Quirks are special qualities a player may use to customize his or her character. Quirks are completely optional during character creation, and a player only need make use of quirks if they wish to. Mind you, there's nothing stopping a body from developing quirks at a later date, should events during the course of game play call for their sudden imposition upon a character, whether in their favor or otherwise.
The quirks system is straightforward in nature. Each beneficial quirk a player wants will cost them one point, while a deleterious quirk they take on will give them one point. Some quirks may be taken in levels, like talents or contacts. A level two quirk costs (or grants) two points, while a level three quirk gives (or takes) four points. Still more quirks lack a level, but count as two quirks for these purposes (or two points).
If using systematic character generation, quirk points translate directly into the point-based system, whether adding or subtracting.
Alternately, if one's game uses the random character generation method, players may use quirks to buy or sell powers, talents, and contacts. One quirk point equals one contact, two quirk points equals one talent, and four quirk points equals one power - if listed with a price of one point per rank. If a power is listed as having a greater cost, multiply the quirk point cost by that value.
Image projection, for instance, would cost a character eight quirk points to purchase outright, as it counts as two powers. On the other hand, if a power has a flat cost, it may be purchased for a number of quirk points equal to its 'flat' cost. As an example, a battle tail could be acquired with but two quirk points, while an invulnerability would cost a player eight quirk points.
A player may take as many quirks as he or she likes, within reason. Furthermore, they cannot have a negative balance by the time they are done building their character. This is simple enough in the systematic character generation system, but with random character creation one could wind up with an imbalance. A character should 'break even', or at the very least not 'owe' for any beneficial quirks they've taken.
Note that some quirks may not be remotely appropriate for a given setting. Cyber-neurosis, for instance, wouldn't really be at home in a medieval campaign - or any other game where artificial implants aren't relatively common to the super-human populace. The Judge may override a quirk choice if it absolutely wouldn't fit in his or her game, or otherwise wouldn't at all affect the player taking it.
A description of every quirk follows. They are divided into beneficial and deleterious quirks of a physical, mental, and role-play nature.
Physical Quirks (beneficial)
Acceleration Tolerance: the character who possesses this quirk is able to accelerate much faster than is normal. Acceleration tolerance allows a character to add one area per turn to his or her acceleration rate without harm to themselves, though their gear may not be so lucky. This acceleration can come in any form, whether running, flying, or riding within a spacecraft.
Adrenal Surge: an adrenal surge is just that, a massive pulse of adrenaline that will give a body incredible strength for a short period of time. When triggered, the character with this quirk will enjoy a +1 CS boost to his or her Strength score for 1d10 turns. This boost can only be used once per day, and after it wears off this quirk inflicts a -2 CS penalty to one's Strength score for 1d100 turns.
Ambidexterity: an ambidextrous character enjoys the benefit of being equally adept in the use of both their left and right appendages. They may use either their left or right hand without penalty, whether writing, sculpting, or discharging a firearm. The advantage of ambidexterity can be a result of natural ability, or acquired through intense training - whether voluntary or otherwise.
Fast Healing: not quite regeneration, fast healing is representative of a character who can nonetheless recover from injuries far faster than is readily apparent. A fast healer may recover lost Health points as if their Endurance rank was +4 CS higher than is listed. While not (usually) enough to make a difference in combat, fast healing can drastically reduce one's medical down time.
Fighting Logistics: those characters who possess this quirk have a naturally tactical mind. After either fighting or observing an opponent in battle for ten full rounds (opponent's time, not that of the character with this quirk), the logistic fighter gains a +1 CS on all Fighting ACTION rolls concerning said opponent. This quirk may stack with similar powers, such as combat edge.
Gravity Tolerance: characters with gravity tolerance may move and function more easily under the influence of abnormal gravity conditions. For every level in gravity tolerance a character has, he or she can reduce the penalties of high (or low) gravity by -1 CS, including any crushing damage inflicted by such. Endurance ACTIONs prompted by gravitational variance are made with a similar bonus.
Hardiness: a hardy character can take a lot more punishment than is readily apparent, as compared to someone else of similar body type. The character with hardiness may add a 20 percent bonus to the sum of his or her physical ability scores when determining their Health point total. This bonus also applies to special powers that increase one's Health maximums (such as kinetic absorption).
Heightened Sense: not quite super senses, a heightened sense is nonetheless a sensory apparatus the character possesses that functions higher than his or her Intuition (alt) rank. Such heightened senses are so noted (heightened sense / smell, for example), and a character with one should make applicable Intuition ACTION rolls at a +1 CS whenever the sense is referenced in play.
High Pain Threshold: this quirk, as one might guess, makes a character highly resistant to pain. It grants its possessor a +2 CS to any Endurance ACTION roll required to resist the effects of pain, whether from injury or from pain-inducing effects, as well as a like bonus when checking against Stun results. A high pain threshold counts as two quirks (costs two points).
Hypermobility: those rare characters 'gifted' with hypermobility benefit from being what is commonly known as double jointed. Such characters benefit from a +1 CS on Agility ACTIONs called for regarding the joints in question, whether it just be one's fingers or their whole body, as well as applicable escape attempts. The only downside is that hypermobility is sometimes accompanied by arthritis (lameness) or weak bones.
