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Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-02-16
Age : 25

PostSubject: [RP GUIDE- VIRTUES AND VICES]   Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:22 pm

Written and composed entirely by Edanna from the Sha'tar realm [EU].


Have you ever played a game where you choose an advantage for your character in exchange for the game docking some XP? Or a disadvantage which weakens him but gives extra XP?


Because heroic virtues and vices are nothing like it.

For starters, in RP heroic virtues and vices give you absolutely no combat nor social advantage, no mystical bonus or penalty all other players have to comply with and take into account. Their sole function is to provide inspiration and help roleplayers – especially newbie roleplayers – flesh out their characters.

What is a virtue?

A virtue is a defining trait of a character's personality, inner strength or an ability which helps him overcome the many obstacles fate may place in his way. A virtue can make the character larger than life, a true hero in dark times.

Some Heroes can call upon vast reserves of courage when needed. Some can pierce through veils of lies. The very presence of some can calm emotions and restore peace of mind. Some are just plain lucky.

What is a vice?

A vice is also a defining trait of a character, but of the negative kind. You may think “disadvantage,” yes, but the difference between a heroic vice and a disadvantage is that the heroic vice does not give you any kind of bonus points in return.

A heroic vice helps you play a dramatic and even potentially tragic character. It is a fatal hubris of the character's personality. When the character fails and loses, it is usually the vice that brought him low. Whether due to pride, vanity or misplaced loyalty, it's the character who brings disaster upon himself.

Remember that these are still heroic vices. Your character may be envious or lecherous or greedy, but that doesn't make him automatically a villain - that depends only on you, the player! Think carefully: would you like to travel or socialise with a megalomaniac albino who kills puppies and babies on sight?

What are they not?

They are neither superpowers, nor godmode abilities, nor gameplay or RP guarantees of any kind. A Commanding character won't immediately have the respect and leadership over a squad of troops, an Insightful character will not know everything about the personality and problems of anyone he casts a glance at, a Fortunate character won't be invulnerable because of his luck, a Courageous character won't be completely immune to fear in RP and not resistant at all in PvX.

Treat them as seeds which, if given proper care, will blossom into great RP.

So what do virtues and vices as presented here actually do?

Should you choose to pick a virtue or vice, you probably want to make the chosen trait define your character, to have the greatest impact and influence on his behaviour.

All other traits of his personality are secondary, his other advantages are not as pronounced, his other vices are just quirks. They serve to flesh the character out even more, not as the primary, driving force.

How many heroic virtues or vices should my character have?

Too many of each cramp one's style. If you're a beginner, either choose neither, or one virtue, or one vice.

However, if you feel experienced and feel up to a challenge, you can try making a character who is both virtuous and viced or has multiple of any.

Doesn't that make characters one-dimensional?

Remember that a virtue or vice is a major, but not the sole trait of your character's personality. If you allow the primary trait to overcome and quell all other personality traits then yes, he becomes one-dimensional. A zealous worshipper who won't speak of anything but his deity and duty is fun for a short while (usually five minutes), but gets incredibly boring if such state is prolonged.

The best idea is to go with the flow, idea behind the character in mind and allow the details to fill in as the story unfolds.

Some roleplayers might want to use popular character diamond, although in a slightly modified way.

Choose one corner as your character's major Virtue and the opposite corner as his or her major vice. The two leftover corners are minor traits which can come from any category. Decide which major trait will you focus on - this trait will set the theme of your character.

The "minor" points of the diamond are obviously there to make the character stand out among other characters with the same primary trait. It is up to the player to decide whether to use more virtues or more vices. Think this way: If the primary trait is the main dish, then all others are condiments that represent the tastes of the cook - the player.

Alphabetical list of Virtues and Vices


Ambitious: You crave power. Money is good, but what you really want is power and it does not matter whether it is magical, military, social or otherwise. You are likely to be brought down by attempting a risky grab for the form of power you so desire.
At RP: You speak of your plans and dreams - loudly! You constantly try to make friends with powerful, established and influential characters even if you utterly dislike them. A monetary reward for a successful quest is nice, but what you really want is reputation and political favours. You consider eager followers to be your greatest assets.

Arrogant: You think you are better than others. Your clothes are the most fashionable, your sword the sharpest, your armour the shiniest, your ideas the best and you have to let everyone know how much better you are.

Boastful: You are a showoff. You boast, you gloat, you tell everyone about your accomplishments and disparage your enemies. And when you have 'em lying down at your feet begging for mercy, you simply cannot resist the urge to monologue on and on about your superiority.
At RP: You keep telling stories about your accomplishments. You take mementos from defeated foes and show them off in public, often in a derisive, taunting manner. Every blow comes with a personal insult to match and when your foe pulls off an impressive manoeuvre you make a big show of your disdain.

