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Do characters know their flaws?


GM Feedback


Just like the title says, do the characters know about their own weakness?

One of my players (facing a mythic black pudding) has a weakness to acid. He asked if his character should know the flaw. I ruled yes in this case, as the party is about 2 rounds from being killed, but I could see an argument for both.

So...do they know?


I would say this depends on the character's background and history.


Physical weaknesses like that?

Probably.


It really feels like either the player is going to have to make that decision or the GM has to. I mean, how many times are you burning yourself with acid to figure that out? I could easily see an Alchemist finding out one day...but a Rogue?

I can see it needing to be case by case...but I am super curious to what the designers envisioned.


I'd be willing to bet that either:

A.) Mommy creature told little baby creature "This hurts us a lot child, try to stay away from it."

or

B.) There is some sort of instinctual knowledge of/aversion to this weakness.

I've never been shot but I know bullets are deadly.


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Samson knew he would lose his strength if he lost his hair. Dracula knew to avoid holy water. Usually, in myths, people are aware of weird weaknesses like that. In fact, mythology is full of people who bring about their own downfalls in their attempts to protect themselves from that weakness. (If you know your son can kill you, make sure you kill your son as an infant - except you'll fail and he'll become motivated to kill you.)

In cases where such a weakness is not known, it usually follows one of two formats:

1) Some ally of that person knows the weakness but is deliberately keeping it from them. Think of the story of Meleager, whose mother Althaea knew he would live until a brand she kept hidden was burned. (Eventually she threw it into the fire herself.)

2) That person knows some immunity of theirs to things other than their weakness, but doesn't figure out that this means they still have a weakness. Think of the Witch-King's "No living man can kill me" claim.


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It'd likely depend on the flaw. Things like "Sunlight burns me like hellfire" Yeah, they're going to know things like that. If it's "Is stupid trusting around lady's with nice lady parts" Then... maybe. Some people are self aware of such things. Some people, even if you tell them 1,000 times, they won't admit it to themselves or really internalize such things. So... "Maybe" is about as firm as you can get there. A lot will depend on the character.

We all know the guy that used to get in trouble going after girls way way out of his league, or the girl that had daddy issues and was overly friendly, or vice versa. We all knew that one girl that would jump blindly into a fight and the one huge guy that was actually a coward. Did they 'know' their own flaws? Maybe. Maybe they couldn't see them. Maybe they didn't want to.


While I would say that this is usually best handled through some basic logic and/or roleplay, if you wanted some sort of roll mechanic for an answer, it seems like this a Wisdom role would work for a lot of those weaknesses.


Playtest wrote:
Mythic Flaw (Ex): Every mythic character possesses a mythic f law. This flaw could be your ultimate undoing if you are not careful to conceal it. You must select one of the following flaws.

The word conceal insinuates that the character does know what it is, but it's possible that they don't. You can't conceal something you don't know.


Ah good catch. It is strongly implied that it IS known by the character.

Although, I think I'd prefer a little sidebar giving ideas for the GM for plot hooks. It could lead to some fun little sidequests or some such if the characters have to travel to an ancient monastery/oracle/whatever to "Know thyself".


I'm made of fire and yet weak to cold? Who knew.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I think it has to depend on the campaign.

If you've got the blood of Zeus and know you're Destined for Greatness, it's likely you have some idea what your weaknesses are too.

If you crawl into a narrow crevice hidden in a ravine and touch the glowing blue idol, suddenly becoming suffused with a feeling of great power ... well, perhaps not so much in that case.

I'm still unsure how I'm going to play it once the rules his prime time. I'm strongly tempted to assign the PCs weaknesses that fit the game and that they might not necessarily know. Perhaps even more than one ... one they're aware of and one that catches them by surprise :)


I wonder how substance dependency would work if the PC wasn't aware of what they were dependent on.


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Going from the angle that someone close to them is hiding their weakness you could have them consume an item that contains a unknown ingredient; maybe their grandparents brew them potions containing the blood of Mephits


Coriat wrote:
I wonder how substance dependency would work if the PC wasn't aware of what they were dependent on.

A player in my campaign drinks a *lot* of alcohol. If he became mythic it would be very easy for him to never figure it out. ...at least, not until he entered the holy city where alcohol is outlawed.


