Family Honour

I have a player who wrote his character a belief about mataining his family’s honour. I thought this was great as it’s an easy one to challenge in play.

The family is in a bad situation being bonded labour for a colony.

Son 1 wanted to steal lots of things and then flee. I’d put the name of the family into disrepute by stealing things and then disappearing. In play the player was in support of the son taking what he could but saw the running away as the bad part.

Son 2 wants to join the community but his “gifted child” status is going to be noticed and pull the family into suspicion of practicing dark arts, I’ve foreshadowed this by describing odd supernatural things around this character. Looking at things now I don’t know if the player will interpret this as an honour issue when it comes up.

His wife wants to go with her bonded noble as she considers that to be the honourable thing to and I anticipated the that he might reconsider his honour belief to fight for her instead. What happened in play was that he considered the wife’s loyalty to the noble as dishonouring the family by grovelling and conforming. After they argued she won and went with the noble. He pretty much disowned her (but now he needs her for something :p).

My attempts to challenge the belief have all been interesting to see but clearly we’ve got a mismatch of what honour means to the guy. I’d like to play to find out about the character. But part of me is saying I should clarify it with the player and play to directly challenge it.

This is why careful Belief writing is important. He knows what that Belief means, but you obviously don’t know what he means. Writing “I will maintain my family’s honor by X” isn’t just a way to milk small amounts of artha by changing X to Y to Z, it’s critical to making sure the GM gives you the plot you want.

In this case, rewriting is less important than talking and rephrasing so you’re on the same page. This might well be a world-building problem. What is honor in this society and to this family and to this particular man? Once you know that you can start making life hard.

Incidentally, this is an ideal Belief to pit against other Beliefs. Give him hard choices between honor and what he wants.

Your gut is totally right. Play to find out. As long as he’s engaged (and enraged?) and you can keep circling back to new ways to challenge that belief you’re good. No need to have a discussion until you hit a wall.

Carlos: I want you to poison the magistrate using your position and a powder I will supply you.
Stella (Me): You hypocrite, you chastise me for going with him over you now you want to use that to commit the underhanded crime of poisoning!? I did this to not disgrace our name.
Carlos: Would you rather I just go up to him and punch him in the face.
Stella (Me): Yes! At least then…
Player: I leave her to go and punch the magistrate in the face.


We finished the session with the whole town about to destroy itself.

Sounds amazing!