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Greetings all,

I've always had a bit of a problem with the Edges and Flaws system. In my experience, I've seen it generally abused to result in characters that feel little or no pain and run screaming at the sight of dung beetles (seriously). I've tried to alter the allotment rules only allowing the absolute value of all edges and flaws to be no more than 10 and an offset of no more than 5 (so you can have 6 edges and 4 flaws, your offset is 2 and the sum is 10, you're good but you can't have 6 edges and no flaws, etc.) However, players being creative and what not often found ways to tweak that system to their benefit. Plus it made Ambidexterity 8 impossible because you couldn't offset the 8 with more than 2 and that was a difference of 6 ... damn.

Anyway, so I had a different idea today. I'd like reactions from GMs and players: What if from the background story I assigned the edges and flaws. If the player describes an ork who was unusually smart for his metarace but tended to be timid when it came to combat, also out of character with the ork stereotype and who was a whiz with computers, I might allow this character to have the Bonus Attribute (INT) edge along with Aptitude (Computers) but offset it with Combat Paralysis. As I see it, as long as I work with the players until we agree on the Edges and Flaws for their character and no ones feelings are hurt (there's the rub) then things could work out well. I also like the fact that I get to put my input as the GM into their characters and there is something of a benefit to a well described background.

I guess my only problem with the concept now is I could get backgrounds like the troll street kid who seemed to never feel pain and could run faster than anyone (Pain Resistance and Aptidute (Athletics) perhaps?) and I still end up with the same original problem.

Does anyone else agree with me about the Edges and Flaws system or am I out in left field?
Ol' Scratch
Seems kind of lame, actually. I know that when I'm working on a character, I don't want the GM dictating major aspects of it to me. Part of the fun is in the creation of the character.

Besides, all a player has to do is include all the edges and flaws he wants into his background. Players should already be purchasing them based upon their concept and background, so it adds nothing. If players are choosing them just because they like the benefits, this won't improve anything -- they're already players more interested in rollplaying than roleplaying.

So basically the only thing you're doing is limiting your good players and disenchanting your bad players. You're also distancing both of them at the same time.
Jason Farlander
Honestly, I feel that the best way to handle edges and flaws is not to introduce some weird mechanic. Rather, make it clear to players prior to character generation that taking edges and flaws is assumed to be at the players risk, and completely subject to GM approval. If the GM does not like the edge/flaw combos a player takes, the GM asks the player to redo the character. The GM reserves the right to not explain why he or she disapproves of the edges and flaws taken by the character. Though the player may attempt to persuade the GM to change his or or mind, this will require some creativity.

If everyone is clear about this before they get to number crunching, I think you'll find that players are a little more thoughtful about it.
That is certainly something that everyone needs to keep in mind, "Everything is subject to GM approval". In fact while my group was all making characters, there were a lot of things that they needed to fix (one player in particular, he took Sea Legs flaw, and never in his history(the longest of everyone) mentioned how he developed that flaw, never even mentioned boats).

Just make sure to take the time to go over their character, either with or without them, to make sure they fit in the campaign.
My take is -- let people generate whatever kind of characters they want, within the rules. If they tweak and make something no fun for you, play with different people. Keep looking until you find people that have a similar vision as you, without having to resort to enforcement mechanisms.

I agree with all that has been said, but GM fiat as an option is not something that I as a GM am comfortable with. I guess I see it as the same things as answer "Just Because" to the query of "Why." I've been toying with removing edges and flaws completely, but that doesn't seem to be the best either as since I allowed edges and flaws I've had more interesting and vargiated backgrounds based -- interestingly enough -- the flaws rather than the edges. *shrugs*
Jason Farlander
Unfortunately, krishcane, not everyone has the luxury of knowing a wealth of people just itching to play SR. It's better to encourage people to be as thoughtful as you would like them to be than to keep/discard players on a trial/error basis.
I just wholesale eliminated High Pain Tolerence and Low Light Vision and put common sense restrictions on flaws.
I already use a system similar to the one proposesd. I've been gifted with players who are creative, intelligent, and into the game. When flaws and edges are presented as an option, I work with my players to include them in the character. I also suggest those that are based on the characters description or background. It's a combination of the two that allows my group to create very interesting pc's and then immerse them in the game. Several of my players during the last session simply decided not to include edges or flaws in their characters, believing they would add nothing of value to the concept already established.

Part of this is because we're veteran players of the White Wolf systems and all of us have either seen the flaws and edges system in those games abused or have been a victim of that abuse, so we're very hesitant to use it. (As an aside: Abuse is having a get of Fenris werewolf who is immune to wyrm toxin and immune to silver. Unreal.)
QUOTE (Jason Farlander)
Unfortunately, krishcane, not everyone has the luxury of knowing a wealth of people just itching to play SR. It's better to encourage people to be as thoughtful as you would like them to be than to keep/discard players on a trial/error basis.

That's a fair point.

However, the reasons a GM uses for approving/disapproving an edge/flaw (or other item on a new character) needn't be backed with lengthy rules explanations - nor do you need to resort to, "'cuz I said so."

In advance of character creation, outline some generalities you'd like to see for your upcoming campaign. This can be as restrictive as, "You're playing street thugs and can't have any individual item that costs more than 3000 nuyen.gif," or maybe, "Try to not make Rambos and other min/maxed exercises in number crunching this time."

