July 5, 2010 by Jeff
In the first installment of this feature series I told you about Personality Styles. In short, they work like backgrounds mechanically, but instead of telling us who your character was in the past they tell us a bit about who your character is now. Its all about what sort of choices he makes and to give you a source of inspiration when you just aren’t sure what he would do.
When using Personality Styles you should replace one of your background selections with a Personality Style. It is not recommended to choose three or more Personality Styles for risk of developing multiple personalities. You only gain the benefit from one personality style OR background. No trying to double up benefits by using these rules. So you can be an Aristocrat from the Desert who’s Sneaky and that’s great for informing your role-playing choices…but you only get the benefit from one of those.
For this installment I will be detailing five Personality Styles: Subversive, Sneaky, Noble, Charming, and Diplomatic. So let’s dive into it…
A character with this style tries to manipulate people and situations to suit their own causes. It could be entirely self-serving or it could be for the greater good.
Benefit: Once per day a Bluff check may be re-rolled, you must take the new roll.
Role-Playing: You try to avoid a conflict that puts you in danger by playing as many sides of a situation as possible. This could include your own party. After all, if you can tell the fighter to go attack the guy coming from you, he does, and you turn out the better for it, who does that hurt? When in doubt get others to do the fighting for you.
A character with this style is always looking for a way to strike from the shadows and disappear back into them. They are adept at finding ways to not be seen.
Benefit: Once per day when you make a Stealth check opposed by enemies Perception checks you may force enemies who beat your Stealth to re-roll their Perception rolls and take the new roll.
Role-Playing: If there is a task to be done it is always better to not be seen doing it. When faced with a tactical choice, go with the option that surprises everyone. Use your superior stealth to scout an area and attack with superior knowledge. If you can end a combat by sticking to the shadows and closing the portal rather than fight the guards do that, let the rest of the party keep the bad guys busy.
A character with this style is here to serve. For whatever reason they think of themselves as superior to most people and are, as such, duty-bound to use your superiority to help those less fortunate.
Benefit: Once per day you gain a bonus to a Diplomacy or an Intimidate check equal to your Wisdom modifier.
Role-Playing: You’re better than everyone else, it’s just a fact of life. Maybe you were born into it or perhaps you earned it, maybe your lord it over others or maybe you are humbled by their circumstances. Everyone should be listening to you and agreeing with you. They may not like the choices you make, but it’s for their own good.
A character with this style is happiest when others like him. They always look to make others happy and find that people like being around them as a result. Usually all it takes is a few well picked words.
Benefit: Once per day a Diplomacy check may be re-rolled, you must take the new roll.
Role-Playing: When faced with a conflict, try to talk your way out of it. Even if a situation seems hopeless, walk right up to the hideous monster and strike up a conversation. It can’t hurt and it will often help. And if that doesn’t work you can at least make fun of it while you and your party beat the snot out of it.
A character with this style tries to solve problems through a mutual give and take so that both sides can walk away without being the loser.
Benefit: Once per day an Insight check may be re-rolled, you must take the new roll.
Role-Playing: The key to getting what you want is knowing what your enemy wants and using that. Sometimes it means doing some research ahead of time. Sometimes it means letting the enemies win if they agree to let you have what you want. Shades of grey cover most of the world and many small victories add up to big success in the end.
So there’s the first bunch. As the series continues I will keep giving you more Personality Styles. What do you think about these? Any that you might have done differently? My goal was to do something more interesting than a simple +2 to a skill (which is what most backgrounds give you) but not be unbalanced. How did I do at meeting that goal?