These are problems acquired before the character first comes into play. As a rule, a character may only be given disadvantages when he is first created.
You are probably wondering, "Why would I want to give my character disadvantages?" There's a reason. Disadvantages give you extra character points, which will let you improve your character in other ways. The worse the disadvantage, the more character points you receive. Besides, an imperfection or two makes your character more interesting and realistic, and adds to the fun of role-playing.
It is possible to "buy off” certain disadvantages and get rid of them. But if a character eliminates a disadvantage without spending the points to "buy off” that disadvantage, the GM may assign a replacement disadvantage.
Bad Reputation-5, -8 points
Some characters are so well-known that their reputation actually becomes a disadvantage. For game purposes, reputation affects the reaction rolls made by NPCs. The details of your reputation are entirely up to you; you can be known for double dealing, ferocity, eating children or whatever you want. If you have a reputation, either your name or your face will be enough to trigger a "reputation roll" to see if the people you meet have heard of you, once for each person or small group you meet. For a large group, the GM may roll more than once if he likes.
Code of Honor -5 to -12 points
You take pride in a set of principles which you follow at all times. Codes of honor differ, but all require (by their own standards)"brave," "manly," and "honorable" behavior. A Code of Honor may also be called "pride," "machismo," or "face." Under any name, it is the willingness to risk death rather than be thought dishonorable . . . whatever that means.
In any culture, there are those who pretend to have honor but have none, and those who truly try to follow the code but often fail to live up to it. But only one who truly follows the code may get points for it as a disadvantage.
A Code of Honor is a disadvantage because it will often require dangerous (if not reckless) behavior. Furthermore, an honorable person can often be forced into unfair situations, because his foes know he is honorable.
This is not the same as a Duty or Sense of Duty. A soldier or dedicated cop will march into battle against fearful odds out of duty, not for his personal honor (though of course he would lose honor by fleeing). The risks a person takes for his honor are solely on his own account.
The point value of a specific Code varies, depending on just how much trouble it gets its followers into, and how arbitrary and irrational its requirements are.
Illiteracy -8 points
If you can’t see how this is a disadvantage then you don’t belong here…
Laziness -5 points
You are violently averse to physical labor. Your chances of getting a raise or promotion in any job are halved. Your starting equipment allowance is halved. You must avoid work - especially hard work - at all costs. Role-play it!
Lecherousness - 10 points
You suffer from an unusually strong desire for “romance”. Whenever in more than the briefest contact with an attractive member of the opposite sex, you must make a roll vs the Lecherousness using your CHA as the base. If it fails, you must make a "pass," using whatever wiles or skills you can bring to bear. You must then suffer the consequences of your actions, successful or not . . . physical retribution, jail, communicable disease, or (possibly) an adoring new friend.
Unless the object of your affection has a high COM, you need not roll more than once a day to avoid making a pass. If a specific character turns you down very firmly (e.g., a black eye or an arrest for sexual harassment) the GM may allow you a bonus on further rolls . . .
Note also that a Lecherous person may change his or her standards of attractiveness if no truly attractive members of the opposite sex are available!
Odious Personal Habits -5,-8, -10 points
You behave, some or all of the time, in a fashion repugnant to others. The worse your behavior is, the more bonus points. You must specify the behavior when the character is first created, and work the bonus out with the GM. Some samples: Body odor, constant scratching or tuneless humming might be worth -5 points apiece. Constant bad puns or spitting on the floor would be worth -8 points apiece. -10-point habits are possible, but are left to the imagination of those depraved enough to want them.
You were born poor, relative to the norm of your culture, or lost your money somehow. You start with only a fraction of the equipment allowance normal for a beginning character, and your income is limited.
Sense of Duty -5, -8, -10, -12 points
This is different from a real Duty. A real Duty, like military service, can be enforced upon you. A Sense of Duty comes from within. It is not the same as Honesty. A dishonest person may still have a sense of duty. Robin Hood was dishonest; he stole! But he felt a strong sense of duty, both toward his men and toward the poor folk he met.
If you feel a sense of duty toward someone, you will never betray them, abandon them when they're in trouble, or even let them suffer or go hungry if you can help. If you are known to have a sense of duty, others will react to you at a +10 to trust you in a dangerous situation. If you have a sense of duty, and go against it by acting against the interests of those you are supposed to feel duty toward, the GM will penalize you for bad role-playing.
The player defines the group to which the character will feel the sense of duty, and the GM sets its point value. Examples: only toward close friends and companions (-5 points); toward a nation or other large group (-8 points); toward everyone you know personally (-10 points); toward all humanity (-12 points)
Shyness -5,-8,-12 points
You are uncomfortable around strangers. This disadvantage comes in three grades: Mild, Severe and Crippling. You must role-play your shyness! This disadvantage can be "bought off" one level at a time by spending experience points.
Mild Shyness: Somewhat uncomfortable around strangers, especially assertive or attractive ones. -05 on any skill that requires you to deal with the public - in particular, Acting, Carousing, Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, Leadership, Merchant, Politics, Savoir-Faire, Sex Appeal, Streetwise and Teaching. -5 points
Severe Shyness: Very uncomfortable around strangers, and tends to be quiet even among friends. -10 on any skill that requires you to deal with the public. -8 points
Crippling Shyness: Avoids strangers whenever possible. Incapable of public speaking and may not learn any skill that involves dealing with the public; -20 on default rolls on such skills. -12 points
Stubbornness -5 points
You always want your own way. Make yourself generally hard to get along with - role-play it! Your friends may have to make a lot of Fast-Talk rolls to get you to go along with perfectly reasonable plans. Others react to you at -10.
Vow -1 to -12 points
You have sworn an oath to do (or not to do) something. This disadvantage is especially appropriate for fanatics. Note that whatever the oath, you take it seriously. If you didn't, it would not be a disadvantage. The precise value of a vow is up to the GM, but should be directly related to the inconvenience it causes the character. Some examples:
Trivial vow: -1 point (a quirk). Always wear red; never drink alcohol; treat all ladies with courtesy; pay 10% of your income to your church.
Minor vow: -5 points. Vow of silence during daylight hours; vegetarianism; chastity. (Yes, for game purposes, this is minor).
Major vow: -8 points. Use no edged weapons; keep silence at all times; never sleep indoors; own no more than you can carry.
Great vow: -12 points. Never refuse any request for aid; always fight with the wrong hand; hunt a given foe until you destroy him.
If you make a "vow of poverty," you may not also take points for being dead broke. Neither may you make a vow not to kill and then take points for Cannot Kill pacifism ... and so on.
Most vows end after a specified period of time. You must buy off a vow's point value when it ends. If a character wants to end a vow before its stated time, the GM may exact a penalty.
More to follow...