Perks Quirks and Defects

A work in progress.

A perk is a unique bonus. A defect is a unique penalty. A quirk is both in one. All three are here for new characters for two primary, overlapping reasons: to make characters feel unique and to lend to role-playing opportunities.
Each has a level of severity, minor moderate or major.
A few rules about perks, quirks and defects (hereafter referred to as traits). . .

  1. You must only choose these as befits your characters personality and backstory. Do not choose these for their numeric effects alone. Their loose nature does make them abusable. Suspected abuse may cause your character to suffer from spontaneous arrhythmic combustion (their heart will explode).
  2. They must be balanced. Each perk has a positive value, each defect a negative and quirks being neutral. For example, if your character has a minor perk, he must also take a minor defect to be in balance. If you wish to have a few minor perks for a more severe defect (or vice versa) you can calculate minors as having a value of one, moderates as two and majors as three.
  3. They should be taken in moderation. With the exception of quirks, each traits must have an opposing counterpart. So you can see how you can quickly become overloaded if you choose only a few. For this reason, a soft cap of four traits is in place. This is contestable, but have a good reason. For example, you can have 2 minor defects, a moderate perk and a major quirk at maximum (or any other combination within the other rules, notice how the values I just mention balance as stated in rule #2).
  4. Admire numbered lists whenever you get the chance.
  5. Don’t power-game or make characters based solely on a gimmick. Do feel free to use these traits to add depth and flavor to your character.

Currently, ideas are unsorted by price, and descriptions are brief. If you have interest in a particular trait, feel free to inquire about it. Definitions are loose and subject to change. Almost all of these require some backstory explaining on your part. You don’t get “Well-Liked” randomly, but you can get “Well-Liked” if you are the son of a very generous baron.


  • Fortune: Starting wealth is doubled. You just came into some money, and it is burning a hole in your pocket! Or, it was before character generation.
  • Well-Liked: A portion of the common folk think you’re a good person for some reason.
  • Destined: In certain, possibly undefined, circumstances the gods will you to succeed. Varies from mild to major. At least part of your destiny is protected. Maybe you are convinced you are the chosen one.
  • Lucky: +20 on critical rolls instead of +15, +2 to confirm critical hits. You live by your luck.
  • Wealthy: A renewable source of wealth keeps you living in luxury.
  • Loved by the People: As Well-Liked, but more severe. The common folk really like what you do, and may even lend aid here and there, or look the other way when appropriate.
  • Diplomatic Immunity: You are guarded against certain prominent local authorities. If this power is abused too much, local authorities will override the immunity, or the power that granted it to you will take it away and leave you to deal with the upset locals.
  • Pretty: Your looks tend to put certain people on your side. Particularly aesthetics and the shallow.


