Defects are disadvantages through which your character must suffer in order to overcome the hardships of day-to-day life. Defects serve as an excellent and often comical role-playing opportunity.
They only impede your character to a limited extent and are not intended to totally negate his or her many abilities.
The Defects that have “Linked to Attribute” in their description are direct limitations on your character’s Attributes, rather than more general disadvantages. The combined Character Points and Bonus Points associated with the Attribute cannot be lower than 1. For example, if a character’s Rank 1 Teleport (5 Character Points) is restricted with a 9 BP Limited Use, Instantaneous Defect, the Defect actually only returns 4 BP to the character (since Teleport costs at least 1 Point).
By taking a character Defect you can gain up to three (or occasionally more) Bonus Points (BP) to increase Ability Scores or Attributes Ranks, or select additional Attributes. The number of Points you receive is directly proportional to how much the Defect hinders your character; Defects that do not inflict a significant disadvantage (such as a weakness to bullets made from the earth of planet Neptune) are not worth any BP. After you have selected your character’s Defects, return to the previous steps to use your Bonus Points (treat Bonus Points as extra Character Points).
It is recommended that you assign no more than eight Defects to your character. In most cases two-five Defects are appropriate.
Table 9-1: Defects
Defect Achilles Heel
Activation Time Backlash
Bane Blind Fury
Concentration Conditional Ownership Confined Movement Cursed
Dependent Detectable Easily Distracted Famous
Girl/Guy Magnet Incomplete Training
Inept Attack Inept Defense
Involuntary Physical Change Ism
Limited Use, Instantaneous Limited Use, Ongoing Magical Restrictions Marked
Maximum Force Nemesis
Not So Tough
One-Way Transformation Owned
Part of Body Permanent Phobia
Physical Impairment Recurring Nightmares Red Tape
Sensory Impairment Significant Other (S.O.) Skeleton in the Closet Special Requirement Unique Defect Unreliable Power Unskilled
Vulnerability Wanted Weak Point
- 1 Achilles Heel
- 2 Activation Time
- 3 Backlash
- 4 Bane
- 5 Blind Fury
- 6 Concentration
- 7 Conditional Ownership
- 8 Confined Movement
- 9 Cursed
- 10 Dependent
- 11 Detectable
- 12 Easily Distracted
- 13 Famous
- 14 Girl/Guy Magnet
- 15 Incomplete Training
- 16 Inept Attack
- 17 Inept Defense
- 18 Involuntary Physical Change
- 19 Ism
- 20 Limited Use, Instantaneous
- 21 Limited Use, Ongoing
- 22 Magical Restrictions
- 23 Marked
- 24 Maximum Force
- 25 Nemesis
- 26 Not So Tough
- 27 One-Way Transformation
- 28 Owned
- 29 Part of Body
- 30 Permanent
- 31 Phobia
- 32 Physical Impairment
- 33 Recurring Nightmares
- 34 Red Tape
- 35 Reduction
- 36 Restriction
- 37 Sensory Impairment
- 38 Significant Other (S.O.)
- 39 Skeleton in the Closet
- 40 Special Requirement
- 41 Unique Defect
- 42 Unique Defect Example: Attack Restriction
- 43 Unreliable Power
- 44 Unskilled
- 45 Vulnerability
- 46 Wanted
- 47 Weak Point
The character loses twice as many Hit Points as normal from a particular attack form, which must fit with the character concept. It might be something with appropriate mystic resonance, such as wooden stakes for vampires or silver for werewolves. It could also reflect the character’s nature such as a robot taking extra damage from water (as it causes short circuits), or an alien’s weakness to weapons from his or her home planet. The GM must approve any Achilles Heel Defects. A character may have an Achilles Heel to either a common, uncommon, or rare attack form (in the context of the campaign).
- BP The attack form is rare.
- BP The attack form is uncommon.
- BP The attack form is common.
Linked to Attribute. A character with this Defect cannot use one of his or her Attributes whenever desired because it requires a short time to activate. Once activation has started, only the character can stop it from becoming active when the appropriate time is up. This could represent a physical change that is not instantaneous, the collection of spiritual energies to perform a task, a device that takes time to “power up,” or an Attribute that only works when the character is mentally prepared (or angry, or overcome with another emotion).
One additional BP is granted if the activation can be interrupted temporarily, but restarted where it left off. One example of this is an Item of Power body suit that the character must put on. If the character stops activating the Power (i.e. stops dressing) to make a phone call, he or she can continue afterwards. 2 additional BP are granted if the activation must start again from the beginning if it is interrupted before the Activation Time has elapsed. An example of this is a spell that must be chanted completely before the Power activates; if it is interrupted, the spell must be started again from the beginning. The Concentration Defect is often linked to these two applications of Activation Time.
