Human character with Sovereign ward

In th RoP:F book, in the "Touches of Faerie" chapter, there are options to grant Lesser Powers to a mortal playable-character. (Insert "Faerie power for Faerie blooded")

However those virtues must be balanced by a rather strict list of supernatural flaws. Amongst those flaws is the Sovereign ward Flaw.

It is stated a Faerie's body instantly is destroyed by touching its Sovereign ward. Does it instantly destroy a human body as well ? Even if the character is warped by faerie magic, her body isn't made of pure glamour, hence my doubts.

If the Sovereign ward only protect its bearer from the human character, it seems to be a go-to Major Flaw. But if it kills the character as soon as she touches her forbidden thing, it would be a terrible menace for the poor character.

I would argue that a Flaw that doesn't actually modify one's behavior isn't actually a flaw. Thus, if you have 2 interpretations - one of which does nothing, and another that does something - then it's probably the one that does something that's the right one.

EDIT - and in reading up on the flaw itself (RoP:F, pg. 52), we've got "...The fairie must attempt to flee the ward, and its body is destroyed instantly by the ward's touch." - Obviously written with faries in mind. However, if we took this literally, then some of the other virtues (such as Farie Speech, pg. 50) wouldn't work either, as it specifically references the fact that it works for faries.

So, we're left with 2 possibilities: that some virtues and flaws don't work for Fairie-touched characters (despite being in the list), or that they do. My interpretation would be "if it's a farie-touched mortal character, then replace "farie" with "fairie-touched". Alternately, if you don't want to do that, remove any of the virtues and flaws that reference faries (as opposed to "characters", which is what most of them seem to use instead) from the list. However, that seems unduly harsh.

That being said, you may be running up against the 5th edition issue of "everything is either -3 points or -1 point." In previous editions, you could have flaws that were greater than that; ie, a single flaw worth (say) -7 points. While I can understand the desire of the authors to use the Merit/Flaw system to create well-rounded, interesting characters (as opposed to crippled one-trick ponies), the end result is that sometimes we get virtues and flaws that seem over- or under- valued.

Diedne Magic, in the core rulebook, is an example of this; it's a major virtue, but it comes with its own major story flaw. Unfortunately, as "greater than 3 point" virtues go, it's not all that great; probably would be worth (maybe) 4 or 5 points by itself. But pairing it with a -3 Major flaw means that it's really only worth 1 or 2 points in all...but it still costs 3. Some folks on the board would argue that it's not even a major virtue; and as such, as written it should actually be considered a minor Hermetic/Story flaw instead.

Magical Sensitivity is another. It's actually a decent virtue, in that it covers 2/3 of Intelligo Vim (ie, it doesn't cover spirits), but it's a Difficult ability, and it comes with its own flaw. (minor magical weakness.) I would say this one is actually fairly well balanced - it's just that there are other virtues that aren't as well balanced, (such as 2nd Sight, which covers the traditionally more-useful part of InVi, but has no associated Flaw) so PC's prefer those instead.

The right way to consider this : if a flaw has no effect on a character, for this character it's not a flaw.

So, if a faerie-touched human could have the sovereign ward flaw, this flaw must have the same effect on him it has on fairies.
If you consider that a faerie-touched human should not be affected by this flaw, then he could not have this flaw at all.

There have been a few times in which I didn't realize that a game mechanic was an optional flaw, rather than RAW - Chaotic Magic is the default Hermetic Flaw I take on almost every character as a consequence, as for the longest time I thought that was the normal behavior of spontaneous magic. As I play that way anyway, I may as well get the points for it...

Sovereign flaw gives two effects : cannot harm any ward bearer, and instant death if you touch that ward.

The second one seems harsh. Faerie characters may regenerate and rebirth after a few days in the worst cases. Human charzcters with touches of Faerie cannot.

It looks like the Premonitions Virtue is a good idea here to avoid painful disembodiment...

I think a common sense approach would be to make the effect close enough to what's written to keep it a similar level of harm. If Faeries lose their body and take several days to regenerate from being touched with a sovereign ward, then either rendering a human unconscious through fatigue (will make them helpless and take hours to recover) or delivering an incapacitating wound (helpless until they recover to heavy wound and still disadvantaged for well over a season) would be the closest. Either still means once you touch a faerie-touched person with their sovereign ward, they are helpless and you could quite easily do terrible things to them.

Quite on the opposite, I think that a faerie-touched human infortunate enough to have this flaw should actually die if he ever is in contact with his bane. You know, faerie is not reliable, it's Dangerous. So, don't choose (as a player) this flaw and be carefull (as a character) t to have it inflicted on you. The reason is IMO that it's in human nature to die and in faeries nature not to die (normally), so for the same effect, the first one die, the other one doesn't really die.

Or, as an alternative, rule that it doesn't work for faerie-touched humans.

The thing is the only way (RAW) to balance faerie powers picked for a human character are :
-Monstruous appearance : the easiest way if you don't want a social character ; but I do want a character able to visit villages, not an half-snake stranger who will be stoned or burnt at sight ;
-Reduced powers or slow powers : it already is difficult to grant a human character faerie powers which will be of some utility, they most of the times are of short effect, lacking penetration and punch ; do you really want ro have a character with level 5 effects which cost Fatigue levels and require two full rounds for activaion ?
-Traditional wards : a good choice but if you chose four Faerie Virtues, it will make a bunch of taboos. A character who cannot touch women, neither enter Dominion, and is burnt by random folk charms, looks like she will have a painful life (and will be hard to play)

I'd caution against claiming that because it says "fairie", then it can't apply to a mortal. There are other instances in which a core rule says one thing, but another book or supplement says "yeah, this other group can use that virtue or flaw as well." For example, Hedge Magic, pg. 34 - "When creating a Gifted folk witch character you may assign her Hermetic Virtues and Flaws, if they are appropriate to her abilities." To then claim that a virtue or flaw in such a list doesn't apply due to the way the first book was edited is...perhaps a mite too pedantic, even for this game.

Thus, the fact that the virtues and flaws are listed in the "list of virtues and flaws that fairie-touched can take" strongly suggests that they can, by RAW, take them as virtues and flaws, and have them act as virtues and flaws. Even if the specific noun used to describe who can take it doesn't match up. It's reasonable to assume that the later ruling that says "a mortal can take that virtue/flaw as well" means that whenever it says "fairie", you can replace it with "mortal", if the mortal is fairie-touched.

(And if you want to get REALLY pedantic about it, the core rulebook sections uses "you" rather than "the magus" or "your character". As obviously I cannot take an in-game virtue or flaw, a strict reading of the rules means that no character can have any of them, as they aren't me. Rather, we all [correctly] read that to mean 'you' as in 'the individual that can take this virtue or flaw'. I'd recommend interpreting 'fairie' the same way. Another example is that the core rulebook uses "he" or "she" interchangeably - even though that pronoun doesn't match up with my characters half the time. However, no one is seriously going to argue that rules don't apply because the generalized pronoun doesn't match up.)

That being said, I do agree that those flaws seem harsh. If you don't like it, I'd recommend house-ruling it away. Ars Magica isn't particularly known for its tight rules-balance. But that does, in fact, seem to be what RAW says it is - mortals who have Sovereign ward die if they get touched by their ward.

They instantly are turned into living burning candels, to be more precise. That seems pretty hard, but may be epic or tragic, hence bringing fun.

I may temper the danger with Premonitions (to sense the imminent ward), Lightning reflexes (to avoid the touch) and Death prophecy (which could limit the cases of death from sovereign ward, maybe ?)