Every character has his or her own embarrassments from time to time. Some habitually screw things up for themselves or their friends. Faults are the Elysium way of representing a character's shortcomings and flaws. Faults, the exact opposite of Trumps, can be assembled at character creation or amassed as the game progresses.
When you select Faults for your character, you receive Expoints in return to spend on anything you'd like: Attribute points, Skill ranks, Trumps, and Special Power ranks. Each Fault lists the Expoint bonus it provides.
A GM may tell you that your character inherits a Fault because of in-game events. Say your character has his or her hand unjustly lobbed off and the GM tells you to inherit the Fault "Missing Hand" and the 5 Expoints it grants you. The GM can't just go around lobbing off hands arbitrarily, but if it happened due to a failed Defense Roll in combat with the story's villain, that's legit.
In the event you tire of a Fault which can be cured, overcome, or repaired, you must first earn the experience required to "buy back" the Fault, thus erasing the Fault and balancing the checkbook, so to speak, with regards to the Expoints it granted you. Also, you may have to secure in-game resources to overcome the Fault and role-play through the process. Some generous GMs might allow you to overcome a Fault before you have spent the Expoints to buy it back, but this isn't really a good idea unless people's enjoyment of the game is in a real pinch because of it.
A character has no limit on the number of Faults he or she can possess, however, more Faults make for difficult gameplay. Sure, you could play an old, one-eyed, lame, one-armed, obese, retired soldier with a nasty facial scar, but your in-game penalties would be massive. Listed below are the Faults available to you.
Physical Faults provide difficulties and disabilities to your character's body: everything from missing limbs to poor senses.
You just can't quit the juice or whatever your particular vice may be. For an addiction to something easily procured such as food, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco products, or gambling, this Fault is worth four points. For an intense addiction to expensive and hard-to-find substances or situations, such as addiction to the blood of a powerful and exotic creature, or dependence on a potent drugs or chemicals, the bonus is eight XP. The addiction should prove an ever present menace, not only to the character whom it afflicts, but also to that character's comrades and loved ones. Note that the long-term chemically-addicted usually develop a resistance to their drug of choice reducing the potency and duration of the high to half, thus requiring more frequent use of larger amounts of the product to achieve the same effect. Any benefits usually gained from a vice are halved (round down) in the case of the addict. Each day an addict must indulge in their vice. If they do not, they suffer a −2 or −4 penalty to all rolls until they once again indulge in their vice.
Allergies are a complication with the immune system which cause problematic, rapid reactions when an afflicted person comes in contact with a specific environmental substance, such as plant pollen or food items. An allergic reaction lasts as long as you're in contact with the allergen.
For 1 point, you have a mild ingested allergy: you must ingest the allergen for it to have an effect. Reactions might include itching or rashes, mild swelling, nasal congestion, mild asthma, swelling of the tongue or face, nausea and similar gastrointestinal problems, or difficulty breathing. Sensitivity in this way to types of food (shellfish, eggs, milk, etc.) is common. You take a −1 to all rolls while having an allergic reaction.
For 2 points, you have a severe ingested allergy, and you are likely to experience the effects listed above plus have your airway completely constricted, fluid run into your lungs, and/or suffer full-blown anaphylactic shock. Not only do you suffer penalties to your rolls, you also take a point of damage each round you are under the effects of the attack.
For 2 points, you have a more serious allergy: one that is activated by contact with the allergen. You take a −1 to all rolls while having a contacted allergic reaction.
For 4 points, you have a severe contact allergy. Not only do you suffer penalties to your rolls, you also take a point of damage each round you are under the effects of the attack.
For 3 points, you merely need to be within ten feet of the source of your allergy to suffer the ill effects. You take a −1 to all rolls while having an allergy attack.
For 6 points, you have a severe area allergy. Not only do you suffer penalties to your rolls, you also take a point of damage each round you are under the effects of the attack.
You may take this Fault multiple times. You may either choose a new source for your allergy (an allergen) or the same source, in which case the effects are cumulative.
Long ago, you survived a wound that, by all accounts, should've killed you. To this day it has never quite healed right. You take 1 damage from your Battle Scar each round you are in combat.
Whether through birth defect or accident, you have completely lost your sight. You automatically fail Perception and Search checks which rely on sight alone and take a −2 penalty to those checks when sight is a factor. You may not move safely at more than a walking speed and you will have a hard time with many skills, most particularly those for which you cannot take your time and use your hands to guide you (−2 to those checks). You also cannot fight effectively (−8 Penalty to all Combat rolls) without special training (the Blind-Fighting trump) or the aid of magic, and are considered Confused while in combat. Note that the GM should only allow experienced players to play blind characters as it takes a lot of patience and ingenuity to keep them going. On the plus side, you can't be fooled by purely visual illusions.
Your sense of smell is greatly handicapped. While the root cause is probably a neurological problem, it could also be a minor curse. You take a −2 to Perception and Search checks which rely in any way on your sense of smell or taste.
Anosmia. Your sense of smell is completely absent. You don't perceive any odors nor register the flavors of any foods. Our advice: join a circus, become a skunk trainer. Somebody has to do it.
Parosmia. Parosmia is the incorrect interpretation of odors and flavors. You perceive pleasant odors as reminiscent of burning flesh, fish, vomit, or garbage. Sometimes particularly flavorful food will taste the same as it smells — terrible.
Phantosmia. Phantosmia causes you to perceive odors that aren't there. You often, inexplicably, smell mystery odors reminiscent of rancid milk, lavender, moldy earth, coffee beans, or manure.
Incompatible with: Bloodhound
You are considered immature by the standards of your race and culture, and as such, you are not a fully intelligent, autonomous being in the eyes of most adults. Until you mature, you'll have a hard time interacting with adult society and will very rarely be taken seriously. You take a −4 penalty on Leadership, Bluff, Negotiate, and Intimidate when interacting with adults. Countering this, you enjoy a +4 bonus on these same checks with other children. And due to the fact that you're not yet fully grown, your maximum allowed points in Muscle and Endurance is 7.
Butterfingers. Fumblelina. They've called you that, among other things, ever since you were a kid, and they're right. Your failures always seem to create the most spectacularly counterproductive results. When you trip, stumble, or sneeze, it's sure to overturn priceless artifacts, awaken sleeping monsters, and bring guards running. Whenever you critically fail an attack roll or a skill check, and you don't pass the DL of the skill check, you take the difference as damage. You fail to pick a lock: you somehow manage to lodge the pick in your hand; you fail to climb a tree, you fall and stab your leg with a rock. Are you sure adventuring is the life for you?
Incompatible with: Artful Dodger, Catch Missile, Chameleon, Counterattack, Feline Balance, Hasty Reload, Missile Swat, Mounted Charge, Mounted Smite, Pickpocket, Quick Draw, Shadow Warrior, Sidestep, Speedy Reflexes, Spell Swat, Tech Medic, and the Weapon Savant Special Power. Practice any other Combat Trumps at the risk of your own limbs.
You're stiff and heavy. While not necessarily slow, your rigid limbs just don't move as gracefully as others (−2 to Gymnastics and Dash) and when you hop in the water, your inconvenient weight makes you sink like a hammer (−2 to Might for swimming).
Usually found in the company of Anchor.
You are incapable of hearing; stone deaf. Among other obstacles, you automatically fail skill checks which rely on hearing alone and take a −2 penalty on those checks when hearing is a factor (usually checks like Perception, Search, Stealth, Discern, or Perform). Since you will not hear comrades' shouted warnings, you take a −1 penalty to Reaction. You will not understand talkers if their lips cannot be observed, and you also have a hard time speaking out loud to others, as you cannot hear your own voice. As a player, you must learn not to rely upon the speech of your fellow PCs, which (like the Blind Fault) may be too restrictive for less serious or experienced gamers.
