Flawed Skills idea


Taking examples from the Burning Wheels mechanics of Greed, Grief and Anger, I am thinking of doing a similar mechanic for Flaws in C&S.
The idea is that these Flaws are also skills with a negative effect that increases up to “death” by sanity. But it can also be used in place of other skills by the player in exchange for a payback.

So it would work something like this.

Flawed Skills
Flawed Skills are both flaws and skills, granting +5 points and a corresponding skill starting at 3.

Skill Usage:The skill can replace other skills when appropriate. For example, Greed might replace Muscles for acquiring a desired item, or Madness could stand in for Knowledge or Magic.

Skill Increase: Success in using the flawed skill raises it by 1 point, either temporarily or permanently, based on its long-term effect on the character (GM’s decision).

Impact of Flaws: The severity of the flaw’s effect is linked to its skill value: 3-6 (mild), 7-10 (moderate), and 11-14 (severe).
15+: A skill value of 15 or more makes the character unplayable. Time to roll a new character.

Crossing-off: Flawed Skills are always the last to be crossed off. In random attrition, re-roll.

Recovery: During a safe rest, roll ABOVE the skill to remove 1d4 temporary points from the skill.

GM’s call: The GM can call to roll ABOVE the skill to resist its effect in relevant situations. Failure results in the character acting under the flaw’s influence and increasing the skill by +1 temporary point.

A couple of examples.

Greed: Driven by treasures and successes. Typical uses are in place of physical skills.

  • 3-6: You cannot accept a fair division of treasures.
  • 7-10: Roll ABOVE to help an ally in danger.
  • 11-14: Your treasure, everyone wants it. You see enemies everywhere.

Pride: A huge ego can be bulky. Typical uses are for social or diplomatic skills.

  • 3-6: You must fight back if someone insults you.
  • 7-10: Doing something humiliating requires rolling ABOVE.
  • 11-14: You are obsessed with your fame.

Coward: Always scared and cautious. Typical use for stealth or related skills.

  • 3-6: When facing danger, roll ABOVE not to flee.
  • 7-10: When you flee, leave behind a random piece of equipment.
  • 11-14: Even if you succeed by not fleeing, you are still shocked for an entire round.


A concept in the same ballpark to a flawed skill that I use is called miskatonic studies, because I disliked how DMs could simply take away sanity from the player-characters. As such to lose sanity, you had to risk sanity first through investigating, and perhaps rolling something. Could that work with your idea? 'cause it’s kinda cool!


Yes, that is the idea. It is up to the player to choose when risking sanity in exchange for help in completing a task.
Glad it is working in your game


I love your concept. I think it is in perfect harmony with Hank’s idea of the narrative Health system. Above all, if it gives the player a new choice when tackling conflict, then it makes the game better, in my opinion.

In keeping with Burning Wheel, and a dash of Blades in the Dark, perhaps when you succumb to the effects of your flaw you gain a tick in the Hero Point clock. After succumbing 4 times you gain a Hero Point. This now provides the option to the player “do I roll to resist because my team needs me or do I lean into it and get a little further towards a Hero Point?”


Thanks, Waungaer. One of my players chose this system for his Lycanthrope character (as a Core ability, not as a flaw as the transformation is quite strong, but the mechanic is the same.)
I will see how it works and report back