04 – Compensations d20
After going through and selecting Advantages, you probably already have some ideas about what sort of Compensations your character has. Keep in mind that they make your character more “balanced.” They are not intended to cripple your character or the character’s abilities. They just make for a well-rounded individual.
“Age” is a Compensation that goes two ways – toward extreme youth and extreme age. Because of this, there are two types of “Age” Compensation: “Youth” and “Elder.”
Elder (1-3 Points)
An “Elder” is a character on the other end of the age spectrum. The character has lived a long life (presumably) and is now nearing the end. While we do not intend to cover “dying of natural causes”, it is a Compensation that can be used in the game.
The aging rate and the point values for “Elder” are listed in the chart below. See pages 103-104 in the Star Wars RPG Core Rulebook for Effects of Aging.
Characters who have the “Elder” Compensation should act like it. Most likely, since they are adventurers, they don’t like to “waste time.” However, they do have some “experience” (unless they’ve been unnaturally aged) and patience. This may or may not be reflected by their skill totals, but it can be role-played just the same.
Youth (2-3 Points)
The character is very young for his species, and really shouldn’t be out adventuring. Depending on the character’s lifespan, this can be a moderate disadvantage, or an extreme one. Either way, a character that starts with “Youth” has some modifications that need to be made.
See pages 103-104 in the Star Wars RPG Core Rulebook for Effects of Aging.
|Point Value||Aging Rate|
The category “Alien” refers to “non-normal” or non-Human Compensations. The stigma of being Alien in Star Wars is strong because of the social restrictions imposed by the Empire.
Alien Prejudice (1-5 points)
It is true the universe over. It is especially true with the Empire in charge. People who are “different” are treated differently – how much so sometimes (but not always) depends on how different they are. This Compensation reflects how that prejudice can come into play in a gaming environment.
Characters with the “Alien Prejudice” Compensation have to deal with either minor or violent prejudice as a matter of daily life. They have difficulties most other characters don’t even think about. The table below gives some examples and some point values.
Although we are all different in our own way, and could be considered alien in some way, the differences that go with “Alien Prejudice” are those that get focused on by bigots, authority figures, and those frustrated or angry. Even small differences – like a minor mutation or genetic enhancement can run the range of this scale. The game master and the players have to discuss how much this “Alien Prejudice” will affect the game. As a rule, one-point Alien Prejudice Compensations come into play more as flavor than anything else, while five-point prejudices can quickly become the focus of any interaction.
This of course is highly dependent on the Era and the location the particular game is taking place in. During the Imperial Era, prejudice was more universal, unlike in the New Republic. Not to say that it doesn’t exist in the New Republic, but it is different.
Alien Prejudice Chart
|1||The character is a little “different” from the “standard around here” and only has a few problems “fitting in.” Examples include: a very near-Human (almost identical); a Human with an unusual characteristic (like a “dwarf” or a “giant”); a character from a “backwater” world (could even be totally Human).|
|2||The character is obviously “different” from the norm and has occasional serious problems with prejudice. A character from an obviously alien, but humanoid, species. The character is probably looked at with suspicion and prejudice, but only has problems with true bigots or manipulators.|
|3||The character is either not humanoid or comes from an extremely alien society. The alien probably does not look close to “Human,” and/or comes from a culture known to be very different – perhaps “on the fringe” – from the norms. The character has problems assimilating to certain situations and doesn’t get much help from the intolerant.|
|4||The character is from a “known” fringe species and/or culture and is viewed with contempt, fear, and suspicion. The species/culture has had major conflicts (either socially or militarily – or both) with the Empire or the New Republic and this will be recognized by most “civilized” people. The alien is easily the first choice as a focus of bigotry and frustration. This character may still be, at the core, a Human, but has such social and physical differences that most people do more than “shy away.”|
|5||The character is from a hunted, enslaved or outlawed culture. A fringer. A hostile alien. The species/culture has been declared an enemy of the Empire or New Republic and, whether the character agrees with it or not, he or she is caught up in the hostilities. Any authority figure – even those not aligned with the Empire or New Republic – will see the alien as a threat. And most civilians will have the same opinion.|
Xeno-Flaws (1-4 points)
The counterpart to “Special Abilities,” “Xeno-Flaws” are flaws in the alien species or culture that make life more difficult for the alien in question. Remember, these flaws may not be flaws where the character comes from – in fact, they probably shouldn’t be – but they are in “most” areas (i.e., the adventuring environment).
