Rewritten for second go.
A character has a set of traits, which describe how they are likely to react to the events around them, what they may be drawn to and compelled to do.
- Tempers are associated with the Divine. A temper describes one of the best things about the character, the path to redemption and Heaven. It is closely related to the character's spirituality. Tempers are defined and altered following the character's morality.
- Vices are associated with the Infernal. A vice describes one of the worst parts of the character's soul, the kind of thing that will give them unto temptation and send them to Hell. It is closely related to the character's physicality. Vices are defined and altered following the character's morality.
- Essences are associated with Magic. An essence is the unchanging part of the character that defines and describes him overall. It can be any adjective or definition that describes the character essentially and objectively.
- Sympathies are associated with Faerie. A sympathy describes the character's relationship to a particular class of subjects. The character resonates strongly with one of those subsets, and is strongly drawn to them. This relationship is defined by the feelings and perceptions of others about the character.
- Ambient personality traits are wholly mundane. They are your benign, non-impirtant bits of information about the character.
Each Trait modifies how the character is played, and each is assigned a value from 0 to 10.
- Scores between 0 and 3 are reasonable and typical.
- Scores between 4 and 8 are unusual, extreme cases.
- Scores of 9+ border upon the inhuman (and may cross that line), and represent the most extreme conviction or obsession. Oftentimes, the end result of transformation or becoming an NPC.
Character Traits are optional, but it should be noted that important characters have such traits. Having traits grants benefits and options, which not all characters have. When making a player character, the effort in specifying these traits comes with these gains. This is beneficial to the storyguide, who gets something to work with when building stories, and to the player, who will generally favor having a character who is both important and more potent. When describing a not-important NPC or a grog, traits may not be needed, which is fitting for characters of minimal importance and power.
Some Flaws (prominently, Personality Flaws) specify a minimum Score for a Personality Trait. A few Virtues do likewise. Such a trait might possibly be increased by player choices or actions, but may not decrease below that limit (and are extremely hard to decrease at all) without first losing the Flaw or Virtue in question.
Traits are naturally mutable. Their scores, even names, can change over the course of the saga. A good guide would be to change the Trait by one in either direction after the adventure concludes, if it was tested ot brought up in some way. Another way would be to change its name into another, closely-related Trait, or change a Trait's Realm alignment.
Traits are normally dormant, meaning they do not impact the game mechanically - only guide a character's actions. However, in certain cases the Trait may "awaken", either via corresponding virtue, Trait Influence, or supernatural intervention. Awakened Traits have a tangible, mechanical impact.
- Temper: When acting toward a goal that resonates with the character's temper, add the trait modifier to mental Characteristic rolls. Conversely, when acting against a goal that resonates with the character's temper (or acting towards one that directly opposes it), subtract the trait modifier from mental Characteristic rolls.
- Vice: When acting toward a goal that resonates with the character's vice, add the trait modifier to physical Characteristic rolls. Conversely, when acting against a goal that resonates with the character's vice (or acting towards one that directly opposes it), subtract the trait modifier from physical Characteristic rolls.
- Essence: Supernatural effects that would force a character to act or be against its essence may mysteriously fail - treat the score of this trait as a bonus to Natural Resistance rolls against the triggering supernatural effect, but also a penalty to Natural Resistance rolls against magic that would nudge the character toward their essence.
- Sympathy: Treat the modifier of this trait as a bonus to Ability rolls while acting within the defined subset, but if it is a stress die, increase the number of botch dice rolled by the trait's modifier.
- In addition to four important traits, a character may have a number of non-important "ambient" personality traits. These traits serve as roleplaying aid first and foremost, and do not have to conform to any guideline - for example, "tells funny stories", “fond of cats and dogs”, “likes wine and cheese” or “afraid of witches” are all viable ambient traits. Ambient traits can be inverted as well, but should never be impactful in the mechanical sense, like tempers, vices, essences and sympathies are - only via storytelling opportunities. An ambient trait can evolve into another kind over the course of the story.
You may choose to invert your trait's score. In this case, the character is put away from, rather than drawn to certain behaviours. Add a "-" sign before the trait's score to indicate its inversion. Modify the benefits and penalties of the trait as follows:
- An inverted temper grants a mental Characteristic bonus when acting against the temper, and grants a mental Characteristic bonus when acting toward it;
- An inverted vice grants a physical Characteristic bonus when acting against the vice, and grants a physical Characteristic bonus when acting toward it;
- An inverted essence grants a bonus to Natural Resistance rolls against effects that would nudge them toward it, but the same penalty against effects that would force the character to act or be against it;
- An inverted sympathy reduces the number of botch dice on Ability rolls when acting within the defined subset, but also subtracts the trait's modifier from those Ability rolls.
