Author Topic: Complications and Passions (Fantasy Craft)  (Read 803 times)


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Complications and Passions (Fantasy Craft)
« on: February 20, 2012, 10:40:37 PM »
I posted this in the Fantasy Craft sub forum but I figured I'd post all the details here.

Passions are three things that are very emotionally powerful to a character. One is rage inducing, the second causes fear, and the last one is something that brings out the noblest aspects of the character. For example one character might have rage: authority figures, fear: failing in my duties, noble: protecting the elderly. So when one of these comes up the character would get an action die that they had to use immediately on something related to the passion. If it was the rage passion the die must be used on an aggressive action towards the cause of that rage, whether it be an attack, intimidation, or breaking down a door. The fear passion die can be used after making a resolve check to flee or remove the problem, could be used to shut a door something is holding open, climb a cliff, or lie to avoid getting caught. Noble is a little more nebulous. So long as the goal of the skill check is related to the noble passion, it could be used for any of the above examples. Every pc or villain would have one of each passion.

Complications are negative character traits that give your character more stat points at the beginning of the game. They include allergies, ugliness, anger issues, and an obsession with finding a foe. There are two kinds of complication, minor and major. An example of the difference between the two is that with the branded complication (which would give reviled to the character) minor would only affect those in the know, while major would mean that just about everyone would be affected and know what got the character the branded complication.  For FC I was thinking I'd give 1 attribute points for a minor complication, and 2 for a major. A character could take a maximum of 3 complications. The list of complications are below.

Certain things mess with your body something fierce. A minor allergy might cause only a rash or a sneezing fit. A major allergy means that a bee sting, shrimp dinner, or a peanut butter sandwich might leave you pushin’ up daisies.
Penalty: Pick an allergy. As a Minor Trait, your reaction is minor (hay fever, rash, sneezes) and you will suffer a –2 penalty to your Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution) for all actions in its presence, at least until you take medication. As a Major Trait, you suffer a life-threatening reaction to the substance, and you take d4 points of Subdual damage each turn. You likely carry an emergency injection to use in these situations, which will stop the damage in d4 turns.

Sex might not be the only thing on your mind, but it definitely ranks up there at the top. You’re always chasing skirts (or tight pants) and looking to find intimate companionship whenever possible.
Penalty: You’ll make a pass at almost any person of your sexual preference and you don’t put up any barriers when someone is coming on to you. This can cause a –2 Skill penalty to Impress based actions when the other party is offended by your advances. You also suffer a –2 penalty when attempting to resist the wiles of someone who is your “type.”

You lost an arm or a leg, either in the war or in an accident. Doctors weren’t able to sew it back on, and you can’t afford a fancy magic replacement. You might have a prosthetic device, but it’s utilitarian, meant to get the job done and nothing more.
Penalty: You are missing either an arm or leg. If you lack an arm, you can’t perform any action that requires the use of two hands (such as firing a bow). Actions that usually take two hands (opening the lid of a jar of pickles) suffer a –2 penalty. If you don’t have a leg, you make use of crutches, a cane or a crude prosthetic to walk. Your base movement is reduced to 5 feet per turn, and you suffer a –4 penalty on movement actions.

You're really not all that impressive. Sometimes you manage to pull an ace out of your sleeve, but not nearly as often as the protagonist of a story.
Penalty: The maximum number of action dice you can have at one time is reduced by 1.

You suffer a medical condition known as hemophilia or you take blood thinners for another medical condition. Your blood doesn’t clot like most folk’s blood, so try not to get cut, shot, or stabbed.
Penalty: If you suffer lethal damage, you’ll gain the Bleeding condition until the bleeding is stopped (Medicine skill check).

Could be you’ve been blind since birth or since a terrible accident. Either way, you have to rely on your remaining senses to get around. You might have a trained animal to assist you, though its training has limits and you are responsible for its care.
Penalty: Your character has difficulties moving in unfamiliar surroundings and suffers a –4 Skill penalty on any action that normally depends on vision. (The GM can mitigate this for certain actions, as blind individuals can become surprisingly competent at many tasks.) The penalty is doubled to –8 for any attempt at ranged combat. Because you’ve learned to rely on other senses, you gain +4 bonus to hearing and touch based Notice checks.

