Working Off Flaws

Listening to a couple different conversations here and there, it's making me wonder... am I the only one who thinks its reasonable that with time and experience a character can work off a flaw?

I agree that for flaws to count they need to be real and not things that can be quickly or trivially overcome, especially by starting characters. But I have no problem with a character after 20-game-years of play building up his stats to finally heal one of his persistant flaws.

After all, isn't that all kind of the point of being a wizard?

I think this depends on the flaw you have. Some of the flaws in the game are limited duration anyway...dark secrets is only a flaw until the dark secret is revealed and delt with. Assuming survival of the character in question then that flaw is "gone."

Personality "flaws" also might with time pass. Nothing for example says that even if you have lost your true love you may not find another...or that you might not overcome your fear of heights...or that a character raised in fey will not figure out the mundane world (though a tendancy to talk about "The Other Side" would remain since said character can see "The Other Side" just fine, right there, thank you very much...) and so forth.

But if you take "Lost (insert body part)" then I think you are looped. Which stinks for companions as the have a heck of a time balancing their virtues out, without ending up as charicatures due to having major personasility flaws.

Which leads me to wonder to what extent their is a "balance" between virtues and flaws. Ah well I suspect argueing about parma is of more interest to most people laugh

I think that one could get rid of a "Lost (insert body part)" flaw by means of magic. It shouldn't be easy of course, but what prevents a magus from creating a new leg for himself or basically just healing. It uses up vis ofcourse but he gets rid of a flaw. That's how I see it but I'm not the SG. :slight_smile:


The reason is the limit of essential nature, that cannot change the flaw as the flaw is part of the essential nature of the character. Though again, there seems nothing to say that if you hand gets chopped off in combat a CrCo ritual would not be able to make a replacement. So events in the game are not essential but pre game flaws are. Which it has to be otherwise you could simple eject those flaws right out the door. They would become the rules munchkin's favorites since you build your mage which can cast the CrCo spells to remove them and the rest of the troupe takes "missing (insert body part)" flaws and then first session heals them all.

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Well, you can allways design a magic item that replicates the function of the device, but there is that 1 point of warping per year (or season) to deal with...

Firstly I think that a division of flaws into those which are part of one's essential nature and those which aren't is essential. Those flaws that are part of one's essential nature cannot be removed through magic, but the divine and infernal powers certainly have the capacity to do so. I would imagine that most demons have no problem with removing your flaws in return for certain favours... to be named at a later date he he. :smiling_imp:
Flaws that aren't part of your essential nature can in my opinion certainly be removed with magic if appropriate otherwise through roleplay.
You can't magic away the fact that you are the families black sheep but you can remove the flaw by serious long termed roleplaying.
Generally all flaws will have to be considered individually and some flaws may possibly never be removed.
An example could be difficult underlings. Maybe you're simply destined to have difficult underlings no matter what you do, even if you make a cardinal pact and all your servants are demonic they still give you problems, maybe it's part of gods plan and even he/she won't remove the flaw.
But I certainly won't veto the possibilty of removing one's flaws in my game.

Hail Eris!

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Would there be warping in the case of a prosthetic limb?

In my (admitedly limited) understanding a person using a magic sword gains no warping. I would tend to think the artificial limb is a similar case.

For that matter, could a weak / frail / etc. char use enchanted clothing (a setting appropriate exoskeleton) to make us for physical shortcomings?
The example the leaps to mind would actually be a custom fitted carapace - as the magus creating it could base this device on the anatomies of insects, crustaceans, etc.

Magical glasses and hearing aids come to mind too.

Note that the character still has a flaw, or perhaps an average attribute, that is being enhanced by the device.

(please note I don't have the ArM5 rules to work with yet)

I always kind of thought the "essential nature" argument was just an attempt to keep this sort of thing from happening.

Player: Yay! I have mastered Creo Corpus and have invented a spell to regrow my arm!

SG: You can't do that! It's a flaw! You got stuff for that flaw! You can't just get rid of it.

