Flaw- "Enemies"

Who carries the burden of this flaw?

  • All on the character.
  • Mostly the one, but associates share a little.
  • The flaw usually effects (most) everyone associated.
  • An enemy for one (usually) ends up an enemy for all.
  • It's up to the SG to avoid this loophole.
  • As SG, I don't allow this flaw (or only rarely).
  • It's up to the others to veto/accept the danger beforehand.
  • Other (see below)

0 voters

The major flaw "Enemies", is defined as "endangering" only the person choosing it, but, in my experience, more often than not the entire covenant/party shoulders the burden, whether voluntarily or not, sooner or later. And even if their hand is not forced, associates often provide the solution for the character, removing the burden of the flaw without anyone suffering much of the penalty.

"The Baron is an Enemy to one Character. TB's men show up and give that character grief, or threaten to. The entire party/covenant bands together, both to form a plan and with their personal resources, to remove this thorn from their collective side before proceeding with whatever they were doing before this speedbump appeared.

The Character with the Enemy rests easier, knowing they are safe with their allies... (and thinking that this was the cheapest "Major Flaw" they ever saw!"..."[/i]

Even while the flaw states "...this is best agreed upon with the storyguide and the rest of the troupe", an enemy that seems perfectly reasonable becomes insignificant to the character, because their problems become the problems of the entire covenant (or adventuring party), and the entire resources of same are thrown against them. Any threat against a member of the covenant is addressed by the entire covenant, sooner or later, done deal.

To me, this has always seemed unfair, both that the Character in question gets such a flaw for minimal "shared effort", and that others inherit the enemy and the majority of that enemy's threat without benefit of "taking the flaw".

In your sagas, does this seem balanced? Does it seem fair? Do characters who take large enemies face those enemies themselves, or do they draw on (part of) the entire covenant for support? Do the enemies threaten just that one character, or do they inevitably pose a (lesser) threat to all who are connected to the character with the flaw?

Well, it can be balanced by the associates of the 'enemied' one being upset with him for causing such a mess. He could end up dealing with their wrath on a regular basis.

I'd say that if the enemy affects the entire covenant like that... You are using the wrong kind of enemies. :slight_smile:

I'd go with a char that is after the PC personally, it might not be so much a physical threat as a political or just social-status thing.

When the character spends a year writing a great summae, the enemy will spend a season or two debunking it, lowering it's value significantly.

When they come up with a grand plan for the tribunal, the enemy might move to counter that one as well.

The key really is to make the enemy untouchable... Maybe another NPC or PC char at the same covenant?

A good example would be Seatonius and Ceasar...

Remember : Enemies have allies, too.

TB, in your example, is someone's vassal. His liege-lord won't be too pleased with these upstarts who have proven themselves a threat to the established order, if they deal with him in a way that involves removing him permanently from the picture. If LL didn't muster forces appropriate to the threat and deal with it, he would inform others who would take offence to this... Like the Church...

And the race is off an running. It's usually the characters, running in front of the combined horde of the enemy's allies, and the quasitores and hoplites. How the characters get out of this mess without becoming corpses is the stuff sagas are made out of.


I agree with Oberoten.

There are other major story flaws which could go against the covenant like dependents, dark secret, mistaken identity, oath of fealty. As a SG use this flaw only against the character and avoid violence. Or do not allow this flaw. That's all.

Depends on the enemy. The more powerful the enemy, the more it affects other characters.

I usually go either for a feud between the character and the enemy/es otr with political rivalry. I prefer if it does not spill too much on the other PCs unless they want to (they are helping their friend,... in the same way taht the enemy is helped by his/her friends).

Examples have included:

  • cousins wrestling for an inheritance. The best enemy so far since it included both underhanded attacks politics and bargaining. Cool enemy the players loved to hate.
  • a rival mage that is content with building a reputation for you: lousy mage (the PC made the life of the other mage miserable during apprenticeship),
  • a slightly more powetrful mage with an issue over property on a magic item (similar to the inheritance thingy): this one escalated to WW
  • a local priest ranting against the sins of magi and with a healthy (for him) MR
  • A minstrel that created a bad reputation for our resident grog captain. he was quite a bully, granted, so his inability to shut the problñem by bruite force was quite funny in the adventures it came up. Little girls and their parents gigling as he passed by was quite embarrassing, specially when going to see a figutre of authority (the magi were unaware of the problem).