- BP The Attribute requires a round to initiate.
- BP The Attribute requires a minute to initiate.
- BP The Attribute requires an hour to initiate.
Linked to Attribute that requires a check to activate (GM’s discretion). The character suffers from an unfortunate side effect whenever an associated Attribute fails to work. If the character fails his or her check when using the Attribute, the character is hit with the energy or essence that would have powered the Attribute’s use. The Backlash could be physical damage, memory loss, Ability Score drain, disorientation, or many other effects that make the character’s life more difficult. The player and GM should determine the game effect of the Backlash.
- BP The backlash occurs if the character fails the check by 6 or more.
- BP The backlash occurs if the character fails the check by 3 or more.
BP The backlash occurs if the character fails the check by 1 or more.
A character with the Bane Defect is vulnerable to an otherwise non-damaging substance such as water, sunlight, or a specific element, material, or object. The Bane should relate to the character’s background or powers in some way. For example, a fire demon’s bane might be water, while myths indicate that a vampire suffers damage when touched by a crucifix.
The character suffers damage if his or her skin is physically touched by the Bane. If the Bane does not require direct physical contact (such as sunlight, seeing one’s reflection, hearing the noise of a church or temple bell, or having the Bane in close proximity), the damage is halved. Alternatively, if the Bane only affects the character when ingested, the damage is doubled. Finally, the damage rating assumes that the Bane is common, such as water, sunlight, steel, or wood. If it is less common such as a holy symbol, Buddhist scripture, or rare element, the damage is also doubled. If it is even more rare, such as one particular artifact, the damage may be tripled or quadrupled.
- BP The Bane causes minor damage (1d6/round of exposure).
- BP The Bane causes moderate damage (2d6/round of exposure).
- BP The Bane causes severe damage (3d6/round of exposure).
Under specific conditions selected by the player (and approved by the GM), the character will enter a state of unbridled anger. While enraged, the character will furiously attack the closest person, whether that individual is a friend or foe. Once that person is defeated or flees, the berserk character will attack the next closest “threat.” Examples of conditions that might initiate Blind Fury include: receiving a certain amount of damage, sight of blood, a specific sound or smell, being outnumbered in combat, seeing a friend in mortal danger, confrontation with a specific opponent, etc.
The character can only return to a normal emotional state under another specific condition. This return could involve a Willpower save, or could be an automatic reversion. Examples of return conditions include: no opponents in the vicinity, a specific calming technique performed by an ally, solitude, injection of a particular drug, being knocked unconscious, etc.
- BP Initiating the Blind Fury is difficult; reverting to normal emotional state is easy.
- BP Initiating the Blind Fury and reverting to a normal emotional state are both moderately difficult.
- BP Initiating the Blind Fury is easy; reverting to normal emotional state is difficult.
Linked to Attribute. The character must concentrate while using a specific Attribute that functions over a period of time; it does not apply to Attributes with an instantaneous effect.
If the character’s concentration is interrupted voluntarily or by an outside event, the Attribute ceases to function.
- BP The Attribute requires slight concentration. The character can still perform other non-combat actions, but cannot engage in combat or use other Attributes that also require Concentration.
- BP The Attribute requires intense concentration. The character can move at a slow speed and talk with others while using the Attribute, but cannot perform any complex actions or use any other Attribute.
- BP The Attribute requires full concentration. The character cannot do anything else while using the Attribute; he or she must remain still and devote full attention to the Power.
Linked to Attribute. Only a character who possesses the Item of Power, Own a Big Mecha, or Personal Gear Attributes can acquire this Defect. The character’s possessions granted by those Attributes actually belong to another person or organization. They are issued to the character, but the agency imposes “mild,” “strict,” or “severe” conditions on their use.
“Mild conditions” indicate that the character can use the objects for some personal business (such as traveling), but if he or she is released from the organization or disobeys direct orders, the objects can be taken away. The character can also be assigned different objects at any time. For example, a police detective might have conditional use of an unmarked police car.
“Strict conditions” indicate that the character is only permitted to use the objects for activities as ordered by the organization. This is the way most military and police equipment is issued. If the character is caught using the objects for personal activities, he or she will receive a severe reprimand.
“Severe conditions” indicate that the character can only use the objects under specific orders. A government owned time travel device would probably fall under these conditions. Using the objects at any other time results in incarceration, physical punishment, or even death.
