- The Virtuous face unwelcome truths as boldly as any barbarian charge*.
- Do not fear to act; only be shamed by inaction.
- Cleave to what you know is true, even where others wish you to doubt.
- Never accept defeat; adapt your strategy and try anew.
- Despise cowardice which steers the spirit to weakness and inaction.
It’s 3 things about being dedicated to the Virtues part the fourth and this time it’s Courage. So if you’re dedicated to Courage give us your best advice for new players on the kind of game that Courage helps make happen and how to have fun being dedicated to it.
Tell us how you use the Auras of Courage or how you use the Paragons and Exemplars of Courage, Korl, Permion, Gilda Ashwine and my own favourite Inga Tarn, on the field.
As always try not to get into the meat of the IC arguments around Wisdom too much, but an introduction to some of the questions you might start off asking is fine.
* Damage caused by Barbarian charges may vary.
Part of our 3 Things about series: Pride | Vigilance | Wisdom | Courage | Loyalty | Prosperity | Ambition | The Way | Heresy
Yeaaaaah COURAGE. Courage is a brilliant Virtue. I love it extremely hard. I kind of can’t avoid verging on a few IC opinions here, so that’s a Thing, but with that caveat:
It is a cast-iron reason to gen a character with Deepest Darkest Fears, and then get huge amounts of extremely delicious game in making them rub their face all over them. I cannot overstate how much game I have got, over five years, out of playing a debilitating in-character phobia hard and uncompromisingly, and combining that with a Courage dedication. You can RP for hours in a small room. The wells of horror and character development are pretty much fathomless.
Relatedly: I highly recommend playing characters who are afraid of things! Because people are afraid of things, and “blah I am fearless blah” is… dull, and oft overdone, I feel. There’s no traction in fearless. Fearful, on the other hand, will give you oceans of game. (But I recommend against making it fearful of a Thing you are afraid of OC - it’ll just reinforce it - or a Thing you specifically want to do OC, or you’ll shut yourself out of game.) Allowing characters to be afraid unlocks a whole cupboard of jam and interactions with Courage, regardless of whether it’s a specific Fear or just allowing them to get the wibbles.
Courage is not about fighting. Courage is not about fighting. Courage is not about fighting.
I mean, it can be. But personally I find martial courage the least interesting kind by a long chalk. You display it, people applaud, maybe you die. Looking back at the teachings, though: Courage involves facing up to horrible facts. It involves acting. It involves trying again, in new ways. It involves clinging to convictions when surrounded by naysayers. Acts of moral courage can follow your character indefinitely, and IME they are much much harder than ponying up the stuff on the battlefield - because you’ve got to live with those consequences indefinitely.
- For an encore: Courage has some brilliant tensions within its teachings. On the one hand, face unwelcome truths… but never accept defeat. (When does facing truths means accepting defeat? Can it? What would that look like? When does adapting your strategy become abandoning your strategy?) On the one hand, cleave to what you know to be true… but what if the unwelcome truth is that you’re wrong?
TL,DR: Courage, done thoughtfully, will give you enough internal conflicts to have fun in a cardboard box with a crayon drawing of your worst nightmare. Dwelling exclusively or even mainly on displays of physical courage in battle is like focusing on the box a game comes in, as far as I’m concerned. Nice cover art, would look nice on a shelf even empty. But HELL YEAH wait til you start actually playing with the good bit
If you like intense conversations with priests about your character’s Innermost Secrets and Darkest Moments, I say unto ye that THIS IS THE VIRTUE YOU WANT
As Locksmith has so eloquently put above: Courage (at least my brand of Courage) is about fear. It’s about facing up and doing it anyway.
It’s about refusing to staying still, or remain in your comfort zone, but about finding something you care about and throwing all you have at it (I mean, one could argue that’s Ambition but that’s an argument to have on the field. Repeatedly, with different people, for preference).
Courage isn’t stupidity though. It’s not about doing things that have no chance of success; sometimes saying ‘no’ can be the hard choice. Sometimes disagreeing with someone and taking the consequences can be the Courageous path.
Ooof, did I mention I miss playing with this Virtue?
Do you want to have opinions? Unpopular ones?
Courage is Martin Luther nailing his proclomation to the church door. It’s the ‘I will not be silenced’ attitude. If you want to stand on a soapbox ranting, or publish angry pamphlets, or otherwise make yourself heard, Courage is the virtue for you.
If you want to stand on a soapbox ranting, or publish angry pamphlets, or otherwise make yourself heard, Courage is the virtue for you.
For examples of this see: All Winds of Fortune regarding Yael.
- Look at the basic teachings around Courage, pick the one or two that matter most to you, and play it like your character lives their live accordingly. My character has an extra one based on “The Virtuous face unwelcome truths as boldly as any barbarian charge” which is:
Face the consequences of your actions, no matter how unpleasant they may be
read up on the Paragons and Exemplars, pick your favourite, use their stories to back up what you are saying.
Courage is about taking risks, whether by saying what needs to be said, despite no one wanting to listen, or by putting your body in a place it really shouldn’t be, but this thing needs to be done so you are gonna do it. Courage is not just about fighting, but nor is it not about fighting. The Courageous fight battles every day with both their voices and their deeds. The warrior who takes the risks to win a vitally important battle is Couragous, they have refused to accept defeat, they have adapted their strategy and they have acted. But also, the person who stands up and says, “No, you are wrong.” to the whole audience is Couragous, they have acted, they have stuck to their beliefs. Neither invalidates the other, and anyone dedicated to Courage needs to look at how Courage is applied in all aspects of life.
