Problematic Personality Flaws

Continuing the discussion from Mythic Blood: Underpowered?:

OK, let's have a systematic look at this issue. It is something that could be fixed in errata.

These are all the Personality Flaws I can find that mention something other than pure roleplaying, broken into categories. I have included my thoughts on what should be done about them, and I would like feedback. Please let me know if I have missed any.

Church Upbringing
Minor, Personality
This Flaw covers children schooled by the Church and mostly raised by clerics as well, a fate befalling some orphans, bastards, Gifted children, and other misfits. The Church may act out of charity or a wealthy individual may have paid to discreetly get a difficult child out of the way. This secluded upbringing leaves the character less knowledgeable about the rest of society, which he finds unstructured, uncouth, and confusing. The player must spend 25 experience points from the normal budget on Artes Liberales, Latin, Music, Organization Lore: Church, or Theology. Unless the character has a Virtue that permits it, no other experience points may be spent on Academic Abilities.

Covenant Upbringing
Minor, Personality
You were raised in a large, old covenant that has little contact with the outside world. You might have very strange religious beliefs, and you certainly find medieval social and political structures very odd. You may take Latin and Order of Hermes Lore at character creation. While Latin cannot be your native language, you may speak a language closely related to Latin that is spoken only at your home covenant.

Faerie Upbringing
Minor, Personality
Perhaps you were abandoned by your true kin, and the faeries found you. Maybe your family actually lived in a faerie forest, or faeries took you as a babe. Though you are now back in human society, you feel at home with and have an enhanced understanding of faeries, magic, and other strange things. However, you find human society, including religion, bizarre. You may learn Faerie Lore at character generation.

Imagined Folk Tradition Vulnerability
Minor, Personality
Although this flaw closely resembles a Delusion, Imagined Folk Tradition Vulnerability has other game mechanical effects as well. This character utterly and sincerely believes that he has been touched by the fay, and that they have granted him his special skills — whether or not any such exist. So, naturally, he is convinced that he is as vulnerable to traditional wards and folk magic as the fey. Whenever there is talk about such folk remedies, or people around him try to perform them, he does his best to dissuade them. If he can get away with it, he removes or sabotage such wards; for instance, he sneaks around at night and removes any warding marks or materials at doorways. Finally, he exhibits strange behavior around active wards or ritualistic actions. This could be refusing to shake hands with a person right after they have drawn the sign of the cross, or flinching whenever salt is flung over someone’s shoulder. On the plus side, this Flaw allows the character to purchase a score of 1 (but no more) in Faerie Lore at character creation. This is because he needs a rudimentary knowledge of the fay and the wards against them in order to be able to act this way. Without such knowledge, his behavior is based on what he thinks such wards might be.

Magical Fascination
Minor, Personality
This character is intensely interested in supernatural and magical phenomena, to the exclusion of all other motivations. It is as if his life is hollow and drab without these experiences. He will involve himself in any supernatural investigation, social encounter, or confrontation. He must try and find out as much as he can about it, and he is curious and has busy hands, definitely trying to take souvenirs. To represent the scraps of knowledge he has, he is allowed to have a score of 1 (but no more) in either Magic or Faerie Lore at character creation. But most of the time, he is filling in the blanks himself and making it up as he goes along, enthusiastically.

These Flaws give the character access to extra Abilities, to account for the background without requiring a Virtue. I am inclined to say that this is not a problem, but maybe drop the requirement to spend xp on those Abilities for Church Upbringing.

Foreign Upbringing
Minor, Personality
This Flaw is somewhat similar to Covenant Upbringing, but means that the character is a foreigner and comes from a remote or isolated corner of Mythic Europe. He appears and sounds nothing like the locals, has odd customs, habits, and religion (although he need not be pagan), and is quite confused by local society. However, he is not an Outsider, and has been accepted — for the most part. His Native Language is one foreign to the saga, and he needs to learn another language in order to communicate with the rest of the turb. The maximum scores at character creation for locality-dependent Abilities like Language, Area Lore, or Organization Lore, as well as some social Abilities, are half (round up) that which his age normally allows.

Sheltered Upbringing
Minor, Personality
You grew up completely separated from society, knowing only your parents or mentor. Recently you have been introduced to a wondrous new world of strangers, and you are overwhelmed. Depending on your personality, you might react with contempt, fear, or wonder. You are unable to function normally because you cannot understand most human customs. You may not take Bargain, Charm, Etiquette, Folk Ken, Guile, Intrigue, or Leadership as beginning Abilities, but you may learn them in play.

These restrict access to certain Abilities. It might be better to switch these to recommendations — if you want to play a foreigner, you probably don't want to make him an expert on the local culture. Mind you, I have Foreign Upbringing, and Japanese people hire me to teach Japanese culture to other Japanese people. So maybe just recommendations.

Judged Unfairly
Minor, Personality
Somehow you come across the wrong way to people, and they universally distrust and underestimate you. You catch no one’s eye, impress no one, and can get no one to take you seriously. If you ever find an exceptional someone who sees you as you want to be seen, you will cling to that person.

