Flaws and Traits

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Flaws and Traits

Post  Whitewolf on Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:52 pm

Character Traits
Traits are aspects of a character's personality, background, or physique that make him better at some activities and worse at others. In many ways, traits resemble feats: A character can have only a limited number of traits, and each trait provides some benefit. Unlike feats, however, traits always carry a corresponding drawback. In addition to their game effects, traits suggest characteristics about the character's personality that might lead to interesting roleplaying opportunities. Together with a character's class and feat selection, traits offer a way for game mechanics to encourage deeper character backgrounds and consistent roleplaying.

Traits serve as an interesting starting point for roleplaying, reminding players of their characters' most prominent strengths and weaknesses. However, roleplaying a certain aspect of a character's personality does not require possessing the trait. For example, a paladin can be honest and forthright without the Honest trait. The player should roleplay the character consistently even though the character's honesty has no effect on his skill checks.

-Roleplaying Traits-
If a player creates a character with one or more of the traits described here, she has three basic choices for how that trait affects the character's personality.

First, the character might view the trait as a weakness. A character with this view might try to hide the trait or make excuses for his behavior. On the other hand, he might seek out others with the trait to feel better about his own idiosyncrasy.

Second, the character might view the trait as a strength. A character might call attention to the trait, encourage others to act in ways that mimic the trait, or simply assume that those without the trait are less worthy than those who possess it.

Finally, the character might not acknowledge the trait at all. A character might adopt this attitude toward a trait for several reasons, each suggesting something different about the character's background and personality.
•The character might not be aware of the trait; for example, a nearsighted character might not realize that others see better at a distance because his impairment is mild and the onset was so gradual that he never noticed the change.
•The character might be aware of the trait but not want to admit that he possesses it. For example, an abrasive character might realize that his mannerisms affect others, yet find more solace in putting the blame on those whom he offends rather than on himself.
•The character might know but simply not care.

-Traits-

Each trait in this section includes a benefit, a drawback, any special limitations regarding its selection by a character, and roleplaying ideas for how to incorporate it into your character's personality.

Abrasive
You are difficult and demanding in conversation, which tends to oppress those around you.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Intimidate checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Diplomacy checks and Bluff checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be loud and abrupt or quiet and sinister, but either way, most find them disconcerting or irritating.

Absent Minded
You are fascinated by knowledge and learning and are capable of pursuing complex trains of thought quite quickly. However, your preoccupation with such thoughts makes you a little less aware of your surroundings.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Knowledge checks (although this does not let you use a Knowledge skill untrained).
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Spot checks and Listen checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might flit from idea to idea, trailing off in mid-sentence or mumbling their way through complex ideas. Conversely, characters with this trait might be extremely articulate but still allow their thoughts to move faster than the pace of a conversation.

Aggressive
You are quick to initiate combat, and you tend to press the attack once battle is joined. Your enthusiasm makes you a dangerous foe, but you sometimes leave yourself open to blows that a more cautious warrior would avoid.
Benefit
You gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty to Armor Class.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait are often hotheaded and quick to anger, or simply think that the best defense is a quick offense.

Brawler
You naturally move close to your opponents when fighting, instinctively grabbing and punching rather than striking with weapons.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on unarmed attack rolls and grapple checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on all other attack rolls.
Special
The bonus from this trait doesn't apply to natural weapons. A character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat can't select this trait (if a character with this trait later gains that feat, he loses the trait).
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait often disdain the use of weapons entirely, and some eventually learn more refined martial arts based on their instinctive fighting techniques. Many brawlers might not even be consciously aware that they fight differently from other characters; they simply know that the best way to take someone out of a fight is to grab him or punch him in the face.

Cautious
You are cautious in combat, even a bit cowardly, and you take more care to defend yourself than others. However, this caution renders you susceptible to fear effects.
Benefit
You gain an additional +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class whenever you fight defensively or take the total defense action.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on saving throws made to resist fear effects.
Special
You cannot select this trait if you have immunity to fear or fear effects. If you later gain immunity to fear, you lose the benefit of this trait.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might consistently urge talking rather than fighting, or they might do little to encourage that their companions avoid combat and simply remain as far away from foes as possible, using ranged weapons or spells.

Detached
You maintain a distance from events that keeps you grounded but limits your reaction speed.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on will saves
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Reflex saves.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait are likely to be quiet and restrained, but they might be vocal when others falter in their beliefs.

