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So, is Integrity really a waste trait?

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  • So, is Integrity really a waste trait?

    So here I'm thinking about Integrity, which I've been doing for a couple of weeks now. To me, it mostly seems like a waste trait.
    For the first time, we'd been playing a mortal chronicle for a longer time and by now all players are at 1-2 in Integrity (cus it cant drop to 0).
    However, except from a role-playing standing, nothing really has changed for their characters. Non of them have any Conditions from their fall by now, all persistent conditions are resolved.

    The only difference right now is they have a few less dice then before on Breaking points, which seems just, well kinda boring.

    So except for a few extra or fewer dice on new breaking points, and a few more or fewer dice on the fringe system for Abjuration and the like (Which is extremely hard to succeed with anyway even if you spec for it) , the Integrity stat does nothing that just plain role-playing would't do.

    If you just removed the Integrity 1-10 scale but kept the Breaking point system, nothing except a few dice would vanish.

    So, why isn't Integrity more expanded or integral in the game when playing Humans?

    Why would any player spend experience and precious time on trying to raise it (rhetoric question).


    So, why is Integrity such a underwhelming trait? And how do we make the Human condition with Integrity more meaningful in play?


    (I don't want a discussion on what Integrity is meant to stand for, world view, sense of self etc. cus as said, that can be easily role-played)






  • #2
    Why aren’t your players roleplaying the massive damage they’ve suffered to their sense of self?


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    • #3
      Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
      Why aren’t your players roleplaying the massive damage they’ve suffered to their sense of self?

      Oh if it wasn't clear on my part, they are! They portray their characters very well and very much broken down and cracked. It's not a role-playing problem, it's a pure mechanical one.

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      • #4
        Well, your players should be role-playing their low integrity, for one thing; if they're at 1 of 2 integrity, then they should be emotionally wrecked right about now. Also, I'd suggest potentially keeping some of those persistent conditions around for longer than it says under resolution; it's not exactly the rules, but it might help.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ever Professional View Post
          Well, your players should be role-playing their low integrity, for one thing; if they're at 1 of 2 integrity, then they should be emotionally wrecked right about now. Also, I'd suggest potentially keeping some of those persistent conditions around for longer than it says under resolution; it's not exactly the rules, but it might help.

          As above, if it wasn't clear they are portraying their characters as pretty broken. And on the Conditions part, I agree, it's just as in this part of the chronicle, the Conditions they had that where persistant is resolved, partly by a mage that used them for their own cause. The'll probably get new persistant Conditions soon enough. But the main thing remain, both role-playing emotionally train-wrecks and getting Conditions from Breaking points could be resolved without an Integrity trait as it stands.

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          • #6
            It's also not sure how these characters have become immune to Conditions, and specifically persistent ones. Persistent Conditions aren't shed easily, and one of them for dramatically failing a Breaking point makes it even harder to pass future ones later. It's not like you get Broken, and then after whatever you did to get rid of Broken (there isn't any listed default for this), you can't get it all over again.

            The Integrity rating modifier is pretty important here, since it stacks with the situational modifier. They might not have any Conditions from their "fall" but they should be drowning in them from constantly failing Breaking Points. A character that's getting lots of negative Conditions on a regular basis is someone pretty darned different from someone that doesn't... which is what having an Integrity rating influences mechanically.

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            • #7
              Letting a mage remove their Conditions seems.. pretty undermining of the point of things. It's also not something easily done in Mage; which generally only allows the temporary relief from Conditions rather than resolving them for good.

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              • #8
                What Integrity does is add and remove dice to and from Breaking Points and a few other odd rolls. At Integrity 1, your PCs should be rolling chance dice on most Breaking Points. Even if they all somehow have absurdly high Resolve and Composure, they are bound to pick up some Persistent Conditions eventually. And given that the requirements for resolving the Persistent Conditions you get from Breaking Points are all, “gain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve exceptional success on a Breaking Point roll”, there’s your reason for buying up Integrity. Cause you’re not getting any exceptional successes on Breaking Points at 1 Integrity, and as you observed, they cant lose any more Integrity.


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                • #9
                  I'll just step out from talking about roleplay, meaning, or Conditions, as you already stated to have those all understood and ok.

                  So yeah, Integrity is pretty much what you get as bonus or penalty for Breaking Points. You missed nothing rules-wise. They already did a great job with Conditions and Breaking Points, so Integrity is more of a leftover of old rules, and a standard to develop splats' moralities.

                  That said, I would stick to using it for two main reasons. First, it is the only mechanical modifier to Breaking Point that stems directly from personal experience. As much as Resolve and Composure are personal traits, they talk more about a mind's resilience to stress than to how that resilience got eroded or reinforced by what you lived. By itself, it is good for me.

                  Also, by doing just that, it lets you tweak the relation between R+C and the character's actual ability to withstand stress. That opens for a broader spectrum of character concepts, another gain for me. One that you couldn't quite represent that easily with so much nuance (you can, to a degree, by defining BPs, I know).

                  Most importantly, though, in a mechanical standpoint, are Critical Failures. Most of the time, a low Integrity is the only way you can reasonably be left with a Chance Die in the check.

                  But it is hardly a core rule of the game, far less than its idea is core to the theme. If you're not happy with it, you can tweak its XP cost or get rid of it altogether without any problem.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    It's also not sure how these characters have become immune to Conditions, and specifically persistent ones. Persistent Conditions aren't shed easily, and one of them for dramatically failing a Breaking point makes it even harder to pass future ones later. It's not like you get Broken, and then after whatever you did to get rid of Broken (there isn't any listed default for this), you can't get it all over again.