Sometimes you may not know how your character would react to a certain event, or what would be their proactive approach - in such a case, choose the most fitting trait and add a simple die to its score. The higher the result, the more likely your character would be to act upon that trait. An inverted trait subtracts from the roll instead of adding to it.
Other times the storyguide may call upon a personality test, where the character is tempted to act upon the trait. In this case, roll a simple die, add the chosen trait's score and compare the result to the Ease Factor set by the storyguide. An inverted trait subtracts from the roll instead of adding to it. If the test succeeds, the character retains agency and may engage with the problem however they wish; if the test fails, however, it is a strong indication of how they should act.
Given the special relationship between Divine and Infernal, their traits are suppressed - a Demon has a suppressed temper, while an Angel has a suppressed vice. An angel’s vice represents the potential folly of its free will, although since doing so would make them fall, few angels ever act upon it. A demon's suppressed temper represents that which it fell from.
A suppressed trait always fails to impact a character's actions, nor is it considered awakened. It is, nevertheless, a vital part of the character, and so should be noted down if it ever comes up.
You may uncover another person's Trait by at least fifteen minutes of close observation of their habits and behaviours. Make a Perception + Folk Ken stress roll (You may add Realm Lore as well if you are looking for particular types of Traits; for example, you can add Faerie Lore if you are looking only for Sympathies) against an Ease Factor of 15 - the Trait's Score. An Awakened trait is easier to spot, thus the Ease Factor of spotting an awakened Trait is lowered by 3. If the opponent knows they're being observed, they may add their Communication + Guile to the Ease Factor to mislead the observer.
Learning another's Trait:
stress die + Perception + Folk Ken + (Realm) Lore (if looking for particular Realm)
Ease Factor 15 - Trait Score - 3 (if awakened) + opponent's Communication + Guile (if he's pretending otherwise)
You may develop temporary traits via Trait Influence. To this end, you must practice either personal (practical) or ceremonial influence, at the end of which you may make a Trait Influence roll - a simple die, plus Presence, plus Leadership (or another appropriate Ability). Then, compare the result to the Ease Factor. An instilled trait has a score corresponding to the highest met Ease Factor. The Ease Factor equals 6 + the Trait Score (thus, instilling a trait with score of +3 requires Ease Factor of 15)
Traits gained via Trait Influence awaken on their own when the character steps into any aura aligned with the corresponding Trait's Realm, allowing one to both gain benefits and suffer penalties from the Trait.
simple die + Presence + Leadership (or any appropriate Ability)
Temporary Traits cannot advance - only permanent ones do. On the other hand, they are not limited by the character's Warping Score.
Personal Influence requires a season to accomplish. It does not interfere with other seasonal activities, unless the season is genuinely free, in which case you may spend it instilling the Trait with more intensity. This grants a +3 bonus to the following roll. At the end of the season, make a Trait Influence roll; the result gauges how strong the instilled Trait is. Traits gained via Personal Influence generally fade within a year, unless reinforced by spending more seasons practising the influence.
- Temper: A character of holy disposition may wish to influence others by setting a good example, although it requires spiritual authority over their flock - a parent's authority over their child, or a bishop's charge over their see. To instil a Temper, you must spend a decent amount of free time interacting with those you wish to influence. Both you and those you want to influence must have a genuinely free season to benefit from the bonus. You cannot instil Tempers upon yourself this way.
- Vice: An infernally tainted character may wish to inspire the same or similar negative traits that he or she possesses. It is worth noting that only willing souls can be given a vice - opposing the influence makes the attempt automatically fail. In addition, doing so demands a certain degree of spiritual authority over them. To instil a Vice, you must regularly interact with folk you wish to influence. Your followers must have a genuinely free season as well if you wish to gain the bonus. You cannot instil Vices upon yourself this way.
- Essence: You may practice heavy association with a certain aspect of yourself which you deem to be essential to your own being, focusing on it for a season in between other activities. It must be an already existing aspect of yourself.
- Sympathy: You may go out of your way to associate with something over time. You must identify a Sympathy you wish to encourage and associate it with one of your ambient personality traits. If you lack an ambient personality trait that could be even loosely attached to the desired Sympathy, the attempt fails.
Ceremonial influence takes a much shorter amount of time to accomplish, typically ten to fifteen minutes is enough. At the end of the ceremony, make a Trait Influence roll and spend a Confidence point. The result of the roll indicates the strength of the developed Trait. Traits gained this way fizzle out within about a week at most, even if reinforced.