Learned Resistance: through intense training or perhaps just unintentional, repeated exposure, the character with this quirk has developed a heightened resistance to a specific form of harmful stimuli. For each level of learned resistance a character has, he or she receives a +1 CS on any Endurance (res) or Psyche (will) ACTION roll to resist the chosen stimuli, whether it be drugs, poison, or even mind control.
Omnidexterity: similar in nature to ambidexterity, omnidexterity is the ability to use all of one's limbs equally well, assuming the physical ability to do so. This often assumes the presence of additional arms, tentacles, or whatever, but some entities (such as a sentient gorilla) might make equally good use of both hands and feet, for instance. Omnidexterity counts as two quirks (costs two points).
Rank Boost: this quirk is a direct way to enhance a character's ability score or power rank that the player finds lacking. This may apply to any physical or mental statistic, or applicable power rank, but not to one's Resources or Popularity score. Rank boost counts as two quirks when used with random character generation, but is redundant in the point-based character creation system (not allowed).
When used on powers with a cost that is greater than one, multiply the quirk point cost by the power's cost per rank when applying rank boost.
Strong Bones: a normal human character is assumed to have bones with a Typical (6) material strength. This quirk increases that material strength by +1 CS for each level taken, which has a potent benefit. A character with strong bones enjoys 1 CS of Damage Reduction against Blunt Attack damage that is of an intensity equal to or less than the material strength of their bone structure.
Sturdiness: a character with this quirk is allowed to calculate their Negative Health score as if their Endurance was +1 CS higher in rank. This generally results in a much higher Negative Health score, allowing a character to withstand more punishment while unconscious before automatically dying - particularly if said character's Endurance score is already high to begin with.
Tetrachromacy: tetrachromats possess four independent channels for conveying color information. As opposed to normal humans, who only have three, a tetrachromat can discern hues their trichromat counterparts can only imagine. Furthermore, they can see better in dim lighting conditions and when observing computer screens, and should receive a +1 CS vision bonus under these conditions.
Physical Quirks (deleterious)
Abnormal Attribute: individuals with an abnormal attribute just 'aren't right'. Something about them is clearly weird in an obvious fashion - not so much as to grant them any sort of special power, but such an attribute may be a side effect of any powers the character has. This can range from really big ears to extra fingers to a vestigial tail to hair that grows, say, a quarter inch per day.
Acceleration Intolerance: a character with this quirk is ill-equipped to accelerate very quickly. He or she can move fast, mind you, but it takes a good long time for them to get up to speed. Subtract one area per turn from this character's listed acceleration rate, as determined on Table 14, with a minimum acceleration rate of 1/2 an area per turn.
Addiction: an addict is someone who is currently, or was at one point in their life, physically addicted to some substance or another. Those who fall under this umbrella are susceptible to feeding their addiction under stress, and must pass a Psyche (will) ACTION roll at -2 CS to avoid partaking in whatever it is they're addicted to under such conditions, for each level of addiction they suffer under.
Albinism: the result of a congenital lack of certain pigments, albinism can express itself as either a lack of coloration in the eyes, or the eyes, hair, and skin. Either way, an albino is sensitive to bright lights, resisting such at a -2 CS. If one's skin is albinic, they are subject to a -2 CS penalty to resist ultraviolet radiation assaults, as well as being easily blinded by bright light.
Allergy: an allergy is a heightened vulnerability to certain attacks or substances. Not quite a susceptibility, per se, an allergy inflicts a -2 CS penalty towards resisting whatever the character is allergic to, for each level taken. This can be any direct form of damage (radiation, Karmic attacks), a toxic substance, or even something 'normal' in the environment the character is especially vulnerable to.
Color Blind: color blindness is the inability to distinguish one or more colors. Usually this involves a lack of one type of color receptor, which causes one to see colors completely different than others. Severe cases can cause one to see in 'black and white', however, which is mostly a disadvantage save for in certain conditions (or when fighting someone with color control).
Dulled Sense: a dulled sense is one that functions at a diminished capacity. For every level a character takes in this quirk, he or she should suffer a -2 CS to any one sense of their choice. This can sometimes be nullified by technology, such as glasses or hearing aids, but not always. If this quirk reduces a sense to Shift 0 rank, the character is considered to be lacking it entirely.
Dwarfism: this quirk does not refer to the axe-wielding dwarves of lore. It describes a condition wherein the character possessing this quirk is disproportionately short. For game purposes, a dwarf usually ranges between three and a half and five feet tall, not being small enough to qualify for the shrinking power and yet being of a size where he or she must usually have all gear and clothing custom-fitted.
Epilepsy: an epileptic character is prone to sudden fits of uncontrollable shaking. They can be caused by anything from stress to head injuries. A character will feel a seizure coming on 1d10 turns early, and they will last a like amount of time. Actions attempted while seizing are made at a -4 CS. Epileptic characters can postpone the onset of a seizure each turn they can pass a yellow Psyche ACTION.
Feebleness: feebleness indicates a character who is highly susceptible to the loss of Negative Health, for they must calculate such as if their Endurance score was -1 CS in rank. Characters with a higher Endurance score have much more Negative Health to lose thanks to this quirk, though admittedly they're in a better position to handle such a loss in the first place.