You are a bad, bad person and everyone knows it.
Penalty: You’ve got a bad reputation—fairly earned or not—in your home region. You suffer a –2 Skill penalty to any social interaction when the story of your terrible misdeeds comes into play. As a Major Trait, virtually everyone in the realm has heard bad things about you and the penalty applies almost all the time. You suffer no penalty when dealing with folks who know you personally, or those who feel you got a raw deal.

Your therapist told you that you have anger management issues— right before you punched out his lights. Your fuse is short, and violence tends to ensue wherever you go.
Penalty: You’re ready for a fight at the slightest provocation. You can’t walk away from insults or taunts. You suffer a –2 Skill penalty to all peaceable social actions with even a hint of tension as well as to any attempts to resist the Taunt action. As a Major Trait, any time you suffer lethal damage you go completely berserk, concentrating only on taking down the fool who hurt you— until someone else tags you, then you switch to that poor fellow.

You live by a set of principles and you will not deviate from them without a damn good reason. And sometimes not even then! Not only are your principles likely to get you in trouble, people who know you can use your predictable behavior against you.
Penalty: As a Minor Trait, pick a credo that will get you into minor trouble. Examples: You will always defend a lady’s honor, you never run from a fight. As a Major Trait, your credo is a sure fire way to put yourself in danger. Examples: you never leave a man behind; the Captain goes down with the ship; you always protect the weak.

You tend to freeze up when bullets start flying or fists start swinging. Your paralysis may come over you because you’re afraid or because you have no idea what to do. Either way, it takes you a moment to collect yourself when violence breaks out.
Penalty: When combat begins, you are unable to take any actions for d2 turns. You may spend onw action die to shake it off. As a Major Trait, you are helpless for d4 turns and you can’t use action dice to act sooner.

You are a firm believer in living to fight another day. You have no desire to be a Big Damn Hero. When a fight breaks out, so do you— in a cold sweat.
Penalty: When danger strikes, you look for the nearest exit. You suffer a –2 Skill penalty on all combat actions in which you are in danger and an equal penalty on any action to resist fear, intimidation, torture, or other threats. You will fight when backed into a corner— unless there’s some way you can crawl through the wall.

You’re a goddamn bull running amok in Society’s rose garden. No matter what your social station, you prefer to tell it like is— using lots of colourful words in various languages. You don’t care much about normal pleasantries. If you’re sharpening your favourite knife at the dinner table, you’ll hock a loogie on the blade right then and there.
Penalty: You cuss, put your elbows on the table, spit on the sidewalk, and engage in other crude behavior. You suffer a –2 Skill penalty on Impress based actions whenever refined social behavior is called for.

You live in a state of perpetual poverty. Your pockets have holes the size of cruisers. If you have money, you will immediately spend it.
Penalty: You will never have any measurable amount of wealth. When taking this Complication, cut your normal starting silver in half. You must spend all that you have left immediately, buying whatever you think you must have, whether you need it or not. Because of your debts, you must give up one-half of all your income the first day in a town, outpost, or sign of civilization. Suffer a -2 penalty to prudence. This can take you below 0, but being below 0 has no additional penalties aside from having to spend additional lifestyle to get a positive prudence rating.

You have made yourself a dangerous enemy—  someone who’ll go to great lengths to either capture or kill you.
Penalty: Someone is out to get you. You don’t have to specify the nature of your nemesis, though your personal background may provide you or the GM with ideas. Your enemy might be extremely powerful and dangerous, posing a direct threat every 3 to 5 adventures, at the GM’s discretion. You’ll never be completely free of the danger until you buy off this Complication—so even if you think you’ve gotten rid of your enemy, the threat remains in one form or another at the discretion of the GM. For example, if you kill a major enemy, his brother or best friend will swear vengeance and take up the hunt.

You’ve lost the ability to hear. You can sign and read lips. Your ability to speak may or may not be impaired.
Penalty: You cannot hear anything and automatically fail any Notice based action involving sound. As an advantage, you are immune Bang damage, and you might be able to tell what people at a distance are saying by reading their lips. You can understand sign language and receive a +2 bonus to any use of the Notice Skill for reading lips.