- BP Mild conditions are imposed on the objects’ ownership and usage.
- BP Strict conditions are imposed on the objects’ ownership and usage.
- BP Severe conditions are imposed on the objects’ ownership and usage.
This Defect prevents the character from leaving a narrowly defined area. This may represent, for example, an undead villain that is cursed to haunt a particular place, an android that is programmed to follow a specific guard route, or a government-licensed magical girl that is only registered for travel in a specific region.
2 BP Restricted to a large area (100-mile radius), such as a single county or large city.
4 BP Restricted to a small area (1-mile radius), such as a small town or large, multi-structure complex.
6 BP Restricted to a tiny area (300-foot radius), such as a small village or single building.
A Cursed character has likely offended a great being of power in his or her past, or is the direct descendant of someone who did (Curses often pass through bloodlines). The Curse can take a near limitless number of forms, but should not provide a character with an obvious advantage (remember, it’s a curse!). The exact nature, background, and limitations of the Curse should be discussed with the GM.
- BP The character suffers from a slight disadvantage.
- BP The character suffers from a moderate disadvantage.
- BP The character suffers from a severe disadvantage.
Linked to Attribute. The character cannot use the chosen Attribute without first using a second (or more) Attribute. If the character fails to activate the second Attribute, he or she cannot use the other one either. Examples of the Dependent Defect include: a character who can fly after activating his Force Field (Flight dependent upon Force Field), a character who gains additional Armor when invisible (Armor dependent upon Invisibility), a character that can run much more quickly after stretching his or her legs and growing (Speed dependent upon Elasticity and Size Change), etc. The player must justify the Dependent Defect to the GM to avoid silly combinations.
- BP The Dependent Attribute cannot work until 1 other Attribute is activated.
- BP The Dependent Attribute cannot work until 2 other Attributes are activated.
- BP The Dependent Attribute cannot work until 3 other Attributes are activated.
Linked to Attribute. While using a specific Attribute, the character can be pinpointed and possibly identified by others who have specific detection techniques. For example, the Attribute’s use may make a loud noise or a bright flash, send vibrations through the ground, or emanate mental shock waves. Detection techniques include: astral; ethereal; human sight, hearing, or sense of smell; infrared; mental; radar; radiation; sonar; spiritual; ultraviolet; vibration; and others. The Special Attack Attribute is an exception to this Defect – characters must acquire an Attack Ability to make the attack undetectable.
- BP The Attribute’s use can be detected using 1-2 methods.
- BP The Attribute’s use can be detected using 3-5 methods.
- BP The Attribute’s use can be detected using 6-9 methods.
Some characters are Easily Distracted by events, objects, people, or ideas, which are collectively known as triggers. Notable examples of triggers include attractive members of the opposite (or same) sex, wealth, food, movie stars, hobbies, gossip, hot cars, music, one’s own looks, books or scrolls of ancient lore, and magical items. A character with this Defect will become enthralled with the trigger until it can no longer influence him or her. Many characters have interests in a variety of triggers but do not possess this Defect because their interest is moderated by their sense of judgment.
- BP The character is distracted by a trigger that is encountered infrequently.
- BP The character is distracted by a few infrequent triggers, or by one trigger that is encountered frequently.
- BP The character is distracted by several infrequent triggers, or by one trigger that is encountered constantly.
The character is recognizable by many people, and thus it is difficult for him or her to keep secrets or maintain a private life. Journalists and photographers may hound the character regularly, and report his or her actions on television, in newspapers, and on websites. While being Famous may have some privileges (preferred seating at restaurants, daily special treatment, etc.), it is a significant disadvantage for a character that maintains a secret identity (such as a magical girl).
- BP The character has regional fame.
- BP The character has national fame.
- BP The character has international fame
The character attracts susceptible girls (or guys, or even both sexes) like bees to nectar. For some reason they are just drawn to the character, fall helplessly in love (or lust), and will not let go nor give the character a minute’s peace. Even worse, they will fight each other over the character to keep one another from consummating the relationship. The Girl/Guy Magnet does not represent some unusual charisma on the part of the character but rather his or her fate to constantly meet obsessed people.
- BP Only a couple of girl/guy characters are actively chasing the character.
- BP Several girls/guys are actively chasing the character.
- BP Swarms of girls/guys are actively chasing the character; a new one appears every adventure or two.
This Defect requires GM permission. The character’s training and development in his or her class was not as extensive as it should have been. The character does not gain one or more “Special” benefits associated with class progression upon gaining a new Rank. The Bonus Points returned by this Defect is equal to the Character Point cost of the specific benefit (though the GM may penalize the character by returning one less Point). The Bonus Points returned are typically used to acquire alternative Attributes.
