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 Post subject: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:52 pm 
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Split apart from here: viewtopic.php?p=3985#p3985

Crow Caller wrote:
Grettir wrote:
Well, there is of course the school to approach flaws inspired by point-buy character generation, where it is tempting to pile on a lot of flaws that won’t hurt that particular type of character.
This just serves to illustrate the bias people apply to the Point Generator, and then we wonder why no-one likes it...

Piling on Flaws isn't really possible under the Point Buy rules, there is a Maximum of 4 Flaws AND Gifts.

Even in groups that lift or shift this limiter, piling on Flaws is never "tempting" because they "won't hurt that particula type of character", one could just as easily say it is Tempting to sink a Priority pick of F into Flaws and then choose Flaws that don't hurt the PC. It's nonsense, the system used to "pile on Flaws" has no bearing on whether the Flaws do or do not "hurt" the PC. This is handled entirely by the way groups play Flaws.

In my own group, Flaws are FLAWS. And that is exactly why they are so "tempting" to take. Anti-heroes, are IMO much more fun to play than Heroes, and the more tragically flawed the better.

As you can see in my What WOULD you like to play thread, I have given a demo of how I would create a Greek Hero. Flaws are completely central to the Character Concept, this is simply not possible with Priority Pick, just one example of why I think PP is very harmful to games.

Gifts and Flaws do so much to enrich Characters, and in my opinion are Central to the Game (right after SA's and the Combat System).

*Shrugz* each to their own tho' I guess.

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I don’t allow that in my games, and I tell players beforehand that every flaw will count. If a player absolutely has to make up a paraplegic character, he must not expect me to spare him the physical fight for his life…
Again just a quick word form the Point Buy bench, every Flaw in a Point Buy Game Will count too, IF that is the way the group plays, I see no reason to differentiate between the Character Creation systems.


Grettir wrote:
Crow Caller wrote:
Grettir wrote:
Well, there is of course the school to approach flaws inspired by point-buy character generation, where it is tempting to pile on a lot of flaws that won’t hurt that particular type of character.
This just serves to illustrate the bias people apply to the Point Generator, and then we wonder why no-one likes it...
Ah, I haven’t been thinking of the point buy from The Companion; my mind was dwelling on GURPS, which I have played for many years.

The problem with the approach of GURPS and similar advantage/disadvantage buying systems is that they are not really as balanced as they claim to be. With them, every advantage/disadvantage has a fixed cost, and while that may well be true in real ife, it just isn’t in a story.
Take two characters from X-Men, Professor Xavier and Wolverine. Professor Xavier has the “paraplegic” disadvantage, but in reality it isn’t a disadvantage for him at all – the character is not only not designed for physical action, let alone combat, but he is also an incredibly powerful psychokinetic who can move things, imcluding himself, by the power of his mind alone; the character is hardly handicapped by being a paraplegic.
Now take the “paraplegic” disadvantage and apply it on top of the Wolverine character and you’ve really got yourself a debiliating disadvantage.

Another example would be the priest of the goddess of peace with the “pacifism” disadvantage – now what the f***?!? That’s no disadvantage. Give the same disadvantage to the the priest of the god of war and we’re talkin’!

So that’s what I was referring to here. My issue with the point buy system, though I haven't been thinking about it when writing the previous post, is another one – unlike the priority pick system, which will always yield characters with very pronounced weak and strong sides to them, the point buy system allows you theoretically to build characters without either. Such well-rounded characters have less dramatic potential, and therefore I reject point buy for the vast majority of players.

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- Lord Petyr Baelish, A Game of Thrones


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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:16 pm 
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higgins wrote:
As you can see in my What WOULD you like to play thread, I have given a demo of how I would create a Greek Hero. Flaws are completely central to the Character Concept, this is simply not possible with Priority Pick, just one example of why I think PP is very harmful to games.
I'm glad this flaws issue came up, as I was just wondering whether I should PM you about the thing or create a new thread about it... but since it came up anyway...

Crow Caller wrote:
ANTI-DETINY: To kill his wife and children in a fit of rage.
OATH: Vengeance
DRIVE: Glory
PASSION: Hatred
CONSCIENCE: Honour

FLAWS
Rage (Major)
Berserker (Major)
Addiction (Alchohol) (minor flaw)
Compulsion (minor flaw)
Lecherous (minor flaw)
Overconfident (major)
Greed (Glory) (Major)
Poor (Major)
Sleep Disorder (Major)
Vows (Major)
Skeletons in the Closet (Major)
Enemy (Major)
Greed (Vengeance) (Major)
Okay, when I saw it, I went like: "Hooly coooow..." :shock:

I mean, I know you've said you like to build your characters around the flaws but I never imagined THAT kind of magnitude. Looks like you've made a character with every Flaw there is, except for poor. No, wait, the poor is in there too. :mrgreen:

I have always had real hard time of selecting flaws for my characters and not because they are perfect, but because I'd much rather roleplay my character's lecherousness than to go for "Roll WP to see if you're getting a boner out of that wench". If I had to use point buy system, I wouldn't pick any flaws at all. Hey, I wouldn't pick any gifts either, for that matter. I'd just remove the Gifts&Flaws line from the priority table as well as the F priority when I'd be the referee. If one really-really needs a Gift, pick a relevant (major or minor) Flaw too and vice versa.

