Quirky

Has it ever been a while since I posted here. My apologies to those who were hoping for more nifty posts. 😉

Between some health issues (random and vicious migraines) and work, the rest of my time has been taken up with getting my card game developed. Follow me on twitter (there should be a link up above somewhere) or just check back here for updates. I’ll be launching an Indiegogo Campaign to fund the art, initial manufacturing, and distribution of the game on June 14th. It will be almost as awesome as the game itself! Check it out when the time comes!

But enough with the shameless plug for my game… that’s not what y’all are here for.

Today I’m going to talk about quirks.

Whenever you are writing or just creating a character for any reason you always want to bring that character to life. Maybe they had a tragic backstory that they’ve risen above, or perhaps they got really drunk one night and shaved off their eyebrows but they don’t want to admit it was a mistake so they’ve kept their eyebrows shaved ever since… However you decide to distinguish your character from all others it essentially boils down to quirks. What is it that makes them different from the Mary Sues and Stus.

You can buy books on personality traits, watch people creepily in a mall to find inspiration, or you can base the quirks and traits on actual people you know.

Or… you can have fun with it 🙂

If you haven’t read through all my posts you might not know that I’m a D&D nerd. But I am. Have been since I was… 11? You’d have to check with my parents, but I’m pretty sure that’s how old I was when I first started playing. Not that that game lasted very long. I seem to recall the dwarf drowning, an elf being crisped by a dragon and somebody (probably me) eating the crispy elf…

What? I was 11! And playing with my goof-ball cousins who’re only a few years older than me.

Anyway, the point I am failing to get at is that my dad is a great DM that’s always made the games fun and a little silly (though he can definitely run a serious-oh-sheet-this-is-crazy game as well). Part of how he achieves that is by using a Quirk Table.

The DMG has a list of 100 traits that you can roll for to add a little spice to your NPCs. They aren’t all that inspiring. Things like “has a scar” or “walks with a limp”. While those can add a little bit of flavour to an otherwise faceless extra, they aren’t exactly good spices for creating a memorable character. At least, not by themselves.

Over the years the Quirk Table has had things added or tweaked, and when I started DMing games myself I… enhanced it. By adding some very real psychological disorders, as well as some stupid-silly things. Feel free to browse the list, or if you’re in a roleplaying sort of mood… get out your dice and roll for it. 😀

(Also, the majority of the links will take you to a Wikipedia page because when there are so many things on the list I don’t have the time to search for more scholarly articles)

QUIRK TABLE
1d3 for number of Quirks, then 2d100 to select each quirk.

