03.15 Ron d6 Disadvantages: Professional
Criminal (1-5 points)
The character is a criminal and is wanted. This is similar to Enemy and Pursued (and may be combined with both or either) but it is more general. The character has a record or is currently doing something that could cause him or her to get one.
For 1 or 2 points, this Disadvantage could be a current criminal activity. For example, a character that has, military-only equipment but is not in a military career is committing a crime by possessing and using the equipment. That is usually worth 1 or 2 points – but, since the character can probably dispose of the equipment or hide it, the Disadvantage is not worth that much.
Likewise, if the character is currently a member of a criminal organization, there is probably the chance the character could quit, thereby negating the Disadvantage. Of course, if the character can’t quit, the Disadvantage might be worth a little more.
For 1-5 points, the character gets a criminal record. The point values have to do with two things: the range of the law that the character is in trouble with, and the penalty the character is suffering or might suffer from if caught.
For example, a character who is wanted for a string of unpaid docking fees (which would result in a heavy fine if he ever showed up there again) could be worth 1 or 2 points. But, if the character were wanted on a world for murder – and is already sentenced to death – that could be worth as high as 3 points. 4 and 5 point Criminal are almost always life in prison or death penalty crimes and are quite far-reaching in their extent. Getting the local authorities mad enough at you to want to kill you is a 5-pointer.
Another way the Criminal can be handled is for past crimes. The character is not wanted for anything now, but has already served time for whatever it was he or she did -and it left an indelible black spot on the character’s record. In this case, how bad the crime was and how much it affects the character corresponds to the point value. A character who used to rob houses and spent some time on a penal colony would probably get only 1 or 2 points, while a mass-murderer who beat the rap on a technicality would be worth 4 or 5.
Sometimes, these Criminal Disadvantage are earned by the character (the character is guilty) – sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes, they are treated more seriously than others – a murderer on one planet might not be noticeable; on another, a petty thief could be under the death penalty. All these things go into making the Criminal Disadvantage .
Debt (1-4 Points)
The character owes somebody something. Commonly, this is money that can be paid back. Sometimes, it is something that can’t be paid back – at least not easily. The Debt may affect everything the character does, or it may only come into play every once in a while.
In order to figure out how much (or what) the character owes, and the point values, it is also important to figure out who the Debt is owed to. A massive financial debt owed to your sick grandmother who loves you is different than owing money to people whose first or middle names are generally listed in quotes. The following table gives general guidelines for using Debt, with some examples per point value.
Roleplaying Debt can be easy or complicated – for both the gamemaster and the player. The player with Debt should be role-played as if he wants to get out from under the Debt – otherwise, the Compensation is being pretty much ignored. The character should have to make payments, or do favors, when it isn’t convenient to experience the Debt.
Note that this Compensation can develop into Enemy or Pursued during a campaign or it can be combined with those Disadvantages now. If a character has a Debt and either of the other Compensations, it could be that the character has “missed a payment” (or more) and is being tracked down for revenge or a penalty. Paying off Debt is usually possible and should be a long-range adventure goal.
|1||The character has a moderately heavy debt that must be repaid on a tight schedule or there will be moderately serious repercussions – or the character is called on to repay a moral debt at least once every 4 or 5 adventures. |
Examples: a hefty bank loan that has a regular payment schedule and moderately low interest rate; a less hefty loan that has more severe penalties and a higher interest rate (owed to a patient loan-sharks); a debt of favors where someone the character may or may not like can call upon him occasionally for favors.
|2||The debt is sizeable and repayment is often difficult. The character owes an excessive loan and must pay a sizable payment every month or face civil or even criminal prosecution; or the character owes a lesser sum to a less-than-patient loan-shark at a considerably higher percentage (and may incur the effects of Pursued or Enemy if regular payments aren’t made); or the character can be called upon at any time to repay a favor for someone in whose service the character probably doesn’t want to be.|
|3||The character is, in effect, an indentured servant. All the character’s money, with a little left over for expenses, goes to repaying the Debt and will continue to do so; or the character is in the non-profitable employ of someone he owes everything to (either voluntarily or otherwise).|
|4||The character is in so much debt that it can never be paid off. Like option three, but the character is in a hole with the cover over the top. The character cannot foresee ever being out from under the debt, and it plagues every moment of his life.|
Employed (1-3 points)
|1||The Character has a job. Maybe the job is related to what the character wants to do during a game session, or maybe not. Regardless, the character wants to keep his job (or has to, for some reason) and he must be responsible about missing work and fulfilling obligations.|
Restrictions/Notes: The player and the GM might have to work to roleplay this, but there should be an occasional conflict between what the character wants to do and what the character has to do. The Character might even have to keep some activities secret or lose his job.
|2||The character works for someone, or something, that pretty much runs his life. When he goes on adventures, he either has to go through lots of red tape to get permission, or its because he was assigned the mission. As a result, the character has little free will regarding what he does or how he does it, and he should come into conflict with his employer on occasion. Also, since the character is an employee, if he is on a mission, he usually has to turn over his share of the loot for corporate disposal – he’ll get something out of it, certainly, but not a full share.|
Restrictions/Notes: The rules are the same as for 1-point Employed. Just make sure that the job is fairly inconvenient for the character, but there are reasons he doesn’t quit. Maybe he has the Wealth Advantage only so long as he has the Employed Advantage-that would be a good way of tying in the Compensation.
