Character Traits, Part II

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back on June 23, I gave you a preview of the Character Traits system we're introducing in the Pathfinder Companion line. There, I'd mentioned that there were several different kinds of traits for you to mix and match—with a single trait roughly equaling half a feat in power, by picking to Character Traits your character effectively starts with a bonus feat that's tailored specifically to his or her background and personality.

Today, I'd like to preview what traits look like. Presented below are five of the ten Combat traits. These traits comprise a small portion of the 40 basic traits presented in the Second Darkness Player's Guide, and represent generic traits that you can pick from for any character for any campaign in any setting. Later installments of Pathfinder Companion will present more Golarion-specific traits for race, region, and religion, but these basic 40 traits comprise the baseline for them all. Again, when you pick your two character traits, you can only pick one from a particular category—a character can't have two Combat traits, for example. Picking traits from different categories, after all, is a great way to make a character seem a bit more well-rounded.

But enough of the chatter. On with the preview traits! (Oh, and you'll see lots of "trait" bonuses mentioned; this is a new type of bonus that never stacks with itself, but stacks with other bonuses.)

Anatomist: You have studied the workings of anatomy, either as a student at university or as an apprentice mortician or necromancer. You know where to aim your blows to strike vital organs and you gain a +1 trait bonus on all rolls made to confirm critical hits.

Armor Expert: You have worn armor as long as you can remember, either as part of your training to become a knight's squire or simply because you were seeking to emulate a hero. Your childhood armor wasn't the real thing as far as protection, but it did encumber you as much as real armor would have, and you've grown used to moving in such suits with relative grace. When you wear armor of any sort, reduce that suit's armor check penalty by 1, to a minimum check penalty of 0.

Bullied: You were bullied often as a child, and you are now constantly ready to defend yourself with your fists when an enemy comes near. You gain a +1 trait bonus on attack of opportunity attack rolls made with unarmed strikes. Note that this trait does not grant the ability to make attacks of opportunity with your unarmed strikes—you'll need to take a level of monk, the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, or some other similar power to gain the use of this Character Trait. However, that doesn't prevent you from selecting this trait. You'll simply not be able to make use of it until a later point if you do.

Courageous: Your childhood was brutal, yet you persevered primarily through force of will and the hope that no matter how hard things might get, as long as you kept a level head you'd make it through. You gain a +2 trait bonus on saving throws against fear effects.

Deft Dodger: Growing up in a rough neighborhood or a dangerous environment has honed your senses. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Reflex saves.

James Jacobs
Pathfinder Editor-in-Chief

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Tags: Character Traits Pathfinder Player Companion Portraits Second Darkness
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