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That One Disadvantage

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So you finally found yourself that weapon that has been hyped up for being the weapon to end them all (or if not, close enough to it). Excellent damage, great range, attack speed on par with the best, maybe it even has its own signature move! That's right — nothing wrong with it! Until...

...wait, it drains away your health until death when equipped? And it drains it faster with every attack? And your health cap is low to begin with?

No, thanks.

Yep, that's That One Disadvantage. No smart minmaxer will ever take the risk of using this weapon, because it will most likely cripple their line-up, severely disrupt their plans, among other horrible things. Accepting to be cursed with said disadvantage will most likely, and practically, ensure a quick death.

Note that the disadvantage itself might not just be in a weapon — characters and mons can also qualify for this if, say, their stats are let down by a horrible trait to the point you're at a severe risk of losing from the moment you set foot on the playing field.

For something to have That One Disadvantage, it should be presented as a disadvantage from the beginning. It should not just be a less smart option, it should clearly be labeled as an intentional handicap. You should get something in return for it. It has to be voluntarily chosen. And it has to be a completely disastrous option that is just plain not worth it. The only reason any remotely intelligent player would take it is as a Self-Imposed Challenge, and even then it's borderline masochistic.

Opposite of Minmaxer's Delight.


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    First-Person Shooter 
  • PAYDAY 3: Of the possible Security Modifiers acivated upon playing on Very Hard/Overkill, "Lead Guard" is easily the worst - the titular Lead Guard it spawns is a major threat during stealth due to his frequent patrols and his patrol route covering nearly the entire map. Killing him isn't an option without exploits, either - his pager will endlessly activate once a minute upon death, all-but guaranteeing the crew will run out of pagers and things will go loud.

