Author Topic: Personality Traits  (Read 2950 times)

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Offline TerryTee

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Personality Traits
« on: April 07, 2011, 06:07:30 AM »
I’ve been working on introducing Personality Traits in my games. Could be used in any game or setting really, but the mechanisms might vary. The actual Traits may also vary with setting, but I’ve tried to create something fairly generic. This is inspired by Pendragon,  but not a straight copy.
The point of these Personality Traits is twofold:
  • Create a ‘formal’ description of the Character, in order to help both the Player and the GM to understand the Character better.  A good reminder for the Player how to play this Character in given situations, and a good guide for the GM how to challenge or reward that Character.
  • Use as a game mechanic in given situation, requireing a dice roll over or under a Trait in order to act in A ‘non-normal way’ for that Character.

I think there may be other Traits that might be useful to include, but I need balance the number of Traits in play as well…
I’d love some input on this.
Do you have similar systems in place? Experiences? Comments on the Traits? Suggestions for a different set of traits?

Compassionate
A compassionate person cares about other people in general, even people he does not know personally. He is more likely to help a stranger, the more dire the need the more likely it is that help is given. Compassion will often radiate in the persons presence, and a Compassionate person is generally more likable to others. The Compassionate will almost always be met with a smile while the non-Compassionate will meet more cold shoulders.
Sample values:
80 Self sacrificing
70 Empathic
65 Caring
60 Kind
55 Sympathetic
45 Indifferent
40 Hard
35 Harsh
30 Mean
20 Cruel
10 Merciless

Generous
A Generous person is likely to share his resources with others; More so his friends or family, but also with strangers. Resources may worldly goods, knowledge or time. He is also more likely to help others without expecting anything in return. Generous and Compassionate are somewhat linked, so high/low scores in these may give some special personalities.
Sample values:
70 Altruistic
65 Charitable
60 Unselfish, Kind
55 Helpful
40 Selfish
35 Greedy
25 Mean

Loyal
A high Loyalty implies that a person is Loyal to people, groups or ideas he has a reason to be Loyal to. This will normally be friends, family, clan, church, a god, or a political view/cause. A Loyal person may still lie and cheat people he does not know. A non-Loyal person is more likely to betray his loved ones in the name of self interest, or to go back on his word.
Sample values:
75 Steadfast
70 Honorable
60 Loyal
55 Resolute, Principled
50 Dependable
40 Not quite dependable
30 Undependable
20 Disloyal
10 Betrayer

Trustworthy
A high score implies that the person is not likely to tell lies, and even less likely to go back on his word.
Sample values:
65 Honest
60 Straight
45 Untrustworthy
40 Liar
35 Cheater

Brave
Brave, Heroic, Valorous. All part of the same. A person with a high score does not mind taking high risks. He is more likely to take risks on the behalf of others, and he may take risks without a personal gain. A high score does not imply rashness or foolhardiness; risks are taken willingly and not rushed into with a hot head. A person with a low score will be careful and may be a coward
Sample values:
75 Heroic
70 Fearless
60 Brave, Courageous
55 Daring
45 Careful
40 Cautious
30 Fainthearted
20 Coward

Prudent
A high score indicates a person who pays attention to details, and calculates risks. He will normally have a plan, and will not like to deviate from the plan. A low score implies that the person is more reckless, rushing into things. The Reckless person is guided more by emotion and the need for action rather than plans and calculations, and is often quick off the bat.
Sample values:
70 Wise
65 Far-sighted
60 Canny
55 Planner
45 Risk taker
40 Careless
35 Fool hardy
30 Reckless, Unwise

Moderate
A Moderate person controls his personal desires in the interest of doing the right thing or appearing to do so. A Moderate person will typically not indulge in 'wine, women and song', and will not spend money on luxury items.
Sample values:
65 Restrained
60 Self-Controlled
45 Indulgent
30 Selfish

