Great Characteristics

I read the rules on this virtue differently than someone else in my group, and was wondering what everyone here though.

Emphasis mine. I take that to mean that this simply raises the cap on that attribute, allowing you to spend points as normal to raise it one past cap per buy of this minor virtue.

If it read "Great (Characteristic) - Raise any Characteristic that..." that would signal to me that the Virtue automatically raises that stat, but that's not what it says!

Basically you buy the +3 normally (6 points). Then, on top of that you can rise the value by +1 for each virtue point you spend in it. So:

6 points of characteristics = +3
6 points of characteristics +1 virtue = +4
6 points of characteristics +2 virtues = +5

Or this is how we have always read it :slight_smile:


Same here.

Actually it does, just worded differently.
In the RAW you quote, you break out the part that you marked, but it should be read as a whole, especially with the latter part "you may raise... by one point...".

If this was true, then none of the example characters in the book would work. Look at the Bonisagus on p24, Int +5 and Com +1 all others +-0. And completely without any extra points gained via Virtues. +3 on Int spending 6 points, +1 on Com spending the last of the 7 points you get for free. 2 Virtues to raise Int from +3 to +5.

Technically you are correct from what you quote.
However! Looking at p. 30, the cost for attributes is no longer defined as a simple pyramidic progression (though we all know that what's behind it) but purely from the Score/Cost bit at the bottom of p. 30.
If we read the rules as strictly as you are dong above, we can now conclude that either
A) We cannot buy characteristics above +3 because they have no defined price, or
B) characteristics above 3 are 'free' but forbidden. We now apply the above virtue, note that we must buy an attribute up to +3 (costing 6 points) and may now raise it to a higher value at no cost because these are free.

Personally I think either is a tad silly, but B) does gve you the same result as Xavi and Direwolf use.
My own troupes as well as a matter of fact.

Well... Wording can make a huge difference in how an rule works, slight additions and subtractions can mean a LOT. Just saying 'nope, it doesn't read like that' doesn't make sense, because it really doesn't, that's just how people take it usually. For instance, look at the classic 'might stripper'. The addition of the word 'Pool' after 'Might' suddenly downgrades the spell enormously. In this example, reading it as a whole, I take away from it that you're not supposed to have high stats without taking very large penalties in other stats, which I'm honestly okay with. You don't need to be paying a few virtue points (or initiating) to grab +5s in all of your caster stats as a mystery cultist.

The example character thing is a legitimate point though...

The reason I'm ambivalent about this just adding in free points is that it's a minor virtue. If you compare it to Improved Characteristics (which gives +3 points to spends), this minor virtue costs the same and gives +4 points in a single stat on the first buy, +5 on the second. You can't spend it on anything you want, but it's a nice big bonus, especially when combined with other things that can boost stats (like some of the XBlood virtues/traits). A player in the future game I'm participating in is planning a companion with +6 strength +6 stamina, which kinda perturbs me. If this virtue doesn't add in points, he's something like 15 points over spent. I guess it does eat a lot of virtue points, but we're playing with expanded allowed pools of virtues/flaws as long as they are balanced and follow the rest of the guidelines.

It does not give +4 or +5. You are extrapolating from the characteristics cost on p30 but it is not part of RAW.

You did not think it through: 13 Virtues for a barebone +6/+6 Giant Blood. Imposing that is adverserial.

Yes.. I'm extrapolating to generate a comparative value, which is perfectly reasonable (imo), especially where there already exists a metric to measure value on. To buy 1 costs 1. To buy the second costs an additional 2 (a total of three). Buying a third point costs an additional 3 (total of 6). It follows that the fourth and fifth points would normally cost 4 points and 5 points respectively, I don't really think that's so off-base.

What do you mean 13 virtues? Looks to me like it's +7 virtue points (not all of which need be gathered in char-creation). It depends a bit on how you order things. You've got +4 for two ranks in Great Characteristic to raise both stats to +5, and Giant blood to give each that last +1. In a 10pt limited system, that's high (though really, if you're treating the Giant Blood as a separate thing than normal chars, which seems reasonable enough, you can grab the greats through initiations later and not worry about point limits) but with less stringent restrictions on totals, it's not that bad.

