WOIN WOIN Trait Tier List

Hey everybody,

I was chatting with some of my fellow WOIN players about Traits recently, and it inspired me to do something I'd been thinking about for a while. I have rated all of the traits against each other. Since a lot of traits have situational bonuses or tradeoffs, this isn't a strict ranking. Instead, I've got several broad categories to put the traits into. I'll say a few words about each one as well.

First, here's the list categories:
  • Always Good - These traits are almost always a great pick for any character that qualifies for them. A few might require minor tweaks to your character build, but nothing that is not easy to do for most characters.
  • Situationally Good - These traits are sometimes good. They're good for characters that can make good use of them, but for other characters they may be completely useless (with no easy tweaks to get their benefits).
  • Good, but limited to 1/day - These traits have reasonably good benefits (and would be in either of the previous two categories), but they're limited to one use per day, which is such a severe limitation that it greatly reduces their value compared to other traits that you can use more often.
  • Weak - These traits are just not all that mechanically good. Some of these may be 1/day, but with an effect that is not strong enough to get into the previous category.
  • Severe Roleplay Consequences - These traits vary in quality, but what unites them is that they have other non-mechanical effects that you probably can't honestly ignore. While you might argue that a lot of the low-stat traits could fit into this category, I've limited it to the ones that I think would be so glaringly obvious that you'd really need to adapt the game around them.
  • Just Bad - A small number of traits are simply mechanically impossible to make good use of. In addition to saying why I think these are bad, I'll also give a few suggestions on how they could be made viable (either as a house rule, or maybe even in some future errata).

On to the lists!


Always Good
  • Alert (high INT) - Two small bonuses to things you'll use constantly. It's especially good as the attribute you need to qualify is also what you use for the improved tests, so it synergizes with itself, making you better at the things that are already your specialty.
  • Ambidextrous (high AGI) - Being able to use two weapons at a time is quite strong. You get a free third attack any time you were going to make two attacks normally. This might need minor character tweaks to take advantage of, since you need to be using two one-handed weapons (so no rifles or two handed swords).
  • Persuasive (high CHA) - A percentage discount on purchases is never bad. If you're playing with 1Mcr = 1000cr (which I guess is the default now?) it's not as good as it would be if it worked for purchases under a million credits, but it's still quite useful for a lot of mid-cost items even if it doesn't help with the high-end stuff.
  • Reckless (low WIL) - This is a straight +1d6 to all attacks if you're not in cover. Maybe it's the style of my GMs and fellow players, but I've not had any fights where cover was a significant factor. Especially if you're going to be charging into melee rather than hanging back, this is often just a free die added to every attack, which is absurdly good. It's even better than the almost identical universal exploit Reckless Act (can you take both?).
  • Tough-as-Nails (high END) - According to Morrus' interpretation below, Tough-as-Nails gives you a +2 bonus to generic SOAK, not to natural SOAK. So it stacks with manufactured armor, which makes this a really good trait for most characters. It's especially if you're piling up a lot of SOAK with Heavy Armor, but even characters with less armor still benefit quite a bit.

Situationally Good
  • Alcoholic (low WIL) - This is almost as good as Tough-as-Nails. The version of it in N.E.W. limits the bonus to only times when you're actually intoxicated, which may rule out getting the benefit in some situations where you'd want to avoid impairment. In N.O.W., the rule is simpler, as you always get the bonus and it's up to role playing to impose any consequences. I might put that version in the Always Good category, but I'll leave the version from N.E.W. here.
  • Athletic (high STR) - This is a pure benefit, but how useful it is depends a lot on the environments you tend to find yourself in. If your GM throws a lot of difficult terrain at you, this should be in the Always Good category.
  • Erudite (high LOG) - This lets you use your LOG (which is always going to be good if you are able to take this trait) instead of CHA (which may be much lower) for social tests. How good this is depends on how bad your CHA is. If you have good CHA, this trait is of no benefit. It's also limited to one use on a given target per day, which is not quite so much of a limitation that I put it in the 1/day category, but it still could be an issue if you need to rely upon it.
  • Flamboyant (high REP) - This one may have fun roleplaying consequences! It's in this category because it is only useful for melee focused characters who may be feinting a lot. It's also sort of difficult to be a combat focused character with a high REP score, so the synergy for this pick is fairly limited.
  • Inspiring (high CHA) - This is a very nice trait that, if you play it as written in the books is probably OP. That's because the "cost" of using it (one action) is meaningless outside of combat, so you could give your companions +1d6 on every non-combat roll they make, forever. I asked about this in a previous thread where Morrus suggested it should be limited to one use per day per target (like Erudite). That makes it just decent, not great.
  • Nimble (high AGI) - Fast climbing could be useful, but only if you tend to find yourself in environments where it matters. I think I've attempted exactly one climbing check across more than a dozen sessions, so this may not be very useful unless you seek out opportunities to use it. None of my characters has been very good at climbing, so it's possible that I would have tried more if I'd been more likely to succeed.
  • Obnoxious (low CHA) - This is one of several traits that let you make "social" attacks that apply statuses to their targets. It's by far the best one, as it lets you swap out another attribute for your low CHA, and it can be repeated as often as you want. It is so much better than the Taunt universal exploit that it makes me wonder why the latter even exists. It's a bit weird that the roll is described as an opposed LOG vs WIL roll, rather than being a simple check targeting mental defense, as most social attacks do.