  • Misfortune: Starting wealth is halved. A poor upbringing or a bad hand of cards leaves you with second-hand gear.
  • Unliked: Opposite of Well-Liked. Many common folk think you to be bad news, and treat you as worse than a stranger. Very rarely does this end in direct confrontation, but you have been spit on more than once. Many have a default attitude of unfriendly towards you. Example: an unwanted race.
  • Illiterate: You read and write no languages. You may be limited to one language. If you lose two or more languages due to this, it is considered moderate, otherwise mild.
  • Mute: You speak no languages, but you can hear them, gesture and write with no problem.
  • Ugly: Your looks tend to put certain people off. Particularly aesthetics and the shallow.
  • Gremlins: Machines tend to stop working near you. At least when someone puts a crossbow to your head, you are pretty sure it won’t go off. Then again, things mostly break to hinder you, not help.
  • Cursed: In certain, possibly undefined, circumstances the gods will see to it you fail. Varies from mild to major. Includes family curses, and any curse you can pretty much think of from mythology. You may be a bit fatalistic, and convinced that the powers-at-be only keep you alive so they may prolong your suffering.
  • Anger Issues: When someone hits you, you have a lot of trouble letting them yield. When someone insults you, you have a lot of trouble letting it go. When things don’t go your way, you are kind of a jerk.
  • Sensitive: Anything that could be construed as offensive, definitely is. Unless rectified, you will brood over this for quite a while, and may even act foolishly due to this distraction. Wounds also tend to get you down a lot more than they should.
  • Misogynist/Misandrist/Misanthrope: Women, men, or people in general; for some reason you can’t stand one of those groups. You immediately start with an unfriendly attitude towards almost all of the members of that group until they prove themselves to not be “typical”. Example: Men are a bunch of lying macho pigs who just relentlessly punch things until they yield! This often presents as a bad attitude and abrasive personality.
  • Unlucky: -20 instead of -15 on critical failures. Severe failure occurs from missing a dc by 2 or more, instead of 5 or more.
  • Destitute: You have a debt or similar obligation that eats up much of your income.
  • Despised: As Unliked, but more severe. A large portion of the populace really doesn’t want you around at all. Threats are common, and being attacked isn’t exactly rare. The group which doesn’t like you has a default attitude of hostile.
  • Wanted: Varies in severity depending on what you are wanted for, how powerful and close the people that want to capture you are and what measures you have to go through in order to not be caught. Other than that, it’s quite self explanatory. You may be required to sever all previous ties at any given moment, use aliases and change disguises.
  • Dirty Foreigner: You do not know the local language. Not even an inkling.


  • Superstitious: Magic really puts you on guard. You may fear magic openly, or just be very cautious, but you certainly don’t trust it outright, and you sometimes see it where there really is none. Due to your paranoia pumping you full of adrenaline, on reflex saves versus any magical effect you roll twice and take the better. Due to paranoia scrambling your brain, on will saves versus any magical effect you roll twice and take the lower. Fortitude saves are not effected. On the plus side, you will be the last person to step onto a magical trap and blow your leg off. But you wouldn’t be in a wizard’s tower in the first place, would you?
  • Disbelief: Magic is real, sure, but it’s mostly a bunch of full of shit airheads pulling theatrics. Magic and mages in general tend to get on your nerves, and are entirely overrated in your opinion. “Sure, I wouldn’t turn down a healing spell,” you say, “but I wouldn’t turn down a cold drink either, and you don’t see the bartender expecting me to kiss his ass!” Due to your disbelieving attitude, magic doesn’t penetrate your thick skull as well. You roll twice and take the higher on all will saves versus magical effects and on any save type versus effects caused by the illusion school of magic. Due to your disbelieving attitude, you are a bit slower to get excited about fireballs flying in your direction. You roll twice and take the lower on all reflex saves versus magical effects.
  • Strangest Luck: You gain Lucky and Unlucky as described above. This counts as two traits that balance out for calculating total traits. You can also roll an extra d20 and take the higher to any d20 roll once per day or session (whatever favors you the most). By the same token, the DM will do the same, but he will force you to roll an extra d20 and take the lower. The bonus d20 can not be used on any single roll that is not easily repeatable. For example: knowledge checks are inapplicable, but attack rolls are fine. Very subject to DM restriction.
  • Magical Amplifier: (Under consideration for being overpowered) Your body radiates its own personal arcanum field, causing many spells cast upon you to be amplified. This probably also means your kidneys are full of arcanum and thus worth a load of money. Any time a spell does a numerical effect against you in which dice are involved, treat all the dice as if they yielded the maximum roll. You love healers, you hate evokers. You can not have any sort of magical ability with this trait.
  • Magical Anemic: (Under consideration for being overpowered): Your body somehow burns up all arcanum within reach of you, causing many magical effects to be greatly diminished. This will upset more than a few wizards that find their spell-component pouches empty after you bump into them. Any time a spell does a numerical effect against you in which dice are involved, treat all the dice as if they yielded the minimum roll. Healers are a bit disappointing, but you love the look of surprise on an evoker’s face as you shrug off his fireball effortlessly. You can not have any sort of magical ability with this trait.

Perks Quirks and Defects

TheBrokenWheel MrAtheist