Dishonest
You are naturally deceitful and insincere with others. You have a talent for lying, but have difficulty convincing others when you do speak truthfully.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Bluff checks.
Drawback
You take a -2 penalty on Diplomacy checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be portrayed as crafty liars, or lying might simply be second nature to them, making actually telling the truth a difficult chore.

Distinctive
You have some distinctive physical feature such as a scar, a prominent nose, a limp, or some similar characteristic that is hard to disguise or conceal.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Reputation checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Disguise checks.
Special
This trait is available only if your campaign includes the Reputation variant.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be sensitive about it, or they might play up its presence to gather attention, sympathy, or notoriety.

Easygoing
You are naturally friendly. Others feel comfortable around you, but this trait also makes it more difficult for you to be pushy or suspicious.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Gather Information checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Intimidate checks and Sense Motive checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be more easily manipulated in interactions with NPCs, or they might simply prefer not to argue and instead use their natural talent to learn more about the world around them.

Farsighted
You have difficulty focusing on nearby objects, but your distance vision is more keen than normal.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Spot checks.
Drawback
You have a -2 penalty on Search checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be sensitive about it, or they might simply be oblivious to its presence, having never known any different way of experiencing the world.

Focused
You can keep your attention on a task despite many distractions; however, events in the background pass you by.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Concentration checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Spot checks and Listen checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait often seem single-minded or even obsessive in their focus on a specific task.

Hard of Hearing
You have a slight hearing impairment, and to compensate, you have become more in tune with your other senses.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Spot checks.
Drawback
You take a -2 penalty on Listen checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be sensitive about it, or they might simply be oblivious to its presence, having never known any different way of experiencing the world.

Hardy
You are made of tougher stuff than the average person, but you're not quite as quick to react to dangerous effects.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Fortitude saves.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Reflex saves.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might see their physical prowess as normal and look down on less hardy individuals, or they might see it as their duty to play the role of protector and help those less able to endure physical hardship.

Honest
You are naturally straightforward and sincere. This quality helps you persuade people to your viewpoint, but you have difficulty telling lies and seeing deception in others.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Bluff checks and Sense Motive checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be naive and too unsophisticated to lie, or they might be aware of worldly matters and simply choose to take a higher ground.

Illiterate
You cannot read, but you have devoted yourself to learning other skills.
Benefit
Choose any one skill except Decipher Script or Forgery. You gain a +1 bonus on checks using that skill.
Drawback
You are illiterate.
Special
You can eliminate the negative effect of this trait by spending 2 skill points to become literate. Unlike with the barbarian, you cannot become literate by taking a level in any class other than barbarian.
You can't select this trait if your character is already illiterate because of race, class, or any other reason.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be sensitive about not being able to read, or they might not value "book learnin'."

Inattentive
You are skilled at finishing simple tasks quickly, but you have a difficult time dealing with longer, more complex tasks.
Benefit
Choose a skill that allows complex skill checks. You gain a +1 bonus on simple skill checks made using the chosen skill.
Drawback
You take a -4 penalty on any complex skill checks made with the chosen skill.
Special
You can take this trait more than once. Its effects do not stack. Instead, choose a new eligible skill each time you select this trait.
This trait is available only if your campaign includes the complex skill checks variant.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might flit from subject to subject in conversation, or they might seem typical in most situations but leave most of their long-term projects perpetually unfinished.

Musclebound
You are good at almost everything that requires strength, but less adept than most at tasks that require coordination.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Strength-based skill checks and ability checks.
Drawback
You take a -2 penalty on Dexterity-based skill checks and ability checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait are likely to solve problems with physical strength rather than through trickery or finesse.

Nearsighted
You have difficulty focusing on distant objects, but your eye for detail is more keen than normal.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Search checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Spot checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be sensitive about it, or they might simply be oblivious to its presence, having never known any different way of experiencing the world.

Nightsighted
Your eyes are particularly well suited to using darkvision, but they are less well adapted to what others consider normal light.
Benefit
Add 10 feet to the range of your darkvision.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Spot checks when in areas of bright light.
Special
You must have darkvision as a racial ability to have this trait.
Roleplaying Ideas
This trait might not affect a character's personality at all, but it might make the character prefer going on underground or nighttime adventures.

Passionate
You are made of tougher stuff than the average person, but you are highly suggestible.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Fortitude saves.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Will saves.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be gruff and place extreme value on overcoming physical obstacles, or conversely, their weakness against magical enchantments might leave them fascinated and fearful of such things.

Plucky
You have a strength of will not reflected in your limited physical gifts.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Will saves.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Fortitude saves.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be annoyingly positive-minded, or they might only show their mental resilience in times of dire need.