Gigantism: the flip side of dwarfism, gigantism indicates a character who is not just tall, but is disproportionately so. Such an individual will usually range between seven and eight and a half feet tall, and must have all of his or her clothing and gear custom-made. A character suffering from this quirk may also possess several related ailments, such as feebleness or even weak bones.
Gravity Intolerance: the gravity intolerant are those who are particularly attuned to gravitic conditions wherever they come from, and do not adapt well to changes in it. For every level of intolerance to gravitic changes these characters have, these characters suffer an additional -2 CS ACTION penalty under high or low gravity conditions, and +1 CS crushing damage inflicted by the latter.
Lameness: not a state of being uncool, a lame character has some vital part that functions at less than one hundred percent. This can be anything from a bum leg to a crippled hand to even serious organ damage. The effect of this is usually to apply a -2 CS on ACTIONs related to the lame body part (movement penalty for a leg, Agility (dex) for a bad hand), though this can depend on the nature of the lameness.
Low Pain Threshold: characters with a low pain threshold are much more likely to buckle under physical duress. They suffer a -2 CS penalty on any ACTION roll intended to resist the effects of pain (whether from physical damage, methodical torture, or pain induced via some other mechanism), and bear a like penalty to shrug off Stun results scored against them in battle.
Missing Parts: put bluntly, the character is missing some body part or another. This can be a sensory instrument, extremity, or (formerly) internal organ. As is the case with lameness, the specific detriment to a character with missing parts must be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the penalty is usually more severe. As a result, missing parts counts as two quirks (grants two points).
Rank Loss: a rank loss is a direct way for a player to gain quirk points for other purposes, possibly to cover the cost of a beneficial quirk or two. When taken, rank loss reduces the rank of any one ability or power score by -1 CS. Rank loss counts as two quirks when used with random character generation, but is redundant in the point-based character creation system (not allowed).
When used on powers with a cost that is greater than one, multiply the quirk point benefit by the power's cost per rank when applying rank loss.
Slow Healing: a slow healer, as you may have guessed, recovers from damage at a much lower rate than is normal for a person of their Endurance rank. They heal as if their Endurance was -4 CS in rank, to a minimum of Feeble (2). This may not be enough to make an immediate difference in combat, but will definitely increase one's time in the hospital after serious injury.
Weak Bones: a normal human character is assumed to have bones with a Typical (6) material strength. The character with weak bones is not so lucky, however, and suffers heightened damage in the face of crushing attacks. Any Blunt Attack affecting the character inflicts +1 CS damage, possibly leading to regularly broken bones. Weak bones counts as two quirks (grants two points).
Weakness: the unfortunate character that is inherently weak finds that he or she has much less Health than would otherwise be indicated. Weakness counts as two quirks (grants two points), and reduces the sum of one's physical ability scores by twenty percent, making them much more likely to face unconsciousness and potential death in the midst of combat (super-human or otherwise).
Mental Quirks (beneficial)
3-D Sense: possession of a 3-D sense indicates a character has the ability to think in more than two dimensions. This comes in handy when handling situations such as aerial combat, or in any other condition where threats may come from any of the three standard axes. A 3-D sense can also benefit characters who deal with even higher dimensions as well, even if this doesn't apply very often.
Alertness: alertness is a heightened awareness of one's surroundings. Characters with this quirk are rarely surprised by the actions of others, whether or not super-human abilities are in play. In game terms, a highly alert character should receive a +2 CS on any ACTION roll to avoid ambushes or surprise, and is such a light sleeper that any disturbance in his or her area will wake them on a yellow Intuition ACTION.
Cybernetic Aptitude: a cybernetically apt character is one whose body is highly accepting of artificial implants of any variety. Such an individual should be treated as if their Psyche was +2 CS higher in rank for the purposes of ACTION rolls against their Implant Psychosis Statistic, thus allowing them to handle a lot more artificial components in their body than is normal.
Fortitude: fortitude is indicative of a character who has an abnormally high Mental Health score. They may calculate that statistic as if their Psyche rank was +1 CS higher than normal. Fortitude is especially handy for those characters who regularly engage in psionic combat, particularly if said characters already have a high Psyche score to begin with.
High Stress Threshold: no matter how weird or dangerous or frustrating the situation is, a character with the high stress threshold quirk manages to easily keep their cool. He or she should receive a +2 CS bonus on any ACTION required of them to stay calm in the face of adversity, even if their life or the life of someone they care about is on the line.
Karmic Shell: characters with a karmic shell are blessed by fate (or destiny, etc.). This quirk allows its possessor to begin each game session with twenty percent more Karma than the sum of their mental ability scores would indicate. This quirk counts as two quirks (or costs two points), but is not allowed if the Judge is using the optional 'no free lunch' Karma rules.
Magical Aptitude: a magical aptitude is an inherent 'knack' for the use of magic spells. Characters with such an aptitude need not begin play as a spellcaster, but may be looked upon favorably by would-be mystic instructors. When casting spells, a character with magical aptitude may do so as if the spell was +1 CS in rank in all manners, save for any damage it inflicts.