One of your five senses is fried. Could be a chronic stuffy nose, bad eyesight, poor hearing, or desensitized skin. Whichever it is, best not rely on that sense in a tight spot.
Penalty: Pick one of the five senses: Smell, Touch, Sight, Taste, or Hearing. You suffer a –2 penalty to any Notice check utilizing that sense. You may take this Trait more than once during character creation, choosing a different sense each time.

A sucker is born every minute, and here you are. You believe what people tell you, whether it’s a get-rich quick scheme, sob story, or other load of crap.
Penalty: You generally believe what you’re told. (At least the character does) In situations where you are attempting to distinguish the truth from lies, you suffer a –4 penalty.

You think you’re so damn clever that you invariably leave a token, clue, or some other mark as a calling card at the scene of a crime. You want everyone to be able identify and admire your handiwork.
Penalty: You consistently leave some sort of identifying clue at the scenes of your crimes. The clue doesn’t necessarily have to lead straight back to you and it might not always be obvious, but it could help someone track you down, or allow someone to frame you by committing crimes, then leaving your calling card.

You’ve got a motto: “Anything not nailed down is mine. And anything I can pry loose ain’t nailed down.”
Penalty: If some piece of pretty catches your fancy, you’ll try to take it— even if committing the theft is a really dumb move. You don’t steal out of greed, but out of compulsion.

You lie like an Oriental rug. It’s your nature to weave tall tales and tell wild stories to friends and foes. You will lie even when the truth might favour you— you just can’t help yourself.
Penalty: You are a compulsive liar. Good luck getting those who know you to believe a word you say. You suffer a –4 Skill penalty to all Impress based actions in such situations.

Money is the root of all happiness, as far as you’re concerned. You might get stupid if the money is good enough.
Penalty: You will take almost any opportunity to acquire money. Doesn’t matter if you’re dirt poor or filthy rich—what you have will never be enough. Your personal ethics become a mite flexible if the payoff is big enough. You will sell out your friends, your crew, even your dear old mother who knits such cunning hats.

You look up to one person, living or dead. That person can do no wrong in your eyes. You work hard to emulate him or her.
Penalty: You attempt to emulate your hero in dress and speech and will go to great lengths to feel physical connections to this person. (You might work hard to see him in person, for example, or visit the town of her birth.) This Trait doesn’t always endear you to people, sometimes causing a –2 Skill penalty to Impress actions when in the company of those who aren’t as enthralled with your hero as you are.

You’re addicted to a substance— be it alcohol, tobacco, or some type of drug. You must get your fix on a regular basis or suffer serious problems.
Penalty: As a Minor Trait, you’re either addicted to something not immediately dangerous (cigarettes, painkillers) or you have your problem somewhat under control (a “functioning” alcoholic). You must get a daily fix of your habit or suffer a –2 penalty to all Attributes for one week or until you get your fix. As a Major Trait, your problem is more serious. You are abusing a dangerous substance or have a severe drinking problem. Your addiction interferes with everyday life, your relationships with people, and might possibly get you killed. If you go into withdrawal, the penalty is –4 to all Attributes for two weeks or until you get your fix. Note that you cannot “quit” your habit until you buy off this Complication, and when you do have the points necessary to do so, you’ll have to go through a long withdrawal period (determined by the GM).

Someone in your past gravely wronged you. From that incident a desire for revenge has become one of your central life goals. This may be as serious as your target having killed your family and you seek to do the same, or it may simply be a very strong rivalry between two individuals.
Penalty: Designate a character from your past for your ire. Whenever an opportunity to hinder your opponent in some way presents itself you will jump at the chance. There are few thngs you will not do to harm your target, or to find out information about ways to harm them.

You have a delicate constitution. You don’t generally deal well with threats to your health.
Penalty: You suffer a –2 penalty to any attempt to resist the effects of alcohol, diseases, environmental hazards, and poison.