- Temper: A leader who has Divine Lore with a score of at least 1 may perform a prayer invoking the power of the Divine or the leader's personal conviction to instil a Temper in his or her flock. The leader may spend a Faith point instead of a Confidence point toward this goal. Otherwise, the same limitations apply as Personal Influence - the recipients must be willing to receive your blessing, they must be under your spiritual authority, and you cannot influence yourself.
- Vice: If an infernalist has an Infernal Lore with a Score of at least 1, he or she knows how to perform a ceremonial, passionate invocation and charge to his or her audience. Same limitations as Personal Influence apply - the recipients must be willing and under your command, and you cannot influence yourself.
- Essence: You may choose to perform a short ceremony to align your essence with an existing, strong aspect of yourself. This requires Magic Lore with a Score of at least 1. You may choose to instil an Essence in another, even unwilling, target during the ceremony.
- Sympathy: You may opt to perform a short ceremony to instil a temporary Sympathy onto yourself or another, possibly unwilling, target. The knowledge how to do it is imparted through Faerie Lore with a Score of at least 1.
Permanent Traits advance like Abilities, except their absolute score can never be higher than the character's Warping Score + 1. For example, a character with a Warping Score of 4 can not have a Trait higher than +5 or -5. Experience gained toward Traits that are already at this maximum are wasted. An exception to this are Traits gained via Virtues and Flaws - those have a minimum value which cannot be reduced, only raised once possible.
Gaining a new permanent Trait:
- Journeys to the Realms and close contact with the supernatural, as well as heavy exposure to Warping with a specific Realm as the source, may leave the character permanently changed, gaining a new Trait.
- Gaining Warping counts as experience points toward Traits associated with that Realm.
- You may spend Exposure experience on altering Traits.
- Should a character gain Confidence by performing an act particularly appropriate to the Trait (a very virtuous, selfless act associated with the Temper; an especially vile act in spirit with the Vice; strongly reinforcing an Essence; acting sacrificially toward a faerie or furthering its story for a Sympathy), they may opt to instead gain experience in the Trait. Such gain is worth between 1 to 5 experience points (storyguide's choice).
- If the character acts in direct opposition, and antithetical to the Trait, such an event may cause experience loss in the Trait. If the loss reduces experience points below 0, invert the Trait and track how many "negative" experience points you have to see the new, inverted score.
Character Traits at the core of stories: A powerful being may attempt to shift the trait’s Realm alignment.
The Divine may Exalt another Trait, making it a Temper.
The Infernal may Taint another Trait, making it a Vice.
The Magical can Exemplify another Trait, making it an Essence.
The Faerie can Idolise another Trait, making it a Sympathy.
Whether Exalted, Tainted, Exemplified or Idolised, the trait shifts in Realm alignment to the closest of its new Realm equivalent. This can be only achieved by powers outside the character’s control, such as powerful magical or divine beings that take interest in her.
If you have (Realm) Inclination, the trait that shifts disallows you from using it with this Inclination anymore - you have to develop a new Trait from a Score of 0.
While mechanically it may take the form of contested personality rolls, it is usually up to the storyguide and the troupe whether the process has failed or succeeded.
(Realm) Inclination: You have awakened Traits aligned with your chosen Realm. You treat those Traits as Abilities limited by your Warping score, and both benefit and suffer from the side effects when they come into play. You may take this Virtue multiple times, once for each Realm.
Detrimental (Realm) Alignment: You have awakened Traits aligned with the Realm chosen when picking this Flaw, but only partially - you treat those Traits as Abilities limited by your Warping score, and suffer from detrimental side effects when they come into play, yet gain no benefits. You may take this Flaw multiple times, once for each Realm.
Minor Story Flaw
Dramatic (Realm) Inclination: For some reason, the world plays upon your Character Traits, always getting you into situations that test them. You gain (Realm) Inclination Virtue of the same Realm, at a drawback - somehow, your inclination also attracts plot elements that aim to test your personality. Perhaps an angel takes an interest in you and attempts to Exalt one of your personality traits.
Character Traits and magic
A magus with an awakened Trait may add the Trait's score to his lab totals. This requires that his project coincides with the Trait somehow - this is harder to universally achieve with projects that utilise Tempers and Vices, and arguably easy for applying Sympathies - overall it depends on the player's creativity.
Not only magi benefit from awakened traits - in fact any Supernatural Ability, and any Tradition may benefit from increased lab totals (or their closest equivalents) in this way. Casting totals benefit in the same way.
Note that (Realm) Inclination is not entirely necessary - a magician can awaken a Trait with Trait Influence, and use that, although it requires him to work in an aligned aura.