A good character has many facets. The diversity of ideas that dwells within a person is what makes them interesting. One of these facets that can have the most impact on how you play your character is a flaw of theirs. Flawed heroes aren’t usually the first ones that come to mind when we’re asked to name a hero, but more often than not they’re the first to come up when the question of favorite hero is asked. Flaws make the character more relatable to everyone, and therefore more likable and even easier to roleplay as. The reasons to add a flaw to your character are numerous, so let’s just dive into how to make a good flaw for your character and use it to your advantage.
Creating a great flaw requires a bit of a balancing act. If you make a flaw too simple to work around, then the flaw becomes pointless and boring. Having a barbarian be unable to read doesn’t make too much difference to him since he’s out crushing skulls all day anyway. However, you can’t make the flaw too damning, or else your character may get too hindered and the adventure might slow down for your party. Making your wizard blind from a magical mishap could lead to some troublesome spellcasting and friendly fire. What you want to do is walk the line between these two extremes, creating a flaw that makes your character less than perfect but not useless.
The easiest way of creating these flaws is by looking at your race and class and finding something that contradicts a part of them. For instance, an elf might become overly attached to those that he loves, doing whatever he can to preserve their life. This leads to interesting characterization if some ill fate befalls one of his party members. How far down the rabbit hole will he fall to reclaim his ally? How far is too far? A paladin may be too convicted, holding on to his ideals even if the world is showing they can’t work. The paladin can take a zealot like approach to his clerical duties, perhaps at risk to his own life.
Another avenue you can take for flaw creation is by your own character sheet. This works particularly well when you roll for your stats and end up with a stat that’s a bit under par. Most take this as something to moan over, but I cherish this opportunity. It’s like the character writes itself! What if your dragonborn doesn’t have a high enough constitution to make good use of his draconic breath? Then roll with it, give him a persistent cough, maybe completely forego the ability, flavoring it as sputtering out to no effect. If your half-elf isn’t as charismatic as you think a human-elf lovechild should be, then instead make the non-elven half a less appealing race, such as an orc or triton. Usually these low stats will make it clear what direction to take your flaws in.
Flaws are what make us human. They make us relatable, and in a world of dragons and magic, those flaws help ground characters in reality. This realistic approach to character building creates memorable characters that are multidimensional. What was the most fun flaw you’ve ever had to roleplay? Let me know down below! And as always, keep those dice rolling high!
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