Mutants & Masterminds currently contains a list of nine weaknesses, encompassing many classic superhuman flaws seen in comic books over the years The rulebook presents a fairly broad and encompassing look at how weaknesses can be handled, providing a simple system that works well for most M&M campaigns. But some players might want a more nuanced system. Does a character who gives off a bad odor really deserve the same power point award as a paraplegic ninja cop? Questions like this can lead players to attempt to come up with the least limiting flaw their GM will allow and still receive the golden 10 power points gained by taking a weakness. Below is an optional list of weaknesses containing variable levels, severities, and examples as well as suggested costs. As with any system, there is a line that must be drawn, a judgment call to be made, and some may find the numbers to be off. Gamemasters should feel free to modify the severity of a weakness or even create all new lists if they like. The three levels of weaknesses (and associated power point bonuses for taking them) are: Minor (+2 pts) Moderate (+5 pts) Major (+10 pts) Note: Some weaknesses remain unchanged due to the type of effect they produce, although typically alternate methods of purchasing similar, less debilitating versions are offered below. ADDICTION The hero has an addictive personality that has manifested itself in some way, ranging from the need for a dangerous substance to a deadly compulsion to perform a self destructive action. Addictions typically range along the lines of alcoholism, drug use, and self-destructive habits. Typical addictions include a constant desire to steal minor trinkets, gambling, and the need for adrenaline rushes created by actions like street races. The time required between feeding a character's addiction determines the level of the weakness for the hero. Each day the character must make a Will save (DC see below) in order to fend off the addiction for another day. Characters who fail this save must take all possible actions to fulfill their need. Typical effects of drugs involve incapacitation to some degree or another for the day. GMs should feel free to assign penalties along the lines of -5 on all attacks, power checks, and skill checks while under the influence of the drug or alcohol (remember this is not mild usage but severe intoxication). Gamemasters are encouraged to work out the specifics of the actions or effects a particular addiction has upon the hero with this weakness, but remember that fulfilling an addicted character's need should never be a reward, and the addiction's penalties should always be severe. Minor Will save DC 10. Moderate: Will save DC 15. Major. Will save DC 20. ANTAGONIST The hero is for some reason wanted, harassed, or haunted by an antagonist of influence. Often, the antagonist is a supervillain of note, but need not always be a single powerful enemy. A controlling parent constantly checking in on the character, not knowing that they are a hero out fighting crime may qualify. A powerful organization such as the mafia, Yakuza, or a terrorist cell would all qualify. A Gamemaster always has the final say as to what villains are appropriate to a character in order to pose a sufficient challenge. If an antagonist is ever dealt with permanently (such as through death or imprisonment) the character must choose to either pay off the weakness with power points or become the target of a new antagonist. Any and all antagonists should be fully capable of causing an equal amount of grief for the hero in question. GMs may bring an antagonist into the game through the use of Villain Points (much like dramatic editing). The standard cost to bring in an antagonist is 3 VP to Reducing this cost raises the value of the weakness. Minor: The character's antagonist requires the expenditure of 3 VP to bring into play. Moderate: The character's antagonist requires the expenditure of 2 VP to bring into play. Major. The character's antagonist requires the expenditure of 1 VP to bring into play. If the antagonist in question is more powerful than the character in question, or is in fact seriously weaker, the GM should consider reducing or increasing the severity of the weakness. Example. Ballistic Boy has an overly protective grandmother with a habit of calling him mid-battle. Of course, getting away with fighting Combusto while maintaining a secret identity can be quite difficult, often leading Ballistic Boy to flee a battle in search of a quiet spot to answers his call and talk. If the idea of spending villain points in order to "activate" a character weakness doesn't suit your play style, consider this system: At the beginning of any new adventure, the GM should roll a d20, adding the severity modifier for the antagonist in question (minor +2, moderate +5, major +10). A successful DC 20 check leads to the antagonist playing a part in the adventure. BERSERKER The hero tends to lose control in combat situations, attacking enemies without any thought of personal safety (or anything else, for that matter). At the start of each round of combat, the hero's player must make a Will saving throw (DC see below). If the save fails, the hero goes berserk. The hero loses any dodge bonuses to Defense and must take the full attack option as often as possible, only taking other actions to get into range of potential opponents. The hero does not snap out of the berserk state until all potential opponents are defeated. Then the player may make another Will save (DC see below). If it fails, the hero attacks an ally or bystander. The hero gets a new saving throw each round (with a cumulative +1 bonus) to come out of the berserk state. A successful Diplomacy check (DC 20) by an ally who tries to calm the hero down gives the character a +2 