You bear the physical markings of genetic mutation, a growth disorder, an irregular birth, terrible burns, or other trauma. For two points you are considered Deformed. You possess a minor physical deformity which bothers those around you. Typical two point deformities would include an extra finger on your right hand, an iris with no pigment, or hugely crooked teeth.
For four points you are Twisted. Your appearance is disturbing and strange. Typical four point deformities would include a clawed hand, a hunched back, backwards kneecaps, the visage of the Phantom of the Opera, or a misshapen head.
For six points you are Monstrous. You resemble a bestial, inhuman thing, regardless of what purity and warmth lies within you, and people often run from you or attack you. Typical six point deformities would include leprosy, wild mutations, writhing tentacles sprouting from your body, fur and fangs, or the physique of the Elephant Man.
You bruise and break easily. As a result, you take a permanent −2 penalty on your Guard Rolls for your inability to take a good hit. Consider a life of modeling.
While not Deaf, you don't hear so well. You take a −2 penalty to all checks for which hearing is a factor (typically Perception, Search, Translate, etc). You are completely deaf to high-pitched sounds, such as the whistle of an approaching arrow or a beeping time bomb.
Note on hearing correction: As with vision-correction, there are some devices which can amplify sounds and correct a character's hearing, effectively negating the penalties suggested above, but only while the device is worn. These items are even harder to find and more expensive than vision-corrective items and may be non-existent in some stories. Anytime a character with a hearing-corrective device rolls a critical failure, the device is lost and the character must spend time searching for it, during which time the usual hearing-related penalties return.
Kid, you just can't sit still. To the annoyance of those around you, you're constantly pacing, fidgeting, cracking your knuckles, tapping your feet, humming, and generally expending energy any way you can. You take a −1 to Stealth and Disguise due to your inability to remain still. Anyone who has to spend significant time with you will react poorly towards you once your condition becomes apparent. Boredom is your mortal enemy — whenever you are forced to lay in wait for a foe in order to surprise them, you must make a Virtue roll (DL 15) to calm yourself long enough to spring the trap. If you fail, you reveal yourself too soon and the surprise is ruined (the enemies will not be caught wide-eyed). Keeping still for anything longer than fifteen minutes is utter agony (you will look as though you're about to explode).
One or both of your legs have suffered serious trauma. If one leg is lame, this Fault is worth four points and you walk with a noticeable limp. Your maximum movement Speed is reduced to half, and you take a −2 to Dash checks involving the use of your legs (e.g. running, swimming). For 8 points, both your legs are nearly crippled, running is impossible for you (you automatically fail Dash checks involving the use of your legs), and you must walk with assistance, e.g. a cane, braces, magic, or a wheelchair (if such resources/technology are available). If you are deprived of your assistance, you are rendered prone (−4 to Evasion Rolls) and must be carried by an ally to move.
While not necessarily overweight or large (in many cases, it's the little guys that eat so much), you eat twice as much per day as might be expected, perhaps due to a high metabolism. You are rarely seen without something edible in your hand. In areas where food is in short supply, you may be perceived as a glutton (−1 penalty to Seduce and Negotiate rolls). Anything food related (room and board, rations, ale, etc.) costs twice as much for you.
When people call you a pushover, they mean it literally. Perhaps you have two left feet, maybe literally. You take a −4 penalty to opposed rolls against any attempts to push, trip, move, toss, lift, drag, or knock you down. Have a nice trip, see you next fall.
Your body gives over very easily to outside forces when it comes to metamorphosis and transformation. You take a −2 penalty to Resilience.
Incompatible with: Immutable
Your hand was amputated, sliced off in deadly combat, or withered to a useless husk. You take a −2 penalty to any skills requiring the use of both hands such as Grip, Might, Machinery, and Disguise. Additionally, you are unable to wield 2-handed weapons.
For 10 points, your character is deprived of the use of a hand. You can still use the affected arm in combat, if a special device is crafted for you with an attached weapon, and a shield can always be strapped to your arm. For 12 points, the character is either missing the arm from the elbow down, or missing it entirely.
If the player decides to take this Fault after a story begins (giving the GM permission to lob off the poor thing), and if the lost appendage was on the dominant side, you suffer penalties to all rolls involving the use of either hand until the GM deems it a long enough period to adjust to the trauma, or unless you possess the Ambidexterity Trump.
Your vocal chords are absent or nonfunctional, and verbal communication is impossible for you. Special sign languages are your only possibility for detailed communication with most beings, although mind magic or divination may aid you. You automatically fail skill checks which require speech (though if pantomime or writing will suffice, the check may still be attempted in that way) and you may not attempt to use diplomacy to end hostilities (you may still Intimidate and Taunt, however). The player must learn to communicate with other PCs nonverbally, which is a real challenge. Like Blind and Deaf, only gamers who really intend to role-play this Fault thoroughly should consider creating a Mute character.
A person with Narcolepsy is likely to become drowsy or to fall asleep, often at inappropriate times and places. Due to a slight malfunction in the brain and the pattern of sleep during the night, a character will suffer intermittent bouts of slumber throughout the day, and waking during the night. Whenever the character rolls a Critical Failure, he or she immediately falls asleep until their next turn.
Incompatible with: Sleep Control
You are significantly and unhealthily overweight — you weigh double the normal weight for your height and species. You tire more quickly than average and anyone attempting to carry you or assist you in moving takes a −4 on the check. When making a Grip (while climbing), Dodge, Gymnastics, or Stealth check, you take a −2 penalty. Those who respect physical fitness will feel contempt towards you. The malnourished will feel jealousy. You also take a −2 penalty to Thievery checks to escape bonds.
Let it be noted that you'll need to find a sturdy mount and most mounts will not carry you for long.
The opposite extreme of the Child fault. You are considered past your prime for your race and culture, although the exact effects of this Fault depend upon your level of age, as follows:
Over the Hill
Expoint Bonus: 4
You've passed the midpoint of your lifespan, (50 years for humans) and those unburdened by age are beginning to doubt your capabilities (−1 penalty to Negotiate and Seduce against anyone at least 1 generation younger). You can still hold your own, but age is catching up to you: your Max Caps in Muscle, Agility, and Endurance is one fewer. You also have 1 fewer Action Point.
Incompatible with: Child, Ancient, Prehistoric
Expoint Bonus: 10
Time's ravages have left their mark on your face as well as your body, and your looks have suffered. By all accounts, you should be on death's doorstep. You are near the end of your race's average lifespan (75 for humans), and anyone younger than Over the Hill has little respect or patience for you (−2 penalty to Negotiate, Seduce and Intimidate). Those irresponsible young whippersnappers, still blessed with keen senses and supple joints… just wait till they're in your shoes, then they won't be so cocky. While your mind may still be sharp, your body isn't what it used to be: your Muscle, Agility, and Endurance Max Caps are now 3 fewer as well. You also have 2 fewer Action Points.
Exception to the Fault: in cultures where elders truly are revered, you will be honored and deferred to — however, you will be expected to provide wisdom, guidance, and leadership, whether you are wise and charismatic or not!
Expoint Bonus: 18
"Shut up, you old windbag." "Clyde, you warty lizard, you ain't but a day younger than I am!" "Don't matter, younger is younger."
By all accounts, you should've been dead years ago. You're well past the average life expectancy of your race (90 for humans) and are considered by anyone younger than yourself (which is almost everyone) to be a doddering oldster, capable of little more than spooning mush into your toothless maw — you take a −3 penalty to Leadership, Negotiate, Seduce, and Intimidate with anyone who is your junior, and your Max Caps for Muscle, Agility, and Endurance are 5 fewer. You also have 3 fewer Action Points. Needless to say, you have a hard time scoring hot dates. In your favor, you are affected by the Exception noted above, and anyone who's been around as long as you have is bound to have some useful experience. Keep in mind the adage: "Old age and treachery will beat youth and enthusiasm every time."