Natural Talent: a natural talent is just that, an inherent disposition towards a skill. A character with a natural talent should gain a +1 CS when attempting an ACTION with said skill, above and beyond the normal bonus. Alternately, a natural talent can substitute for the use of a talent itself, denoting someone who hasn't been trained at all but nonetheless shows great promise in that area.
Psionic Aptitude: this is a knack of sorts for the use of psionics, whether natural or trained. Whether he or she begins play with such or develops them at a later date, an apt character can use any psionics at their disposal more effectively than others. This aptitude translates into a +1 CS on any ACTION roll required during the use of psionics, applying to everything save for any damage inflicted.
Quick Learning: as one can guess, the character with the quick learning quirk learns things quickly. In game terms, he or she can master a new talent in half the normal time, and may do so with a twenty-five percent Karma discount. This discount can stack with the student talent when buying new skills, but cannot stack when purchasing talent-equivalent powers such as magic spells or psionics.
Sanity: more impressive than it may at first sound, sanity is a quality that reflects one's ability to stave off madness, even in the face of mind-bending phenomena. Related to a high stress threshold (and stacking with such), the sanity quirk provides a +2 CS on Psyche ACTION rolls required when attempting to avoid going crazy, usually as a result of things from Beyond - but not always.
Static: whether it's a subconscious form of psionic ability or just something weird going on with one's brain chemistry, static denotes a character with a 'tricky' mind. Any mind-altering psionic effect (no matter its source) suffers a -1 CS penalty when utilized against a character with the static quirk, whether it's mere telepathy or something as extreme as a mind transfer!
Technological Aptitude: related to a natural talent, this is a 'knack' of sorts for devices of all types. It allows its possessor a +1 CS on any ACTION roll required during the creation of a mechanical or electronic item, save for the Resources check. This bonus can stack with those offered by any technical talent(s), as well as the with the natural talent quirk (if the character possesses both).
Mental Quirks (deleterious)
Action Addict: an action addict constantly craves action, adventure, and/or excitement. This need not involve physical conflict, but can quickly escalate to such if the character with this quirk is denied too long. If stuck waiting or otherwise doing something tedious, an action addict will usually fidget uncontrollably and complain incessantly, eventually wandering off in a search for fun (as he or she sees it).
In game terms, this translates into a required Psyche ACTION if the character finds themselves bored, rolled at a -2 CS. If this first ACTION roll fails, the character will show obvious signs of distress. If this situation continues for more than 1d10 turns, they must attempt another Psyche ACTION, this time at a -4 CS, to avoid the overwhelming compulsion to split - assuming he or she even tries to resist said urge, that is.
Attitude: characters with an attitude problem are inherently confrontational. This facet of their personality permeates everything they say and do, and most importantly, it colors others' perception of them. If they wish to 'play nice', characters with a bad attitude must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for every level of this quirk possessed, assuming they ever bother to try.
Bluntness: someone who is 'blessed' with this quirk doesn't see the need to mince words, or is completely oblivious to the effects of his or her words on others. The blunt character speaks their mind, and does so both freely and directly. In game play, a blunt individual must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at -2 CS for every level of this quirk taken, if they at all wish to 'edit' themselves.
Bully: everyone knows a bully. These individuals find great pleasure in putting others 'in their place', which is usually cowering in fear of the bully. For each level of bully a character possesses, they must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS to resist the urge to cow those weaker than themselves, if they choose not to. Ironically, bullies often manifest the cowardice quirk as well.
Combat Paralysis: combat paralysis is where a person tends to freeze up in the midst of conflict. This can be a result of confusion, indecision, or fear, depending on the character involved. When forced into a contentious situation, particularly where violence is concerned, characters with this quirk cannot act during a conflict until they first pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level taken.
Compulsiveness: meshing well with unpleasant habits, this quirk is representative of a behavior that the character constantly engages in. This can be anything, such as chewing nails, twiddling thumbs, or even constantly sighing or rolling one's eyes when annoyed. Stopping oneself from indulging their habit requires a Psyche ACTION roll at -2 CS for every level of this quirk taken.
Cowardice: danger is not, in fact, this character's middle name. A coward finds themselves fleeing from danger at all times, real or imagined. To persevere in the face of any perceived threat, the coward must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for every level of this quirk he or she possesses. Many cowards often overcompensate for their cowardice by engaging in bullying behavior.
Cyber-neurosis: a character cursed with this quirk is especially susceptible to mental illnesses brought on by the implantation of cybernetic devices in their body. For the purposes of resisting one's Implant Psychosis Statistic, a character with cyber-neurosis is considered to have a Psyche rank -2 CS lower than is listed, making their cybernetics an extremely risky proposition.
Delusions: those susceptible to delusions live in a world all their own. They often hallucinate, perceive events that aren't occurring, and interact with the products of their delirious minds despite the fact that no one else can sense them. To ignore the influence of one's damaged mind, assuming they even want to, the delusional must pass a Psyche ACTION at a -2 CS for every level of this quirk possessed.
Fanaticism: not merely a proponent of some philosophical, political, or religious movement, the fanatic takes their adopted beliefs to ridiculous extremes. They do all they can to support their pet movement, often going well beyond the bounds of legality to do so. Few activities are so low that a fanatic will refuse to engage in them to further the 'cause', whatever it may be.
