Practical character flaws

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I'm building the backstory of a character at the moment to bring into my group's campaign and I was noticing how it's pretty much essential to any character you play for that character to have some kind of character flaw. Most of the time it's boring to play a perfect character, the character that never falters, the character that is always 100% complete in their convictions. When I say character flaw, I mean the difference between your character and the "norm" that creates an interesting behaviour when interacting with the environment.

Does your Rogue have a passionate hate for people who steal? Is your monastic Monk constantly accompanied by a flask of alcohol?

What character flaws do you think are fun to play at the table? What kind of stereotypes do your flaws fulfil or break?
Currently I'm running a Hobgoblin Bard/Warlock named Vigyull.  The only Hobgoblin stereotype he fits is that, at the end of the day, he truly thinks he's superior to all his companions.  As for which ones he breaks, well:
-He is an arcane class, and a whimsical one at that.
-He consorts with Fey creatures openly, and his Warlock pact is with the Unseelie.
-He worships The Traveler and often employs deception or diplomacy as opposed to open conflict.
-He's Neutral Evil, lacking the honor or military discipline that his race is known for. 
-He has a nasty habit of drug abuse.  He's hooked on a campaign-specific drug called "Angel Dust," which makes the user think he's floating on a cloud in the sky.  Cue beatnik-like personality.

So far my party has accused my character of looking and acting like a hippie.  Given his alignment, I hope they eventually think of him as a Charles Manson analogue.     
I think the most fun flaw to play is somebody who is normally quiet, shy, and sweet-natured, maybe even comes across as a little slow, but has a sudden horrendous flash-fire temper when pushed too far.  But that might be just because it's close enough to my real personality to be really easy to do.
What I've been enjoying is playing a cleric who's "flaw" is that he constantly tries to make friends with everybody (sometimes not attacking the first round of combat if the enemies are sentient to try and make friends better), and convert them to primarily worship his god. That, and donate a portion of the party's gold to charity ahahahaha.
Heya everyone, here are my homebrew threads: (yes there is only one right now, but there are more to come!) And Let There Be Fish-Men: KUO-TOA
One of my player's character, who is an artificer and alchemist, is turning into a bit of a absent minded professor.  Though that is mostly due to the ale-drinking womanizer drow (who actually changes from male to female when hit with cold water and back to male when drenched with hot water but thats a whole different flaw we got from an anime). 

The drow likes to take the character out drinking.  At one point they got so drunk the alchemist created 6 potions that he didn't know what they did.  He had to roll a d6 and depending on the number it changed what the potion did.  They were either alchemist's fires, alchemist's acids, healing potions or one "special" one that was a souped up alchemist's fire that was a burst 5 that did 6d6 damage.  He rolled a nat 20 on that one.  Killed the monsters and almost himself and the drow.
That, and donate a portion of the party's gold to charity ahahahaha.

My most flawed recent character...

* Tries to be Good but doesn't particularly know how
* Will not name his father or country, and any casual mention of either probably is extremely negative
* Is slightly reckless in battle (but not stupid or suicidal)
* When healed from negative HP, swears in disappointment - not at the healer
* Has a serious hatred for one specific sort of enemy, likes to collect their hearts preferably before killing them (burns hearts later)
* Donates 10% of his share of the loot, including the value of magic items assigned to him, to a certain religious order, but characterizes it as payment of a debt
* Has a mild sexual fetish for humans' cute round ears (he's Eladrin)
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose

 My ranger Molly Borden (whose backstory uses the Lizzy Borden story extended into a multi-generational family history of misfortune and madness) still carries the family heirloom: the hatchet (a possibly cursed, possibly evil magic handaxe) that she killed her parents with and several of her ancestors killed other family members with. Whether or not the axe itself is in some way responsible for the ill fortune of her family is purposely left undetermined, but the axe has been involved in numerous incidents ever since Molly's ancestor Harris brought the axe back from an ancient battle against the neighboring Gnoll tribes.
 She could be described as bloodthirsty, and probably even vengeful, as she tends to try to solve problems by hitting them with her axe.