This Defect reflects a character’s poor judgment in offensive combat situations, which makes it much more difficult to strike an opponent successfully. A character with the Inept Attack Defect suffers a penalty to his or her base attack bonus.
3 BP The character’s Base Attack Bonus is decreased by 1.
6 BP The character’s Base Attack Bonus is decreased by 2.
9 BP The character’s Base Attack Bonus is decreased by 3.
This Defect reflects a character’s poor judgment in defensive combat situations, which can often place him or her in precarious positions. A character with the Inept Defense Defect suffers a penalty to his or her Armor Class.
2 BP The character’s Armor Class is decreased by 1.
4 BP The character’s Armor Class is decreased by 2.
6 BP The character’s Armor Class is decreased by 3.
Involuntary Physical Change
This Defect is only available to characters who have the Alternate Form Attribute. The character may accidentally change from normal form to the Alternate Form (or vice versa), or an external trigger (cold water, natural force, etc.) may induce the change. This Defect may represent a character who: transforms between identities upon hearing or uttering a specific sound or word, reverts to normal form when a particular chemical in the body is in low quantities (such as sugar or salt), transforms when a button on a gadget or Item of Power is pushed, transforms in times of stress, etc.
This Defect is assigned once to indicate the character can accidentally change from normal to Alternate Form or from Alternate Form to normal form. The Defect is assigned twice if the character can transform both ways unintentionally.
- BP It is difficult to trigger the Involuntary Change.
- BP It is moderately easy to trigger the Involuntary Change.
- BP It is easy to trigger the Involuntary Change.
Ism is discrimination based solely on one particular aspect of a character. Examples of Ism include: ageism, elitism, racism, sexism, or discrimination based on education, species, genetics, sexual preference, occupation, religion, physical features, etc. The players and GM are strongly encouraged to discuss these contentious discrimination issues, and their role in the game, before play begins.
- BP The character experiences a small degree of discrimination.
- BP The character experiences a large degree of discrimination.
- BP The character experiences a severe degree of discrimination.
Limited Use, Instantaneous
Linked to Attribute with an instantaneous effect. The character can only use a specific Attribute occasionally. This may result from a need to recharge the Attribute (or a device), an incredible drain on the character’s internal reserves, or a different form of limitation. Only under exceptional circumstances (and at a great sacrifice) can the character use the Attribute more often than indicated by this Defect.
3 BP The character can only use the Attribute three times a day.
6 BP The character can only use the Attribute twice a day.
9 BP The character can only use the Attribute once a day.
Limited Use, Ongoing
Linked to an Attribute that can be used on an ongoing basis. After the character uses a specific Attribute, he or she cannot use it again for a specific period of time; the longer the Attribute is used, the longer the rest period must be. For example, the muscles of a character with Superstrength may need time to recuperate after use, or an Item of Power that grants Flight may need to be recharged between uses. Only under exceptional circumstances (and at a great sacrifice) can the character use the Attribute again before the waiting period has elapsed.
- BP For every minute the character uses the Power, he or she must wait 1 minute before the Attribute functions once again.
- BP For every minute the character uses the Power, he or she must wait 5 minutes before the Attribute functions once again.
- BP For every minute the character uses the Power, he or she must wait 10 minutes before the Attribute functions once again.
Only someone with the Dynamic Sorcery or Magic Attributes can take this Defect. The character’s magic is either difficult to perform or occasionally ceases to function or both. Magical restrictions can be minor or major.
Some examples of minor restrictions are:
- The character must always dress in a peculiar set of ritual clothing (or body paint, or whatever) to use magic.
- The character must transform into a special costume in order to use his or magic. This is very common for “magical girl” type characters.
- The character’s magic works at the pleasure of a patron spirit, god, goddess, or demon and may cease to function if the character disobeys the patron’s commands or violates particular religious or other strictures.
- The character’s magic is limited if the character violates certain minor taboos.
- About half of the character’s magic powers are dependent on possession of a particular item, which may or may not also be an Item of Power. Should the character ever lose or misplace the item, he or she cannot access these powers.
Some examples of major restrictions are:
- The character’s magic ceases to function if he or she is in contact with metal, carrying it, or wearing it on his or her body.
- The character must perform blood sacrifices for his or her magic to work.
- The character’s magic only functions half or less of the time; for example, it may not work during daylight or only work when the moon is visible.