bonus on the Will save, but a failed Diplomacy check or Will save makes the character who attempted the Diplomacy check the hero's next target. Minor. The character tends to lose his temper easily, but often gets it under control without too much danger to his allies. The save DC is 15 and you never have to check to see if you will attack your allies, your anger dissipating when your enemies have fallen. Moderate. The character truly has trouble controlling his anger and swells with rage, friends and enemies alike must be careful. The save DC is 20 and your allies best be ready when the battle is over, for you are known to sometimes continue the fight. Major: The character no longer has a grasp on the situation, anger having taken complete control. The save DC is 25, and you no longer have a grasp of the concept of ally or enemy when enraged. If for some reason your current opponent becomes unavailable to attack, you must move to and attack the nearest being. DISABLED The hero lacks a particular sense or means of locomotion, which often proves troublesome. Generally speaking, the character has an ability score or other common ability (like a sense or movement) effectively removed. Some examples of each follow: Minor Disabilities Bad Vision: The character suffers a -2 penalty on Spot checks and ranged attack rolls due to poor vision or sees only in black and white (comic book color blindness). Hard of Hearing: The character has a hard time hearing conversations and soft noises at any distance. Double the penalty for Listen checks made at a distance of more than 5 feet. Moderate Disabilities Very Bad Vision: The character has a hard time making out object shapes and distinguishing one from another, and often has difficulty judging distances. The character suffers a -5 penalty on Spot checks and ranged attack rolls. All opponents gain 30% concealment against the character. Mostly Deaf: The character has a hard time hearing conversations and soft noises at any distance. Quadruple the penalty for listen checks made at a distance of more than 5 feet and apply a -5 penalty on all skill checks and rolls that involve hearing. Mute: The character cannot speak. He may learn and use sign language as a regular language (see the Language skill, p. 36 of the Mutants & Masterminds rulebook). He suffers a -5 penalty on Bluff and Diplomacy checks. Major Disabilities Complete Blindness: The character cannot see at all. Everything effectively has total concealment from the character. His movement rate is limited as is his ability to interact with the world. See the Condition Summary, p. 139 of the Mutants & Masterminds rulebook for more on blind characters. The hero cannot have any sight- based super-feats, although the Blindsight feat is available (and can partially compensate for the character's lack of sight). Paraplegic: The character's legs are paralyzed, meaning he cannot stand or walk unaided. The character's normal movement speed is only 5 feet per round as a full action (nothing more than a crawl), and he probably is reliant on a wheelchair or similar conveyance for getting around. DISTURBING The character's appearance, manner, or presence is so strange that he suffers a penalty on Bluff and Diplomacy checks. The character can't pass in normal society without drawing stares and whispered comments, and will have a difficult time maintaining any sort of dual identity without taking extraordinary measures. Minor. The character is mildly weird, soliciting snickers and dirty looks from the locals. Bluff, Diplomacy, and potentially Disguise (based upon the nature of the Disturbing feature or aspect) checks are made at a -2 penalty. This is most likely appropriate for characters with severe tattoos, tails, pointed ears, or even minor spines or quills. Moderate: The character is very unusual. Many openly stare at the character, sometimes soliciting uneasiness from those nearby. Bluff, Diplomacy, and potentially Disguise (based upon the nature of the Disturbing feature or aspect) checks are made at a -5 penalty. This is an appropriate level for characters covered in green fur, displaying bat wings, large scales, or something else similarly beyond mild physical mutation. Major The character is a horror to look upon, exudes a stench that makes people sick, or just draws hostility and fear from those who interact with the hero. Bluff, Diplomacy, and potentially Disguise (based upon the nature of the Disturbing feature or aspect) checks are made at a -10 penalty. This level of physical disturbance often borders on the realm of nightmares and includes hell-skinned demons, flaming skulls for heads, and internal organs on the outside. NAIVE/SUSPICIOUS A naive hero tends to think the best of people and trusts in the inherent goodness of all creatures. On the other hand, a suspicious character rarely trusts anyone, often believing in conspiracies and cover -ups. Minor. Minorly naive characters tend to generally trust in the goodness of all people, while minorly suspicious characters spend a bit too much time trying to determine just what others are hiding. Minorly naive heroes suffer a -2 penalty on Sense Motive checks and checks to avoid being surprised in combat. Minorly suspicious characters suffer a -2 penalty on Sense Motive checks and on Diplomacy checks due to their distracted and untrusting nature. Moderate: Moderately naive characters usually trust in the goodness of all people and take most things at face value, while moderately suspicious characters generally start with an abrasive approach, knowing opponents intentionally hide their words. Moderately naive heroes suffer a -5 penalty on Sense Motive checks and checks to avoid being surprised in combat. Moderately suspicious characters suffer a -5 penalty on Sense Motive checks and on Diplomacy