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The more I play the game, the more I dislike the way celtic paganism is handled i KAP.

Above all, my main issue is with the pagan virtues, especially lustful. Lustful is problematic because it turns every pagan into an horny goat. It is simply untrue, and in fact, a bit of a christian caricature.

I read as much as I could about celtic religion. Druids were celibate (all men by the way). Pagan people uphold monogamy (not like christians, but in their own way). Pagan women were supposed to be faithful to their husbands. Virginity was desirable for a maiden. They were probably not obsessed about the need to control sexual urges (like christians), but they were not that horny.

Maybe a better pagan virtue would be indulgent (love of life) ? Still shocking to christian people, but more true ?

 

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I have always played the the Pagan Lustful virtue includes love of life.  If you are Lustful, you are bursting with energy for life itself. You throw yourself into everything you do.  It is not necessarily physical "Energetic" as that trait applies, but the mental state.  Yes, the urge to be fruitful is there, but you do not try to mate with every woman seen.  You are not a sexual predator.  Since it is a Trait, and is paired with Chaste, many assume that since chaste means abstaining from sex, Lustful means the opposite.  

I have found that the Christian trait, "Chaste" does not mean no sex, either.  It means their is a barrier to achieve that.  In the proper circumstances, anything may go.

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I don’t play KAP so feel free to ignore this comment but I did think it was useful to point out that the etymology of Lust. It was only from the 15th Century that lust has been associated with its current meaning of (sinful) sexual desire or as certain monks wrote ‘degrading animal passion’. And to be fair to the Christian church they usually did qualify lust with ‘Lust of the Flesh’. It is only since it acquired its modern meaning that we use a short-hand version of lust or lustful to signify sexual desire

Old Germanic languages translate Lust as desire, appetite, pleasure and sensuousness, which has a wider meaning than  just being randy all the time. Even modern German uses Lust as meaning delight, desire, zest, notion, appetite so when I say to my partner .. Ich habe Lust für Kaffee... does not mean I want to have a carnal  relationship with coffee. (I’ve tried...it gets very messy and provokes strange looks.)

In Middle English, Lust meant ‘any source of pleasure or delight’ or ‘an appetite’ or ‘liking of a person’ and ‘fertility of the soil’.

So, in my view, lustful can be seen as passionate as opposed to holding any heightened emotions in check (including heightened sexual emotion). Being lustful in my opinion needs to be qualified as to the type of lust

I would also refer you to St Iggy of Pop and his Castle, Lust for Life

 

Edited by Nozbat
Typos
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I can't quite put it into words, but in general I feel like Lustful as a Pagan virtue works at least in part thanks to the recurring motif of stuff like the story of how Niall of the Nine Hostages first acquired the right to be High King:

As a young man, Niall had several half-brothers, and his jealous step-mother wanted one of them to inherit his father's kingdom, so she had a bunch of tests to determine a successor, but Niall passed each one. One of these tests involved sending them all out hunting, and each one at some point wants to get water from a well guarded by a hideous hag (a loathly lady, if you will), who demands a kiss in return for water. All but one of Niall's brothers refuses to kiss her, and the one who does, Fiachrae, gives her only a quick peck that she tells him isn't enough. Niall kisses her good and proper, and the lady becomes a beautiful maiden, the personification of sovereignty over Ireland. She tells Niall that in addition to himself, 26 of his descendants will be High King, while Fiachrae's line will produce two High Kings, and his other brothers none.

In line with this is that we're led to believe a lot of Celtic ceremonies/rituals regarding kingship and sovereignty included some symbolic gesture of fertility/virility on the monarch's part, with his rule being described in part as a marriage to the land or a sovereign goddess attached to it.

Edited by Leingod
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36 minutes ago, Leingod said:

In line with this is that we're led to believe a lot of Celtic ceremonies/rituals regarding kingship and sovereignty included some symbolic gesture of fertility/virility on the monarch's part, with his rule being described in part as a marriage to the land or a sovereign goddess attached to it.

Yes, I think you're right. There is also enough promiscuous faeries in briton and welsh folklore to support the lustful way. There is also the (debunked) myth about fertility rituals.

About the high kingship of Ireland, there is a also a weird debatted custom  the king should have sex with a white mare to prove his right to reign. A link:

It's just... Weird symbolism about sovereignty don't make all pagan people horny. The lustful trait looks very untrue to what we know now about celtic druidism. The more I think about it, the less it makes sense.

