Characters in fiction often have disadvantageous quirks and foibles that, while annoying, aren’t really Weaknesses in QAGS terms. Willow Rosenberg’s “frog fear” is a good example of this kind of thing, as is her pal Anya’s fear of bunnies. Such minor disadvantages are not really debilitating to be considered a Weakness, probably should have some game effect. As Weird Times at Charles Fort High readers already know, this dilemma can be solved in the QAGS system by adding a new word called Flaws.
The Loose Cannon
The loose cannon, also known as the cop on the edge, is a law enforcement officer who is far more concerned with justice than proper police procedure. The loose cannon is a shoot first, read Miranda rights later kind of guy, and as a result he’s always one step away from being kicked off the force (usually by a black man with a predilection for screaming things like “This time you’ve gone too far, McBain” at the top of his lungs). When the court system fails to punish a criminal (often because of technicalities resulting from the loose cannon’s disregard for proper procedure) the loose cannon will sometimes take it upon himself to punish the bad guy personally. While the loose cannon is not required to turn in his gun an badge first, it is traditional to do so.
Whenever I start working on a new project, be it a redesign of the Hex web page or a new game book, I start with a spiral notebook. When the big box stores have their back to school sales every year, I buy a big stack of them for 17 cents or so each. While a lot of people may prefer computers for this sort of thing, I prefer the spiral notebook because it’s easy to use and extremely portable. I keep one in my car at all times, plus one in my gaming bag and one beside the bed (for those ideas that hit me as I’m drifting off to sleep).
As the inhabitants of Hazzard County (where everything from property disputes to custody battles can be settled with a car race) know, it’s often handy to have an experienced driver on your side. The wheelman is the guy you want in the driver’s seat when you’re making a fast getaway from your latest bank job, chasing a hundred-foot-tall atomic monster through downtown Baltimore, or trying to outrun every cop in the greater Chicago area. While the term “wheelman” is often associated with criminal types, there are a handful of legitimate occupations available to people with lead feet and a blatant disregard for traffic laws.
When most people hear the phrase “mad scientist,” they think of villains like Frankenstein, Lex Luthor, and other depraved madmen who want to show them, SHOW THEM ALL! While it is true that most mad scientists are in fact dangerously maladjusted sociopaths, it must be remembered that “mad” can mean “eccentric and unorthodox” as well “batshit crazy.” While this kinder, gentler version of the mad scientist is not quite as common as his evil counterpart, he is a popular archetype in certain types of fiction.