impression that while in twilight the magus cannot be affected by magic, or the world, at all. Thus the first spell would cause the twilight and the rest would have no effect. Also, as the first causes lots of twilight points, even if the next did affect him, his twilight would last that much long becuase his score would be that much higher. I'd think a situation could not occur like the OP is saying.

I guess.


Should this post have been placed here instead?


Just to add, I have played in games with players who take horribly crippling flaws which drastically impact the players very core existence, and yet when the scenes were played, that character was so unbelievably dull and useless that I came to regret having scenes with that character in mind.

Seriously, you might make a librarian magus with the Book Leaner virtue who is incapable of reading or writing (no Artes Liber or language other than native). Then also give them the virtue Good Teacher and Puissant Prof:Scribe with a Prof:Scribe skill of 6, and then add the flaws No Hands and Mute, but at no point in all of that was the character played beyond simply being a useless waste of paper.

Funny ideas, but played poorly and made the character ridiculous in a story.

It could have been interesting, but a brilliant array of Virtues and Flaws, doth not a good character make.

However... the character that was made who had the virtue Venus' Blessing and the flaw Continence and then went on to have Enchanting Music and the virtue Famous for being a great singer and then took the flaw Fear of sing in front of people... was played so damn well that I chortled endlessly reading the posts.

BTW... current tabletop game I got like three people with Optimistic... it is stupidly annoying and yet I only complained about it twice but never told them no.

I think only a few people are able to role-play optimistic as an annoying way. And what if the player has weaker vocal cords and cannot talk down the louder guys at the table? Would you forbid him taking personality flaws?

By the rules minor and major are different only the minor optimistic may spend a confidence point to behave while the major optimistic cannot. Only we think their behavior is different because one of them is called minor and another as major. So beside role-playing the SG is who must say to the player your character are smiling at the funeral. And if the player has only a minor virtue he may suppress it by spending confidence. Sounds OK to me but it is hard to find situations when this is a disadvantage, not deadly, suits in the adventures and entertaining. Tough job.
I think most SGs are not bothering with this at all, thus personality flaws are extremely cheap disadvantages. Vlesperance, the OP had right in this case.

So some more interesting general or supernatural major flaws would be cool to choose from. Mute or no hands are not interesting ones.

I do not bother much about it. it is the player job to roleplay it. it is a ROLEPLAYING game, not a die rolling game. We have had quite a few sessions with no die rolls at all. If you do not roleplay something you put in your character sheet to be roleplayed by you, it is not a flaw and needs to be changed. It is not a major issue to change it. Just remove the flaw and change it for something else. :slight_smile: Delusions tend to work well and are also in the control of the players most of the time.

I agree. Checking and adjusting personality flaws is a good idea!

It is. That's why the tag line on the back cover of Hermetic Projects is "What are you going to do with all that power?"

Story Flaws are very much what people are saying. They let you tell the SG what sort of stories you want to play, and you get a bonus (VIrtues!) for doing so, so you have a very good reason to look through them and find a style of stories that you would like to play. Very crudely, Story Flaws are for the reactive stories you want to play, and Major Personality Flaws are for the proactive stories you want to play.

They aren't compulsory, because some players won't want to define that sort of thing about their character, and ArM is a game, not a moral discipline. The bonus, however, means that most players will give it some thought, if they aren't strongly opposed to the idea. Making them separate and compulsory would undermine this.

OMG. That was a joke. He had just said that I sounded like an old man. So, I replied "You hooligan, I'd tan your hide with my cane if I didn't need it to stand up." I'd think the joke was blatently obvious. I was playing along with him to lighten the mood. I would have called him a whipper-snapper if I knew how to spell it.

And I never said I hate the system. I've been playing Ars for 20ish years, and Ars5 for 7ish years. That's not the hallmark of someone who hates the system. I said that to my surprise, I recently discovered one item I really dislike.

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OK, replying to this post is the only reason I came back to the forums. A friend of mine is enjoying the drama of this thread and told me about this post. I would have gone into more detail in my original post, but it was overly long as it was, and this part is actually off-topic from my concern.

"The CHARACTER will discover that"...blah blah blah. CHARACTER

The PLAYER actually requested that there be more gothic/dark fanstasy themes in this fantasy game. Because the only thing I care about is happy players, I asked if everyone was good with that and then started thinking about more gothic/dark themes than I had originally intended.