- Because of her background of abuse and mental disturbance, she's "adjusted" (I guess "adapted" would be a better word) by becoming somewhat overly pragmatic and survival-oriented, almost a bit feral. She's distrustful and largely asocial. She has no respect for people who have the ability to stand up for themselves but for whatever reason choose not to, but becomes enraged when people prey on those who truly are unable to defend themselves (she definitely has a soft spot for abused or underpriveleged children). She tends to be a bit black-and-white in her approach to things (especially on certain issues) which often leads to her having reactions innapropriate or far out of proportion to the things that provoked them, and has a tendency to want to share her pain with things she disagrees with...
 - She carries a trophy rope hanging from her belt, braided from strips of the pelts of every gnoll she's killed (and, rather disturbingly, the hides of several things that are decidedly not gnoll pelts.)
 - She carries detailed sketches and descriptions of every opponent that's ever escaped from her, with the full intention of "finding" them at some later date.


 Jack Daw is a pixie predator druid built for charging while wild-shaped.
His fluff is that he's actually neither a pixie nor a druid, but some sort of shapechanging fey crow spirit. He spends most of his time in the form of a crow - out of combat he usually sits on the shoulder of some other character, pretending to be a pet or familiar, and in combat alost always fights as a crow, whirling round and round opponents, divebombing and slashing at them with his claws and beak.
His personality has many of the traits of a crow - sarcastic, secretive, greedy, loud, covetous, attracted to shiny things...
 ...And occasionally enjoys snacking on dead things.


I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)


I am the Lawnmower Man.



I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)


There are reasons they call me Mad...

I suppose you could say that flirting with every female you come across might be a 'flaw'. Cool

(Especially if you're flirting with a particulary chic dragon in the middle of combat. Wink)

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord


one of my favorites (a pc of mine) was your "average joe" sort. let's skip personality here... since he was your typical guy, he was pretty scared s***less when the fantastical or even arcane happened. often during the first round of combat he'd duck and cover, until he realized that his friends needed help.
alcoholism is always fun (to play, obv.), but make it interesting... say he/she only drinks whiskey, and is disgusted by all other types of alcohol   
once my group included a halfling knight 3.5, who was brave to the point of foolhardiness and refused to recognize size differences
You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
I took the wise old wizard stereotype and made an elderly wizard that is starting to go senile. He misplaces his spellbook and sometimes forgets what spells he has in his spellbook. His body is falling apart and his mind is starting to go as well. We've houseruled a move speed of 4 and that his strength and constitution both started at 8 (this was compensated by adding the points for the reduced stats into the point-buy system).

His background bonus was to the history skill - he's lived a very long time and was present for most of recorded history. 
one campain i have seen had this player who played an older Elf female.
she had raised 2 children to adulthood but they got killed by the badguy of the campaign and that is why she turned to adventuring.

she had truble with the concept that an 30 year old human is an adult, as a elf of this age would be a joung teenage like 11 or 12 .
also had a strong mothering instinct.

insisting players eat al their veggies, tucking in other players when they went to bed making sure they had enough blankets.
making sure other players dressed up warmly before going out to do their nightly patrol around the camp.

I've always wanted to play some kind of clothie who always wears a fantastic, tailored suit. Bonus points for ritual caster with fastidiousness. Kind of like the Joker's suit in Batman - Arkham X games, but maybe not purple. Fusses over it all the time. Probably the party face, heh.

My current character is obsessed with killing things - not for the challenge of killing them but for the trophies. Dragon claws, harpy feathers, medusa's hair, the wings of an angel.. Pretty much anything awesome to show off for later has been enough to turn him from a reasoning human into a bloodthirsty maniac. 
I've always wanted to play some kind of clothie who always wears a fantastic, tailored suit. Bonus points for ritual caster with fastidiousness. Kind of like the Joker's suit in Batman - Arkham X games, but maybe not purple. Fusses over it all the time. Probably the party face, heh.