In game terms, fanatics overwhelmingly believe their cause is righteous, above and beyond all else. If presented with an opportunity to aid their pet belief structure, a fanatic must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level of fanaticism they take, should they wish to forego action to further its aims (perhaps because mitigating circumstances would make things difficult for them either immediately or down the line).
Frenzied: inherently dangerous, frenzied characters live to fight and hurt others, often to the point of slaying them! In combat, a character with the frenzied quirk must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at -2 CS to avoid succumbing to it. If this ACTION fails, they'll gain a +1 CS to their Fighting score, but an accompanying -1 CS to their Reason rank, and won't stop fighting his or her foe(s) until no one is left standing.
At this point, the frenzied character, if they wish to stop, must pass another Psyche ACTION, this time at a -4 CS. If this second ACTION roll fails, the character cannot stop until they've slain everyone present that they perceive as a threat. This includes anyone attempting to 'break up' the action or otherwise prevent them from terminating their opponents, and lasts for the duration of combat plus 1d10 turns.
While in a frenzy, the only way a character can stop themselves (assuming he or she even wants to) is to pass a red Psyche ACTION roll - and to spend all of their Karma. But then, if he or she cares enough to stop, they're probably about to lose it all anyway.
Greed: some people are misers, but the possessor of this quirk makes such individuals look like philanthropists. A greedy individual hoards his or her wealth and property with an almost manic fervor, and goes out of their way to rapidly acquire as much as is possible. As such, avoiding 'easy money' or engaging in charity of any variety requires first passing a Psyche ACTION at a -2 CS for each level of greed taken.
Gullibility: the gullible are those who are either naive or clueless, believing that other people are mostly good, honest folks. To avoid getting sucked into the nefarious schemes of others, or to otherwise disbelieve some sort of lie or scam directed at their person, a gullible person must first pass a Reason ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level of gullibility they have accepted.
Honesty: an honest person is usually hard to find, but a character with this quirk literally can't lie - at least, not very convincingly. Whether they refuse to be dishonest (sort of like a personal code) or are just really lousy liars, a character with this quirk is unable to easily engage in subterfuge. Successfully doing so requires passing a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level of honesty taken.
Impulsiveness: impulsive individuals are those who seem to do just about anything at the drop of a hat. They consistently jump the gun, doing things that occur to them almost immediately, and usually do so in a half-cocked manner. Resisting the urge to indulge their every whim - or at least the latest of such - requires passing a Psyche ACTION roll first, at a -2 CS for each level of impulsiveness taken.
Inept: an inept person is the consummate bumbler. This sort of individual has problems completing even the simplest of tasks, and almost everything they do is marked by abject failure - the more spectacular, the better. To really do anything right, the inept character must pause to think things through (taking a full turn to do such), and then pass a Reason ACTION at a -2 CS for each level of inept taken.
Insanity: worse than a merely delusional character, an insane person is stark, raving mad. This sort of person lives in a reality of his or her own making, their mind actively reinterpreting their experiences to fit their damaged mental state. The actual form of insanity the character suffers from should be developed with the Judge, and insanity itself counts as two quirks (grants two points).
Insomnia: the insomniac has severe difficulty resting, whether falling asleep in the first place or staying asleep once unconscious. To manage proper rest, an insomniac must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at -2 CS to calm themselves enough to drift off. Failure of this ACTION gives one a -2 CS penalty on all actions attempted during the next day, due to a lack of energy, focus, and rest.
Jealousy: jealous individuals tend to covet that which belongs to others, and secretly malign those who have what they want. Similar to greed, those who suffer from jealousy are consumed by their desires for... whatever, and have a hard time shaking them off, even for a little while. Doing so requires a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level of this quirk they've taken.
Karmic Dearth: a character with a dearth of Karma will begin play with an amount of spendable Karma equal to the sum of his or her mental ability scores - minus twenty percent. This quirk counts as two quirks (or grants two points), but is not allowed if the Judge is using the 'no free lunch' optional Karma rules (which basically makes it useless).
Laziness: lazy individuals are incredibly difficult to motivate. They have a hard time getting up in the morning, performing work, finishing extensive projects, or doing anything else they don't especially enjoy. Motivating oneself requires a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for every level of laziness taken, the failure of which means the person with this quirk will blow off their current task to do anything else.
Learning Disorder: a learning disorder is a disability that prevents one from easily learning. It can come in the form of dyslexia (difficulty with reading), dyscalculia (difficulty with math), dysgraphia (difficulty with typing), or even cluttering or stuttering (difficulty with speech). A character with any learning disorder suffers a twenty-five percent Karma penalty when learning new talents, taking twice as long to do so.
Low Stress Threshold: individuals with a low stress threshold have a difficult time keeping a cool head in the face of adversity. They may be panicky, jittery, jumpy, or quick to declare that the end is nigh whenever something goes amiss. For each level of this quirk taken, a character should suffer a -2 CS penalty to their Psyche on any effort to keep 'cool', should just about anything go seriously wrong for them.
Mania: above and beyond mere compulsive behavior, a mania is in fact a mild form of obsessive insanity. Most of these involve an unhealthy preoccupation with and repetition of some usually self-destructive behavior, ranging from trichotillomania (obsessively pulling one's hair out) to pyromania (obsessively setting fires) to general monomania (obsessing over one idea or action incessantly).