Determines how other characters behave, so not a Personality Flaw. Maybe make it General, and add the game effect that you cannot get a positive Reputation. (It's not as bad as The Gift, because people don't start off prejudiced against you.)

Minor, Personality
Your natural body rhythms try to keep you sleeping until noon. You are at –1 on all rolls made between dawn and midday. Conversely, you have little difficulty staying up at night. Though you enjoy no special benefits in the dark, your companions may decide to saddle you with night guard duty on a regular basis to use your attributes to best effect.

This works fine if we just drop the mechanical effect, I think.

Minor, Personality
You have no interest in combat, nor do you have any ability with it. You might be unreasonably afraid of combat, or a complete pacifist, or prone to freezing and doing nothing.

This is a legacy Flaw, but I don't think it's actually a problem. No explicit mechanical effects, and you need a Virtue to have Martial Abilities in ArM5. Maybe leave alone?

Minor, Personality
You have had a Conditional Curse (also known as a "Geas") cast upon you and must obey the restrictions of your prohibition or be penalized by the curse. If you fail to adhere to the restrictions, you will suffer the curse in full force. The troupe must agree on both the restriction, and the curse that strikes you if you break it.

Should be a Supernatural Flaw.

Minor, Personality
You tend not to notice that situations are threatening. You start with a Personality Trait of Reckless +3, and can never have a positive Personality Trait reflecting care or patience. Whenever the storyguide deems it necessary for you to check bravery or a similar Personality Trait, make a roll against your Reckless score instead. A success means you do not realize your danger, and can act immediately without further checks.

Remove the mechanics and make it available as a Major, and this is fine.

Minor, Personality
You have sworn to do something difficult, and breaking your vow is a serious matter. Example vows include never raising a weapon, never speaking, or living in poverty. If you do fail to uphold your vow, you must perform some kind of atonement, whether it be religious penance or coming to terms with your failure in some other way. Furthermore, your Confidence Score drops by one until you atone. Depending on your vow, some people may respect your dedication, giving you a good Reputation of level 1 among those people.

Remove the mechanics, and make it available as a Major, and this is fine.


For what it's worth:
Agree about Judged Unfairly, Nocturnal and Noncombattant.
Same thing about Prohibition.

For Reckless and Vow, I'm ambivalent. Not about making them major, this is a good idea IMO, but about removing the mechanics. It makes sense, and brings them in line with other flaws, but they are also useful (reckless) or provide an incentive (Vow.

I think that reckless, along with the rest of the "adjective" based flaws (greedy, wrathful, religious etc) should also be available as major as well as in minor.

Church upbringing seems really "good" as a flaw, as it unlocks a whole bunch of academic skills (Art Libs. Latin bring the top ones). I have a hard time imagining taking ut as a background but not spending points in them, although "exactly 25xp" is a slightly awkward amount ( a skill at 2 and two at 1). While it feels weak for a virtue, it seems like a [free] one with the restriction.

I think that magical fascination could be expanded i to [supernatural] fascination, and give access to any one [realm] lore, opening noth divine and infernal.

I think that the rewriting of judged unfairly is good.

I don't think nocturnal needs to be changed.

For Nocturnal, I think keeping the mechanics and changing it to General would be a better option.


______ Upbringing: Privileged Upbringing and Feral Upbringing mess with your initial abilities and are General. I'd suggest that all "______ Upbringing" should simply be moved to General.

There is a minor problem in doing that. For some of them (such as Covenant Upbringing) there isn't any downside to make it a proper flaw instead of a weak virtue labeled as a flaw.

Maybe all "Upbringing" should limit how you spend xp, requiring that some of it is spent on certain abilities in the same way that Church Upbringing does? For example, Covenant Upbringing should require you to spend 25 xp (but no more) on Latin and OoH (maybe the list could be expanded to include Artes Liberales, Code of Hermes, and/or Finesse, idk).

In the same way, besides allowing Faerie Lore, Faerie Upbringing could limit xp spent social skills to half the usual score by age (you never practiced them on humans), but make an exception for Etiquette and Bargain, that you can buy as usual.

Maybe this strays too far away from simple errata, and might not be suitable for the moment.

On a final analysis, I'd say this disconnection between (Privileged, Feral) Upbringing and (Church, Faerie, Covenant, Foreign, Sheltered) Upbringing isn't too big of a deal, and things could be kept as they currently are.

Imagined Folk Tradition Vulnerability: allows to buy score 1 in Faerie Lore, but it's essentially a particular flavor of Delusion. I'd agree that it's not a problem to keep it as Personality.

Magical Fascination: Driven with an allowance for a score of 1 in Magic or Faerie Lore. not a problem to keep as Personality.

Judged Unfairly: it makes sense to change to General if the bit about positive Reputation is added. If not, I'd leave as is. It isn't a big deal.

Nocturnal: I second Erik's proposal, keep as is and change to General.

Noncombatant: leave alone.

