How often can i use traits against myself


right now we are having a bit of a discussion on how often i can use my traits to impede or harm myself in the GMs Turn.
In my mind you can do this as often as you reasonably can. On the other hand

I reviewed the Traits section of the book. p. 258 “Level 1 traits may be used once per session unless they are recharged.” This falls under the USING TRAITS TO HELP YOURSELF

premature enter there…
Under the USING TRAITS AGAINST YOURSELF heading it says “Invoking a trait to impede your actions follows a similar process as calling on a trait to help” (p.259) It continues to say that you may HELP and HINDER yourself in the same test, but you must use different traits.

I interpret this as You can use a lvl 1 trait once per session, regardless of whether it’s to help or hinder. There is nothing in the book explicitly stating this, but then again there is nothing explicitly stating that you can use a trait against yourself an infinite number of times either. Unless someone can point me to an answer from Luke or Thor, that is what we will go with. If as a patrol you guys are invoking all 2-3 traits per session, which is the idea, you will end up with plenty of checks amongst yourselves to accomplish your goals.

My idea of the game is that you just kick yourself as much as possible because those Player Turn checks are so much worth it. In this ruling i wouldn’t be able to that.
You should at least be able to hurt and help you with your trait once per session. If i can do only one thing than i would never be able to use that trait for the +1 because the 2 checks from a hurt are way more valuable

You can hurt yourself as much as you are able to.

Thank you Luke

Not to be contrary, but is there a point at which a trait is used against oneself so often that it truly represents a detriment. Is there any sense of reasonable limit on how many checks might be earned–say, if you earn 50 or more checks from one trait during the same GM’s turn, it may be starting to get ridiculous?

Has this come up in play?

Yes, abuse of the check mechanic is rampant at my table. Its all check, check, check. I can’t even get a word in because the players are just interupting each other with more and more harsh self flaggelation. Our last obstacle took seven days.

The GM sets the number of tests in his turn, and thus the maximum number of checks possible. Which should be way less than 50 per player. Really, if a player were getting more than 6 I’d suspect something.

Help me read this post correctly.

Joking, of course. :wink:

Players sometimes don’t hinder themselves enough, but I’ve never heard of too much hindering being an issue.

Actually, no. I’ve been playing with mostly new players and working hard to teach them how important it is to earn checks. I try to encourage them to at least–at the very least–earn 2 checks during a GM’s turn. I’m teaching mostly players that are familiar with D&D, which is a heavily success oriented system. They are hesitant to do anything that would reduce their chance of success. So, it has been a process to alter the mind control from one system to another.

Regardless, I do have a few acolytes that proudly unfurl the banner of MG. They’ve really learned the importance of earning checks and using traits both for and against the character. These few are getting more frequent about using traits against themselves. I try to make sure they are using traits in their favor about as often as they are using traits against their favor. Otherwise it simply appears to be a fault, rather than a trait.

I teach that the trait is neither intrinsically negative nor intrinsically positive (which is why some traits like Drunkard or Lecher are very rarely permitted despite how often they’ve been nominated). If a player doesn’t use a trait positively at least half as often as it is used negatively, I start to worry they think that traits are only intended to represent faults and are still missing the mark.

That is not a flaw, it’s a feature. You can only use traits of level 1 and 3 once per session anyway. Having a trait that is mostly negative is a powerfull powerfull tool in a players arsenal. It guarantees him to have a chance to hurt/impede himself in a lot of different situations ergo he is able to get a lot of checks.
This is a trait, an advantage. A checks is way more useful than a +1D.

My favourite trait right now is nocturnal because when it is day than it always comes up.

i agree that earning checks is an essential to the game. I feel less enjoyment in other games in which I can’t use character traits to empower the character, but must rely instead on hard mechanics.

I’d say one of the most important balance for traits is to watch a character over several sessions and get an idea of how to manage their traits during the winter session. I’ve had far too many players that don’t understand the game very deeply until we reach winter session and get to review the previous sessions. It seems a light bulb ignites as they finally have the chance to gain a trait, lose a trait, upgrade a trait. That is the point they really start to understand how characters grow in MG.

Another element of traits that I love is that the traits are not invoked or compelled by a GM. Certainly a group could speak up if they feel a trait is not fitting to a situation, but it is ultimately the player that chooses when traits will be impactful for their character. I see this as another reason that it is not inherently a flaw or merit, it is simply a trait which can be used when appropriate.

I’ve looked over some flaw and merit options in WoD and once in D&D. However, in both cases, it seems the duty to establish each choice as positive or negative. Then it becomes a tool not for a player, but for the GM. It loses the chance to be empowering for a player (aside from simply being another stat to remember).