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What traits to use for a more basic BRP fantasy?

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Hello!

I have been tinkering with my own BRP-based RPG-system and world for eons it seems. The main story is about to be transformed into a scenario, but the main question now, is:

If I want to use personality traits for characters in my game (à la King Arthur Pendragon and Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne) but NOT necessarily emphasize only chevaleresque traits and/or traits that is in line with purely christian virtues, so what kind of OTHER virtues should/could I use? Please help!

//Erik.

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Have a look here at what I was playing with for a Buddhist and Shinto take on the KAP virtues for a samurai game set against the Genpei Wars:

http://genpei.pbworks.com/w/page/13885658/Character-Creation

One could, conceivably, even use something like the D&D 9-cell alignment matrix and choose the paragon virtues and bonus rewards for each of the alignments.  But keeping it simpler than that, to prevent dilution of the benefit of actual virtues, think about what's generally important to the society in which you're playing and keep the virtues focused on that goal.

Another neat idea, taking a sort of Manichean approach, would be to create Spiritual/Material or Good/Evil virtue paths that ultimately lead to the same virtue bonus.

!i!

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46 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Have a look here at what I was playing with for a Buddhist and Shinto take on the KAP virtues for a samurai game set against the Genpei Wars:

http://genpei.pbworks.com/w/page/13885658/Character-Creation

One could, conceivably, even use something like the D&D 9-cell alignment matrix and choose the paragon virtues and bonus rewards for each of the alignments.  But keeping it simpler than that, to prevent dilution of the benefit of actual virtues, think about what's generally important to the society in which you're playing and keep the virtues focused on that goal.

Another neat idea, taking a sort of Manichean approach, would be to create Spiritual/Material or Good/Evil virtue paths that ultimately lead to the same virtue bonus.

!i!

Thank you so much! This is clearly illuminating throught the lenses of Japanes feudality. Interesting. I also like the basic equipment packages for different classes.

AD&D alignments works well, atleast for the worlds of Greyhawk and such. Historically (as I am to be sixty in a little over four years) I always felt the matrix to be too stiff for my game, but I am not really updated with later versions of D&D/AD&D. What I am looking for is more in line with how the Warhammer Fantasy literature describes in what ways the forces of the Immaterium affects the human vices. Things like Lust, Ambition, Envy and such, but at the same time not too much like the Seven Deadly Sins. 

What is Manichean? You have to excuse me, I am Swedish, so my English is only so good. :) Many thanks for this input! //Erik

Edited by dracopticon

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The Manicheanism angle is really just a side thought.  It was one of the dualistic, gnostic religions that emerged at the same time of -- and had a mutual influence with -- early Christianity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

In essence, there's a good and spiritual world ruled by a good deity, and a bad and material world ruled by an evil deity.  We're effectively stuck in the middle, and could go one way or the other.  In game, this could provide two paths of "virtue," the irony being that they might both lead to heaven.  The '90s game Kult (Swedish, in fact!) played with this concept.

!i!

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10 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

The Manicheanism angle is really just a side thought.  It was one of the dualistic, gnostic religions that emerged at the same time of -- and had a mutual influence with -- early Christianity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

In essence, there's a good and spiritual world ruled by a good deity, and a bad and material world ruled by an evil deity.  We're effectively stuck in the middle, and could go one way or the other.  In game, this could provide two paths of "virtue," the irony being that they might both lead to heaven.  The '90s game Kult (Swedish, in fact!) played with this concept.

!i!

Thanks! Yes I recognized quite a few influences from the Manichean ideas being inherent in Kult. :)

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3 hours ago, dracopticon said:

Hello!

I have been tinkering with my own BRP-based RPG-system and world for eons it seems. The main story is about to be transformed into a scenario, but the main question now, is:

If I want to use personality traits for characters in my game (à la King Arthur Pendragon and Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne) but NOT necessarily emphasize only chevaleresque traits and/or traits that is in line with purely christian virtues, so what kind of OTHER virtues should/could I use? Please help!

//Erik.

Well, Chaosium's new edition of RQ adopts some of the same mechanisms as "Passions," but reskinned for Glorantha.  "Hates Trolls" & "Fears Dragons" & so on. In the general case, "Loves <X>" or the like.  Also "Loyalty: <X>" and "Devotion <X>" and so forth.

It also makes Runic affiliations into such Traits; Runes as descriptors of personality and behavior, e.g. "Air" is associated with being proud, and with being violent.  So meekness and humility, or any sort of "turning the other cheek," is a challenge for PCs strong with the Air Rune.  Some runes are paired with an opposite (e.g. Harmony/Disorder, Fertility/Death), in that raising one lowers its opposite; others are not.

It may be worth studying RQG for more exemplars & inspiration of ways to use this notion...

Edited by g33k
clarity
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44 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

The problem with good and bad, is while it seems relatively clear on the surface, there are many instances where it is, in fact, quite subjective....