The table below has some suggestions for “Xeno-Flaws.” Modify it and come up with your own “Xeno-Flaws” as you see fit. The best way to come up with a “Xeno-Flaws” Compensation is to look at the character’s Advantages what sort of handicap would possibly negate the positive Advantage.
|1||The character has a fairly serious handicap that does not come into play very often – or a minor one that inconveniences him constantly. Examples include: the character has to consume twice as much food as “normal” to continue functioning; the character requires special medical treatments; the character has a strange (and possibly debilitating) reaction to a fairly common substance; there is a certain social or cultural stigma attached to the character’s behavior that handicaps him at certain times|
|2||The Xeno-Flaw has serious consequences, but only comes into play rarely, or is in effect quite often and has moderately serious effects. The character cannot breathe “normal” atmosphere without a filter; requires “alien” (and hard to get) nutrients; has a particular vulnerability to one form of attack; cannot perform a certain type of action; is unable to comprehend/participate in certain interactions|
|3||There are severe consequences to this flaw, and the character must take steps to avoiding its activation. The character must wear full life support almost all the time; there is a common substance or action that will critically injure or even kill the character but does not normally have this effect on most people; the flaw makes it nearly impossible for the character to interact with others except under certain circumstances|
|4||The flaw is so lethal or dangerous that, should the character violate the circumstances of it, he or she would be, effectively, removed from the adventuring environment. The character must perform ritual suicide should some sort of action occur; there is an unusual (but not unheard of) substance that will instantly kill the character; the character’s culture prohibits her from defending herself in the event of certain circumstances|
For a list of more xeno-flaws, see “Xeno-Flaws”
When using “Xeno-Flaws,” try to come up with some interesting ideas but keep the rules surrounding them simple. Basically, if it takes more than a paragraph or two to explain the rules of the “Xeno-Flaw,” then it is probably too complicated. Of course, developing an interesting background for the flaw can take a while – and be very interesting.
These are the easiest Compensations because they usually affect game mechanics and numbers. They aren’t usually as fun to roleplay as other Compensations, but they are easy to allocate and use.
Advantage Flaw (1-5 points)
Something is “wrong” with an Advantage your character has. Pick an Advantage and come up with something that partially (or completely) negates it under certain circumstances. For example, your character may have “Increased Ability Score Points” assigned to Strength. Perhaps when the character is in a fist fight and using brawling, he is not able to use the extra points – because of the character’s the character’s physiology does not allow for violent acts (perhaps the adrenaline gland works in reverse when anger is provoked).
The point costs depend on how negatively the character’s Advantage is affected – and how often. Use the chart below to determine point costs.
Coming up with the exact circumstances of the flaw can be fairly easy and fun. Some of the examples can work very well in a story context as well. For example, a character with “Wealth” may have a one point “Advantage Flaw” the Advantage is partially negated – and a +2 modifier for three Compensation Points. This could mean the “Wealth” the character has is not worth nearly as much (say, half), unless the character is in his or her home sector or planet where the character’s “Wealth” is actually worth something.
Note that the “Advantage Flaw” also works very well with the “Possessions” Advantage. The thing you got is “damaged” or “not quite finished yet” and causes problems occasionally.
Sample Advantage Flaws
|1||Ability Loss 1: The character temporarily loses one of or more of his special abilities or the ability to use a common skill at a regular interval (for example, a character who cannot shape-shift when the sun is out; a character who cannot use his natural weapons on a particular day of the month or during a certain phase of the moon; a character who is unable to pick locks while other characters are present, etc.) The Character is aware of what the circumstances are that will cause this.|
|2||Ability Loss II: Similar to “Ability Loss I,” but when something causes the character to temporarily lose the use of an ability or skill, the removal of that condition will not return the ability or skill to the character. Instead, the character must undergo some sort of (fairly simple) procedure to regain his ability or skill use.|
|3||Ability Loss III: This is similar to “Ability Loss I,’ but the character temporarily loses at least two (and probably more) of his special abilities or the ability to use multiple skills at a regular interval until whatever condition that caused this is removed. The character is aware of what the circumstances are that will s cause this.|
|3||Infection1: Under certain circumstances, the character passes along certain abilities and characteristics to another character. The character has an infection Strength 3d6. |
The game master and the player should determine how the character spreads the infection. It may be as the side-effect of an attack, through physical contact, or through some other means. When the character performs the requisite action, he must generate an infection total. The target rolls a Fortitude saving throw. If the character’s infection total exceeds the target’s saving throw, the target is infected.