Certain folks known to you can count on you no matter what— be they crew, war buddies, childhood friends, family, or fraternity brothers. You will do anything for their well-being, even it means going the extra mile— across Necromancer land.
Penalty: Pick a group that can count on your loyalty. You will do anything short of sacrificing your own life to help and protect them (and you might even do that). With the GM’s permission, you can be loyal to an individual— provided this person is another Player Character or an NPC who is a constant presence in the campaign.

There’s something distinct about you that makes most folk remember you. You are easy to recognize or pick out of a crowd. This could be an unusually large nose, a bushy beard, a thick accent, peculiar mannerisms, striking beauty, recognizable scars, tattoos, etc.
Penalty: You’re easily identified. Others gain a +2 Notice bonus when attempting to spot you or recognize your likeness.

You can’t speak. You can communicate to others only through sign language and writing.
Penalty: You don’t suffer any penalties to actions, though you must make use of non-verbal communication to get your point across. Whenever this causes you significant challenges, the GM should reward you with some XP.

You don’t believe in solving disputes through violence— either because of religious conviction or the way your mama raised you. You are only willing to engage in violence only under the most dire of circumstances.
Penalty: You will fight only for your own survival or in situations where there is no other choice. When you are forced to fight, you’re not very good at it, and you suffer a –2 penalty to any combat actions.

You’ve got a bold streak as wide as the Rim. You don’t think you’re smarter, stronger, and tougher than everyone else in the universe— you know you are! Some term you “cocky,” but you know that a person as wonderful as you are should be this confident and capable.
Penalty: You know that you’re up for any challenge. You’ll run, not walk, into deadly altercations. You’ll pick a fight even when you’re outnumbered. You’ll bet all the credits you have on a single throw of the dice. You’ll risk attempting a dangerous action even if you’re not the least bit skilled at it.

A spinal cord injury nearly ended your life. You do not have the use of your legs, and spend most of your life sitting in a wheelchair.
Penalty: Without mechanical (or friendly) assistance, you can crawl at a speed of only 2 feet per turn. In a manual wheelchair, your base movement is 5 feet and you suffer a –4 penalty to movement actions. You might have difficulty in certain situations, such as going up or down staircases or crossing uneven terrain. You can use ranged weapons without penalty, but suffer a –4 penalty when fighting hand-to-hand.

Something scares the shit out of you. Just the mention of this object sends a shiver up your spine, causes your knees to buckle, and your gut to clench. You fall to pieces when having to deal with it.
Penalty: Specify your phobia. The object of your fear is either uncommon and you have an extreme reaction to it (going to pieces at the sight of a corpse), or your phobia is more common (fear of needles, guns, heights, spiders, etc.). You become shaken in its presence, suffering a –2 penalty on all actions.

You never met a pot roast you didn’t like.
Penalty: As a Minor Trait, you are somewhat overweight. You suffer a –2 Attribute penalty to all Athletics, and Acrobatics based actions (except swimming). As a Major Trait, you are morbidly obese. The penalty increases to –4 and base movement is reduced to 5 feet per turn. You also suffer a –2 Skill penalty to all Sneak and Disguise based actions.

You flat-out can’t stand a certain group of people. Your dislike could be ideological, socioeconomic, regional, racial, religious, or what have you. You have a hard time hiding your aversion to such folk.
Penalty: Pick a group of people based on race, religious views, region, which side they fought on during the war, etc. For whatever reason, you choose to dislike these people as a group. (They must be people with whom you could have social or business dealings, so you can’t choose monsters) You will avoid interacting with them whenever possible, and if it’s not possible, you won’t be able to hide your disdain for them. You might even go out of your way to insult them. All Influence-based social interactions with the object of your prejudice suffer a –2 Skill penalty.

You carry with you an item, or set of items, that hold great sentimental value for you. It could be a family heirloom, or just a shiny rock that that off kilter brain of yours has taken a liking too.
Penalty: If the item, or one of the items in the set, has been lost, stolen, or generally just removed from your possesion you receive a -2 penalty to all actions that do not DIRECTLY relate to retrieving the lost article(s).

You’ve either missed a few meals or else you’ve got a freakish metabolism, because you’re the proverbial skin-and-bones. You run around in the shower to get wet.
Penalty: You’re skinny. You suffer a –2 penalty to all Athletics based actions.