This sort of mental disorder can get the character in all kinds of trouble, both legal and otherwise, but can be a lot more 'fun' when the other players don't know the character has it... at first, anyway. Tamping down a manic urge in the course of play, if only for a little while, requires that characters with this quirk must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS penalty for each level of mania they possess.
Multiple Personality: individuals with multiple personalities are not alone inside their heads. Most often this is because of a splintering of their mind due to some traumatic event in the past, but in rare instances this could actually occur due to super-human phenomena, such as some sort of spectral or otherworldly entity taking refuge inside their cranium.
A level one multiple personality quirk indicates the character has one other, approximately equal personality. An additional level makes for several such personalities, some of which may have control over different powers the character possesses. A level three multiple personality quirk means there's any number of different minds swimming around in the character's head, all of which may act at cross purposes with some frequency.
Each personality will have mental ability scores all its own; they are ostensibly based upon the same 'hardware', but each personality a character possesses will be at levels of development different than that of the others. The singular advantage to this quirk is that if one personality is knocked out by a Karmic attack, the character might have several others ready to pick up the slack almost immediately!
Pacifism: a pacifist does not believe in fighting, for any reason. They can usually abide defending themselves but will not intentionally inflict harm upon anyone, which is usually why such individuals will learn martial arts like Aikido - which have no offensive moves. Overcoming this personal belief (say, when under threat of imminent death) requires a Psyche ACTION at a -2 CS for every level of one's pacifism quirk.
Paranoia: the paranoid believe that everyone is out to get them. Nominally this isn't the case, but if such a character becomes embroiled in an actual conspiracy, it just might reinforce his or her irrational beliefs. A paranoid individual usually won't inherently mistrust their close compatriots, although he or she might pay more attention to what they're doing, and read more into almost every situation.
On the other hand, paranoid characters absolutely distrust those they do not know intimately. Changing this usually requires a Herculean feat of friendship, or consistent work with the paranoid person over a long period of time. To give others the benefit of the doubt, or to avoid being suspicious of friends seemingly acting 'weird', a paranoid person must pass a Psyche ACTION at a -2 CS for every level of this quirk taken.
Personal Code: an individual with this quirk lives by an internal set of ethics, and refuses to violate them. Such a code may or may not coincide with the laws of his or her society, which may lead to problems with law enforcement - particularly if their code allows them to inflict violence upon others. Disregarding one's code for a short time requires a Psyche ACTION, rolled at a -2 CS penalty for each level of this quirk taken.
Phobia: a phobia is an intense, irrational, and persistent fear of some person, place, thing, or occurrence. A phobia can be almost anything, from ecclesiophobia (a fear of churches) to hydrophobia (a fear of water) to xanthophobia (a fear of yellow) to even phobophobia (a fear of phobias). Resisting the urge to flee in the face of one's phobia requires a Psyche ACTION at a -2 CS for every level of this quirk taken.
Pushover: a pushover is someone who is easily flattened by mental attacks. He or she must calculate their Mental Health score as if their Psyche was -2 CS in rank, which makes them especially vulnerable to Karmic damage. The pushover quirk is particularly dangerous to characters who already have a relatively low Psyche rank, as this often leaves them subject to a Karmic 'one shot'.
Rudeness: similar to the effects of the bluntness quirk, rudeness causes a character to be verbally insulting to others. Unlike someone who is merely blunt, however, a rude person intends insult when it is offered. Like bullies, they enjoy inflicting self-confidence issues, possibly to cover up their own. To rein oneself in, a character with this quirk must pass a Psyche ACTION at a -2 CS for each level of rudeness taken.
Short Attention Span: characters with a short attention span are absent-minded. They have a tendency to forget names, schedules, appointments, events, and anything else that isn't bright, shiny, and immediate. Without some sort of mechanism to help remember such (a notepad, a smartphone, etc.), such a character attempts Reason (mem) ACTIONs to recall things he or she needs to accomplish at a -2 CS.
Shyness: for any number of reasons, a shy individual has a hard time speaking up for themselves. This can result from the fear of ridicule or embarrassment, or perhaps dread induced by crowds. To strongly voice one's opinion or otherwise speak in front of large groups of people, a shy individual must first pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level of the shyness quirk that is taken.
Stubborn: stubborn people are convinced that they're always right - and when proven wrong, will often continue to argue a point even when they know better. It's all about 'winning' with stubborn folks, and they enjoy debating and grousing at anyone who doesn't immediately capitulate to their point of view. Resisting this urge requires a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level of stubborn taken.
Temper: individuals with a temper have a very light fuse. Just about anything can set them off, and once they're mad, they tend to stay angry. To resist losing one's temper or to mellow out once enraged, a character with this quirk must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level it is taken. Typically, anger management classes do not help such an individual very much.
Vow: not just a simple promise, a vow is a solemn oath a character lives by. Perhaps they've dedicated themselves to completing some vital task, or wish to obtain justice (or vengeance). If forced to forego their vow any length of time, a character will suffer per the action addict quirk, in relation to pursuing it. Staving off one's vow for a time requires a Psyche ACTION at -2 CS for each level of this quirk taken.
