Traits and Passions
Every story of King Arthur and his knights, whether taken from the romances, legends, or Hollywood movies, is full of characters with remarkable personality and passion. This game emphasizes those points.
Traits and passions are game mechanics for quantifying your character’s inner self, recording both repute and propensity. They help you run your character in a consistent manner and according to his actual play activity.
A value of 16 or more in a particular trait or passion indicates tremendous interest and activity in that quality, perhaps bordering on the fanatical. The behavior is very obvious to everyone, and is thus significant in roleplaying terms as well as in game terms.
New characters start play with only one value of 16, in one trait of your choice.
The personality traits used in Pendragon consist of thirteen opposed pairs of virtues and vices. Note, though, that what is a virtue in one culture is sometimes a vice in another. Thus, Christian and pagan cultures, for instance, view the contrast between Modesty and Pride in a very different light.
All initial characters begin with a moral base derived from either British or Roman Christianity or from Paganism. (See Religions)
To determine your character’s starting traits, follow these three steps:
1. Your Religious Background: Initial traits are modified by the religious background. On your character sheet, underline those traits which your character’s religion deems the most important, as follows:
Roman Christian Virtues: Chaste, Forgiving, Merciful, Modest, Temperate.
British Christian Virtues: Chaste, Energetic, Generous, Modest, Temperate.
Pagan Virtues: Generous, Energetic, Honest, Lustful, Proud.
2. Assign Values to the Traits: The Valorous trait always begins at a value of 15, reflecting your character’s martial training. The Religious traits listed above begin at a value of 13. All of the remaining traits begin at 10.
Next, note that every “virtue” has its opposing “vice,” located on the opposite side of the slash. For example, Forgiving is balanced by Vengeful, and Prudent by Reckless. The total on the two sides of the slash must equal 20. Complete your trait statistics by subtracting the values you have already assigned from 20, and filling in the resulting number opposite the chosen trait. Thus, if your character has a score of 13 in Forgiving, he also has a 7 in Vengeful; if he has a 10 in Prudent, he also has a 10 in Reckless.
As your character develops, these initial values will change, and various rewards may become available. (See Traits).
3. Assign Your “Famous Trait”: You may assign a value of 16 to any one trait, including those on the right side of each binary, such as Worldly or Reckless, if you desire. Assigning this value of 16 is optional. If you do assign a 16, put it in a trait that denotes the behavior for which you wish your character to be renowned. Be sure to adjust the corresponding trait (the opposite side of the binary pair) to a value of 4.
Important: For your first character, be sure to choose a “famous trait” you can live with. Since this value shows how your character has acted in his youth, be sure the trait is in line with your intended actions and attitudes for the character.
Further, note that having a trait over 15 decidedly affects the player’s actual control over a character! Your character’s actions may be determined by the trait and contrary to your wishes as a player. For example, a character with an Honest trait of 16 tells the truth in almost all situations, even those where deception might be advisable! The game system assures this. (See Traits).
Leave these blank for now. They are discovered during game play.
Passions are strong emotional and psychological propensities within any individual. These include Love, Hate, Loyalty, Envy, and Honor among others. Beginning characters all begin with five passions: Loyalty (to their lord), Love (of family), Hospitality, Honor, and Hate (of Saxons) (See Passions).
Each character may also inherits passions form their Father. All inherated passions begin at a value of 3d6. The Gamemaster must approve of any Passions before they can be passed down.
The Gamemaster might allow other passions for a character by at the start, and characters acquire passions as the result of game play.
The starting value for most of these are already entered into your character sheet but Hate (Saxons) begins at 3d6. If a character already has a Hate Passion they do not need to roll for a Hate (Saxons) Passion as well thought they still can. If the value rolled for any Hate Passion is less then 10 then the Passion is lost (See Passions).
Once these values are assigned, a player may (but need not) raise one or more of their character’s passions by distributing up to 3 points among them.