Some Thoughts about Virtues and Flaws...

I'm generally happy with the restrictions placed on the Virtues and Flaws that it's possible to take during character creation, but it seems to me that a few of them need a bit of a re-think. I'm thinking especially of some of the Minor Personality Flaws that place some quite serious limits on what characters can do and should therefore be General or Supernatural Flaws instead, such as:

Indiscreet: Not being able to keep a secret sounds like a great big General Flaw to me. I'd say it's much more of a reflection of a person's character than their background, and it actually obliges characters to make dice rolls in order to control themselves.

Judged Unfairly: Better as a General Flaw because it's more of a measure of how people react to you than how you actually behave.

Nocturnal: This relates to "natural body rhythms," not personality, and affects dice rolls. It looks more like a General Flaw to me.

Prohibition: How is this not Supernatural?

Sheltered Upbringing: Again, I think this should be a General Flaw as it stops you from taking certain Abilities during character creation.

Simple-Minded: This one should be General again because there's no control over it at all. For instance, people with the Greedy Flaw can choose not to behave that way all the time and keep their instincts in check.

Poor Memory: Again, a General Flaw because people can't help not being able to remember things.

Weak-Willed: If it affects dice rolls and gives other characters control over you I think it should be General.

I also got to thinking about some of the Social Status Virtues, specifically Knight and Custos. They're both Minor Virtues, and yet they're hardly equal at all. Custos are dependent on a covenant for their wellbeing and prosperity, and their status means little in the outside world - in the case of some covenants it could probably be held against them. Furthermore, they're likely to be exposed to all the strange and insidious effects of Warping. For those reasons, I'm tempted to suggest that Custos should be a Free Virtue, and that Covenfolk should maybe even be a Minor Flaw. After all, magi have the -3 social interaction penalty because of the Gift. What about the people who work for them?

Custos, yeah its a bit limited for a minor virtue and certainly it probably adds some negative parts as well being known as "one of those strange people" or something...
Perhaps give a small XP bonus to counter? Being able to pick otherwise limited skills IS an advantage, just not enough by itself as a minor virtue i think.

Weak-willed is clearly a personality flaw.

Poor memory, hmm, good case can be made for either. Might allow it as either personality or general?

Simple-minded, see your point, and i think i agree... And from the description its possibly bad enough to warrant being a Major flaw or exist as both minor and major.

Prohibition, definetly agree but at the same time you can argue that such a thing simply will have to be a strong part of the person, but still, supernatural yes.

Nocturnal, hmm i think ill have to say its either. Definetly not restricted to personality flaw only though.

Judged unfairly, supernatural perhaps? Otherwise yes, its a very severe flaw and not part of the actual personality of the character, so definetly a general flaw and quite possibly as described a Major one even.

Indiscreet, id say this very clearly IS a personality flaw, but as its stated as a Story flaw, well id allow it as either.

Frankly, we dont follow those "rules and guidelines" even the slightest. We tossed them out before first the characters were ever made with 5th edition.

Right, in any case I definitely think it should be okay to take these Flaws even if you're playing with the restrictions in the rulebook, especially the "no more than two Personality Flaws." You're right about Weak-Willed being a Personality Flaw, but I'd make it General as well because of the advantages it gives to anyone who's trying to mess you about.

Certainly. The line in RAW is to avoid making caricature characters, but really, that wont happen unless the player makes it so.

Hmm lets see, of the characters i have on paper here...
Busybody+Carefree on one, certainly wouldnt be a problem with additional personality flaws...
Fear*2 on another(ex-thief and runaway left a few marks), same there.
Nocturnal+Busybody, same here, no problem adding another as long as its thought through a bit.
Driven(Major)+Lecherous(Major), no problems as soon as the player makes his mind up what the buisness of the day will be. :stuck_out_tongue:
Overconfident+Optimistic+Proud+Reckless, and a seriously capable Ignem/Imaginem specialist he is(with a reputation of frightening), oh yes, problematic personality for sure, but not bad for the game, quite the opposite, i always like this one and the previous one!
Ambitious+Driven+Nocturnal+Oversensitive(cant take critique on her magic or on being tiny), add to that Curse of Venus story flaw and the player for this one has quite some fun...
Nocturnal+Noncombatant+Fear(of combat, yes that was a bit cheesy but we judged that it was 2 different things)+Optimistic, 3 personality flaws has surely not hurt this character either, the dear Criamon hellbent on maxing out all mental characteristics...
Social Handicap(outspoken egalitarian)+Social Handicap(abnormally shy)+Poor Memory(names)+Pious, this one has been no problems either
Fear(of divine)+Obsession(with the deviant or uncommon)+Driven(fame and success is just waiting around the corner!)+Ambitious(all that fame and success should be useful for something shouldnt it? :slight_smile: )..., also has unbearable to divine and Susceptibility to Divine Power, recently started character that will be interesting to see what it becomes...

Frankly i must say that on that list, after looking it through like this, some of those i had the most fun playing with/against has been those with the nuttier combinations of personality flaws, id say its a bonus rather than a liability to have more of them.
As long as the player doesnt overdo it or makes a mess out of it at least.

True, thats clearly a valid argument, as personality flaws are supposed to be LESS "bad" than general ones, and Weak willed certainly is one of the more damaging minor flaws.
Im not sure i have EVER seen anyone pick it for their "alfa character". Perhaps it should even move over to the Major flaws?

Indeed so. I think another aim of the restrictions is to stop people from loading up with Flaws that arguably aren't all that bad, e.g. imagine a character with:

Optimistic (Major), True Love (NPC), Higher Purpose, Animal Companion, Close Family Ties and Heir

What's not to like? Having said that, it kind of occurs to me that if a player wanted to create a "fairytale prince" sort of character and wanted to take those Flaws, I'd be hard pressed to say no.

