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Author Topic: Base spiritual attributes  (Read 2004 times)
Balbinus
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Posts: 290


« on: January 31, 2003, 06:08:33 AM »

Hi,

I started creating a couple of sample characters with the game last night, and got to the spiritual attributes.  They seem strongly geared towards heroic characters.

My first attempt at a character was a courtier driven by ambition to rise as high at court as he could.  I struggled for SAs.  Passions for particular people were easy enough, luck of course, conscience seemed unlikely based on the concept and faith simply irrelevant.

Then I thought, Drive:  Ambition.  But that doesn't work. Drives seem to be for noble causes, things greater than yourself.  I want to create someone for whom personal advancement is the highest cause, for whom ambition is above all else and an end in itself.

So, selfish SAs, base SAs.  Are they allowed?  It seems odd to me not to, a drive for power is a recognised human trait.  A hunger for wealth (not necessarily in the Greed sense which implies you'll steal from your companions, a rather extreme case of the emotion to my mind) is another common drive.

These kinds of drive can have tremendous dramatic potential.  Particularly when they conflict with other drives and passions.  A drive for personal advancement may clash with conscience if one has such, or clash with one's passion for a suddenly out-of-favour noblewoman.  A drive for wealth may clash interestingly with one's faith which preaches charity and putting aside worldly things.  A priest with high faith and a drive for worldly comforts could be very interesting.

I read the following thread http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2296 but nothing really seems to be resolved.

So, unheroic drives, what are peoples thoughts?
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Jim DelRosso
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Posts: 23


« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2003, 06:19:08 AM »

I'm not sure what the official response might be to unheroic drives, but what about having a Destiny: Never stop seeking personal advancement?

Just a thought.
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JD
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2003, 06:26:09 AM »

Quote from: Jim DelRosso
I'm not sure what the official response might be to unheroic drives, but what about having a Destiny: Never stop seeking personal advancement?

Just a thought.


Is that really a destiny though?  It might be interesting to have an unambitious character who's destiny is to become powerful and important of course, but I'm thinking more an overriding motivation.

To take a more concrete example, if my characyer Antoine du Plessy (a character from a wholly different game actually, but anyway) is so motivated by the lust for personal advancement that he will risk his own life in order to claw his way further up the greasy pole, is that not a drive?  It seems to me clearly so, but outside the rules.

If Antoine fights duels to gain recognition, goes to war so as to seem the hero, blackmails powerful men at risk of assasination, all to progress himself, he is a story-worthy character.  Not a nice character, but story-worthy.  That's what I want to be able to do, for me the thing is to tell interesting stories, they need not necessarily be about admirable people.

Which doesn't mean we don't root for them and want them to succeed, but it's a qualified wanting.  We root for them but question why we do so.  We sympathise with MacBeth, though he is a bloody handed tyrant and killer.  The Talented Mr Ripley we wish to succeed, although he is a psychopathic multiple murderer.  There are interesting tales to be told with unheroic folk.
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Shadeling
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Posts: 314


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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2003, 07:16:03 AM »

Quote from: Balbinus
Quote from: Jim DelRosso
I'm not sure what the official response might be to unheroic drives, but what about having a Destiny: Never stop seeking personal advancement?

Just a thought.


Is that really a destiny though?  It might be interesting to have an unambitious character who's destiny is to become powerful and important of course, but I'm thinking more an overriding motivation.

To take a more concrete example, if my characyer Antoine du Plessy (a character from a wholly different game actually, but anyway) is so motivated by the lust for personal advancement that he will risk his own life in order to claw his way further up the greasy pole, is that not a drive?  It seems to me clearly so, but outside the rules.

If Antoine fights duels to gain recognition, goes to war so as to seem the hero, blackmails powerful men at risk of assasination, all to progress himself, he is a story-worthy character.  Not a nice character, but story-worthy.  That's what I want to be able to do, for me the thing is to tell interesting stories, they need not necessarily be about admirable people.

Which doesn't mean we don't root for them and want them to succeed, but it's a qualified wanting.  We root for them but question why we do so.  We sympathise with MacBeth, though he is a bloody handed tyrant and killer.  The Talented Mr Ripley we wish to succeed, although he is a psychopathic multiple murderer.  There are interesting tales to be told with unheroic folk.


I don't see why you can't have selfish or base SAs. Think of any important villain-they most certainly have SAs, but they wouldn't be heroic. In fact one of the PCs in my game has a selfish Passion. So it can be done-go for it.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2003, 07:42:34 AM »

Hi there,

I'm with Shadeling. I don't see where this assumption that SA's are to be virtuous or non-selfish is coming from in the first place.

Check out some of my examples in the Spiritual Attributes by the hundreds! thread, as well as considering the importance of Philosophy; see Bob's Take a philosophy ... thread.

Best,
Ron
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Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2003, 07:46:15 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi there,

I'm with Shadeling. I don't see where this assumption that SA's are to be virtuous or non-selfish is coming from in the first place.

Check out some of my examples in the Spiritual Attributes by the hundreds! thread, as well as considering the importance of Philosophy; see Bob's Take a philosophy ... thread.

Best,
Ron


The thread I link to in my initial post goes into the point in some detail, but inconclusively.  Still, there is solid argument in it that the game rules allow only heroic drives.

I'm not sure I see stuff like that I'm speaking of in those threads you link to Ron.
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Stephen
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Posts: 172


« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2003, 08:37:31 AM »

Quote from: Balbinus
Still, there is solid argument in it that the game rules allow only heroic drives.


Many of the game examples suggest Drives that could be seen as heroic -- e.g. Von Salm the sorcerer, with his Drive to free his province from a tyrannical baron -- but I don't recall anything in the actual rules text that specifies a Drive must be a (as the character perceives it) noble goal or larger-than-oneself mission.  Personal ambitions are also perfectly suited to the mechanics of Drive.

Also note the caveats I deliberately peppered in there.  A Drive to free your homeland from tyranny, or to instal the rightful ruler on the throne, certainly seems heroic on the face of it, but it can be just as easily used to justify horrible atrocity -- does your Drive to unseat a tyrant lead you to murder his children so none of his heirs can come back to haunt you?  Nothing in the rules of Drive stops you.

From a purely roleplaying aspect, remember that nobody ever really thinks of their own motivations or desires as "base" or "unnatural".  We want what we want and we'll construct amazing rationalizations to justify it to ourselves, if we feel we have to.
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Mokkurkalfe
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Posts: 340


« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2003, 02:01:03 PM »

I agree with Stephen. Many of the crusaders had very noble goals, though they still did some pretty nasty things.
If a SA can spawn a good story, I let it pass, noble or not.
One player had Drive: Kill a Dragon. To his character this was the most heroic thing you could ever do. But, to me at least, there's nothing heroic at all about killing a dragon just for the sake of killing it.
Still, his quest for an actual dragon to kill, let alone kill it, was fun.

I try to avoid the worst munchkin drives, but it creates a wee little problem. Namely that I can't give my power-hungry über-villain a single "Become Ruler of the World for all Eternity" SA.
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