Complications

COMPLICATIONS

Heroes often have complications to overcome. Overcoming such challenges is part of what makes a real hero. Complications range from physical disabilities or personal issues to unusual vulnerabilities. You choose your hero’s complications, defining some of the challenges your hero must overcome in the game. These are some examples of Complications suitable for selection by a player character. Each Complication has a brief description listed below. It’s up to the player to convince the DM or table why the Complication is relevant to the circumstance in question.

You can take up to five Complications or Hubrises, but must take at least two, a Motivation and an Allegiance. A Motivation is a Complication that drives your character to do the things he does. The Allegiance is one that defines what your character is loyal to. The GM also decides what complications are appropriate for the game and can overrule any particular complication, based on the style and needs of the story. If your character uses supernatural powers other than Racial or Gear powers than you will need a Power Maintenance or Power Loss complication. Keep in mind the adventure needs to have room for all of the heroes’ complications, so individual ones can only come up so often.

When ever a player encounters one of their Complications and interacts with it, they are rewarded Destiny of a type and value determined by the GM based on the characters interaction. Sometimes a shared motivation can create an empathic bond with others. With the GM’s permission, you might get Advantage on interaction skill checks when dealing with someone with the same Complication as you. Similarly, you may suffer Disadvantage to interactions when dealing with characters of a strongly differing Complication.

Complications can (and generally should) change over the course of a series: old enemies die or are put away for good, rivalries and psychological issues are resolved, new romances and relationships begin as others end, and so forth. Work with the GM to come up with new complications for your hero as old ones are resolved.

Sometimes a Character will be in desperate need of a Destiny Die. When this occurs, the Player can choose a Tragic Destiny Die from the pool, with the knowledge that the GM will introduce one of their Complications in the near future with a severity equal to the Destiny Die taken. In addition, there are sometimes situations where the GM will introduce situational story Complications, these Complications behave like normal Complications and can typically be interacted with by any of the Characters. Players can also do this, known as an Interrupt, but only once per session per Player, possibly earning themselves a Destiny Die by introducing a new obstacle or threat in the Heroes way.

Acceptance
The hero feels different or isolated (perhaps for being a non-human in human society) and does good to gain the trust and acceptance of others and perhaps discover what it means to be human. Some such heroes see their powers as more of a curse than a blessing, but try to do some good with them while hoping and looking for a way to have a normal life.

Accident
You cause or suffer some sort of accident. Perhaps a stray blast damages a building or hurts an innocent bystander, your fire powers set things on fire, or you cause volatile chemicals to explode. A hero with this as a regular complication may be especially accident-prone, inexperienced with their powers, or even jinxed! The GM decides the effects of an accident, but they should be troublesome. Accidents can lead to further complications; perhaps the hero develops a guilt-complex, obsession, or phobia involving the accident.

Addiction
You need something, whether for physical or psychological reasons. You’ll go out of your way to satisfy your addiction, and being unable to satisfy it may lead to other complications, either involving your own faculties or your relationships with people. Several heroes have struggled with various addictions and the effects on their lives.

Disability
You are limited by a particular disability, such as being blind, deaf, or paraplegic. When your disability places serious challenges in your path, your complication comes into play. Many “disabled” heroes have powers or other compensations for their disabilities, such as a blind hero with other enhanced senses or a paraplegic who is a powerful psychic with matchless mobility of mind over body. Even though their powers sometime make up for their disability, this complication is still appropriate because they may have to deal with it from time to time.

Doing Good
Some heroes fight the good fight simply because it’s the right thing to do and they believe in doing the right thing no matter what. Their strong moral center may come from a good upbringing (or a bad one that showed them what not to do) or the guidance or inspiration of a mentor or idol.

Enemy
You have an enemy, or enemies, trying to do you harm. The GM can have your enemy show up to cause you trouble, and adventures involving your enemy tend to be more complicated for you; even personal grudge-matches, if the enmity goes both ways. When having an enemy causes a particular problem for you (such as your enemy abducting a loved one or laying a trap for you), you get a Destiny Die.

Fame
You’re a public figure, known almost everywhere you go, hounded by the media, swamped by fans and well-wishers, and similar problems, which create various complications.

Greed
There are those motivated by nothing more than the opportunity to make a profit off their heroic careers. They may be mercenaries for hire or marketing machines who do good deeds but also rake in the proceeds from licensing fees and public appearances. More altruistic heroes tend to look down upon their profit-mongering peers.

Hatred
You have an irrational hatred of something, leading you to actively oppose the object of your dislike in some way, no matter the consequences. Complications involving your hatred tend to overwhelm your better judgment.

Honor
You have a strong personal code of honor. Generally this means you won’t take unfair advantage of opponents or use trickery, but you can define the exact terms of your code with the GM. Your honor becomes a complication when it puts you in a bind or on the horns of a moral dilemma.

