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Easy to Role-Play Character Flaws


Many times we get the hankering to play quirky characters. Some flaws thrown in the mix can really add some spice. A few of those flaws sort of absorb the character with them though, or at least seem to; Amnesia, for instance, has been a defining trait in many games I've played in. It's difficult to bring in other traits when that exists. This article will focus on four easy to role-play character flaws that can be added to any character without changing the overall personality; tiny quirks like sensitivities, phobias, ditziness and impulsiveness!

Sensitivities can be a blast to play at the right table. Some GMs might get a bit ruthless and play into them constantly, but as long as they are brought up only at selective times then they can be a lot of fun to explore. Characters can be sensitive about their looks, their abilities, their inabilities, and more. When role-playing someone with a strong sensitivity, they can even turn a situation where no one has said anything to play on their weakness into a defensive battle. One character might say "this kingdom has an incredibly broad palace," and the character with an insecurity about their weight could reply "is that a fat joke?!"

Phobias might also be fun to role-play. Again, if your GM plays too much on your character's flaw then it can really kill the fun. Striking the right balance with phobias might mean having more or fewer encounters with a certain phobia, and if this is an extreme fear then frequency should be something you work out with your GM. Phobias are stubborn and often tend to override logic. A character in the grips of their fear might not only forsake dignity but also inconvenience their friends. "What do you mean we have to kill all the spiders in the room before you'll enter? You're the fighter!"

Ditziness takes a certain finesse to role-play. That finesse is an utter preoccupation with when it would be most appropriate to bring it in again. Ditzy characters are forgetful, space important things like people's names and generally flit from topic to topic seamlessly (while everyone else may or may not follow). In all of my times as a gamer, no character trait has frustrated other players so much as ditziness: it's just so much fun to play with. People make up their own words now and then, especially when they can't think of the appropriate one. One ditzy character I played used words he heard everyone else using wrong and never caught on to why people were misunderstanding him. At one point, the paladin in the group was ready to duel him on his deities honor -- until he realized that my character wasn't deliberately mispronouncing his deities name repeatedly.

Impulsiveness is a lot of fun but can put your group in a lot of peril as well. The latter part is, of course, why it can be a lot of fun. All you'll want to keep in mind with this one is to try and avoid doing actions without your group's consent which: alter major events unpredictably, might lead directly to the death of a party member, and use too much of the parties accumulated wealth. Since each of these is open to interpretation (intentionally), impel away! Whether it's an affinity for shiny things, a short temper and quick fist or snap judgments and an even snappier tongue, impulsive characters rush in headlong where even fools hesitate. Happy flawing!
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Content copyright © 2013 by Leif Sutter. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Leif Sutter. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Leif Sutter for details.

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