View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Anti-Feats/Flaws for 5e

2017-04-05, 03:06 PM
Yeah, I've seen a few of these in various places, but most of them only contain highly debilitating physical ailments or completely unbalanced (-4 to a stat?! Seriously? A feat is equivalent of +2 according to variant rules and you want to subtract 4 in trade?).

So, I'd like to start up a thread to craft balanced Anti-Feats/Flaws. Something where each one is roughly equal to 2 ability score points that a player might be willing or tempted to take for an extra Feat or +2 Ability Score points, but that isn't easily ignored like many stereotypical Min/Max flaws.

So, here's a few of my own proposals to get things started:

Ability Score Disability

-2 to the relevant Ability Score, and that particular score can never go over 14 for any reason, including magic. If for any reason your character still has more than 14 in that stat, redistribute Ability Score Points until it equals 14.


The debilitating kind where you lose your proficiency bonus and gain disadvantage on all rolls while the subject of your phobia remains relevant. You can ignore this penalty for one round if you succeed on a WIS save. If you fail, you can't re-roll for a number of rounds equal to how much you failed by. On a critical failure, you freeze and can take no action at all.

Limb Loss

Standard loss of a leg or an arm.
Lost an Arm - No two-handed weapons. No two-weapon fighting unless you have a weaponize prosthetic (which counts as an exotic weapon).
Lost a Leg - Lower movement and disadvantage on rolls involving balance on two legs.

Sensory Loss

Your character is without one of their main senses. They automatically fail all rolls involving that sense and gain disadvantage on rolls that might would benefit from the related sense.
Sight - You're blind. You fail at reading and spotting targets. You can only roll perception for smell or hearing. You have disadvantage on combat rolls unless you have Blindfighting.
Hearing - You're deaf. You fail to hear spoken language and can only roll perception for smell or sight. You are particularly prone to surprise.
Smell - You can't smell anything. This is particularly bad for you as you can't ever detect poisons or other harmful substances by their particular scent. You also cannot use proficiency for any roll involving Taste and always have disadvantage on these rolls, even if you would otherwise have advantage. You also have disadvantage on cooking.
Touch - You are immune to pain, but that's because you can't feel anything. You are especially inept at locating hidden switches and other things normally located through touch. You also have disadvantage on all perception rolls to to notice your own wounds.
Taste - Disallowed.

Ugly Scar

You possess a massive, noticeable, and repulsive scar. Most likely on your face, but always somewhere that is hard to cover without raising suspicion. You have +1 on Intimidation checks and disadvantage on all other social rolls. (Note: This should not affect Charisma score as the scarred person may be perfectly charming otherwise, they just have an ugly scar)


The character has a persistent and potentially debilitating disease that has resisted attempts to remove it. No known cure exists, but there may be medicine which can temporarily treat symptoms. Discuss particulars with the DM.


Similar to Disease above except the cause is of magical origin. No attempt at removing the curse has so far succeeded, but certain treatments may be able to mitigate the effects and permit relatively normal function. Discuss particulars with the DM.


You have a debt to someone you'd really rather not be indebted to. It may be a life debt or a financial one, and the debtor will seek to collect in full, plus interest.


Your name is known very well, and you'd really rather it wasn't so well known. You may or may not be innocent. You have disadvantage on all social interaction with anyone who knows of your (supposed) deed. That is, if they don't try to attack you first.


You lose all starting possessions and gold. You only have a set of standard clothes (if that).

Any others you all can think of?

2017-04-06, 06:37 AM
I would certainly allow a player to build one of these into a character; it allows for great roleplaying. But I don't think any are equal to an ASI.

Here's why: for an ASI, you boost what you want, for a flaw you lose what you don't need. Wizards take Int, and lose a leg. A fighter takes Polearm Mastery and loses 2 Int. It never detriments your character as much as it benefits.

I think that +1 to a stat might be a good way to encouragement for players to give their characters a flaw. But I think many don't need mechanical encouragement to make whole characters.

2017-04-06, 11:28 AM
Honestly, I think you should reconsider the "robbed" flaw. It starts the character off with a permanent bonus in exchange for a very temporary penalty. Even for an equipment heavy class like the fighter, ranger, or paladin, the first fight they get into gives them the opportunity to rush in, grapple an enemy combatant, and forcefully take the opponents' weapons as their own. Now, if you look at a monk, the penalty is literally absent. A monk with nothing but the clothes on his back is just as effective as a level one monk with a few gold pieces worth of equipment. Plus, eventually all the starting equipment gets replaced by better equipment, anyways. So, they're giving up stuff they were going to give up eventually, in exchange for something they never would have been able to get otherwise. Honestly, if it meant raising my Strength an extra two points at level one, the temporary inconvenience of not having starting equipment would be easy to deal with.