Why are faeries ungroggable?

@Timothy_Ferguson refers you to the (Grogs p.76f) Minor Supernatural Flaw Bound to (Role) Role: "The manner of this bonding determines the kind of life that the character may live. <...> This Flaw may originate from any of the Supernatural Realms: <...> a faerie origin could show that the character occupies an archetypal role, ready to play his part in the wider story, <...>. This Flaw may only be taken by grogs and is suitable for the Warping to a Pattern Minor Site Hook presented in Covenants, page 11."

Yes, Bound to (Role) Role could be removed with some RoP:F p.65 Creativity by the Inspirational grog sergeant. So not allowing faerie 'grogs' to just follow RoP:F appears to make sense, and you have anyway decided to go that way already.

Maybe you misunderstand "Faeries lacking sufficient volition to be the centre of stories is part of the basic cosmology." It doesn't say, that all Faeries lack sufficient volition.

EDIT: There may be another misunderstanding in setting up the thread already. By RoP:F p.45 Faerie PCs are limited to replace Companion and Magus PCs. There are Faerie NPCs which look and smell like grogs - but these can't be PCs.
RoP:F as is - without the changes you will introduce in it for your saga - appears to hold too many options for PCs to allow Faerie Grog PCs.

Also, fundamentally, a faerie tries to involve you in their story, as defined by their glamour, not the other way around. A grog gets dragged along for the ride, a companion, or a faerie, does the dragging. A faerie which fills the role of a grog is in the service of a faerie court, not a covenant, and thus not suitable as a PC.

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To be fair, I've never really thought of grogs as PCs, at all, since they're designed to be handed out to different players every game (though we have a bad habit of the grogs being the same people every time). Can someone point out where it says your grogs can have Magical Might? I know the table of Might has a column for Grog-level power, but I never read that as 'your grogs can freely be magical'. To me it was always a barometer of power.

I think it is left as a troupe/SG call, since some people might not want magical grogs (or companions really) in their game- it never specifies any particular standard class of character which "may" or "may not' be magical, it simply presents the levels.

I am evidently misuderstanding even further.
As far as I understand, simplifying slightly,

  1. I asked: Why can't faeries be grogs?
  2. Timothy Fergusson answered: Because faeries are supposed to be support cast, while PCs are supposed to be main characters.
  3. I then asked: Well then, why can faeries be companions? After all a companion is more of a main character than a grog.
  4. You are now saying (if I understand correctly): Well some faeries can be main characters.
    So you are saying that faeries with sufficient volition to be PCs shoulld be so rare, that they can be companions (who are supposed "rare and special") but not grogs?

My other thought is, if you read Lands of the Nile they illustrate how faeries can become so constrained as to not even have the semblance of free will- it seems to me that grog fairies are headed that way where they can't effectively be PC-operated characters because the SG would spend all their time correcting the player of the illusion that the character has something resembling free will.

Uhm, ok...but then the questions still stands: why?

As you aptly said, there are many faeries -- particularly the "stock" incognizant ones of limited power -- that "look and smell like grogs". What's the fundamental reason why they can't be PCs with a little mechanical tinkering to prevent mechanical abuse?

What's wrong for a magus to be escorted by ... satyrs rather than human grogs? It certainly does not give him an unbalancing boost in power. Sure, they provide advantages, but also lots of challenges. And they are more suited than the average human to be grogs, because faeries are side characters in the ArM5 cosmology, and grogs are side characters by the ArM5 game design.

because side character fairies are non-sapient automatons not playable by thinking beings who try to identify with them.

I see your point. But when I play a grog I do not necessarily try to identify with him.
This can occasionally be true for any PC in a rpg.
But it's true much more often for ArM5 grogs, who are typically "extensions" of the main PCs. Not in the sense that they obey the main characters without volition, but in that their existence (in the story) revolves around interactions with the main characters.

Suppose I am playing a companion who is a knight. I probably identify with the knight. Whoever (I or someone else) plays the knight's intelligent horse as a grog (this is canonically possible in ArM5) does not really identify with the horse. Instead, it sees the horse as a sort of "smart-prop" that enhances the story by bringing possibilities or challenges to the knight.

It's a smart prop in the sense that it has some preprogrammed "lines of behaviour", that it may pursue intelligently, but are only played out insofar as they are relevant to the knight (or other main PCs). For example, the horse may be very fond of apples. It may then conspire to get the knight married with to a maiden whose dowry includes some fabulous apple orchards. But we are never going to see it questing on its own for the garden of the Hesperydes, ditiching the knight if it has to. Ok maybe we do, if the story is about the knight trying to get reunited with its beloved horse. But you get my point.

In this sense, faeries are perfect as grogs, because they are intrinsecally smart props. Suppose a pious maga goes on a mission, protected by a small turb of satyrs. Here I interpret satyrs as "carousing warriors of the wilderness". That's great for grogs. Because it's very easy to play them to enhance the story of the maga. You play them as "flat" automata with three preprogrammed behaviours: "carouse -- whether the maga wants it or not" "fight -- whether the maga wants it or not" "go to/stay in the wilderness -- whether the maga wants it or not". Note that their player(s) can still have a lot of fun making choices for them -- they are not choices about the satyrs relatively simple goals, but about how to best pursue those goals. So the satyrs can be great PCs, even if they are not avatars for the player.

Does that make sense?

EDIT: In this sense, I think it's slightly misleading when you write

Many faeries, particularly a lesser faeries, does not try to involve you in their story. In the sense that they do not have a story, but just a role. They try to play their role, in your story -- and if there is no room for it in your story they try to make it! So, carousing faeries always try to involve humans in their carousing. If you have a story with a natural spot for carousers, those faeries will be very happy to go along with it in that role -- whatever the story may be.


