[New Flaw] Lost Parens

One of the players in our saga proposed a new hermetic flaw for his magus character:

Lost Parens, Minor, Hermetic

You lost your parens during, or just after, your gauntlet. Maybe he was Marched, or died in the heroic defense of his sodales; or perhaps he just slipped into Final Twilight or died of old age. No particular stigma or prestige is attached to you unless you take a Virtue or Flaw such as Hermetic Prestige or Infamous Parens. You do not stand to inherit anything from your parens; you already have any heirloom and must pay for it normally. You may not call upon your parens for information or help, such as in crafting a longevity potion or in political maneuvering at Tribunal; and other magi who would bully or harass you know they can do so with relative impunity. If you belong to House Tremere, the Storyguide chooses what happens to your sigil. This Flaw may be taken only by magi to be played immediately after Gauntlet.

Comments? I think that as written its disadvantages are is a bit too weak even for a Minor Flaw (but please do not criticize the player as a "munchkin" and such -- you do not know him). On the other hand, from my experience PCs do tend to benefit from their parentes in numerous small ways; however, I would tend to think that as a reward for designing said parentes and enriching the tapestry of the story, in the same way that detailing a grog gives your covenant a specialist "for free".

I would also be inclined to disallow this Flaw, for the reasons you mentioned. This is almost like a null-factor Flaw, in that there are no stories, no advantages, and no disadvantages to be gained from it. In most sagas I've played in, there was very little interaction between a magus and his parens.

The only case I can see this being a "legitimate" flaw is if, for example, the saga focused on newly-gauntleted magi who were staying in the same covenant as their parens (or at least in the same tribunal) and that the relationship between parens and filius was a major subplot in the saga. Other than that, I would probably say no (barring lots and lots of pizza).

Hmmm. I don't think it works as a Hermetic flaw. I think, given the problems, it is more correctly a story flaw. Now, we get into the particulars of your game. If you are enforcing the rule that says "one story flaw", then it should be a Major flaw, going by the canon environment, where a parens is a powerful, dependable ally. A Mage that will work with you in the Lab is a wonderful (if often forgotten) thing.

Now, if you want it to be a Hermetic flaw, given the examples of other merits and flaws dealing with Parens, I would say that this flaw is going to cost exps and spell knowledge, and would be minor.

I agree with the other comments; as written it is not enough of an impact to be considered a flaw. As fluff in a character's history its fine, just not strong enough for a -1.
If it was included I'd have to ask what the in-game advantages are that a standard Magus has which this is removing. Saga style will greatly vary though.

I think I would phrase it as "Dead Parens" --- as he did actually have one, she is just dead.

For me, I think it is OK.

It is a Flaw because the character thus cannot go to his Parens for help / protection. There is also some story opportunity, which arises from the circumstances of his Parens death, and it starts up some relationships between the character and the person(s)/thing(s) responsible and anybody who has (or will) prosecute/avenge over her death, if that is relevant. Alternatively, if she died in an accident then what she was doing at the time could be part of a story --- and, of course maybe it only looked like an accident, but was pre-planned in some way.

So, I'd think about why and how she died. That's what makes it interesting. This might be something that the character (and maybe player) does not know, in which case it is a bit of mystery that can be solved in play, although it doesn't need to be the whole focus of the saga or anything.

It is a story flaw, at best. I would say if it is minor, it includes some kind of heirloom along with the following If it were to become a major I'd attach some common rivalry he has to deal with. Not quite a tormenting master, but some rival that perhaps think he and his line are illegitimate or perhaps a hedge wizard, when that isn't the case. An enemy, but with specific parameters.

I second the change of name to 'Dead Parens' as well as moving it to a story flaw.
Ofcourse then it should either be major or come with a bonus.
It should also breed stories.

Perhaps a minor story flaw leadng to some legal wrangling over which apprentice gets to inheirit what bit - the parens' covenant will likely also make some claims.

How much aid the characters can get from their parens depends very much on the specific saga/troupe.
At our table (AOT) they usually help very little and infact more often make demands on the PCs time, but if they are usually helpful people, it could be a flaw I suppose.

We decided to call it No Parens because it would work even if the Parens was in Twilight, or missing and presumed dead.

I do not think it should be a Story Flaw (as written) because it does not pull the character into stories -- in fact, it removes story possibilities. It just makes the Hermetic world a little bit harsher and darker for the magus.

My main point of comparison was the enmity Minor Hermetic Flaw from GotF: one of the six Gilds of the Rhine opposes you, and will vote against you at Tribunal, will not sponsor you for Mastership etc. Keep in mind that this can mean as little as a magus out of ten, and a magus' behaviour often means he will antagonize at least one Gild anyway. So No Parens did not seem much less of a disadvantage.

As was noted it probably depends on how "useful" a magus' parens tends to be in your saga; the books say relatively little about this (except that it's traditional for him to help you brew your longevity potion), but, modelling it on how useful elder magi PCs tend to be to their filii, in our sagas a living parens tends to be a moderately useful asset.