- Nearly all the character’s magic (except possibly a minor power or two) is dependent on possession of a particular item, which may or may not also be an Item of Power. Should the character ever lose or misplace the item, he or she cannot access the item-dependent powers.
Magical Restrictions of this sort are a good way to establish the nature of a particular form or school of magic. This Defect cannot be taken if its BP value would be equal to or greater than the Points the character spent to acquire Magic or Dynamic Sorcery.
- BP The character’s magic suffers from one or a few minor restrictions.
- BP The character’s magic suffers from a major restriction.
- BP The character’s magic suffers from several minor and 1-2 major restrictions.
A character is considered Marked if his or her body hosts a permanent and distinguishing design that may be difficult to conceal. The design may be a family symbol, an identifying birthmark, a permanent scar, or a unique tattoo. If the mark is not considered out of the ordinary (such as freckles or a common tattoo), this Defect does not apply. Characters who are obviously non-human (robotic, demonic, alien, etc.) in a setting where most people are human (or vice versa) would also have the Marked Defect. In a standard high-fantasy setting, none of the typical races (dwarves, elves, halflings, etc.) have this Defect.
- BP The mark is easily concealable because it is small or in an inconspicuous location.
- BP The mark can be concealed, but this is difficult because it is large or in an obvious location.
- BP Under most circumstances, the mark cannot be concealed because it affects the character’s entire body.
Linked to Attribute. The character cannot use a specific Attribute at the lowest end of its power range. This could represent a character who is too talented for his or her own good, an item that only functions within certain parameters, a powerful character who pushes the Attribute’s limits so often that he or she has forgotten how to use it at a low Rank, or something different.
This Defect is only appropriate for the following Attributes: Elasticity, Flight, Insubstantial, Jumping, Projection, Size Change, Special Attack (applies to damage only), Speed, Teleport, Transmutation, and Water Speed.
Maximum Force extends to Rank 6, providing 1 BP each Rank. The restriction on an Attribute’s use is given below, where X is the number of Bonus Points granted and (X+1) is one Rank higher than the BP Rank.
X BP The character cannot use up to Rank X of the Attribute. The Attribute must be at Rank (X+1) or higher.
The character has someone in his or her life that actively interferes with goal achievement on a regular basis. This Nemesis can take several forms. He or she could be a professional rival such as someone competing for the favor of the character’s boss. The Nemesis could also be personal; for example, a thief may be pursued by a cop who devotes his or her existence to putting the character behind bars. The Nemesis may even be a romantic rival such as someone chasing the same person the character is pursuing.
The Nemesis should be someone who makes the character’s life difficult frequently (and cannot easily be removed), but the Nemesis does not need to be a mortal enemy. It might be someone the character loves very much, but one whom they cannot avoid. An overbearing parent who lives at home is an example of this. If for any reason the Nemesis is defeated or goes away, the GM should create another Nemesis, unless the player also wishes to use Power Points gained through advancement to eliminate the Defect permanently.
- BP The Nemesis is merely annoying and/or interferes infrequently.
- BP The Nemesis may actively try to harm the character and/or interferes frequently.
- BP The Nemesis will always harm the character given the opportunity, and/or interferes constantly.
Not So Tough
The character is less durable than his character Level would otherwise suggest. This Defect is appropriate for characters with a “glass jaw,” or those who succumb to physical trauma easily. A character may not take this Defect if it would reduce his or her Hit Points below 1.
- BP The character’s Hit Points are decreased by 5 Points.
- BP The character’s Hit Points are decreased by 10 Points.
- BP The character’s Hit Points are decreased by 15 Points.
Linked to Attribute. This Defect is usually only be taken in conjunction with the Alternate Form, Elasticity, Insubstantial, Invisibility, or, Size Change Attributes. Once the character has transformed from a normal state, he or she cannot transform back to a prior form without meeting certain conditions. This might include a magical ritual, work by mechanics or lab technicians, consuming a specific substance, or simply the passage of time.
- BP It takes several hours of work or special circumstances to enable the character to transform back to an earlier form.
- BP As 1 BP, but the process requires expensive (or hard to find) replacement components, ingredients, or other prerequisites.
- BP As 2 BP, but the process takes several days.
Free will has little meaning for a character who is Owned by a corporation, government, crime ring, or other organization or individual. Control over the character can be exerted through a variety of methods including blackmail, brainwashing, legal contract, technology, or just highly effective propaganda. Dire consequences await a character whose actions conflict with the mandate of the owning body.
- BP The organization has partial ownership of the character; the character is subject to slight punishment for opposing the owners.