As if you needed any more reminders of your decrepitude, keep in mind that age is frequently accompanied by any number of Physical Faults, especially poor hearing and vision.
You have significantly bad eyesight, in a time and place when vision correction is hard to come by. For five points, you are either Nearsighted or Farsighted.
- You have difficulty focusing on anything further away than your outstretched hand. Driving, sailing, or piloting a craft is difficult. You take a −1 penalty to all Perception, Discern, Machinery and ranged combat rolls beyond a distance of six feet away from you. Also, you tend not to see anything until it's right on top of you (−1 Reaction), meaning you will have difficulty identifying that ominous-looking approaching horseman and will fail to recognize even prominent landmarks until they're too close to be of much use, to name just a few problems.
- Your long-distance vision is fine, but anything closer than six feet becomes a blur. You suffer a −1 penalty to Stealth, Search, Discern, Healing, and Machinery checks, plus all melee combat rolls. You also have trouble reading books or manipulating any small objects (e.g. needle and thread).
- One Eyed
- Characters with one eye could be considered to suffer from this Fault: the lack of depth perception and peripheral vision from having only one good eye is comparable to nearsightedness.
- Barely Sighted
- This version of the Fault is worth ten points and it is effectively a combination of Nearsighted and Farsighted. You don't see well at any distance, which is a death knell for a warrior but can be a fun trait for a less combat-oriented character. Imagine a mage who, after burying himself in books for years, can barely see past the end of his nose. Envision him trying to throw spells at targets that are little more than blurs of color, or recognize friends and foes in a crowd, or press the right button on a complicated mechanism… great potential for humor and challenges. You cumulatively take all the penalties listed above. Expect the GM to make the most of your near-blindness.
Note on vision correction: devices which focus and correct vision such as eyeglasses and magical artifacts do exist, but they are painstakingly hand-crafted and the secrets of their design are not widely known. In some places, these devices may not be available. Certainly in fantasy-themed stories, these objects would be worth several times their weight in gold — perhaps your GM could even use it as the object of a quest. In more modern stories, these devices are more prevalent, but still not cheap. You can purchase vision correction with your character's money or through Item of Value, but remember that such things are easily lost, broken, or stolen, but not so readily replaced; anytime you roll a critical failure you lose your corrective item and must spend time searching for it, during which time all the vision-related penalties come back. Jinkies, where are my glasses?
Incompatible with: Blind, Getaway Driver, Going the Distance, Hawk Eyes, Precision, Regeneration, and Unremarkable (if missing an eye or utilizing obvious vision correction in a culture where such items are rare).
Your physical ability is rather pathetic, isn't it? You have real trouble with carrying around your own equipment, you're the most ineffective laborer your friends have ever seen, and you're always the last one picked in dodge ball. It's not that you're lazy, you're just a weakling! You take a −2 penalty to Might checks.
Maybe you're just a hypochondriac. Maybe your immune system is lazy, shrugging indifferently when bacteria run wild through your bloodstream. In effect, you are extremely susceptible to even the most pathetic pathogen. You take a −4 penalty to Vitality rolls for resisting any type of disease or illness. After a while, your allies will probably get tired of the "but I'm sick!" excuse. On the bright side, at least transplants are easy for you, as your body calmly and unconditionally accepts implants, transplants, symbiotes, and transfusions.
Incompatible with: Hale
You do not recover well from injury, healing only half as many Health Points as others in the same amount of time.
You suffer from an unfortunate inability to communicate smoothly. While far from mute, you may have a lisp, a stuttering problem, or broken, choppy speech. People to whom you speak strain to understand you. You take a −2 penalty to checks which rely on speech, though if the check can be attempted just as easily through non-verbal means, you are not penalized. Additionally, any spells you try to cast using spoken incantation take a −4 to the roll. Th-th-th-that's all, folks!
Man… you stink. Because of halitosis, body odor, a dip in the Swamp of Everlasting Flatulence, or who knows what else, you exude a rather unpleasant smell. You might even look beautiful, but it won't make up for the stink, and so folks will always keep their distance. As much as you may try, no amount of perfume or mouthwash in the world seems to be able to counter your unique aroma which wafts around you in a five foot radius. This fault brings penalties to the following skills unless the target is also stinky or cannot smell you: Animal Control, Negotiate, Seduce, and Disguise.
For 4 points, you have a slight odor, perhaps bad breath or minor body odor. You take −1 to the listed checks.
For 8 points, you reek: you have revolting breath and/or oppressive body odor. People sometimes gag or retch if around you for long. You take a −2 to the listed checks.
You've passed just "plain" and moved into the region of unattractive. Something about you turns others off, although just how much you turn them off varies. For two points, you are considered Unappealing to the point of homely, and you take a −1 penalty on Leadership and Seduce checks. Four points in this Fault buys the rank of Ugly and you must take a −2 penalty to those skills. Grotesque characters suffer a −3 penalty to those skills for a six point Fault.
You possess no arms and cannot engage in any form of combat that requires the use of arms/hands. To inflict harm on another creature you must kick, bite, head-butt, use your body as a ram, or perhaps employ magic. The Hand-to-hand weapon skill can still apply to your feet and head at no penalty. You automatically fail skill checks that require the use of hands and arms such as Grip, Grab, Might, Machinery, and some uses of Thievery for example). You swim poorly, are difficult to Disguise, and don't Seduce others easily. You take −2 on those checks. You cannot wear a backpack. You cannot wield most weapons. You also will have to learn a new way to shave and get someone to wipe for you. Look on the bright side; you can't be disarmed!
Incompatible with: Ambidexterity, Bodyguard, Catch Missile, Dual Weapons, Hasty Reload, Getaway Driver, Girl/Guy Magnet, Iron Grip, Missing Hand/Arm, Missile Swat, Pickpocket, Regeneration, Stranglehold, Suplex, Tech Medic and Unremarkable. Also incompatible with the Hands of Fate Special Power.
You are, well, short. Really short. You're one Size category lower than the norm for your species. For example, a human male (normally Size 0) is now Size −1, an underwhelming 4 feet 6 inches and 75 pounds. You suffer obstacles and indignities bigger folk never even consider. Equipment forged for those of normal size is pretty heavy for you! Your Muscle score is treated as 1 lower than it really is when determining the minimum required Muscle to wield a weapon effectively in combat. Must be this tall to ride.
For whatever reason, you stick out in a group, and draw the eye of every sniper around. Ranged attackers choosing targets at random will always notice you first, and you take a −2 penalty to your Evasion Roll against ranged attacks. With all eyes on you, it is nearly impossible to act inconspicuous. In your case, the eye is faster than the hand, and the only thing you can pick from pockets is a fight. Whenever you try to duck out of sight, you sneeze, or otherwise trip and reveal yourself. Even slinking along quietly is a chore because of the change in your pocket, or those metal boots you just had to have. You take a −2 penalty to Stealth and Thievery. Those trying to track you by your description gain a +2 bonus ("Oh, yeah, I remember that strange-looking guy… he rode off to the north yesterday morning").
Mental Faults impose penalties based on problems in your noggin: everything from behavioral disorders to full-blown mental illnesses.
Angel on Your Shoulder
You always know the difference between right and wrong, and no matter how much you might wish otherwise, a distracting little voice in the back of your mind scolds you when you go for "wrong." Anytime you act in a manner which could be considered "wrong," "bad," "evil," or frowned upon, you must make a Virtue check of 15 or perform the task at −2 penalty. If, as a player, you lack a well-developed conscience, the GM can fill you in, but "wrong" typically has to do with breaking major laws or social norms for your race or culture. The real intent of this fault is to place limits on a character's behavior. Different races may have some separate and opposite moral viewpoints.