People tell me I suffer from Hubris, but they're wrong. I have no weakness.


Lol @ Jennica.

It's really going to depend on the group and campaign I think. If I am assigning flaws, then I will have to decide if it is appropriate that the character know. It's definitely going to affect actions in combat for many players...it's not just fluff.

I agree with Roberta Yang that things like Hubris would definitely be like the Witch King's "no living man" weakness.

Gbonehead also hit what I was thinking about. If the PC's are given their powers temporarily by Zon-Kuthon...he probably wouldn't tell them their weakness.

If it was Saranrae, she probably WOULD tell them.

I would also argue that if they are born with power from the blood of a god then they likely DON'T know their weakness until it happens. I don't think Achilles knew about his heel until he got hit with the arrow.

If they inherit it from a person passing on their power, they would probably tell them the weakness.

I think I'd like a mechanic where they can reduce the flaw's effects or negate it entirely...like making a heroic journey/quest type thing.


Did the wicked witch in the wizard of oz know about her mythic weakness to water?

Evidently not, (since she kept buckets of water around) but should she have?


It is my opinion that the weaknesses should be GM random rolled and not identified until they happen once. I'm kind of mean like that, though.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Redchigh wrote:

Did the wicked witch in the wizard of oz know about her mythic weakness to water?

Evidently not, (since she kept buckets of water around) but should she have?

Considering the challenges of surviving without water, and indeed never touching the stuff... no way she could have survived without knowing.

That said, I think mystic flaws as a concept is based on a lot of old stories, where they were used as a conventient plot device. I am not sure how much sense they make in a game, but I don't know the required Knowledge DC to research this either.

If players get to chose their flaw, they will either take something they like (and that might just fit the character) or something that doesn't seem to happen all that often (like a crippling allergy to double weapons).

If the GM chooses the flaws, it could cause confusion/conflict between the players, if the flaws seem to be unfairly spread arround.

Yeah, I am just not a giant fan of the concept, and don't think they add enough to be worth the trouble. Maybe they could be an optional rule, a player could take a flaw in exchange for more mythic power or mythic feats ( the exact reward could be based on the severy of the weakness).


@Sebastian Hirsch

I like the concept just not the execution in the playtest. This can (and probably) will be changed in it's final form.

I agree that it would likely make more sense to include it as an optional rule, kind of like Massive Damage rules.

Definitely players will at least joke about taking Weakness: Siege Weapons (which happened in my mythic Curse of the Crimson Throne playtest already), but if it is a a regular group I am sure most people will be ok changing once the laugh is over.

I lean more towards using these as story hooks at the moment, since I plan as the GM in my real life group to decide when the Moment of Ascension happens and how. The flaws get picked by me as well at that time, but it will tie into their characters back story and the current adventure story.

But I definitely see it being a problem if it is required in the text. It will likely be homeruled OUT of the game 90% of the time.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My group's fighter has taken weakness siege weapons.

He has been the only one to suffer the effects of his mythic weakness.


Ahahahahahahahaha! Liked!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

In our group, none have suffered their weaknesses so far, though the alchemist with Hubris is very likely to and the cleric with weapon weakness/flails almost got pounded by harpies (but was protected by the barbarian/guardian).

I remain skeptical of the barbarian's rage 'weakness.'


gbonehead wrote:
I remain skeptical of the barbarian's rage 'weakness.'

Why?

He gets the -2 AC and has his actions limited just like in Rage for 1d4 rounds, but he doesn't get the Con and Str bonuses "even if he has the Rage class feature".

So basically, by my interpretation, someone could forcibly eject him from "good" Rage and put him into Furious Rage, which has nothing but penalties.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Rynjin wrote:
...someone could forcibly eject him from "good" Rage and put him into Furious Rage, which has nothing but penalties...

..and rage powers.


Epic Meepo wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
...someone could forcibly eject him from "good" Rage and put him into Furious Rage, which has nothing but penalties...
..and rage powers.

Why would he have Rage powers if he's not in the actual Barbarian Rage?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Rynjin wrote:
Why would he have Rage powers if he's not in the actual Barbarian Rage?

