Question about Trait as Artha Furnace - Examples needed

I am not sure how a (Character) Trait can be used to award a Fate Artha Point… At page 64 of BWG, it is written that such a point can be awarded to a character if a trait either “alters the direction of the story in an unforseen way or makes life difficult for that character”. How do you do this in play? Can you people give me example from real game experiences?


How about the character trait “Sleepy?”

The character is given the camp watch. The player decides that this is the perfect time to play her sleepy trait, and the character falls asleep. This allows a thief to come into the camp undetected. A generous GM may allow the sleeping guard to roll a difficult Perception test to wake up at the right time, but otherwise, the sneaky villain takes something and gets away unnoticed.

So if I understand correctly, a Trait is a way for the Player to create obstacle without the participation of the GM?

It doesn’t have to be negative, although it usually is. Artha for problems is the hard rule for Instincts. It just has to take the story somewhere unexpected and interesting.

We had a game where there was a riot in the making with everyone yelling at once. And then Durich, who had an interesting mix of the Laconic and Shouting traits, shouted, “You’re all fools. Go home.” He didn’t have any particular skills like Oratory to back that up, and he didn’t even particularly care if they listened. He was just expressing an opinion. But he had the Shouting trait, so everyone heard him. The party, which had been easing its way through an ugly crowd, became the unlikely center of attention. They ended up in an argument with a demagogue, made some enemies, earned some respect, and ended up missing their appointment in the process. There was really no great cost or risk to any of this; the worst they were facing was mostly being ignored, which didn’t matter to them anyway. But instead by being loud Durich’s player made interesting stuff happen that I didn’t expect. Thus, fate artha.

I think the key distinction is that Instincts have to cause trouble, and whenever they cause trouble you get some fate. You don’t have to have it go anywhere interesting, really, just have meaningful difficulty.

For traits, on the other hand, the requirement is on the story changing. It doesn’t have to be for the worse at all; you can argue that your traits are in fact exactly right and change the story by using them as a lever to get what you want. As long as it’s reasonable, it happens, and you get your Fate. But it’s also unusual for traits to have much to offer that isn’t trouble most of the time. In any case, I’ve found that traits are one of the less common sources of artha. Probably someone earns some every session, but not everyone. Most character traits are for flavor or in the process of evolving into die traits or call-ons; they’re not expected to produce artha.

Yup. But not exclusively to create obstacles. You should word it as a way for players to change the story (however slightly) without the GM initiating it.

Alright, 2 questions then :

1 - You can do the same with Instinct, right? So, If I understand correctly, a player can gain control of the narrative (so to speak, I am sure these terms are not even in the BWG book) as long it is tied to Instinct and Trait?

2 - About Intinct now : Is this legit? Say My Character have the Intinct : “I always set up and manage volunteers sentries for a night watch before going to sleep” and the GM decide to, say, ambush the sleeping camp with wolves, can I decide post hoc that My Character is going against is instinct, that this particular night I want to be too sleepy and thus earn a Fate point at the end of the game (If My Character survies the pack, of course!)? Is this a acceptable way of engaging the rules?

1 - Yes, a PC’s Instinct can affect the narrative.

A quick run-down of BW mechanics that allow a player to bring in their own narrative twists and elements: Traits, Instincts, Circles and Wises.

2 - Yes, it seems legit, although a weak example.

I don’t think so, you get a fate point when the instinct gets you into trouble, not when ignoring it gets you into trouble. You’d need the instinct “Never set a watch” to get fate in that context.
You can make instincts which “bait” fate because they would often cause trouble. Like always insulting nobility, never let someone insult your family, always shoplifting…

Alright thanks people!

Ctrail’s very right. Problem instincts get you artha for causing trouble, but you can always choose not to follow the instinct. An instinct can be sometimes helpful and sometimes an artha mine; the classic double-edged sword, pun intended, is “I draw my sword at the first sign of trouble.” It means you don’t get caught empty-handed when a fight breaks out, but it can also mean you pull out your sword when that’s only going to escalate the situation and calm words would be more effective.

Overruling instincts is never a source of artha. You give yourself a “set a watch” instinct so that you don’t get ambushed by wolves, not so you can get artha for being ambushed.

BITs don’t give the player the authority to explicitly take control and change the narrative. You can’t say, you have this trait or that instinct so a particular thing happens (with the exception of an action explicitly stated in the instinct, like drawing a sword or screaming for help or whatever your reaction instinct is). It’s when acting on the instinct or the trait makes the story go somewhere it would not have in the absent of the relevant instinct/trait that you get artha for it.

Sure, here’s Oldred saving his friends because he can’t outrun poison gas with a lame leg.