Rules bound
A Rules bound person is a believer in Law, and thinks it best to live by the rules. He will generally try to follow the rules that apply for the situation, even if these are rules he is not familiar with (laws in a foreign country, rules dictating expected behavior in a specific social setting).
A low score implies that the person is more likely to break the Law if it seems preferable, and quite likely to break social rules and expectations. He may also be an anarchist or believer in Chaos.
Sample values:
65 Doctrinal
60 Conservative, Just
55 Civil, Sociable
50 Law abiding
40 Individualist, Unsocial
35 Agitator
30 Rebel
25 Social outcast
20 Anarchist

Outgoing
An outgoing person quickly comes in contact with new people, and is not afraid to speak up. He will normally be visible in a crowd, and often be considered sociable and pleasant (unless other Traits overruns this). The outgoing person may quickly be accepted by people from other cultures due to his openness, but he is also at risk of really offending people from different cultures.
Sample values:
60 Sociable
55 Cordial
45 Reserved
40 Shy
30 Loner

Optimist
The optimist has a general positive view on life. He has a sense that everything will go the way he has planned, or if no plan exists then it will all work out anyway. An optimist is generally considered a pleasant person to be around, but a too high score may make the person annoying to his fellow (or even dangerous: “come on, we can kill the dragon”). The Optimist may be a careful planner (Prudent) but this will often not be the case.
Sample values:
60 Optimist
55 Positive
45 Negative
40 Pessimist

Spiritual/Religious
A high score implies that the person cares about spiritual beings, including wood nymphs and great gods. A religious person is normally Spiritual. A non-Spiritual person who is an Initiate will not be a very dedicated believer.
Sample values:
70 Lofty
50 Believer, Religious
40 Earthbound
30 Non-believer, Disbeliever
25 Ungodly
10 Atheist

Esoteric
A high score implies an interest in the mystical and magical. A low score means that the person is more worldly and don't care about magic. A person with a low score who does know spells will view them more as utility tools, while a spell caster with a high score will treat the magic with respect and interest
Sample values:
90 Explains all things in a magical and metaphysical context
80 Seeks to create new high magic
60 Seeks to understand the workings of magic
50 Use myth and magic as a basic view on Life
45 Use spells with respect in their context
40 Use available spells
35 Will only use familiar and safe magic
30 Does not use magic
10 Denies the existence of magic



Offline providence13

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2011, 09:03:09 AM »
Sometimes I'll remind a player how they've handled a similar situation in the past, but I never try to tell them how to act.

Maybe this chart could help with NPC's.
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Offline Thom @ ICE

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2011, 09:25:55 AM »
I remeber something like this in one of the D&D editions, but not this detailed.  It would certainly work well with NPC's, especially for on the fly creation.  If in a "friendly town" add +20 to all rolls. In a "nasty town" subtract -20 from all rolls.  You would still have the chance to create that really nice or mean person either way, but it helps quickly flesh it all out.

With this much detail you might run into combinations that are extremely difficult to roleplay, and the on-the-fly aspect may get lost - unless of course you build it into a software tool.
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Offline TerryTee

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2011, 04:59:29 PM »
Sometimes I'll remind a player how they've handled a similar situation in the past, but I never try to tell them how to act.
This is mostly used to help the Players remind themselves about how THIS Character is, so they don't just follow good old patterns...
I have not used it much to force a Players hand, but I find it usefull when I for example question a Player's willingness to let the Character jump into the icy river even if there is in real danger in staying on the shore.

-Terry

Offline GrumpyOldFart

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2011, 07:12:22 PM »
I've considered having players choose their personality instead of their class/profession, in other words personality determines skill costs... but that's still in the tinkering stage.
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Offline markc

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2011, 10:55:10 PM »
 I think it is a nice bit of work but I do not know if I would use it in a game. I might roll sometimes to see if an NPC does or does not do something but that is a lot more based on the situation. I also think that is a problem with the above is that it cannot cover all situations and can fall into the same argument as what is Good and what is Evil.


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Bacon Law: A book so good all PC's need to be recreated.
Rule #0: A GM has the right to change any rule in a book to fit their game.
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Offline TerryTee

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 09:22:22 AM »
I also think that is a problem with the above is that it cannot cover all situations and can fall into the same argument as what is Good and what is Evil.