Quite a few enemies. Appart from the BIG covenant enemies, that is.



I had the ennemy target the character first politically, and then, when things flared up a little, physically, through indirect actions, such as assassination attempts, capturing his loved ones and brainwashing them... Anything to make his life miserable. He lost both his wife and his children to the ennemy, besides acquiring a pretty bad reputation.

Nevertheless, I don't care much if one's ennemy becomes the covenant's ennemy: This is a story flaw because it helps tell stories, so, as long as it helps me in this regard, it's perfectly all right.

I've been guilty of taking one of these for a companion. Choosing a hedge witch as an enemy, on the basis that while it might become the covenants enemy too, that the covenant as a whole benefits from defeating the hedge witch by taking his stuff - Turned out to be 7 vis profit, but the covenant got a number of injured characters, lost two magic items in bad bargains with fae and acquired quite a few nasty curses as a result, although the worst was nothing to do with the enemy and was from a goblin who thought a deal had been broken.

One method of having the enemy target the player politically that might work is:

The SG chooses the enemy based on the character, if the character is a magi, then make the enemy a magi too. If the character is a companion then make the enemy an equally useful npc. Have the enemy then attempt to make friends with the other players so that they stay neutral or side with him.

For example a magi ex miscellania wants to join a covenant, his enemy a magi flambeau who hates and harasses him also applies to join the covenant. Both magi could be let in, or only one of them. The player and his enemy can't kill each other without a wizard's war. Their vindictive struggle to hurt each other takes the form not only of sabotage of each others experiments, blocking each others political maneauvers, but also wooing of the neutral members of the covenant. If the npc is someone the other players like more than the pc magi, they might ask the pc to leave as being the troublemaker.

start of with an enimy that is on the level of the character, if other characters volunter aid to deal with it then expand the enemy to be challenging for the combined might,

the baron is causing problems, the players go to deal with him, little do they know he has guest at the time...

Isn't that the case for most Story (or Personality) flaws, particularly when taken by a magus? When they make stuff happen, the whole covenant may get involved.

I've not actually played with this flaw, but I see the C-hound's argument. I think, however, that the flaw does what it is supposed to -- create a major story.

But C-hound's point leads to other questions:
-- If a magus has enemies, why would anyone agree to form a Spring covenant with him? Isn't it going to be hard enough?
-- If a covenant has older and, presumably, more mature magi, what talent/resource does the magus with enemies have that would make them WANT to have him or her around and assume that there is some risk of serious distraction or danger?
-- If trying to bring back a Winter covenant, folks might be desperate enough to take the afflicted magus on. But in that case, isn't it appropriate that the whole covenant come together and colve this problem as soon as possible so they can get to "the important work"?

The players are naturally inclined to work together but a lot of the flavor text throughout all the books suggests that magi might be civil with each other, they seems to be such rabid (and arrogant) individualists that they shouldn't work together to solve one person's problem. Given the way player covenants seem to be put together (i.e. "You receive an invitation...") the baggage that one person is carrying may easily turn into the whole covenant's. I would argue that there are plenty of similarities between this and the Dark Secret flaw.

What appearently doesn't happen in the player covenant is that the inviting magus council (in whatever form) doesn't check the baggage, or, at least communally botch their PER+OoH Lore rolls when they do check. One way to handle this might be to make the player take the Dark Secret flaw at the beginning of play, and then change it to Enemies when the secret is exposed.

Another way would be to have (another) player take the "favors" bit and turn it into a major political story.

Just my thoughts.


I like this one.

Might be fun, too, if one player's mentor/True Love/Indebtors was another's ennemy.

The (perceived) problem doesn't lie in others getting involved- that's desirable. It lies in the fact that an enemy to one is too often dealt with, long term or short, by someone else - just as if it had been their enemy in the first place, with or without any assistance by the character with the flaw.

