Hindrances might look bad, but they’re benefits in disguise! First of all, they’re great role-playing hooks, and give your character some depth or a tragic flaw. Second of all, you can use Hindrance points during character creation to your benefit. You may spend a hindrance point to gain one skill point. Alternatively, you may spend two hindrance points to either gain a bonus edge, or to increase one attribute by one die. You may take up to one major hindrance and two minor hindrances. A minor hindrance is worth one point, while a major hindrance is worth two. Hence, if you take the maximum allowed hindrances, you will have four hindrance points to spend on extra skills, edges, or increased attributes.
The following hindrances are inappropriate for the campaign. These hindrances represent people who would either not be eligible for military service (Blind, Elderly, Young), or at least would only be able to serve as rear-echelon troops (physical handicaps). Some are simply inappropriate for the setting (Doubting Thomas, Poverty)
Blind, Doubting Thomas, Elderly, Hard of Hearing, Lame, One Arm, One Eye, One Leg, Poverty, Young
Bullet Magnet (Major)
Some soldiers are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This character makes a habit of it. This unfortunate soul is hit by accidental fire (using the Innocent Bystander rules) on a 1-2 for single-shot weapons, and a 1-3 for shotguns or full-auto fire. He’s also hit on a 1-2 under Heavy Fire (crossing a battlefield outside of tactical movement).
Your character believes so strongly in his country, political party, philosophy, or religion that he’’ll do almost anything for it, and often tries to persuade, cajole, convert, or browbeat those who don’t subscribe to his beliefs in doing so. Fanaticism motivates many Axis soldiers (SS troops, many Japanese soldiers), but it can also manifest among elite Allied troops like commandos, paratroopers, or US Marines, as well as the regular rankers.
If your character is ordered to do something that serves or is motivated by his beliefs, he must do it, however foolish or dangerous it might be. His attitude among friendly troops may be disadvantageous depending on the situation, and the GM may apply a -2 Charisma modifier when appropriate.
In a word, your character is lazy. It’s difficult for him to get up and get motivated about work or other responsibilities. He actively tries to dodge assigned tasks and tries to get someone else to do his work for him. When forced into doing something, his effort is half-hearted and he tries to finish whatever he’s doing as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
A character with this hindrance has a hard time getting promotions. His reputation for being a shirker may also not sit well with his squadmates or superior officers, so he has a -2 to his Charisma with them.
Your character is fresh from boot camp, and has just been assigned to his unit. To make things worse, his training didn’t take as well as it should have. Most of his squad thinks he’s only good for walking point and carrying spare ammo for the machineguns.
The newbie is never dealt cards on the first round of any combat (he’s always “surprised”). In addition, he subracts 2 from Notice rolls made to detect ambushes or booby traps, as well as most Common knowledge rolls related to his theater of operations. To top it off, he’ll be assigned the worst duties in the platoon—latrine detail, filling sandbags, KP, and walking point, to name a few. Of course, a newbie doesn’t stay new forever. The reason this hindrance is so awful is it can go away.
After each relatively active month of service, the hero makes a Smarts roll at minus 2. If the roll is successful, he drops one group of penalties—either the action card penalty or the minus 2 to Notice and Common Knowledge rolls. He may roll again after another active month to rid himself of the other penalty, at which point he’s no longer a replacement. Note that not every soldier who steps off the train has this hundrance—only those knuckleheads who take a little longer to adjust to the realities of war.
Not everyone was born with cat-like reflexes. This soldier is just a little slow on the uptake, or maybe freezes up when lead starts flying. He draws two cards in combat and acts on the worst. If he draws a Joker, he uses it normally and ignores his hindrance for the round.
Slow characters cannot take the Quick Edge, but they can actually improve their reaction time by taking the Level Headed Edge (but not during character creation). For this soldier, Level Headed allows them to draw one card and act normally. Improved Level Headed grants them two cards and they act on the best of the two.