Roleplayer #8, January 1988

New Disadvantages

by the readers of Roleplayer

Absent-Mindedness . . . . . -15 points

The classic disadvantage for eccentric geniuses. An absent-minded person has difficulty paying attention to anything not of immediate interest to him. An absent-minded person suffers a -5 penalty on any IQ roll except those involving a task he is currently interested in and concentrating upon. If no engaging task or topic presents itself, the attention of the absent-minded individual will drift to more interesting matters after only five minutes; he will ignore his immediate surroundings until something catches his attention and brings him back. Once adrift in his own thoughts, an absent-minded character must roll against IQ-5 in order to notice any event short of personal physical injury.

The absent-minded person may attempt to rivet his attention on a boring topic through sheer strength of will. To do so, he must make a roll against IQ-5, modified by Strong or Weak Will, once every five minutes. "Boring topics" include guard duty, small-talk or other forms of meaningless conversation, repetitive manual tasks, driving on an empty highway . . .

Absent-minded individuals also have a tendency to forget trivial tasks – like paying the bills – and items – like car keys and check-books. Whenever it becomes important that an absent-minded character have performed such a task or brought such an item, the GM should call for a roll against IQ-2. If the character fails this roll, then this minor detail has slipped his attention. For example, an absent-minded detective pulls his gun in a shoot-out. He has been involved in gunplay earlier today, in which he fired four rounds, so the GM calls for an IQ-2 roll. The character fails the roll, discovering too late that he forgot to reload his weapon, so his revolver only has two bullets left!

– Steffan O'Sullivan

Compulsive Lying . . . . . -15 points

The opposite of Truthfulness, the Compulsive Lying disadvantage forces the character to lie constantly, for no reason other than the joy of telling the tale. A compulsive liar delights in inventing stories about his deeds, lineage, wealth – whatever seems as though it might impress his audience. Even when exposed as a liar, the character will cling tenaciously to his stories, calling his accuser a liar and a scoundrel.

In order to tell the pure, unvarnished truth, a compulsive liar must roll against IQ-4. A charitable GM might allow a liar to tell a slightly-fractured version of the truth if he only narrowly failed this roll. When a PC liar makes a roll to tell the truth to his fellow party members, he should roll out of sight of the other players. Thus, they can never be sure that they are getting accurate information from their comrade.

– Art Samuels

Gullibility . . . . . -10 points

There's one born every minute, and you're it. A gullible person naturally believes everything he hears; he'll swallow even the most ridiculous fish-story, if it's told with any conviction.

In order to not believe a lie – or an improbable truth, for that matter – a gullible character must make a roll against IQ, modified by the plausibility of the story. A lie well-told, or involving something the character has no familiarity with – "My father is the chief of police in this town, and he won't stand for this!" – calls for a -6 penalty to the IQ roll. A lie concerning a topic the gullible character is familiar with – "Didn't you know they bred ducks in your village, Torg?" – calls for a -3 to the roll; and even a totally outlandish tale – "Of course the Eskimos are descended from Spanish conquistadors; everyone knows that" – will be believed if the character fails a roll against unmodified IQ.

Furthermore, a gullible character suffers a -3 penalty on any Merchant skill roll, or in any situation in which his credulity might be exploited. A gullible person can never learn the Detect Lies skill.

– Art Samuels

Overweight . . . . . -5 points

You are somewhat heavy for your race. Determine weight normally for ST, and then increase it by 30%. This extra weight is treated as encumbrance (see p. B61), which you cannot get rid of. (Exception: this encumbrance doesn't count against you when swimming.)

Overweight characters get a +2 bonus to their Swimming roll. Being overweight carries a reaction modifier of -1 only among health conscious societies – like that of the 1980s yuppies – and in areas where food is in especially short supply – such as among the dregs of Autoduel America.

– Jim Kennedy

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