Brutal: As opposed to what people say, you know the meaning of mercy. You just are very unwilling to show it - ever. You just prefer to hit things until they stop moving at all.
At RP: Unlike a hot-headed character, you fight with a cold, calculating demeanour. While a hot-headed character might leap into the fray to decimate foes quickly, you focus on abilities which cause pain and trauma rather than - or in addition to - damage.

Compulsive Liar: In fact, you value truth very much. So much that you've taken to yourself to meticulously avoid expending or giving away as much of it as you possibly can. As a result, every bit of that precious, glittering thruth is wrapped in a thick, protective layer of lies, half-truths and enigmas.

Conservatist: You firmly believe that the old ways are the best ways. The traditional system supports everything that is noble and important and any kind of change brings only chaos and destruction.
At RP: At best, you prefer tried and true methods over new ideas. They have worked before and you won't abandon them in favour of new ways which might or might not work better. You like order and stability, which makes you very predictable. At worst, the very thought of altering the old and traditional ways of your people fills you with irrational dread. After all, if we cannot trust our rituals which we have practised since time immemorial, what can we trust?

Cowardly: Perhaps a better word would be “has a strong sense of self-preservation.” You don't like to risk your life and limb, even if circumstances demand it.

Daredevil: You get a rush from dangerous stunts. You are perfectly willing to risk your wealth, reputation, health and even life just for the kicks and exhilaration.
At RP: You open a door even if it's probably trapped, you taunt that nasty-looking guy with big, spiky spaulders, you rush into enemies even though no one is prepared (Goddamnit, Leeroy!), you drink a potion even if it's probably poison, you put on a necklace even if it's probably cursed.

Envious: For some reason everyone has it better than you. They have shinier armour, better toys of war and more money. You tend to get envious over the smallest things.

Greedy: Money makes your eyes light up with joy. The more the better, as long as it spends.

Hedonistic: You like pleasure and having a good time – a bit too much. You like good food, fine wine, luxuriant clothes and there's no better way to spend your free time than enjoying the finer things in life with your friends.

Hot-headed: You have a chip on your shoulder and a bit of fish too! Your fuse is short and you're ready to get in a scuffle at the slightest hint of insult or things not going your way.
At RP: You speak in short, curt sentences. When battle approaches, you use your best spells and abilities right away to dish out tremendous punishment as quickly as possible and vent your anger.

Inattentive: Your mind has the tendency to drift off at random. Your thoughts flow so fast that you have trouble focusing on the here and now.

Indecisive: You have trouble making difficult choices or split-second decisions. If you are faced with a choice between letting a villain escape and saving your sweetheart, you're likely going to agonise over the situation until your hand is somehow forced.

Judgemental: You form opinions quickly and change them slowly. Worse, you have the habit of judging people according to their appearance or stereotypes. An Orc, no matter how gentlemanly, is always a cruel, savage animal as far as you're concerned. A man in black leather is always a thief and scoundrel and a woman with revealing clothes is always a prostitute.

Lazy: Whatever you have to do today, do the day after tomorrow! You'll have two days' worth of free time. Either due to a warped time perception or a natural idleness, you are incredibly slow to act.

Lecherous: You just can't keep from chasing skirts. A fair woman (or handsome man, however your tastes run) is an almost irresistible temptation.

Loyal: You find it very difficult to abandon a friend, even if it's only to run and get help for them. As for leaving a fallen comrade to die – forget it. You may also be completely loyal to an employer, no matter how badly you're treated, how wrong it is or how low it might bring you.

Naïve: Mentally you're a wide-eyed child who would never believe there are individuals who would lie or deceive you. After all, people are basically good, right?
At RP: You make social gaffes due to your insular outlook. Others work their way with tact and aplomb, you stumble around like a bull in a china shop. However, you mean well and your naivete gives you a certain charm.

Overconfident: Nothing is beyond your capabilities. You could conquer all of Azeroth single-handedly, it's just you haven't yet found a reason to do so. And that evil spell will surely only tickle a bit.

Overzealous: You can only have strong opinions. Everything you believe, you believe as if your life depended on it. Everything you hate, you hate with a passion.

Proud: Don't they dare pity you! If a gift or offer has the slightest feel of charity, you grow indignant and refuse it.

Rash: You have the urge to stick your fingers between the doors and its frame when somebody's about to shut it. If you hear a scream in the back alley, you're likely to investigate no matter how dangerous. You're not stupid, but your curiosity often gets the better of you.