A generic (ie, no relevant theme/specialties) mage or companion has a political Enemy, as suggested above. The Jerbiton sodalis jumps up and says "I'll deal with this!" Then the Enemy takes the gloves off and starts playing rough, and the Flambeau says "I have just the answer for that!" Then things get subtle, and assassins and spies start showing, and the Merenita pulls some strings in the forest outside the covenant, and the Verditious makes a nifty protection device. And the original character, while in theory the sole "target" of the Enemy, really bears no burden nor need much respond to it (other than making it known to the others.)

Because the others are left with either letting that one character suffer alone, or waste their time supporting them against their enemies- a painful choice, but usually predictable with Player Characters.

There are only a very few arrangements where a real outside "threat" to one member is not seen as a threat (of some sort) to all, and the character with the Enemy too often can then IC draw on the resources of all around them, and if not relax completely, then surely only suffer a fraction of the duty to resolve it.

This type of "Your problem is our problem" does not tend to occur with other Story Flaws such as Curse of Venus, Black Sheep, Mistaken Identity, or even Feud, because these are seen as both less threatening to the whole, and, in short, "not our job"- from my sagas, I can still hear my fellow players now- "Supernatural Entity? How's that workin' out for ya?" "Sounds like a personal problem!" "Yeah, good luck with that curse- let us know how it works out!" "Hmmm, he chose... poorly!", they cry mockingly <insert laughter, for all but Player with the Flaw>

Yes, a Dependant will be protected some by the rest of the covenant, and others will work to get a fellow out of any trouble from the other flaws, but it's no skin off their nose if they fail or ignore it entirely- most of those land squarely on the shoulders of the character who took the Flaw, and don't "spill over" very much to the rest of the group. But an "Enemy" is (usually?) seen by default as an active aggressor against the entire group, directly or indirectly, and as such the group responds with their best counter-ploy, regardless if that includes the original character.

I think that Thrakath's meta-choice is an extreme example of this Flaw gone awry (and a short-sighted SG who allowed it!), but some of the "solutions" above would require an entire ongoing subplot to work into the storyline, far more than other Story Flaws require.

Me, I usually tend to 86 it, unless it's a really good one, or I know I can isolate the character (physically or socially, etc), or it's a covenant flaw.

I've been following this and several other posts...There have been several that discuss the Generation of stories from flaws... In our group we have found that the 'Story Flaw' is pressed into action rarely. It seems? that most groups thats post here use them almost exclusively.
We have fouind that we don't lack at all for story ideas. Indeed, the other day I handed off my Vis sources for an area to the Alpha...We worked it over to see that it would integrate properly and went from there. The various Vis sources that I gave him included at least eight story ideas....Some were political, some martial, some generated towards certain characters, and some completely open ended.
We have tended to feel that 'beating the same old flaw to death' gets boring after a while...
I guess my question is...Do most groups rely on the Story Flaws for all their stories, or do they use 'Inspiration'?

No, but you can work stuff into bigger story arcs.

Example: a minstrel enemy has been in the area recently. He planted stories about one of the characters being untrustworthy (in the best of cases) or a corrputer servant of hell that has killed thousands of pilgrims to the holy land and that has a high price on his head (worst case). Bukilding the character a reputation as a wife-stealer (noble or other minstrel PC) can also pose problems. Besides, most social PCs IMS are wife-stealers!

As you can imagine when the character shows up, he will have a hard time dealing with the mundanes in the area, heavily burdening the progress of the party if he is important and cannot keep a low profile. If your animal companion dog decides to hunt down the cat of the baron's daughter you can be in deep trouble.... and you were only out to talk with the local monastery about some weird successes in a local village,.... and still need to talk to them before 3 days pass or them might hiold a grudge against you. :slight_smile:

Having stories where the flaw is the sole motion factor is quite rare, buit enemies usually turn up around, as does blackmail (being blackmailed in a tavern might create cracks in a group that do not know what the character is doing with that stranger with a hood) or other story flaws.