Greed is good. At least, it's good to you. You have a very strong desire to line your pockets, although what you do with your riches is up to your individual tastes. Be you a miser or spendthrift, you take a −2 penalty on Virtue checks to resist opportunities, even obviously dangerous ones (fun if you're also a Coward), that offer significant largess. You'll probably end up searching for treasure in every corner of a dungeon (or similar location where unowned valuables might reasonably lie unclaimed), or looting every corpse you find — friend and foe alike. You cannot resist taking any especially valuable-looking object except by making a Virtue check (DL 15 or more, depending on value of item and circumstance). That golden, gem-encrusted urn must be worth a king's ransom, and even if you know it's booby-trapped, you've just got to have it…
The pains and trials of others are of no matter to you, and pleas are lost on your deaf ears. You will not care if something bad happens to your comrades, you will not help others for compassion or mercy's sake, and you sure as hell won't go easy on your enemies. You take a −2 penalty to Healing and Leadership checks. "Them's the breaks." It's not that you are without virtue. You simply don't have the capacity for engaging everyone's needs.
You may be Callous and have an Angel on Your Shoulder, but you'll be an incredibly conflicted individual, probably someone who shouts at himself and represses his good-natured instincts. And if a Callous character has an Attack Restriction or is a Peacemaker or Pacifist, it's not out of compassion.
Call it principle, discipline, honor, or duty; you live by a strict personal code — although this code is by no means necessarily good or ethical. Codes are made up of restrictions or objectives, called "tenets," usually three or more and up to as many as ten or even twenty. If your GM feels that your Code is less or more restrictive than what is typical, he may decide your Code is worth more or less Expoints.
Your particular code should be written out in detail so you know exactly what is and isn't within the bounds of your Code. Always wear blue, tip 30% extra, never pay for drinks, never tell a lie, seduce a woman in every town, sing a paean during every battle, always fight lesser opponents blindfolded, find the man who killed your father and kill him with his own sword, obey a chivalric code of honor, steal one item from each person who slights you, never abandon your comrades, never harm an animal, do not trespass, eat no meat or dairy, burn the remains of fallen foes, abstain from witchcraft, and never travel by water are all good examples of tenets of a Code. You may deviate from your Code when under extreme duress, but until you can properly atone for your deviation, you take a −2 penalty to all rolls. As always, try to be inventive, but consult your GM to determine the exact value of your Code.
Note that Avaricious, Vengeful, Attack Restriction, Peacemaker, Pacifist, Called, and Chaos Knight essentially impose similar restraints to a Code, but are separate Trumps and Faults. A character may be Driven to accomplish his Code.
You can't stand the sight of blood — well, yours, anyway. You take a −4 penalty on Guts rolls, and you likewise take a −1 penalty on all offensive combat actions. This is because your entire attention is devoted to protecting yourself from harm: you gain a +1 bonus to your Evasion Roll (your buddies can fend for themselves). In any combat situation, you will likely flee at the earliest opportunity. You must make a Guts check at DL 10 or spend your actions in combat running away/seeking safety. If you cannot escape, you will surrender. Combat-oriented or courageous characters who know of your cowardice will certainly lose respect for you.
Incompatible with: Hand-to-hand Combat, Blind-Fighting, Bodyguard, Bully, Brawler, Catch Missile, Counterattack, Daredevil, Destructive, Domino Strike, Driven, Dual Weapons, Duelist, Fearless, Foolhardy, Indomitable, Missile Swat, Momentum, Nimble Combatant, Real Hard Hitter, Roundhouse, Spell Swat, Stranglehold, Suplex, Swarm Fighter and With Me!. Also incompatible with the Special Powers Weapon Savant and Hands of Fate.
Devil on Your Shoulder
You are more aware of your darker impulses than most. It's not that you can't be good — you know all about good and evil — but your evil side is way cooler. You take a −2 penalty to Virtue checks to resist temptation, and the GM should tempt you frequently. See the Angel on Your Shoulder entry about racial and cultural morals.
Pay attention! You are a scatterbrain and your mind is easily taken off tasks at hand. It takes you at least an extra half as long (perhaps even two or three times as long) to do something repetitive, tedious, menial, or requiring concentration (e.g. chores, reading a novel, math homework). You'll need to make a Lore check anytime you need to focus on a complex memory (e.g. your lines in a play, the combination to the padlock on your shed). You're very likely to leave your domicile without some needed object, and you're just as likely to forget to do something routine (did I lock the back door?). Therefore, your GM is granted the privilege to have you roll a Mind Control check (or roll one for you in secret) against a DL of 10. Failure indicates a forgotten object or task. Finally, you also take a −2 to Negotiate because many times you just can't remember the exact point you were trying to make during a… where was I?
You are an action junky; you're mentally incapable of turning down a challenging or risky task. You may not refuse or knowingly avoid a potentially hazardous action unless you succeed at a DL 15 Virtue check. Goes well with Daredevil.
You are very naïve and believe everything you're told. Perhaps you recognize your weakness, in which case you must be constantly on the lookout for someone who might try and take advantage of you. In order to separate truth from falsehood, you must make a Discern check — unfortunately, all your Discern checks relating to believing something or someone (Bluff checks, etc.) have a −2 penalty. You also take a −2 to Lucidity. Oddly enough, the word "Gullible" itself is not in the dictionary.
Are you a rotten liar! Maybe it's your upbringing, maybe it's a curse, but something has severely hampered your ability to fib or has rendered it non-existent.
Bad Liar: For 2 points, people always take what you say with a grain of salt and have a tough time believing anything that spills out of your mouth. On the other hand, maybe you're such a good person, when you try to lie it sounds absolutely fake. You take a −2 to Bluff checks.
Honest Abe: For 6 points, you cannot make Bluff checks. You simply lack the capacity to speak anything but the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In a situation where the honest truth would be detrimental, your allies will stomp on your foot or make all attempts to keep you silent. Stay out of the lawyer business and keep away from poker games.
Your spirit and resolve are completely indomitable. It could be for any number of reasons, but the result is you do not, under any circumstances, voluntarily back down, give up, surrender, or retreat, despite all odds. While some might consider this a boon, most people know that there are many circumstances in which one might need to run away. Your incapability to retreat will cause all sorts of misadventures for your allies — that is if they don't leave you behind.
If you are compelled to run away from failing a Guts check against a magical or supernatural effect, however, you may turn your tail and run, though you'll despise yourself afterwards.
You are easily shrugged off as unimpressive. You might be paranoid: you have vague but intense fears that someone or something is out to get you. You never sit with your back to a doorway or window, always suspect you're being spied upon, feel unsafe in crowds, and have a hard time trusting anyone. Or perhaps you are physically under-developed or mentally slow on the take. Your verbal jabs and body language don't communicate that you mean business.
Whatever the cause, it is so apparent that people have a hard time taking you seriously. You take a −2 penalty on Intimidate and Taunt checks. Everyone except the Cowardly or other Laughables will repeatedly brush you off. Have fun muttering to yourself and looking over your shoulder every two seconds.
It should be noted just because you don't seem particularly dangerous doesn't mean you aren't, in some fashion.
Pain isn't so bad. It's actually kinda… fun. This attitude, should it become apparent, will be considered anything from a minor quirk to a serious and repulsive sexual deviation, depending on the individuals and cultures you encounter. Anyone aware of your fetish (and for fun's sake, don't hide it too well) will react negatively towards you, except Nymphomaniacs and other Masochists. Sadists will be particularly irritated by you since you take all the fun out of being vicious. Because you enjoy pain and seek to prolong it, and aren't sympathetic to others' hurts, you take a −2 penalty to Stamina and Healing checks.
