- (* = Not Yet Overhauled)
Traits are words or phrases that explain the defining features of your character. Traits can be invoked by players and the GM, to grant advantage or disadvantage on rolls where those traits are relevant in the story. It can also be invoked to grant non-roll based benefits or misfortunes. Each character has three traits, and they change and grow throughout the course of a character's career. A trait can come back to a character over time - they are fluid things that come and go, unlike Callings.
When creating your character, choose three words or terms that reflect the current person your character is, whether it be three adjectives about them as a person, their thoughts, mannerisms or beliefs, but not so long that they become Callings. Try to avoid traits that are easily abusable, and try to avoid traits that focus on combat relevance alone.
A good trait is a versatile trait that says something meaningful about a character in a short sentence or less. It is a good idea to choose starting traits that represent three separate areas of your character as a person, as traits of overlapping usage can often lead to bland trait play. A Teifling Barbarian might take 'Feared and Misunderstood', 'Seventh Born of the Seventh Son' and 'Touched by the Totem Beast' as their traits, and it is up to the player as to how to use them well. The GM has final say on allowing each trait as they are added and removed.
A trait is applied to one roll where that trait would be relevant in either helping, or hindering, that action, and will change the advantage state of the roll in relation to the benefit or hindrance of the trait. It is on the players, not the GM, to be creative with their trait usage, with the GM as final arbiter on whether the trait will grant its effect or not.
Invoked to grant advantage on deception check to disguise oneself as a bear.
Invoked to grant disadvantage on acrobatics check to escape a sticky swamp.
Invoked to change disadvantage to regular on intimidate checks with other notably hairy and aggressive adversaries.
Invoked to change advantage to regular on persuade checks against particularly snooty, hypochondriac merchants.
Invoked to grant advantage on persuade check to convince a priest to give people asylum for the night.
Invoked to grant disadvantage on sleight of hand check to steal the keys to a jail cell.
Invoked to change disadvantage to regular on insight checks to see the honest captain's lie is begrudging.
Invoked to change advantage to regular on deception checks when dealing with a very gullible, but innocent peasant.
One trait can be applied to any one roll, altering its advantage/disadvantage level once in the relevant direction. Activating a trait beneficially on an unmodified roll gives it advantage, while doing so on a roll with disadvantage would remove the advantage. The same is true vice versa; a trait activated negatively on an unmodified roll would give it disadvantage, while doing so on a roll with advantage, would return it to an unmodified roll. Only one trait can be used on any one action at a time, and advantages/disadvatages do not stack.
Once a trait has been invoked to gain advantage or benefit, it is marked as used, and cannot be used again until any trait is used to grant disadvantage or some other misfortune. You and the GM can both invoke the traits of your character; the GM can invoke them negatively, and you can invoke them both positively and negatively, to allow for use and recharge of the traits.
Your character grows and changes over the course of sessions. In addition to changing and answering Callings, traits too evolve and change based on the way your character acts during a session. At the end of each session, one trait will be changed, to represent to the ongoing growth of your character. The catch is, this trait is voted on by the rest of the party members, with the GM only weighing in with an actual vote if an odd-numbered party results in a tie. The rest of your party votes on which trait least represents how your character has acted and existed during the session, and votes on a more relevant and descriptive trait. This is to represent the less self-biased, more genuine growth of your character, based on how you played them and what they did in the session, not necessarily what you think they are or think they did.