This player (who's background is White Wolf horror) originally wanted the lycanthrope flaw. Actually wanted it. Built a whole character around it. Great. But then the min/maxxer battled his inner-RPGer, and by the time he filled his flaw slots with personality flaws and story hooks, he ended up dropping it because he no longer needed the flaw points. But he seemed somehow disappointed with his own choices.

THAT is where I really started to question if this new flaw setup worked for me. That's anther example where I think a general flaw would have had much more story impact than a story flaw. I get the theory. I really do. I said I read Dave Chart's design notes. I think that shows that I'm trying to see the other side's point of view. And yeah, the theory is great. In practice, though, I think many players' inner RPGers will lose some ground to their inner min/maxxers.

But, that's beside the point (or actually that is the heart of the point and the rest of this post is beside the point). Thinking about his request for the gothic /darker storylines, I wrote him and offered a secret flaw known only to me. I told him it was very, very dark, and very character defining. If he was worried, turn it down, no harm done. He wrote back, and said "Bring it on!" After our one meeting he could tell I wasn't one of those antagonistic GM's, and couldn't wait for the story to unfold.

In a bout of empathy, I do get how people could make that incorrect assumption that I was screwing with a player. But it was very incorrect. I just wanted to set the record straight that I was actually bending over backward to make the player happy. I used the word character very intentionally in my original post. And, apparently, I'm the campaign specialist in "messing" with people's backstories. Not one has ever left the table angry. 3 of the 4 to whom I've done this thanked me. One just told me last month that after 7 years he still pulls out the story synopsis of his super-secret backstory reveal and says it was the highlight of the campaign for him. He felt like a superstar during those sessions.

In another bout of empathy, I agree with social contracts and some of the other topics that this thread spawned. I agree with 2/3's of the stated opinions (just wish people would quit using me as the counter example when I am not remotely an example of the counter).

I'm an extreme pacifist, go to great lengths to make people happy, hate the internet, and if that doesn't make me sound like an old man, then get off my lawn! THAT'S A JOKE

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OK, this post is getting to the heart of the matter, as I see it.
In our campaigns, we actually used a multi-page survey. I'm not suggesting it for others, just saying what we did, for edification. After answering 70 questions or so ("How strong is the order?", "How prevailent is the Divine?" "How high the fantasy level?", etc.) the SG knew really well what kind of stories people wanted to play. So, yes, I get social contracts, and I get how the game is more fun when people agree (or compromise) on many details up front. I could argue that we go far, far more in-depth in making a social contract than the cannon suggests.

And here also is the heart of my disagreement. The second half of your sentence. "And you get a bonus for doing so." The bonus is that the game is more fun by all. The handing out of a virtue point seems really arbitrary to me. Why not give each starting player 5 pawns of vis instead? For me, the creating of a social contract is outside the game, and its its own reward, so handing out an in-game character modifier seems extraneous (to me). And of all the rewards to give, I like giving a virtue the least of all.

Why? Because you really aren't giving a virtue. If the player wants 10 virtues, he gets 10 virtues. The gift you're giving is really one less flaw. And to me, virtues, flaws, and story hooks are all 100% equal in defining a character and providing story fodder. So, to me, is actually a net loss, not a gift. IMO!

And thank you for susinctly stating that (though I'd add General Flaws to the Personality ones above). Maybe this is where I deviate from the community so drastically. And I wish I had been able to state it as susinctly as you just did. I relish the proactive stories. Mostly because (from my experience) once the campaign goes proactive, the players become far more invested. I think that is the true magic of Ars. Most systems promote reactive stories (from my experience). Ars uniquely excels at PROactive stories. So, I like seeing more "general" flaws. It is not that I'm a sadist. I am capable of running non-flaw based stories (shame on that rumor). I just find that the players (and I) love going PROactive. If others are less inclined in that preference, I can see them not getting my concern or agreeing with me.

Now, maybe you left General Flaws out of that sentence on purpose. If so, then we do disagree on that point.

I'm not sure I see why you say this. Picking characteristics is separate and compulsory. Same with abilities, virtues, flaws, your house, your arts, etc. The amount of care a given player puts into any one of those, I would bet would be the same amount of care (s)he puts into all sections. I can see the rationale in Ars5, I just don't see the imperative. And because of my preferences stated in the 2 preceding paragraphs, its a slight negative (to me).

Look. I don't expect anyone on a forum to consider my points with any real seriousness. I do thank you for the discussion. Moreover, I thank all who have contributed to the game over the years. You've ruined all other RPG's for me. I mean no malice in disagreeing on this one topic. I only started this thread because I needed help fast. I know other people have gone through this. But obviously, they went through it 7 years ago.