Role-Play Quirks (beneficial)
Ally: somewhere in their past, this character managed to cultivate an ally. More than a mere contact (though they count as such), this ally is a true friend of the character, and will help them in any way they can. This ally can be a trusted right-hand person, a side kick, or whatever else fits one's origins. This ally is created and played by the Judge, and this quirk reduces the price of an aide contact by its own cost).
Assistant: an assistant is related to an ally, in that he or she is a trusted confidante of some sort or another. This assistant could be a dedicated butler, secretary, or technician, or perhaps works for the character in some other quasi-servile role. This secondary character will aid their superior in any way they can, and like an ally, must be created and role-played by the Judge.
As is the case with ally, the assistant quirk reduces the price of the resultant aide contact by its own cost.
Attractive: whether it's something in one's appearance or some other subtle quality, the character with this quirk is attractive. People who would be remotely interested in his or her gender and/or species find them particularly alluring, in fact. For every level of attractive a character has, he or she should benefit from a +1 CS to Popularity ACTION rolls when dealing with those who think them appealing.
Benefactor: when someone likes what a character is doing but doesn't want to directly participate in their actions, they will often serve as a benefactor to him or her. This usually involves financial assistance of some sort (+1 CS Resources for each level taken), but can take the form of equipment or special favors, and lasts as long as the character remains in the good graces of their benefactor.
The benefactor quirk reduces the price of the resultant organization (or other applicable) contact by its own cost.
Cash Flow: characters with a positive cash flow are those who, above and beyond their normal money-making endeavors, have liquid cash readily at hand. This can take the form of a minor inheritance, or perhaps wise investments. This money requires little maintenance (making crime fighting easier), particularly if managed by an assistant, and raises one's Resources +1 CS (but counts as two quirks).
Charmed: one who is charmed is a veritable fount of good luck for their allies. The charmed quirk alters die rolls for the better for anyone affiliated with its possessor. Once per hour, this quirk will switch the dice of someone allied with the charmed character in said ally's favor. The person benefiting from the charm is random, and the charmed character can't control when it will affect them.
Fame: a famous character is one who is well-known to the public, either for good reasons or bad (the latter being better known as infamy). This character regularly appears in newspaper and magazine articles, entertainment television segments, and even has numerous web sites devoted to his or her activities. Each level of fame improves one's Popularity score by +1 CS (in either a positive or negative direction).
Fan Club: occasionally accompanying fame, the fan club represents a gaggle of fan boys and girls who earnestly follow the character's career. A member of a character's fan club will usually treat him or her as if their Popularity score was +2 CS in rank, raised to +4 CS if they've ever actually interacted with the character - even if so briefly as to autograph something of theirs (or the fan themselves!) in the past.
Good Reputation: a character with such a reputation is in good standing within his or her community. While this may not involve people building fan sites dedicated to him or her, they know the character is trustworthy and someone to turn to in a pinch. This grants them a +1 CS to their Popularity score on their home turf, though this can backfire if the character acts counter to whatever reputation they've been building over time.
Likability: the likable character has a pleasant demeanor, or is otherwise charismatic somehow. When interacting with others, the likable character receives NPC reactions that are one step higher, unless said NPC is already hostile towards them. If the NPC is already friendly, the likable character should be treated as if their Popularity score was +2 CS in rank.
Lucky: like the charmed character, one who is lucky has the effect of altering die rolls beneficially. However, instead of doing so for one's allies, a lucky person may do this for themselves. Every tenth roll a lucky character makes, he or she may switch the dice such that the high number comes first - unless, of course, it would be in their best interests to roll low in that instance. Lucky counts as two quirks (costs two points).
Role-Play Quirks (deleterious)
Alien Culture: this quirk doesn't necessarily represent extraterrestrial mores and such, it simply states that the character has a culture different than that which is active where he or she has decided to make their home. This can make critical misunderstandings of even the simplest social interactions, and generally proves to give the 'alien' character a -2 CS to their Popularity score for each level taken.
This penalty is doubled in regards to people who find the alien culture of the character particularly contemptuous.
Bad Reputation: a character with such a reputation has a poor standing in their community. While this most often doesn't involve torches and pitchforks, people where this individual come from know him or her on sight... and what they're capable of. A bad reputation grants one a -2 CS to his or her Popularity score on their home turf, though this can backfire if its bearer acts 'out of character' while building a rep.
Bigotry: this unpleasant quirk represents the tendency of a character to look down upon a group of people for some arbitrary reason or another. If the character wishes to hide his or her negative bias, they must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at -2 CS for each level of this quirk taken. If one doesn't care to disguise their hatred of whatever group of people they dislike, others tend to react to them as if their Popularity had a like modifier.
Unless they, too, share such detestable attitudes. Of course, then there's the target of the bigot's ire. Such an individual, upon realizing the bigot's true feelings, will automatically shift one step downward as far as NPC reactions go. These individuals will never be 'friendly' to a bigot and may readily turn outright hostile, depending on their personality and the situation at hand.
Dependent: a dependent is someone in the character's life who relies upon them in some capacity. This can be a child, a ward, or even an older, infirm relative of just about any sort. Such an individual will usually wind up occupying some of the character's time and/or resources during each adventure, and has an uncanny knack for getting into some sort of trouble on a regular basis.