An infection passes certain Advantages and Compensations to the target (to be specified by the player and the game master). It is possible for the infection to pass more Compensations on than Advantages, but is not possible f or it to pass more Advantages than Compensations.
Keep in mind that the infected character may well hate the character responsible for his new state, so the infecting character may have gained an “Enemy.” In fact, there should be some overwhelming reasons why this is actually bad for the infecting character it is a Compensation, after all. Game masters who do not feel that the “Enemy” Compensation is enough of a negative could also work in other sorts of Advantage Flaws as side-effects of spreading the infection.
|4||Ability Loss IV. This is similar to “Ability Loss II,” s in that something causes the character to temporarily lose the use of multiple abilities or skills and the condition does not go away when the cause is removed. It may be a physical object, such as the relic of a certain cult, it may be a particular kind of ritual chant, the sight or smell of an herb, etc., or it may be s that the use of one ability (such as possession) makes it impossible to use others. The character must go through a serious procedure to get his abilities back.|
|Infection II: Same as “Infection I,” except that the of character has an infection Strength 4D6. Also, the penalties for infecting another characters should be more severe – maybe the character infected then knows thing about the infection character that will give him an advantage over his enemy, or perhaps the infecting character temporarily loses more abilities or Ability Score points.|
Advantage Flaw Chart
|1||Advantage is partially negated when the flaw comes into effect. Some of the Advantage-effect still works, but not all of it.|
|2||Advantage is completely negated. No benefit can be gained from the Advantage while the flaw is in effect.|
|3||The Advantage is negated, and there is an additional negative effect. Something “bad” happens during the flaw – example: the character is also stymied.|
|+1||The flaw is a very common occurrence. Example: every time the character is damaged in combat, he loses the Advantage until healed.|
|+2||The flaw is almost always in effect. When the character is not in his home atmosphere/ gravity/ whatever, the Advantage does not work.|
Every character has Ability Score limitations – no character in Star Wars, The Roleplaying Game may have more than a certain Ability Score Dice or an Ability Score higher than a specific amount set by the characters species. (unless a special Advantage is purchased). However, the Compensation “Ability Score Limitations” makes this much more severe.
“Ability Score Limitation” is the lowering of the character’s upper limit on a single Ability Score. If the character is willing to lower the maximum value his or her Ability Score can ever go up to, the character can gain Compensation points. The character can spend one Compensation point for every two points off the Ability Score limit. This will also reduce the Ability Score value if it is higher than the new limit.
Limits may be “bought off” (see “Buying Off Compensations”) but the points are gone. Normally, “Ability Score Limitations” are impose, on Ability Scores that already have values lower than the new limit.
The character may not increase the limited Ability Score above the new limit without first “Buying Off” the Compensation. The character may gain no more than five Compensation points by using this Ability Score limit, but more than one Ability Score may be limited.
Handicap (1-5 Points)
Your character has a handicap of some kind. While this is usually physical or mental, the character could have a handicap of any kind. This handicap can not already be solved or “conquered” by such things as cybernetic limbs or alien abilities. A character who is missing an arm suffers no handicap if he has a cybernetic one in its place.
For this reason, physical handicaps should not be worth more than 1 or 2 points at the most. The character could get it replaced at any time, given the money and the inclination. Mental handicaps are different. They are not as easily defined nor gotten rid of by normal means. A character who is mentally handicapped could have a wide range of difficulties, and could have problems beyond mere statistical negatives. Ranges from 1 to 5 point are suggested.
Additional handicaps are story-driven. A character who cannot, for any reason, bring himself to strike another person could be said to have a handicap. A character who has a “life debt” philosophy (if anyone saves her life, that character must serve their savior forever) would be considered handicapped. Even characters who come from low-tech fringe worlds would be considered handicapped they have a hard time understanding technology and exploiting it to their advantage.