- BP The organization has significant ownership of the character; the character is subject to moderate punishment for opposing the owners.
- BP The organization has total ownership of the character; the character is subject to severe punishment for opposing the owners.
Part of Body
Linked to Attribute. Only part of the character’s body is affected by a specific Attribute, most commonly used for: Adaptation, Alternate Form, Armor, Invisibility, and Superstrength. For example, a character might only receive Armor benefits against abdominal attacks, possess the ability to turn his or her left arm invisible, or have bionic legs with Superstrength.
- BP The Attribute affects a large part of the body (torso, both legs, both arms, etc.).
- BP The Attribute affects a small part of the body (one leg, one arm, abdomen, chest, head, etc.)
- BP The Attribute affects a tiny part of the body (one hand, face, one foot, groin, knee, etc.).
Linked to Attribute. A specific Attribute is always functioning, and the character cannot turn it off. This Defect only applies to Attributes that would inconvenience the character if the Power were always active, such as: Force Field, Invisibility, or Size Change. The player and GM should discuss the problems and limitations associated with an eternally active Power.
- BP The Attribute is a slight inconvenience to the character.
- BP The Attribute is a moderate inconvenience to the character.
- BP The Attribute is a severe inconvenience to the character.
A Phobia is a fear (often irrational) of an event, object, or person that can limit a character’s choice of actions. Avoiding situations that could trigger the phobia may take a high priority in the character’s life. Note that a Phobia that effectively cripples the character with fear does not add constructively to the role-playing experience.
- BP The character has a slight phobia or one that is encountered infrequently.
- BP The character has a moderate phobia or one that is encountered frequently.
- BP The character has a severe phobia or one that is encountered constantly.
The character has a physical impairment that makes aspects of daily life more challenging. Possible impairments include: one or more missing (or unusable) limbs, loss of speech, constant sickness, nagging injury, severe headaches, an android that requires frequent repairs, etc. The player and GM should discuss the problems and limitations associated with the impairment.
- BP The impairment is a slight inconvenience to the character.
- BP The impairment is a moderate inconvenience to the character.
- BP The impairment is a severe inconvenience to the character.
When the Recurring Nightmare Defect haunts a character, he or she has trouble sleeping at nights and functions at less-than-optimum performance during the day. The nightmare can be a memory of a tragic event or traumatic experience, or it might be something else such as a prophetic vision or warning. The nightmare may not occur every night but it will haunt the character on a regular basis. Additionally, the nightmares do not need to portray the exact same events repeatedly, but the visions should be related in some way. The details concerning the subject matter of the nightmares and why they occur is the responsibility of the GM and the player to create.
- BP The nightmares occur infrequently and have a slight effect on the character’s lifestyle.
- BP The nightmares occur frequently and have a moderate effect on the character’s lifestyle.
- BP The nightmares occur constantly and have a severe effect on the character’s lifestyle.
The character must negotiate his or her way through a complicated bureaucracy in order to accomplish tasks. This Defect is often associated with characters who are members of law-enforcement organizations or similar government agencies that require paperwork. A large criminal organization, however, may also require a character to receive permission from several levels of bosses before undertaking certain high-profile jobs.
Red Tape also includes whatever measures the character must take “after the fact” to appease the organization to which he or she belongs. For example, a cop may need to fill out a report every time his or her weapon is fired or may have to follow a complicated series of steps to obtain a search warrant. A criminal may be required to pay a percentage of his or her take to the local crime boss or face some very strict penalties.
The Red Tape Defect is usually inappropriate for characters created via the Flunkies or Servant Attributes.
- BP The Red Tape only impedes the character before or after a major action (but not both) and/or the Red Tape is easy to manage most of the time.
- BP The Red Tape impedes a character both before and after a major action, and/or is difficult to manage most of the time.
- BP The Red Tape impedes a character before, after, and during a major action, and/or is extremely difficult to manage most of the time.
Linked to Attribute. One of the character’s Attributes is limited greatly, resulting in a Reduction of its Point cost per Rank. This Defect offers a near-endless number of limitations, and consequently the player and GM should discuss the game ramifications and the Attribute’s new Rank costs.
Unlike other Defects, Reduction does not return Bonus Points to the character; the Attribute cost changes instead. The Point cost change is directly related to the original cost of the Attribute. For example, a Reduction that limits a 4 Points/rank Attribute to half of its power might be a 2 Points/rank Reduction; the same limitation on a 10 Points/rank Attribute could be a 5 Points/rank Reduction. This Defect is not usually appropriate for 1 point/rank Attributes.