There’s just some things that you’re not good at and you’re never gonna be. Best accept that and move on.
Penalty: Choose one class Skill. It costs 2 skill points to buy 1 rank in this skill. (This applies to advancement only, not character creation.) You also suffer a –2 Skill penalty any time you try to use it.

You are a sensitive flower. You have an extremely low tolerance for pain and if you stub your toe, you will carry on like you’ve been stabbed through the gut.
Penalty: You take 1 additional point of Stress damage every time you take any damage at all. You also must succeed a DC 15 Will save to keep from weeping and wailing whenever you suffer any lethal damage whatsoever.

If you had two coins to rub together, you’d stick ‘em in your mouth and pray for lockjaw. Some call you miserly or a tightwad, but you consider yourself practical and thrifty.
Penalty: No matter how rich you are, you never part with money you don’t have to. You buy offbrand merchandise, haggle down shopkeepers, stash cash in your boot. Charitable causes don’t interest you, and only reliable friends will ever be considered for a loan— with interest, of course. Suffer a -2 penalty to panache, this can take you below 0, but being below 0 has no additional penalties aside from having to spend additional lifestyle to get a positive panache rating.

Normally considered a virtue, honesty is not always the best policy— especially in diplomacy, business, or bars.
Penalty: You speak the truth without regard for other people’s feelings, or the circumstances involved. You might consider telling a falsehood only in dire emergencies, and even then you suffer a –2 Skill penalty to Bluff based actions, as your lie is written all over your face.

You avoid black cats, dodge around ladders, and refuse to pick up a mirror for fear you’ll drop it. You believe in omens and harbingers of luck—good and bad. You don’t take any chances. If you spill the salt, you cast a pinch over your shoulder while counting backwards from five.
Penalty: You have a wide set of superstitious beliefs that affect your everyday behavior. Such beliefs can be self-fulfilling prophecies, however. Whenever you receive an omen of bad luck, you receive a –2 penalty to all of your rolls for a set of actions related to the omen (determined by the GM). Fortunately the reverse is true as well; when you receive an omen of good luck, the GM will determine a group of actions to receive a +2 bonus.

Lady Luck hates your guts. For as long as you can remember, things never have gone smooth for you.
Penalty: Bad luck follows you around. Coincidences never work in your favor. Once per session, the GM can force you to re-roll an action and take the lowest of the two results. As a Major Trait, the GM can make you re-roll two actions per session.

Life would be a fair sight more convenient without the horrible dreams and visions that overtake you on occasion. These flashes might be residual memories of a traumatic incident from your past, messages from a disturbed conscience, or horrible recurring nightmares. You don’t even always know what will trigger them, but they leave you shaken and unsettled.
Penalty: Once per game session, some trigger (determined by the GM) will cause you to suffer a traumatic flash. These episodes leave you incoherent, shaking, and screaming—rendering you incapable of action for d2 turns and causing you to suffer a –2 penalty on all actions for the rest of the scene. As a Major Trait, these flashes happen twice per session.

You’re not paranoid. You know for a fact that everyone is out to get you! You spend most of your time watching your back. You trust no one except your oldest and dearest friends (and you trust them only to a point).
Penalty: You don’t trust anyone, especially folk you don’t know. If people are whispering, they’re whispering about you. You don’t believe it when people try to assure you that they’re on your side. You are convinced that someone is watching you all the time. You suffer a –2 Skill penalty to all Impress based actions in social situations.

Either you were born ugly or you’ve managed to make yourself look mighty hideous through scars, burns, or whatnot.
Penalty: You’re unattractive, and suffer a –2 penalty to Appearance.

Blood oozing from a cut finger makes your knees go wobbly. You faint at the sight of a corpse. Therefore, you tend to avoid those situations where such is likely to occur.
Penalty: You cannot stand to be in the presence of blood, entrails, and dead bodies. You suffer a –2 penalty to all rolls until either the source of your discomfort is removed or until you leave on your own. As a Major Trait, you also have to make a DC 15 Will save for each five minute interval you are exposed to gory scenes or suffer 1d4 stress damage.

