For some players, a character’s flaws are more interesting than their powers. We designed a lightweight system to encourage players to create and role-play these traits without forcing negative aspects on everyone. The Drawback categories listed here try to cover the major types of flaws, and allow for players and GMs to fill in details themselves. Players should choose one from the list below and add specifics for their character, such as Code (pirate’s honor). A listing of common Drawbacks and their mechanics is provided below, but is by no means a complete catalog of potential character flaws.
Minor Drawbacks would be worth 1 character build point, and Major Drawbacks are worth 2 points, chosen at character creation. No character should have more than one Drawback, unless the GM bestows the drawback on the character for story reasons. A GM may also allow a player to ‘buy-off’ a Drawback with an Attribute advance. In some cases, this may have to be worked into the ongoing story, and might not be possible. It may also be possible that character gains a Drawback during play (losing an eye or seeing a truly frightening event, for example). The GM may want to give the PC experience points equal to an Attribute raise to offset the Drawback.
Most Drawbacks have mechanical implications. Players (and GMs) should be encouraged to detail their own to better define their characters’ flaws. In general, a minor Drawback will cause a -2 adjustment on occasional die rolls, and a major Drawback will cause -4 adjustments occasionally, or -2 to common die rolls.
Anxieties and Fears are strong psychological reactions to the environment. Typical minor anxieties are things like spiders, large groups, or fire, and a figure would have to make a standard IQ test to face their fears or be at -2 on all tests in its presence.
Fears are stronger concerns that could even paralyze a figure. Figures must pass a difficult IQ test to act in the presence of the fear’s source, and will freeze or flee the fear in case of critical failure.
Codes and Oaths are beliefs or obligations that require a figure to act in a particular way. Minor restrictions — known as codes — would impact a figure’s daily decisions in small ways. When facing these kinds of situations, a figure might have to make a standard IQ test to disobey their code
Major restrictions, called Oaths, have a larger impact on the figure’s life. A figure would have to pass a difficult IQ test to disregard an oath.
Enemies and Nemeses are individuals or groups that are actively working against a figure’s interests. An enemy is a minor drawback that reflects a person or group of limited reach or power that wants to see a figure fail.
A Nemesis represents a larger threat. This major drawback would appear more often or be a much greater danger to a figure.
Habits and Addictions are behaviors that put figures in risk of danger or negative reactions. A figure might have to make an IQ test not to indulge their habit, and face Reaction penalties when they do.
Addictions are more severe and harder to resist. A character to make a difficult (or more) IQ test to resist, and would find it harder to avoid as time goes on. Failure would provide negative Reaction modifiers as well as other dangers.
Handicaps and Debilities encompass physical limitations a figure might face. Minor handicaps would entail a -2 penalty on common Attribute tests, or up to -1d on less common tests. Some handicaps could have positive aspects as well (see below).
A Debilitated figure often suffers -4 penalties on tasks, and some tests may be impossible.
Unpleasant or Abhorrent drawbacks are physical or personality aspects that people dislike. These will commonly give -2 Reaction penalty when known.
Abhorrent traits can be dangerous as well as unpopular. These would cause -4 Reaction to most common folk, and might have other repercussions.
Other drawbacks are for specific failings that can not be covered in a broad category. Poverty (starting with half-normal wealth) is a typical minor drawback, whereas Bad Luck (double critical failure range on tests) would be a major drawback.