The game master and the player should come up with both story and game mechanics to fit the situation. No handicap should be worth more than 5 points, because anything that powerful would cripple the character’s playability. Indeed, players and game masters just starting out with Star Wars RPG are advised to look handicaps over carefully before taking them.
|1||The character has a minor physical or mental handicap that makes certain actions more difficult. The handicap could be a “bad knee,” or just a particular “mental block” regarding certain types of activities.|
The player and the game master should work out some sort of affliction and then choose a group of related skills (the minimum number of skills is five). The character then adds +3 to the Difficulty Class of all actions performed using those skills. Some possible examples include:
Restrictions/Notes: As you can see from the sample groups, it is much easier to come up with physical handicaps than mental ones. The mental ones make sense only if you take a particular point of view the ‘Unobservant” group is based off the idea that the character not only doesn’t easily “spot” things, but he also has trouble picking up on interactive “cues.”
|3||Uncoordinated: The character has no physical grace to speak of and is, in face, something of a klutz. Add +5 to the DC of all Dexterity-based skills.|
|3||Uneducated: For some reason or another, the character never made it all the way through school. As a result, the character has difficulty learning new things. Characters with this Compensation are forced to pay one additional skill point whenever they increase the value of any Intelligence or Wisdom based skill.|
|1-5||Addiction: The Character cannot go on more than given period of time without engaging in a particular vice to satisfy his/her addiction. The amount of time is determined by the points invested into the Compensation. Failure to do so results in lowered metabolic rates, thereby reducing all of the character’s Ability Score scores. How much depends on the points, again. |
1-point: Can go without the substance for 6 months before penalties incur. Penalty: 1 point of Ability Scores per week afterward.
2-points: Can go without substance for 3 months. Penalty: 1 point of Ability Scores per week afterward.
3-points: Can go without substance for 1 month. Penalty: 1 point of Ability Scores per week afterward.
4-points: Can go without substance for 1 week. Penalty: 1 point of Ability Scores for every 2 days afterward.
5-points: Can go without substance for 1 day. Penalty: 1 point of Ability Scores per day afterward.
After a period of time (at the GM’s discretion), the character has defeated her addiction. If she ever partakes of the formerly addictive activity in the future, she has a 50% (1-3 on a roll of 1D) chance of becoming addicted again.
Skill Limitations (1-5 points)
When a character limits a skill, he is voluntarily limiting the amount of skill ranks he may ever have in that skill. It is an imposed limit much like the Ability Score limit.
Because there are so many skills, however, and many characters will never learn all the skills in the game, there are certain constraints to this Compensation. The skill limited must be one that could be used in a Combat or some kind of common interaction. These include: all combat skills, bluff, intimidate, diplomacy, and any others the GM deems as common for his game.
Also, the skill limitation must be approved by the game master. If the game master does not think that the skill would be used much by the character in the campaign, the Compensation may be reduced or overruled. Use the table below for the point values and effects.
A common reason for limitations imposed on skills is brain-burning. A character who has been brain-burned has had certain skills chemically and electrically “burned” into his brain. This causes other skills to be stunted or lost.
Skill Limit Value Chart
|1||The skill is limited to 6 to 8 ranks.|
|2||The skill is limited to 1 to 4 point.|
|3||The skill cannot be learned by the character.|
|+1||The character always rolls for the skill as if untrained (this option may only be selected if the character has at least one skill in the skill)|
Price (1-2 Points)
This is a Compensation similar to Advantage Flaw, above. But, instead of there being something wrong with the character’s Advantage, there is a “price tag” attached. Every time the character wants to use the ability, the character has to pay a Price to continue using the ability at least a few times during the adventure.
The Price might be an actual fee – and a significant one at that. If the fee isn’t paid, the Advantage goes away until the price can be paid. But this won’t work for many Advantages (at least not in an interesting manner), so there are other ways to do it.
Most likely, the Price will be a role-playing effect. Maybe every time a Contact does a favor for a character, he not only demands the normal, negotiated recompense (if any), but the character must do a favor of equal importance for the character. Or, whenever a piece of Equipment is used (most likely after the adventure), parts of it need to be replaced or serviced by a specialist (who may charge a high fee or ask a favor).
One more suggestion for 1-point Price would be that the character has to pay one Force Point at the end of an adventure or 1 to 3 Vitality points upon use of the advantage, to “pay for” the use of the Advantage. This reflects the fact that the use of the Advantage ‘takes something out of’ the character when it is used.
At the 2-point level, the Price for using a particular Advantage, or group of Advantages, is much higher, but the rules are the same. Now, Special Abilities will force the character to fulfill certain obligations (perhaps when using “water breathing,” the character must remain in the water for at least twenty-four hours or suffer a wound for changing environments so quickly). Contacts will be extremely hard to “pay off” or do favors for – maybe an entire short adventure has to be devoted to ‘paying back” a contact who helped out.