Basically, life catches up with you sometimes, and story flaws are about life. Regardless what you are doing, reality keeps hot on your heels :slight_smile:



I always try to dovetail the Flaw(s) into whatever story arc I have going/planned, so that I can incorporate Flaws into the saga while still proceeding in a given meta-direction. So, what would normally be a "mild" challenge with Faeries becomes a "moderate" challenge when the Curse of Venus makes the Faerie Queen fall for one of the PC's, naturally upsetting the Faerie King, etc. etc.

However, because this additional difficulty is from a Flaw, I do not tend to increase the "tangible rewards" much due to the level of challenge/danger, but do increase XP slightly for good RP and such with regard to the increased challenge.

And, as Xavi mentions, this does tend to echo into elements of any future interaction with those same Fae, and/or any who hear of the interaction. Rarely, a plot complication expands to take on a life of its own and becomes a significant (sub?) plot element, but then it usually becomes more complex than first defined, and combines elements that weave into more than one character. Not always, but that would be my preferred goal, to get the most mileage out of any adventure.

Okay, I can go with that...but don't you get a little [yawn] from having your character constantly having to deal Mr So and So every time the SG wants to get you out of the Covenant?
I suppose its okay for a while, but most of the people I know would get glassey eyed or a little 'out of sorts' if they had to deal with the same thing every few sessions.
Kind of like the cop who writes you a ticket one day. Every week after that he pulls you over once a week just see if you are doing anything wrong...
It gets old in a hurry.

The point of my question is: Do you JUST use the story flaws, or do you come up with different things (stories). From your answer: "Just use story flaws".
Is this more or less correct??? :confused:


Um, "less correct". In fact, not correct at all (and I don't see where you're reading that.)

I said I try to dovetail flaws into story arcs- that means that I already have a story in mind, and I attempt to find room to "seamlessly" (I hope) slide one or more of the various Flaws into it as well. Sometimes the story is too demanding to pad, and that's fine, but if I can kill 2 birds with one stone, I'll do it. And with about 4 magi plus 4 more companions, there is usually more than one Flaw to choose from.

There is no "constantly", there is no "every time", no "same thing every few sessions" - not unless that is part of the story itself. (If the Baron is a pain, and they haven't dealt with him, he doesn't just go away on his own.)

However, if a character has a Flaw "Enemy- The Baron", then some aspect of that will show up more than once, even after the group as a whole deals with him, if only for that one character. It won't be the same group of 12 bushwackers every time, and possibly the group may not even (immediately) recognize The Baron as the force behind whatever goes wrong. And hopefully (again, unless that is the story arc) they won't detract from the main story, or detour from the main theme, but add to it.

Actually, what I do in Tabletop (face to face) games is come up with a challenge - (sometimes, especially early in the Saga, partially inspired by a Flaw or three) - and listen closely to the tabletalk and speculation as the adventure unfolds, and watch the reactions of the players, and make mental notes to prey on their fears and expectations, throwing in a good twist counter to those expectations to keep things unpredictable and surprising, and spin the story as we go, adjusting it to the actions, successes and failures week by week.

Somewhere in there, room to reflect a few Flaws will show up, I just know it.

In both you mention Dovetailing...meaning that you use them when you can...more or less from what you say, anytime you can...
So more or less you are using the Story flaws at every (?) opportunity?
What I am getting at is this:
When an adventure starts, can/do the players look at their sheets and say "Well, it isn't my flaw...", or do they say "Yep, its my fault"
Do they say "Where did this come from?"

No, I don't expect the Baron to go away...But EVERYTHING that happens doesn't have to be about the Baron, the dog, the Enemy, the Flaw....
Is there a random story? One that doesn't have to do with ANY of the characters...maybe a story about the Covenant grog, or the local village dog...that sort of thing. Nothing to do with the Flaws at all.
Which is the point of my original question...
(You seem to have answered what YOU do...)


Again, your reading of English is markedly different than my use of it (or any dictionary definition).

"Dovetailing" in this sense means to join two different items into each other without a coarse seam, to combine different elements without being obvious about it; it has nothing to do with frequency of such joining.