In QuestWorlds SRD flaws are described briefly in chapter 3.4. If abilities are something that helps the characters resolve contests flaws are something that hinders those abilities. During character creation, the player is couraged to take up to three flaws.
A flaw is, well, a flaw in your character. Something that gives a disadvantage in certain situations or on your character’s daily life. As with abilities, a flaw can basically be almost anything. Common flaws are biases, limitations, imperfections, physical challenges, problems, personality disorders, vices, phobias, prejudices, social hurdles, and other deficiencies.
Examples of flaws
Arrogant, self-doubting, depression, obsessed with money, afraid of flying, missing an arm, missing half of the tail (Toothless), hated by villagers
More examples can be found from the internet.
Mechanics of the flaws
Mechanically the flaws get an ability rating that follows the character’s actual abilities. The first flaw gets the highest ability rating, the second flaw is following the second-highest rating. Finally, the third flaw is the same as the lowest ability rating. During the play, a flaw can activate in two different ways.
The flaw can be the active oppressor in the contest. This means that the GM rolls the resistance roll against the flaw’s rating. When contesting against a flaw remember to still think that the contest makes sense. Think about the prize, again. The easy prize would be to “overcome the flaw”. But what does it mean when the character overcomes their flaw? Failing with the contest should also result in an interesting storyline. This contest against the flaw might also be an exchange of a long contest.
The flaw might also be giving a disadvantage during a contest. So there is a normal contest with prize and tactics set. Then we decide that the character’s flaw would play a role here. Changing the contest to have the flaw’s resistance number might not make sense. In this case, divide the flaw’s rating by 5 and round down (a flaw of 19 imposes -4 penalty) to calculate the penalty for the character’s target number.
In either case, remember to include the flaw in the narration. If the flaw is active it should be part of the outcome and somehow affect the character’s actions.
Why would you take a flaw?
Looking at the mechanics, flaws only make it worse for the characters to overcome the obstacles. Why would anyone take these then? Remember that QuestWorlds is not a game about min-maxing the character. It is about creating a story with its ups and downs.
Flaws deepen the character. A swordsman is just a swordsman until they are the one-handed swordsman. They add color to the character and make them more unique. An omnipotent character is quite dull, also. Even the biggest gods have their flaws.
Flaws are also great story seeds for the character. In the simplest form, during a session, the character can have an arc where they overcome the flaw they have. If the deed is legendary enough the character might even lose the flaw! The player can tell their character’s story just by using the flaws fighting against them and finally overcoming them. These are the stories of a scary little mouse overcoming their fear to become a great adventurer.
Below are a couple of ideas on how playing the flaws can also, mechanically, be the desired activity.
Awarding Hero Points from using a flaw
By rules, the GM can award five hero points during the session. Players start with one hero point. You could, as a group, come up with a house rule that playing out a flaw during a contest or scene is one way to achieve one hero point per session. This way players have an incentive to bring flaws to the table. Again, the flaws as contests should make story sense.
Using a flaw to resolve a story obstacle
A flaw can be used as an active ability in a contest, also. The money-obsessed character could use this flaw to obtain money in a situation where this flaw is an advantage. Now, this should not be the norm. This possibility might also tempt the players to come up with flaws that are not actual flaws. Try to keep the flaws as actual flaws. If the flaw is used multiple times as the active ability during a contest it starts to sound more of an ability than a flaw.
Abilities as flaws
We can also look at the issue from the other side. An ability can act as a flaw during a contest. A big character might have a hard time navigating in a small air duct. The GM shouldn’t always find an ability for the contest to give a penalty, though. Abilities should be used as flaws only when they make a fun moment. Try to find the penalties from the actual flaws, preferably.