Detractors: not dangerous enough to be considered enemies, detractors are people who nonetheless have a bone to pick with a character, their actions, or even just their fashion sense - and like to point that out every chance they get. A character interacts with a detractor as if their Popularity score was -2 CS in rank, -4 CS if they've ever negatively impacted an individual detractor directly.
Enemy: the character with this quirk has an enemy. Not just someone the character has opposed on a few occasions, this enemy is a hard-boiled hater of the character and everything he or she stands for. Often, but not always, the source of this enmity is tied heavily into the character's origin. This quirk can be taken at multiple levels, each of which ramps up the threat of said enemy.
A level one enemy is, in all respects, the character's equal. A true nemesis, this foe can match wits and power with the character in almost every way - and may in fact be an evil twin or clone or variant earth counterpart. Higher levels of enemy, however, are much more dangerous foes, and have a far reach indeed. These can range from a super group to a secret society to, at far extremes, an entire government!
Illiteracy: an illiterate character can neither read nor write. This may not be so inconvenient in a medieval setting, but nowadays this quirk can make one's life very difficult. Without being able to read, one can only interact with computers and signs of all kinds through readily recognizable icons. If not caused by a disability, illiteracy can be reversed by purchasing 'literacy' as a talent.
Jinxed: similar to the unlucky quirk, jinxed alters die rolls for the worse. However, the die rolls so affected are not those of the jinxed character, but those of his or her compatriots! Once per hour, one die roll made by the allies of a jinxed character will be altered for the worse, as if the character rolling it was afflicted by the luck power's bad luck. The person so chosen is random each time it happens.
Loner: loners generally can't stand other people, and positively hate being around large groups of them for any length of time. A loner must pass a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for each level of this quirk taken whenever he or she finds themselves in a crowded situation. If this ACTION roll fails, the loner must immediately leave or suffer a like penalty to all actions taken while surrounded by these people.
Nerd: the nerd just doesn't get it. They don't understand why they aren't popular, or perhaps they just don't care. This type of person is usually concerned with things outside the cultural norm. They can't dance, don't really know anything about music, and/or have a lousy fashion sense - and it shows. Nerds usually receive a -2 CS Popularity adjustment when interacting with the so-called 'cool' people (or snobs).
Poverty: perhaps the character is saddled with crushing debt they can't get ahead of, maybe he or she is an ex-convict who can't get a decent job to save their life, or possibly an economic downturn has taken everything the character values from them. Either way, those stricken with poverty have a Resources rank of Poor (4) or less, and can't seem to improve their lot no matter how hard they try.
Repugnant Personality: this character grates on the nerves, no matter how hard you try to tolerate them. They are possibly gruff, boisterous, opinionated, arrogant, or some combination of these. A character may have multiple levels of repugnant personality, giving them an effective -2 CS to their Popularity score for each, and temporarily bottling up one's annoying characteristics requires a Psyche ACTION at a like penalty.
Snob: snobs tend to look down on everyone save for their special little clique. A snob receives a +2 CS Popularity adjustment from others within their social group, but a -2 CS adjustment to those they look down upon. Snobs tend to be on particularly bad terms with nerds and loners, the former of which may not understand why they're the subject of scorn, and the latter of which are reminded why they hate others so much.
Social Dependent: the opposite of the loner, a social dependent is only comfortable around large groups of people, for they rely upon others to make up their minds for them. A social dependent is paralyzed with indecision if all alone, requiring a Psyche ACTION roll at a -2 CS for every level of this quirk taken to accomplish anything other than waffling about indecisively.
Unattractive: whether we're talking about one's physical appearance or some other ephemeral quality, there's something about the character that puts people off. Individuals who would otherwise find the character aesthetically pleasing (or at least neutral in their eyes) find the unattractive character unpleasant, and react to him or her at a -2 CS for each level of this quirk taken.
Unlucky: an unlucky character has a hard time getting things to go their way. This is because, every tenth time they roll the dice, the unlucky character's die result is altered such that the number rolled is arranged to produce the worst possible result for the character, as if suffering from the negative effects of the luck power. Unlucky counts as two quirks (grants two points).
Unpleasant Habits: a character with an unpleasant habit does something that seems relatively normal to him or her, but that others usually find disgusting. Such a habit can include picking one's nose, chewing their toenails, constantly scratching in awkward locations, or even wearing Spandex ™ when one really, really shouldn't. Each level of this quirk reduces one's effective Popularity score by -2 CS.
Weirdness Magnet: folks with this quirk - and everyone around them - tend to live on the far end of the probability curve. Strange and bizarre things happen around such a character constantly, and even stranger things happen to them directly. Perceptive individuals who recognize a weirdness magnet for what they are usually try to keep a healthy distance from them whenever possible.
Freak accidents, unexplained phenomena, and bizarre people cross a weirdness magnet's path with distressing frequency. The fallout of such usually affects anyone within the weirdness magnet's vicinity, which can be particularly bothersome for one's teammates. Of course, investigators of strange happenings may appreciate a weirdness magnet for the staggering opportunities with which he or she helps them do their job.