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I’ve searched the old Nocturnal Forum, and re-read the traits section multiple times and can not find a definitive answer regarding the opposed traits if one is 20 or higher. 

My specific situation is a PK who has spent every Winter Phase increase boosting his Valorous so he will be famous for it. Now he states that his character is immune to Cowardly rolls - even if required by something like a Coneygarth improvement to his manor - because his Cowardly stat is 0 (or may soon be negative if he puts this coming Winter Phase increase in it). Is that how the system actually is designed?

 I know he gets punished on the flip side by always having to act brave - which will cost him dearly when Uther goes to war with Cornwall and he witnesses the attack on Prince Madoc - but outside of being the first to lead the charge, or GM imposed deductions when he chooses to act in a non-valorous manner, is he actually immune to the Cowardly roll?

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KAP 5.2, p.113: "The value may be lowered to 0, in which case failure is certain, or above 19, in which case success is certain."

Since Coneygarth Cowardly roll needs to succeed for the Corwardly check to be gained, and he can't succeed on Cowardly 0, then he is effectively immune to the effect. I would not be too bothered by this. Even with Cowardly 1 he would only fail like once per 20 years, meaning one Cowardly check over his whole career.

You are the GM, but my advice is this: Let him savor this, especially since he has spent a few years solely to boosting his Valorous. However, also notice this:

KAP 5.2, p. 85: "Normally, no Trait may ever be higher than 19 or lower than 1, except through experience or by the use of increased Glory."

So he needs to have used at least a Glory point to boost it to 20 (or gotten very lucky in a skill check). Also:

KAP 5.2, p.85: "Such characters [Trait 20 or more] always have a value of 0 for the opposite Trait,"

So Cowardly remains 0 and does not become negative. Not that it has any particular effect save making Cowardly Fumbles less likely if such a roll is ever called for. (Since negative skill increases the fumble chance, -4 means you fumble on 16+. See pp. 115-116.)

EDIT: Just to add, he is can still do Cowardly rolls if they are called for and hope for a fumble to get a check in the opposite trait (note that I wouldn't count fumbles in the improvement trait rolls, since it is somewhat different circumstances). Granted, I am much more partial to Valorous rolls myself, and there is a long history of penalizing Valorous when faced with long odds or monsters. So I would rather call for Valorous -5 rolls than Cowardly +5 rolls, especially since this gives the 20+ guy some benefit from having a Valorous higher than 20, even.

Edited by Morien

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Like Morien noted for the most part this PK is going to be fearless, and yes that is exactly how the system was designed. But...

Per p. 91 of the Book of the Estate,  Coneygarth gives a check to Lustful and Cowardly, not a roll. That means that mister fearless is going to have to check is Cowardly trait, which is certain to go up to 1 during the winter phase, and knock his Valor back down to 19. So he should not build a Coneygarth 

Edited by Atgxtg

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Although...thinking about it, such trait rolls should probably be optional. The whole point behind allegorical beast trait checks is that the character gets to observe the animal's behavior, and it is not like the knight actually has to go take care of the rabbits personally.  I don't really see Lancelot losing his courage because he was granted a manor with some bunnies! Especially if it were some manor that he never actually spent any time at. 

So I'd probably at least consider letting the PK avoid the rabbits, and skip BOTH trait checks.

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26 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

So I'd probably at least consider letting the PK avoid the rabbits, and skip BOTH trait checks.

Alas, the investments are balanced with the checks in mind. If you allow the PK to avoid getting Cowardly and Lustful checks, the Coneygarth is BY FAR the best return-for-investment out there.

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One thing that Greg and I discussed is how to have traits above 20.  What came about from that discussion is the following:

The stat remains at 20.  However, it can be raised as plusses to the value.  For example, a trait of 20 which is raised by the rules, would now be 20 (+1).  A 22 would be 20 (+2). A thirty would be 20 (+10).  The values in parenthesis would come into play when the value drops below 20 due to checks in the other trait, or by a modifier.  Valorous of 20 (+3) for example would still be considered a 20 when there is a modifier to Valorous of -1 to -3.

Greg loved the idea, but I do not think it reached publication.  But, I have used it in my campaigns since.

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My question was predicated on his insistence that he wouldn’t have to make the roll against Cowardly because it was a 0. My interpretation was that the mandatory check would indeed require a roll, and as he could not roll under or equal to 0, his Cowardly would indeed go up by 1 and decrease his Valorous. 

