Grogs and Major Virtues/Flaws

A grog should not have Major Virtues or Flaws - at least at character creation. But what about Virtues and Flaws gained in play? Perhaps a grog receives a Blessing or a Curse from a Faerie or from an Exotic Magician. Perhaps he simply loses his eyes or his hands in an accident. And of course, 105 Warping points will give a mundane a Major Flaw.

We strictly enforce the "no Major Virtues/Flaws" for grogs in our saga. This does not mean, of course, that a Grog is immune to major curses, and to having his tongue or hands cut off! Simply, whenever a grog acquires a Major Virtue or Flaw, he stops being a PC grog. Either he becomes an NPC or someone must choose to take him over as a Companion.

How about your sagas?

In the saga I'm playing in, we follow the RAW and don't allow grogs to be generated with Major Virtues and Flaws.

If a grog did somehow obtain a Major Virtue/Flaw during play, I think that we would just continue to play him as a grog. I'm not certain that it has actually come up at all in our saga.

In play, I find that there is not too much distinction between characters who are grogs and characters who are companions (except that companions are often better and have confidence points).

At chargen, there are few major virtues that would not make a grog something other than a grog. (And quite a few minor ones that would, such as Supernatural Abilities. Companion-class characters have a maximum of 10 Virtues/Flaws, but there is no minimum.)

A grog can be interesting and standout without being a literal blessing to a covenant. I've seen players try to introduce "grogs" who are Second Sighted, Educated, and have Arcane Lore, can set up a Lab, Scribe at the max for their age and speak 4 languages - and the player doesn't understand why this is "not acceptable". Imo, ims, it's because that's not a "grog" - it's a low-virtue companion class character. A "grog" is a run-of-the-mill peasant, a red-shirt, a trained fighter and grunt labor specialist, nothing more. They can be good at what they do, but they shouldn't be expected to do much more.

(And I'll mention this again - in medieval society, people didn't tend to have several craft/professional skills that they were good at. They picked one and stuck to it - that's "what they do". For a grog, their Abilities define their role, their "profession" that makes them valuable. A grog might be a single-weapon type, or a cross-bow type, or a bit of both, but rarely would they be a master of all weapon forms plus a skilled tracker plus an elite bowman and brawler plus an expert Chirurgeon plus plus plus.

A peasant tends to do their best to fit one role, not (m)any. If they're a forester, then that's what they'll do well - bow, stealth, tracking, awareness maybe some spear, whatever. If a melee brawler, then that. If a scout, then skills that serve that role. They don't have the luxury of pursuing something else when that role is what puts food on the table. That is, their skills should reflect their history and past duties and grow organically from that, not chosen off some shopping list of needed skills that the covenant could use. If the covenant needs a Chirurgeon, then they should probably have to find one, and not discover that the axe murderer grog is also a master healer.

It may be fantasy, and there is certainly room for exceptions and the unexpected, but I still lean toward Roles, not Rolls, even for grogs.)

That said, I believe there is room for "other categories" of characters. If a Grog has 3 virtues, and a Companion 10, then maybe a Shield Grog would have 4, with "Custos" free. (If a grog is promoted to Custos, they certainly don't have to lose an eye or become a drunk to make up for that!) Similarly, if a grog were blessed, or found True Love or became a Lycanthrope or whatever, they might still be a "warrior" for the covenant, but their classification in the saga might be bumped to something more than a faceless, disposable redshirt.

This is something I have been looking at myself with some interest recently. I have generally played in established summer covenants but more recently our new game is not like that.

What this means is the previous system of taking a grog template and tweaking it mildly (personality traits and swapping a skill or two) no longer works because there is not the large staff normally available. These same grogs have to be used from one story to the next. Prevously they were 'created on the spot' as it were from the pool.

The core rules allow grogs to take enough V&F to be different but not enough for true diversity. I am very happy with that. If you want more diversity thentake the companion class. That said, I am perfectly happy for a grog to develop into a companion if, through play, he has started to become more interesting.

This requires some bodging by the troupe but there are always possibilities to permit latent virtues and flaws to surface. Just bung in a stack of latent virtues and flaws and allow them to come out over the subsequent sessions. Or have him join some mystery cult and incorporate into the initial training story details that create justification for these changes. Personailty traits can be enlarged readily from the growth in confidence creating V&Ffor example.


Oh, yes, totally agreed!

A character should not be able to pick up another professional skill, and should probably not want to. I don't see apprenticeship as a time in which xps are gained, but a kind of initiation in which a virtue is gained. Not everyone succeeds. In the same way, not everyone who becomes a journeyman ever attains the skill of a master.