Master of None
You have joined a long list of people who have worked very hard only to get somewhere second. What's worse: you seem to be good at it. Whether you excel or not, you just can't seem to reach the pinnacle of your ability. You cannot exceed six ranks in any skill: your cap is at six ranks instead of the normal ten. Here's to your adventures in mediocrity!
Master of None goes well with Jack of All Trades
You are plagued by horrendous nightmares during sleep. You must make a Sanity roll at Difficulty 15 for each night you sleep. Failure indicates that you were unable to rest that night and spend the next day encumbered and exhausted until you can take the time to rest. While in this condition you are essentially carrying the weight of your fatigue: you take a −2 to perform any physical activity, and a −2 on Guts, Lucidity, and Mind Control. This penalty lasts until you can rest for a night undisturbed, and will increase by 2 every restless night. After long periods of time, these dreams can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. If you begin to fail large amounts of consecutive rolls, the GM might give you a mental illness, a physical disability, or a reduction in stats. Not all is lost for those plagued by nightmares, because nightly, bizarre, mental torture grants a +2 on Clairvoyance, as you're more receptive to the supernatural.
Non Compos Mentis
Meaning literally "not of sound mind." When it comes to securing the defenses of the mind against disturbance and trauma, your mind is woefully unprepared. You take a −2 penalty to Sanity. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a typical early result of this condition, though it is certainly not restricted to those struggling with this Fault.
Incompatible with: Compos Mentis
You irrationally fear a specific object, activity, or situation. You are paralyzed whenever confronted with the object of your Phobia. You must make a Guts check at DL 20 to overcome the terror and get past the phobia, else you will seek the easiest and quickest way directly away from the object. Common Phobias include agoraphobia (fear of wide open spaces), arachnophobia (fear of spiders and arachnids), necrophobia (fear of corpses and death), and zoophobia (fear of animals).
You are especially frightful in your pursuit of dealing out dollops of pain. Blood holds a strange fascination for you, and hurting others gives you an illicit thrill. In any situation where you must stay your hand against a foe, you must make a DL 15 Virtue check. If the foe is unarmed, unaware of your presence, or otherwise helpless, you take a −2 penalty on this check. Most reasonable beings will react to your sadism with fear and revulsion, but those disdainful of mercy will approve.
Works well with Callous.
Incompatible with: Perspective
Anytime you have to break a sweat, you're furious. You will always attempt to get others to labor in your stead and when you absolutely have to work, you spend nearly as much time bitching and moaning as you do getting anything done: double the time spent and take a −4 penalty to perform any physical labor, excepting combat. Then you're too busy trying not to get killed to whine.
Sluggards in general will shun anything as intensive as combat training, but they're only lazy, not cowardly, so they may learn Combat Trumps, although the training process will take twice as long.
You cannot stand to see others suffer, especially innocents. On any skill checks which would result in collateral damage to innocents or cause another person great pain — including combat roles intended to deal damage, you take a −2 penalty as you are wracked with guilt. You could always just refuse to go through with that particular course of action or else try to stop it. If in the course of a combat you kill or horribly maim another being, or someone dies directly as a result of your actions, make a Sanity check at DL 15. Failure means you take a −2 penalty to all rolls for the rest of the day, and the memory will haunt you forever.
When something catches you off-guard, you get bewildered and start swinging wildly at whatever seems dangerous. You aren't necessarily slow on the uptake or slow on the draw, but you are slow to recover your faculties. Whenever you are caught wide-eyed, you are considered Confused until the end of your turn.
Incompatible with: Sixth Sense
You and machines just don't get along. You might be horrified or disgusted at the sight of something reasonably mechanical or electronic. On the other hand, you might really like machines, but try as you might, you just can't figure them out. You take a −2 to all Machinery checks. Get someone to fix that damn blinking clock on your VCR.
Often found in the company of Old.
What did you eat for breakfast? And what was this guy's name? It's all a mystery to you, because you can barely remember your own shoe-size, let alone anything important. You are afflicted by severely poor recall if not total memory loss. You take a −4 penalty to Lore. Also see the note on Photographic Memory.
An interesting way to utilize this Trump is to play an Amnesiac: either because of brain trauma or mental illness, you recall nothing about your life before a certain point in time (determined jointly by you and the GM; for maximum suspense, very close to the start of the storyline).
The creation of an Amnesiac character places a number of limitations on the player and opens many doors in the story; players should consult closely with the GM to determine the fair boundaries of what or who might pop up from the character's "old" life, and whether memory might ever be fully restored. For even more complication, the player might elect to let the GM herself decide the character's forgotten skills, trumps, faults, and history, so that they'll be as much as surprise to the player as to his character when they're revealed!
You were never educated properly as a child (or you simply resisted it successfully) and know little to nothing about scholarly studies. You take a −2 penalty to Lore and Translate checks. Note that your exclusion from institutional knowledge in no way makes you an idiot — your mental attributes do that.
Incompatible with: Trivia Whiz
While not totally insane, you are slightly undone, just a little crazy. Illogical, whimsical, and weird things might seem perfectly rational to you, and vice-versa. Those around you will begin to doubt your grip of reality. Even while attempting to hold down small talk, your dementia becomes noticeable, slightly skewing your social interaction with strangers and comrades alike. You take a −2 penalty on Negotiate and Leadership checks. While most will react negatively, some people may find your quirks funny or refreshing.
Is it that you don't realize how easy it is to get inside your head, or just that you don't care? You are ridiculously easy to mentally dominate. You take a −2 penalty to Mind Control.
Incompatible with: Vigilant Mind
You're whinier than a five year old, do you know that? Pain and duress seems to affect you more than it should, and you have an underdeveloped ability to roll with the punches (literally). You take a −2 penalty to Stamina.
Social Faults cause hiccups in your interpersonal happenings. Among these you can find everything from closely-guarded secrets to noted relationships.
Animals of certain species find you especially irksome and act aggressively toward you. You take a −4 penalty on Animal Control checks against animals of a specific type, for instance wolves, foxes, elephants, apes, bears, rats, tigers, sharks, etc. If encounters with these animals turn violent, you can be assured they will go for you first, and when minding your own business, animals of this sort may seek you out to cause you ill.
Incompatible with: Animal Kinship when dealing with the chosen species.
You're not very upbeat, are you? You bring down the mood at every party and those around you are often depressed and/or annoyed at your incessant pessimism and depression. You take a −2 penalty on Leadership rolls. Those with chronic depression are often bummers, as are prudes, insurance salesmen, high school vice-principals, and stuffed gray burros.
On the flip side of a Favor, you are now on the owing end of a debt. Debts figure in just like Favors, described above. A wise character will be savvy and perceptive of his debts to avoid being taken advantage of. The GM should make full use of this fault if taken, for eventually, everyone comes to collect.
Tying in nicely with the Hunted Fault, you have abandoned a tightly knit group who now consider you a liability due to the secrets they believe you might carry. You may or may not become the target of a hunt, but with certainty you may never return to or count on any member of that group. Without a doubt, everyone in the group knows who you are and will be downright cruel to you, if not just unhelpful. An interesting character quirk would be a finicky coward, constantly joining and abandoning group after group of dangerous folks.
Dirty Little Secret
A dirty secret lurks in your closet as a skeleton, waiting to be unmasked. There is something not immediately obvious about you that you wish concealed from the public eye or from perhaps just one particular party. If the secret became known, you would be the subject of embarrassment, injury, or worse. A three point Fault would indicate that you did something worthy of being Hunted whereas a one point Secret probably reflects an unglamorous past or shady ties to illicit dealings.
