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All heroes have their issues. Difficulties are designed as a guideline for adding more 'flavor' or detail to a Character.

Difficulties have a Penalty that the Character must take in order to declare they have the Difficulty. By taking a Difficulty the Character may take one bonus from the following choices:

  1. One permanent bonus point to an Ability score.
  2. One extra Action Point per level.
  3. Two extra skill points to spend at level 1.
  • A custom feature may be provided by the Difficulty.

The Player can pick as many Difficulties as they want but they may only get two Bonuses. Meaning only the first two Difficulties can provide bonuses.

Players may want to discuss options with the GM for possible alternatives to the rules presented here.

  • Optional Rule: A Character may gain a new Difficulty trait at level 10 for one additional bonus if they so choose and if the GM agrees it applies too the Character role-playing.

Special Difficulties

There are three different special types of Character Difficulties that are considered controversial in the Future Path Universe and thus deserve there own special categories. Each one of these has there own pages dedicated too them with rules associated with building Characters who have these difficulties in their lives. Most people who have these difficulties may find that some Civilizations look down upon and try to separate or even punish those who processes these traits.

By declaring that your Character will have any one of these Special Difficulties takes both Difficulties slots without bonuses. Any Bonuses will be specifically defined by the abilities below.

Also a Character can only pick one of these. Cybernetics are designed to tightly interface with a species and serious genetic abnormalities (Mutations) will cause them not to function properly. And Psionics is actually a rare set of Mutations if a Character takes other types of Mutations they are declaring that they do not have Psionic Mutations


Cybernetics are the most common difficulty in the Future Path Universe and so doesn't get as much flak. However prejudice is still real. People who get implants to replace body parts such as a missing leg or arm are usually forbidden to participate in sports. Most people who get body parts replaced are willing to pay more for Cybernetic implants that look and feel 'normal' creating a very profitable market for companies willing to give implants to anyone even people not needing them. This has lead to more and more advancements in Cybernetics that provide more enhancements in functionality not just replacement. This is where the line starts to get really fuzzy and many Civilizations outlaw this practice or at the very least look down on those who choose artificial means of self improvement.

Cybernetics that only replace features of a Character do not count as a Special Difficulty but as a normal Difficulty that is taken only once for all Cybernetic replacement parts. Characters that declare they are taking the Cybernetic Special Difficulties imply that there Cybernetic implants provide enhancements.

If a Character has a Cybernetic that is for replacing, not enhancing, such as a cybernetic leg then they take the Cybernetic Prejudice prejudice Difficulty. But only if that Cybernetic isn't designed to be appear/feel like normal. The penalty is Moderate -2 to all Charisma checks and related skills.

Learn more about these replacements and enhancements at the Cybernetics page.


Mutations are very rare in most species. Usually less then 1% have major or noticeable mutations. Even less have mutations that can provide some kind of benefit amongst all the negatives. Most people see mutants as evolutionary mistakes and a cautionary tale to those who wish to play 'God' with the building blocks of life. However not all see it this way. Mutations can be seen as a gift and as a learning tool for future generations. Most mutations are either natural or caused by accidental or forced exposure to different forums of radiation.

Learn more about mutations and there side effects at the Mutations page.

NOTE: In Future Path Universe Humans have nuked their home world Earth almost in it's entirety. Humans have a higher population of mutants, particularly on earth.


Psionics is a very uncommon forum of mutation. Although some species have adopted low level Psionics through millions of years of evolution most species do not have such powers. A very small group of mutations can yield different species the uniq ability of Psionic powers. Telekinesis, Telepathy, and other phenomena have been supposedly recorded by different civilizations across time. However so rare are these abilities little is known about them except for some minor Telepathy abilities certain species seam to posses between each other and most people choose to believe they do not exist or at the very least over exaggerated.

Learn more about these rare but powerful abilities at the Psionics page.

Character Difficulties


Penalty: The character takes a -2 penalty on Intelligence based ability and skill checks.


Penalty: If the dependent item is unavailable, The character must make a Wisdom save every hour at a DC 10 +1 (per hour) without the dependent item, or become panicked.
The character also loses ¼ his starting wealth due to cost of the Addiction.


Penalty: Choose something The character is allergic to and treat it as a poison.
Type: Poison; Save: Constitution DC 10.
Onset: 1 minute; Frequency: 1/minute for 6 minutes.
Effect: 1d2 Con damage; Cure: 2 consecutive saves.


Penalty: The character cannot remember his personal history. The afflicted hero cannot use any prior contacts and takes a Major -4 penalty to all social skills.


Penalty: Heroes with this difficulty suffer a Major -4 to any mind-affecting abilities from members of a chosen gender. (Some characters are amorous to members of the opposite gender, others to members of the same gender or both.)

Anger Management

Penalty: The character is aggressive and loses his temper easily. He takes a Major -4 penalty on Diplomacy skill checks. After any failed social skill, he must make a Wisdom save DC 10 + (the difference in the failed check). If the save fails, The character acts enraged and/or confused for the same number of rounds equal to the difference in the failed check.