In my sagas we don't really enforce a strong distinction between grogs and companions. Many times I've seen companions who looked great in concept being retired and set aside while humble grogs have grown to become the most beloved and memorable characters of the saga. Such thing don't really have to do with stats so much as with which character the player feels the most connection to.

In our Saga we do make a clear distinction between Grogs, Companions and Magi. They are all created following RAW, that is without Major Virtues or Flaws for Grogs.

Our Grogs are mainly used to protect Magi in combat, although we do play them from time to time, e.g. if the action takes place within the Covenant, or if the other characters have become unavailable (Companion in prison, Magus in incapacity, ...).

However, I have never been satisfied with these rules. It would imply that a deaf born character (for example) automatically has to be an NPC, a Companion or a Magus and cannot be a Grog, which to me is a bit stupid really.

I would probably be happy with Grogs having General Major Virtues & Flaws, but I would not allow Supernatural Major Virtues & Flaws.


My rule on flaws is usually that you can take as many flaws as I'm willing to deal with you having (that is, I do still limit Story Flaws and such for my own sanity's sake), but you only get points for the flaws that the rules allow. So, a grog that takes a Major Flaw still only gets one virtue point for it (as if he had taken an equivalent Minor Flaw), a Companion can have twelve points of flaws but still only ten of virtues, and you can take a third personality flaw if you want but you similarly don't get points for it.
Works well enough.

I try to think of Grogs as player controlled NPC’s. It sounds completely contradictory but it makes sense in a troupe game. Grogs are there to help tell the stories not be the center of them. That being said Grogs are not just the red shirt fighters. They are scribes, cooks, woodsman and lore specialists. Nor are they all peasants there are several examples in the RAW of scholar, clergy, and even noble “grogs”.

Personally I want to see as many grogs as possible written up by the troupe. I think the best way to encourage this is by saying yes far more often then saying no. People should have the grogs they want in play. Now by the RAW grogs “shouldn’t” have major virtues or flaws, but then again the raw says they “can never” have The Gift or a confidence score. I generally think that there is some wiggle room between the two statements particularly if the goal is to make the setting more fun and not create uber grogs or spotlight hogs.

For example if someone comes in with a giant blooded shield grog I’d vote no without even thinking and point them towards a couple three minor virtues that do the job more then adequately.

Now a giant blooded blacksmith I might just consider it. Particularly if the covenant was being built with a more high fantasy feel. The player would have to explain why a regular blacksmith or a companion level character weren’t better choices.

A giant blooded washer woman now that’s a character I could really get behind. It adds a fun character to the setting with out hogging the lime light.

AM has 3 uses of the term "grog".

o OOC, as a character class, a semi-NPC character with a max of 3 Virtues/Flaws, and a (typically) relatively minor role in the saga.

o IC, as a guard for the covenant in general and magi in particular. As in "shield grog", etc.

o Either OOC or IC, as any non-specialist covenfolk. A "scribe" is usually not a grog, tho' perhaps if they were not literate they would be close enough, as a mere "copyist". Clergy or a noble is not a grog. But a noble could be a warrior, and thus fit the above definition for IC reference - a bit demeaning, but what mage cares?

In a recent thread, when different "covenant support staff" were being listed, they were broken down into Specialists, Servants, Laborers, Teamsters - and Grogs. In this sense, they are all "just the red shirt fighters". However, in the 3rd sense, all those except the Specialists are grogs.

In this thread, I, from my reading, took it to mainly refer to the 1st definition, which is wide open as to "role" in a saga, since the only consideration is initial number of virtues/flaws.

OUr saga has had plenty of "grog" knights, priests and librarians. Being an upper social class or a specialist does not make you a spotlight element of the saga necessarily.

Our difference is basically this:

  • One player = magus or companion.
  • Pool character = grog

The companion or magus might only have 3 V&F (rare for magi, though), but it is still a "character of choice", so it is allowed more leeway on that. We also accept blind grogs (we have seen a blind librarian) or giant blooded washerwomen. Shapeshifting grogs are not an option, though (evne if asome grog skinchargers exist). All grogs are subject to troupe aproval.


I would say that's a very non-standard use of the term.

It's using the term "grog" to = any shared character. So, if you had a shared mage, then that mage would be a "grog" - and that's not how the book uses the term.

It's a perfectly valid approach to the game (and one I've used myself!) - but it's not the term I'd use. (Not sure what I would use, but certainly not that one.) :confused:

Well, I guess that we have never had shared magi. If there is a magus used by several SG, it is a NPC, not a 2shared" character. Shared means "shared by the troupe players", not a part of the seting.

Never shared a magus either, the thought never ocurred to me actually.