One of the neatest things to come of this game was a sequence involving ChaoticFrederick's character--the cybernetic 'scrapper' Mary Ellen Hardigan--and Chris I's character, the "new scientist" Dr. Noble. After being rescued from Lost Angels by the posse, Mary Ellen had just been given a cybernetic arm by the enigmatic Dr. Darius Hellstrome, but became addicted to morphine in dealing with the pain of amputation. As such, she's been having to deal with the "Habit--Major" hindrance. This was fine, until a rough combat with some Guardian Angel bounty hunters left Dr. Noble with a broken jaw! When Chris I asked if he could use his Healing skill to fix up his jaw, I said 'no' at first...but then ChaoticFrederick put forward the idea of using the morphine to dull the pain. One Vitals roll of "snake eyes" later, and Dr. Noble was well on his way to becoming a morphine addict...
Obviously, this type of game isn't for everyone, but it raised a great plot point for us--that hindrance is going to be biting them in the butt for sessions to come!
|"Snakes...why did it have to be snakes?!"|
Certainly, these flaws make all the difference! Flaws give these characters depth, to say nothing of something to conquer above and beyond Mook #473. They bring another dimension of conflict beyond 'man vs. man' or 'man vs. society'. Rather, they bring in that millenia-old conflict of 'man vs. self.' The worst enemy a character could have, truly, is their own reflection. Character flaws, regardless of media, put this on full display and allow us to achieve catharsis through those heroes...
|Tony Stark tells a Congressional|
Sub-Committe where they can get off...
...which brings us to Cold Steel Wardens. When writing the rules-set, I debated even including flaws and the like to the rules, not wanting to slide too close to Savage Worlds or Champions, both of which feature flaws or disadvantages as mechanical balancing points. However, vision mattered more. The heroes of the Iron Age of Comics are meant to be deeply flawed individuals, exploring philosophical and ethical questions just as they take to the streets to fight criminal scum.
In the end, I decided to take up what may be a controversial stance. Rather than exclude flaws in general, I decided to make them mandatory. At character generation, every would-be Hero must take at least two Flaws, to round out their character. Further, a Hero can take on additional Flaws, gaining 3 additional points per Flaw taken, adding to that Hero's Skills, Masteries, and even Powers.
While some gamers might object to this, those Flaws have massive importance for one of the other mechanics of the game--the Hero Pool. Each Flaw that a Hero takes, when manipulated by the GameMaster, adds dice to the Hero Pool, allowing all Heroes at the table a better chance of making a critical roll, taking down a rogue metahuman, or even completing their investigation.
Therein lies the rub--while many games leave flaws or disadvantages in the purely mechanical realm, Cold Steel Wardens aims to push them to the forefront, making them active, important aspects of a player's character. So far, things have turned out pretty well in that regard...but only more playtesting will tell!