Good, but limited to 1/day

  • Brilliant (high LOG) - This is a nice ability that would be completely OP if you could use it as many times as you wanted. With only one use per day though, it's only really going to come into play if you can predict when you've come to the most important roll of the day that you'll need to make using an attribute you're not good in. This is a trait with pretty good synergy with itself, as it lets you use the same attribute you used to qualify for it for its effect.
  • Deadeye (high AGI) - This is a nice ability for situations where you just need to apply a little more damage to a high-defense enemy. You can't combine the auto-hitting shot with other exploits, and I'm assuming you can't use it for a called shot either, but it's still pretty good.
  • Distracted (low INT) - This is a decent ability. It's a stronger version of Inspiring, but you can only use it once per day, rather than once per target per day. It's also fun to roleplay, as long as you're good at coming up with non-sequiturs.
  • Empathetic (high INT) - This ability is only sometimes useful. It's another social attack (like Obnoxious), but quite a bit worse as there is no synergy between the INT that qualifies you for the trait and the CHA test you use in the attack. And of course you can only do it once a day.
  • Suave (high CHA) - This is a social attack too. It's better than Empathetic (since it has synergy with itself), but it is worse than Obnoxious since you can only use it once per day.
  • Well-Known (high REP) - This is another trait with good rollplaying flavor. Like Brilliant, it lets you substitute your best attribute for some other one. It's more limiting though, as it only stands in for mental attributes. And the one use per day makes it just a little neat thing, not something character defining.