Player: What? Why not? It's magic.

SG: Ummm.... because it would change your essential nature. Yeah, that's it. You're now a guy-without-an-arm. Can't do it.

well in my mind there is a big difference between using magic magic to replace say an eye that one shouldn't have because of initially bought flaws and using magic to build a device that allows one to see. I'm not advocating a Creo Corpus fix it spell, I agree, essential nature says it's not that cheap. But I think a ruby eye or an iron hand sounds cool. It costs both time and resources to build and HOPEFULLY these solutions also involve ROLE PLAYING rather than lab work.

I think through legitmate story telling most flaws should be things that can be overcomed. They are their as story material. Some of that material when it is addressed, becomes resolved, and then void (or at least altered).


Yes - I have to agree that the CrCo route is pretty much sealed off by essential nature - of course there is the very good point that Holy magic, non-hermetic effects, etc. might work around that limit.

And as to the cool prostheitcs - Who doesn't want a ruby eye or a nifty hand made of clockworks? Just thinking of all the great social stigma (mundanes) that comes along with these kinds of things ... and the chance to get a great nickname like 'old iron hand' or somesuch!

Now I just have to write up a redcap with an iron hand!!! Maybe with a velvet glove ...

Note that items can always be taken away, effects can be dispelled, and voila - the character is keenly reminded that they still do have a flaw.

I also noted that some flaws (somewhere in RoP:Divine IIRC) specifically state that 'there is no way to loose this flaw'. The implication being that such is not normally the case.

IMHO as long as the PC isn't getting a free ride, and is actually doing WORK to better themselves, balance should result.

I understand that if one is born without a hand it would be their essential nature, but if ones hand gets chopped off, how is that essential nature? I don't believe that the flaw stated "born without (body part)" but rather "missing (body part)", sugesting that it could have been lost in a variety of means.

If one's hand gets chopped off at a young age and (s)he grows up without it, possibly suffering from social stigma attached to it, I think one should be entitled to WORK the flaw off. It shouldn't be easy of course, the SG could state that the hand is such a complex thing that one needs +3 mags of, say, finesse to make it work properly.

It seems that most of you are afraid that the players will cheat and get a free ride and somesuch, but think about it. As far as I've heard, none of your players have used the pink dot and that's about as easy a cheat as they come. You could tell your players that you realize the possibility of such abuse of the flaws but you will not like that. The players will know they'll have a hard time playing if they do that so it most likely isn't worth it. Most players are not idiots. At least the ones who play Ars Magica.


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Well the fact of the matter is that the rules are clear about the flaws have changed your essential nature.

Fundamentally I think that unless the SG watches fairly carefully (insert quantity but be honest with yourself) players will tend to munchkinize their flaw selections. I know that I make sure that the flaw is not so catastrophic that it ruins the character for me. I wonder if maybe companions and grogs should get 2 for 1 or something. Companions can pick up to 10 virtues and 5 flaws, Grogs get 3 virtues and 1 flaw. This would balance out better their more restricted choice of flaws. Magi get hermetic flaws a great many of which are "character building" in some sense or another so 10 for 10 makes sense for them.

This is probably too radical and maybe is even just a "get something for nothing" desire on my part. But I have yet to make a companion with the full 10 virtues simply because I ran out of flaws that made any sort of sense.

And in our group building a character is a joint effort between the player and the 2 story guides and I have to say I appreciate it, they know the game system better for one but also because its good to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to keep an even balance.

Call it a love hate relationship with the whole virtues/flaws concept.

But clearly some of the flaws you should not be able to get around even by roleplaying unless you want to have it be possible that your virtues are also possible to vanish. Which in some cases is more than possible...a character with True Faith might have that faith destroyed. Heck I had a paladin in NWN (playing on an online PW) which I eventual told the DM that I was ignoring an adventure I had played in (well there was lots of other things I said too...I was P.O.ed big time) simply because no ones faith could survive the actions my character had witnessed. I had no desire to take a character I had played for 2+ years and toss him because the DM had no more an idea what it meant to play a holy character than an penguine has about flying.

