The Following are all hindrances available in the game.
Allergy (Minor or Major)
You get teary eyed and start spewing snot regularly. You’ve got an allergy to some relatively common substance.
Minor: The good news is your allergy isn’t fatally dangerous. Whenever you encounter the allergen, make a vigor roll if successful you suffer no effects on a failure you suffer -2 to all trait rolls while suffering from the allergen.
Major: Your allergy is potentially fatal. Whenever exposed, you make a Vigor roll at -2. If you succeed, treat the exposure as above.
Otherwise, you go into shock and begin to convulse. Unless properly medicated, you suffer one fatigue every five minutes until you die.
All Thumbs (Minor)
Some people just aren’t good with modern devices. Characters with this drawback suffer a –2 penalty to the Repair skill at all times. In addition, when a hero uses a mechanical or electronic device, a roll of 1 on his skill die (regardless of his Wild Die) means the device is broken. The damage usually requires a Repair roll at –2 and 1d6 hours to fix.
An anemic character is particularly susceptible to sickness, disease, environmental effects, and fatigue. He subtracts 2 from all Fatigue checks such as those made to resist poison and disease. (See page 86 for more information on Fatigue and the various hazards that lead to it.)
Anger Issues (Minor)
You may be even tempered most of the time, but when someone really pisses you off it can affect your judgment. It may be specific things that set you off, or you may just carry a big chip on your shoulder. This is primarily a role playing Trait, though when you’re seeing red the GM may impose a penalty of -2 to trait rolls until you calm down.
Your hero doesn’t think he’s the best—he knows he is. Whatever it is—swordsmanship, kung fu, running—few compare to his skills and he flaunts it every chance he gets.
Winning just isn’t enough for your hero. He must completely dominate his opponent. Anytime there is even a shadow of a doubt as to who is better, he must humiliate his opponent and prove he can snatch victory any time he wishes. He is the kind of man who disarms an opponent in a duel just so he can pick the sword up and hand it back with a smirk.
Arrogant heroes always look for the “boss” in battle, attacking lesser minions only if they get in the way.
Bad Eyes (Minor or Major)
Your hero’s eyes just aren’t what they used to be. With glasses, there’s no penalty and the Hindrance is only Minor. Should he lose his glasses (generally a 50% chance when he’s wounded, or no chance with a “nerd-strap”), he suffers a –2 penalty to any Trait roll made to shoot or Notice something more than 5” (10 yards) distant.
In low-tech settings where the hero cannot wear glasses, Bad Eyes is a Major Hindrance. He must subtract 2 from Trait rolls made to attack or notice things 5” or more away.
Bad Luck (Major)
Your hero is a little less lucky than most. He gets one less Benny per game session than normal. A character cannot have both Bad Luck and the Luck Edge.
Big Mouth (Minor)
Loose lips sink ships, the saying goes. Your hero’s mouth could drown an armada. Your character can’t keep a secret very well. He reveals plans and gives away things best kept among friends, usually at the worst possible times.
The individual is completely without sight. He suffers a –6 to all physical tasks that require vision (which is most everything) and –2 to most social tasks as he can’t “read” those he’s interacting with as well as others.
On the plus side, Blind characters gain their choice of a free Edge to compensate for this particularly difficult Hindrance.
Your hero never takes prisoners unless under the direct supervision of a superior. This can cause major problems in a military campaign unless his superiors condone that sort of thing. Your killer suffers –4 to his Charisma, but only if his cruel habits are known.
Some folks gather too much intelligence. This character personifies over-cautiousness. He never makes rash decisions and likes to plot things out in detail long before any action is taken.
You’re always drawn to the cause of the underdog, or maybe you just like to bite your thumb in the face of authority. Either way, you champion the causes that seem doomed or are otherwise unpopular. This is primarily a matter for role playing.
You’re a jailbird and likely nothing but trouble. You might be temporarily released to a work gang, on parole, or out for some other legitimate reason. Walk softly—most folks don’t like convicts. You take one step out of line, and you’re back in the brig. Discuss this Trait with the GM to determine exactly what it might mean for you, and whether it works at all in the context of the story.
Your hero isn’t as aware of his world as most others. He suffers –2 to Common Knowledge rolls.
Code of Honor (Major)
Honor is very important to your character. He keeps his word, won’t abuse or kill prisoners, and generally tries to operate within his world’s particular notion of proper gentlemanly or ladylike behavior.