Optionally, paying 2 Force Points at the end of an adventure where the Advantage(s) where used is a quick way of “paying the price.” Also Vitality points are by far the easiest way to pay for a Price.
Restrictions/Notes: The Price should be fairly easy to meet, but it should take some work. It should be something that the character can roleplay along with an adventure or resolve between Episodes or adventures (like paying off the recipient of the Price). However, if the character does not pay the Price, the Advantage does go away – and, if in the game master’s opinion the character does this too often, both the Advantage and the Price should go away permanently. Price can be taken often at various levels, and the same Price can be linked to more than one Advantage – though, unless the Price is actually double (the character has to pay the same price twice as often), it only counts as one Compensation.
This category covers Compensations that are almost all entirely role-playing. They are sometimes very difficult to roleplay, and it is recommended that players look them over and talk to their game masters before incorporating them into the character.
Amnesia (2-4 points)
The character has background, skills or abilities he has “forgotten” about. This can be a Background Advantage, or a set of skills, or anything that would help the character – if he knew about it. The table below has suggestions for how to handle this.
“Amnesia” works best when combined with other mechanics and Advantages. It can be hard to roleplay – you probably know what your character doesn’t – but it can be fun.
Amnesia Value Chart
|2||Blackouts: A type of active Amnesia. During high pressure situations, this character has a tendency to blackout for several minutes. She has no recollection of this lost time. In game terms, the character may black out whenever she rolls a 1 for a skill roll (perhaps specifically a Intelligence or Wisdom based skill – GM’s Call). The Player must make a Fortitude saving throw vs. DC 10 + GM’s d20 roll. Lasts for 1d6 minutes.|
|2||Partial Amnesia. The character does not remember a skill he or she has more than one rank in. The character cannot use the skill ranks unless in a crisis situation, in which case she temporarily “remembers” and then forgets again. The crisis should be a serious crisis more serious than standard combat.|
|3||Total Amnesia. The character doesn’t remember anything about her background, and this is a bad thing. Usually, taking another Compensation (such as “Debt…… Enemy,” or “Pursued”) would be a good idea – and then roleplay the character as if she does not remember the situation.|
|4||No Knowledge. The character didn’t forget; he or she never knew. Something from the character’s past is coming back to haunt the character, and she doesn’t have a clue as to what it is – but it is a problem. It may be a deadly case of mistaken identity, or maybe the character did something that held no significance at the time.|
Language (1-2 Points)
The character is, for some reason, unable to speak Basic. If he can understand the language but not speak it, this Compensation is worth 1 points. If he cannot speak it or understand it, it is worth 2 points.
Personality Flaws (1-4 points)
Personality Flaw Point Chart
|1||Argumentative: This character constantly plays the devil’s advocate. She rejoices when an exploitable situation arises, arguing though she sometimes agrees with her adversary. The argument becomes a game, a strategic contest of wills.|
|1||Compulsive Tendencies: At any time the character may decide to do or say something that she would not normally do or say under the circumstances. For example, during a conversation with a head of state, the character might blurt out, “Your wife is much uglier than I expected.”|
|1||Delusions of Grandeur: The best thing to ever happen to the world. That’s how characters with this Disadvantage view themselves. No one can surpass their prowess-they shouldn’t even bother trying.|
|1||Low Self-esteem: This character has a low opinion of herself. She constantly berates herself, harping on her bad qualities.|
|1||Negative Quirk: See Table Below|
|1||Extremely Competitive: To this character everything is a competition. She always wants to race the other characters to the battle, put herself in more danger than anyone else, and slosh down the most drinks. She cannot turn down a challenge.|
|1||Procrastination: This character always puts everything off. Even when something cannot wait, he still lets it go until it’s too late.|
|2||Fallback Plan: This character cannot function unless she has devised a backup plan for every situation she puts herself into. This applies to everything from combat to relationships.|
|2||Poor Memory: Characters with this problem have trouble remembering. In game terms, whenever the character has to recall an important piece of information, she must make a Will saving throw vs. 8 + Gm’s d20 roll|
|1-3||Fanatic: This character holds to a philosophical ideal, the source of which may be a sect, a nation, or a person. She will always defends this ideal, even sometimes trading her life for its preservation. Varies with the degree of fanaticism.|
|3||Manic Depressive: This character slips into deep, long-lasting depressions. He doesn’t care about anything during these times. The player may decide when the character falls into depression and when he extricates himself from it. If the player never lets his character lapse into this state, the GM should take the initiative.|