I've always read that as: if thematically you'd like your saga to include magical grogs, there are mechanics that you can use to run them smoothly as PCs .

It's a little like mechanics for infernalist PCs in RoP:I. It's obviously perfectly ok for a SG/troupe to say "we don't want them in this saga, because thematically they are inappropriate". But the mechanics there are effectively saying "if you want a game about this stuff, you can use these mechanics and all should run smoothly from a mechanical point of view".

The point being that a grog level faerie has as much free will as a game of civilization VI.

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He doesn't, but says:

Your English is apparently not safe here.

Not just me, but also @Timothy_Ferguson does say so. The RoP:F p.43ff Faerie Characters rules are too open and free to build grog characters with them, which are played as PCs over time.

That "little mechanical tinkering" to me appears like a pretty big cauterization of all the specific development of RoP:F Faerie Characters, especially p.62ff Faerie Advancement Through Change.

There is no fundamental reason why you cannot write your own rules and play by them in your saga, though. Especially, as your idea of a PC Grog as

appears to be specific to your sagas. I would just call these NPC grogs, design and develop such faerie grogs as stock NPC Faeries, and be done.

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I will also add that because faeries integrate the virtues and flaws system, unlike magical characters, even a grog level faerie is extremely difficult to create within the 3 minor virtues or flaws allowed to a grog. Having tried to create such characters as a SG I decided to simply "abandon all rules ye who enter here"

OneShot, you are gratuitously offensive. While I find the sentence "Your English is apparently not safe here" somewhat unclear, I does convey an attempt at being insulting and an implication that your language skills are in your view superior. It should go without saying that this is not conducive to civil, productive discussion.

Also, it would be helpful if you tried to avoid distorting what other people say (quoting them selectively). In particular, I said upfront that I was trying to summarize and simplify everyone's position. Quoting a small portion of the original text, next to the summary of a significantly longer portion, and remarking how they are different and how the writer's English is "not safe", is unhelpful ... and if I may say so, reflects poorly on you.

Mine is meant as constructive criticism. I am spending some time writing these sentences because I condider many of your contributions valuable, and would find a pity to have to just ignore your posts. If ignoring you is the only option you leave me, please keep in mind that I am not trying to be purposefully offensive but just to keep the discussion on track and more productive.

That said:

I see. That was not evident to me (and still is not), but thanks for clarifying the issue.

What I meant is that to cleanly "wall off" or limit that portion of character development for grogs requires relatively few words, and does appear to leave the remaining mechanics perfectly functional. Let me add that grogs are already barred from accessing many central mechanics of the game that make companions and magi the focus of stories: the Gift, Story Flaws, Major Virtues and Flaws, Confidence etc.

Again, there may be some ... misunderstanding :slight_smile: I never said that I consider all grogs as "smart props", just as I never said that all grogs in my sagas are horses. I said that some grogs can be smart props, but can be nonetheless fun to play in that they enhance the story of the main characters -- and faeries (particularly lesser and incognizant ones) would fill this niche very well, better in fact than that of companions.

I agree, with the faerie V&Fs as written. However, if all grog faeries are supposed to follow some standard V&Fs such as Incognizant, you can "package", say, three Minor Virtues and two Minor Flaws into a single Minor Virtue and be done with it. That's what I meant when I wrote:

I would probably lump together into a single Minor Virtue, only available to grogs:
a) some type of faerie body (+1)
b) a combination of some aspects of Faerie Sight and Faerie Speech -- allowing easy interaction with the covenant's other inhabitants, its Aura etc. (+1) and
c) a Lesser or Personal Power (+1), together with
d) Incognizant (-1) and
e) a Prentence-reducing Flaw (-1, fewer pretences mean that the faerie grog is even more "cookie cut").
The same Minor Virtue would need to put in place those restrictions that were being discussed above on limits to advancement and "power" (e.g. you probably want to keep Might low).

so in short, to your original question: faeries cannot be grogs because 1) a grog level faerie has the free will of a computer game, and 2) a grog cannot have enough virtues and flaws to be a faerie.
once you are talking about changing the rules in order to do something already forbidden by the rules you aren't even in the neighborhood of discussing RAW.

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silveroak, thanks for summarizing your points.

In regard to 1) I still think that while the free will of faeries is limited, it can still make them fun to play -- particularly in their role as supporting cast. Think of the turb of wild, ever-carousing satyr warriors. Some people disagree, though I am still not entirely clear as to their exact rationale.

In regard to 2) I may have been unclear, but what I asked was not whether the RAW allow grog faeries. The premise of the thread is they don't. The question was whether ... let's say at most a column of extra mechanical support would be enough, and what would have to go into this column. So far, it appears to me that "packaging" a few standard V&Fs, plus some limitations to avoid power creep, would suffice.

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"abandon rules all ye who enter here"

I am not. I already before did mention your misinterpretation more politely, and you just ignored it:

So you left me the choice of either letting it pass or convey it more clearly. I addressed it as a possible lapse of English reading skill, not as any intentional misrepresentation: "Your English is apparently not safe here."

There is the little arrow in the upper right corner of every quote on this forum, which allows one see all the context that quote was from. That context doesn't make your reading of @Timothy_Ferguson any more correct.

That is right.

But you used that horse as an example, how you would handle a faerie grog in your saga. For some reason - so far escaping me - that grog has to be a PC Grog. So that horse had to fulfill "your idea of a PC Grog".