Reading through it again, I may suggest that buying it twice converts the two into a single Major Virtue (adding a net point to the cost, but making it count as losing a virtue for initiation purposes) and call it a day.

Let's see.

He get's 7 points base - that gets him Strength +3, Stamina +1
2x Improved Characteristics gets him to Strength +3, Stamina +3
2x Great Strength + 2x Improved Stamina puts him at Strength +5, Stamina +5
Giant Blood makes for size +2, Strength +6, Stamina +6

That's 9 virtue points - could be done more cheaply by having some characteristics below 0.

The expensive reading would require further ((4+5)x2) 18 attribute points, for a total of 15 virtue points - still available to mythic companions.

I must admit that if I was the SG, I'd be more worried about the Size +2 than about either strength or Stamina, as it makes him much harder to affect with Corpus effects and rather more resistant to damage if need be. This is a game of wizards that can cause +30 damage with their words easily enough! +6 strength is the least of your worries.
Infact, think of it as a huge pile of virtues he spent on something that's easily predictable in scope, unlikely to ruin your plans.

He didn't take any Improved Characteristics virtues, everyone has negative stats to some degree. (Pretty sure he actually took Weakened Characteristics, and a -3 presence and so on.

But yes, I don't think you're really supposed to have high stats. On the whole people aren't of innate mythic quality, even the most powerful mages source most of their power in century long study, not just being innately enormously better than the normal person. They'd spend ages to learn a skill up to 5 (which is professional level?), assuming that they have limited seasons due to not being a mage/wealthy but you are innately better than them in their areas of expertise with a 0 score, which makes my eyebrows raise. It makes sense to a limited degree for some players, but should be pretty limited, imo.

Like I said, I think that a good fix is to make having it doubled up cost more. That way you can have your specialized stat that you are particularly good at, but making it too much higher costs a lot more (and will probably require you to get it after character creation via some initiation-like event).

That's your choice to make, but I'd tend to disagree with calling it RAW.
Personally I'd be rather more worried about letting people have a potentially unlimited number of virtues/flaws, but maybe that's just me. :slight_smile:

Oh, that fix isn't RAW... I'm just pointing out that literally reading the RAW doesn't produce the 'free' Characteristics way of doing things unless you read through character write-ups. Because I don't really like the 'free' Characteristics thing anyway, fixing it this way makes things less problematic, even if only somewhat!

Yes, 7 Virtues. But if you don't buy 6x Improved Characteristics you'll end up with -3 Intelligence, -3 Presence, -3 Communication to pay for the (4+5)x2 characteristic points your interpretation is asking... That leaves -1 Perception, +2 Dexterity and -1 Quickness if you want some chance of hitting.

Well, he created a small giant. Well done :slight_smile: He will just walk around being an ogre. He will be zero accepted in mundane society, so it is normal he ended up working for the magi as a source of brute force (heavy lifter for construction and such and combat machine). Great to have him in a "DnD style" adventure, but he will suck so much in a social environment as to be a heavy dead weight in the party.

I see no problems here. He offers good potential. And he is far from unbeatable for a magus or equivalent. A mundane will have problems, but well, most mundanes have problems against our highly trained shield grogs already, and it is not like magi have problem slaughtering mundanes by the thousands if they put their minds to it. Magi are the managers of the nuclear missile silos in Mythic Europe after all. This guy is just a Leopard tank walking around, not that dangerous on his own if you are an assault helicopter or F-18 like the magi even if he will slaughter most dudes on pickups and using AK-47s.

As said, he can be cerated easily with 7 virtues (great characteristic x4, giant blood). Go for it.


