Disfigured Characters

I’ve been working on by own FitD game and it’s going well. It’s quite a big project and I don’t want to go into any details at this point, but I’m looking for some help as I’ve come across something rather challening.

In my game, you get to play people who have died and been transported to what is not quite hell, but a place often resembling hell. Before they died, they mostly led quite interesting lives on Earth and I imagine many died a violent death.

As a consequence, I imagine that a lot of PCs would sport scars and some are even disfigured. I want to make mutilations an option for players to choose when creating their characters. This could make PCs more interesting and the game a lot darker and more challening. (It’s a game dealing with very heavy themes such as death, despair, weltschmerz, ostracism, morality and generally the dark side of human nature as well as how to make our world a better place - it’s a long story :slight_smile: ).

The obvious problem is: Why would any player ever choose to have a disfigured character?
Is there any way to balance the scales if you have a missing arm, leg, eye etc.?

One way to encourage character creation choices would be to gamify it. If you have a random table, folk will want to try it out.

I would caution against mechanically “balancing” disability, as that can erase the reality of the experience.

As to why someone would want to play a disfigured character, I’d like to turn to the Blades in the Dark crew sheet where one of the xp triggers is expressing the inner conflict of the group. Why would you want players coming into conflict with each other? Because narratively it’s interesting, and mechanically you’re rewarded for playing into the type of narrative the game is meant to tell. So I would probably have it included the beliefs/drives/heritage xp trigger.

On the other hand this could cause to foreground their disfigurement as a primary character trait, as they could be rewarded for doing such. So it’s tricky.


Gamification is certainly an interesting idea. Thanks for the input. Perhaps I could make a random table that assigns everyone some sort of a disadvantage or a characteristic that’s at least a bit of a double-edged sword.

Thanks Cochlearia.

Using triggers is a great idea. You are correct when you say there are challenges inherent in that. I don’t think disfigurements should end up being primary character traits or should define who the PC is as a character; ideally the PC figures out how to deal with the extra challenge.
I could say that you gain 1 XP for each mission during which you are once hindered by your disfigurement when making a roll, or 2 XPs if you are hindered more than once. That could work.

As long as you don’t equate the results to anything good or bad, there’s no judgement in your text and its just a part of the fiction of your character. I’m very keen you just handle it in fiction and not put mechanics on it.