Adding disadvantages to a character awards points to be spent on other skill. It is imperative that disadvantages are correctly, thoroughly, and consistently role-played. Make sure that any chosen disadvantage fits well with the conception of your character; do not (and we repeat) DO NOT merely choose a disadvantage to get the points!
Similar disadvantages (e.g., Charity and Poverty, or Courage and Overconfidence) cannot be purchased together. Similarly, disadvantages that conflict with other disadvantages (e.g., Cowardice and Overconfident) or that conflict with skills (e.g., Hemophilia and Superior Clotting) cannot be purchased. Disadvantages may be acquired at any time (e.g., you may choose to take a vow of poverty sometime during your career).
Any disadvantage may also be eliminated by "buying it off." To do so, you must spend points equal to the amount of the disadvantage. This ensures that you have enough character points to pay for all your skills. Once you have bought off a disadvantage, you may not take that disadvantage again.
There is a limit to the number of points you may take through disadvantages. This limit is 1 point plus an additional 0.5 point for every 5 character points your character has (rounded down), up to a maximum of 4 points of disadvantages. Thus, at 10 points, you may only take 2 points' worth of disadvantages; at 20 points, you may take 3; and at 30 points, you may take 4. The one exception to this rule is that if you take only a single disadvantage, it may then be of any point cost.
Charity (-0.5 point)
This disadvantage is available to Continuing Game characters only.
You do everything you can to get as much money as possible from your adventures, but then give all of your surplus wealth (over 10 marks) to your liege, religious figure or other charity. You may use the surplus money in pursuing your charity's goals, but you must give it all away by the end of any event. In no case may you donate money to another player; the money must be given to the GM or a suitable NPC. Also, it must be given away; you cannot leave it with companions "for safekeeping."
Complete Honesty (-1 point)
You cannot ever tell a lie, misdirect, or even omit part of the truth. When asked a direct question, your only choices are to remain silent, to refuse to answer, or to answer fully and completely. If you realize that you have accidentally lied at any point in the game (e.g., because you were going along with your party's story or were forced to lie by magical means), you must do everything possible to rectify the situation. This would include finding the person who's been lied to and explaining the complete truth. It may also include an offer to perform some favor to correct for the dishonesty.
Courage (-0.5 point)
Once you have entered a battle, you will not retreat or surrender unless your allies have already made it to safety (or their surrender has been accepted by the enemy). Before retreating, you must make a reasonable effort to rescue downed allies, but hopeless efforts are not required. You are also permitted to exercise your best judgment on how to save as many allies as possible. (In other words, if Joe needs defending, you don't have to abandon Joe to go rescue Tom.)
You may participate in a simultaneous retreat (or surrender). You may also choose not to enter a battle in the first place.
Cowardice (-0.5 point)
You will never fight (or engage in any other potentially dangerous activity) unless you are confident that you can do so without being physically injured, by having protection. If you lose enough hits of protection to become wounded by another strike, you will disengage from combat, and will flee or yield if attacked. If it is not possible to flee and your enemy will not honor a surrender, you will fight only until you have an opportunity to run away.
Dishonesty (-0.5 point)
You will lie pathologically and frequently to everyone you know, including your friends. You revel in telling a good lie that confuses and hurts others, regardless of who they are.
Distrust of Clergy (-1.5 point)
You do not trust clergy and their divine powers. Perhaps you dislike divine manipulation of mortal affairs, or perhaps you merely feel no need for an intermediary with the divine. Whatever your reason, you will never allow a cleric to cast a spell on you, no matter how beneficial it is. If you are unable to stop a cleric from casting a spell on you (e.g., because you are unconscious), you will be very angry when you find out who cast the spell and will seek revenge (but if you were healed, you don't have to wound yourself again). You will attempt to persuade others to avoid the company and the powers of clergy, and to avoid divinely powered magic items.
Note: Since many characters depend on others for healing, a sustainable character with this disadvantage will need an independent source of healing, whether that be Rapid Healing, Alchemy, Cleric or Mystic Magic, or a friend with appropriate healing abilities.
Distrust of Magery (-0.5 point)
You do not trust mages and their arcane powers. Perhaps you believe that humans should not meddle with cosmic forces, or perhaps you reject all power that does not come from the gods. Whatever your reason, you will never allow a mage to cast a spell on you, no matter how beneficial it is. If you are unable to stop a mage from casting a spell on you (e.g., because you are unconscious), you will be very angry when you find out who cast the spell and will seek revenge. You will attempt to persuade others to avoid the company and the powers of mages, and to avoid non-divinely powered magic items (including potions).
Foolhardy (-1 point)
You will immediately engage in combat with anything you would like to see dead, regardless of its strength or the circumstances. You will not retreat from battle for any reason unless the combat is truly turning into a slaughter against your side. You will also act without regard for your own health (e.g., volunteering to test all potions, walking far ahead of the party, etc.).