  • Rogue Legacy generates three characters for each generation for you to choose from. Each includes traits that may dissuade you from using that particular character, and all three having one came make that generation feel like a suddenly daunting task:
    • Vertigo flips the entire screen upside-down, including interface elements and dialog boxes. Apart from being headache-inducing, vertically-mirrored text makes menu options so unintelligible the Dyslexia trait could only wish it was that bad (don't bother trying to flip your monitor). It's useful against a boss, but good luck actually getting there with it in a healthy enough condition to abuse it.
    • C.I.P. hides your health bar. In a game where keeping track of your HP is what keeps you alive, this is a very bad thing. Unless you feel like using math during gameplay to figure out how much HP you might have, you won't know how hurt you are until it's far too late.
    • Alzheimer's for Spelunkers. Alzheimer's prevents you from using the map, though it doesn't disable the minimap. For a class whose main ability involves using the map to seek out treasure chests, this is more than a little bad.
    • The sequel introduces even more traits that are way more trouble than they're worth, even for the gold bonuses you get for using those classes:
      • Algesia completely removes your character's Mercy Invincibility after getting hit. One stray hit from any source, and you'll likely end up ping-ponging and taking major damage, especially against bosses, who often have such large attacks that you won't be able to perform an immediate aerial recovery.
      • Osteogenesis Imperfecta causes your character to die in a single hit, from any damage source. To make up for it, this trait has the highest gold bonus out of any negative trait, and some relics such as the Lotus Stem can be a big boon for heirs with this trait, but surviving without taking damage from anything in this game is extremely difficult. You're often better off picking a less-risky trait and gaining more gold from surviving longer.
      • Perfectionist makes your attacks deal no damage if they aren't skill crits. For some classes, such as the Barbariannote , this is moot, but for others with more complex skill crit conditions, notably the Bardnote , the game gets much, much harder.
      • Vegan makes all health consumables deal damage to you instead of heal you. Unless you're playing as a Chefnote , have the Vampirism trait or have runes activated that heal you by damaging or killing enemies, this means Black Root Tree Rooms are now your only source of healing, and taking Blessings of Lifenote  from these rooms becomes much riskier.
  • Shieldless in FTL: Faster Than Light. Only four ships (Stealth A through C, Zoltan B) don't start with laser and beam-repelling shield systems, and while they have alternatives (a cloaking system in two cases and a special single-use shield for Zoltan B), they can be rapidly picked apart by anything with a beam drone (attack drones fire constantly for low damage which shields would normally absorb, but which adds up, and beams can't be dodged). Note you can buy a shield system, but you are still vulnerable initially and have to spend a lot to get what normal ships begin with.
  • Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead has a couple of disadvantages available that make surviving the apocalypse much harder.
    • Illiterate makes you completely incapable of using any book, which makes it much harder to train your skills and impossible to learn advanced crafting recipes. The only reason to pick it is as a Self-Imposed Challenge or if you're playing as the Churl; which, as a medieval serf, starts out with Illiterate.
    • Fragile gives your body 75% less HP and makes it heal at 1/4 speed, making it much likelier to get one-shot-killed by a stray blow to the torso or just get worn down by attrition. Taking it with Glass Jaw (-30% head HP) turns your character into the closest thing in-game to a One-Hit-Point Wonder. This is great for a Self-Imposed Challenge, but for those jut trying to min-max, there are better alternatives.
    • Pain Sensitive makes you take 25% more pain from attacks. As damage incapacitates your character much sooner than it kills you, this makes you easier to take down and puts you closer to the nasty mutation Hyperalgesia, which increases your pain gain by 50%.
    • Savant halves the rate of skill learning save for your best skill; essentially a more brutal version of Slow Learner that requires you to micromanage your skill gain further than is normally necessary.
    • Schizophrenia/Kaluptic Psychosis causes hallucinations and occasional Interface Screw, which can only be temporarily stopped by taking Thorazine. Unfortunately, Thorazine is rather rare and raiding pharmacies— the most reliable source of Thorazine— can be dangerous, especially on Static Spawn.
    • Wayfarer prevents you from traveling using any vehicles whatsoever. This makes moving around much harder than it already is: it vastly lengthens the time you spend going from place to place, makes you lose out on an easy place to stash loot, and removes an easy escape button from dangerous situations— without a vehicle, you can't just hop in your car and speed off or hop in your deathmobile and fight back.
    • Genetic Downward Spiral. You'll need all of the 12 points this trait gives, as it causes you to mutate frequently without intervention, and makes it so that all mutations you receive are negative. This is blatantly geared to be a Self-Imposed Challenge, as it makes it so that your character will inevitably pick up at least one bad trait that makes it even harder to survive.
  • Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate has a Card system where the player selects one of two card sets at the end of a cleared floor, each set containing a random card that will benefit the Black King and a random card that benefits White's forces. Some White Cards can be very detrimental or even game-ending to the point where it's not worth taking that set, even if the Black Card paired with it is highly beneficial:
    • Iron Maiden makes the already-dangerous Queens get their movement turn much slower but also makes them completely invulnerable foes that can still soak up shots meant for other targets. Any additional Queens spawned from Pawn promotion, the King's Mistress card, the Genderqueer card or the Succubus card will also benefit from this invincibility. This also makes it nearly impossible to get the very useful Queen Souls obtained from killing Queens, which allow the Black King to move like one upon spending them. The only way to kill these Queens and get their souls is via throwing them off the map with King's Shoulders, a specific card which can only be used once per floor and only on adjacent enemies, meaning that you need the Queen to move right next to you (since you can't move into her attack range without getting checkmated). The only way to remove the invulnerability is if there are only Queens on the map, which means picking Guillotine (another huge disadvantage) to remove the King.