A list of suggested Reductions are shown in Table 9-2: Sample Reductions.
Table 9-2: Sample Reductions
Attribute always used in same way Fewer sub-Points awarded
Less frequent usage Limited control One aspect
Partial effectiveness Smaller target group Very specific utility
Linked to Attribute. One of the character’s Attributes is associated with one or more disadvantages that limit its use. This Defect offers a near-endless number of limitations, and consequently the player and GM should discuss the ramifications of the selected Restriction. A list of suggested Restrictions are shown in Table 9-3: Sample Restrictions.
The GM may increase the Bonus Points returned to the character to an alternate progression (such as 2 BP, 4 BP, 6 BP; or 3 BP, 6 BP, 9 BP) if the Attribute this Defect is restricting has a high Character Point cost at each Rank (see Dynamic Sorcery or Extra Attacks for examples). Severe limitations on an Attribute, which will affect the Point cost per Rank, are covered by the Reduction Defect.
- BP The Attribute has a minor Restriction.
- BP The Attribute has a moderate Restriction.
- BP The Attribute has a major Restriction.
Table 9-3: Sample Restrictions
Cannot use on oneself
Check needed to maintain control During specific times of the day Easy to counteract
In particular locations Initiative penalty to use Limited functioning Loss of specific effect Naked form only
Requires consumable focus Requires maintenance Requires special equipment Requires Ability checks Restricts movement Specific targets
Under certain conditions Usage inflicts pain
Use weakens character
One or more of the character’s senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell) are either diminished or lost. An example of a diminished sense is being near-sighted or hard of hearing; the GM should take the impairment into consideration when deciding what the character is able to perceive, and may apply a -4 penalty on checks to notice things with that sense. An example of a lost sense is blindness or deafness. Any diminishment or loss is based on the character’s status after benefiting from any technological aids such as eyeglasses or hearing aids in the setting. For example, if a character has a hearing aid but is still hard of hearing, he or she has Sensory Impairment (Diminished Hearing, 1 BP). In a setting where a hearing aid was unavailable or could not correct his or her particular impairment, he or she would have Sensory Impairment (Deaf, 2 BP) instead.
- BP The character has a diminished primary sense (such as short-sightedness or being hard of hearing), or has lost a secondary sense (such as taste or smell).
- BP The character has completely lost a primary sense (sight or hearing), or has two diminished primary senses, or has completely lost multiple secondary senses.
- BP The character has completely lost a primary sense (sight or hearing) and multiple secondary senses.
Significant Other (S.O.)
A character with this Defect has someone for whom he or she must go to any lengths to keep safe from harm, even at the risk of his or her own life. The S.O. should be a regular fixture in the campaign. A one-night stand, or a cousin visiting for two weeks is a plot complication and not an appropriate S.O. The character’s sense of obligation towards the S.O. is enough that the character will take great pains to ensure his or her safety and well-being.
Examples include spouses and steady boy or girl friends, immediate relatives (parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, perhaps very close cousins), and close co-workers (such as a cop’s partner). It is acceptable for a character to take another character as an S.O., provided the players role-play this relationship appropriately. In this case, the S.O. relationship is always worth just 1 BP but is treated as a 3 BP Defect by the GM in terms of the frequency with which it affects the game.
S.O. is inappropriate for most Flunkies and Servant characters.
- BP The S.O. is rarely placed in grave danger and appears infrequently.
- BP The S.O. is often placed in grave danger and appears frequently.
- BP The S.O. is always placed in grave danger and appears constantly.
Skeleton in the Closet
The character has a dark secret. Exposure of this secret could cause harm to the character in the form of public humiliation, loss of a job, arrest, injury, or even death. The number of BP gained from this Defect is based on the severity the consequences if the secret is revealed.
The secret must be important enough that the character will actively take steps to keep others from learning of it. If the Skeleton is ever revealed, the character will suffer the associated consequences, and the GM should replace it with an appropriate Defect or Defects worth at least as many BP as Skeleton in the Closet. Skeleton in the Closet is inappropriate for most Flunkies and Servant characters.
- BP The Skeleton is difficult to discover, and/or the consequences of discovery are slight, and/or the character’s reputation will be impacted slightly.
- BP The Skeleton is relatively easy to discover, and/or the consequences of discovery are moderate, and/or the character’s reputation will be seriously impacted.
- BP The Skeleton is very easy to discover, and/or the consequences of discovery are severe, and/or the character’s reputation will be devastated.