Combat Paralysis (Minor or Major)
You’re a hazard to your team and your mission, and should stay the hell out of combat. You freeze up in tense situations. It could be fear, or merely indecision, but it stalls you.
Minor: Draw two action cards and take the lowest one.
Major: You don’t draw any cards you automatically go last.
Nobody ever confused you for high-society. You offend people as quickly as you meet them. You crack bad jokes, curse constantly, scratch inappropriate, or put people off some other way. Again, this is primarily a role playing hook. When you do try and play nice, subtract 2 from your charisma when dealing with people that find your crudity offensive.
It killed the cat, and it might kill your hero as well. Curious characters are easily dragged into any adventure. They have to check out everything and always want to know what’s behind a potential mystery.
Death Wish (Minor)
Having a death wish doesn’t mean your adventurer is suicidal—but he does want to die after completing some important goal. Maybe he wants revenge for the murder of his family, or maybe he’s dying from disease and wants to go out in a blaze of glory. He won’t throw his life away for no reason, but when there’s a chance to complete his goal, he’ll do anything—and take any risk—to achieve it.
This Hindrance is usually Minor unless the goal is relatively easily fulfilled (very rare).
Delusional (Minor or Major)
Your hero believes something that is considered quite strange by everyone else.
Minor: Delusions are harmless or the character generally keeps it to himself (the government puts sedatives in soft drinks, dogs can talk, we’re all just characters in some bizarre game, etc.).
Major: Delusion, he expresses his view on the situation frequently and it can occasionally lead to danger ( the government is run by aliens, hospitals are deadly, I’m allergic to armor, zombies are my friends).
Doubting Thomas (Minor)
Some people don’t believe in the supernatural until they’re halfway down some creature’s gullet. Doubting Thomas’s are skeptics who try their best to rationalize supernatural events. Even once a Doubting Thomas realizes the supernatural exists, he still tries to rationalize weird events, following red herrings or ignoring evidence.
Doubting Thomas’s suffer –2 to their Fear checks when confronted with undeniable supernatural horror.
Your adventurer is getting on in years, but he’s not quite ready for the nursing home. His Pace is reduced by 1, and his Strength and Vigor drop a die type to a minimum of d4, and cannot be raised thereafter.
On the plus side, the wisdom of his years grants the hero 5 extra skill points that may be used for any skills linked to Smarts.
Enemy (Minor or Major)
Someone out there hates the character and wants him dead. The value of the Hindrance depends on how powerful the enemy is and how often he might show up. A Minor Enemy might be a lone gunslinger out for vengeance.
A Major Enemy might be a supernatural gunslinger who wants your hero dead. If the enemy is one day defeated, the GM should gradually work in a replacement, or the hero may buy off the Hindrance by sacrificing an Advance.
Glory Hound (Minor)
You’ve got an eye out for the spotlight. You never pass up an opportunity to show others how impressive you are, even if it’s a stupid stunt. This is primarily a role playing Trait.
Greedy (Minor or Major)
Your miserly hero measures his worth in treasure. If a Minor Hindrance, he argues bitterly over any loot acquired during play. If a Major Hindrance, he fights over anything he considers unfair, and may even kill for his “fair share.”
Habit (Minor or Major)
Your warrior has an annoying and constant habit of some sort. Maybe she picks her nose, says “y’know” in every sentence, or chews gum like it’s going out of style.
Minor: Habit irritates those around her but isn’t dangerous. Your hero suffers a –1 Charisma.Major:
Habit is a physical or mental addiction of some sort that is debilitating or possibly even deadly. This includes drug use, chronic drinking, or perhaps even an addiction to virtual reality in a high-tech setting. A character who doesn’t get his fix must make a Fatigue check every 24 hours thereafter (see Fatigue on page 86). The first failed roll makes the character Fatigued, then Exhausted. The final result is a coma for hard drug use, or a bad case of the shakes for things like alcohol or VR. Medical care may ease the symptoms. Otherwise the victim must live with the penalties for 1d6 days. Afterward, the hero must buy off the Hindrance by sacrificing an opportunity to Advance or he eventually falls back into his dependency.
Hard of Hearing (Minor or Major)
Characters who have lost some or all of their hearing have this disadvantage. As a Minor Hindrance, it subtracts 2 from all Notice rolls made to hear, including awaking due to loud noises. A Major Hindrance means the character is deaf. She cannot hear and automatically fails all Notice rolls that depend on hearing.