Reckless: You lack the emotion of fear. Unfortunately, that makes you do foolhardy things. You won't flinch when a demon roars in your face, but you also will never run when severely outclassed.

Righteous: You are more than ready to commit more than questionable deeds in order to achieve a noble goal, fight fire with fire, so to say. The ends justify the means, but this kind of thinking alienates those who would support you if you weren't using such heavy-handed methods.

Star-crossed: You are Amour's practice target, you just keep falling in love – constantly and with all the wrong people like daughters of nobles with Names To Run Away From or dashing SI:7 agents.

Stubborn: You don't often change your mind – if you do at all. Once you've decided on a course of action, you will pull it through no matter what the consequences. Attempts to convince you will usually wash off you like water off a duck.

Unfortunate: Your luck isn't terrible; you'd be already dead if it was. It's just that lucky breaks happen to other people. Look at it this way: if you need some blind luck to get out of some funny affairs, expect to have some fun for a while.

Vain: You adore and admire beauty, you live to see it, savour it, perfect it - but not just any beauty. The only beauty worth tending to and worshipping is your own.
At RP: Carry a comb and pocket mirror with you at all times, or - if you'd like to roleplay it hardcore - a whole satchel of cosmetics. Use them often. Ask others what they think of your looks. If threatened with disfigurement, your resolve will likely melt like a snowflake in a flamethrower.

Vengeful: You have a grudge against a specific creature type, organisation, country or individual. Perhaps they have killed your family, torched your village or teased you when you were a kid. One thing is sure though, they will suffer.


Adaptable: Thanks to lightning-quick mental reflexes you adapt easily to sudden changes around you. If someone jumps from a height directly at you, you casually step aside. If scything blades come out of a wall, you have the presence of mind to get out of the way.

Altruistic: You like to help people. In fact, you may even be better at helping others than pursuing your own goals!

Challenger: Your quest is not that of fame, reputation, riches or even saving the world. What you strive for is constant self-improvement so that you might one day achieve the absolute pinnacle in your chosen path, whether it be combat, magic, stealth or any other ability.

Charming: You go out of your way to observe social niceties. You might or might not have ulterior motives.

Chivalrous: If you play a Paladin or Warrior, you are the chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, the knight without stain or blemish, a lone and unreachable summit of honour and righteousness, a paragon of virtue, comparable only with others with the same virtue and looked up to by all others. If you play any other class, your honourable behaviour could put many Knights and Paladins to shame. Remember that the concept of honour varies wildly from race to race – be creative!

Comforting: You have a certain soothing, motherly quality about you, perhaps a soft tone of voice, the way you move or a general “feel.” One thing is certain: if you stay calm and play your cards well, you soothe emotions and drive fear away with ease.

Commanding: You have a quality of a leader or father about you. Whether it's a firm, authoritative tone of voice, a particular stance or an aura of confidence and composure, you may experience that during larger battles people will gather around you, protecting and awaiting orders.

Courageous: True courage is not the inability to feel fear, but rather finding enough inner strength to resist it and keep going. Many beasts and spellcasters of Azeroth and Outland can rouse fear in the hearts of mortals, whether through sheer power or malevolent spells. When something or someone is used to people fleeing in his presence, the sight of a person who stands and fights can be pretty unnerving to them.

Creative: You are prone to sudden flashes of inspiration. You might notice the scent on a site of murder is a perfume used by a lady you have met nearby or that the number of knobs on an artefact is equal to the number of etched pillars in an earlier chamber. This could well help you deduce who the murderer might be or that the pillars might contain some hints about the nature of the artefact.

Disciplined: You are rigorous and structured in your personal endeavours. This might manifest itself as constant combat training, regular meditation or prayer, monitoring the food you eat and the liquids you drink and any similar action.

Dutiful: You strive to fulfil all your duties and your word is worth as much as solid gold. If you commit yourself to any project, your integrity, truthfulness and trustworthiness will see to it that everything you do, you do to the best of your ability.

Exemplary: You lead by example. You are good at showing others the exact movements needed and getting them to coordinate their efforts with you.

Focused: You can concentrate all your efforts on a single task. Your world narrows until only your work remains. This allows you to accomplish a lot using limited resources.

Fortunate: those annoying quirks of misfortune that plague others... plague others. Your horse won't throw a shoe during a chase, now will you stumble while performing an easy combat manoeuvre. Your luck is good, but remember that even the luckiest people can have a bad day.

Friendly: You have an open, outgoing personality. If you play your cards well, people warm up to you quickly.

