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Old 01-23-2023, 06:20 PM   #1
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Checkered Past Disadvantage

This is a fun disadvantage I ripped off from Prince Charon in this post and reworked to be more generic.

Essentially, it allows the GM to assign an inconvenient Quirk when the trait makes its appearance. While the focus is on social quirks, they could just as easily be mental, physical, or supernatural, representing random minor ailments due to chronic disease or trivial supernatural problems.

Checkered Past
-5 points*

You have a past history of misbehavior which occasionally catches up with you.

When you buy this disadvantage, you must briefly describe the nature of your past misdeeds (e.g., “Misspent Youth,” “Reformed Criminal”) and choose a Frequency of Appearance as you would for an Enemy.

At the beginning of each play session, the GM should roll 3d against the Frequency of Appearance to see if your Checkered Past comes back to haunt you. If it does, he can invent a suitable Quirk based on your past which is applicable to your current situation and hinders your ability to function during the adventure. This might be an otherwise forgotten bad Reputation, a disreputable “friend” who is more trouble that he’s worth, an old Enemy who decides to attack you one last time, a Debt or Favor you can no longer avoid, a temporary Involuntary Duty, a recurrence of an otherwise dormant disease, or anything else the GM can imagine.

If you deal with the problem during play the Quirk goes away at the end of the game session. Otherwise, it persists until you successfully address it. The GM should keep track of temporary Quirks which emerge due to your Checked Past and permanent Quirks which are part of your character sheet. With the GM’s permission, you may replace an existing Quirk with an otherwise temporary Quirk which appears as a result of this trait.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 01-24-2023 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 01-23-2023, 08:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

Huh. Interesting. I like it.
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Old 01-24-2023, 10:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

+1!

Good job
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Old 01-24-2023, 11:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

I'm sure you could do some sort of horrible frankenstein build of existing disadvantages to get a similar effect, but this is quite elegant and the cost seems fair.
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Old 01-24-2023, 12:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
This is a fun disadvantage I ripped off from Prince Charon in this thread and reworked to be more generic.
I feel like you meant to link to a different thread, maybe?
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Old 01-24-2023, 02:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

Let me be the Devil's Advocate here ...

Doesn't this either turn out way too generous or stingy?

On the one hand it looks like getting [5] points in return for occassionally suffering [-1] of inconvenience.

On the other hand it looks like getting [5] in return for getting mired in a plethora of [-1] challenges.
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Old 01-24-2023, 03:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
I feel like you meant to link to a different thread, maybe?
Grr. You're right. It's a reworked version of your "Misspent Youth" disad. Corrected.
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Old 01-24-2023, 04:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
Doesn't this either turn out way too generous or stingy?
Possibly. Given that the advantage has had exactly zero playtesting it could go either way.

My reasoning for why it's not just "-1 point in problems for the cost of -5 points" is because when the problem shows up the GM assigns a quirk which specifically hinders the character during play. Compared to a typical quirk, which should only hinder a character on rare occasions, that makes those Quirks worth more than just -1 point.

Furthermore, if you don't deal with Quirks the GM dreams up as they occur they stick around, meaning that your disadvantage could effectively grow in severity.

Obviously, the disad is unbalanced for a one-shot or limited duration campaign. It's free points or a single Quirk for -5 points.

For a longer campaign having a ~50% chance of having some minor social annoyance crop up every game session for -5 points means that you "break even" in terms of Quirks vs. "free points" after about 5 sessions.

Before that happens, savvy players might want to buy down, or buy off the disadvantage. That's fair, because it represents specific actions designed to make a clean break with their former life. But making that clean break is a small disadvantage in itself, since those early earned character points would normally go to boost core adventuring skills or buy crucial new skills. "Oops, looks like Fred really needed to put a point in Riding (Llama) skill, but he couldn't do it because he was busy making apologies to his old mentor."

On the other hand, roleplayers might enjoy having small individualized social complications to overcome on a regular basis. In that case, they might retain the disadvantage long after a min-maxer would have bought it off.

The outright advantage of this trait is that you might be able to swap out existing Quirk if the GM comes up with a Quirk that more fun for the player or easier for the character to deal with. "Funny how my trick shoulder cleared up after my ex-fiancee showed up and tried to poison me with willow bark tea. She's nuts, but sometimes she's crazy like a fox."
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Old 01-25-2023, 07:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Checkered Past Disadvantage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
Doesn't this either turn out way too generous or stingy?
Yeah, but that'd apply to any advantage/disadvantage governed by some blend of frequency roll. It's all dependent on the GM staying on top of it all the same. I've wound up houseruling the point totals of a bunch of advantages and disadvantages, but I freely concede that the changes reflect what they're worth at my table. I've seen enough over the years to know that we all have wildly disparate notions as to what constitutes make-or-break/OMG-this-is-worthless advantages.
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