2-14: No Quirk
15: Abrasive (Intimidate +1, Diplomacy and Bluff -1)
16: Afraid of the Dark (-2 Morale in darkness; cannot take Blind Fight Feat)
17: Aggressive (+2 Initiative, -1 AC)
18: Agoraphobic (-1 Morale when outside/no roof)
19: Alcoholic (drinks to excess whenever possible)
20: Amiable (Diplomacy +1)
21: Angers Easily
22: Appearance Quirk (Minor; i.e., two different coloured eyes)
23: Appearance (Major; i.e., rainbow coloured hair)
24: Asthma (Fort. -1 and Run is only x3 not x4)
25: Atheist (enjoys taunting the gods)
26: Atheist (Believes that the gods are shams created to gain money)
27: Avatar (of a deity…thinks they are anyway. Will +1)
28: Beautiful (Charisma +1)
29: Bloodthirsty (never sheaths a weapon until it’s tasted blood)
30: Body Odour (Charisma -1)
31: Born Climber (Climb +1)
32: Born Swimmer (Swim +1)
33: Clairaudient (clairaudience spell 1/day; see Quirk 34 link)
34: Clairvoyant (clairvoyance spell 1/day)
35: Claustrophobic (-1 Morale when in confined spaces of less than 10ft)
36: Collector (will never part with collection, player’s choice -possibly see link for Quirk 40)
37: Colour Blind (wears horrible colours and/or patterns to prove it)
38: Complainer (continually grumbles…about everything)
39: Complicated Planner (comes up with elaborate solutions for everything
40: Compulsive (player’s choice)
41: Compulsive Liar (Bluff +1, Diplomacy -2)
42: Conceited (refers to self in the third person)
43: Cotard Delusion (believes s/he is dead or undead)
44: Crier (cries when a specific topic is brought up, but won’t ever say why)
45: Curious (always asking questions)
46: Deafness (Spot and Search +1, Listen -2)
47: Delusional (i.e., believes s/he is the tallest dwarf to ever exist)
48: Destructive (i.e., creates clay pots only to smash them)
49: Devout (gives first bite/sip of every meal to deity/ancestors)
50: Direction Sense (always knows North)
51: Disorganized (can only ready a potion/scroll as a full round action)
52: Double Jointed (Escape Artist +1)
53: Dreamer (has strange dreams and insists on sharing them)
54: Easily Distracted (by specific thing/person; Concentration -1)
55: Easy Going (Gather Information +1, Intimidate and Sense Motive -1)
56: Empathic (actual) (Sense Motive +1)
57: Empathic (belief) (thinks s/he can sense other people’s emotions)
58: Enjoys Pain (Fort. +1)
59: Enthralled by Shininess (Concentration and Reflex -1 within 10ft)
60: Excessive Talker (i.e., routinely quotes from books, even if it’s irrelevant)
61: Existentialist (maybe just look this one up)
62: Experimental (tries to create new devices; if they fail the craft DC by 10+ then device explodes and does damage of 1d6+1/DC past 15)
63: Extrovert (Diplomacy +1)
64: Fear of Barmaids (-1 Morale when within 10ft)
65: Fear of Clowns (-1 Morale when within 10ft)
66: Fear of Heights (Climb -1)
67: Fear of Mice/Rats (-1 Morale when within 10ft)
68: Fear of Pastries (-1 Morale when within 10ft)
69: Fear of Rabbits (-1 Morale when within 10ft)
70: Fear of Specific Monster (-1 Morale when within 10ft)
71: Fear of Spiders/Snakes (-1 Morale when within 10ft)
72: Fear of Water (Swim -1)
73: Fickle (changes primary weapon every few weeks)
74: Fidgety (i.e., always cleaning glasses)
75: Fitful Sleeper (recovers 1 less hp/level each night)
76: Focused (Concentration +1, Spot and Listen -1)
77: Forgetful (doesn’t trust memory, constantly taking notes)
78: Forgetful (has multiple weapons, keeps losing them)
79: Fregoli Delusion (believes that all people are the same person, just in disguise)
80: Funny Walk (i.e., fake limp)
81: Gambler (gambles at every opportunity)
82: Gift of Tongues (learn 1d4 additional languages)
83: Good Health (Fort +1 and Run x5 not x4)
84: Good with Animals (Handle Animal +1)
85: Green Thumb (Knowledge: Plants and plant spell DC +1)
86: Gullible (Sense Motive -1)
87: Hates Celestials (“because they’re too shiny”)
88: Hates Kittens (believes the kittens steal his/her thoughts)
89: Healing Hands (Lay on Hands 1/level; stacks with the Paladin ability)
90: Honest (Diplomacy +1, Bluff and Sense Motive -1)
91: Hungry (always snacking on something)
92: Hypochondria (saves vs. disease -1)
93: Identifiable (strange piercing/tattoo/brand; Disguise -1)
94: Illiterate (if a wizard, has a picture spellbook)
95: Imaginary Friend
96: Indecisive (can’t make up mind no penalty for multiclassing)
97: Insecure (always wants a second opinion)
98: Intuitive (Sense Motive +1)
99: Joker (plays practical jokes on party members)
100: Judgemental
101: Juggler (may or may not be any good at it)
102: Keen Eyesight (Spot and Search +1)
103: Keen Hearing (Listen +1)
104: Keen Smell (Spot (scent) +1 and Spellcraft +1 when identifying a potion)
105: Kleptomania (Sleight of Hand +1)
106: Light-footed (base speed +10ft, -1hp/level)
107: Limited Attention (Concentration -1)
108: Limp (Run x3, not x4)
109: Linguistic (talks to all in their native language, even if they don’t actually know it)
110: Location Sense (can unerringly retrace steps from last 2 hours)
111: Lucky (all saves +1)
112: Lunatic Fanatic (yells at people who don’t worship a specific deity; doesn’t worship them either)
113: Magical Being (believes they’re pure magic, except for that bit of dragon blood… Has a vendetta against dragons because of it…)
