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Failings and Motivations- The RP Hiccup

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#1 Brother Orpheo

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:01 PM

As I understand the Text under the heading of 'Failings', these rules are optional. The very beginning of this text implies they are RP aids for less experienced players, but they have rule mechanic bonuses and penalties associated with them. On one hand, I applaud the concept, on the other I feel they draw players OOC for what I refer to as an "RP hiccup" and fail in practical application in-game, IC.


In Deathwatch, there is a similar mechanic, known as Demeanor. PCs acting in accordance with their Demeanor receive a situational bonus to a Skill or Characteristics Test, but this causes the "RP hiccup" when a Player suddenly says "I'm going to act in accordance with/call upon my Demeanor", and quite frankly it just seems trite.


There is no way this mechanic can be implemented without ruining immersion. Either the GM trusts Players to "act out" the Failings and Motivations (or Demeanor, for that matter) and leave them to decide if they deserve the bonus during game play (causing the Player to consider mechanics rather than RP), or the Player must alert the GM to something the PC is doing because it specifically offers a rule mechanic benefit (the hiccup), or the GM must now keep ongoing lists of PC behavior models and alert Players to their RP bonus.


At first, I liked what HappyDaze has done with the House Rule of separating "crunch" from the RP assistance of Failings and Motivations, but the more I thought about what Failings represented I just couldn't get behind the situational modifiers that would be handed out (Incursions). And that is the root of my dislike for Prides, Disgraces, and Motivations: it's just another step along the chargen process allowing Players to personally tinker their PC, "this for that, driven by this", and there's no legitimate need for it. PCs should have something to work toward during gameplay- Failings just aids in softening the first landing point, and needlessly too because there exist already Characteristic, Skill, and Talent Advances. And let's not forget Aligning the PC with one power or another as a way of further defining PC "motivation", particularly because doing so makes Alignment-specific advances less expensive.


Does not the GM already determine Difficulty modifiers for Tests? Does not the GM already determine when a Player's RP is particularly engaging and award benefits accordingly? Aren't these enough?


Prides define the moment of mindset that led a PC to Chaos. Falling back on Pride for a crunch benefit is the act of denying Disgrace, but there is no RP in it. Disgrace is the thing you want to keep secret, but the PC is going to "drop hints" of his/her Disgrace by acting it out and risk letting the secret slip? Then, there's Motivations- in our everyday lives, our motivations change dramatically from interaction to interaction (and I do understand that Motivations are meant to be overarching), so why pigeon hole a PC with a single Motivation? What if circumstances demand a Motivation be changed; then what? Delete the old crunch, record the new? That hardly seems like paperwork I want to press on my Players just because they are RPing their characters.


Failings are offered as a RP "crutch", but more experienced Players don't need them, less experienced Players won't grasp the subtle nuance of their intent (thus wasting the crutch), and there really is no need for them. It's not like the Archetypes aren't already handing out bonuses and penalties. You want +5 to a Characteristic of your choice? I say earn it during game play with some good RP and spend XP for the Advance.

Edited by Brother Orpheo, 10 July 2013 - 01:06 PM.

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#2 HappyDaze



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Posted 15 July 2013 - 10:54 AM

The game works just fine without using them. Drop them if you like.

Ignore, Ignore, you must learn Ignore!


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#3 Bore



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Posted 22 November 2013 - 12:07 PM

I know it's been many months for this thread, but...


My thoughts; the Failings system to my understanding is there because your character technically has 100 points of corruption already in BC.


How did he get that 100 points? Through his Pride, his Motivation, and his Failing. These are the background crunch that separates your character from all the others under the same mold.


In mechanical terms, there are the archetypes you can begin play with, and each of these archetypes are further modified by a measly 500-1000xp; there is a finite set of combinations within your archetype choices and xp purchases.

Mechanically, having an additional three sets of options increases the uniqueness of ones' character choices, further solidifying that your choices mattered in order to bring you where you are today.


So you have to think; of all the bonuses and penalties those three additional options gave you, you now truly have a reason as to why you're 100 points of corruption deep and counting.

#4 Annaamarth



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Posted 09 December 2013 - 11:08 PM

I'm with HappyDaze on this, although I'd like to offer a variant.


Orpheus, your concern appears to be with incursions most grievously.  Fine, don't play with incursions.  Discourage your group from playing with incursions.  Trust your GM to know when to provide a reward based on Pride/Failing/Motivation/Demeanor/Whatever.


If you never bring it up, it never becomes a concern.


I have always treated these personality quirks as a roleplay aid, rather than as a source for bonuses.  Encourage that behavior in your gaming group, and eventually, perhaps, your fellows will become better roleplayers.  Stranger things have happened.


 -Errant, on how Rogue Trader ought to be played

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