Polite
You are courteous and well spoken.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
Drawback
You take a -2 penalty on Intimidate checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be honestly polite and kind, or they might simply be adept at mimicking social conventions to get what they want.

Quick
You are fast, but less sturdy than average members of your race.
Benefit
Your base land speed increases by 10 feet (if you don't have a land speed, apply the benefit to whichever of your speeds is highest).
Drawback
Subtract 1 from your hit points gained at each level, including 1st (a result of 0 is possible).
Special
You must have a Constitution of 4 or higher to select this trait.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait typically try to stay away from physical combat, but a rare few might relish it, striving to see if their superior speed is enough to best hardier warriors.

Reckless
You naturally sacrifice accuracy to put more power behind your blows.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on damage rolls after successful melee attacks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on melee attack rolls.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be loudly passionate about entering combat and overcoming foes through strength of arms, or they might be quiet and so desperate to avoid confrontation that they put extra effort into every blow in an attempt to end the encounter more quickly.

Relentless
You don't know the meaning of the word "tired." You go all out until you simply can't continue.
Benefit
You gain a +2 bonus on Constitution checks and similar checks made to continue tiring activities (see the Endurance feat for all the checks and saves to which this benefit applies).
Drawback
Any effect or condition that would normally cause you to become fatigued instead causes you to become exhausted.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait may see others as soft or weak, especially anyone who complains about being tired or fatigued. They might openly scoff at others' weaknesses or might quietly encourage them to "tough it out."

Saddleborn
You are a natural in the saddle, but you have little patience for handling animals when not riding them.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Ride checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Handle Animal checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait rarely bother to consider animals as good for anything other than mounts, but they are extremely confident about their riding abilities.

Skinny
You are very slender for your race.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Escape Artist checks.
Drawback
You take a -2 penalty on Strength checks to avoid being bull rushed or overrun.
Roleplaying Ideas
Skinny characters tend to be pushed around by tougher types, so those with this trait might be shy, or they might be very defensive when faced with such situations.

Slippery
You are less adept at grappling and wrestling than others of your size and strength, but you are adept at slipping out of another's hold.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Escape Artist checks to escape a grapple and on grapple checks to escape a grapple or avoid being grappled.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on all other grapple checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might fear close combat, knowing they are less adept grapplers than most opponents. On the other hand, good escape artists with this trait might enjoy baiting larger foes into grappling them, knowing they can easily slip out of the grasp of most foes.

Slow
You are slow, but sturdier than average members of your race.
Benefit
Add +1 to your hit points gained at each level.
Drawback
Your base land speed is halved (round down to the nearest 5-foot interval).
Special
You must have a base land speed of at least 20 feet to select this trait.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait tend to be relatively immobile in combat. They typically prefer to wear strong armor (or other protective devices), since it's hard for them to flee a fight.

Specialized
You have a knack for one kind of work or study, but other tasks are harder for you to accomplish.
Benefit
Choose one specific Craft, Knowledge, or Profession skill. You gain a +1 bonus on checks using the specified skill.
Drawback
You take a -2 penalty on all other checks using the same skill (Craft, Knowledge, or Profession, based on the skill chosen).
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait often see themselves as elite artists or experts rather than mere professionals, and they might regard their chosen vocation or study as more useful or interesting than other tasks.

Spellgifted
You have a gift for casting spells from a certain school. Although your spells from this school are more potent than those of other casters, you are not as effective at casting spells from other schools.
Benefit
Choose a school of magic. Add 1 to your caster level when casting spells from that school.
Drawback
Reduce your caster level by 1 whenever you cast a spell that is not from your chosen school.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait might be loudly vocal about the merits of the school of magic that they understand most readily, or they might feel awkward and out of place around "normal" spellcasters as a result of their unusual aptitude.

Stout
You are heavy for your race.
Benefit
You gain a +2 bonus on Strength checks to avoid being bull rushed or overrun.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Escape Artist checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Overweight characters are often bullied, so those with this trait might be shy, or they might be very defensive when faced with such situations. Some turn to humor to defuse such situations, while others become bitter.

Suspicious
You are naturally suspicious of everyone and everything. While this trait makes you hard to fool, it makes others slightly less likely to agree with you or find you threatening.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Sense Motive checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Diplomacy checks and intimidate checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
This trait might express itself as comic levels of paranoia, or it might make the character quietly cautious about others.