|3||The character is, for all intents and purposes, a slave. This does not mean the character is poor or without means -just without free choice. The character does virtually everything because he has to. For example, a character might be the head of a megacorporation in a high tech game setting. But the only way things get done is for the character to do them or be there to oversee their getting done. Adventures only occur when they are in direct concordance with the interests of the employer. In all other ways, this Disadvantage is like its lower column versions.|
Enemy (1-4 Points)
Someone really doesn’t like the character and goes to some extremes to prove it. An Enemy can be a person or an organization or a combination of both. The amount of points it is worth is dependent upon the influence and the strength of the Enemy and how easy or hard it is for the character to avoid the Enemy. Enemies should not be easy to eliminate (either by killing or permanently getting away from) and will constantly bother your character for most of her initial adventuring career (or worse).
Enemies are usually rooted to other commitments, areas, or endeavors and only strike at the character when he or she is in range. Unless this Compensation is combined with Pursued, the Enemy will not usually actively follow (or hire someone to actively follow) the character – unless the situation changes. However, the character should run into even the most minor foe’s machinations every couple of adventures. The scope of the inconvenience depends on the point cost and the regularity.
Use the chart on the next page for some sample point values and Enemy effects.
|1||The enemy is a relatively minor one that causes problems only in a certain area of space or on occasion. Examples include: a spiteful bureaucrat who makes sure that any rewards, payments, or compensations the character is due from the organization are delayed, rerouted or temporarily lost; a minor military officer who gives the character a hard time when the character shows up in the officer’s sphere of influence; a gang on a planet the character goes to fairly often that owes the character a beating (or worse).|
|2||The enemy is of moderate power and influence or is a deadly enemy of minor power. A minor military officer who will break the rules to see the character imprisoned or killed; a large gang or organization rooted to a sector of space that will do a little more than make the character’s life difficult; a megacorporation that resents the way the character conducts business and, when the two come into contact, will try to inconvenience or even eliminate the character.|
|3||The enemy is of moderate power and will actively seek out the character on occasion. An old rival who wants to ruin the character’s career or current project (and may show up anywhere); a group, gang or organization that is fairly widespread has declared the character is an enemy and will try to eliminate or ruin the character.|
|4||The enemy is of great power and is willing to go to great lengths to get the character when the occasion arises. A military officer of flag rank who would like nothing better than to throw the character out the nearest airlock; an old acquaintance who feels the character is to blame for everything bad that ever happened to him and has acquired the means to make the character’s life miserable.|
Pursued (1-5 Points)
Characters who are Pursued are being chased by a person, organization, or combination of both that wish to punish the character for some reason or other – and to some extent or another. It is similar to Enemy (and may be combined with that Disadvantage) but is actually less personal. See the chart below for examples: Adjust the point values on this scale for the extent and organization of the pursuer. A lone pursuer, no matter how rich or effective, gets a -1 on the point value for the Disadvantage, whereas very extensive (or effective) pursuers may receive a bonus of +1.
|1||The character is being legally pursued for a minor offense, debt, or other infraction. If caught, he will not be overly affected. |
Examples include: loan officers from a bank who want their last few payments; a civil warrant for a minor infraction (didn’t pay docking fees at a base); the character borrowed an object from a private collector who wants it back but doesn’t want trouble.
|2||The character is being pursued for a moderately serious offense and, if caught, will have to pay a substantial penalty. The character is wanted by civil authorities for a criminal violation (large-scale property damage or default on a minor contract) and may face short jail-time if caught or a major penalty; a private (or criminal) organization is after the character for some reason and wants to penalize the character for this reason.|
|3||The character’s pursuers are powerful and there is a very substantial penalty if the character is caught. A fairly powerful organization may be “after” the character and wants to do something to the character that is very serious (court-martial, jail-time) and may resort to deadly force if necessary. Bounty hunters are after the character.|
|4||The character has a “Dead or Alive” with a powerful, extensive organization. A major megacorporation, Empire, or a powerful sector government wants the character and is willing to spend a lot of money to prove it. Bounty hunters, law officers, Imperial ships, etc. will chase the character if his whereabouts are known – and being “gentle” is not their concern.|
|5||Death warrant. If the character is caught by this pursuer, he is dead. No appeal, no bargaining, no nothing.|
Reputation (1-4 Points)
The character has a Rep. She is known for something and it isn’t something good. Almost the direct opposite to Famous. People may refuse to deal with the character, actively try to inconvenience the character, or even kill the character because of what they’ve heard.
In addition, the degree of Reputation is determined by how well known the character is. Add +1 to the point value if the Reputation sparks more than distaste or unpleasant, uncooperative behavior. If the character is likely to be physically attacked, add two to the point value. In truth, most role-players would give their eyeteeth to have a Reputation similar to what is described here. But it shouldn’t work out that way – that is the Fame advantage. Reputations should be inconvenient and annoying – and often dangerous.
|1||The character is fairly well known in certain areas of the universe and could be recognized by name. The character has had play time on news networks or other media.|
|2||Recognition is by sight or name and occurs under certain proscribed circumstances. The character may be known for cowardice, and everyone is talking about military service.|
|3||The character is usually recognized when she walks in the room. A famous Imperial officer, bounty hunter, or other character who has made a name that is less than sterling.|