114: Mechanical Aptitude (Knowledge: Engineering +1)
115: Mental Prowess (tries to use (nonexistent) mental powers whenever possible)
116: Mime (Silent Spell Feat uses spell slot of same level)
117: Misanthropy (mistrusts all men)
118: Miscellaneous (carries a stack of letters to/from a lover/relative)
119: Miscellaneous (doesn’t understand money/currency)
120: Miscellaneous (renames everything)
121: Miscellaneous (steals other people’s stories and claims as own)
122: Miscellaneous (thinks humans should make their ears pointy)
123: Miser (hoards money; will only spend it if s/he really must)
124: Multiple Personality (1d3 distinct personalities; Will DC 15 to keep from shifting during stress, max 2/day)
125: Multi-Religious (prays to one god for each alignment)
126: Multi-Religious (prays to whichever god fits the situation)
127: Munchausen (constantly fakes illnesses; seeks out cures)
128: Muscle-bound (Str based skills +1, Dex based skills -2)
129: No Direction Sense (DC 15 Survival to not get lost, DC 10 with a map)
130: Obsessive (obsessed with something specific; player’s choice. See Quirk 40 link)
131: Obsessive (Extreme) (Concentration -1 within 10ft of object of obsession; see Quirk 40 link)
132: Obtuse (doesn’t understand names, uses titles instead)
133: One Directional (will only turn/look right; refuses to turn/look left)
134: Optimistic (Will +1)
135: Organized (can ready a potion/scroll during a move action)
136: Overconfident (never refuses a challenge)
137: Overconfident (Will +1, Sense Motive -1)
138: Paranoid (Sense Motive -1)
139: Paranoid (refuses to eat/drink until another PC tests it; see Quirk 138 link)
140: Plant-ophillia (has pet bonsai tree; tries to prune Treants; etc.)
141: Polygamist (has spouse and possibly children in multiple towns)
142: Poor Health (Fort -1)
143: Poor Sight (Spot and Search -1)
144: Presence of Mind (Concentration +1)
145: Prophetic (augury spell 1/day)
146: Psychopath (Bluff +1, Diplomacy -2)
147: Public Speaker (Diplomacy and Perform: Oratory +1)
148: Purist (thinks “half bloods” are worthless)
149: Pyromaniac (Will DC 12 to stay focused within 15ft of fire)
150: Quick Learner (1 extra skill point/level)
151: Racist (Deeply mistrusts anyone of a specific race other than own)
152: Reader (all Knowledges that have ranks in them are +1)
153: Resistance to Fatigue (Double Con bonus vs. Fatigue effects)
154: Resistance to Pain (DR 1 vs. subdual)
155: Resistant to Alcohol (+2 to saves vs. inebriation)
156: Restful Sleeper (recovers 1 extra hp/level each night)
157: Schizophrenia (hears voices; +1 vs. sonic spells, -1 Concentration)
158: Self Believer (worships self and tries to convert others so as to gain divine status)
159: Shopaholic (unable to save money; will buy anything)
160: Short-Term Memory Loss (Will DC 12 to avoid losing spell under stress, max 2/day)
161: Shyness (Diplomacy -1)
162: Singer (sings while fighting; saves vs. sonic spells +1)
163: Snores (others within 15ft recover 1 less hp/night)
164: Somatoparaphrenia (believes limb/part of body belongs to somebody else)
165: Spontaneous Combustion (believes s/he will burst into flame; tries to stay wet at all times)
166: Spy (Bluff +1; starts with Disguise Kit for free)
167: Spey (writes and speaks in code to “contacts”) [note: I had originally come across this term as specifically referring to the bracketed form of delusion. Upon trying to find a source describing it I have been unable to do so. I linked it to “Grandiose Delusions” because it is a delusion of that subtype.]
168: Stammer (Diplomacy -1)
169: Strange Laugh (i.e., snorts)
170: Strange Sleeper (i.e., only sleeps in hammock; recovers 1 less hp/night otherwise)
171: Strange Talker (i.e., adds an echo)
172: Superstitious (i.e., tries to associate/disassociate everything with a specific number)
173: Suspicious (will only drink from a specially prepared flask; see Quirk 138 link)
174: Timeless (immune to slow and haste)
175: Trance Ability (2 hours of trance = 8 hours of sleep)
176: Ugly (Charisma -1)
177: Unclean (Charisma -1)
178: Unlucky (all saves -1)
179: Unrealistic Pets (names and keeps strange pets; i.e., rocks, raindrops, etc.)
180: Vegetarian (nauseated for 1d3 hours if s/he eats meat)
181: Volunteer (volunteers to help people with manual labour)
182: Walks on Toes (Balance +1)
183-186: Re-roll Twice
187-200: No Quirk

Have any quirk ideas? Leave a comment and let me know. If I like it I’ll add it into my next version of the Quirk Table!

Also, a small word of caution.

Don’t rely too heavily on a quirk to make (or break) a character. While it can be fun/funny to say that somebody has…oh, let’s say ornithophobia, that aspect is only a small part of who they are. It can add a scene of intense emotion (when they curl into a ball and have a fear induced panic attack) or be side-splittingly funny (when they call their mother in a panic because of a dove; the response “throw a snowball at it”). But it only provides fuel for a few brief scenes before it’s played out. Use quirks to add dimension and life to a character, but remember that who they are is a sum of all the parts…and if you focus too heavily on a few of those parts then you’re going to have a dull character as sure as if you had no quirks at all.

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