Dutybound: is there an alternative?

I have a player who is generating a Companion character who holds quite genuinely to chivalrous standards of behaviour. Looking for a flaw to reflect this personality trait however all he can find is Dutybound which says that the character holds to his code of behaviour 'through fear or guilt' and not actual conviction.

  1. Why this peculiar divergence between deed and thought?
  2. Where is the Flaw that is the equivalent of a GURPS Code of Honour or Sense of Duty? A genuine internalised standard of behaviour that the character tries to live up to. Surely the Flambeau (as currently rewritten) would have such a thing.... (Quick consult: the Flambeau get the option of being Milites. Why not an equivalent for Companions?)

Higher Purpose and Vow (Uphold Code of Chivalry) should both serve your purpose.

There are motivations he could have other than guilt that would count as flaws. Here's a few off the top of my head.

Close Family ties. He lives his life for the sole purpose of making his (father, mother, whoever) proud.

Overconfident. He thinks he is better than everybody and is disgusted by the rudeness of everyone else.

Prohibition. He has a hex, curse or geas put on him that forces him to behave this way. He was probably rude to a hedge witch or something.

Sheltered Upbringing. He behaves this way because everyone where he is from behaves this way and he doesn't realize that the rest of the world doesn't follow his rules. This could get funny.

I am wondering how attached your player is to the term "holds genuinely to chivalrous standard".
If his flaw is Duty bound and he's doing it out of fear or guilt, than it is arguably not genuine. But I may be misinterpreting you on that one. just a thought.

I think that is his point, the character genuinely upholds the chivalric standards, the player wants a Flaw to reflect that conviction. The only Flaw the player found that he thought might be applicable was Hidebound, which doesn't match his conception of the character's genuinely held belief.

Not Hidebound but Dutybound but yes, that is the point.

Why is there a flaw for someone who talks the talk but doesn't really believe in a code of behaviour and not one for someone who genuine does?

Vow covers it sort of.... Higher Purpose... Well, again, sort of. What the player is thinking of is someone who has returned from the Crusade with his reputation in tatters because he has been accused of sympathising with the Saracen enemy. That gives him Driven (to restore his good name). But really he needs some sort of Personality flaw that reflects his virtues. It's odd that there is this nugget of cynicism in the definition of Dutybound.

On one hand I agree with the suggestion of higher purpose (to perfectly embody the meaning of chivalry) or some such.

On the other hand the list of flaws is a list of examples not a proscriptive (?) list of avaiilable options. Make your own flaw that matches your conception perfectly. Isn't that normal proceedure? I don't think that whipping up a few personality flaws puts you in wacky house rules territory.

I guess it goes to what a "flaw" should be.

To me, in the sense that it is used in the game, "Flaw", means something that can be exploited and used to draw the character in to stories or into situations that they have to role-play out but not necessirly a deficiency (small "d") in the person's character. A good example would be "Compassionate." This is a small "v" virtue in my mind, but will cause the character, played correctly, to spend resources and time on other characters, critters, and things.

There is nothing to say that you can't just create a personality flaw called "Honorable". Have the player specify to what degree he will adhere to his sense of honor or "code" and talk out the ramifications of a Major version versus a Minor version, then hold the player to the agreed level.



There are Flaws for true believers; Vow and Higher Purpose are two of them. A lot of the religious aspects of the Code of Chivalry are covered by Pious.

You haven't explained why either of these don't work.

Not odd at all. Dutybound reflects someone who adheres to principles because of fear rather than true belief. Vow and Higher Purpose are for people who follow a restricted path because of true belief.

If your question is why isn't their a chivalric code Flaw, it's because that just leads to a proliferation of Virtues/Flaws. Rather than Dominican Code, Franciscan Code, Chivalric Code, Pirates Code, etc... the book has Vow which could be used to cover any of them. There is also a Monastic Vows, which is a Major Story Flaw. You could just give the player a Major Story Flaw, Vow of Chivalry, and pattern it off the monastice one.

Of course, a single Flaw is basically a short cut. The true Chivalric Code could take several Flaws and Virtues to cover it completely. Pious/True Faith, Oath of Fealty, Vow, Higher Purpose, and Genrous/Compasionate would seem to cover most aspects of it.

From The Song of Roland - Charlemagne's Code of Chivalry:
To fear God and maintain His Church
To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
To protect the weak and defenceless
To give succour to widows and orphans
To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
To live by honour and for glory
To despise pecuniary reward
To fight for the welfare of all
To obey those placed in authority
To guard the honour of fellow knights
To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
To keep faith
At all times to speak the truth
To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
To respect the honour of women
Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
Never to turn the back upon a foe.

Make up your own flaw: Chivalrous (Personality, Minor or Major). You don't have to rigidly stick to those in the book.

Fair enough. Chivalrous (Major) it probably will be then. I still find it odd that the authors included Dutybound with that cynical little twist to it though.

That's absolutely true, of course. However:

It's understandable (and laudable) that a new SG will

  1. Want to stick to the printed examples of Virtues, flaws, spells, etc., until he has developed a feel for the game balance.
  2. Expect the printed examples to provide good and well-balanced guidelines

I can easily understand that Michael doesn't yet feel ready to improvise, and I understand his frustration at having to do so.

To my mind, the second sentence of the description of "Dutybound" is just pointless verbiage. It matters not why the character follows the code, what matters is that he is constrained to do so. The actual reason is something that the player should specify as part of the character concept, but not something that belongs in the description of the flaw.

I like Michael's description of that second sentence as a "nugget of cynicism".

The idea that the book is merely a set of guidelines and can be changed to fit your desires should be kept in mind regardless of the system you are using.