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The PC Traits Advanced Option

     This article is designed to provide a standard reference document for the Character Trait Option of the Base 100 System that many that are a part of BC.org use. While it is intended to communicate the rules of this option, it also has some general useful tips on using rolled combat in PvE, PvP, and Strict RP settings.

     The Character Trait System is an Advanced Option of the Base 100 System to help more accurately represent a character's strengths and weaknesses in an RP event without the need for complicated character sheets. It is intended to keep things simple and easy to remember, while still allowing for flexibility both for the player and the game master to display unique characteristics. It was first implemented by the user Aiden shortly before the Christmas Holiday of 2012, based loosely on the FATE tabletop mechanic of similar name.

     The Core - Traits
     A Trait is a short phrase or saying that describes a character, accompanied by an explanation on how the character in question possesses that particular Trait. A Trait can be good or bad, and can provide either positive or negative consequences for the character. Trait effects can be as specific or as general as the player intends the bonus to be - or can generate unique results. In general, a positive or negative Trait will offer changes to rolls in given situations, while unique Traits function entirely on their own.
     A Trait can be called on by either the player or the game master, and its effect is immediately applied to the current roll or situation. A Trait that gives a bonus to a roll will grant a +10 bonus to the roll in which it affected. A Trait that bestows a penalty will instead confer a -15 penalty to the affected roll. Unique Traits are handled on a case by case basis. It should be noted that if a Trait is outright labeled 'Positive' or 'Negative' it can ONLY affect a roll and only in its labeled direction.
     Note: By standard rules, a character may only have 3 Traits. This may be altered by the GM.

     Example Traits
     Listed below are some example traits, taken directly from previous events held using this system - both from stricter and more lax styles.
  • Adaptive - (Unique) - At some points in the event, things may come at your character that you were not ready for, or at a disadvantage to handle. When these things happen, characters will be treated with a negative to their rolls to reflect the unique situation. A character with this trait, however, is quick on their feet and sharp of attention and will not be affected by such penalties.
  • Cowboy - This character is used to being the one-man army, of having the only gun on his side, and not counting on anyone to watch his back. While still a good hunter in their own right in a team, they finds themselves feeling others get in the way of style and tactics.
  • Politician - The character was born and raised for Alderaanian politics. They are a skilled politician/diplomat and is good at reading the subtext in social situations.
  • Lucky - (Unique) - There are those with an almost supernatural lucky streak. Characters with this trait start the game with 4 Fate Points already stored.
  • Hatred of Pure-Blood Sith -  After numerous traumatic encounters with Pure-Blood Sith, the character has come to judge them on their race first and actions second.  They have found a couple that are tolerable and less that they like.  The first instinct is to distrust a Pure-Blood Sith.
  • Stealthy - (Positive) - This trait offers a +10 bonus to all Stealth and Sneaky-like rolls.
  • Healer - This trait allows a character to heal another character as per the Advanced Option: Healing rules.
  • Precognition - The character is able to sense things before they happen. This character can use 2 Fate Points to negate 1 HP of damage.

     Using Traits
     Depending on the Trait in question, using the benefit or penalty from one may be optional. Optional Traits must be called on before a roll is made - if a roll is made without using a Trait even though it would be applicable, you are assumed to have chosen not to use that effect. This is to keep games running smoothly and swiftly. The primary goal of the system is to keep things simple and easy.
     As given before, a Trait can be called on by either the player or the game master, if either believes it would apply to a given situation. While some Traits are fairly obvious as to where they apply (such as 'Stealthy' above), some may be questionable. The game master say tell a player who has the 'Politician' Trait above that he can apply his bonus to a persuasion roll with an NPC because that NPC is very politically minded, and the player may not have otherwise read it that way. On the other hand, a player may suggest to the game master that she be allowed to apply her 'Cowboy' Trait as a penalty to a situation even when she is alone, because she is following a teammates plan in that situation and not her own. As always, remember that the game master has final say on what does or does not apply.
     Some Traits do not need to be called on at all, simply functioning at all times passively (such as 'Lucky' above) or granting a unique ability others would not normally have access to (such as 'Healer' above). It is the players responsibility to keep these in mind during an event as a courtesy to the game master, and it should always be made clear when making use of a passive effect or using an ability granted by a Trait where that ability or effect came from.

     Creating Traits
     When crafting Traits for a character to take into an event, it is first and foremost important to remember that Traits can be as broad or as narrow as you desire. The simplest approach is to craft the Traits around what a character can DO rather than what a character IS. What a character is will come out in how you roleplay during the event. For example, being an Echani is not necessarily a good aspect to base a Trait off of as it would not really apply to anything. However, being good at hand to hand combat IS a good concept for a Trait, and being an Echani might be the REASON for having the Trait.
     When you have an idea for a Trait, consider how it would affect your rolls if at all. You can either label the Trait as positive or negative, in which case it will only be used in that direction, or you can leave it undefined. This means that the Trait can be called on by you or the game master for both positive and negative effects (such as 'Cowboy' above). In the above example, we selected being well trained at hand to hand combat from Echani ancestry as a Trait. This one is fairly obvious and specific as to how it would be read: This Trait would give a +10 to rolls using hand to hand combat, and would be clearly defined as a positive Trait. An extreme fear of spiders would be another good example of a Trait idea that would affect rolls, but that might be left undefined as to positive or negative. A character may invoke this Trait for a positive bonus on an attack to kill the spider, because they are afraid of it and want it dead now and away from them. Whether this is labeled as negative or undefined would depend on what is right for that character.
     Be balanced when creating Traits for a character. No character has 100% positive or beneficial aspects to them, and so it is usually good form to create a group of Traits for a character that reflect both the strengths AND weaknesses. This can be accomplished by having a defined positive Trait and a defined negative Trait, or possibly with two Traits that can be taken both ways, or even having two positive Traits with a unique Trait that limits what abilities the character can use. The point is to be balanced as that will most often lead to a more fun roleplay for yourself and for your fellow players.

     Traits and Other Options
     When using the Traits option with other options, it is not uncommon to have Traits that affect those options directly. The most common and simplest example is using Traits and Healing options together requires healers to have the Healer Trait in order to use an action to heal. Another example might be crafting a unique Trait that triggers when rolling over 100 during certain actions. A positive Trait might give a bonus to a character who has a squad as backup.
     One combo that important to point out is the Fate Point option when used in conjunction with Traits. Most often, invoking a Trait negatively (giving a -15 penalty to a roll) results in granting 2 Fate Points - which can then be used later to give a stacking +5 each to any roll of the characters choice later on (stacking means that you could use 3 Fate Points to give a +15 bonus to a chosen roll).
     It is important to keep what options your game master is using in mind when selecting Traits.