|4||Self-confidence: The character has no confidence in himself. Whenever he has to perform an important task (making an accurate shot, negotiation a hostage, et cetera), he has a 50% chance of losing confidence. If he fails this roll, he reduces his chance of success in the current endeavor by -6 to his attempt.|
|Belches||Prefers a Particular Color(s)|
|Condescending||Refuses to Bathe|
|Constantly Quotes||Responds only to Full Name and Title|
|Clich�s||Ritual (before combat, after combat, before sleep, first thing in the morning, etc.)|
|Curses||Saying (“Tally ho!” or “You got a problem with that?” and so forth)|
|Dry Sense of Humor||Scratches Constantly|
|Enormous Appetite||Scratchy Voice|
|Favorite Drink||Shy Around the Opposite Sex|
|Keeps a Journal||Speaks in a Whisper|
|Lisp||Speaks in Monotone|
|Must Always Have the Last Word in a Conversation||Sweats Profusely|
|Must Buy a Souvenir from Every Place Visited||Takes Insults Poorly|
|Nervous||Takes Criticism Poorly|
|Twitch||Talks to Herself|
|Noisy Eater||Thick Accent|
|Obsessively Clean||Uses Flowery Language|
|Practical Joker||Yawns Constantly|
Dependency: The character has a slight dependency on a substance or even a role-playing event. The character might be a “pack-a-day” smoker who, if he doesn’t get a cigarette at least once an Episode, he gets irritable and, perhaps, stymied during interactions. Or maybe the character always has to “have the last word” in any situation and will often beat an argument into the ground rather than “lose.’
Kleptomania: When in a store or surrounded by small, portable items, the character will occasionally try to “lift” something. When possessed by his Quirk (Will saving throw check when GM feels it’s appropriate), the character suffers +4 to the Difficulty Class of Sleight of Hand, or related attempts at theft because he really doesn’t know he’d doing it.
Indecision: The character does not like making decisions and will delay making them. When role-playing, the player should actively participate in group discussions, but he should be “wishy-washy’ and indecisive at critical moments.
Stutter: When under pressure, or when relaxed, or when some other fairly common ‘mood” hits the character, he stutters. The upshot is the character suffers +4 to the Difficulty Class of any interaction at this time and player should roleplay having a “hard time” getting his ideas across to the other players.
Psychosis (1-2 Points)
The character has a mental psychosis that “adjusts” his or her personality. The “Psychosis” should not be too major, and should only be 1 or 2 Compensation points (per psychosis) or the character will be unplayable. Some “Psychosis” suggestions are paranoia, unrelenting cynicism, gullibility, persistent lying, phobias. While not all of these actually are psychoses, they fit under the basic category for the purpose of the game.
As far as effects go, a one point “Psychosis” doesn’t usually need much in the way of game effects – as long as the player role-plays well. Assign occasional +1’s to DCs that affect the psychosis (a character with “Cynicism” may have difficulty persuading people, or a compulsive liar may not be able to pull off a con if his or her lying is well known), but, generally, keep role-playing. A1-point Psychosis are considered more a Quirk then real Psychosis
Two-point Compensations almost always require rule mechanics, but they are along the lines of the one-point “occasional” mechanics. Talk to your game master about selecting these psychoses. Fears and phobias fit well into this category.
|1||Obsessive Tendencies: Whenever this character decides on a course of action, she cannot help but become totally focused on that action, ignoring all other issues in her life.|
|1||Pathological Liar: This character cannot stop himself from lying constantly. No matter what the situation, he is compelled to exaggerate, fib, and outright lie.|
|1-2||Phobia: The points of this Disadvantage varies depending on the level of the character’s fear. At 1, the character avoids the object of his fear as often as possible, but has no problem dealing with it when the time comes. At 2, the character will never put himself in a situation where he has to cope with his fear. If he does wind up in such a situation, he freezes and remains unmoving until the object of his fear subsides. Fears include heights, water, certain creatures, darkness, open spaces, cramped spaces, Force, thunder, lightning, and so on.|
|2||Hallucinations: At random times, this character begins having delusions. He cannot tell when something is truly occurring or just a figment of his imagination. The GM has full control over this Disadvantage.|
|2||Nightmares: Almost every night, this character suffers from horrible nightmares, usually related to an unsatisfied issue in his life, though not necessarily. As a result, the character needs 10 hours of sleep per day. Failure to get the required amount of rest results in a +5 penalty to all skill and Ability Score rolls for that day.|
|2||“Unhealthy” Paranoia: Everyone wants to destroy this character. At least, that’s what she believes. She must constantly look over her shoulder, check every inch of her sleeping environment, and scrutinize every acquaintance. She never knows when her enemies will strike.|
These are Compensations that come from past interactions with society. Simply put, something the character did, or something that happened to the character before adventuring began, is still “with” the character. These “Social” Compensations cover a wide range of background territory and can be built into your character’s history easily.