We have a Warlock in our regular LFR group who does exactly this.  He's good fun.  he spends his short rests preening (in order not to actually rest, and maintain the charge in his Darkspiral Rod/Aura).  He rarely gets hit/damaged, because of the latter.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
The ranger I'm playing now was captured and enslaved on his first foray into "civilized" territory.  Frequent lashings left him unable to draw a greatbow, so he's mostly a melee combatant now.  He's also terrified of crowds and cities - he can't sleep indoors, and has anxiety attacks and violent outbursts when he's restrained or stuck in a crowd.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider

A neersighted elven archer, portrayed as a bookish sage with cokebottle glasses, -5 to hit in melee but heaven help you when he takes off his glasses and picks up a bow...

the 'drunken master' monk applied to a magic user. 

total (il)locigal fears. A wizard who is totally affraid of cats. His parents were both commoners when a pack of cats took over the barn, there were 2 adults and 6 kittens... they didnt survive the 50/50 odds. Since then he has been scared witless over them ever since. Mind you most wizards have cat familliars, so... those first seven books years of wizard school were tough.

I run a different RPG where character flaws are built into race or class statistics. Here are the ones I enjoy:

  • Alcoholism

  • Agoraphobia

  • Gluttony

  • Wild roots (basically, races like orcs or goblins or monsters have to roll a check to abandon the party and join a hostile group of the same race during a fight. Makes for interesting player vs. player).

  • Annoying to allies (very, very fun if role-played right. Allows more player vs. player, too. Basically after any in-game comment made by that player, anyone who might have disapproved the comment can roll a check any try to smack the annoying person.)

  • Naive

  • Blabbermouth

  • Selfish/tight-fisted (player has to make a check every time they has to give up their money or split cash/loot it with the party)

  • Smelly feet (gives other party members penalties to resting and healing if they are in closed places.)

I am also playing a wizard/swordmage who is a pyromaniac. He has a touch of agoraphobia, combined with the urge to burn down buildings periodically. The bigger the building, the bigger the urge.

I've played with a character who would not stop pickpocketing everyone. Literally, every turn was "Who can I see? Are they carrying money?". Mid fight, he would pickpocket allies. He would trip them just to grab their purse. It made the rest of the party paranoid, which led to hysterical preventative measures. That certainly was fun.

I've played with a character who had to make fights as flashy as possible. This meant doing flips over top of people, sliding between legs,  jumping off shoulders, getting thrown into mobs, etc etc... Picture a bad action flick fight scene. Makes the DM's job a bit harder, but certainly worth the effort.

I play a berserker from the frozen north, and as a berserker the primal rage is all innate, and the rest is martial. In this way there are no spirits or supernatural things like that, so he is very on edge around flashy magic of any sort.

Not quite stupid, but think along the lines of "Bad juju! Smash!" Except he's not quite a nimwit. It's funny because everyone else in the party is magical of some sort ^^; so most of the time he keeps to himself, because he doesn't trust the other party members and their magic.

Sort of Conan the Barbarianish I guess. 
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I'm both instinctive and emotional. I value my own instincts and desires, and either ignore or crush anything that stands in my way; planning and foresight are unnecessary. At best, I'm determined and fierce; at worst, I'm headstrong and infantile.

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Hmm, some of the past Character Flaws my previous character had.

Bard - A Scardy Cat who would scream/panic/whimper if something got into melee range with him and/or tried to attack him.  He would immediately scamper off at any costs, and do his best to get THAT creature off of him no matter who he got in its path.  Trip, Fake an ally's attack on it, pull debris into the path, etc.  To think, this guy was a former pirate ... though he only acted as the landlubber contact for them when not at sea and was otherwise a deckhand.  Worse, he believed his biggest character flaw was the fact he could never bring himself to leave an ally/friend behind.  He would be on the verge of it at times, but could never bring himself to do so.

