Would a broad sympathy, that is one that has a requisite tighter sympathy, of Men be valid or too wide?
Men meaning, for this purpose, targets who are adult human males, (or are currently passing for one).
The tighter sympathy would be something relating to humans, such as a more restricted type of person, ie: Monks.
Considering it's acceptable on its own (well, women, but that's about the same breadth of applicability), certainly.
I figured it for one of my OC too, with the tighter Sympathy "pretty men" (adult male human characters with a strictly positive Pre score).
Thanks for the responses. It just seems a bit unfair to have the specialty bonus to most non-supernatural interactions.
Well if you seek balance, for example through Faerie Character creation, you do have (iirc) to select a tight ("monks") Sympathy trait (with a smaller range of targets than a minor magical focus) before having a chance to select a larger one (like "men"). Don't forget each sympathy trait selected at character creation is a Virtue so it is not that a big deal (it must be balanced with a Flaw already ; plus Sympathy traits may easily decrease if you don't hold them high with experience expense.
Two canon sources (F&F, TSE) list women for a starting-level Faerie Sympathy. TSE also twice lists men as a Faerie Antipathy, which is supposed to have the same breadth. You're requiring another Faerie Sympathy first and capping the level of the broader one with the level of the narrower one. I don't see how anyone could say you're being unfairly generous.
Do note a few things: Aura interaction applies, including adding botch dice. Quite a few people live within Divine auras (big penalty and more botch dice) and covenants tend to be in Magic auras (small bonus but more botch dice). So the character may not want to use it for nearly all interactions with men.
Another consideration is that "men" is given as an example major magical focus in the corebook -- meaning it should work as a "broad" sympathy.
Then again, this raises the more fundamental issue of when a sympathy in men should be applicable. I think it should not be applicable whenever interacting with men, but whenever interacting with men ... insofar they are men. In other words, if you are trying to outrun a man, the sympathy should not apply, because outrunning a man is no different than outrunning a woman or a lion. If you are trying to seduce a man, then it certainly applies, because seduction of men is fundamentally different from that of women or lions.
The "when" has also been addressed in canon. For women it's "...when the character directly affects another woman. For example, to determine what a character knows about a maga in the Tribunal..." (F&F p.29).
The sentence appears contradictory to me.
If I am trying to learn your birthday, I am not affecting you directly.
I don't like it, either. I would have changed "affects" to "involves." But it's not quite contradictory if you consider the reputation of a character as an aspect of that character. Regardless, it's showing a lot of breadth of applicability.
Of course, it is also completely reasonable to rule that it only applies to one Form; Corpus but not Mentem.
Reasonable to rule differently too.
The fundamental criterion is that a Major Focus should not be larger in scope than a Form. If a GM thinks men seems larger than a Form because it is too large a chunk of too many Forms (Corpus for a man's body! Mentem for his mind or for his spirit when he is dead! Im for illusions of men!) then limiting it is reasonable.
No hard and fast rule here.
What about men? Is it a quality that Men have that the character exemplifies or a quality about Men that the character exploits?
Is it Mankind, Masculinity, or just the generic Male. The last one is simple biology and conjures very little to the imagination which in turn means the Realm isn’t interested, why then would there be sympathy for it? Once the question is answered, how to apply the Sympathy will be easier to gauge in game. Look at temporary sympathy, it’s based on personality traits for the most part. Personality and stereotypes, themes in story, look there for your answer.