The virtue in this edition not well phrased... and the Great (Characteristic) virtue from 4th edition (whose text who clearly copied for 5th) says much the same thing. However, the 4th edition Incredible (Characteristic) virtue (the equivilent of taking Great (Characteristic) twice) is plain: You have an incredible capacity in one of your Characteristics, raising it from +3 to +5. My old 2nd edition rulebook is even clearer and more generous... you simply replace the value of a Characteristic (generated by die rolls in those days) with one ranging from +3 to +5, generated by a die roll defined by the virtue.

Therefore, by legecy, I read the intent of the virtue as simply to increase a Characterisitc of +3 by 1, or 2 if taken twice.

Just chiming in to confirm what many others said.

Yes, the text of "Great " could have been phrased more clearly, but it's really evident from the examples all over the place. And yes, 7 Virtue points (2* Great Strength, 2* Great Stamina, Giant Blood) and 12 characteristic points (which will by default leave you in "debt" by 12-7=5) will give you a Giant Blooded character with Strength and Stamina at +6.

For that cost, it's not overpowered atall*. In fact, it's a somewhat underpowered -- but nicely characterized. I would strongly advise against the adversarial stance that other posters have instead suggested (like bombarding the character with social challenges, escapes through narrow holes etc.) The player has invested 70% of his Virtue points and 170% of his characteristic points because he wants to play a character like Fezzik the Giant -- indulge him! Give him bulls to wrestle and boulders to lift and gates to smash. Give him the occasional bump on the head when entering a tavern, but try to play up his strengths rather than "censor" them from the story.

Does not need any "fix" because it´s not in any way overpowered. And they´re NOT free, you´re using up precious Virtue points to get them, thats worth FAR more than characteristic points.

That depends on how you spend your Virtues. Simple as that. If you spend zero on them, you get 7 points to spend and that´s it. If you spend 8 Virtue points on Improved characteristic, you can raise all stats to +2 and 2 to +3.
And that would be a very booring and poor character overall.

Lowend professional or just below professional depending on how XP intensive you play. Remember, a Score 5 is just 75XP, that is actually achievable merely through Exposure XP, 2 seasons per year over just half a working life.
And that´s with zero XP from better sources.
Something else not to forget is that someone serious about a skill will often have either Puissant or Affinity in it, which means the above 5 becomes either 7 or 6 even changing nothing else. Any decent craftsman will also very likely have +1 or +2 in the Characteristic most relevant to their job, with a +3 probably not too rare.
Add a few years of Training XP and a professional in the mid-late part of his career might have a total bonus somewhere in the 9-15 range.
Example, +3 Characteristic, Affinity and +2 from Puissant, means that at 184XP total in a skill, total bonus for the skill is 15. 5 years of Training at 20XP/year and 20 years of 4XP/year from 2 seasons Exposure each year, and there you have it.

Someone with score 5 isnt close to being an expert. An expert WOULD have at least +2 bonus from characteristic and another 1-4 from Virtues, getting around +5 in bonuses before putting ANY XP in the skill.

Yes, my point was that the wording DO say what it´s normally read as but you don´t need much imagination to read it like you do.

That however is 100% your imagination talking.

It´s not a point really. It shows how the rules are intended since all of them uses the rules as i noted.

That´s because it´s a minor bonus. A +1 bonus is rarely enough to make a real change.

As already noted, used together like that, you dont get any Virtues left over for anything else. The character may be playable, but it wont be an effective or "cost worthy" character.

Which is exactly why it´s fine as intended.

I would be very upset as the player of that character at your novel interpretation of the rules. I find if you don't want a character in a game just ban it instead of stealth nerfing one character leaving others alone, it avoids having a frustrated and annoyed player with a useless character.

I might have more of a raise eyebrow over the +6/+6 for an ex misc mage (giant blood as free major virtue) or Mythic companion but even there 9 points of virtues is still a lot and +6 str is nice for a warrior, It is nowhere near overwhelming when a mage just perdos them, shrinks them down with magic, burns them up, mind controlls them or otherwise turns them in to Goo.

Such a character has lots of great positive stories as well as some negative and I would love to see them ALL played out rather than just in the fantasy of a player who might get a little bitter over this arbitrary change of rules.