While it may sound like a Trump, this Fault represents the unpleasant side of celebrity. Perhaps you're some sort of icon, good looking, suave, or debonair. Whatever the cause, you attract exactly the wrong sort of attention of many members of the opposite sex. Wherever you go, desperate, lovesick fans will fill the streets to beg for an autograph or a moment of "personal time." (you may be subject to Listen and Spot penalties as you're blinded and deafened by the hordes of your fans). You may be tempted to use your magnetism over them, but you will undoubtedly find yourself the target of widespread jealousy, angry spouses, jilted lovers, vengeful families, and psychotic stalkers. You can hardly ever "lay low" (you take a −2 to Disguise), are always being held up, and the tabloids of the day will line their pockets at your expense.
You are the subject of a hunt by one or more persons or groups of persons – there may even be a price on your head. Maybe you stole from a crime family or acted disgracefully in front of a ruthless and petty king. Maybe you accidentally killed someone's loved one or perhaps you are a rogue mage. Whatever the case, you must constantly be on the move, concealing your identity to stay ahead of your pursuers.
You are constantly on the alert for attractive members of the opposite sex (or your own, if you swing that way), and if attractive is in short supply, you're just going to have to lower your standards. You take a −2 penalty on Virtue checks against an Average or better-looking individual of your preferred gender, −3 if he/she is actively trying to seduce you.
Incompatible with: Nymphomaniac.
You have a significant other in your life that weighs dearly on your heart and is for that reason a bit of a liability. You will often find yourself returning home after journeys in strange and dangerous lands to run to the arms of your lover, take care of the children (if any), assuage fears, share stories and a piece of life. Your companions might become disgruntled with your responsibilities and ties to your loved ones. Perhaps your mother is dying and needs affection and a tonic to ease the pain. Maybe your spouse is captured by your Nemesis and is held for ransom or worse. Whatever the case, the loved one plays a large part in your emotional state and is, in many cases due simply to their unique involvement with you, placed in the path of danger.
Somehow or another you've gained the aggression of your mentor/guardian. The mentor will no longer teach the initiate or apprentice (if you are still on that level) and will refuse to help you in any way. The mentor might even go out of his/her way to harm you, even if it is just to "teach you a lesson". An interesting plot device would be if the mentor still possessed items of yours that became necessary for the completion of some task.
You look like someone else who is known to a large group of people, and is not well liked by them. Whatever crimes this person has committed in the past, whatever hearts they have broken, and whatever antics they get up to in the future, you will likely pay for them. Regardless, folks will have a hard time believing anything you say and keep a sharp eye on you: −2 penalty to Bluff and Thievery.
Somewhere in your past, there arose a great conflict with another. At the heart of every story is a conflict of some sort and this, your nemesis, the enemy, the rival, is the source of antagonism for you. If the nemesis would better be categorized as a rival, it would be a one point fault. Someone at least as powerful and a challenge throughout the story for you might be a three point fault, and an overlord, someone with the power to crush you under his/her boot heel would be a six point fault. GMs should note that the greater the point value of the Nemesis, the more of an antithesis the enemy should be to the character, the tougher the foe should be and the longer he/she should continuously pop up in the storyline. Sometimes, though, a low point cost Nemesis can make for an interesting, if begrudgingly hesitant, ally later on.
People round here just don't like you very much, do they? Don't get a complex now, you might have asked for it. Perhaps you brought soldiers to the town that left it a ruin? Maybe you knocked poison all over the beloved king's scampi? Is it possible that maybe you just got a bum rap? The public won't see it that way at least. People of a certain city or area dislike you and may seek to bring you harm if your identity is revealed to them. You take a −2 penalty to all Bluff, Negotiate, and Seduce rolls against those who know you and plenty of people do. Choose one city or area: you are considered Notorious to the people there. Even when you do manage to score successes with the common folk, the effect is somewhat diminished because folks just don't want to trust you.
Some characters are notorious by association: a mentor, best friend, member of your immediate family (or all of them) is widely known and generally reviled. You are likely to be held as no better than they. This instance could make a good partner to Mistaken Identity.
Other Trumps that improve your Social abilities may mitigate the bad reaction you get, but you'll never be entirely free of the stigma that surrounds your name.
Maximize your bad rep with Shady: even people who don't know you don't seem to like you!
The more serious form of Lecher. As a nympho you consider it your duty to spread love to the world — or perhaps you just love gettin' it on. You must make a DL 15 Virtue roll to resist attempting to Seduce those around you, at a penalty of −2 vs. Attractive, −4 vs. Beautiful, and −6 vs. Stunning or a Girl/Guy Magnet, and while a strong rebuff gets the point across from most (you need attempt no further seduction if your first roll fails), a Girl/Guy Magnet or Stunning person will find him/herself the object of your constant attentions. Additionally, you cannot resist Seduction from a person of Average or better looks without spending a Fate point. However, your worldliness is superior to the Lecher's, so your difficulty on resisting all other Influence rolls by an Average or better member of your preferred sex is normal. Been there, done that. Many, many times.
Incompatible with: Lecher
You belong to another character in the story. You may be slave, servant, pet, jester, gladiator, prostitute, butler — anything the mind of your owner can conceive. While your status may or may not be legal, it is binding. Your control over your own life is out of your hands and you retain no ability to choose anything for yourself unless your master allows it. Depending on the society and the personality of your owner, you may be allowed privileges comparable (or even above!) some free men, or you may be little more than a beaten dog. In any case, if you escape your captivity, be assured that someone will hunt you down.
Another Fault that goes hand in hand with this one is Deformity.
You have attracted the attention of a character who seeks to help you, often in disastrous ways. This person sees herself as your sidekick, guardian angel, assistant or something similar. The sidekick is perpetually getting herself caught by the bad guys, "fixing" your prized possessions, and falling down wells. The Pesky Sidekick requires near-constant help instead of giving it, severely slowing the PC's progress. And it's all done in the name of good intentions. The pesky sidekick should be in a position which makes it hard to do away with her completely. If the sidekick is pushed away, they come back. If the sidekick is sent away on a nigh impossible, time consuming task, she will undoubtedly return, perhaps even triumphant, but with more trouble in tow than the spoils are worth. If the pest is killed, someone will want to take revenge on the PC, the PC may be put on trial, and the PC's reputation will be severely affected.
Pesky sidekicks can be wannabe heroes, strong-willed children, enamored strangers, or desperate hobos. A pesky sidekick might even become antagonistic towards other PCs out of jealousy, envy, or protection. Unlike the Loved One, the pesky sidekick does not respect personal boundaries or property, constantly seeks to be around the PC, and has very poor judgment.
Pesky sidekicks blend very well with characters who are famous or attractive. Pesky sidekicks should not be considered part of a PC's retinue and are never under a PC's control.
You don't get along well with members of a certain race. Either they don't seem to like something about you or you don't care for something about them, or the feeling is mutual. You take a −2 penalty on Negotiate, Seduce and Leadership checks against that race.
Not only are you wrong, you're also a dick!
You don't make good impressions. In fact, you make decidedly bad ones. Those who see you immediately think less of you and see you as an unsavory element. They may avoid you, run from you, alert authorities as to your presence, spy on you, mock you, or attack you, but they will rarely help you. You may be deformed, scarred, branded as a criminal, or simply have an air about you that says you are no good. Strangers you meet start off on the Malign state on the Disposition Chart. Your comrades will probably want to keep you out of sight while negotiations are in order.
There is something to be said for not getting caught up in the mob mentality, but you really swing the other direction, don't you? Whenever a comrade uses the Inspirational Trump or a Leadership-based Skill, you do not benefit from the effects.
Combat Faults mangle what little skill in combat you have. Restrictions here number everything from attack restrictions to speed and skill reductions.
You will not attack or bear violence to a certain race, gender, social class, etc. This is a 2 point Fault if the specified group is fairly small (midgets, transvestites, monks of a certain order, dragons) and a 4 point Fault if the group is large (men or women, all religious figures, rodents). Note that any group larger than that would be considered a 5-point Code rather than just an Attack Restriction. If you somehow harm or fail to protect a member of your chosen group, you lose the ability to use Fate in combat for the following week, and more seriously, take a −2 penalty on all rolls until such time as you can sufficiently atone for your misdeed — this, however, is up to the GM.