Hm, now that I think of it, there is one Gift that I'd see my self using. Linguist. But that's only because I'd lose my ability to customise my character with MA skills if I wanted to know a lot of languages...

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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:58 pm 
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Oh yes, I am a "Flaw Monger"... ;)

...the hard part is finding the GIFTS to balance them out, as even in my house rules game your Flaws cannot exceed your gifts by mre than Four. This is to stop people from taking six flaws and then having 36 extra Character points to build their Character with (points which are rarely spent on "expensive" gifts, but rather on boosting stats and what not).

A word about the Lecherous Flaw, I commend you for RP'ing it rather than rolling dice. This is my goal too, however the Dice aspect of the Flaw just gives the GM a little something more to use against the PC.

Imagine for a moment that there is a beautiful woman that you know is actually your worst enemy, she means to bring you low and kill you, and indeed is already responsible for the deaths of many good people you knew. Now imagine you are playing a Lecherous Character (without the Flaw), do you really see yourself RP'ing and giving into her advances?

Sometimes you'll say yes, sometimes no, imagine if out of character you knew sleeping with her would lead to your certain death, or the death of a close loved one. With the Dice mechanic it ON TOP OF the Roleplaying aspect there is a good chance you will be seduced. Drama! ;)

Choosing Flaws is extremely easy for me, I simply conjur a rough idea of who my character is, then I go through the list of all flaws, and anything that fits is taken. I actually find it is more of, what ever plainly doesn't fit is not taken :P I just wish there were MORE Flaws!

Here is a reason I love Flaws so much, think of an Epic fantasy hero, like Herakles, or Conan, now go through the list of flaws and write down every one that they have, I think the outcome will surprize you!

Cheers & God Bless You!!

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"It was hard-fought, a desperate affair that could have gone badly; if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal" (115) ~ Beowulf after defeating Grendle's Mother.


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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Sure, everybody has multiple flaws, but the ones that are written on your sheet... I see those as your characters kryptonite, but if you have THIRTEEN kryptonites instead of one, it makes them ALL less special.

That's the reason I like Virtue/Vice system from nWoD... everybody has to pick them and you can ignore them if you want to, but if you roleplay them by getting your character deeper and deeper into trouble, you get game-mechanical benefits. So, instead of writing a gazillion flaws on the sheet, it only requires you to pick one of the seven virtues and one of the seven sins. The defining ones for your character. And no, there is no eight option. That 7+7 is the whole list. It did seem very constricting at first, but the more time went by, the more I liked it. :)

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- Lord Petyr Baelish, A Game of Thrones


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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:55 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
Oh yes, I am a "Flaw Monger"... ;)

(...)

Here is a reason I love Flaws so much, think of an Epic fantasy hero, like Herakles, or Conan, now go through the list of flaws and write down every one that they have, I think the outcome will surprize you!

No, I think I won’t. They are humans and thus little that’s human is alien to them; they embody humanity and its many facets.

But for me, it’s once again a question of differentiating between real humans and characters in a story. It has often been said that not everything that is dear to a character need be made into an SA – only those things the player wishes to spotlight in the story should be. It’s no different with flaws.

You can have a character who is greedy like Ebeneezer Scrooge and lecherous as Casanova and still need not take these things as “flaws”. Only take as a flaw what you want to frequently make problems for the character in the story. If you take neither Greed nor Lecherousness for your Ebeneezer/Casanova guy that doesn’t mean that he is neither greedy nor lecherous – it merely means that these traits are merely colour for your character and that you don’t want stories to actually revolve around these weaknesses. So he’s greedy and randy, but the referee knows that he is not given free reign to turn those traits against the character – in fact, by not taking either flaw the player has communicated very clearly that he is interested in playing a greedy and randy guy, but one for whom neither the greed nor the randiness will be a problem.

Now, if he takes either Greed or Lecherousness as a flaw, it’s an entirely different story. It’s shouting to the referee “Look here, I want to play a lecherous guy whose lecherousnes is going to bite him big time”.