Then, during the character approval stage, when a player approaches you with Neil the Orc, Street Ganger with Pain Tolerance 8 and Phobia (Dung Beetles), remind him of what you were hoping to see in PCs for this game, and the Pain Tolerance of 8 and Phobia (Dung Beetles) are going a bit beyond that. Have an alternate suggestion ready, like, "Do you think you'd be up to the task of playing Phobia (Heights), or broadening the character a bit by trading some of those Pain Tolerance points for an education edge?"

If you start off with words like, "I like the general idea here," and other flattery, you can probably wheedle a surprising amount of changes out of the player.

But that's armchair GMing. My players have been well-behaved for at least a year and my "stern GM" skills are rusting.
Necro Tech
I've found that just playing with the rules already in place is enough. No more than 5 edges or flaws and can't gain or lose more than 6 build points in this manner. It forces a rough balance at least. Also, many flaws tell you to use them against the player on a regular basis. Your guy might think Dung Beetles are uncommon and in real life they are. But what about dicovery channel programs? Or national Geo's left open on a table, or dung beetles as matrix icons or weird new energy drink mascots. Theres all kinds of ways to introduce flaws that people think will never apply to them.
John Campbell
Dung beetle spirits!
Necro Tech
**Shudder** Their home and feeding location gives me pause.

I'm a fan of picking up edges or flaws, just because.

That being said, I've watched players write absurd backgrounds to justify extreme number crunching.

Of course, I've penned the odd background myself once or twice.

Necro Tech
I swear I get more enjoyment out of silly backgrounds than the players get benefits for them. I know what you mean though. Some backgrounds are so kludged together it looks like someone just made a list of their cyber/edges/flaws/skills/gear and put words between them. Usually its so easy though. I've got a Sun Shaman who has night blindness and is seriouslly afraid of total darkness. How hard was that?
northern lights

i like the idea of what you are saying and have thought a bit about it as i have seen my gaming group go downhill when our gm finished up the last campaign.

now i am going to run a few adventures this semester and i have thought about how to control the players edges and flaws. phobia dragons is actually one i might allow since they will unknowingly be fucking with a bunch of immortals. but on the whole, they pick stuff that is never likely to be encountered.

i have thought of having them use the standard character generation systems without the options of edges and flaws. then suggesting a list of acceptable flaws form the character background and the first few game sessions. then let the player choose from them if he likes. that way he gets to pick, but it is still stuff that fits how i see the character as interacting with the world

on the side, you getting any decent turnouts for your games out east?
Actually, I'm in the midwest now and didn't update my profile, but I usually had between 7 and 9 interested players depending on the semester and who was busy.
...on the whole, they pick stuff that is never likely to be encountered.

I had a PC who tried to give his character a severe phobia of real (not soy) milk.
At which the GM should exercise the right to veto while intoning the sacred mantra..."coughbullshitcough*

I've taken small phobias to things like spiders, insects and the like. Things that either I actively dislike or other players actively dislike IRL. Snakes are equally popular. grinbig.gif

That way, the players and GM can all relate to the phobia.

Yes, someone could, in theory, have a fear to Great Dragons in drag, but c'mon - how often are you going to encounter that? Or at least admit it? grinbig.gif

Allergic reactions fall in the same category - if it's not something you might reasonably encounter, you shouldn't be allowed points for it.

Of course, YMMV depending on the player.

Skeptical Clown
I tend not to use edges and flaws very much, and I generally forbid some of the flaws that lend easily to egregious offenses of min/maxing. I don't have a problem with a GM enforcing a certain motif on the group (Example: Everyone should be an Ex-Sioux Tomcat/a ganger/a dwarf/insane), but deciding the minor details of a character is a bit too much GM influence. Players want to feel like they made their characters.
I've always used the rule that merits and flaws can have no more than 7 points of separation. In a recent campaign, one of my characters came to me with a character who had something like 15 points of flaws and 22 points of merits. He also produced a well written background. Everything was consistent, the merits and flaws worked with each other and fit a theme that was consistent with and explained by a perfectly reasonable, and very original background. I looked it over, pointed out that he'd forgotten to explain one of the flaws, but the one was already consistent with several others so the revision took a few seconds. The backgrounds and flaws also fit and were consistent with his contacts, skills, etc. It was an excellent character build.
My point is, having lots of merits or flaws is not inherently bad, if it is used responsibly and is internally consistent and non-munchy.
I will agree, however, that merits and flaws are frequently abused. A small amount of this is okay (i.e., I need a couple more points for merits, I need to have a fear of something...I'll be scared of spirits, so I'll invent some spirit trauma into my background). But obviously large-scale abuse happens as well.
My best solution is that I usually run long campaigns, and my players have all learned that the only characters that stay interesting that long are those that have good cohesive backgrounds that really establish a personality.
For shorter campaigns, my solution has always just been exactly what Cray said.
I tried once in a longer campaign to apply the edges and flaws after the campaign had begun, and I think it worked out rather well.

The background for it was, that it was my first character and to not complicate the character creation more than necessesary my GM did include edges and flaw, he included later when every one had some more expirience with the game. later when no one of the original characters was left and all the new characters was with E&F, my first character came back, and to gain the same advantages as the other, the GM allowed me to apply them now.

It has the advantage that I could choose edges and especially flaws, after what happened ingame and how I played her anyway.

The biggest problem would by that some edges is necessary to buy from start (primerely social edges like friends in high places, connected, etcetera...
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