Torpid
You are sluggish and slow to react to danger, but also resistant to others' commands.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on saves against enchantment (compulsion) effects.
Drawback
You take a -2 penalty on initiative checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Torpid characters may be seen as lazy, or as methodical and measured in their actions.

Uncivilized
You relate better to animals than you do to people.
Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on Handle Animal checks and wild empathy checks.
Drawback
You take a -1 penalty on Bluff checks, Diplomacy checks, and Gather information checks.
Roleplaying Ideas
Characters with this trait are likely to feel awkward in many social situations; that might be expressed as shyness and quiet behavior, or it might be expressed through an overly exuberant need to participate in conversations.
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Re: Flaws and Traits

Post  Whitewolf on Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:02 pm

Flaws are like the flip side of feats. Whereas a feat enables a character to be better than normal at performing a task (or even to do something that normal characters can't), a flaw restricts a character's capabilities or imposes a penalty of some sort.

A player may select up to two flaws when creating a character. After 1st level, a character cannot take on additional flaws unless the game master specifically allows it (for examples of times when doing this might be appropriate, see Character Traits). Each flaw a player selects entitles his character to a bonus feat. In other words, when you create a character, if you select two flaws, you can also take two bonus feats beyond those your character would be normally entitled to.

Unlike traits, flaws are entirely negative in their impact on a character's capabilities.

Metagame Analysis: Creating Flaws

You can create new flaws, but be careful: Flaws can unbalance your game. When creating flaws, keep a few issues in mind:
•A flaw must have a numeric effect on a character's specific capabilities. Flaws with primarily roleplaying or story effects have unpredictable effects on game balance.
•Flaws are generally bigger in magnitude than feats. That's because players always choose flaws that have the least impact on their characters, while taking feats that have the most. For example, while a feat affecting skills grants a +2 bonus on two skills, its counterpart flaw might impose a -4 penalty on two skills.
•A flaw must have a meaningful effect regardless of character class or role. That way, a player can't reduce the flaw's importance through multiclassing. For instance, a flaw that only affects spellcasters might seem reasonable-but for nonspellcaster characters, the flaw likely proves meaningless. Even if you restrict the selection of such feats to characters of specific classes, a player can easily select a spellcasting class at 1st level, choose two flaws that apply to spellcasters, gain the bonus feats, multiclass into a nonspellcasting class at 2nd level and thereafter proceed as a primarily nonspellcasting character. The player has sacrificed a level to gain two bonus feats, a tradeoff that appeals to some players.
•Similarly, a flaw that penalizes a character's Charisma based skill checks only has a significant impact on the party spokesperson-the quiet fighter or barbarian likely won't feel any impact from the penalties.

Flaw Descriptions

Each of the flaws described here has a specific game effect. Some flaws can only be taken by a character who meets a special requirement.

Feeble
You are unathletic and uncoordinated.
Effect
You take a -2 penalty on Strength-, Dexterity-, and Constitution-based ability checks and skill checks.

Frail
You are thin and weak of frame.
Effect
Subtract 1 from the number of hit points you gain at each level. This flaw can reduce the number of hit points you gain to 0 (but not below).
Special
You must have a Constitution of 4 or higher to take this flaw.

Inattentive
You are particularly unaware of your surroundings.
Effect
You take a -4 penalty on Listen checks and Spot checks.

Meager Fortitude
You are sickly and weak of stomach.
Effect
You take a -3 penalty on Fortitude saves.

Murky-Eyed
Your vision is obscured.
Effect
In combat, every time you attack an opponent that has concealment, roll your miss chance twice. If either or both results indicate that you miss, your attack fails.

Noncombatant
You are relatively inept at melee combat.
Effect
You take a -2 penalty on all melee attack rolls.

Pathetic
You are weaker in an attribute than you should be.
Effect
Reduce one of your ability scores by 2.
Special
You cannot take this flaw if the total of your ability modifiers is 8 or higher.

Poor Reflexes
You often zig when you should have zagged.
Effect
You take a -3 penalty on Reflex saves.

Shaky
You are relatively poor at ranged combat.
Effect
You take a -2 penalty on all ranged attack rolls.

Slow
You move exceptionally slowly.
Effect
Your base land speed is halved (round down to the nearest 5-foot interval).
Special
You must have a base land speed of at least 20 feet to take this flaw.

Unreactive
You are slow to react to danger.
Effect
You take a -6 penalty on initiative checks.

Vulnerable
You are not good at defending yourself.
Effect
You take a -1 penalty to Armor Class.

Weak Will
You are highly suggestible and easily duped.
Effect
You take a -3 penalty on Will saves.
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