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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 79 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Heroic Flaws?  (Read 1818 times)
red_herring
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Posts: 26


« on: March 10, 2008, 04:49:48 PM »

Anyone considered Heroic Flaws for their game? I've always been a big fan of less than favorable character traits in Champions, GURPS, Savage Worlds, and other systems. You could use all the classical flaws (Wrathful, Greedy, Arrogant, Stubborn, etc). Maybe allow only one flaw in exchange for a single die bump during character creation... not sure about whether to impose a penalty for a flaw... thoughts?
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Darren Hill
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2008, 06:00:37 PM »

I could see a variant where the Flaws replace the Arete traits, so you might have a Greedy of d8, Proud of d10, and so on.
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John Harper
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2008, 10:55:07 PM »

In my experience, they appear in play pretty quickly. Especially Proud and Self Centered. :-)

But yeah, Heroic Flaws could be cool, mechanically. Maybe run them kind of like Aspects from SotC, so they can be compelled by the Antagonist. "I'll give you a d10 advantage die to activate your Wrathful flaw..."
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Ben Robbins
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2008, 05:05:25 AM »

My first reaction is against the idea, mostly because I like that _every_ hero winds up having lots of those flaws, particularly when they never intend to. Someone plans to be a bright shiny exemplar of Greek virtues and then minutes later they are bitter they lost the music contest and want payback.

It seems like once you start making heroes have particular flaws you are potentially limiting that wonderful spiral. Trouble needs very little encouragement in Agon.
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Ben Robbins
Lame Mage Productions / Beast of Kolkoris free Agon adventure
Ars Ludi / game theory blog
John Harper
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2008, 09:42:55 AM »

Yeah, Ben, you're totally right.

I wonder though, about those APs you read sometimes that say, "And the players didn't really want to compete with each other, and they didn't use oaths very aggressively," etc. Maybe a little mechanical push would get the ball rolling, for some folks.

Of course, using in-game mechanics to address game play preferences is often a bad idea. But I can imagine a group where a Wrathful compel might do the trick.
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Ben Robbins
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2008, 11:39:45 AM »

Hmm, true. My own group took some time to get into the cooperative-yet-competitive zone, but once they get it there's really no stopping them.

So maybe it's less a problem of mechanics and more preconceptions that "an adventuring party" is supposed to cooperate.

I wonder if it could be addressed more with situations the Antagonist starts off with or how the game is explained. It seems like this is exactly what the Achievements phase is designed to do -- maybe it needs a tweak. Are first-time AP'ers even going through that step or are they skipping it?
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Ben Robbins
Lame Mage Productions / Beast of Kolkoris free Agon adventure
Ars Ludi / game theory blog
red_herring
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Posts: 26


« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2008, 04:49:23 PM »

Ben--very much agree that the negative traits come out over the course of play, and that's certainly been the case with the group I game with locally. However, I'm also planning to run Agon as an in-room game at GenCon and at Origins, so anything I can do to jump start the competitive play is helpful.

John--I like the idea of SotC Aspects, and that may be the way to go. I also like the concept of using the negative attribute mechanic from Cold City--you get to add it to your dice pool where appropriate, but if it's the highest die, something negative related to the trait takes place. Again, just ideas at this point...
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Ben Robbins
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2008, 07:06:00 PM »

If you're just looking to fix it for a pick-up game, it might just be a matter of starting the game with contests that are literally competitions in the game world. The king invites the visiting heroes to show their valor by seeing which of them can throwing a javelin the farthest -- there will clearly be a winner of the game world contest so it makes sense to the players that they should be competing. No hard feelings.

That gets them in the right mind set to compete in other situations where they might just cooperate instead.

Rub it in by having the winner sit by the king's side during the feast while all the other heroes sit with the masses. In one of our games the heroes had an Orate contest to introduce themselves to some king and make themselves look like heroes of worth. The king treated the winner like he was the hero and the rest of the party were just his retainers. All the players had been encouraging the excellent Orate hero to do well and win for the team, but when this happened a minute later they were burning with envy. It was awesome.

In another discussion John also made the very wise point that easy contests lead to more competition than hard contests -- if it's easy to win a contest the heroes don't have to worry about whether "the team" is going to beat the challenge, they can get selfish. The example above is like that because nothing is really riding on it.

I also have an evil habit of periodically reading off how all the heroes are doing for glory in this game session ("Ptolykus is at 21 glory so far, he's way ahead of anyone else"). It's not subtle but it works.

(Also keep in mind that in a one-shot the normal downside for using up Fate is kind of moot, so you need to address that)

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Ben Robbins
Lame Mage Productions / Beast of Kolkoris free Agon adventure
Ars Ludi / game theory blog
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