Incompatible with: Driven.
You may be a monster up close, but sometimes it takes a while to get there. Guns are your bane, archers are a pain and "Hey! Somebody's throwin' stuff!" You take a −2 to ranged combat of any kind, including Attack Rolls for ranged attacks and Evasion Rolls against ranged attacks (which includes many damage-dealing magic spells). You may take this Fault more than once. The effects are cumulative.
You aren’t really cut out for combat, although you aren’t necessarily a Coward. But whether out of fear, nerves, or any of a hundred other reasons, everything moves too quickly to track while blood is flowing and people are fighting and dying all around you. Your palms sweat profusely, you mouth dries out, you flinch, stumble, lose sight of things. You can muster your courage, but you’ll never be a great warrior — whenever you roll a Critical Failure in Combat, you automatically drop your weapon and stumble or slip, after which you are wide-eyed until your next turn.
A Combat Shy character may be a Berserker, and while berserking, he or she is not subject to the Combat Shy penalties.
You just can't take a good hit. When receiving a successful blow from an opponent that is intended to move you down the Knockout Track, you skip the first step and start by receiving a −4 instead of the usual −2. Therefore, you pass out much quicker.
You can take this Fault up to four times, each time starting at a lower level on the Knockout Track. If you take this Fault twice, you start at −6. If you take this Fault three times, you start at −8. For four times, you simply collapse with a good sock to the jaw.
While you are adept at studying opponents and picking out their weaknesses in carefully constructed duels, the addition of numerous other combatants confuses you and overwhelms your fighting instincts. You take a −1 penalty to your Attacks when outnumbered. Goes well with Duelist.
You are a very eager combatant. While very at home when taking on multiple opponents, your desire to cause mass havoc all around you leads you to be at a disadvantage when squaring off one-on-one with an adversary. You take a −1 to Attacks when only fighting one combatant. This Fault goes well with Brawler.
You may defend yourself or another who is threatened by immediate physical harm, but you fight only to incapacitate, never to kill and will only fight so long as your opponents do not relent. At the commencement of any combat situation, you must make a Sanity check against a DL of 15; otherwise, you must spend the first two rounds of combat attempting to persuade your attacker(s) to avoid bloodshed. During those two rounds, you may only perform defensive maneuvers or attempt to influence the combatants through socializing. It should be stated that convicted Pacifists usually won't let their comrades harm enemies unnecessarily, but Pacifists of a more private nature are simply concerned with their own actions.
A Pacifist can be trained in combat and thus learn Combat Trumps, although he will never use them to kill. It is possible in this way to create a character that has both extensive combat training and is an extreme Pacifist. This could be a great warrior who has forsaken the way of weapons and now lives only for peace, and is a fine, if challenging, character idea.
When they were handing out quick combat reflexes, you just weren't in line. You move slower than others in combat due to a reduced number of Action Points. You have one fewer Action Point than normal. You may take this fault more than once, but you can never have fewer than 1 Action Point. Better get used to life in the slow lane.
Incompatible with: Nimble Combatant
When you say "I've got your back!" you mean way back. You dislike the chaos of melee combat and so hang back to cover your more confrontational comrades with suppressive fire. You take a −2 to any actions in melee combat (this includes Evasion Rolls and Guard Rolls). You may take this Fault more than once, and its effects are cumulative.
Sometimes found in the company of Precision.
Incompatible with: Battle Brute, Brawler, Bodyguard, Counterattack, Domino Strike, Duelist, Mounted Charge, Mounted Defense, Mounted Smite, Overzealous, Roundhouse, Stranglehold, Suplex. Also incompatible with the Hands of Fate Special Power.
You don't share the limelight very well, do you? Or maybe it's that you have your fighting style and other people get in your way. In any case, you find your ability impaired whenever someone else is attacking the same target you are. It can be hard to coordinate your attacks when you don't know where your allies are heading with their techniques! You take a −1 penalty to your Attacks whenever you share a target with one of your allies. Works well with Duelist and sometimes Brawler.
Incompatible with: Swarm Fighter.
Magic Faults take the edge off your magic powers: everything from penalties to spellcasting to outright aversion to magic.
|This rule simply needs to be tested. It may be almost perfect, or it may need a bit of work. We think it's pretty good, but it hasn't been really tested. Leave any feedback on the Talk page, please!|
Whatever chapter in your magic book covers how to effectively and consistently activate your magic, you must have missed it. Your spells are more likely to blow up in your face than any other, even the beneficial ones. If you roll a 1 on a Casting Roll, you need to roll a Guard against the Casting Roll result. Any remaining difference is the damage you take.
For example, Phineas rolls a 1 on his Casting Roll, but the total is 12. His Guard Roll is only 7, so he takes 5 points of damage.
Requires: The ability to cast spells
Mana can physically manifest itself in one of three forms of matter (solid, liquid, or gas). Whatever its form, you two just plain don't get along. You either don't like it, hate it, or it torments your mortal coil. For 1 point, you have a moderate aversion to mana in any form. You take −1 to all rolls when in contact with it. For 3 points, you are actually harmed by direct contact with it, taking 3 damage per round. Within 10 feet of mana, you take −2 to all rolls. For five points, you take 5 damage per round when within 15 feet of mana, and −3 to all rolls when within 30 feet. Consider a career in mage hunting.
Your magic potential is somewhat less than what you expected. Each time you take this Fault, you take a permanent −1 to your total Magic Points. This fault doesn't affect your original Spellcasting Attribute score.
Requires: The ability to cast spells or use abilities that require MP.
Any magic from a particular school hits you in the spot that hurts, apparently, because you take a −4 to Saves against all spells within that school. Better bone up on Magic Defense, because you're boned otherwise.
You can take this Fault more than once, each time for a different school of magic.
As opposed to an Attack Restriction, where you choose a group of people to not attack, a Target Restriction is completely beyond your control. A selected race is inexplicably immune to your magic. No matter how much you try, this incapability of your magic to affect them cannot be explained or removed. Better get used to carrying a backup weapon.
You can take this Fault more than once, each time for a different race.
Requires: The ability to cast spells
Supernatural Faults are the universe's way of playing a joke on you. Everything from curses, haunting, and spiritual disasters can be found here.
Aura of Decay
The Entropic, destructive forces of the universe have touched you. Plants wither under your feet, intelligent, naturally aligned animals are disturbed by your approach, trees groan in the wind, gears grind, and the earth itself seems sickened by your presence. This makes you easier to track, and severely hampers your ability to control animals around you, and makes stealth difficult to achieve. You take a −2 penalty to Stealth and Animal Control.
Beyond Good and Evil
You are utterly, terribly free to shape your own destiny — you understand "good" and "evil" as simple, desperate human concepts, without any intrinsic value. You live by a set of laws entirely of your own making, but your bleak vision of the universe demands that you repudiate the hypocrisy and self-imposed ignorance of those around you. You are frightening, disturbing, and difficult to relate to: −2 penalty to Leadership, Negotiate, Seduce, and Perform. This feeling of drifting, anchorless, across an endless and empty sea is extremely hard on the psyche, and will result in at least one of the following, which should be purchased like any other Fault:
- Regular substance abuse (Addict), in an effort to blot out your awareness.
- Deep despair (Bummer), lack of any strong conviction, clinical depression. What's the use in fighting, when it's all pointless?
- Extreme cynicism (Callous) – the world's just one big joke and you're the only one smart enough to figure out the punch line. Why should you waste your time trying to save a world full of imbeciles?