Gullible (-0.5 point)
You believe everything you are told unless you have evidence to believe otherwise. For example, if someone tells you, "I just saw the princess up by the lake," you will believe this is true and probably go investigate because you have no reason not to believe the statement. However, if a known evil wizard says, "Don't kill me—I'm your friend," you will not believe the statement because you already believe that the evil wizard is your enemy.
Hemophilia (-1 point)
Your blood has a reduced ability to clot. Thus, you will fall unconscious and begin critical bleeding after two limb wounds and you will bleed to death after one minute of critical bleeding.
Honesty (-0.5 point)
This is a weaker version of Complete Honesty. You may never tell a direct lie but may omit parts of the truth when questioned or may refuse to answer. As with Complete Honesty, if you ever realize you have told a lie, you will do whatever you can to rectify the situation.
Honor, Courtly (-1 point)
You will never attack someone by surprise or participate in a combat when the enemy is outnumbered or outclassed, and will always grant mercy if the enemy wishes to surrender. You believe that a fair duel is the only fair method of combat between two members of the same race. You are "sportsmanlike" in battle, are loyal to companions, give mercy to all sentient creatures who ask for it, and will demand lawful behavior from yourself and from your comrades.
Honor, Heroic (-0.5 point)
You have a system of beliefs that limits your actions and you will choose to die rather than compromise your beliefs. If, by chance, you find you have inadvertently violated a tenet of your code, you will immediately make amends for it by means of a meaningful, in-game penance (either in money, service, or deeds).
What constitutes a code of heroic honor is left open in order to allow for greater role-play, but must be set down in your character sheet and must be approved at character creation (by the Game World Committee and Rules Committee for Continuing Game characters, or from the GM(s) for One-Shot games). Players are encouraged to get approval before playing the character.)
A code of honor must be limiting enough to be worth the character points. A code of honor that states "I must protect my own life and enrich myself" is not acceptable. Typically, heroic honor is exclusionary; it applies to one class of people but not another.
Illiteracy (-0.5 point)
You cannot read. You are not allowed to read anything that you encounter in-game. Out-of-game text, such as state-of-being scrolls and other instructions, you (the player) can still read.
Lame (-2 points)
You cannot run. This means the fastest you can move is a brisk walk. This is defined as the character having one foot on the ground at all times–dragging your foot is a good way to make sure you’re following through on this.
Law-Abiding (-0.5 point)
You obey common law at all times and must encourage others not to break the law. You will be upset by (and will not participate in) any plan that goes against the law and will insist that others not go along with the plan. If you learn of a crime, you will report it to the authorities. Should you break the law, you will atone if possible.
Although you must show respect to any local law authorities and any reasonable local ordinance, the law that you follow is the common law of the civilized races. That law prohibits any assault (not in self-defense), blackmail, manslaughter, murder, slavery, theft, treason, vandalism, and anything else that is clearly illegal. See the information on law and society in Continuing Games on the Quest Web site for more information and definitions of some of the above crimes.
Law-Enforcing (-1 point)
You obey the law at all times, and you endeavor at all costs to keep others from breaking the law. You will take active steps to stop crimes. You will not participate in any plan that involves breaking the law, and will insist that others not go along with the plan as well. If you learn of a crime, you will report it to the authorities; if you are in a lawless area or if the authorities are unavailable, you will enforce the law yourself. If you discover you have broken the law, you will turn yourself in and atone for the crime. You must turn in anyone—even your friends—who you know to be guilty of a crime and you will not withhold information from the authorities about any crime.
You follow the common law of the civilized races. That law prohibits assault (not in self-defense), blackmail, manslaughter, murder, slavery, theft, treason, vandalism, and anything else that is clearly illegal. However, you must also follow any local laws unless they directly conflict with the laws of the civilized races (in which case the common law of the civilized races supersedes local law in your eyes). See the Law and Justice page for more information and definitions of some of the above crimes.
Missing Arm (-3 points)
You are missing an arm. The missing arm should be placed behind your back and played as if it were completely missing (i.e., you cannot strap shields to it and weapon hits to it will behave exactly as body hits). It cannot be regenerated or healed.
If you are a spell caster, you may use the "missing" arm to hold your spell book (which technically does not exist in-game).
Mute (-2 points)
You cannot talk–or even whisper–at any time for any reason. Mouthing words is acceptable, unless you are psychologically mute rather than physiologically (i.e., struck silent by trauma as opposed to a damaged larynx).
Being mute does not prevent you from being a spell caster.
Overconfident (-0.5 point)
You will never back down from any opportunity to fight an enemy, even when outnumbered or without the support of a party. You may flee, however, if you realize you are definitely losing the fight.