That’s why I would not anymore allow a character with a lots of flaws – any flaw should have centre stage a lot of the time, but with a lot of flaws, no single one gets enough screen time. If a player came to me with a character like Crow Caller’s I’d ask the player what type of story he would like to tell with that character, what will be the central personal issue the character wil have to confront and resolve in the stories. And I would recommend that he take this issue as some kind of flaw and drop the other ones – these traits will be present, but merely as colour, to flesh out the character’s personality, and without them going to be exploited by me as the referee.

Or, in other words: A well-rounded fictional character will have a lot of personality traits, but only one or two of those can be central to the character’s story without the story losing focus. These one or two are the flaws.

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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:01 pm 
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higgins wrote:
Sure, everybody has multiple flaws, but the ones that are written on your sheet... I see those as your characters kryptonite, but if you have THIRTEEN kryptonites instead of one, it makes them ALL less special.


Hmm, I of course disagree :P.

Flaws aren't Kryptonite IMO, they are Flaws, most importantly Flaws in Character.

Take a look at the Flaws I have chosen for this hypothetical Mythic Age Warrior.

Quote:
Rage (Major)
Berserker (Major)
Addiction (Alchohol) (minor flaw)
Compulsion (minor flaw)
Lecherous (minor flaw)
Overconfident (major)
Greed (Glory) (Major)
Poor (Major)
Sleep Disorder (Major)
Vows (Major)
Skeletons in the Closet (Major)
Enemy (Major)
Greed (Vengeance) (Major)


Firstly take them seperately.

For instance take rage by itself. Sure cool, the guy has a short temper and an explosive punch. That's cool, that can be very dramatic.

Now let's take Addiction (Alchohol), cool, the guy drinks to much.

Now add them together, now we have a guy who has a bad temper on the best of days, but now add to it that he drinks to excess. He is not a nice drunk :P

Let's take Oath Vengeance by itself. Sweet the dude's been wronged and he has sworn revenge, he will do what it takes to get it done (Montecristo is a great example).

Now let's add Greed: Vengeance on top of that. Awesome, not only has this guy sworn to get Vengeance, but now he doesn't care who's toes he steps on to get it. He will try and take it at any chance he gets.

Now add Rage and Alchoholic to that, imagine our hero sitting in the King's court. The bard starts singing a song about the hero's enemy, our hero overturns the table in disgust and acosts the bard. Normally his rage would have had him get up and leave in disgust, or simply say something, but now he is drunk. The King is outraged and exiles the hero, but this will make it nigh impossible to enact revenge, and so the hero descends upon the king and kills him in a fit of rage. :twisted:

Ofcourse I could go on and on about the subtle intertwining of ALL the Flaws I have chosen but I'm sure by now you have gotten the picture.

And tell me, doesn't a story about this tragic hero sound much more interesting than one about a Greek Warrior with Rage?

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"It was hard-fought, a desperate affair that could have gone badly; if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal" (115) ~ Beowulf after defeating Grendle's Mother.


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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
Or, in other words: A well-rounded fictional character will have a lot of personality traits, but only one or two of those can be central to the character’s story without the story losing focus. These one or two are the flaws.


Hmm, I find myself paradoxically puzzeled. On one hand I can agree with you, but on the other I find myself disagreeing.

Once again I invite you to take a look at Herakles and Conan, the fact that you will find that they have MANY Flaws shows us that their stories revolved around these very flaws.

I think you can have a decent character with one or two flaws, and lots of "color" but I think the trully great characters, ones that will be remember for hundreds if not thousands of years, have much more than one flaw.

James Bonds' Lechery is famous because it gets him into trouble, if it didn't then it would be pointless, and IMO not all that "colourful".

I dunno. I have played many games the way you explain it, but the best games have always IMO been the way I play it now.

With that list of Flaws I want each and every one of them to bring him trouble (now note there is a big difference between trouble and death, that's why I don't view Flaws as Kryptonite, but they should certainly impede the Character (in a menaingful way that advances the story) as often as possible).

Take for example the Flaw Alchoholic, if this was handled simply as colour then nothing exciting would ever come of it, just a character that says, I order a drink. Every now and then (I know I'm putting negative spin on it, but its just the way I see it). A Character who has the Flaw MUST drink, whether he is the kind of alcho that sits at home and polishes off a bottle of wine every night, or the type that "eats, drinks, and be's meery!" well, that is where the flavour comes into it.

If I were to play the hypothetical character and a bard was to sing of him one day, then it ould be well known that he drank and whored to excess! His enemies will know of it and may well use it to poison him (the Drama comes in administering a poison that will not definetly kill him but does have a good chance, and even if it doesn't kill him, perhaps then whilst he is drugged he has no control of his rage?).