Anyway, it occurred to me that Short Attention Span should also be a General as well as Personality Flaw. I interpret Personality Flaws as determining what a character is very likely to do or not do, for better or worse, whereas this is another one that clearly specifies what the character can't do, i.e. concentrate for very long.


Better another personnality flaw than that Magical deficiency, no?

That's why I think the "Max 2 personnality flaws" is a GOOD rule.
If you wanna be proud, lecherous, overconfident... you can nonetheless be it without a flaw. That's why personality traits are for, aren't they?

I really hate the "I can't give my character the personality and background I want because I can't take enough personality/story flaws" attitude. IMO, this is just wrong, and can all too easily be an attempt, conscious or not, to avoid the more penible General and Hermetic flaws.

Lol, well THAT combination might be going a bit too far perhaps.
Only really Optimistic and Heir that can cause serious troubles...

But yes, if someone came up with that AND had a VERY good theme/reason for the character, oh yes definetly allowed.

Hmm, not the most obvious of choices... I think id agree, but on the basis that personality flaws are supposed to be less nasty than general ones.

Except RAW, some personality flaws are really dreadful, and just never taken.

And really, why should it be a must to pick Hermetic flaws?
Or any specific flaws... Its silly. As i noted with doing my list above, most characters actually still dont get more than one or two personality flaws, despite the fact that we dont have ANY restrictions on it. And as i said, some of most fun characters have really been those that DO break RAW.
If im creating the character, its ME doing it, not RAW.

I can tell you straight away, that if i want to powerplay a character, its MUCH easier to do so using Hermetic flaws than personality flaws.

Also, i might add that even RAW itself says "should take", not "must take" when it refers to Personality, Story and Hermetic flaws.

Ignoreing the dispute regarding personality flaws for the moment. I'd like to state my approval of the story flaw restriction. If you're playng a game with four players and each of the players has both magus and a companion each with a single story flaw you've already got eight stories to weave into your narrative. As this number gats higher the possibility of giving each story flaw any "screen time" at all becomes remote. How many game sessions can a character be expected to take part in? If I have a game that meets every other week for a year I've got 26 sessions. If the saga has any plot at all beyond just playing out story flaws, having multiple story flaws per character will be a hindrance rather than a help in telling a good story.

I said the same thing elsewhere. Totally agreed.
This won't stop you from having a wife, kids, a mentor... but these just won't have to have much impact on the saga, and be just, well, background.

I totally disagree. Having two story flaws works just fine (though I would only allow one major one). Some story flaws are indeed omnipresent, and don't need a full blown story. Take difficult underlings. That should be bothersome each and every game. It is omnipresent. Close Family Ties; if each and every game I have to make sure my brother doesn't screw things up or get killed, it is omnipresent. I don't need a kidnapping story every five years. Just a constant part of my background (yes, background), that forces my character to act a certain way and have an extra burden of consideration.

Watch and see what I mean. I allow everyone to take two story flaws and three personality flaws (though only one of each can be major). It works out just fine, and adds a dimension of depth. Story flaws can be combined; within a character, with other characters, or with covenant hooks. Then again, I like side stories and dual plotlines :slight_smile:

But, and it is a big but :laughing:, my primary issue is with the limitation on possible combinations. Especially for a companion who does not have a huge list of Hermetic Flaws to choose from.

A personality flaw can be the most dangerous, if the GM enforces it to the same extent that he enforces flaws that impose obvious game mechanics.

Of course, that rarely happens....

I do that all the time. My one character, Roberto, I make sure that he often exhibits both Overconfidence and Reckless. Personality Traits should be omnipresent

Sounds like a good way of doing it to me, and you're absolutely right about the limited range of choices for Companions, especially since some of those General Flaws can be absolutely crippling.

I actually think the limit of 1 Story Flaw and 2 Minor Personality Flaws (or 1 Major) is a brilliant idad. For my group, that is!

Having more Flaws makes it almost impossible to keep them all relevant. Back in my 4th ed days, we made all sorts of house rules, to avoid characters - especially companions - having lots of completely "free" Flaws. Free because many of them never came into play, never causes any inconvenience.
As I see it in 5th ed, Story Flaws force your character to take action, and the clever SG builds a story around one (or has a story play together with one). So the affected character must make a choice, take action or suffer the consequences. Personality Flaws I intend to use somewhat in the same way. This (or these) tendency/-ies should often govern how the character acts, and can thus greatly affect the flow of some stories, or be the onset of one.
So IMHO, having too many of these only makes a lot of them forgotten. We want those few Story/Personality Flaws taken to really matter.

I see the problesm with Companions, as they soon run out of relevant and non-crippling General Flaws to balance things out. Magi can easily add some Hermetic/Supernatural Flaws, sacrificing a little something regarding their magic.
We've house ruled that Companions need only balance out Virtues with Flaws on a 2-1 basis. So most Companions have +10/-5. And we find that this works fine, it adds some sort of balance with the otherwise more powerful Magi (which all players are most likely to want to play, rather than Companions).

But if it works for you, load up with Story and Personality Flaws.

You could also give them some free virtues.

I'd say that 3 (out of ten) free virtue slots would very nicely do the trick, and increase the difference between companions ang grogs (something I'd like) without letting them take some "free" flaws or changing things for magi.

I came across this same problem a while ago when I was building companions for my local saga. There weren't that many flaws that I could give to my companion without destroying her concept - same with the virtues. That was why I created that large list of Virtues and Flaws.

My advice, if you can't work with the flaws that are there, create some with the approval of your group. This gets around the house-rule problem of giving free virtues.