- Mental Illnesses – Dementia, personality disorder, mania (Unhinged, Laughable). Your mind is unable to cope with lucidity and the hollowness that accompanies it, so you live in delusions, instead. Or perhaps you simply snapped under the strain.
- Uncontrollable rage (Short Fuse, Berserker). What's wrong with everyone? Why can't they see? Why can't you forget? It's just so stupid and meaningless and frustrating… Argh!
- Fanaticism (Code and/or Driven). In an effort to create a single point of stability amidst the screaming chaos, you have given yourself completely to some cause or purpose, from which you will not and cannot deviate, for your sanity and your very being depend upon it. Your cause may be as noble or reprehensible as you wish, but you adhere to it with a tenacity that defies logic, reason, or love.
Incompatible with: Angel on Your Shoulder or Devil on Your Shoulder, Called, Chaos Knight, Everybody's Best Friend, Fallen, Gullible, Oracle, Perspective, or Soft Hearted, and you may not buy additional Fate points as long as you remain Beyond Good and Evil.
You are irrevocably destined for an unhappy end. Whether you will meet with tragic failure of epic proportions, an unheroic and embarrassing death, a quiet and painful one, or maybe an unjust one is up to the GM, and you may or may not know your fate. Perhaps you do know and you struggle nobly to avoid your fate ala Oedipus, each step only bringing your disgrace closer. Perhaps your confidence is shattered by the doom shrouding you, resulting in a self-imposed curse of purposeful failures. Maybe you meet your fate and as a result, come back as a ghost to haunt a character that seemingly abandoned you.
Essentially, in game terms, this gives the GM license to plan out in secret the fate of the character. A good story tool to introduce this Fault is the wandering mystic who reads the character's fortune and asks if she really wants to know what happens in the end. From them on, the GM should make a point to ensure the character becomes a tragic figure and meets a fitting and unnerving end, perhaps greatly affecting the other characters in the story. The GM can also tailor events and outcomes to suit a Bleak Destiny and is the final and absolute arbiter in any of the character's goals. This should not give the GM free reign to take out aggression on the character or torment him/her for amusement. Bleak Destiny ties in nicely with many other Supernatural Faults, such as Cursed and Haunted, but even the most heroic and noble of the Called have found themselves dying in shame and agony — that, after all, is the stuff tragedy is made of.
There is a higher power in the universe, and it is good. You believe this with unwavering conviction, and you consider it your duty to uphold its tenets of light, life, and honor. You may be full of quiet determination or outspoken self-righteousness, but you know what's right and what's wrong, and you always do right. You must make a Virtue roll of 15 to commit any type of crime (breaking and entering, stealing, forgery, deceiving other "good" characters, etc.) "for a good cause," and more serious crimes (arson, wanton destruction, murder, etc.) you must spend a Fate point. Do this too often (GMs discretion, but unless the character is very adept at rationalizing, not more than twice), and you risk becoming Fallen. In addition, you feel compelled to fight darkness and decay in the world wherever you see it, and although many of the Called have been warriors, the cause is served nobly by teachers, healers, priests, and all other manner of people dedicated to life. Against Chaos Knights and most truly evil characters that recognize you as a moral crusader you gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate. If you're persistent enough, you're likely to become Hunted by the powers you're attempting to thwart.
Cowardly and Avaricious characters will have a hard time if they're Called, and Driven or Sadist Called characters will find themselves treading dangerously close to the edge — a challenging but fascinating combination.
Requires: Angel on Your Shoulder.
An ancient maxim oft-repeated across Jaeis follows: "When venturing into the shadows, straining your eyes to pierce the gloom, know that the darkness has eyes of its own… and beware that their gaze does not fall across you." Those that have been touched by that gaze are known as Chaos Knights.
As a Chaos Knight, you believe that forces greater than yourself have marked you to serve their ends, and those ends are black and terrible indeed. You may revel in the license this grants you to pillage and burn, or you may struggle to retain your soul in despair, looking around you and seeing that all living things must go into dust, their beautiful works ruined and forgotten. Regardless, deep within, you know that all roads lead into the heart of an immense blackness that knows no mercy, no joy, and no hope. You feel disdain or pity for those who struggle to do good, willfully blind to the true nature of this world, and all worlds.
In game terms, you gain a +1 bonus to Taunt and Intimidate rolls once others realize your alignment, and your actions will certainly earn you much hate and fear from everyone besides other Chaos Knights and like-minded individuals. Your Bluff, Disguise, and Negotiate checks receive a −2 penalty. You may neither ascribe to nor support any causes except those whose end results are chaotic in nature — essentially, mayhem, bloodshed, and death. You are Hunted by the forces of justice, and other Chaos Knights recognize you instantly. Further, you are attuned to the ever-destructive will of Entropy, in whatever forms it assumes. In any situation where you are offered alternatives whose results will be distinctly "good" or "evil," you must always choose "evil" — if you are uncertain which paths are evil, the GM will tell you. You may only act against the pull of Entropy by making a personal sacrifice of tremendous proportions — only an incredible act of courage and willpower can change the course of your destiny, and even then, your reward for defying your dark masters will likely be horrible, indeed.
An Attack Restriction could cause some interesting conflict while Aura of Decay is an excellent companion to this fault. A Chaos Knight who attempts to redeem himself and survives will immediately become Hunted by his former allies.
You are the target of continual bad luck. Depending on the magnitude of your misfortune, this is a minor or decidedly hazardous Fault. For instance, if you are mildly unlucky (1 pt), your gun frequently jams at inopportune times, or you might always get the smallest share of loot from a hoard. A moderate curse (3 pts) might mean you will lose something of importance or botch a critical task of some sort. A tragic or damning curse (usually of five or six points) might tie you to lose everything you once loved or be ultimately betrayed somehow.
Example: A vidara protector of a particular wood might be so cursed with a love of the dying, barren, wasting wood that she is unable to leave it (4 points).
Wherever you go, catastrophe is sure to follow. This fault essentially grants the GM carte blanche to throw everything including the kitchen sink at you and your comrades. While he may not actually kill any of you directly through Disaster Magnetism, meteors, dimensional portals, tidal waves, and tribbles will likely reduce whole towns to piles of smoking rubble in your wake. You will undoubtedly be pursued by angry villagers and curious paranormal investigators, and anyone who recognizes you as a bona fide Disaster Magnet will react to you either as though you are a plague carrier (bad) or a tool to be manipulated (worse).
Once you were Called, a beacon in the night to all who revere truth and justice. But in the course of your fight against Entropy and evil, you went a step too far, and toppled headlong over the edge. The Fallen tread many paths: you may try to leave your old life behind and start anew, but you shall always be haunted by the specter of your crimes. You may wander the world seeking atonement, fighting as hard or harder than you ever did when you were Called, desperate for forgiveness from the people and gods you wronged, and most of all from yourself. Or you may embrace the darkness, fanning its ember in your heart until it becomes an inferno, and wreaking more evil upon the world than many Chaos Knights. In any event, you suffer from the same psychological problems that plague those who are Beyond Good and Evil, and must choose at least one issue from that list (see above). Both the Called and Chaos Knights recognize you on sight, and they as well as champions of either side will hold you in mistrust once they know your past (−2 penalty to Leadership, Bluff, Negotiate, and Seduce).
You have gained the enmity of a wayward, lost, and belligerent spirit. Perhaps the spirit was someone whom you betrayed or killed. Perhaps it was a prior party member who blames you for its untimely demise or maybe even the ghost is a jealous and deceased lover of a fellow party member who holds you responsible for its unrequited love vows. Whatever the instance, you are the subject of the ghost's malevolence. The ghost will attempt to distract you during times of concentration, stand spookily over you during sleep, or might whisper or scream hurtful things at you during diplomatic or friendly engagements. The spirit will stop at nothing until its appetite for retribution is sated, which is likely never.