The following is mostly about my personal take on the virtue, your money may very much vary, but I hope it’s useful to some .
Give a Damn
I think one of the things that worked when played my courage priest was caring about stuff hard . One of the quotes I based the character around was “Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness”. It’s easy to roll with the image of the wise cracking cynical hero type who doesn’t allow anything to get to them, but I liked the idea of someone who did let stuff affect them but had to carry on anyway. That kind of Courage is something I enjoyed portraying, wearing your heart on your sleeve and allowing the things your character cares about to fuel you taking action. Get angry about stuff IC and throw yourself at it, fail, pick yourself up and try again and again.
Courage is not an absence of fear
I always enjoyed talking about what I was afraid of when people came and asked me for advice with Courage. Again allowing yourself to be afraid of some things and then having to work to overcome that is some great character fuel. So have a think about what you’re afraid of, think about how it fits in with your own nations culture and the Empire as a whole. Then fling yourself against that stuff in play
Be unpopular and take a stand
A lot of what Courage is about is sticking to your guns in the face of adversity, I always enjoyed a proper ding dong passionate argument with people who fervently believed in what they were arguing for. If you’ve got a bunch of Courage dedicants in a room, you probably have just as many points of view being argued for with passionate intensity. But with no one doubting that anyone is being anything but courageous.
But at the same time don’t be a paper tiger, dig in and do the work to make your point of view stand up rather than being a cackling loon (or y’know as well as). If you can convincingly argue your cause it gives things so much more depth in play. Oh and I totally get that arguing your cause in front of a bunch of people can be anxiety nightmare fuel for many people, you’re not along there but doing this while temporarily being someone else has actually helped build my confidence about speaking in public IRL. Having a whole bunch of small conversations while trying to lobby people in the Hub next to the Synod board is a good stepping off point here before you try speaking in front of a bunch of people.
I would heartily recommend the virtue of Courage to anyone and it will always be my first love in the game and I think it’s great that so many people have jumped on board the Courage train in game and are having so much fun with it
0) Read the brief (This is point 0 as it applies to anyone wanting to play a good priest/knowledgeable dedicate, not just Courage)
If you are a priest I’d say these pages are really required reading. If you are a dedicate (i.e. not a priest) parts of it are required, but I’d say the illuminations (the 5 things) are. I’d recommend experiencing the role-play effects in game and play them out for yourself if you are dedicate. The Aura, the pathway Guidance, and the Exemplars and Paragons give you greater insight into the Virtue than one on it’s own.
- Courage Roleplay effects
- Guidence and the Path of Courage
- Paragons and Exemplars
1) Courage is about making a stand/it is about what is “right” (Moral intractability is fun)
Courage is about taking a principled stand for your character believes is right. Do not back down. If someone absolutely proves you wrong then you can be utterly hard headed about it, there is a way to give to a point without ever conceding. In larp I find it’s much much harder to be that unpopular opinion, that thing that people don’t want to hear or that stubborn bump in the road that will not get out your dam way. Be that person. Silence that little voice that says “get along, not this time”, it is always your time. It makes you unpopular yes. But I have found that you can be that person and gain respect, and that is more fun.
2) It is not about Fear/it’s not about being Martial
I know some folk on here have talked about fear and how strongly that falls into their RP. I am of a different bent. We think of fear when we think of bottling in a fight, it is not (just) about that. It is about finding where your characters core beliefs are, that bit that riles them up just thinking about it, and putting that into focus. The fear and anxiety that flows from that is doing those things. Also Courage is a martial Virtue more than any other. It’s about personal values, in combat you might believe that burying the enemy dead and not looting them is important or it might be that stringing them up by their heels as a warning to other barbarians not to mess with you. If you feel like you are worming out of something you possibly are as you should go for that thing you wish you’d do. Interrupt the Senate and call them out for their corruption (and get arrested, get your Priest Clemency ready!), call people out individual in your nation/group. Keep them going. It’s not an easy game to play but it is rewarding.
3) Courage Dedicates are not stupid/They are moral people (Your morality may differ)
Many Courage tropes are classic hero tropes. That never back down never say die attitude. The person who is the moral backbone of a group. Ofc what that morality may be is up to you, you can look at your culture briefs along with the Virtue brief for that (myself I’ve looked at being the most WINTERMARK COURAGE priest possible). One thing they are not (necessarily) is stupid, which you will possibly get mistaken for in play when you are making a stand and not taken the pragmatic/easy choice. Most larpers in my personal experience play a similar way in that they are looking for the most efficient and effective way to resolve or deal with a thing. You have this massive moral code which is inviolate to breaches, so you might refuse to deal with slave traders regardless of circumstance or scale (so a fleet owner is suddenly restricted in where they can go).When I go for an unpopular position, my character is normally fully aware (to best of his ability) of the consequences of that stand, but believes it a price fully worth paying. Be that person. Choose the parts of the brief most important to you and rp them to the hilt. That might be the unwelcome truth, Then might the Bearers of the Blue Rose interest you, as they specialise in that annoying person who always says what people don’t want to hear (and Clemency). Maybe the whole exposing corruption is interest, striking down evil, then Gilda Ashwine is for you. Perhaps even the law won’t stop you in ending threats to the innocent then might you consider Isaella as your muse