Poor, poor grogs

So I was hashing out some generic character templates for a new covenant and I noticed something.
Initially my idea was to make the entire town poor subsistence farmers (all Trivial Laborers, in City&Guild-speak) and have the magi either import or train all the specialists they needed for day-to-day operations. I wanted to see how much the overall quality of life could be improved as a side-effect of starting a Spring covenant.
Turns out, grogs can't be Poor. It's a Major Flaw.
Before I get a bevy of responses, "Just ignore that restriction," obviously I could do that. Not the point. I'm just wondering if other people have noticed that, and if so what their reaction was. Is being Poor (as opposed to having a Trivial income) so unusual that it automatically qualifies the character for Companion status?
Just wondering what people think of that.

Not much.

I was going to ignore this, but, what the hey.

A Flaw is only as valuable as the penalty it applies, and that in proportion to the story. So, while a poor character is a poor character is a poor character, a poor peasant really doesn't matter that much in a Saga. Neither would a rich one, not even one with a really big turnip of his very own. Not even a hundred of 'em. :wink:

Cuchulainshound, Poor and rich affect the character's experience point gain and starting xp. Thus the flaw does have an impact on the story.

Guessmyname, A character can be poor without the poor flaw. This means that while they have almost nothing, they don't need to work harder than ususal in order to keep that almost nothing.

Thanks Eric, I've read the rules once or twice. Even the parts about CharGen and Flaws. :wink:

However, one peasant with ~70% of the normal starting experience does not, imo, impact a story enough to justify a Major flaw, which would comprise 100% of that character's Flaw points. It affects their story, but not the Saga. Not even if ~all~ the local peasants had only ~70% of normal skill allotment.

Why? Because peasants are simply not that important in (99% of) Sagas, and any important covenfolk like (shield) grogs base their (ongoing) learning on the Covenant, not the local economy. And grogs can always be found somewhere other than the local impoverished locale, or have been raised in the Covenant and are not affected. And any true Specialists (not much-covered "peasants") are not what we're talking about.

I mean, what is that- a few skills at 3 instead of 4, maybe? 4 vs 5? for a peasant?

Now, for a Storyguide to wave their hand and say that the locale is impoverished, and to make that a part of the Saga, that could be interesting. But the skills of those peasants really, really just doesn't matter enough to justify it, except to them.

If a peasant, a grubby, substistence farming peon, is important enough to build, they're important enough to make an individual with 2 or 3 minor flaws, not one sweeping major one. Not this one.

In my foggy memory of the aforementioned rules, I remember something about a peasant's role in the overall story. I bet you do to, without me citing it. 8)

Backs slowly away from the Big Names
Cuchulainshound makes a good point, if indirectly and in a somewhat bitey fashion. For the purposes of this experiment, I think I'll assume that the grogs were created using normal rules but have become Poor due to current market conditions, and because this is a temporary Flaw it doesn't really "count".
That said, it says something about Mythic Europe that you can make a town of Unaging Faerie Blooded Skinchangers, but not a town of "poor people" :slight_smile:

Cuchulainshound, you have right. And the issue is similar with other big flaws like foreigner and such. However the troupe or SG may decide taking this poor flaw as minor for grogs if they wants so.

I was thinking about a similar question with grogs.
Being a simple free people like a peasant or citizen is a free virtue. So if some grogs would be servants (almost like slaves) should I allow taking a -1 social class flaw?
I felt this would be an advancement to servant grogs because it is not a real hidrance in the story.
What are your opinions?

Purely personal, I would allow major flaws. I like it if grogs add something to the story. Grogs do not need the finesse of three minor flaws, but one well-played flaw gives them some flavour. And that is more obvious if it is a mayor flaw.

Most covenant grogs are covenfolk or custos, and those have their economy based on the covenant's, and lack an independant income.

Minor Flaw:
Scraping By
The character has somewhat less income than normal. The character's life isn't so stressed as to have to work another season each year, but for whatever reason, this character has less money than is normal for his social class. The character may only have inexpensive gear at start, and is unable to make a significant purchase without outside help, due to debts or other circumstances. This flaw is incompatable with Poor and Wealthy.

Or, allow grogs to be Poor.

OK, to explain the restriction you need to understand a minor definitional point: a grog is a covenant guard. Arguably in the new edition, because the use of terminology has been loosened, a grog is any covenant servant, but clearly in previous editions a grog was part of the "turb" of armed guards for magi, and the term "turb" is, retconnedly after SoI in 4ed, short for the Latin "conturbem", a Latin term which means a group of soldiers who sleep in the same tent. "tent group".

Poor peasants don't have the "Never able to take major flaws" thing because poor peasants are -not- grogs. A grog has a special meaning.

OK, now to explain "poor". "Poor" and "wealthy" are compared to others in your social class, not on your actual wealth. A poor bishop is still a lot richer than a wealthy beggar.

So, you can create a village of poor peasants. NPCs don't need balanced V&F anyway, by the way. The point is that as soon as they have magi supporting them they rapidly cease to be poor.

Well, the problem here is that your grogs need to muck up your magi characters to get this flaw. To have Poor grogs, you need to explain why your magi treat their servants in ways generally considered sinful and deemeaning in the Middle Ages.

This is IMO, betyter covered with a Covenant quality. Again, why are your magi choosing this?

A magus's servant who has a lot less free time than a typical; servant has a flaw like Poor, yes.

Socially, though, the servants of the rich are a lot better off than peasants. I'd keep it at A 0 virtue, unless they have a lot of power in their role.

Touché. I totally agree.

Yes, grogs living in the covenant should be treated like this.
But there are other sidemen who are not feeded by the covenant and play role in the story. They are only sidemen that is why they are treated like grogs.
Cuchulainshound's point of view helps resolving this case.

Thanks, B, that's what the dialectic is all about. Two opposite views, from which someone forms a new one, out of those two. Not necessarily a middle ground, but a third, more acceptable option.

Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis.

Doesn't matter if you agree with "me" or "him"- the exchange of ideas and the thought that comes out of that exchange is the important process. :wink:

Good points, all (as usual, T!). If a ST wants to give an entire town some burden so that they only earn 2/3 of the normal XP, and are all sub-par, as part of the Saga, that's fine. They're NPC's- make them all Dark-Secret Curse-of-Venus Lycanthropic Outlaws who all Age Quickly- if it helps the story, it's all to the good.

Similarly, if you want a few peasants who have an abundance of time on their hands and are well above average in XP, do what you need for the storyline you have in mind.

If it's a PC or otherwise more significant character, for some reason, a parallel logic could follow- rule that it's an exception for this one character, and off ya go. You're the SG, take the reins and do some drivin'.