Deva Shaman - Jaded towards mortals.  While follower of Ioun, he made it a point to care more for texts and books then lives of mortals as they were "brief anyways while knowledge lost is something truly tragic".  Worse, he would do nothing to help those that committed an "Evil" in his prescence or even consider them in his actions.  Such as releasing an freezing arcane bomb in the middle of a city, to close off a cultist's temple with a dangerous set of bones of a long dead monstrosity that they were trying to raise as an undead and its leader had escaped.  Middle of a city, that when brought up, merely responded that they all willingly followed and joined in the atrocities the cult ran as a mockery of a Festival.
-To be fair, his reincarnation was sabotaged by a Rahkasha trying to turn him completely so that he couldn't recall his past lives with any clarity.  In fact that was why he was as Shaman, as it was the only way he could slowly get even vague knowledge of who he was.  Worse, the Rahkasha was still trying to actively turn him as the DM LIKED that bit of backstory.  It took a while for the other party members to gather the will to point OUT to the Deva his acts were becoming more and more evil, as he couldn't see it himself, which lead to the knowledge of the Rahkasha soon after.

Half-elf Warlord - This guy just couldn't make deals he could keep, no matter how well he tried.  He aimed to try to learn magic, went so far as to try to setup a Pact with the Fey ... but the task just simply broke his will for it despite completing it.  Hence, he had the pact but gave up on it.  Basically just walked up to the City Watch, enlisted, and went in search for the bottom of the bottle to forget the ordeal.  Wracked up debts at various taverns in the city, to the point he couldn't pay them all back, which got bought out by a Kingpin and used try to blackmail him into ignoring the Kingpin's actions or run out of a job.  Hence why he went adventuring in the attempt to get the gold to pay it off with a big payout if lucky.
-Alcoholic, Brash tongue, and had a history of bad deals.  Just to start!  Also had a bulldog mentality on murderers, and wouldn't give up on bringing one to justice.

Druid - House Orien Smuggler in Eberron.  He quickly became a foil to another party member, also a House Orien Smuggler in background.  Very talkative in combat with his foil, to the point of distraction for them both and getting hit!  He was the smart one of the duo, spotting the lies, knowing facts, making plans, and being alert.  SHE ended up being a cute girl, if slightly airheaded, often coming up with random facts that aren't true.  He just could never WIN an argument with her.  Ever.  Often being left stumbling over his own tongue, despite being right.  SHE was deadly, an incredible liar, and somehow, just SOMEHOW, ended up being eerily horrifying, smiling her sweet smile while holding a bloody dagger and covered in fresh blood for Intimidation.  Further, my poor druid ended up having the worst manners when it comes to food and rather poor grooming.  Those poor, poor Sahgin.  They tasted like frogs, much to the party's horror.
-Our lack of combat discipline just simply drove a militaristic minded swordmage to wits ends quite often in character.  Brought quite a bit of laughter at the table.

Current Warlock?  Just finished building him, and trying to get his Character Flaws down.  Whimsical, Lacks to Plan ahead, and All-too-Curious seems to be the order of the day but I'll only find out after a couple sessions to see how he ends up.
My friends cleric is odd. Instead of being your "stay behind priest and heal/buff everyone" kinda leader. He is the type to charge in head first because he honestly has the highest AC out of all of us atm cause he wears a shield and scale mail or chain mail.
Well, basically I guess it amounts to a character flaw so here it goes;
In one of our games I'm playing a Wild Sorcerer.  So I decided that for the list of elemental types you roll for at the end of each extended rest I'd associate them with different personality traits that would be dominant till I switched.  So basically like fire = anger and he'd be jonesing for a fight and if in combat would charge right at the enemies.  Or another(can't remember which element type) is cowardly and he'd be afraid of basically everything and in combat my "tactics" would be to use my dailies, then encounters, and lastly at wills as if he's so afraid he kinda freaks out and is just blasting enemies hoping to stay alive and keep them away.