1 hour ago, Nozbat said:

don’t play KAP so feel free to ignore this comment but I did think it was useful

Lustful is sexual in the KAP rules, as opposed to chaste.

1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

Or if they wed pagan, having plenty of maritial sex with the wife.

According to the RAW, if he is faithful to his wife, he is still chaste. If he sleeps around, the husband is lustful. Same for the wife.

1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

Life is meant to be lived.

That's why I suggested indulgent as a new virtue for pagan people.

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11 minutes ago, creativehum said:

For what it's worth, whether or not you've played KAP, this is how I always have seen it.

I was only interested in letting people know the etymology of Lust and the pre-15th Century meaning and how its used in modern German .. if some want to use the modern meaning, that's fine with me 🤪Particularly, since some people found the interpretation very narrow and limiting in terms of role-play

15 minutes ago, creativehum said:

You should play KAP

I just don't have time for that with running a Saxon Campaign and CoC and none of my existing group would be that interested even if I was

But I agree with Greg's quote... just have fun

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12 hours ago, Leingod said:

Vengeful could also make a good "flawed" virtue for Pagans.

To be honest, it was my first choice as well. But, it is already a virtue for the animist religion, so I didn't want any duplicate.

13 hours ago, weasel fierce said:

I like the idea of Indulgent a lot more. 

Thank you. I am more and more inclined to change the (home)rules^^

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11 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

To be honest, it was my first choice as well. But, it is already a virtue for the animist religion, so I didn't want any duplicate.

Why not? It's not like you can be both, so doubling up wouldn't mean anything. And it makes a certain kind of sense IMO for the two to have a few things in common in terms of what they value, since there are Pagan Cymri living in Caledonia along with the Picts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

KAP's use of the terms Chaste and Lustful seems more like the old definitions than the modern-day terms. Chaste - "virtuous, pure from unlawful sexual intercourse." Lustful - "wishful, desirous, having an eager desire." (Quoting from etymonline.com)

For my own KAP purposes, I think of Lustful as somewhere in the neighborhood of lusty, sensual, sensuous, hearty, merry, joyful, or showing a lust for life. It could include crass or crude. Chaste becomes more like austere, decorous, proper, and so on.

A Lustful greeting is big, loud, and demonstrative, for example, whereas a Chaste greeting is quiet, polite, and "proper." A Lustful way to eat a meal is messy and noisy, grabbing what you want and wiping your mouth and hands (if at all) on whatever's handy. A Lustful eater belches loudly and they might even be proud of it. A Chaste way to eat a meal is polite and discreet, keeping oneself neat and excusing oneself if a slight burp escapes. Lustful interactions with the opposite sex are forward, loud, and demonstrative (even if there's no intention of sex), whereas Chaste interactions are reserved and discreet (even if there are thoughts of sex). Lustful marriages engage in PDAs. Chaste marriages avoid PDAs except for an occasional discreet smile, touch, or kind word.

Do these uses of Chaste and Lustful overlap with Modest and Proud, Pious and Worldly, or Temperate and Indulgent? Maybe, but so be it. KAP traits as written already have some overlap and similarities. I wouldn't want to bog down a game with arguments over fine distinctions like whether something is more like Lustful or Indulgent. Let the players interpret their traits and characters.

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Your houserules are very different from RAW.

19 hours ago, OldeMusicke said:

Do these uses of Chaste and Lustful overlap with Modest and Proud, Pious and Worldly, or Temperate and Indulgent? Maybe, but so be it.

IMO, it's important as a GM to know what is each virtue. You can be a merry fellow, and still being chaste, and modest, and even pious.

The personality traits are essentials to the rules (for exemple, for the bonus of chivalry).

Edited by Tizun Thane
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1 hour ago, Tizun Thane said:

Your houserules are very different from RAW.

IMO, it's important as a GM to know what is each virtue. You can be a merry fellow, and still being chaste, and modest, and even pious.

The personality traits are essentials to the rules (for exemple, for the bonus of chivalry).

Good old RAW. There are a couple of good ways to use RAW and one bad way, in any sort of game, even if you're playing Monopoly. One good way is: "This is our starting point and we'll interpret and evolve from there." This is not only permissible, but it's a good idea and it's unavoidable for any rules that are even moderately sophisticated or complicated. No RPG system covers every conceivable situation in full detail. Inevitably, there will be questions, discussions, and interpretations. One group's questions and answers won't be identical to another's, and that's fine. It lets your group create something together and play the way they want; that's a good thing.