So any suggestions?
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Re: Complications and Passions (Fantasy Craft)
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 12:26:31 AM »
Just for reference, the post I made in the other thread.  I like some others posted, prefer to award in game rather than during the "build" process. I would much rather hand out Action Dice than attribute bonuses as it leads to more min-maxing. Thus...

I use a concept based on Aspects from FATE.  Here is a very brief summary.

Facets are short word or phrase “tags” that can be used by the GM to award or acquire Action Dice (AD) due to roleplaying of the characters. They are meant to help define the character as well as give a concrete reward method for roleplaying the more dramatic points of a character.

Concept Facet: A short phrase that summarizes your role in the world and what makes them unique from others of similar origins and species. Basically, What and Who are you?
•   Examples: Perky Sidekick, Dabbling Sorcerer, Stalwart Champion, Rampaging Warlord, Sage of the City Watch, Cat Burglar, Pirate, Barbarian Warrior, Tribal Shaman
•   AD Awarded: Anytime a player roleplays well or makes decisions supporting his character concept.

Motivation Facet: “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father: Prepare to die.” - The Princess Bride - William Goldman
Why does your character do what he does? What set him on this path of adventure? Why does he feel the need to explore ruins and kill strangers? What motivates the adventurer? The real meat and bones of a character comes from their motivations. It helps to define not only who the character is, but also what the character wants. It flavors the character’s choices in terms of what they have done, as represented by the paths of class and skills chosen. It also helps determine how the character will react to individual situations, as well as what long term goals will be set.
•   Examples: Acceptance, Bored on the Farm, Destiny, Duty, Freedom Fighter, Power, Survival
•   AD Awarded: Anytime a player acts to further their motivation earns an Action Die; however, acting directly against their motivation grants the GM an Action Die.

Complication Facet: In addition to a Concept and a Motivation every character has some sort of Complication that is a part of their life and story. If the character’s Concept is what or who the character is, their Complication is the answer to a simple question: What complicates the character’s concept? Complications have many forms, though they can generally be broken up into two types: internal conflicts/personal struggles, and external problems. Both threaten the character or are difficult to contain. Whatever form the trouble takes, it drives the character to take action, voluntarily or not. A character that does not have some sort of recurring issue is going to have a much harder time finding motivation, and that sort of character doesn’t tend to have many reasons to go out and do the crazy things that make for adventure.
•   Examples:
   •   A government official or scholar that doesn’t believe in bureaucracy
   •   A mage with a dark streak that has to fight against the temptations of easy power
   •   You have a family that your enemies know about
   •   You are wanted by the law in a specific location
•   AD Awarded: Anytime a player accepts the GM’s offer to trigger your complication as a plot complication.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 12:28:20 AM by Khaalis »


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Re: Complications and Passions (Fantasy Craft)
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 09:11:00 AM »
I like those facets. Not sure if I'll use them over complications but it does give me something to think about.  However, it sounds like facets are already included in how I do character creation. I sit down with a player and talk through their character. I start with 2 desciptors and an "archetype," which maps pretty much to the concept facets, like "resilient, paranoid, veteran," and then I tease apart each of those aspects. I really like the motivation facet though because I find that that is something players have the most difficulty with. They can give themselves complications no problem, but deciding WHY they do what they do is an issue.
I was wondering, where on the FC character sheet do you record these details? I'm guessing the non-combat feats/abilities section.

I forgot to mention in the first post that usually I award a little additional XP based on how often complications come up. Say about 10 to 20 XP every time a complication interferes with a character's actions because the player CHOOSES to play into the complication instead of avoiding it.
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Re: Complications and Passions (Fantasy Craft)
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 12:05:41 PM »
I too quite like those Facets and they will be joining my table.

Korik1 - I've tried various Complications/Draw Backs/etc and have always found it difficult to balance out against the bonus it gives. I can easily see a fighter type grabbing Stingy, Unappealing and Amorous just to bump up their primary stat by taking things that do not really affect them/Gives a bonus for 'playing their character'

Going with something abstract and player driven for and getting an AD for it is a very elegant and simple way to have them in for the players that want a 'hook' and it holds back min/max players as well.