Prohibition: I second the change to Supernatural, never understood why it wasn't.

Reckless: agreed.

Vow: if "remove the mechanics" applies to both the bit about Confidence Score and the one about Reputation, agreed.

Or maybe you don't live in Mythic Europe and you have one of the Educated / Baccalaureus / Well-Traveled / Magister in Artibus virtues.

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There is a lot here so...
I agree with removing the mechanics on vow, I agree that prohibition should be supernatural. I do not think the mechanics need to be removed for reckless since they only interact with other personality traits. I agree that noncombatant can be left alone, nocturnal could either drop the mechanics or add balancing ones (+1 between sunset and midnight), which I personally think would make it cooler, though at that point it might need to be reclassified as general.
I agree with making judged unfairly a general, maybe add a note that those with Gift or Magical air may not take the flaw unless they have the Gentle gift.
For foreign upbringing and sheltered upbringing I would add "without SG approval" to the restricted list, allowing for exceptions that fit the story, for example the sheltered son of a wealthy merchant may well have learned to bargain, but the list generally makes sense.
Looking at these and the flaws which give access to extra abilities I wonder if a new category of "background" might not be appropriate with a limitation of one background which is separate from personality flaws, and could also include background virtues, some of which might currently be general virtues where receiving multiples of them (such as craft guild training, educated, etc.) should probably be severely limited anyways.

Consider making as many of these as possible (including the Upbringing flaws) General rather than Personality.

I and my players are constantly bumping into the “two personality flaws” limit, with not enough general ones to choose from. Grogs addressed this, but most players don’t have that book and only have the core book.

Nocturnal should definitely be reclassified as General IMHO. The text even blames it on "your natural body rhythm", so it clearly fits better with the other flaws that have to do with a character's physical body.

I do find it weird that the various Upbringing virtues are General, while the Upbringing flaws are Personality. While they flavour a character's personality, I'd normally expect that to show up in the choice of traits and maybe other Personality flaws. Their mechanical effects only appear at character generation time. For example, if the character David Chart was being created as the real David currently is, I'd veto Foreign Upbringing on the grounds that he's been living in Japan for quite a while now. A David Chart who had freshly moved there would be quite another matter.

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I disagree with removing the mechanics from reckless. I like the hard effect. IMO all personality flaws (greedy, lecherous, pious,...) should induce a mechanical penalty when ignored, like costing a confidence point. Regain confidence when leaning into personality flaws.


This is because General Flaws have to impose some sort of concrete penalty or disadvantage, and most of the upbringings do not.

Yes, it does. That's why there is a cap on the xp. It might be better to leave it exactly as it is, even though that is slightly inconsistent with the way these things are supposed to work.

I'll wait a bit longer for comments before making any decisions.

Similarly, a personality flaw needs to give some concrete roleplaying directions. The upbringing flaws are a bit too woolly in that respect IMHO. (And the mechanics distracts from RP so that the little direction there is is easily lost.) At the same time they are too virtuous to count as general flaws, and too weak to be virtues. In short, they are neither fowl nor fish.

The same can be said for nocturnal. It is too gentle for a general flaw. Make it, say -2, and it would be a good general flaw. Make it zero, and it is a good personality flaw. If we have both, they should not be compatible though.

Vow and prohibition are in a somewhat similar vein. One may make a personal vow which defines ones personality, or one may take a public vow, which defines ones role in society. The former would be a personality trait, but the latter would have social repercussions when broken, and thus be a general flaw. Vow seems to try to do both, and not really do either particularly well. Prohibitions seems to be more clearly a supernatural flaw, with real supernatural repercussions, and even be to involuntary to be a personality thing.

I agree with @Tjenner too. The mechanics of Reckless is exactly the mechanics that personality flaws should have. Personality flaws and personality traits govern the same aspects of the game, so a solid link is fair and square. It is a pity that it is not done consistently.

Quick summary of my decisions.

I have left the Upbringings as they are. They aren't enough of a problem.

Noncombatant is also unchanged.

Judged Unfairly and Nocturnal have become General, and Prohibition has become Supernatural.

Reckless and Vow have had the mechanics removed and been made possibly Major.


If youre doing another errata, would it be possible to advocate for a pdf? I spend a lot of time out of internet and keeping a webpage loaded on my phone is hit or miss at best, not to mention it being pretty hard to navigate like that anyway

I will see what we can do. (Or, rather, what the people at Atlas can do.) The raw file is really not formatted as a PDF, but there should be a way to do it.


Having the Errata as PDF brings also the advance that you can bring everyone in the group on the same edition of the rules to base your game on. While a pure webpage version might change or even go down without much future notice.

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Most browsers can print the web page to PDF, can't they?

Those methods often leave the text not searchable depending on which particular print to pdf option you are using.


I was referring to the other options, which do set the PDF as searchable text.

I think it depends on the user’s software pdf printer than anything. Some can produce a searchable pdf, some cannot. At this point I would be unsurprised if most can but even if it requires a selection in the dialog that can easily be forgotten.