Another good use of RAW is, "If in doubt or we can't agree, we'll default to RAW if it provides an answer." That's fine if and when you need that, and it's a guideline, not a binding law, but RAW never covers every conceivable question. Any game publisher that issues new editions or errata is admitting (explicitly or implicitly) that there were shortcomings in the RAW. If the publishers don't consider RAW a sacred, inviolable text, why should we?

A bad use of RAW is when the rules lawyers come out to play. Endless quibbling over strict interpretations and trying to stop the group from playing the way it wants is never fun for anyone (except the rules lawyer, and maybe not even then). It bogs down play. It violates the "yes, and" spirit of good roleplaying.

Of course the traits are essential. The trait system is one of the big strengths of KAP. Traits are fun, in the right spirit of play. Seeing how a player implements their combination of traits is fun.

The ideal (or shall I say, "the holy grail") of any trait system is that it's orthogonal and complete. This applies to real-world models such as MBTI and the OCEAN model, and it applies to RPG systems like D&D alignments and KAP personalities. "Orthogonal" means that every available axis is completely independent from every other axis. D&D alignments are pretty good about orthogonality because it's easy to find and understand all combinations of the lawful/chaotic axis and the good/evil axis. Pendragon's 13 trait pairs are less orthogonal. The fact that certain traits often cluster, such as the chivalry traits or religious virtues, tells you that the trait pairs are not entirely independent of each other. That's not a complaint, just the reality of the KAP trait system. What it means though is that fundamentally, the traits aren't completely independent of each other, so I'm not going to pretend they are; we interpret as we go and life is good.

The other goal for a trait system is completeness. That is, in the domain the trait system is trying to capture, the system is complete if every possible situation can be neatly and unambiguously categorized. That's where MBTI falls short, because there are so many behaviors it doesn't really capture, and people often disagree about how to interpret a given behavior. D&D alignments aren't fully complete because not all moral or ethical decisions fall unambiguously into a particular alignment. Do KAP traits completely describe all possible traits and behaviors? No, and the RAW say as much. That's just the way it is, not a complaint. Suppose you asked 10 KAP players to identify the KAP trait exhibited in each of 100 examples. Do you think you'd get 10 identical sets of answers? Of course not, but that's okay.

Player agency is a good thing in an RPG. Making the game your own (as a group) is a good thing. In terms of the prescriptive/descriptive debate, KAP traits aren't entirely one or the other, because you don't have to make a trait roll for everything you do or say. You can still try pretty much anything. Even if you do make a trait roll, there's more than one possible outcome. Traits can and should color your behavior, but like that one subheading says ("Interpreting Trait Results"), they're subject to interpretation. And that's RAW.

Back to the OP's question: I'd say go ahead and keep Lustful as a pagan virtue, but feel free to interpret it in a way that suits your campaign. Basically, "Here's what we mean when we say Lustful is a pagan virtue." It might not be identical to how some other Lustful character behaves, but then that character might not get their Lustful trait from pagan religion. The RAW (4th edition, at least) already leaves the door open for this, because it gives the general description of Lustful first (sexual desire, often without personal commitment), and then a pagan description (recognizing "the value of this sensual art to appreciate the immanence of the Goddess"). "Often" isn't "always," so the description already gives you some leeway on how you'll play it. The pagan description calls for recognizing the value of the sensual arts, but it doesn't say that all pagans are horny goats.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So Admittedly I started playing KAP in high school the year the Wall fell. But I have held true to this interpretation of the opposed traits for all this time. Probably this was influenced by a German-speaking childhood.  
Chaste and Lustful are a spectrum where the chaste ideal is asexual and not moved by carnal and physical concerns. This is a spiritual ideal many monastics aspired to, to transcend desire. Chaste isn’t doing all the things as long as they are licit, it’s only doing those things that you are required to do, (cooperate in the production of an heir) and to do it reluctantly, as little as possible and then high off to the cloister to repent once you’re done. Galahad and Tristan were ridiculous. Tristan only came around when the lady pointed it out.
Lustful, on the other hand, is being in touch with your desires to the point of transcending limits. You are moved by the primal force of the God/Goddess and will do what thou Willt because you aren’t even you in that state but an instrument of the Will of the divine pair. 

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