Personality Flaws & Personality Traits

OK, dumb question time...

One thing about 5th ed that I just don't understand is the relationship between Personality Flaws and Personality Traits. Can someone explain to me how they are supposed to work together? Having played prior editions of ArsM, I get Personality Traits. I sorta get that Personality Flaws are a little like Story Flaws in that they are plot hooks, but how do your Personality Flaws relate to your Personality Traits. When should something be a Flaw as well as (or instead of?) a Trait?

Some personality Flaws directly indicate the trait they bestow (Reckless +3 for example). Otherwise, for my characters, I do create a trait for each Flaw. Haughty (Overconfident), Angry (Wrathful), and so forth. Other players do what they want, I still scan both Personalities and Flaws for such things.

Every character has Personality Traits. They are a sort of short-hand summary of how that character is role played - the things that stand out, or that make them stand out from a generic vanilla cardboard cutout character. These can be positive or negative, or somewhere in between. But they are there for 2 reasons - role play guidelines, and the occasional personality roll for important junctures for grogs. (A mage or companion does ~not~ have to be run by their Personality Traits! These are tendencies, not rules. However, fair is fair, and if a "timid +3" mage keeps standing up to dragons and ogres, perhaps he should lose the "timid" and gain "soft spoken" or "unpredictable".)

Personality Flaws come in two flavours, Minor and Major. The Minor ones DO color the action most of the time, but are rarely dealbreakers if the player wishes the character to act against them - at worst, a SG can require the character to spend a Confidence Point to do so. Thus, they are stronger than Personality Traits and as Flaws are intended to give the Character a reason to act (and the SG a way to generally predict that character's reactions.)

The difference between those two is, I would say, concept and commitment - with a Flaw, it's defining part of the character concept, as opposed to an observed tendency over time.

Any Merchant wants a good deal, and "greedy" might be something that could be applied to any that pushes the most out of a deal, but a (Minor) Greedy is the way that character is.

A Major Flaw is similar, but forces the Character to act. It is the defining personality feature of that Character. A character with an OverConfident personality trait might or might not go where no man dare tread, one with a Minor Flaw should and usually will, but one with a Major Flaw simply must.

Yeah its usually a good idea, unless a Flaw or Virtue states something i usually go with a +-0-2, where a 0 means that the trait is there but not pronounced(possibly not yet).

I prefer not to be totally strict about it even if I roughly agree with you partly. Any strong trait can be as defining as a Virtue or Flaw, but usually isnt, is more like what we prefer to play it as.
That leaves more headroom for both player and GM.

(Commuter's Parma) Various places in in the books indicate that a minor personality flaw is equivalent to a +3 personality trait while a major flaw is +6.

Yeah and unless you are overly strict about "playing rigidly by the numbers" that works out fairly well.
And then as Marko and i said assigning (lower) values to V&F that doesnt have a stated trait works out quite well.

Personality traits are there as notes for the character.

Flaws are there as story hooks.

A Player should not be allowed to dodge a Major Flaw, personality or otherwise, simply because they do not feel like having it activate at that moment. If it hurts the story (not the character, the story!), then a SG can always wave it off.

But a Flaw is more concrete and present than a Trait - that's why it's worth being a "flaw" in the first place.

Do note that Flaws are not necesarilly disadvantages. Especially the Flaws that were once Virtues in earlier editions! For example, Reckless and Carefree, both former virtues, both are now flaws and the wording is pretty much the same. I have to restrain myself from taking Reckless every single time, because it is such an obvious advantage. Well, for me it is an advantage, because I play my characters that way anyway, with or without the flaw.

Most Minor Story Flaws are actually Virtues as well; Mentor, Close Family Ties, Aimal Companion/Magical Animal Companion, and so on.

What's the right word?... "No." Yeah, that would be the one.

A Flaw is not necessarily something "bad" - that's in the explanation about Flaws (par 3, p 36). But if they do not "hinder the character", then they do "enhance stories" - and that part of them is not up to the Player to decide, when and if they should be triggered. It's up to the StoryGuide (hence the name, the one who guides the story - who is not that player. :wink: ).

A Flaw is never a tool for the Character to use as they please, a pure advantage, as Virtues (usually) are. That is the important diff.

Up to the storyguide, eh? Well, 75% of the time that would be me, so I reverse your no and say thee Yes! If they did not have a Virtue benefit, they would be Major Story Flaws. Therein is the key difference.

Just checked it out last night. There is no such rule. In fact, it states that Personality traits generally fall into a rage of -3 to +3. You can only go above 3 if you have the Heroic Personality Flaw.

One flaw I've given the magus I'm playing in my current saga is optimistic, which I took as a major personality flaw. So now this character has blissfully indulged in experimentation in each lab activity to date (all of which have been longevity rituals-- one for him, two for other magi, one for a non-gifted redcap, and one for a mundane companion of the covenant)... even with the sometimes..err... unusual results I just have him shrug and assure folks that the next attempt will be better. I'm pretty certain this character is going to die in a lab accident someday at this rate.

Moral of this tale:

Some flaws don't look that bad until they bite you.

The biggest difference between the traits and the flaws, is that while you can switch your traits around whenever you feel like it, your flaws are part of your essensial nature, and will never change.

Never say never :wink:
RoP-Magic has rules for how to transform Flaws into Virtues :smiley: