Personality Traits +/-3 or +/-6

There is a debate raging in my head about the proper range for Personality Traits. Others will doubtless disagree, but I find the rules and the supplements to be inconsistant on this subject.

The core rules describe a Personality Trait as a having a range from -3 to +3. Several of the RoP supplements assert that a Major Personality Flaw represents a +6 in a trait. Covenants includes rules for covenfolk Loyality as low as -6.

To me, those higher numbers seem so extreme as to be absurd, cartoonish even... but I'm sure the folks who use those rules, and the folks who wrote them, have a very different take on them.

So, I'm interested. What's your take? What should the proper range for Personality Traits be?

=/-3 is the normal range for a personality trait, describing a major personality flaw as +6 does not seem unreasonable if it is to be compared with other personality traits. A Major personality flaw is meant to dominate a characters personality even when it would be wise to ignore it so it must overide 'normal' personality traits , actually I would be annoyed at any player trying to weasel his way around a major personality trait by saying I have lecherous (major ) but I'll avoid trying to chat up the most beautiful woman around becasue her father is dangerous so I'll use my cautious trait to overcome it, I would expect that would mean he tries to seduce her carefully no ignoring your major flaw. I would only use the +6 for the purpose of magic.

The covenant loyalty trait covers a wide range of loyalty it would normally be +/- 3 beyond that range you have fanatically loyal to the death extremists or people who are actively disloyal and would rather see you dead then do their job either of which is beyond the norm.

At up to +3/-3, what you see is a normal spread of personality. Someone who. say, has "Wrathful, -3" is a very angry person. "Happy +3" is upbeat and bubbly, perhaps to the point of being annoying.

For some Major flaws or supernatural afflictions, you might see up to +6/-6, but that takes you beyond the scope of normal personality and into the realm of what we now might call mental disorders. That one personality trait, at that point, would likely define their lives.

Someone with "Fearful" -3 is a meek, timid and jumpy person. Someone with Fearful -6 has debilitating paranoia and can be easily sent into hysterics, catatonia or violent psychosis by not-uncommon stressors.

"Wrathful" -6 would be someone prone to sudden, violent, homicidal rages who actively seeks out objects of his rage. He should almost certainly ry to hurt himself or others on a not infrequent basis.

"Happy" +6 is outright manic, likely incapable of sorrow - and in fact cannot relate to the sorrow of others. She would be outright unempathetic and might be overly gullible and trusting as a side-effect, as her unbounded joy overwhelms negative emotions of suspicion or malice.

I consider any trait of +5/-5 or above to be something which should be played as a "Derangment" from the White Wolf system. It should also make rival traits impossible. (e.g. No Wrathful -6 and Compassionate +3).

See, by my reading of the rules, they don't say that at all.

Emphasis mine, but those are to my mind the key elements of Major Personality Flaw.

And this, which is also my understanding of what a +6/-6 would mean, is why I don't think a Major Personality as defined above qualifies. Having a Major Personality Flaw isn't a form of insanity, it's just an element of the character's personality that is available to the storyguide as an easy story hook.

As far as I can tell you are agreeing with me.
However the simple answer is as long as you are not paying in a game where the SG or other players consider that your description is the same as a +/- 6 then don't use those numbers. I cannot remember any (I could be wrong) where the personality trait numbers actually matter they are just guides to the personaity of the character so your Lazy +1 is less noticable than your Charitable +2

Don't negative scores translate into, not very something. So some one who has "Wrathful, -3" is not vey wrathful and is mechanically unlikely to take a wrathful action. So a person who is very sad could either be "Sad +3" or "Happy -3". This gives you a chance to use adjectives both ways without having to figure out what the oposite of a word is to describe a character as not something.

This is my understanding as well. Though, I would say that Happy -3 isn't necessarily the same as Sad +3. Sad +3 means the character is likely to be sad. Happy -3 means the character is unlikely to be happy... he might be sad, or simply indifferent. A Wrathful -3 character isn't necessarily a calm person, but is unlikely to respond with violent anger to a situation.

I agree there. My Happy Sad example was a bit cludgy or at least Elegant -2. There are fine point differences between a positive score in a Trait and a negative score in the Trait's oposite. I like a mix of positive and negative modifiers when I describe a character. Since it's important to know both what a character is and what they are not.

Well, the Ease Factors run up to 12. So a person with +6 will have a 50% chance of maintaining his Trait in the face of extreme adversity. A Brave (+6) grog will have a 50% chance of standing his ground against the dragon, a Lecherous (+6) bard will have a 50% chance of trying to bed the count's daughter even though it will surely be suicidal. That is rather extreme.

On the other hand, a Brave +3 shield grog will have only a 50% chance of standing by his magus' side against the giant wolf (a "clear superior enemy", EF 9), and the Lecherous +3 bard will refrain from moving on his host's daughter, as "Average people usually don't do this", 50% of the time. Which I reckon is not extreme enough.

So, my own opinion is that the systems doesn't quite capture what I imagine the numbers to mean, and that the rules explicitly say the numbers should essentially be meaningless for comapnions and magi anyway so taking up +6 makes sense to represent those truly extreme characters.


Thanks for the correction!

Wrathful and compassionate are not in opposition to each other. Wrathful and calm, more like it.

Have tested even higher than 6, cartoonish not really, unusual and extreme, you betcha!
As it is, i run it something like +-3 is the "normal" range, traits that everyone can have. +-4 uses a Minor V/F, +-5 uses a Major V/F and +-6 uses a Greater V/F. Before i added the Greater category, i had Major for +-6. Adding G. i placed it at +-8, but even though it still worked it got a bit overboard sometimes. So i reset to 4/5/6 instead and while i´m not quite happy about that either(too small difference between V/F levels) it works a little better at least.
Still, the 4/6/8 isn´t nearly as bad as it might sound. Characters just dont easily get away from the trait.