This noble soul never says no to a person in need. She doesn’t have to be happy about it, but she always comes to the rescue of those she feels can’t help themselves. She’s the first one to run into a burning building, usually agrees to hunt monsters for little or no pay, and is generally a pushover for a sob story.
Things are going to work out for the best. Most people are generally good and honest. You have an unrealistically positive outlook on at least one major part of your life, and for the time being you haven’t been kicked in the teeth enough to shake it. This is primarily a role playing Trait, though when your optimism might affect your judgment the GM will add to the Difficulty or opposed roll.
Illness (Minor or Major)
Something’s wrong with you, some sickness that isn’t likely to disappear on its own. You may have some condition or syndrome, or you’re maybe even stuck with something that will eventually end your life.
Minor: You have a minor, permanent condition such as eczema or asthma that only bothers you infrequently. Or Your condition is something both more serious and frequently a problem, such as diabetes or early-stage multiple sclerosis. You probably are taking medication and special precautions to function normally, and even still are often affected. Subtract 2 from all trait rolls when your symptoms are active.
Major: Better kiss your ass goodbye, because you have a fatal illness. It may be cancer, or a severe case of lupus. With proper medical treatment you might be able to function most of the day (and possibly even hide your condition), but over time your symptoms will worsen. Discuss this Trait with your GM if you choose to take it, to determine the nature, treatment, and timeline of your illness. When your symptoms are active make a Vigor roll at -2 if you fail you are bedridden and unable to operate. If you succeed subtract 2 from all trait rolls.
Your hero cannot read. He can probably sign his name and knows what a STOP sign says, but can do little else. He also doesn’t know much about math either. He can probably do 2+2=4, but multiplication and the like are beyond him. Illiterates can’t read or write in any language, by the way, no matter how many they actually speak.
You are a little light with the fingers. You steal constantly, more out of compulsion than need. If you are caught, there’ll be hell to pay but that don’t stop you. This is mostly role playing, but if anyone is looking for an angle to use against you, your stealing is just the ticket.
A past wound has nearly crippled your hero. His basic Pace is reduced by 2 and he rolls only a d4 for running rolls. A character’s Pace may never be reduced below 1.
You are a goldbricker through and through. You hate hard work, and avoid it if at all possible. This is a role playing Trait.
Can’t believe a word that comes out of your pie hole. You enjoy telling tall tales, and constantly exaggerate. You lie even when you know it will get you into trouble. Most people view whatever you say with suspicion; they’ve been burned before. Primarily a role playing feature, subtract 2 to any roll convince someone that you are telling the truth. This Trait compels you to lie; it doesn’t make you particularly good at it.
You couldn’t outdrink an ensign’s grandmother. You can’t hold your liquor, and in general have a poor metabolism. Subtract 2 from vigor rolls to resist poison, disease, drugs, and so on.
Your character may not be a hero, but he’d give his life for his friends. This character can never leave a man behind if there’s any chance at all he could help.
You carry a psychological weakness for something, be it fine cigars or beautiful women or some other vice. Not an addiction, per se, but is a chink in the armor of your character and you may lie, cheat, or steal to get the object of your lust. This primarily a role playing Trait, though when confronted with temptation the GM may add 2 to the Difficulty or opposed roll.
This fellow is ill-tempered and disagreeable. No one really likes him, and he has trouble doing anything kind for anyone else. He must be paid for his troubles and doesn’t even accept awards graciously. Your character suffers –2 to his Charisma.
You stick out like a sore thumb. It might be your presence, your appearance, or your actions. Whatever it is, you are easily marked. Add +2 Difficulty of any rolls made to avoid being identified, or add it as a bonus to anyone else’s rolls to notice or remember you.
You’ve got no choice but to keep your trap shut. Whether born unable to speak, or stricken mute later in life, you can’t speak. You must use sign language or some other form of nonverbal communication to make yourself understood, though depending on why you are mute you might be able to make some unintelligible verbal sounds.
During calm, normal situations in which there is ample time to communicate, especially when with people who know you, the player may simply describe or speak for the character—however, if the situation makes quick communication an issue, rolls may be required for either communicating or understanding.
The roll can vary with the situation (for example, trying to sign something important while being bounced around in a damaged ship might be Smarts -2.
Particularly large people often have great difficulty in dangerous physical situations. Those who carry their weight well have the Brawny Edge. Those who don’t handle it very well are Obese. A character cannot be both Brawny and Obese.