Hmmm, Flaws! I love 'em :P

Cheers!

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"It was hard-fought, a desperate affair that could have gone badly; if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal" (115) ~ Beowulf after defeating Grendle's Mother.


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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:43 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
Now add Rage and Alchoholic to that, imagine our hero sitting in the King's court. The bard starts singing a song about the hero's enemy, our hero overturns the table in disgust and acosts the bard. Normally his rage would have had him get up and leave in disgust, or simply say something, but now he is drunk. The King is outraged and exiles the hero, but this will make it nigh impossible to enact revenge, and so the hero descends upon the king and kills him in a fit of rage. :twisted:
What's the essence of this scene? Our hero murders the king for unwarranted reasons. Vice: Wrath. Everything else (drunkenness, enemy, whatever) is just colour there.

Oh, and as far as I know, kryptonite has never actually killed superman. I could be wrong though. Not an expert really. Is superman dead? :lol: But in your view, are both kryptonite and his inability to see through lead (which allows him to be caught with the kryptonite unawares) both flaws? I think not, the latter is just colour.

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- Lord Petyr Baelish, A Game of Thrones


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 Post subject: Re: Of Flaws (with Claws)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:12 pm 
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Crow Caller wrote:
Grettir wrote:
Or, in other words: A well-rounded fictional character will have a lot of personality traits, but only one or two of those can be central to the character’s story without the story losing focus. These one or two are the flaws.
Hmm, I find myself paradoxically puzzeled. On one hand I can agree with you, but on the other I find myself disagreeing.

I think I can guess what puzzles you:
Crow Caller wrote:
Once again I invite you to take a look at Herakles and Conan, the fact that you will find that they have MANY Flaws shows us that their stories revolved around these very flaws.

A character like Conan has indeed a lot of shortcomings of character, but in any given tale, only one or two of them will feature prominently. That way, the writer avoids losing focus.

You could easily do the same in a role playing game – let’s say that in any given adventure, for the sake of focus, only one or two flaws will feature prominently. But this does undermine the entire point-buy mechanic where you “weaken” a character by flaws and “strengthen” him with the gifts bought with them. If a character’s got six flaws and six gifts, but only ever two flaws will feature in any given adventure, that character has practically received four gifts for free, as he will of course profit from most, if not all, of his gifts in any adventure.

I myself like short campaigns, but if somebody wanted a longer campaign composed of many adventures, an easy solution would come to my mind. In the case of the example with the six flaws above, you take all six of them, but there is an agreement that in any given adventure, only two of their number, to be nominated y the player before the outset of the adventure, will actually function like flaws, and the other four will be “dormant” – they are there as colourful parts of the character’s personality, and the player will play the character in accordance with these character traits, but there is an understanding that they will not be central to this adventure and that the refeee is not allowed to call for any kind of rolls challenging the dormant flaws. In turn, the player gets not to chose six, but only two gifts for his chaacter.

Focus in any given single story, yet variety from one story to the next – how’s that sound?

Crow Caller wrote:
Take for example the Flaw Alchoholic, if this was handled simply as colour then nothing exciting would ever come of it, just a character that says, I order a drink. Every now and then (I know I'm putting negative spin on it, but its just the way I see it). A Character who has the Flaw MUST drink, whether he is the kind of alcho that sits at home and polishes off a bottle of wine every night, or the type that "eats, drinks, and be's meery!" well, that is where the flavour comes into it.

Don’t get me wrong – when I talk about playing something like that as colour and not as flaw, I don’t mean that your character won’t frequently drink to excess. He wil, and he will often be drunk, and almost as often hung over – but only ever at times when it doesn’t matter. Yes, he has a eputation for drinking to excess, but still you won’t find this character stoned when the enemy comes knocking – because it was decided upon beforehand that the alcoholism wouldn’t be a story issue.

You may call this approach unrealistic and hold against me that statistically there will be a good chance that an alcoholic character will be drunk at a very inconvenient time, and I won’t deny it. But I will put forth that it’s not implausible that an alcoholic just happens to be fortunately sober when it really matters, or that he has put off last night’s drinking with no more than a very minor headache and a sour taste in his mouth, or that he is sufficiently sobered by a suddenly looming threat that he will be able to function normally. Statistically these fortunate instances would not happen all too often, but statistics are a matter of chance, and chance makes for poor stories.

I much prefer to focus on one or two flaws for any given story, to really make them a central issue, than to have many flaws featuring, none of which has actually anough time in the limelight. The latter approach may seem the more realistic, well-rounded, closer to how people really are, but one should remember that not having something feature prominently in a story does not mean that this very thing does not exist – you can play an alcoholic in a story that’s not about alcoholism.

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