That, quite simply, is because you are impure.  Pick a lane and it all becomes much clearer.

[Edit: Also, that's where Spiritual vs Material may be more useful in a game of Manicheanism.]

.:.Ian

Edited by Ian Absentia
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17 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

That, quite simply, is because you are impure.  Pick a lane and it all becomes much clearer.

[Edit: Also, that's where Spiritual vs Material may be more useful in a game of Manicheanism.]

.:.Ian

OOH!! Spiritual/Material... that's the one I've been looking for. I've been using Spiritual/Secular... but just didn't feel right.

SDLeary

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19 hours ago, dracopticon said:

I googled the word Manichean . Clearly stuff there that I had never heard off! Nice. Thanks again!

Manicheanism  is actually listed on Pendragon's Knights & Ladies, too, so you can use that top determine what traits to underline.

You might want to include virtues that are not religious, but reflect sort sort of behavioral idea, such as Pendragon's Chivalry, but for something else. Pendragon has touched upon that a bit with Romance and Evil.

18 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

The problem with good and bad, is while it seems relatively clear on the surface, there are many instances where it is, in fact, quite subjective....

It's all subjective, it just that there can be cultural values that help create common good and bad, or good and evil.  As Ian Absentia points out

18 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

That, quite simply, is because you are impure.  Pick a lane and it all becomes much clearer.

So what happens is that by accepting a certain cultural or religious set of standards and definitions we get good and evil defined for us. It can make acts that would normally be considered wrong to be virtuous due to a "higher set of values". For instance, the excesses and atrocities committed when the European powers colonized the New World, were considered to be acceptable, as they were bringing Christianity to the natives and saving their souls. Most people today probably wouldn't agree with that or consider it to have been a good thing.

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19 hours ago, dracopticon said:

I googled the word Manichean . Clearly stuff there that I had never heard off! Nice. Thanks again!

The concepts formally entered early Christianity, and were known as "the Manichean Heresy."  Augustine & others addressed it.

A dualistic theology, where God isn't necessarily more powerful than the Devil, where the mental/spiritual is "Good" and Godly, the material/physical is "Evil" and of the Devil.

 

Some of this perspective has clearly persisted in Christian & related thought, up through the modern era (q.v. the famous Kevin Bacon docudrama Footloose, among other sources).

  

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Manicheanism  is actually listed on Pendragon's Knights & Ladies, too, so you can use that top determine what traits to underline.

Well, there it is -- under the Byzantines, along with Neoplatonism!  I hadn't noticed it before.  It's worth noting that the religious virtues underlined for Manichaeism appear to be the virtues of the spiritual world, not the material.  And these, by the way, are the virtues I'd assign to the Cathars of the 12th-14th centuries.

!i!

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12 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Well, there it is -- under the Byzantines, along with Neoplatonism!  I hadn't noticed it before.  It's worth noting that the religious virtues underlined for Manichaeism appear to be the virtues of the spiritual world, not the material.  And these, by the way, are the virtues I'd assign to the Cathars of the 12th-14th centuries.

Yeah, the Cathars (aka Albigensians) clearly had some of the Manichean concepts in their origins. including dualistic theology, & the idea of spiritual&mental = good / material&physical = evil.

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46 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Well, there it is -- under the Byzantines, along with Neoplatonism!  I hadn't noticed it before.  It's worth noting that the religious virtues underlined for Manichaeism appear to be the virtues of the spiritual world, not the material.  And these, by the way, are the virtues I'd assign to the Cathars of the 12th-14th centuries.

!i!

Cathars are in K&L too. Traits: Chaste, Generous, Modest, Pious, Temperate; Bonus: +2 Hit Points, +1 Healing Rate, +1 Armor

Manichaeist:  Traits: Chaste, Generous, Modest, Pious, Temperate; Bonus: +2 Hit Points, +1 Healing Rate, +1 Armor

 

Note that they are identical.

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

Cathars are in K&L too.

[...snip...]

 

Note that they are identical.

a)  I lose points for not reading that book more closely.
b)  I gain points for being right on the money.

In the end, Even-Steven!

!i!

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16 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

a)  I lose points for not reading that book more closely.
b)  I gain points for being right on the money.

In the end, Even-Steven!

!i!

There are several regions tucked away in K&L, most variations or offshoots of Christianity, and good material for someone who wants to use those religions in BRP. I might also be fun to try and assign traits for followers of a particular Greco-Roman, Norse, or Celtic Gods. Pendragon did touch upon the Nordic Gods in one of the supplements, but the underlying idea for assigning virtues would help, as would defining them by cultural beliefs.

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59 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Pendragon did touch upon the Nordic Gods in one of the supplements, but the underlying idea for assigning virtues would help, as would defining them by cultural beliefs.

