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Merits & Flaws: A D&D 5e Chracter Creation Variant Rule
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Merits & Flaws: A D&D 5e Chracter Creation Variant Rule

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A Variant Rule to Determining Ability Scores!

What are Merits and Flaws?
Merits are perks that provide unique benefits and enhance your character’s toolkit. For example, one merit increases your starting hit points while another increases the amount of starting gold your character has.

Flaws are defects in your character. Some flaws provide mechanical gameplay drawbacks like Clumsy (reduce your Dexterity Ability Score to 7) while others have no mechanical drawbacks, yet they provide new roleplay opportunities Enemy (Minor).

Why Merits and Flaws?
I started this project because I wanted to get away from the sameness of point buy and the randomness of rolling for stats. Some people enjoy point buy or random rolling, and that is ok. I do not. I don’t mind characters with low or high stats, I just want to make sure when I sit down to a game of D&D, the characters are equal in their power level (I’m usually the DM). This got me thinking, there has to be a way for me to combine the elements of more varied ability scores, while keeping an equal footing between characters.

I read through 100 different answers on how to make random rolling fair; letting people roll until they are happy, changing numbers after the fact, changing the math, or the dice rolled… None of these ideas seemed like an actual solution and were instead slowly neutralizing the randomness. So, rolling dice for ability scores was out of the question. This brought me to a completely different and hopefully unique system that is meant to be used with Standard Array or Point Buy, though it can easily be used with Random Rolling.

I started this project because I wanted to get away from the sameness of point buy and the randomness of rolling for stats. This brought me to a unique system that is meant to be used with Standard Array or Point Buy, though it can easily be used with Random Rolling when generating characters.

What are Merits and Flaws?

Merits are perks that provide unique benefits and enhance your character’s toolkit. For example, one merit increases your starting hit points while another increases the amount of starting gold your character has. Each merit has a description of the benefits it provides when purchasing it.

Ability Score Merit: This merit lets you raise your Ability Scores. In the description, a chart is provided showing how to spend bonus points to raise your scores, much like you do with the Point Buy system. This chart is compatible with Standard Array, Point Buy and Random Rolling.

Flaws are defects in your character. Some flaws provide mechanical gameplay drawbacks like Clumsy while others have no mechanical drawbacks, yet they provide new roleplay opportunities Enemy (Minor).

Ability Score Flaws reduce one of your character's ability scores to a set number. Once you purchase one of these flaws, you will be required to reduce that ability score to either a 7 or a 5, depending on which flaw you chose. For example, when you purchase the flaw, Clumsy, you are required to reduce your Dexterity score to 7. After the Merits and Flaws step of character creation, racial modifiers might increase this ability score further.

Rules

The time to select your Merits and Flaws is immediately after you have finalized your ability scores through either the Point Buy or Standard Array system.

The points you use to purchase Merits are called **Bonus Points**. Each new character starts with 5 free bonus points and may select flaws to gain additional bonus points.

  • Characters start with 5 free bonus points
  • Flaws may be chosen to gain up to an additional 5 bonus points

Selecting Flaws

You may not gain more than 5 additional bonus points when selecting flaws, for a total of up to 10 bonus points. You can select flaws that could gain you more than 5 bonus points, but you would not gain more than the maximum 5 additional points.

You may not select more than one Ability Score Flaw which would reduce the same ability score. For example, both Weakling and Wimpy reduce your Strength score to either 7 or 5.

Purchasing Merits

Purchasing Merits is simple. Spend the amount of bonus points that is shown for each Merit and record the bonuses they provide. The first and most unique merit is the Ability Score Merit. This merit allows you to raise your ability scores by spending bonus points as the table shows. You may spend any number of points in the Ability Score Merit, as long as you have remaining bonus points.

 

 
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File Last Updated:
November 09, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on November 07, 2020.