Identity
Heroes often maintain secret identities, creating various complications as they try to keep them secret from friends and enemies alike. The dual-identity can even go beyond mere disguise for heroes who actually transform into a different persona, creating complications around controlling that transformation, or a lack of powers or abilities in one persona.

Insecurity
Deep down you question whether you really have what it takes, leading you to question your decisions or abilities. When dealing with any kind of setback or defeat, you can spiral into a cycle of self doubt and loathing. Alternatively maybe there is one trait or skill you are insecure about, and overcoming that weakness is a hurdle you must clear.

Justice
An overwhelming thirst for justice drives some heroes, a need to see the innocent protected and the guilty punished, even if they are beyond the reach of the law. These heroes walk a thin line. For some justice becomes a thirst for vengeance for injury done to the hero in the past, like the death of a loved one.

Obsession
You’re obsessed with a particular subject and pursue it to the exclusion of all else, which can create quite a few complications.

Patriotism
Heroes are often devoted to the ideals of their home (or adopted) nation, and seek to serve that nation and its people with their abilities. Patriotic heroes are often honored as champions of their homelands, but it is the service, and not necessarily the recognition, that matters.

Phobia
You’re irrationally afraid of something. When confronted with it you have to fight to control your fear, causing you to hesitate, flee, or act irrationally.

Power Loss
Certain circumstances cause some or all of your powers to fail or stop working, or rob you of them altogether. You might depend on particular objects others can steal or take from you, or lose your powers during the dark of the moon, or when exposed to exotic radiation. You may even simply lose faith in yourself, resulting in temporary weakness. When this happens, and poses a challenge for you, your complication comes into play.

Power Maintenance
You have to perform some kind of daily ritual to maintain the use of your supernatural powers. You might have to study from a spell book or grimoire, or perhaps you have to pray to a god or attune yourself to nature, or maybe you need to meditate or sleep to recharge. Even though you must do these things daily, you only receive a Destiny Die, when prevented from doing so, or when doing them becomes complicated in some way.

Prejudice
You are part of a minority group subject to the prejudices of others, which create problems. Similarly, characters with unusual origins or appearance might face prejudice, such as a demonic-looking hero who is considered suspect.

Quirk
Complications can often come from various personality quirks: likes, dislikes, hobbies, neuroses, and so forth. For example, a hero might have the quirk of always leaving some sort of “calling card” for the authorities along with a captured criminal. That could become a complication if somebody else starts imitating it, or uses it to cause trouble for the hero.

Recognition
Some heroes just want recognition or attention, and dressing up in a bright costume and fighting monsters is one surefire way to get people to notice you. The hero may be a shy nobody out of costume or a glory-hog who loves the spotlight.

Relationship
The important people in a hero’s life are a source of strength, but they can also complicate matters considerably. If they are not in on the hero’s costumed identity, then there is juggling two lives and keeping loved ones safely in the dark. On the other hand, if the people in a hero’s life do know the truth, they are in danger from the hero’s foes and others seeking to find out.

Reputation
You have a bad reputation, affecting what others think of you (whether you deserve it or not). Having someone adopt a bad attitude toward you because of your reputation is a complication. You might struggle to overcome your reputation, taking chances or facing difficulties others do not as a result.

Responsibilities
You have various demands on your time and attention. Responsibilities include family obligations, professional duties, and similar things. Failing to live up to your responsibilities can mean loss of relationships, employment, and other problems.

Responsibility
The responsibility of having great power can be a heavy burden but some heroes feel it is their duty to use the powers they’ve been given for the greater good. Oftentimes these heroes are trying to live up to an ideal like a mentor or a predecessor who inspired them.

Rivalry
You feel a strong sense of competition with a person or group and have to do your best to outdo your rival at every opportunity.

Secret
You have something potentially damaging or embarrassing you’re hiding from the world. The most common secret for heroes is their identity, but it could be a secret weakness (another complication) or some dark secret from your past. Occasionally, something (or someone) may threaten to reveal your secret.

Temper
Certain things just set you off. When you lose your temper you lash out at whatever provoked you.

Thrills
For some the life of a hero is all about excitement, thrills, danger, and challenge. These heroes are in it for the action more than anything else.

Weakness
Some things can hurt you, badly. You might have a weakness that overcomes your normally strong defenses, like a werewolf is vulnerable to silver, or you may suffer harm from things that are harmless to others, from water to cold iron or exotic energies or materials. A weakness may add degrees of effect or impose an entirely different effect. Affliction (see Powers) is the typical effect, but some weaknesses inflict outright Damage, Weaken the target, or have some other effect. You and the GM can discuss common effects beforehand and it is up to the GM to decide what happens when the particular weakness comes into play. When the GM uses your weakness against you, it’s a complication.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.