checks due to their distracted and untrusting nature. Major: Majorly naive characters believe almost anything they hear, and often read tabloid newspapers about presidential alien abductions so they can keep informed. Majorly suspicious characters have spent far too much time crafting tinfoil hats and dodging the targeting scopes of unseen helicopters in the night. Majorly naive heroes suffer a -10 penalty on Sense Motive checks and checks to avoid being surprised in combat. Majorly suspicious characters suffer a -10 penalty on Sense Motive checks and on Diplomacy checks due to their distracted and untrusting nature. QUIRK The hero has a particular personality quirk that strongly influences his actions. Examples include irrational hatred or fear of something, an irrational attraction to something, unswerving devotion to a particular code of honor, and so forth. The quirk must be something that comes up fairly regularly, otherwise it doesn't qualify as a weakness. While many heroes are dedicated to a moral code, few are so irrational about it that it qualifies as a quirk. In any situation in which the character's quirk comes into play, the hero must act in accordance with it. For example, a hero with severe claustrophobia who is trapped inside a small space can do nothing but try to get out. If unable to follow the quirk, a hero becomes useless, cowering, ranting, or otherwise completely distracted. A player can spend a Hero Point to allow the hero to overcome or ignore the quirk for one encounter, but its effects always return. The following guidelines should help GMs determine the severity of a given quirk. Minor: Claustrophobia (you fear anything smaller than a typical closet), code of protection (you protect innocents at any cost), honesty (you never lie), love for the color purple (you would never harm someone wearing purple and you own copies of the movie on VHS, DVD, and Laserdisc). Moderate: Claustrophobia (you fear anything smaller than a standard room in a home), fear of heights, code of chivalry (you act as though you were a medieval knight in many cases, throwing down your cape to cover puddles, offering yourself as a hostage, keeping your word, etc.). Major Claustrophobia (you fear anything smaller than a moderate-sized warehouse), psychotic code of belief (you are so extreme in some belief as to be certifiably insane as to your conviction toward it). SUSCEPTIBLE A susceptible hero suffers damage from exposure to some substance or condition that's harmless to normal people. Heroes who cannot breathe oxygen, dehydrate rapidly outside of water, or suffer harm in the presence of a rare mineral are good examples of characters with the Susceptible weakness. A character exposed to his susceptibility must make a Fortitude save (DC 15). The difficulty of the save increases by +1 for each exposure (or minute of exposure, for ongoing effects). If the Fortitude save fails, the character becomes fatigued. After the next failed save the hero is exhausted, becoming unconscious with another failed save. If exposed to the susceptibility again, the hero is dying. A dying hero automatically becomes unconscious (but not disabled) if the susceptibility is removed before he dies. Minor The character is susceptible to an extremely rare element hardly ever found or capable of entering play. This includes things such as meteoric elements, extremes of temperature, or the presence of something equally rare. Moderate: Proximity to high voltage lines, acid rain, or the need for constant hydration are good examples of a moderate susceptibility. Major: A major susceptibility is something the character will be regularly plagued by, and many examples are well known throughout fiction. Sunlight and the undead, witches that melt in water, and the alien that cannot breathe oxygen and must have a supply of its own atmosphere are good examples of major susceptibilities. TRANSFORMATION Under certain conditions, the hero undergoes a transformation that's largely out of his control. This may simply be a change in personality or an actual physical transformation, like the identity Change super-feat (Mutants & Masterminds, p. 51), except the hero can't control when it happens. Choose a condition that triggers the change, such as anger, sadness, exposure to moonlight or water, and so forth. When the character encounters that trigger, the transformation occurs. The character can attempt to hold off the transformation for one round with a Will saving throw (DC 15). The Difficulty class increases by +1 each round until the character transforms. Heroes with this weakness are likely to have difficulty concealing their true identity, and the transformed state may have other weaknesses, such as Berserker, Quirk, or Disturbing. Minor: The character's triggering condition is something rare, such as an unearthly element, alien technology, ancient magical relics, or an eclipse. Moderate: The character's triggering condition is relatively common, but it doesn't pop up every day. Examples include cult rituals or exposure to full moons, salt water, or garlic. Major: The character's triggering condition comes up frequently. Examples include anger, seeing innocents harmed, or exposure to sunlight or moonlight. UNLUCKY The whims of fate do not favor characters with this weakness. Once per game session, the Gamemaster can make something go terribly wrong for the hero: the character fails a vital die roll or saving throw, a villain scores a critical hit, the hero's powers fail at the worst possible moment, and so forth. If something bad must happen to someone in the adventure, it always happens to the unlucky hero first. The Gamemaster cannot simply kill the unlucky hero outright, but anything less than that is fair game.
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