Bad Luck

Penalty: The character suffers a Minor -1 to all saving throws.


Penalty: The character cannot see. He takes a Moderate –2 penalty to Armor Class, loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), and takes a Major –4 penalty on most Strength and Dexterity based skill checks and on opposed Perception skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) against the blinded character. Blind creatures must make a DC 10 Acrobatics skill check to move faster than half speed. Creatures that fail this check fall prone. Characters who remain blinded for a long time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some of them. At level 10 the character can remove one of the negative penalties listed above.

If a Character takes this Difficulty they get two Bonuses instead of one. If this difficulty is taken after the Character has 2 or more Difficulties then the Character gets just one Bonus.


Penalty: The character's starting Wealth is decreased by 3/4.

Combat Paralysis

Penalty: The character must make a Wisdom save (DC 10 + number of opponents) in order to enter combat.


Penalty: The character suffers a Major -4 to his Intimidate skill. Anytime he is faced with danger, he must make a Wisdom save (fear effect) DC 10 + (the total hit dice of the opponents). : If the save fails, The character become panicked and last a number of rounds equal to the total hit dice.


Penalty: The character suffers a Moderate -2 penalty on Charisma based ability and skill checks.


Penalty: The character suffers a -4 to any mind-affecting abilities. Anytime a failed check is made vs. a mind-affecting ability, the character becomes fascinated in addition to any other effects from the mind-affecting ability. This will also double the duration of the original mind-affecting ability with the addition of the Fascinate condition.

Cybernetic Prejudice

This is required if the Character wants to have a Cybernetic implant of any kind.
Penalty: This is a moderate -2 to charisma checks to anyone that is aware that you have a cybernetic implant. Some Cybernetic implants are made too fool people into thinking you are normal. Perception check DC of 12 + Tech lvl of the Cybernetic implant.
Bonus: No bonus!

Dark Secret

Penalty: The character suffers from something detrimental in his past. Every time The character gains a level, he must make a Charisma check (DC10 + 1/2 level round up) or else his secret is let out to the party members.
The GM must approve the conditions, effects and cause of the Dark Secret. For examples, a good resource is a quick internet search for “dark secret examples".
This doesn't give the Character a Bonus unless the negative effects of the secret coming out has serious repercussions on the Character. Such as negatives to skill checks, ability skills or the use of class talents.


Penalty: A deafened hero cannot perceive anything with his auditory sense. The character automatically fails Perception checks based on sound and takes a Major -4 penalty on Perception checks.

Dull Senses

Penalty: The character suffers a Major -4 penalty to initiative checks.


Penalty: Heroes with this Difficulty have someone (or something) after them, to do them harm. Every time The character gains a level, he must make a Survival check (DC 10 + 1/2 level rounded up) to see if hunter has found him.


Penalty: This unfortunate hero cannot read and cannot use any ability that requires the ability to read.


Penalty: The character is know in certain parts of the galaxy in a very negative way. If they enter any of those parts they get a Major -4 penalty to all Charisma related checks except for the Intimate skill.


Penalty: The character just cannot seem to keep his hands off other people's stuff. You must make a Wisdom save (DC 10 + 1 per day of not stealing) each day. If the save fails, The character must steal something of value that day.


Penalty: The character takes a Moderate -2 penalty on Dexterity based ability and skill checks.


Heroes with this difficulty have a BIG BOOK of EXCUSES, so they are not inclined to do anything productive or contributory, at all.

Penalty: The character can only use 1 Hero Point each day.


Penalty: The character can't tell the truth about anything. He takes a Minor -1 penalty on Charisma based abilities and skill checks.


Penalty: The character takes a Moderate -2 penalty on Strength based ability and skill checks.

Low Pain Threshold

Penalty: The character gains two less Hit Points per level than normal (to a minimum of 1)


Penalty: The afflicted hero cannot speak or use his vocal abilities in any way. He cannot use any ability that requires verbal communication.


Penalty: The character cannot stop thinking about something and/or someone. Each day, he must make Wisdom save at 10+ 1 for each day away from the object. If the check fails, the character must stop whatever he is doing and find the object of his desire. Until he has found the object, he suffers the shaken condition.


Penalty: The character believes, irrationally, that something or someone is out to get him. The character suffers a Moderate -2 penalty on Wisdom saves and Minor -1 on Charisma-based skill checks.


Penalty: Something frightens the character. If he encounters or experiences the Phobia, he must make a Wisdom check vs. fear at a DC of 15 or become panicked. The panicked condition lasts until the object of the phobia is no longer observed by the character.

Socially Awkward

Penalty: The character takes a Moderate -2 penalty on Charisma based ability and skill checks.


Penalty: The character is physically unattractive and has a Major+ -6 to all Charisma based checks when someone can see him.

Weak Stomach

Penalty: The character suffers a Moderate -2 penalty on Constitution based ability and skill checks.