Specific Drawback Examples
|All Thumbs||Minor||Handicap||-2adjDX on all mechanical tasks|
|Anemic||Minor||Handicap||-2 SA, -2 adjST to resist sickness, disease, poison, environmental hazards|
|Bad Eyes||Minor||Handicap||-2 to Notice, -2 adjDX to attack more than 3 spaces distant|
|Big Mouth||Minor||Habit||IQ test to keep a secret, blabs at the worst time|
|Cautious||Minor||Code||Figure is overly careful, IQ test to act without preparation|
|Religious||Minor||Code||Adherence to religious doctrine, faith in church|
|Partisan||Minor||Code||Commitment to a political order, loyal to its leadership|
|Committed||Minor||Code||Belief in a cause, support for its followers|
|Curious||Minor||Habit||Figure wants to know about everything, IQ test to bypass mystery|
|Death Wish||Minor||Code||Figure wants to die after completing some task|
|Rival||Minor||Enemy||Figure has a jealous peer who resents their success|
|Wanted||Minor||Enemy||Figure has been accused of a crime|
|Enemy||Minor||Enemy||Figure has a recurring foe who wishes them harm|
|Greedy||Minor||Unpleasant||Figure is obsessed with wealth|
|Lecherous||Minor||Habit||Figure obsessed with sexual conquest, IQ test to overcome, Reaction -1 when indulging|
|Overindulgence||Minor||Habit||IQ test to overcome desire, Reaction -1 when indulging|
|Hard of Hearing||Minor||Handicap||-2 to notice|
|Lame||Minor||Handicap||MA -2, -2 on movement-based tests|
|Loyal||Minor||Code||The figure works to never betray or disappoint their friends|
|Self-absorbed||Minor||Unpleasant||Figure is only interested in themselves, -2 to Reaction|
|Mean||Minor||Unpleasant||Ill-tempered and surly.-2 to Reaction|
|Non-violent||Minor||Code||Figure fights only in self-defense|
|Obese||Minor||Handicap||-2MA, -2adjDX on athletic tests, +1 AD|
|Outsider||Minor||Social||-2 Reaction, treated badly by those of dominant society|
|Overconfident||Minor||Code||The figure believes they can do anything, IQ test to back down|
|Minor Phobia||Minor||Anxiety||IQ test to face fear or -2 to tests when near its source|
|Poverty||Minor||Other||Half starting coins|
|Stubborn||Minor||Habit||Figure always wants their way, IQ test to compromise|
|Foul-smelling||Minor||Unpleasant||-2 Reaction due to scent|
|Ugly||Minor||Unpleasant||-2 Reaction due to appearance|
|Vindictive||Minor||Code||Figure holds a grudge against perceived wrongs|
|Fugitive||Major||Nemesis||Figure is being actively pursued by powerful authority|
|Arch-Enemy||Major||Nemesis||Figure has a powerful or numerous enemy seeking their demise|
|Cleric||Major||Oath||Ordained member of religious order, officiates over ceremonies|
|Zealot||Major||Oath||Deep commitment to an ideal, strictly follows doctrine and proselytizes|
|Bonded||Major||Oath||Figure is a member of an organization with rules, strictures, and responsibilities|
|Domineering||Major||Oath||Figure likes to humiliate opponents, must challenge the enemy leader|
|Bad Luck||Major||Other||Double range of critical failures|
|Blind||Major||Debilitation||-4 to Notice, unable to perform site-required tasks|
|Bloodthirsty||Major||Oath||Figure likes to inflict harm, never takes prisoners|
|Clueless||Major||Handicap||-2adjIQ to knowledge checks, cannot make untrained tests|
|Deaf||Major||Debilitation||Automatic failure to notice sounds -2adjIQ to all Notice tests|
|Outcast||Major||Abhorrent||Figure is a member of group or race disliked by majority, -4 Reaction when known|
|Branded Criminal||Major||Abhorrent||Figure marked as dangerous criminal, -4 Reaction when seen|
|Delusional||Major||Abhorrent||Figure suffers from grave delusions, -4 Reaction when known|
|Elderly||Major||Debilitation||Far older than typical adventurers, -2MA2, -2SA, +4EX|
|One Arm||Major||Debilitation||-4adjDX to tasks requiring two arms, -4ST for Encumbrance|
|Pacifist||Major||Oath||Figure won’t harm living creatures, tries to resolve conflicts peacefully|
|Phobia||Major||Fear||-4 to Tests when near the phobia|
|Small||Major||Debilitation||-1 ST, -1MA|
|Cowardice||Major||Fear||Must make a difficult IQ check to face danger|
|Drug Dependency||Major||Addiction||Difficult IQ test to overcome desire, -2/day deprived, -2 Reaction|
|Thrill-seeker||Major||Addiction||Figure seeks the most dangerous actions at al times, hard IQ test to overcome|
|Prejudiced||Major||Oath||Figure believes in the inferiority of a group, and seeks their restriction|
|Youth||Major||Debilitation||Far younger than typical adventurers, -4EX, +2SA|