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Should a shaman who has a totem which indicates a certain type of behaviour be able to take a flaw (or even an edge) that matches it?

A good example of this is the snake shaman - would you allow pacifist or curiosity as a flaw?

Some of the flaws (Bio-rejection, for example) specifically handle this - you can't take the flaw if the totem penalties already include something similar, whereas the "total pacifist" flaw mentions that snake shamans already exhibit it (which if taken literally would mean that they suffer the penalties already, but don't get the flaw points - bit harsh IMO for a 5 point flaw)...

I think that all edges/flaws should be examined by the GM prior to the start of the game at all times. That way, if someone has done something that is outside the realm of that GM's game, it can be fixed.

For example, I once had a player take both Sea Madness and Sea Legs in a game that was being set in a land-locked location. So, they were forced to get onto a boat after a long amount of time off of one, but once they got onto the boat, they were hideously afraid of any travel by water and were forced to leave it. I decided that this would fall better under a compulsive behavior and a phobia but they decided to scrap the whole idea.

-- Dash --
I would allow a Snake shaman to get points from the Pacifist flaw since they have separate mechanics. A non-pacifist Snake shaman could be a coward and just not preform well in combat. If they did pick pacifist, I would expect that aspect of the character to be roleplayed to a greater degree. Flaws that duplicate a totem disadvantage (Eagle/Bio Rejection) aren't allowed since it amounts to free points.

Flaws are there to hinder characters in some way. If a Flaw doesn't come up at some point, it isn't really hindering your character.

I drive this point home to my players during chargen. Day Job isn't a way to get a monthly allowance to spend on new toys. Think carefully before you pick Hunted at X to round out your 8 points of Ambidexterity. Sea Legs and Sea Madness aren't allowed in some settings and if you do pick them, they guarantee that the group will end up on a boat at some point. Flaws are a great way of fleshing out your character (although some, like Liar are pretty dumb--I'd rather have Cortex Bomb), but they aren't free points.
Interesting. We have a Snake Shamist in the group who has taken Pacifist. we've allowed it, because on reading the snake totem description it said that they 'only fight to protect themselves and others' as a desciption of 'pacifist'. someone with the pacifist flaw won't kill except to defend themselves and others, and even then as humanely as possible'. Not 'fight'. Without the flaw, the threshold for what they will and won't do is much lower. They will kill if need be, if forced to fight. A Pacifist will fight if forced, but will stop short of killing unless they absolutely have to.

I dunno if I'm explaining this right, its clumsy, but I think its a roleplay/gm call, rather than a rule. I'd say they can take it, but since they have the pacifist flaw, they MUST act appropriately, even more so than just to keep the totem happy.

The one in our game only has the pacifist edge, and she plays it! Jobs will be turned down if not morally justified or if they specify murder, that sort of thing, never mind what she will and won't do in combat. But she's the healer. We don't WANT her fighting. We want her over there nice and safe and ready with the treat spells, thank you very much! So it kinda works, even if it does mean she tends to miss out on combat an awful lot. But thems the breaks if you take a flaw, right?
Personally, I'd make the cost for the flaw a point or two lower. You're right that it goes to another level. It seems to me that the total change from no effect to pacifist is different than the change from mild effect to pacifist.
Cheers. I'd probably allow my specific example (gut feeling), along with low level compulsions for secrecy and curiosity for the snake. As a general ruling I'd allow "flavour" to be duplicated with an edge/flaw (after all it's no different really from a character background saying "he's blind" and then having an argument about whether he can take the appropriate flaw), but any existing game mechanics CANNOT be duplicated (like the Essense thing).

My only concern is that by choosing the totem (I know in game it works the other way round before anyone points it out smile.gif ) you're choosing to abide by the rules - Buffalo can't turn down an honest request for help - should he get flaw points for that?
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