This Defect forces the character to meet a Special Requirement before an action or task can be completed. The Special Requirement may involve a physical object, an event, an action, an environmental condition, or even a state of mind. Everyday activities, such as eating and sleeping, are not considered to be Special Requirements unless they must be carried out under unusual conditions or more frequently for some reason. This Defect covers a wide range of possibilities, and thus the details should be discussed with the GM.
- BP The Special Requirement is easy to obtain and/or needed infrequently.
- BP The Special Requirement is difficult to obtain and/or needed often.
- BP The Special Requirement is extremely difficult to obtain and/or needed constantly.
This section covers any and all possible Defects that a character might possess but are not detailed in the rules. The boundaries and limitations of the Defect should be discussed with the GM.
- BP The Defect occurs infrequently and/or has a slight effect.
- BP The Defect occurs frequently and/or has a moderate effect.
- BP The Defect occurs constantly and/or has a severe effect.
Unique Defect Example: Attack Restriction
A character with the Attack Restriction Defect has limitations on whom he or she can attack due to a reduction of free will (such as “hard coded” commands). The attack restriction can only be overcome during exceptional circumstances and may result in harsh consequences, including unbearable guilt or punishment by superiors. This Defect obviously does not apply to heroic characters who cannot “attack innocent people.”
- BP The character’s restriction applies to very few people, or the character has slight reservations.
- BP The character’s restriction applies to many people, or the character has strong reservations.
- BP The character’s restriction applies to a large group of people, or the character has extremely strong reservations.
Linked to Attribute. One of the character’s Attributes frequently does not function when desired. Before the character can use the Attribute, he or she must make a successful Ability check. If the Attribute does not have a “Relevant Ability” entry, the character’s Wisdom should be used as a default. If the Ability check fails, the character can try to use the Attribute again during the next round (when the character is in combat), or in a short period of time (when the character is not in combat).
At the GM’s and player’s discretion, Unreliable Power can also represent an Attribute that does not always function in the manner desired. For example, a character with Size Change might not always grow to the desired size, or a Force Field might not always appear in the correct place. For this alternative, the Ability check determines if the Attribute operates properly; a failed check indicates that it activates in an unexpected manner.
- BP The character must make the check against DC 14. In non-combat situations, the character cannot attempt to use the Attribute again for 1 to 10 minutes.
- BP The character must make the check against DC 17. In non-combat situations, the character cannot attempt to use the Attribute again for 10 to 30 minutes.
- BP The character must make the check against DC 20. In non-combat situations, the character cannot attempt to use the Attribute again for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
An Unskilled character starts with less than the usual number of Skill Points. This Defect cannot be combined with the Highly Skilled Attribute. Additionally, characters may not take this Defect if it would reduce his or her Skill Points below zero.
- BP The character has 4 fewer starting Skill Points.
- BP The character has 8 fewer starting Skill Points.
- BP The character has 12 fewer starting Skill Points.
The character has a critical weakness to a specific object, environment, thought, activity, or condition. When in close proximity to the Vulnerability, it can temporarily strip the character of some of his or her Attributes (GM determines which Attributes are affected). The Vulnerability should only affect the character rarely, however, since it impacts him or her so severely.
- BP The character’s accessible Attribute Ranks all drop by up to 2 Ranks when affected by the Vulnerability.
- BP The character’s accessible Attribute Ranks all drop by up to 4 Ranks when affected by the Vulnerability.
- BP The character cannot use any Attributes when affected by the Vulnerability.
The character is wanted by the law, a powerful criminal, or private organization that has placed a price on his or her head. Being Wanted is different from having a Nemesis; there is no single person devoting his or her life to annoying or hunting down the character. The character will need to conceal his or her identity or move around regularly to avoid having complete strangers calling the police or pursuing the character (depending on the circumstances).
- BP The incentive to hunt the character is minor. For example, he or she may be wanted on outstanding warrants, but there may be no actual reward posted, or the reward is fairly small.
- BP The reward, contract, or other incentive offered to hunt the character is significant.
- BP The reward, contract, or other incentive offered to hunt the character is extreme.
The character’s body possesses an abnormal weak point (in addition to the normal human weak points, like the heart and head). If the weak point is ever hit during combat with a Called Shot, the result is an automatic critical hit. If the attacker rolls a natural critical hit (a natural 20), the target is immediately reduced to 0 Hit Points and falls unconscious. The opponent, or even the character, may not be aware the weak point exists, however, until its presence is discovered by accident or through careful study.
- BP The weak point is tiny (-6 Called Shot attack penalty).
- BP The weak point is small (-4 Called Shot attack penalty).
- BP The weak point is large (-2 Called Shot attack penalty).