Well back on topic if you want to be able to work off flaws then you will have to face the fact that your virtues will also be able to be "worked off."

Fairs fair as they say.

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In most cases a flaw worked of will end up replaced by another flaw.
Usually this will involve one story flaw replacing another.

I'm curious why you say "In most cases..."? since you are talking about something that would be a home rule in the first place.

And this is a sincere question. I'd not assume that myself, so I am curious why you do.


Warping: No. Warping is caused by either: A high magnitude spell (not designed for you), or an effect that that is constant. In this case (replacement of a limb), you are using a Creo/Corpus ritual (hopefully designed for you) with Vis, to recreate the limb. The effect is permenant, and the duration is too quick for warping.

Note: It says specifically that a body part REMOVED is NOT part of ones essential nature. Being born without a body part or sense (sight, hearing), IS part of ones essential nature. Ergo, if your Magus is disfigured by a lab explosion (Disfigured Flaw), you can remove it. Of course this would take a high magnitude spell and some Vis, but it is possible (Read Darius of Flambeau- page 34: it talks about his scar and his master).
Another point: If you enter twilight and succeed in comprehending it, you can pick up a new Virtue (or fail and pick up a new Flaw). The book specifically says New Virtue/New Flaw. It does not say a new virtue AND a new Flaw. In other words, your Virtues and Flaws don't Have to stay even through-out play. If a player can 'rid' himself of a flaw, so what? He spent a bit of time and resources doing it...The same could be true of the "Blacksheep" flaw mentioned above. Through magic a character could alter the memorys of the various individual in his family, removing THAT flaw (though it would take a lot of 'background cleanup' too).
If you find players removing flaws 'willy-nilly', just balance things out. He grows back a new hand, the Merchant who sells him "X", begins to hate him (enemies). This doubles the price and effort he needs to expend to get it...
These things SHOULD happen through play...

I sit corrected - someday I will get essential nature straight.

I guess it's just that the CrCo get-my-arm-back just seemed too easy - though to be fair the magus does have to design a tailored spell to avoid warping. That's pretty balanced now that I think about it.


Na, If I wasn't involved in doing something along that line, I would have no clue...I've been studying.

:slight_smile: The nice thing about ArM 5 is that one seems to be able to really get at the underpinnings through studying the system. I am now feeling much better about my leap of faith (using 5th instead of 4th for my saga).

Now, another point about EN and flaws: Is it possible for a flaw to be part of EN via some exotic magic (say a divine curse)? My intial reaction woud be to look at the magic involved and see if it can break EN ... right? So to carry that further - which general types of non-hermetic magic can do this as cannon stands now?

I know that divine stuff can... what about faerie, infernal?

I agree with everyone: V&F can be gained and lost in-game, and can be worked around.
Some V&F are part of the character's essential nature, which makes them immune to Hermetic magic and thus harder to remove. Divine/Infernal/Faerie powers can all alter essential nature anyway, so it isn't an insurmountible obstacle.
Whether a Virtue or Flaw is part of the character's essential nature changes from character to character - one may be disfigured by fire, antoher born disfigured, and yet another disfigured in a freak magical accident that ingrained the flaw into his essential nature.

The starting V&F form the initial conditions the character evolves from. They are not immutable, and a mature character need not be "balanced".

It is true that some Flaws can be overcome (or simply become irrelevant), and some Virtues lose their effectiveness over time, so that elder characters no longer "balance".

However It is important to bear in mind the dictum that "it's not a Flaw if it doesn't hamper you" -- a character should not be allowed to enter a campaign and immediately have a Flaw removed - the Flaws should be assessed in the context of "just after starting".
Thus a crippled leg is only a Flaw if it's going to remain a crippled leg for some time.

It would, for example, be quite reasonable to have a Faerie Gift cure the leg, or a favour from an elder magus be them performing the ritual and providing Vis... but not if the local magi just fetch the vis from stock, and whip up a quick ritual...