                    The Integrity rating modifier is pretty important here, since it stacks with the situational modifier. They might not have any Conditions from their "fall" but they should be drowning in them from constantly failing Breaking Points. A character that's getting lots of negative Conditions on a regular basis is someone pretty darned different from someone that doesn't... which is what having an Integrity rating influences mechanically.

                    They are not immune to Conditions in any way, just by happenstance, neither of them have any at this moment in time. I'm quite aware of the rules, it just happens that my players resolved the ones they had last session, new ones will come.

                    Letting a mage remove their Conditions seems.. pretty undermining of the point of things. It's also not something easily done in Mage; which generally only allows the temporary relief from Conditions rather than resolving them for good.
                    Yes in hindsight it was a doubble edged sword to have the mage remove a few Conditions from the PC's but it was far more productive for the game then letting a few really have persistant ones get stuck for ever. It was after all part of the main story and plot-turns and twists involving time travel etc and nothing the PC's just bumped into and asked for and got for free. But, au contraire it's not really hard to remove a few Conditions, its a 3 dot spell. It's doable by a starting PC.


                    Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                    What Integrity does is add and remove dice to and from Breaking Points and a few other odd rolls. At Integrity 1, your PCs should be rolling chance dice on most Breaking Points. Even if they all somehow have absurdly high Resolve and Composure, they are bound to pick up some Persistent Conditions eventually. And given that the requirements for resolving the Persistent Conditions you get from Breaking Points are all, “gain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve exceptional success on a Breaking Point roll”, there’s your reason for buying up Integrity. Cause you’re not getting any exceptional successes on Breaking Points at 1 Integrity, and as you observed, they cant lose any more Integrity.

                    Fair point about the reason to buy it back up. And yeah chance die or just a single die on most breaking points sure leads to Condition constipation. Usually my PC has a few instance of Guilty, Spooked and Shaken shared between them as well as one or another homebrewed Condition. It's actually a pretty large part of our game sessions trying to resolve Conditions.


                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    I'll just step out from talking about roleplay, meaning, or Conditions, as you already stated to have those all understood and ok.

                    So yeah, Integrity is pretty much what you get as bonus or penalty for Breaking Points. You missed nothing rules-wise. They already did a great job with Conditions and Breaking Points, so Integrity is more of a leftover of old rules, and a standard to develop splats' moralities.

                    That said, I would stick to using it for two main reasons. First, it is the only mechanical modifier to Breaking Point that stems directly from personal experience. As much as Resolve and Composure are personal traits, they talk more about a mind's resilience to stress than to how that resilience got eroded or reinforced by what you lived. By itself, it is good for me.

                    Also, by doing just that, it lets you tweak the relation between R+C and the character's actual ability to withstand stress. That opens for a broader spectrum of character concepts, another gain for me. One that you couldn't quite represent that easily with so much nuance (you can, to a degree, by defining BPs, I know).

                    Most importantly, though, in a mechanical standpoint, are Critical Failures. Most of the time, a low Integrity is the only way you can reasonably be left with a Chance Die in the check.

                    But it is hardly a core rule of the game, far less than its idea is core to the theme. If you're not happy with it, you can tweak its XP cost or get rid of it altogether without any problem.

                    Your argument about a descent measure point of a modifier from personal experience is a good one. Backstory and earlier experience tells what should constitute a breaking point, but yeah, Integrity is a personal measure of resistance. I agree that it helps to broaden the possible playable concepts, which is good and cusom breaking points only goes so far, integrity is working quite well as an abstract "what level of fucked up am I on"-meter.
                    As well as seeing the penalty from low Integrity on the dice pool as you and others above has pointed out as more or less the sole reason one might get a D.F. on a breaking point roll is quite convicing to actually keep it as it is.

                    Now that's the thing though, I'd love for it to have some more meaningful impact on the characters. We tried for a few sessions to have virtue/vice tied to Integrity, so high integrity you had two virtues (and a vice) and on low you had 2 vice but not a virtue, this was however a bad idea, for many reasons so we abandoned it.




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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Poseur View Post
                      ​Fair point about the reason to buy it back up. And yeah chance die or just a single die on most breaking points sure leads to Condition constipation. Usually my PC has a few instance of Guilty, Spooked and Shaken shared between them as well as one or another homebrewed Condition. It's actually a pretty large part of our game sessions trying to resolve Conditions.
                      Well, that would happen no matter their Integrity, since you get the same Conditions on a success. Lower Integrity just makes you more likely to get Persistent ones (either due to natural Dramatic Failure or in exchange for a Beat).


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                      • #12
                        You might want to connect integrity to conditions such as urged and possessed. Higher integrity characters would have much more resistance against ghosts and the like, while lower integrity characters would be far less resistance against them. Not sure if that is already emulated by the rules, but a quick glance over those conditions didn't say anything about them.

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                        • #13
                          I'm thinking about other uses you could tie to Integrity for your game.

                          Ever Professional pointed an interesting direction, but I'm worried about the consequences of Integrity stepping so directly on the shoes of Resistance Attributes in that way. But I just thought of a compromise, looking at it as resilience to stress. You could make Integrity modifiers apply to repeated exposure to mental/social effects. The second time a character is target of the same skill or ability on a scene, Integrity applies. Low Integrity characters are likely to bend if pressed too much, while High Integrity ones only harden to repetitive tries. You can think of ways to tweak those numbers, or maybe Integrity measures how many checks go without penalty in the same session.

                          You can also link Integrity to the ability of changing Breaking Points. The rules don't state that BPs can't change after the start of the game, and I'm personally fond of tweaking them during play to represent several things. If you like, you could call for an Integrity roll after a Breaking Point. If the character succeeds, the Breaking Point in question ceases to be so, or at least changes its threshold. This is particularly good if you want your PCs to be able to face some occurrences more frequently without excessive Conditions.


                          Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.

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