Negative Traits : Complications

Traits represent the best of a characters skills - anything that is better than average. Average is the Threshold on its own, so there aren't any Traits needed. But what if a character is particularly bad at something? That's represented by a negative Trait, also known as a Complication.

Complications always apply, whenever relevant, just like any other Trait, but rather than adding to the draw, they subtract from it. And just as half a Trait is added when it's in an adjacent color, half a Complication is subtracted when it's adjacent.

The benefit to Complications is that for every negative mote, you gain a positive mote for another Trait elsewhere.


You cannot have more motes in a single complication than the Threshold of that color, without approval from the Guide. It cannot be more than twice the adjacent colors' THs either. The reason for this? Whenever the Complication becomes relevant, it subtracts its hand from the draw - but also the Threshold. If the Threshold is 3, the instant that -4 Complication becomes relevant, the character is Out Of It, if not outright dead.

The Guide may impose limits to how many Complications you can take, or how the additional Traits they provide can be used, but generally, at character creation, the limit is 3 Complications. There are other ways to gain additional Traits, if you need them.


A common use for Complications is to represent weaknesses. A vampire might have a complication like Deadly Sunlight R-4. Whenever in the sunlight, his Red draws will be 4 less motes, 2 for Amber and Magenta. If his Threshold for red is 4 or less - well, that's where the crispy vampire comes in…

Generally, Complications are not representative of skills or knowledge - you couldn't possibly note down all the things your character doesn't know, or know how to do. It would only be used in this way if the character, for some strange reason, needed to use that skill frequently or believed they were better at it than they actually were. It's more likely that they'll be used for other flaws and disadvantages, like Hard of Hearing or Afraid of Heights.

Writing Them Up

These work exactly like Traits, except in reverse. A Trait would be listed as Strong R+2, and the Complication would be listed as Weak-2. They need a color, and then note the number of motes that get subtracted, using a "-" instead of the Trait's "+". That's all there is to it.