Bigotry (1-3 Points)
The character is a bigot. The intolerance and prejudice the character feels is justified in the character’s mind, and may even be unofficially supported by the population of the Empire at large – but is “Bigotry” nonetheless. The extent and depth of the “Bigotry” Compensation define the point values.
In most cases, “Bigotry” should be run as an irrational, though probably background-based hatred and/or prejudice against someone “different.” This prejudice may benefit the character at times but, in most cases, makes the character unable to view the world except in “tunnel vision.” The character probably is very closed-minded about the bigotry and will irrationally dismiss good ideas and concepts he would normally accept only because they spring from the target of his prejudice.
Bigotry Compensation Value Chart
|1||The character is prejudiced against a common target – aliens, etc. – and the prejudice is “socially acceptable.”|
|2||The character’s bigotry is against a less acceptable target – Imperials scouts, people from a particular sector, megacorp employees – and doesn’t play well in several situations.|
|3||The prejudice is against a target that it is not a good idea to be prejudiced against – Imperials in general, the dominant megacorp in a sector, Humanity (good for alien characters) – and has serious trouble getting along in many situations.|
|+1||The prejudice takes on dangerous proportions – either the bigot will attack the target or vice versa. +1 The target of the bigotry is much more powerful than the bigot. -1 The bigot is able to suppress his prejudice while “saving up” for a particularly nasty deed.|
|-1||The bigotry is not very strong – the character may not even know he is a bigot.|
General Prejudice (1-5 points)
For some reason, the character is discriminated against. This is essentially the same as “Alien Prejudice,” except the fact that the character is or isn’t an alien has nothing to do with the prejudice.
The character might be from a lower social class than the “norm.” Or the character might be from a much-oppressed minority. Maybe the prejudice is actually justified (somewhat) – the character has habits that make him or her very objectionable to those around the character. Some Quirks can result in General Prejudices.
This is worth one to five Background Compensation Points. It all depends on how often the “General Prejudice” comes up, and how violent the response. A character that will be shot on sight nearly everywhere he or she goes is easily a five (or maybe more – in which case the character isn’t really what you might want to play). One that provokes mild hostility but very little overt effect would be a one-pointer.
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 one or two points, this Compensation 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 one or two points – but, since the character can probably dispose of the equipment or hide it, the Compensation 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 Compensation. Of course, if the character can’t quit, the Compensation 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 on a Core World for a string of unpaid docking fees (which would result in a heavy fine if he ever showed up there again) could be worth one or two points, if he was wanted on one world, or if the character were wanted for the same crime on a hundred worlds. But, if the character were wanted on a world for murder – and is already sentenced to death – that could be worth as high as three points.
Four and five point “Criminal” Compensations are almost always “life” or “death penalty” crimes and are quite far-reaching in their extent. Getting Fleet mad enough at you to want to kill you is a five-pointer, and the same goes for a few of the more extensive megacorporations.
Another way the “Criminal” Compensation 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 one or two points, while a mass-murderer who beat the rap on a technicality would be worth four or five.
Sometimes, these “Criminal” Compensations 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” Compensation.
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.
Role-playing “Debt” can be easy or complicated – for both the game master 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 Compensations 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.
Debt Compensation Value Chart
|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 four or five 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 loanshark); 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 loanshark 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-Point: 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-Points: 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-points: 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 Compensation 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).
Use the chart on the next page for some sample point values and “Enemy” effects.
“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.
Enemy Compensation Value Chart
|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 Imperial 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 Fleet 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 Imperial 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 Compensation) 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 Compensation, whereas very extensive (or effective) pursuers may receive a bonus of +1.
Pursuit Compensation Value Chart
|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 Imperial or New Republic 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 or Imperial or NR 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.
Reputation Compensation Value Chart
|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.|
D20 Notes: This has no direct effect Reputation Score, except that it will be why someone knows a person based on that score.