Personality Traits And Passions

These rules are unusual, and though often imitated by other games debuted in Pendragon.

Personality Traits

These are numerical ratings on various moral virtues like Honesty, Piety, Valor, and so on. Each trait has its opposite! The number measures how strongly your character tends toward a particular virtue. If you have a score of 16 in a particular trait, that trait is considered famous. Famous traits earn Glory, but the GM can use them to compel behavior.

Rolling Personality Traits

These rules always confuse James, so here is an attempt to present it clearly. There are several different circumstances where your Personality Traits can come into play.

What? Initiated By? Earn Check? Other
Indecision player never to get a feel for your character: "How would my guy feel about this situation?"
Instinct GM on critical acting on impulse: "The giant lumbers out of his cave! There's no time to think! Make a Valorous check to stand your ground!"
Compulsion GM usually ? your famous trait is trying to get you in trouble: "Sir Guy the Cruel, an orphan is begging you for money. You are tempted to kick her in the face…"
Moral test GM ? "you must be at least this holy to find the Grail"
Internal conflict GM whichever side wins one of your traits vs. another: "Your Lust is battling against your Chastity." (Like indecision, above, but GM-initiated and will earn checks)
Dispute (argument) player or GM ? this is like any fight: roll higher than your opponent without going over your trait score. If you flunk your roll, you have to immediately roll the opposite trait, and if that succeeds you'll act accordingly. Example: if you fail to be Valorous, it might be because you're feeling really Cowardly. If you fail that opposite trait too, you don't have a strong "sour grapes" reaction and regain self-control.


These are ways to super-charge your performance. When a passion comes up, make a roll:

  • critical: the skill you're rolling is doubled in value; if you lose the big conflict you go into Shock
  • success: you get a +10 to the skill; if you lose the big conflict you go into Shock
  • failure: you end up with a -5 to the skill, and afterward will be Melancholy for the rest of the day
  • fumble: you go crazy for as long as the GM wants
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