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I'm currently creating a new character (well, writing the background of and having the first few stabs at putting numbers on), and I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with a suitable Virtue Flaw for him. In part this is because I'm never entirely happy with the Virtue system as a way of describing the character of a character, and in part it's probably because this is the first Solar PC I've created, but the question that struck me this afternoon is this (and obviously one would have to discuss it with the GM in question (Hello Requiem...)...

Is it reasonable, within both Canon and System, to have a Virtue Flaw that relates to two Virtues, which are your joint highest Virtues? - Senji

I don't think that's really necessary, or understandable; a Virtue Flaw is the abnormal operation of a Virtue, right? What's a doube-Virtue Flaw? Can you give examples? I think you're at risk of overcomplexifying an exaplanation for no real benefit. - willows

I'm not sure I can explain clearly, since I haven't thought of an example Virtue Flaw yet; and I usually think best in examples, but, well....

Vasily has both Conviction and Compassion 3. To an extent he'll do whatever it takes to get the job done, but he'll tend to commit himself to things that improve the life of others. If needed he'll kill ten people to save a village, but he'll have to be convinced, and he'll probably do it with tears running down his cheeks. -- Senji

Then that's just having a high Conviction and Compassion, and deciding to violate your Compassion for the greater good, while generally trying to only committ to causes that improve people's lives. What's his Flaw? What circumstances or actions always add Limit? What happens when he Breaks? DS

That's the problem, I can't find one. Any Compassion based Flaw feels like denying the Conviction-side of the character, and any Conviction based one likewise the Compassion-side. -- Senji

My advice is to make a new flaw that doesn't feel that way. Here's some examples. However, one thing to keep in mind, while the Virtue Flaw should be related to the character...it's not a NATURAL part of the character. It's a /curse/; a foreign influence that exerts unnatural control on said character-- CrownedSun

Here's my two cents. Firstly, I hate the fact that "Exalted" feels the need to quantify virtues. I think it's stupid, although they have managed to make it work with the system admirably well for such an absurd idea. This opinion will colour my answers, so be warned.\\ That having been said, I halfway agree with willows: yes, the Great Curse of the Solar Exalted is the twisting of their virtue (note that I'm not saying "Virtues", but "virtue"). However, a Solar Exalt is a character, not a statsheet. Real people don't break down into four "Virtues" on a cut-and-dried scale of 1-5, with cut-and-dried definitions, and I don't think a character should either. "Virtues" are best taken as mere guidelines to help express your character, not hard-and-fast rules to bind them into artificial categories that wouldn't exist with an actual person.\\ So: a Solar's Flaw should definitely be related to their virtue, and should probably be quantified in some way related to the Virtues (since we're forced to keep the artificial category for the sake of the game). But I see no reason why a Virtue Flaw must relate to one, and only one, Virtue. A character with 3 Compassion and 3 Conviction doesn't sit down and say, "I have 3 Compassion and 3 Conviction." They, if they say anything, say, "I strive to be merciful, and to follow my ideals, which are [these], and I strive to help people, and I strive to be kind," etc. If someone's so-called Conviction is oriented towards dedicating their life to helping people, why do we feel the need to invent an artificial line which demarcates their "Conviction" from their "Compassion"? "Because we need categories" isn't a good enough answer, in my opinion (mainly because I don't think we do).\\ In other words, if Senji's character were in one of my games, I'd tell him to make up whatever Virtue Flaw he thinks is appropriate, as long as it balances against other Virtue Flaws. I think if he can find a Limit Break condition against which he could roll both his Compassion and his Conviction, then more power to him. In order to keep things simple mechanically, though, it might just be easier to pick a Virtue Flaw which only draws on one Virtue, but has an effect which sort of comes from more than one -- sort of like how Red Rage of Compassion is mostly Compassion, but also a bit of Valour, if you know what I mean.\\ ~ Shataina

Do you also hate Arete, Glamour, Rage, Humanity, and Angst? They're all the same thing.

Frankly, I think the Virtues do good work as a metagame mechanic to expose the players' interests and allow them to pursue them; this is why you can channel Virtues for extra dice. I don't think the system went far enough with them, though; they should have more player utility. - willows

Don't get me wrong; I think Virtues make the best of a bad situation. If a system is going to insist on quantifying a character's personality, then I think that the advantages and mechanics they give make a certain amount of sense. And I love Virtue Flaws, too. I just hate the concept of wrapping numbers around things which don't actually work on a numbered scale in reality. (Indeed, I do dislike stats in general for the same reason, but I find it a lot easier and more worthwhile to put someone's ability to use a sword on a scale that can only rise than to put someone's mercy on a scale that can only rise.)\\ I don't think Arete and Glamour are the same thing at all, actually. And no, I'm not a big fan of the others either. :) I don't know much about Rage and Angst, but Humanity lacks two of the significant strikes against it which apply to Virtues: (1) it can go down as well as up, and (2) it isn't as categorized -- I like to think of Humanity / Paths as something where you can basically invent your own morality, which is a lot less true with Virtues.\\ ~ Shataina

I've often felt that Virtues should be able to shift, but I've never devoted a system to it. It's like changing a nature, IMHO:D The question of people actually LOOSING virtues though (as opposed to just shifting a dot from Compassion to Temperanance) is a different one. I can see people getting less moral and generally virtous -- it can happen in real life. However, should it happen to larger than life epic heroes? Hmmmmm. Anyway, as for the other bit... Note that Abyssals have the same four virtues but they mean entirely different things. Virtues aren't, I suspect, quite as much of a straight jacket as you surmise. -- CrownedSun

I like that Virtues cannot fall; if you want to play a high-Virtued character (i.e. one with strong personality), and violate your Virtues a lot, you Limit Break more often, which is very much appropriate to the attitude of Exalted and the source mythologies. You don't often see characters in mythology abandoning their precepts and feeling no effect at all from it, which is what Virtue-lowering would do. - willows

I don't have a problem with virtue transfering, though. After all, you MIGHT see a character go from having Valor 4 to Temperance 4, after he joins a monastery or something;P He ceases to crave the thrill of battle, and becomes a paragon of 'virtue'.:) -CrownedSun

Actually, I think you do quite often see creatures of all mythologies "losing Virtue dots", especially Compassion. Ancient and powerful creatures become more used to tragedy, harder to impress with cruelty, etc. I think this is blatantly backed up especially by Exalted history (the vast majority of First Age Solars can't all have started with 1 Compassion, after all), which is why it surprised me that they didn't give a system for it.\\ Virtue transferring ... now that's an interesting point. Hmm. I'll have to think about it more. Right off the bat, though, my instinct is to argue that although Virtue dots can be "transferred" in a fashion that backs up reality, I don't think that's always what happens when someone loses Virtue dots. There are plenty of examples of brave people who had a brush with death or disaster and then became cowardly or lost confidence, but didn't suddenly gain an even temper / become more merciful / become more convinced of their aims.\\ <shrug> Depends on the feel you want your game to have, I guess. Frankly, I find the idea of a person having 5 in all their Virtues just because they're 5000 years old and they "spent the XP" 4000 years ago to be dumb.\\ ~ Shataina\\ PS: I guess "other slants" on a Virtue are fine by canon, too -- Dukantha the Infernal Exalt has 3 Compassion, for example, and his definition of mercy probably isn't anything resembling ours. Personally, I try to make them as little of a "straitjacket" as I can for my characters by attempting to use extremely loose definitions, and allowing the definitions to shift with each character. The fact that they can't go down interferes with my attempts to make them reasonable, which is one of the reasons it bugs me. Personalities change, especially over hundreds or thousands of years, or during difficult and / or traumatic circumstances.