My only concern with this not being a story flaw is that it has some vague undefined effect, and seems to be applied only to story situations within your saga. Looking at only the main rule book, with the exception of personality flaws, the other flaws have some sort of game mechanic that comes into play. Gild Enmity which you offer as a comparable flaw does not have a game mechanic, but it also comes from a supplement. I happen to think that flaw is miscategorized and should be a story flaw, but wasn't to bypass the 1 story flaw per character rule. More than likely such a character is an enemy of one guild and a friend of another, at least that's what I infer from that particular flaw. I will also point out that the flaw is really only valid for games set in the Rhine Tribunal, or at least in a saga where the Gilds play a bigger role throughout the Order.

This is entirely saga and troupe dependent. If I had a munchkin in my group, whether he's the one who proposes the flaw or not, I'd be inclined to be conservative. If I have a bunch of players who believe the flaws are there to make richer characters and don't take an extreme min/max approach, then I'd probably allow it as a hermetic flaw. I get the impression you're asking us to affirm a course of action that you've already chosen, but I don't believe we can adequately do so, considering we don't know your troupe, or even how you run a saga.

In this case, if it were my saga, I would call it a story flaw, and then say that the story flaw rule doesn't apply to this particular flaw. I've done similar, for example in Bibracte here on the forums, I've ignored the Miles story flaw, as I think it happens to add a bit of a richer tapestry for characters to draw from.

Generally I think it is just a flavor and not a flaw. Still I would allow it if the character has some really disadvantageous flaws.

If it is true in your saga the flaw is OK.

It would be a story flaw only if they want to play stories around it. In this case it would be a major story flaw.

Absent Parens or Missing Parens might be better then?

I agree that it should be a Hermetic Flaw.

Although it has nothing to do with your magic it is something to do with your social interactions within the Order. Similar things (Infamous Master, Hedge Wizard, for example) are Hermetic Flaws.

I agree with RL, it works very well IMO as a Hermetic flaw. Although it could be a story flaw as well, limited of course to magi, because some Houses and Tribunals your Parens is very much a part of your identity and/or status. So if yours was missing and it would not affect the story because of the local, than I would call it Hermetic, but if you were in the Rhine or Normandy Tribunal and you were Tremere, then perhaps it would have a significant impact on stories.

As for nay sayers, if Continence, Optimistic, and Pessimistic can be flaws, then by all means "Abscent Parens" can certainly be one.

Of course I am often wrong and rarely imitated! :laughing:

The more I think about it, the less I feel like calling it a flaw.
It's really just flavour, mostly.

Not really. It CAN be a flaw. It is extrelely saga dependent, though. IMS parens do not play much of a role, since most of the time our characters come from other tribunals. The parentes certainly are a point of correspondence and contact in another tribunal, but that is about it. However, if you use your link with you parens to get protection from WW, your Longevity potion and get status things change somewhat. A parens-less character is much easier to face a WW unless he gets some protection from other magi, have to PAY for his LP quite handsomely (story time!).

In a sense it is like infamous master and other similar flaws. A status flaw that changes somewhat your interactions with other magi. So it is only a flaw if interaction with outside magi play a relevant role in your sga AND the cvharacter is the one in your covenant doing the dealing there :slight_smile:

Same situation than with the personality flaws in the other thread: if it plays as a flaw, generating stories it is a flaw. If it does not, it is just flavor and should be changed for something else.


I think it is a nice flaw. IF you use Parens actively in your saga. In my current sage this would be a perfect minor flaw. In the last one it would only be minor background description.

Anyway I think it should be discussed in the troupe. If the other players plan on interacting (and benefiting) from their Parens, it will be worth a flaw-point. If they all plan to work it out alone anyway it would not be.

Hum... There are existing flaws were you've got a parens, but he is hostile, actually working against you, or won't help you.

So this would, in all cases, be a lesser form of these. Given the choice, I prefer a dead parens than one who won't help me and pushes he around, saying I haven't passed a proper gauntlet.

As it is, in most sagas, this convey no penalties (so ain't a proper "normal" flaw) and doesn't bring stories.

To be a flaw, I'd thus include at least some other effect. Maybe his sodales think you are guilty of his disappearance. Maybe your house expect you to search for him / assume his responsabilities. Maybe your training was incomplete, or you were present (and scarred in some way) when he disappeared. But put some meat to it, instead of having it be a void.

To some extent this is true, but not completely. First of all, you do have a chance of reconciliation with an estranged parens; but you can't bring a dead one back to life. Second, as most people who have a bad relationship with a parent, child or sibling can attest, the fact that a parens is hostile against you does not remove the fact that he may well be hostile against others who want to harm you, so he still offers a certain degree of protection.

It´s a perfectly acceptable Flaw as long as it´s not being used by someone who is never in any way affected by it, by choice.

How about changing the name to Lost Parens instead? That lets the parens be dead, missing or whatever while not making it sound as the character has NEVER had a parens which it currently does.

I can see the magus posting sheets of paper with a picture of his parens around the tribunal and an Arcane connection to call if you find him :mrgreen:

Of course, given the existence of Hermetic necromantic effects even a dead Parens can be an interfering busy-body!