Land of Giants, dealing with the Beowulf legend.  More Germanic than Norse, but almost directly portable.  Great stuff!  And you're right about using virtues to help define cultural beliefs, even if individual characters don't necessarily adhere to them themselves.  David Dunham used this  several decades ago in his famous "PenDragon Pass" game, for which I think we can thank in some confidence the introduction of passions and runic affinities in RQG.  Okay, the latter we may attribute more to HeroQuest, but what are affinities but case-specific virtues?

!i!

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Many great tips and tricks here! I apologize for not replying earlier. I get no notifications on my email on replies here, got to change that!

Anyway, right now I am tinkering with the idea of maybe including "Schadenfreude" among the traits. Mostly because I hate it so much. It's a truly evil thing IMO.

Edited by dracopticon
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I suppose it's worth looking at other systems, too ...

GURPS is often the go-to line for historical / semihistorical gaming references, used by other gamers.   GURPS Camelot, G. Vikings, G. MiddleAges, G. CelticMyth, G. Robin Hood...

Ars Magica is about 500 years too late; but is in many ways a backward-looking game, where the characters often idealize / idolize The Greats who came before, the "giants upon whose shoulders they stand," so many of the ArM supplements may be inspirational for Pendragon-esqe gaming.  Realms of Power:Divine speaks not only to Christianity, but also Islam & Judaism, and to religions like Zoroastrianism, the old Roman "Sol Invictus" cult, etc.  The older Faerie Realm books (Faeries and Faeries Revised Edition) might offer some value/inspiration, and even the Core Rulebook (for its Virtues & Flaws) -- and the 4e corebook is a free PDF (Warehouse23).

And let's not forget the "extended family" of BRP-engine games, from TDM & others.  TDM has an extensive "Mythic Britain" line (see also Logres, & Waterlands), not exclusively "Arturian" but inclusive of it.

 

But... I'm really unclear how much your own setting will stay within the "feel" of the Pendragon setting.  You may want more high-fantasy elements, Orcish kingdoms which value Strength as their highest Virtue, or Tolkienesque Elves with Virtues like Patience & Wisdom.  You may have some Athas-like "wastes" with survival-oriented tribes, where Self-Control is the highest Virtue, alongside Cooperation (because only a group can muster the collective skills & resources to survive).  Etc etc etc...?

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

There are several regions tucked away in K&L, most variations or offshoots of Christianity, and good material for someone who wants to use those religions in BRP. I might also be fun to try and assign traits for followers of a particular Greco-Roman, Norse, or Celtic Gods. Pendragon did touch upon the Nordic Gods in one of the supplements, but the underlying idea for assigning virtues would help, as would defining them by cultural beliefs.

I can't remember the exact volume (issue, mailer?), but several were postulated/figured out during discussions on one of the Chaosium Digest mailers in the dim past... might be worth culling those before taking the time to re-invent the wheel. :)

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary

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6 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

I can't remember the exact volume (issue, mailer?), but several were postulated/figured out during discussions on one of the Chaosium Digest mailers in the dim past... might be worth culling those before taking the time to re-invent the wheel. :)

SDLeary

If someone still has them and can find them. 

 

I know Pendragon has:

Arian Christian, British Christian, Cathar Christian,Roman Christian, Byzantine Orthodox, Judaic, Saracen,

British Pagan,Germanic Pagan (and  deity specific sub-versions forOdin, Frig, Freyya, Forsetti, Balder, Aegir, Tyr, Thor in Land of  Giants), Pict Heathen, Nomad Animist, and Evil

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13 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

If someone still has them and can find them. 

 

I know Pendragon has:

Arian Christian, British Christian, Cathar Christian,Roman Christian, Byzantine Orthodox, Judaic, Saracen,

British Pagan,Germanic Pagan (and  deity specific sub-versions forOdin, Frig, Freyya, Forsetti, Balder, Aegir, Tyr, Thor in Land of  Giants), Pict Heathen, Nomad Animist, and Evil

They are HERE. Its quite an archive. Again, I can't remember exactly which digest or year... but IIRC, it was in a discussion of PDP, talking about adapting it to outside Glorantha.

SDLeary

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7 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

They are HERE. Its quite an archive. Again, I can't remember exactly which digest or year... but IIRC, it was in a discussion of PDP, talking about adapting it to outside Glorantha.

SDLeary

Thanks, I'm giving it a quick search for the relevant info, but maybe it would take less time to reinvent the wheel that to find a needle in a haystack. 

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Thanks, I'm giving it a quick search for the relevant info, but maybe it would take less time to reinvent the wheel that to find a needle in a haystack. 

Fair point. I do have some of the issues on my laptop and am looking at them now. The current discussion is from '93, with DaveD commenting on why PDP would be better than RQ4, combat wise. In fact, the general gist is very similar to what we have been arguing here for some time. :)

SDLeary

EDIT: Done for now, eyes tired. Found the digest with the first mention of the Gloranthan gods, but can't  find the other one (that was Celtic).

Edited by SDLeary

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