An Obese hero adds 1 to his Toughness, but his Pace is decreased by 1 and his running die is a d4. Obese characters may also have difficulty finding armor or clothing that fits, squeezing into tight spaces, or even riding in confined spaces such as coach airplane seats or compact cars.
One Arm (Major)
Whether by birth or battle, your hero has lost an arm. Fortunately, his other arm is (now) his “good” one. Tasks that require two hands, such as Climbing, suffer a –4 modifier.
One Eye (Major)
Your hero lost an eye for some unfortunate reason. If he doesn’t wear a patch or buy a glass replacement (typically $500), he suffers –1 to his Charisma for the grotesque wound. He suffers –2 to any Trait rolls that require depth perception, such as Shooting or Throwing, jumping a ravine or rooftop, and so on.
One Leg (Major)
With a prosthetic, One Leg acts exactly like the Lame Hindrance, reducing Pace by 2 and running rolls are now a d4. Without a prosthetic, the character’s Pace is 2 and he can never run. He also suffers –2 to Traits that require mobility, such as Climbing and Fighting. A character with one leg also suffers a –2 penalty to his Swimming skill (and Pace).
In a society made up of only a few types of people, your hero isn’t one of them. An Indian in a Western town, an alien in a sci-fi game of human marines, or a half-orc in a party of elves, dwarves, and humans are all examples of outsiders.
Locals are likely to raise prices on the Outsider, ignore pleas for help, and generally treat him as if he’s of a lower class than the rest of their society. In addition to the roleplaying effects above, your hero’s Charisma suffers a –2 modifier among all but his own people.
There’s nothing out there your hero can’t defeat. At least that’s what he thinks. He believes he can do most anything and never wants to retreat from a challenge. He’s not suicidal, but he certainly takes on more than common sense dictates.
Pacifist (Minor or Major)
Your hero absolutely despises violence. Minor pacifism means he only fights when given no other choice, and never allows the killing of prisoners or other defenseless victims. Major Pacifists won’t fight living characters under any circumstances. They may defend themselves, but won’t do anything to permanently harm sentient, living creatures. Note that undeniably evil creatures, undead, demons, and the like are fair game. A Major Pacifist might also fight with nonlethal methods, such as with his fists. Such characters only do so when obviously threatened, however.
You are paralyzed from the waist down. You cannot walk, and may have trouble getting around even with assistance. You cannot perform actions like dodging, jumping, and running. Whenever attempting an action that is hindered, but not prevented, by your paralysis, subtract 4 from the trait roll.
You know they’re after you. Cylons, Colonial law, criminals, aliens—whoever they are, you’re worried about it all the time. You trust no one until they’ve proven themselves, and sometimes, not even then. Making friends is difficult. You know they just pretend to be your friend so they can stab you in the back! This is a role playing Trait, but it can create plenty of issues when you begin losing sleep and pushing people away.
Phobia (Minor or Major)
Phobias are overwhelming and irrational fears that stay with a hero for the rest of his life. Whenever a character is in the presence of his phobia, he subtracts 2 from all his Trait tests as a Minor Hindrance, and 4 if the fear is a Major Phobia. Phobias shouldn’t be too obvious—everyone should be afraid of vampires, for example, so it’s not a phobia—it’s common sense. Instead, the phobia usually centers on some random element the mind focused on during whatever encounter caused such a fright. Remember, phobias are irrational fears.
It’s said a fool and his money are soon parted. Your hero is that fool. He starts with half the usual money for your setting and just can’t seem to hang onto funds acquired after play begins. In general, the player halves his total funds every game week.
You judge a man by something other than who he is. You dislike a certain type of person, likely based on ideological, religious, political, or ethnic differences. In the universe of Battlestar Galactica, the most common prejudices are based on the differences between the Twelve Colonies; the different planets each have certain tendencies, and stereotypes are common.
Your hero has some minor foible that is usually humorous, but can occasionally cause him trouble. A swashbuckler may always try to first slash his initials on his foes before attacking, a dwarf may brag constantly about his culture, or a snobby debutante might not eat, drink, or socialize with the lower class.
You got a problem with authority and refuse to be coerced. You don’t like taking direction, sometimes disobeying orders solely because they’re orders. Depending on the situation, this could be grounds for a tongue-lashing or it could be considered mutiny. Either way, you are no stranger to the brig. This impacts role playing mostly, but when interacting with superiors you’ve butted heads with before, subtract 2 from your Charisma.