Weak
  • Asthmatic/Anemic (low END) - While healing can be pretty good, this trait has negative synergy with itself, as low-END characters are not going to have very many hitpoints to heal most of the time. If you're squishy and getting shot often, you're probably going to die, extra 1d6 healing or not.
  • Brawny (high STR) - This one has a special kind of negative synergy. It does make you better at something you're specialized in, but that improvement is usually going to be useless. A high strength character isn't likely to need more carry weight, as they can already carry so much that there's not likely to be anything than an extra 40 lbs will help with. It's low strngth characters that could really use a carry bonus!
  • Clumsy (low AGI) - Reducing falling damage is extremely situational. As I mentioned for Nimble, my GMs hardly ever make my characters climb, and that means there's seldom anywhere to fall from. Taking this trait is sort of shoring up a weakness, but its a weakness that is so bad you should probably just avoid the situation where it would come up in the first place. Low AGI characters just shouldn't spend their time in high places!
  • Commanding (high CHA) - This is sort of similar to Inspiring, but usually worse. This trait is only appropriate if you're a pure "Face" character with absolutely no combat skills. And that's a pretty terrible way to build a character (you'll be bored whenever combat happens, and this trait will only make that worse). Maybe this would be useful trait for an NPC "Captain" character that doesn't actually do anything themselves, just points to one of the PCs each round and says "Do your thing some more."
  • Egotistical (high REP) - While a bonus to Mental defense is nice, it's super rare that it will matter. Maybe in a campaign with more PSI stuff going on than any of the ones I'm in it would be more important, but you can often just get one more skill die in an obscure skill for the same bonus. I've never known a character to have their mental defense pool maxed out, so getting a bonus on top of the attribute+skill dice from a trait or exploit isn't that crucial.
  • Feeble (low STR) - This is sort of a cut-rate version of Brilliant. It has a little bit of self-synergy, as the STR check you can replace with LOG is one that would have been bad, but there's no guarantee that your LOG is going to be much better (unlike Brilliant where you'll always be making a good roll).
  • Massive (high STR) - This trait could be good if your GM has enemies make lots of called shots against you. But I've never had that happen in my games, so it's not something I'd ever want to become immune to (for a limited set of called shot types).
  • Naive (low INT) - I've never seen a fear effect in any of my games, so this doesn't seem useful. I guess since it's rare, the limitation on one use per day is not that bad, but I'd worry that if there ever was a significant source of fear in an adventure, I might need to test against it more than once. This trait also has no synergy, as fear effects would target Mental Defense, which is based on WIL or CHA, not INT (so you're not necessarily shoring up a weakness).
  • Rugged (high END) - This trait is almost good. It can work for a very, very narrow character type, one with an absolute ton of HP (and decent SOAK). That way you can drop to low HP, and heal a lot getting back to half your maximum. But for most characters, being below half your max HP is going to mean you're nearly dead. Furthermore, in the situations you might want to get a burst of healing (when you've just taken a big hit and another one might finish you off), spending two actions on Rugged could leave you open for another big that will erase the healing you just did.
  • Stoic (high WIL) - It's a shame this trait can't ever be used by the same character as Rugged. Because staying just barely alive would be much more useful if you could avoid getting killed again for real afterwards. This might be useful for very squishy characters who are likely to go to zero-HP on any hit. But with high WIL, you're going to have a decent number of HP, so there's little chance that you got killed by a fluke hit (rather than lots of damage, that might be expected to be still threatening you).
  • Unflappable (high WIL) - This is only useful if you're a melee combatant with very high MELEE DEFENSE. Because a lot of the time, getting attacked twice is worse than getting attacked once with a +1d6, so Feint is not often a big part of enemy tactics.
  • Unwashed (low CHA) - While this could be good trait, it is useful only for such an extremely narrow set of characters. You'd need a high INT character with low AGI and even lower CHA, who wants to hide in plain sight. It's use would stack with the Everyman origin and Drifter career exploits, but both of those careers give +1 CHA so you probably can't qualify for Unwashed if you take them. That's so narrow! If it applies to you, it's could be a nice bonus that isn't limited in its number of uses per day, but I'm just not sure it's possible to make a functional character where this would make sense.

Severe Roleplay Consequences
  • Coughing (low END) - While getting +4 DEFENSE is really good, being so obviously sick that even your enemies want to take pity on you seems like it will be pretty hard to ignore in other situations. I'd fear my GM saying "No you can't even attempt to be stealthy, you're coughing all the time" or "the cute bartender wants nothing to do with your flirtations as they think you might be contagious".
  • Illiterate (low LOG) - This one could be fun to roleplay, but it might be tricky. An illiterate character would need to ignore things like business signs and computer terminals, since they can't tell what they'd say. It's also not really obvious how the mechanical effect should work. Character memory isn't really a thing that gets modeled in the game, so having perfect recall might be of limited use.
  • Lame (low AGI) - While initiative is nice, struggling to walk may not be. If your cane gets taken, are you still able to get around? This is probably the least burdensome of the traits in this section, but it may depend on your GM how much you have to play it up.
  • Tottering (low STR) - It's neat that you can play a Professor X-like character in a wheelchair. But you may need to deal in game with all the sorts of indignities that handicapped people have to struggle with in the real world. You can work around the challenges with some planning ahead and some creativity on the spot, but both the player and GM probably need to have this trait in their mind all the time. You don't want to hear "The enemy runs up the stairs. Oh, I guess that means you're out of the fight."