And so I play up each personality type.  His story was that he was the captain of the guard for an eladrin mage(he is eladrin as well), and in our game we explained the change from 3.5 to 4th as magic having been broken then repaired.  So when magic broke it caused the mage he was protecting to kinda melt down from the power backlash.  When he went to investigate the magic caught him and forcefully opened magical channels in his body(making him a sorcerer), but because he didn't naturally have the talent it fractured his mind.  But if I roll the same element twice in a row the magic leaves him and he reverts back to his normal, sane self from the moment to magic forced itself upon him(he's a ranger in this form).

Makes for some of the most entertaining RP, but also exhausting if we go through a lot of extended rests and personality changes.  But it's fun to play these different personality types, but it could be seen as a character flaw since it dictates how my character interacts with others.  And pretty much the whole group gets annoyed at my character because I tend to sadly roll the bad personalities more often(ie depressed, cowardly, childlike).  Or like our most recent game I was in deceptive personality which means I look after myself and am borderline evil.  Well in the fight one of our members got blown up and he carried this powerful artifact sword.  Basically a Holy Avenger type sword.  Well I retrieved it during the chaos of the after battle and kept it, then successfully bluffed the group about knowing anything about it.  So now I have the sword, which is amusing.  And it irked my friend for losing the sword.      
My friends cleric is odd. Instead of being your "stay behind priest and heal/buff everyone" kinda leader. He is the type to charge in head first because he honestly has the highest AC out of all of us atm cause he wears a shield and scale mail or chain mail.

In 4E that's a pretty normal Cleric build, usually a secondary defender, about as common as the ones who stand in back and zap enemies from a distance as secondary controllers.

The ones who stand in back and just heal/buff are a mildly difficult niche build (and the most-and-biggest healers in 4E). Catch is that most players find them boring, just like the healbot cleric in OD&D ("Whose turn is it to get stuck playing the cleric?")
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I've always wanted to play some kind of clothie who always wears a fantastic, tailored suit. Bonus points for ritual caster with fastidiousness. Kind of like the Joker's suit in Batman - Arkham X games, but maybe not purple. Fusses over it all the time. Probably the party face, heh. 

Heh, in my Dark Sun game we have a Praetor of Balic who is more attached and protective towards his purple cloak (the symbol of his rank) than his companions, it's become a hilarious party side-quest to somehow scuff or dirty it without his notice whenever he has to make a public appearance. There was once when it was reduced to nearly ash from a fire elemental, the last tatters being scattered in the desert, and he spent nearly two days finding a scrap he could Make Whole.
So some people might see "alcoholic" and think "well that's just plain lazy" at this point. The kicker: half-orc monk. He wasn't an alcoholic because it was fun, he did it to deaden the maddening rage coming from his orcish heritage, which is also why he learned to be a monk. To quote Bruce Banner: "Maybe not control it, but at least AIM it." To fit in with the roleplay purposes, I worked it out with the DM that I got a scaling bonus to endurance checks when drinking (and against poisons), but any time we were in combat and he didn't have at least a good buzz on, it was berzerker time and anything that said "enemies only" suddenly became "all creatures." You have never seen a plate-wearing warrior run so far, so fast, from a single unarmed cloth-wearer.

Then there was my favorite to outright social-roleplay: Berdrick, cleric of Moradin! He was *always* spouting off some quasi-hymn or chant of praise. Everything, EVERYTHING was about Moradin. He was actually very good mechanically, in both battle and worship. The downside was that he was so fervent and so... Eccentric in his ways, that he was basically Ace Ventura. He looked like a complete oaf, EVERYONE underestimated him, and he was so over-the-top he was cast out from his order (on the bogus claim of being 'sent on a spiritual quest'), and then everyone suddenly turned around to find the goofball standing on top of a mountain of zombie corpses.
I have a Tiefling Warlock with the plague pact.  Everything she does involves plague and pestiluance.  Her big character flaw is that she is terrified of crowds.  As in making her go into a city causes her to turn white with terror, refuse, and start causing varying illness to plague the local population.  She also makes her party members sick whenever they make her go anywhere there are more than 5 people.

I have also played a half elf who was terrfied of forests.  That was fun given his party was mostly elf primal classes and liked to be in the wilderness alot. 
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