Your character is either very skinny, very short, or both relative to his particular race. Subtract 1 from his Toughness for his reduced stature.
You got the sense of humor and easy nature of a fire-breathing drill sergeant. You almost never laugh, smile, or approve of others doing so—the situation is too grim for that. This comes through primarily in role playing, but could result in a -2 charisma to those that like your actions.
This stubborn individual always wants his way and never admits he’s wrong. Even when it’s painfully obvious he’s made a mistake he tries to justify it with half-truths and rationalizations.
Certain actions have consequences, even if other folks don’t see the relation. If you do something and have a good day, you keep doing it. If something messes you up, you avoid it at all costs. You know everyone’s a skeptic, but that doesn’t bother you; you believe because you know its true. Role play this primarily, but your superstitions may make other people uncomfortable, or cause you to take extra time prepping for action.
There’s a right way and a wrong way. You do everything by the book. You won’t buck regs, and you try not to let others do so. This is mostly a matter for role playing, but it might cause social problems with those who don’t like your brown-nosing.
You never managed to wise up to the ways of the world. You may be wet behind the ears or just permanently naive, but you take people at their word way too often. This gets you in all kinds of trouble, but being careful isn’t your strong suit. This is a role playing hook. It also subtracts 2 from any roll to avoid being convinced of something, or to figure out if you are being lied to.
You ain’t right in the head. It could be stress, drugs, or other problems, or you could just be whacko. This affects you in several different ways—discuss the specifics with your GM. Possibilities include regular hallucinations (seeing snakes on your podium), the blurring of reality and a fantasy life (a lover who only exists in your mind), or the inability to perceive the world in the way that others do. Any sort of instability is off-putting. It creates a social stigma among those who know about it.
Minor: Subtract 2 from Charisma for those that are bothered by your instability.
Major: As above plus you must make a spirit roll to snap out of your hallucinations.
Unfortunately, this individual hit more than a few ugly sticks on his way down the tree of life. His Charisma is lowered by 2, and he is generally shunned by members of the opposite sex.
Vengeful (Minor or Major)
Your character always attempts to right a wrong he feels was done to him. If this is a Minor Hindrance, he usually seeks vengeance legally. The type and immediacy of his vengeance varies by character, of course. Some plot and scheme for months to extract what they see as justice. Others demand immediate results.
If this is a Major Hindrance, your character will kill to rectify his perceived injustice.
Vow (Minor or Major)
The character has a vow of some sort. Whether it’s Major or Minor depends on the Vow itself. Some may have Vows to particular orders or causes, to the Hippocratic Oath, to rid the world of evil, and so on. The danger in fulfilling the Vow and how often it might occur determines the level of the Hindrance.
Whatever the Vow, it’s only a Hindrance if it actually comes into play from time to time and causes the character some discomfort.
Wanted (Minor or Major)
Your hero has committed some crime in his past and will be arrested if discovered by the authorities. This assumes the setting actually has laws and police officers to enforce them.
The level of the Hindrance depends on how serious the crime was. A hero with numerous unpaid parking tickets (in a game where he might have to drive occasionally) has a Minor Hindrance, as does someone wanted for more serious crimes away from the main campaign area. Being accused of murder is a Major Hindrance in almost any setting.
You can’t stand the sight of blood—your own, or anybody else’s. You become ill, feeling nauseous and faint. When in the presence of blood, gore, or injury more serious than a paper-cut, subtract 2 from all rolls.
That’s some mouth you got. You can’t pass up an opportunity to crack wise, make fun, or pull some prank, even if it risks trouble. This comes through primarily in role playing.
Not everyone has ice water in his veins. Your hero is squeamish at the sight of blood and gore and terrified of coming to harm. He subtracts 2 from all of his fear-based Spirit checks.
Children are sometimes forced to go on dangerous adventures through unfortunate circumstances. Think carefully before choosing this Hindrance, for your youngster starts at a significant disadvantage.
Young heroes are generally 8–12 years old (in human years—adjust this for races with different aging paradigms).
They have only 3 points to adjust their attributes and 10 skill points. On the plus side, youths like these have a fair amount of luck. They draw one extra Benny at the beginning of each game session in addition to any additional Bennies gained from such things as the Luck or Great Luck Edges.
If the character should live long enough to mature, the Hindrance doesn’t have to be bought off, he’s already paid the price for the Hindrance by starting at a disadvantage. He stops getting the extra Benny when he reaches 18 years of age however (or the age of adulthood in your particular setting).