Insightful: You understand human (or orcish, or dwarven, etc.) nature. You can quickly determine the defining characteristic of another person's personality. This helps to ferret out weaknesses and gain forewarning of strengths.

Inspirational: Being around you spurs people to greater efforts. You are always encouraging others and helping them find that little bit of potential necessary to accomplish a difficult task.

Intuitive: You know things which you shouldn't. Bits of information mix and boil in your head and sometimes lead you to conclusions you'd never have guessed. This gut feeling doesn't give you answers, but seems to lead you in just the right direction.

Martyr: You willingly and even eagerly put your life on the line for a greater purpose. This purpose might be a cause, an organisation, a single person, a group of people or just about anything else. You are willing to die for this purpose and, in fact, expect to do so. However, you refuse to die in vain - your death must have a greater meaning and it must inspire others to greatness.

Passionate: You are at your best when sliding down a rope to prevent a loved one from crashing on the rocks below or tossing yourself in the way of a bullet or arrow in order to save a friend's life. At those moments you can pull off feats of amazing heroism.

Perceptive: Your senses are drawn to some details. You notice a brown stain on a knight's mantle, the nervous behaviour of a liar, the relocation of a prized signet ring from the finger of one lady to another. Such observations are second nature to you and you hardly ever overlook important clues.

Perspicacious: In order to fight evil one must understand evil. You may not like it, but you can put yourself into a villain's shoes and understand him.

Propitious: You can't say why, but things seem to happen just at the right moment for you. You get thrown into prison on the eve of a major outbreak, the opponent is somehow hindered right before he finishes you off, a deathtrap you and your party have been thrown in has an easy, convenient escape method. This is powerful, so use very sparingly and always consult others who are with you in the scene before doing so.

Reformed: You are a former villain. You have gone through a significant change in life and learned that kindness does pay. Perhaps you are an ex-criminal turning over a new leaf or maybe a new devotee of the Holy Light but either way, that former vile person is gone even if his or her deeds and enemies are not.

Sage: You might be self-righteous and condescending, you might be humble and kind, but the one undeniable fact is that you know a lot and like spreading your knowledge around.

Self-controlled: The verbal slings and arrows people hurl at you roll of your back. You see through seduction attempts and laugh them off. And of course, nobody ever intimidates you.

Temperate: Aristotle once said "Virtue is the golden mean between two vices". You've been holding on to that tenet all your life, striving to choose the option that neither falls short nor exceed what is right.

Uncanny: Some people think you've got a sixth sense, others that your secret are sharp eyes and a keen mind. Whatever the reason, you can sniff out when trouble is coming and coming fast.

Wilful: Simply put, there is nothing that can stop you from your goals. Nothing. You may back off for a moment, but only to muster more strength.

Worldly: You've been around, you have seen it all and you possess much practical how-know.

FAQs and hints

I have chosen, what now? Can you give me some hints?

Virtues and vices belong into RP, not RSP.

I can't stress this enough. Writing “Grand Marshal-General Marius Parutznikus Ravenus von de la Marysueshire has an aura of leadership and everyone around him feels compelled to follow his lead and orders” is not RP at all. It's godmoding. Act your virtue or vice out, just as you would do with any other kind of trait. The only things that belong into RSP (MRP, IRP) are things which actually affect your character's looks, posture and voice.

“Captain Karl von Pannewitz walks in a straight, proud posture, has a firm, resounding voice and speaks in an authoritative manner – as if he was in charge, regardless of the situation” and actually giving him quotes that make him sound like a solid, experienced and respectable fellow works wonders.

Cut yourself some slack.

No one can be a tormented lover, an unflinching stoic, a well of inspiration, a judgemental jerk or a determinator* 24/7, 365 days per year. From time to time remove your main trait from the spotlight, allow for a change of pace and climate, let your viced hero win, let your virtuous hero lose.

So it's either epic or tragic for my character?

Of course not! Your RP style depends on you only! With a bit of creativity you can very easily make your character a comedic one. Lecherous and Star-crossed are especially prone to this – who doesn't like an ineffectual wannabe Casanova who gets slapped on a daily basis?

If RP in darker tones drives your fancy, it is also possible – a Chivalrous character may experience a crushing defeat because he did not use any underhanded tactics to help him win, for example.

Hey! I've seen this in--!

Of course you have. This means you read books and have access to culture. Archetypal heroes and villains are as old as fiction literature is. Gandalf is Inspirational, Rincewind is both Cowardly and Propitious, Romeo and Juliet are Star-crossed, as is Wuntvor the Apprentice, while Lady Macbeth is Ambitious.

Do you plan on making a similar list for villains?

Yes, if people are interested.

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