Pacifism (-2 points)
You will never physically harm anyone with spell or with sword. You will never advocate physical harm nor will you ever order or ask that someone else harm anyone. If you ever actually harm someone (e.g., by accident or because of coercive magic) you will do whatever you can to rectify the harm. ("Harm'" includes non-damaging attacks that remove protection, such as from subdual, Brawling, and Stun spells.)
Peaceful (-0.5 point)
You will never initiate an attack with either spell or weapon, will only use force in self-defense, and can never sap someone.
Phobia (-0.5 point)
You have a complete fear of a certain situation or object. Example: if you are phobic of bodies of water, you will not willingly cross a bridge (although your party might knock you unconscious and drag you across). If you are phobic of insects, you will flee whenever you see one.
Only certain phobias are severe enough to count as a disadvantage. These are: heights and ledges (including bridges and balconies), water, dead bodies, crowds (more than seven people at once), poison (the character will test all food and run from poisoned weapons in terror), being alone, squeamishness (fear of bugs, worms, and "icky stuff"), non-divinely-powered magic items (including potions), and spells cast by mages.
If you feel there is a valid phobia missing from the above list, you must have approval to take it as a disadvantage. For One-Shot games and CG Unique Events, you will need approval from the game's GM. For regular CG characters, you will need approval from the Rules Committee; your disadvantage will be usable immediately, and will be added to this list in subsequent editions of this rulebook.
(You are always free to roleplay phobias that aren't on the list without approval; you just don't get points for them.)
Poverty (-1 point)
A vow of poverty prohibits possession of coins, jewels, or other valuables that are worth more than the amount needed to buy a day's food (about three marks). You may carry no jewels, riches, or fancy garments. (You must look poor as well as be poor to receive this disadvantage.) Similarly, luxurious magic items (rings, necklaces, fancy cloaks, etc.) are to be avoided, and any remaining magic items may not be traded or bartered. You must give any money you acquire not to your friends but rather to the poor or to a needy cause (which may be an NPC). This disadvantage also includes the social stigma of being poor in medieval society.
Characters with Poverty are created with only one mark to start.
Stigma: Disliked Group (-0.5 points)
You are a member of an easily recognizable species, ethnicity, or other group that is known and disliked by the dominant culture of the game. You are treated with suspicion and hostility by all you meet. This includes:
- You will be immediately suspected in any crime investigation.
- Innkeeps and merchants will usually charge you more than normal.
- Most common folk will distrust you and will not value your word.
Although you are normally protected by the law, authorities will often treat you badly if they feel they can get away with it.
Half-orcs, half-grum, Dosanese, and self-evident gypsies and Kahla-Ranites have this Stigma as a racial/group disadvantage.
Stigma: Hated Group (-1 point)
You are a member of an easily recognizable species, ethnicity, or group that is known and hated by the dominant culture of the game. Everywhere you go, no matter how you try to disguise yourself, people will identify and revile you. This includes:
- To a significant extent, the law does not protect your rights, property, or life. Authorities will treat you badly but will not normally act against you without some (albeit trifling) reason.
- You will be immediately suspected in any crime investigation.
- Innkeeps and merchants will usually charge you more than normal. There may be a fee for simply being allowed in the inn. Merchants occasionally refuse to sell to you at all.
- Your word and honor are devalued by most people you meet. You are generally assumed to be untrustworthy.
Orcs and grum have this Stigma as a racial disadvantage.
Stubbornness (-0.5 point)
If you make up your mind about something, you will not change your mind unless provided with overwhelming evidence that shows your opinion incorrect. After being shown this evidence, you will acquire a strong grudge toward whomever presented the counterargument (since you do not like to be proven wrong).
Sycophant (-1 point)
This disadvantage is available to Continuing Game characters only.
You fawn and/or suck up to people higher up the social ladder and you must role-play this. You cannot attack anyone with Status for any reason. In the presence of a character with Status, you must obey their commands, run away in fear and awe, or cower before them. You will do your best to impress those with Status, to garner their attention, and to earn their respect. (You will do the same to anyone who acts important or impressive.)
Uncivilized Behavior (-0.5 point)
You do not obey or understand the basic unwritten rules of society. Your behavior will produce a strong negative reaction in most civilized people you encounter. Your behavior generally includes a combination of acting rude, violent, and slovenly, although any actions that produce the same overall effect are fine. Uncivilized behavior is usually explained by you having been raised by barbarians, animals, or monsters. (Remember not to act in ways that would violate the Player Conduct code.)
Orcs have this as a racial disadvantage. Grum, half-orcs, and half-grum often have this, too (it depends upon their upbringing).
Weakness (-1 point)
You are much weaker than average. When successful in a Brawling contest, you do no damage at all. In addition, any time you are hit with a weapon, you fall backwards until your torso touches the ground (as with a Slip spell). Finally, you are completely unable to perform any sort of strenuous activity, such as carrying people, heavy lifting, pushing, moving, etc.