Just Bad
  • Disfigured (low CHA) - This has the worst negative synergy with itself of any trait. Intimidation usually uses CHA tests, so at this will make something you're nearly incapable of into something you're only mediocre at. But probably there's another character in your group that's better at it than you, so you should almost always pick a different trait instead. For this trait to be viable, it would need to add a means of using Intimidation with a different attribute (maybe END or WIL, to reflect overcoming a past injury?). While in theory you can use Intimidation with other attributes already, I'm not sure how much you can avoid your GM asking for CHA tests.
  • Forgetful (low LOG) - These last two traits have the same general mechanics. And thus the same totally crippling flaw. The problem is that they let you produce items with values up to the result of a LUC check. But the values of attribute checks (5-30) are not remotely on the same scale as item prices (75-1000+ for most interesting stuff), so you can only ever produce a tiny number of cheap things. At least, that's all you can do using the items listed in the N.E.W. book. Maybe if your GM has their own list of items that includes lots more cheap things, this could have some utility. But in a vanilla game, instead of rolling for this, why not just buy 50' of rope, a few chem lights, a dagger and a hand axe, put them all in a backpack. Then you can pick a different trait, since that list of gear is almost everything this trait can get you. To make this trait viable, I'd suggest that you can produce any small item that you (or an ally, with their permission) own, but didn't previously have on your person.
  • Spendthrift (low WIL) - Same as Forgetful, but for this one you need to pay for the cheap stuff it lets you produce, so it's actually worse. I didn't realize that was possible. For this trait in to be fixed, I think you could just throw in a multiplier to the roll. Make it a roll of your LUC pool times 10 or 20 and would be reasonably good (and still balanced, since you do need to actually pay credits for the item you bought).

Here's all the traits in a nice, color coded table:

High AttributeLow Attribute
STR
massiveathleticbrawnyfeebletottering
AGI
nimbledeadeyeambidextrousclumsylame
ENDruggedtough-as-nailscoughingasthmatic/anemic
INTempatheticalertnaivedistracted
LOGbrilliant
eruditeilliterateforgetful
WILstoic
unflappablealcoholicrecklessspendthrift
CHAcommandinginspiringsuavepersuasiveunwasheddisfiguredobnoxious
REPegotisticalwell knownflamboyant

Always good
Situationally good
Maybe Good, but 1/day
Weak
Severe RP consequences
Always bad

What do you think? Are there any traits you think I've misjudged (or misunderstood)? I know a lot of my opinions may be shaped by how my GMs have run the games I've played in. Have you had experiences very different than mine that you think change how a trait should be rated? Please let me know!
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Great list! I agree with you on Forgetful and Spendthrift.

You can use skills with any attribute as long as the GM agrees, so intimidation and Disfigured would be a good combo for a strong character. A STR (intimidation) check with the disfigured trait would be a good combo.
 
You can use skills with any attribute as long as the GM agrees, so intimidation and Disfigured would be a good combo for a strong character. A STR (intimidation) check with the disfigured trait would be a good combo.
While I certainly agree that it should be possible to intimidate with your strength, the way tests are written in the rules are for the GM to ask for a specific attribute to be tested, and then the player can suggest an applicable skill to combine with it. It's not really clear that a player can suggest testing a different attribute (though of course the GM can allow anything they want).
 

Vampifan

Explorer
I can see a lot of thought has gone into making this list and I found myself in agreement with all of your choices. Well done!
 
I can see a lot of thought has gone into making this list and I found myself in agreement with all of your choices. Well done!
One of the reasons I enjoyed making this list is that traits are a great way to come up with character concepts. Especially the ones that are not too good, and don't have much synergy with themselves. To make those traits work, you really need to make a very specific character build, which can have interesting thematic consequences. Want to use Flamboyant? You need loads of REP, but you also need to be a decent melee fighter, since that's what the trait gives a bonus to. Gentleman assassin reporting for duty! Want to use Obnoxious (the better Taunt)? You need high LOG and low CHA, and you need to be good at surviving when the angry enemies all attack you. Trash-talking Synth riot-cop all lined up!
 

knikpiw

Explorer
https://youtu.be/2yjq3ohDAeM

Love this video. Adding on to what Steven said, a character with a non-mechanical flaw can be soooooo fun to have run in your game (From a GMs point of view) Or to see progress and grow (From a Players point of view)

Experiment. Grow. Have Fun
 

knikpiw

Explorer
On a side note, your trait can also becomes like a Hook-Quirk as in the Universal Upgrades book. I would recommend looking there for designing a great RP character
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
On a side note, your trait can also becomes like a Hook-Quirk as in the Universal Upgrades book. I would recommend looking there for designing a great RP character
Universal Upgrades is v1.1. -- most of that content has been subsumed into various v1.2. books and updated.
 