Sure, this is a potential problem. I’m trying to deal with this is three ways:
1) Get feedback from this board (and my players)
2) Allow room for adding more Traits
3) Players can add a comment to each Trait, inc exceptions or special info on how to interpret the score

This is not meant to lock Players in, but rather to help them expand their repertoire so to speak.
-Terry

Offline GrumpyOldFart

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 09:36:58 AM »
I've been slowly reading up on real world personality testing, seeing what I could come up with. That's the only practical way I can see to permanently solve the problem, to tell the player "Okay, you define how this character sees 'good and evil' and 'alignment' and all that."

And yeah, I could see it having an effect on how well you learn what skills, or at least whether or not you want to learn them. If the entire concept of a violent response creeps you out and makes you ill, you probably aren't gonna be a fighter.
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Offline providence13

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 11:06:03 AM »
How detailed do you want to go?
I hope this is on topic.
I don't know a lot about personality types, but I do know a bit on learning styles.
Learning Styles
Visual: learns mainly by seeing info, examples
Auditory: learns by hearing, tone and pitch
Kinesthetic: learns by moving and activity

If I want to play a fighter who is a visual learner, it should be possible. Sure, I've got to practice with my weapons, but maybe I really learn by watching others or reading about new techniques.

A Mage in one of our groups wants to research a spell on the road.
At first I was pretty against it. "You need hours of uninterrupted study and a library with pertinent reference materials.."
But, maybe he learns different than most people and can meditate for a few hours per day, thinking about a problem and practice a lot... it's RM. He has a chance to open end a roll.

I would assign penalties to the same people who go against their learning style. A professional Dancer is most likely a Kinesthetic learner. If she were to try and learn a foreign language by sitting still reading in a library for hours per day, it should be very hard to gain just a few ranks of the language. But if she were to pick up a weapon or try and learn martial arts by moving/practicing, it should be a lot easier.
"The Lore spell assaults your senses- Roll on the spontaneous human combustion table; twice!"

Offline markc

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 12:03:45 PM »
I also think that is a problem with the above is that it cannot cover all situations and can fall into the same argument as what is Good and what is Evil.

Sure, this is a potential problem. I’m trying to deal with this is three ways:
1) Get feedback from this board (and my players)
2) Allow room for adding more Traits
3) Players can add a comment to each Trait, inc exceptions or special info on how to interpret the score

This is not meant to lock Players in, but rather to help them expand their repertoire so to speak.
-Terry


 I am all for anything that can help players play their rolls better or to help them out.
MDC
Bacon Law: A book so good all PC's need to be recreated.
Rule #0: A GM has the right to change any rule in a book to fit their game.
Role Play not Roll Play.
Use a System to tell the story do not let the system play you.

Offline TerryTee

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 03:26:36 PM »
I've been slowly reading up on real world personality testing, seeing what I could come up with.

I started out looking at real personality types/traits/tests/models as well, thinking this would be a good start. One that I looked at was the 16 Personality Factors by Cattell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16_Personality_Factors
and another was the Big five personality traits:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits
I used some input from these, but found them to be a bit boring so to speak. They’re probably better at modeling a PC, but I still decided not to use them directly.

One really cool thing about using real world models is that several of those models are accessible as personality tests on line. So the Player could sit down and have a think about the Character he is creating, trying to figure out what kind of person the PC is. Then the Player can take a personality test, answering as if it was the Character that took the test. The result will be a personality profile of the Character!
To me this would only have been a base for the Character, but a pretty good base at that IMO.

-Terry



Offline GrumpyOldFart

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Re: Personality Traits
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2011, 03:15:50 PM »
I checked out those 2, and went a bit beyond the 5 factor model to the NEO PI-R:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revised_NEO_Personality_Inventory

...which got me thinking that Hostility as a strong personality trait would probably make combat skills slightly easier, but Self-Consciousness as a strong personality trait would doubtless make Acting or Public Speaking more difficult.
You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out... Traditional Somatic Components
Oo Ee Oo Aa Aa, Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang... Traditional Verbal Components
Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Wool of Bat and Tongue of Dog... Traditional Potion Formula