The coneygarth is not already included in his holding, he just joyfully declared that now he could build one without worrying about any effect on his Valorous / Cowardly and that seemed inaccurate based on my understanding. 

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55 minutes ago, Uhtred said:

My question was predicated on his insistence that he wouldn’t have to make the roll against Cowardly because it was a 0. My interpretation was that the mandatory check would indeed require a roll, and as he could not roll under or equal to 0, his Cowardly would indeed go up by 1 and decrease his Valorous. 

Well a check in the game mean checking the box for improvment later. So it's as if the player already made a roll.

55 minutes ago, Uhtred said:

The coneygarth is not already included in his holding, he just joyfully declared that now he could build one without worrying about any effect on his Valorous / Cowardly and that seemed inaccurate based on my understanding. 

He would have to worry because as written there is no roll, he'd just automatically get an improvement check for Cowardly each year. Since Cowardly would be at 0, the player would obviously rolled higher than a zero and it would go up at the end of the year. So by RAW, if he builds a coneygarth, his Valor is going to drop.

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1 hour ago, Hzark10 said:

One thing that Greg and I discussed is how to have traits above 20.  What came about from that discussion is the following:

The stat remains at 20.  However, it can be raised as plusses to the value.  For example, a trait of 20 which is raised by the rules, would now be 20 (+1).  A 22 would be 20 (+2). A thirty would be 20 (+10).  The values in parenthesis would come into play when the value drops below 20 due to checks in the other trait, or by a modifier.  Valorous of 20 (+3) for example would still be considered a 20 when there is a modifier to Valorous of -1 to -3.

Greg loved the idea, but I do not think it reached publication.  But, I have used it in my campaigns since.

I'm sorry, but I don't see the difference between 20 (+2) and just having a 22. What am I missing?

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

Alas, the investments are balanced with the checks in mind. If you allow the PK to avoid getting Cowardly and Lustful checks, the Coneygarth is BY FAR the best return-for-investment out there.

Yeah, I suppose someone could hire teachers to get checks in the opposing traits, but that would just make te character regress towards the mean. Maybe the teachers could just offset the negative checks? So if someone didn't care about the lustful check they could still make £1. 

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51 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

He would have to worry because as written there is no roll, he'd just automatically get an improvement check for Cowardly each year. Since Cowardly would be at 0, the player would obviously rolled higher than a zero and it would go up at the end of the year. So by RAW, if he builds a coneygarth, his Valor is going to drop.

That was my understanding, I just could not find anything that said a 0 trait is still subject to a roll if a check is earned. He feels it is ignored and I disagree. 

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

KAP 5.2, p.85: "Such characters [Trait 20 or more] always have a value of 0 for the opposite Trait,"

The difference lies in how one looks at the system.  If one has a trait of 25, he gets 25 glory. If he has 20, he only gets 20.  It was a way to slow down glory creep.  Not by much, but in my campaign, I found it was just enough over the years.

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2 hours ago, Uhtred said:

That was my understanding, I just could not find anything that said a 0 trait is still subject to a roll if a check is earned. He feels it is ignored and I disagree. 

By the RAW he got a check, and will have to see about the trait going up. There is nothing in the RAW that says you get to ignore a check mark. Also by the RAW, you are the GM, so...

Oh, and on a similar note years ago I had a player who had a very modest character, on paper. He had Modest 22, but couldn't shut up telliing everyone about how modest he was, both out and in character. Eventually I awarded him a Proud check when he fell into a boasting match with a Pagan Knight. He gave me a dirty look, but he had that check coming for a looong time. 

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2 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

The difference lies in how one looks at the system.  If one has a trait of 25, he gets 25 glory. If he has 20, he only gets 20.  It was a way to slow down glory creep.  Not by much, but in my campaign, I found it was just enough over the years.

💡-Now I get it!

I guess it works. I've rarely had that many PKs with traits over 20 that Glory creep was a problem. Maybe two. The worst problem I've had with Glory was in my last campaign. We were  using the rolled method and all the players got hot and rolled great traits. Some players were getting over 400 glory a year from traits and passions. After a few years, some marriages, some manors and some improvments, and I had a couple of guys making over 600 glory a year! That really changed the tone of the game.  

 

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7 hours ago, Atgxtg said:
9 hours ago, Uhtred said:

That was my understanding, I just could not find anything that said a 0 trait is still subject to a roll if a check is earned. He feels it is ignored and I disagree. 

By the RAW he got a check, and will have to see about the trait going up. There is nothing in the RAW that says you get to ignore a check mark. Also by the RAW, you are the GM, so... 

