Flaws change the PCs story and its tone. The whole picture of your character changes for the group and the DM.
The big questions are how to be flawed? How many flaws do I need and can you buy them from a merchant, fantasy Costco, fastasy Amazon, Ebay… maybe Craigslist!
Well… you can have as many as you want, I would stay with one or two myself. If you add more then 2 flaws you might need a nurses aide for your character or the rest of your group of heroes might think it’s best to leave you behind or send you to the home for wayward PCs.
We all love to root for the characters that overcome obstacles despite some serious handicap. It’s a lot more impressive to a group if you battle those giant rats even though you have a paralyzing fear of them.
Here are a few ideas to help you have that flawed player character…
Aversion (Spiders, frogs, worms, blood, dirt, corpses, disease. All the things people have trouble dealing with,) Fear (that which bring anxiety… anxious people will usually try to avoid the source of their fear.) Addiction (characters with an dependence or enslavement to a substance, habit, or a particular type of person they are obsessed with, and are unable to resist this compulsion.) Immorality (In any society, there are always actions that are deemed inappropriate. Some are enforced by laws; others are merely considered rude and unwanted. Thievery, lechery, treachery, and spitefulness are all examples of behavior that is frowned upon by most cultures.) Poor Judgement (this character will routinely make bad decisions when confronted with certain situations or people. A lack of common sense, poor planning, risk-prone behavior, being a bad judge of character or unable to predict consequences are all examples of this bad flaw.) Incompetence (let’s face it some people just suck… be it just some of the time or all of the time. Think of an Magic User who has terrible aim and can’t get the spell to always work on the correct NPC or PC . Basically, this kind of flawed character has a shortcoming or a particularly hard time dealing with a certain situation (or all of them). They might be completely capable 99% of the time, but by introducing your character to an odd situation here or there, they are reduced to failure and shame.)
No matter which flaw or flaws you choose, make sure to keep a few things in mind. Make the flaw(s) relevant to your character’s backstory… there’s no point in having a flaw that your character will never confront. Being scared of a Zoobie Oozing Cube (an abomination like nothing else humanity has ever faced. A mix of cajured creature and oozing organs, this monster is a sight to… unsee.) it doesn’t work if you never have a chance to confront that fear. Second, think about how your choice(s) will affect the character’s health, personality, and engagement with other player characters and nonplayer characters. If it doesn’t affect any of those things in a negative way, it isn’t really a flaw. Third, do your research and be careful. The more potent and gripping their flaw is, the more tact and caution you’ll need to portray it realistically.