Hmm, I just bought N.O.W. yesterday (Black Friday sales started early!) and I see that the Alcoholic trait has changed slightly from how it was in N.E.W. v1.2. It now gives you +2 SOAK all the time, and just vaguely asserts that you do a lot of drinking. You don't need to be specifically drunk to get the bonus, so it's now pretty much what Tough-as-Nails wishes it could be, with only negative roleplay consequences to (maybe) hold it back. (Alas, Tough-as-Nails is not clarified, and I'm still not really sure what "a +2 natural Soak bonus which stacks with any other Soak scores you may have" means.) A few other traits have minor wording changes, but none that appear to have mechanical effects.
 
Basically a blanket +2 stackable SOAK.
Ah, OK. It should probably have the word "natural" taken out of its text then, since that word is otherwise used to mean "doesn't stack with real armor". If it just said "you gain +2 SOAK" (like the N.O.W. version of Alcoholic does), it would be a lot clearer.
 

easl

Explorer
I'm a fan of Stoic. Conceptually, it's very heroic to be able to survive that one giant explosion or a fall from space to the ground or whatever. Heck if I were playing a character with it, just having it would encourage me to take stupid risks (at least until I'd used it for the day). "Don't worry, I'll be the one to jump out of the plane without a parachute and catch them on the way down." Who doesn't want to be the guy who stares down the dragon, takes the swipe that sends them flying across the room...and gets up again. That's the stuff of coolness.

I guess that would go in your 'limited use' category though since it's one use per day.
 
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I'm a fan of Stoic. Conceptually, it's very heroic to be able to survive that one giant explosion or a fall from space to the ground or whatever. Heck if I were playing a character with it, just having it would encourage me to take stupid risks (at least until I'd used it for the day). "Don't worry, I'll be the one to jump out of the plane without a parachute and catch them on the way down." Who doesn't want to be the guy who stares down the dragon, takes the swipe that sends them flying across the room...and gets up again. That's the stuff of coolness.
Hmm, I'm not sure I'd like giving Stoic that much power. If a stiff upper lip can undermine instant death effects, it risks breaking suspension of disbelief. I'd hope for a GM to say "No your stoicism can't help you survive being vaporized by that battleship's lasers. Make a new character." Of course, they might handwave it a bit. "Sure, you survived falling from that airliner 30000 ft with no parachute. You have one HP for the moment. But you also have every negative condition at once. Oops, I guess that means bleeding kills you at the start of your turn."

I do think Stoic could be a reasonable choice for very low HP characters, maybe. But that's not going to be common, since you need to have a high WIL to qualify for it, and your WIL pool contributes dice to your HP. So unlike Rugged, Stoic has negative synergy with itself.

Anyway, I've updated the first post slightly. I moved Tough-as-Nails into the Always Good category, and added a little more discussion to Alcoholic and Stoic. I've also added a color coded table showing the traits by attribute, which might make it easier to see which ones might be able apply to a given character design (with some attribute tweaks, perhaps). Here's a copy of the new table:

High AttributeLow Attribute
STRmassiveathleticbrawnyfeebletottering
AGInimbledeadeyeambidextrousclumsylame
ENDruggedtough-as-nailscoughingasthmatic/anemic
INTempatheticalertnaivedistracted
LOGbrillianteruditeilliterateforgetful
WILstoicunflappablealcoholicrecklessspendthrift
CHAcommandinginspiringsuavepersuasiveunwasheddisfiguredobnoxious
REPegotisticalwell knownflamboyant

Always good
Situationally good
Maybe Good, but 1/day
Weak
Severe RP consequences
Always bad
 

easl

Explorer
What's the page # for "instant death effects"? I don't see any. Of course as the GM you're always able to create one, but as written, the basic mechanic is that when you hit 0 hp you roll dice and count the 6's which push you along a track. Stoic says you never hit 0 (well, once per session). So you never roll for the track. So you don't die. As written, I'd argue that's not "weak." If it's weak when a GM adds in an instant death mechanic, well then...it's weak against that house rule.

In any event I think the stronger argument is narrative rather than mechanical. I really don't mind that if some PC has a 'tough guy' defining trait, that they survive things that tough guy characters survive in action movies. Is it realistic? No not at all. Does it make for a funner game? Yes in most cases, probably. And let's face it, it's probably not unbalanced to give a cool trait to a PC whose highest trait is WIL, rather than a more combat-useful trait such as AGI.
 
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