Because furious rage says, "This functions like the barbarian's rage class feature..."


Epic Meepo wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
Why would he have Rage powers if he's not in the actual Barbarian Rage?
Because furious rage says, "This functions like the barbarian's rage class feature..."

:rolleyes:

Whatever. You still haven't convinced me that "Rage with all the downsides of Rage, and none of the attribute upsides except maybe Rage powers" is better than "Rage, with all of the bonuses thereof".

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Pendin Fust wrote:

@Sebastian Hirsch

I like the concept just not the execution in the playtest. This can (and probably) will be changed in it's final form.

I agree that it would likely make more sense to include it as an optional rule, kind of like Massive Damage rules.

Definitely players will at least joke about taking Weakness: Siege Weapons (which happened in my mythic Curse of the Crimson Throne playtest already), but if it is a a regular group I am sure most people will be ok changing once the laugh is over.

I lean more towards using these as story hooks at the moment, since I plan as the GM in my real life group to decide when the Moment of Ascension happens and how. The flaws get picked by me as well at that time, but it will tie into their characters back story and the current adventure story.

But I definitely see it being a problem if it is required in the text. It will likely be homeruled OUT of the game 90% of the time.

Yeah, I am quite curious, how the final rule will end up. A lot of the mythic stuff seems extremely circumstantial to me (mostly the flaws and a lot of the trials) an I am really not a fan of that, since it usually means more work for me as GM.


Kain Darkwind wrote:

My group's fighter has taken weakness siege weapons.

He has been the only one to suffer the effects of his mythic weakness.

I did kind of dare you to hit me with some siege weapons ;)


Rynjin wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
Why would he have Rage powers if he's not in the actual Barbarian Rage?
Because furious rage says, "This functions like the barbarian's rage class feature..."

:rolleyes:

Whatever. You still haven't convinced me that "Rage with all the downsides of Rage, and none of the attribute upsides except maybe Rage powers" is better than "Rage, with all of the bonuses thereof".

I wonder how that would interact with Rage powers that immediately end the rage of the barbarian?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
Rynjin wrote:
Why would he have Rage powers if he's not in the actual Barbarian Rage?
Because furious rage says, "This functions like the barbarian's rage class feature..."

:rolleyes:

Whatever. You still haven't convinced me that "Rage with all the downsides of Rage, and none of the attribute upsides except maybe Rage powers" is better than "Rage, with all of the bonuses thereof".

Well first, I agree with you. But you're just interpreting the rule, not showing where it actually says "functions like the barbarian's rage class feature" actually says "functions like the barbarian's rage class feature except you don't get to use rage powers."

PRD wrote:
Rage Powers (Ex): As a barbarian gains levels, she learns to use her rage in new ways. Starting at 2nd level, a barbarian gains a rage power. She gains another rage power for every two levels of barbarian attained after 2nd level. A barbarian gains the benefits of rage powers only while raging...

So your point is that they're raging but they're not raging? If that's the design intent, then for my group it was was a poor choice of description since a barbarian can use rage powers when raging. This also raises a question ... can a barbarian use rage powers when a rage spell is cast on them?

(goes looking)

Okay, I see several posts over the past several years asking that exact same question, a pretty consistent consensus that it does work, and no contradictions from the developers.

So I thereby move from skeptical of the rage weakness to seeing it as a gaping plot hole in the flaw system large enough to drive a raging barbarian through :)


Redchigh wrote:

Did the wicked witch in the wizard of oz know about her mythic weakness to water?

Evidently not, (since she kept buckets of water around) but should she have?

Depends. If you go by the only reference we have that she did or did not for sure, then she did.

Spoiler:
That being in the novel "Wicked" When she's a baby they try to give her a bath and she cries and tries to get away from the water, somehow she just knows. Then a few times in the course of the book she has small amounts of water splashed on her and she does get burned, like the droplets were molten metal. Finally, when it talks about her taking a bath, she uses this oil type stuff that she covers her body in, then scrapes it off. However, in the play she in fact does NOT even have the weakness to water, as it turns out it was all a setup. She fell through a trapdoor and then later the scarecrow who was in fact her lover, Fieyro (whom she saved from death by turning him into the scarecrow) came back and rescued her.

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