Give Your D&D Characters Flaws

Give Your D&D Characters Flaws

Are you a player or a Dungeon Master and despite your best efforts you just can not get your Dungeons & Dragons character to stand out or find it hard to react to situations in an organic way? 

DeAngelo is here to help! I have been a Dungeon Master since 2008 and am constantly writing up adventures for friends to enjoy. In my time as a DM, I have found that the characters you create have such an impact on the storyline for better or for worse. It stings when the main hero side character you wrote as their ally becomes so hated that the players seek to undermine. As a player, it can feel horrible when the character you made doesn’t get any genuine interaction with others and just awkwardly exist. 

To avoid these issues I apply flaws to every single character I make. Here is why you should consider doing so as well!

Flaws For D&D Characters

In writing, there is a term called “Mary Sue” which refers to a character that is perfect in almost every way. He/she is charming, always has the best intentions at heart, does the right thing, everyone loves them, and they can turn a situation around no matter the odds. The most well known “Mary Sues” are Superman, Drizzt Dourden, and Goku. As kids, we might revere these characters and their perfection but as we grow older we learn that the world does not operate in a way that would ever support such perfect characters.

People are flawed in both major and in minor ways, that is a huge part of what makes us appreciate them. They have their internal demons and despite how hard the situation is, they strive to better themselves. Whenever I create a character I try and give them two flaws for every one positive aspect. If a man is more handsome than most, he would also be easily distracted and/or financially unstable. If a woman comes from a wealthy family then she also has issues with rage or can’t help but want to sleep all of the time. Major flaws would be medical conditions, trauma, or even denial.

These flaws help bring motivation to the player and makes it easier to know how they would organically react to a situation. A valiant knight would find themselves torn by the news that they are losing their sight and might motivate them to double down on accomplishing a life goal prior to the permanent loss. An infamous thief might change their ways, vowing to redeem themselves once their spouse discovers their past wretched deeds and leaves them.

The harder these flaws are to deal with, the sweeter each and every victory will be due to the challenge. I also recommend that when you make progress characters never fully restore the wound or issue unless it was after an immense struggle. The effort would equal the reward. The main draw of the character is their suffering and if you alleviate it entirely the draw for the character dissipates.

An example of this is the character Rocky Balboa from the Rocky franchise. In the first film, we sympathize with the main character due to how poor he is, how little respect others show him, and despite everything, he has to face a beloved champion. It is a spark of hope that resonates for us flawed viewers that makes his want him to succeed. Even when he loses, it still is a victory to us because he at least gave it his all, had the match of his life, and earned the respect of his peers. It feels more realistic than if he simply won and was the best there ever was.

Fast forward to the later films and we see Rocky is rich from his victories and hardly anyone can touch him, it feels far less relatable and we tend to lose interest. The same will happen for you as a player or a 

Dungeon Master. A way to resolve this is by presenting them with more unexpected hardships, for every inch gained, we put them back by a mile so tat they can continue to grow.

A character might meet the woman of their dreams. Someone who loves and accepts them for who they are but their medical condition worsens considerably. He then has to decide to fight for a cure or simply choose how he wishes to spend the rest of his days with this new love interest.

This might seem harsh but consider life in its natural state. There are so few times that we can truly say that everything is going perfectly. When we are younger we have our youth and time to do so many things but not the power or finances to make any real change on certain issues that bother us. When we get older we gain the power and finances but lose our time, we also, unfortunately, have to witness those that came before us pass away naturally or unnaturally. Nothing lasts forever and this should also apply to your Dungeons & Dragons character. 

I hope this helped you consider giving your character flaws to make them more realistic and easier to role play overall! Do you have any other advice for improving characters? Feel free to leave a comment below with your advice!

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Chicano | Fighting/Writing for Diversity | DM since 08 | Anime Lover | Site: | | |

Chicano | Fighting/Writing for Diversity | DM since 08 | Anime Lover | Site: | | |

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