Yeah, exactly what Atgxtg said. Experience check rolls have nothing to do with normal resolution rolls. If you have a check, you roll it, and like Atgxtg said earlier, it is bound to go up since any roll is larger than 0. So it is a very bad idea to build a Coneygarth if you want to be a Valorous knight, and that was the design intent behind it: lots of income, but you are paying for it with your Valorous; Choose which one is important to you. If you don't want the Cowardly check, then don't build a Coneygarth. Easy as that.

 

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5 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

Correct on all accounts.  Auto-checks are built into the system to prevent abuse. 

And to accommodate a little "abuse" as well. I bet that play with Valor 20 wouldn't begrudge a check to Valor or to some skill he has at 0. Several of my PKs hire teachers to work on traits and skills that they might not get a chance to use during thew adventure. One of my PKs can actually read and write! 

 

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10 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

And to accommodate a little "abuse" as well. I bet that play with Valor 20 wouldn't begrudge a check to Valor or to some skill he has at 0. Several of my PKs hire teachers to work on traits and skills that they might not get a chance to use during thew adventure. One of my PKs can actually read and write! 

 

Teachers can be used on Traits? That seems weird to me, like how do you teach someone to be more Valorous? Like sure a child is fine, that's just good moral education, but an adult just paying someone to teach them how to be virtuous (or sinful) feels weird.

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15 minutes ago, Ravian said:

Teachers can be used on Traits? That seems weird to me, like how do you teach someone to be more Valorous? Like sure a child is fine, that's just good moral education, but an adult just paying someone to teach them how to be virtuous (or sinful) feels weird.

Yes they can, and yes it does seem weird. In in the Book of the Manor. You hire someone to train toy in a trait or a skill, and it get's a check. 

 

I suppose they probably give examples, pep talks, lgoical arguments, explain the merits of , and watch and correct you when you behave contrary to the desired trait. Kinda like AA.

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Another point of difference between 20 (+3) and 23: the former crits on a 20, while the latter on a 17+. That's significant, whereas the Glory difference is trivial.

--Khanwulf

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28 minutes ago, Khanwulf said:

Another point of difference between 20 (+3) and 23: the former crits on a 20, while the latter on a 17+. That's significant, whereas the Glory difference is trivial.

--Khanwulf

Yeah, good point. 

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11 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

Another point of difference between 20 (+3) and 23: the former crits on a 20, while the latter on a 17+. That's significant, whereas the Glory difference is trivial.

--Khanwulf

Except I thought that it would still work the same, 17+3 = 20 = crit. Otherwise Lancelot will turn from a killing machine into a 'eh, he is good, but not that much better'.

Personally, I don't see a big benefit here. A small advantage to those less mathematically gifted that the bonus is calculated beforehand, at the cost of making it even more complicated when modifiers come in and in notation (23 is easier than 20 (+3) in an excel sheet). The Glory amount is negligible.

Edited by Morien

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Sorry to confuse, but it does work the same.  A 20 (+3) is the same as 23 except for glory.  It made it easier to calculate all modifiers, especially if directed traits were involved, to find an overall modifier.  I suppose it might make it harder when working with an excel sheet, but I rarely use such as I prefer having a hard copy. It also helped new players understand that "0" and "20" were hard numbers and in the case of traits, needed to add to the same amount.  Else, 23 in one trait, mean -3 in another. But, wait, 0 is the minimum...

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Hzark10 said:

It also helped new players understand that "0" and "20" were hard numbers and in the case of traits, needed to add to the same amount.  Else, 23 in one trait, mean -3 in another. But, wait, 0 is the minimum...

I don't see this as a big issue. New players won't have characters with Traits over 20. And explaining that the minimum trait is 0, even if the other trait is over 20, is not any more complicated than saying that once the trait is past 20, it is written 20 (+excess). By the time new players get there (if ever), they are already familiar with the system. Also, this is only a problem with Traits, not with Passions nor Skills.

Like I said above, I do see a small advantage in that 20 (+3) shows the die roll addition beforehand, so you don't have to calculate it. However, subtracting 20 is dead easy: for skills 21-29, you just take the 2 away. Values of 30 or over are very rare and usually only come up in very special circumstances with plenty of modifiers, in which case it is worth while taking a moment to ensure that they are correct. By contrast, +5/-5 modifiers come all the time. 23-5 = 18 is faster than 3-5 = -2 & 20 - 2 = 18.

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