    • Kite Shield makes all of the otherwise-squishy but fast-moving Knights get a Single-Use Shield that absorbs all damage on their first hit, meaning that you will have to take at least 2 turns to kill one. By then, they can easily corner you. And if it's paired up with Bodyguard, which prevents the White King from dying as long as a Knight lives...
    • Castle gives the White King the ability to swap place with a rook upon getting shot, even from stray bullets, and the Rook takes the damage instead. If you're in a direct orthogonal line from the King when this happens and the damage isn't enough to kill the Rook (which have a beefy 5 health before modifiers), the Rook will instantly checkmate you and end your run unless you have Black Mist to save you. This got nerfed such that a Rook that swapped can no longer instant-checkmate you when doing so, severely reducing the card's threat.
    • Cathedral removes a Bishop, adds a Rook, and all non-Rook pieces adjacent to Rooks will only take a maximum of 1 damage in a shot. Needless to say, this makes pieces near Rooks borderline unkillable, not helped with Rooks being durable. While this card does open up the useful Church Organ card, the downside of Cathedral is still very deadly.
    • Guillotine removes the White King from the board and changes your victory condition to "kill every single white piece". It can screw you over if there are too many pieces, you took too many cards that generate reinforcements, or if you don't have enough ways to take out multiple pieces at once. Worst of all, it can be taken alongside Iron Maiden, with the Iron Queens only losing their invulnerability when they're the only pieces left.
  • Hades: Among the conditions for the Pact of Punishment, a few of them stand out that can single-handedly cause your run to fail. The only reason you would undergo them is due to the Harsh Conditions prophecy and/or 32 heat and above runs forcing your hand.
    • Approval Process (cuts out one choice when obtaining Boons and upgrades per rank at random) is generally considered the most hated due to it's infamous tendency to prevent you from obtaining the choice you are after. The censor doesn't completely cover the choice, effectively rubbing it in (especially if you are denied a Duo or Legendary Boon). Not only that, if you attempt to use Fated Persuasion to reroll, it is possible for the same choice to get blocked again.
    • Underworld Customs forces you to purge one Boon every time you leave a region. This already means you'll be reaching the Final Boss with three less Boons than normal, but as the options the Pool of Purging offers are random, it's possible for all three to be vital Boons to your build, or Epic, Legendary or Duo.
    • Heightened Security is also another hated condition, mainly due to it not being worth a mere 1 heat. It increases the damage from traps and magma by 400%. Suddenly, your health is dropping faster than a stone in Asphodel's lava while the dropping axes in Styx cuts your health in half (if not more). Not to mention that the urns the Final Boss spawns count as traps, so their shockwaves are buffed by this as well.
    • Routine Inspection, especially at rank 2 and above, removes many important buffs from the Mirror of Night that would make life easier when clearing high heat runs.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Completely Inept and Cursed At Birth in Avernum. Combine them for additional fun!
    • Completely Inept reduces hit chance by 10% and reduces confusion resistance by 30%. The former is nastier than it looks, as damage for weapon skills (and the blademaster skill) is directly tied to hit rate.
    • Cursed at Birth increases all forms of damage taken by 50%. For even more fun, combining it with Brittle Bones makes them stack for an extra 100% damage from all physical attacks.
  • Exile III had the Sluggishness disadvantage, which makes a character get fewer action points every round. It wasn't worth much in XP savings, and a game like this requires perfect rationing of action points to succeed. A character with less-than-stellar action points will easily be left behind when everyone else advances on the enemy, and also left to be ganged up on and eaten alive when everyone else is fleeing. Furthermore, the Haste spells (critical in the late game) only multiply action points; someone who can barely move before Haste can still only move a little better after it.
    • Exile II has Pacifist, a trait that makes you unable to attack enemies in any way, and even prevents you from casting spells that could indirectly damage them. While it greatly increases the experience you gain, this is not nearly enough to make up for all the experience you'll miss out on due to not killing stuff. Namely, the game rewards around 85% of the experience for killing a monster to the character who made the kill, while the remaining 15% is shared out among the others. Since the Pacifist never makes a kill, he's stuck to getting a measly 3 to 15% of the experience from each kill, depending on how many other characters there are in the party.
  • One background option in Arcanum is "Nietzsche Poster Child", boosting EXP in exchange for increasing critical failure rate ("That which does not kill me can only make me stronger."). Given Arcanum has really annoying effects possible for critical failures (most are "deal damage to self", but also found are "receive injury that reduces stats and can only be healed by upper-end healing items" and "your weapon breaks instantly", "Armor damaged", "get stunned and most likely die because the thing you were fighting now has a few turns of uninterrupted, unmissable attacks", and multiple of the above) and EXP is given like candy already, only a pure diplomat (who doesn't really make any rolls that can critically fail, plus doesn't get the game's insane amount of combat EXP) can make any use of it, and even then, a background that boosts your persuasion stats (and the cap for them, as a stat's cap is based on its starting value) with a hit to combat stats may be better.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series (until it did away with Attributes in Skyrim), a low Endurance attribute was absolutely killer, regardless of your character build. A higher starting Endurance means more starting Health, and a high Endurance also means a greater Health increase every time you level up. A Warrior may have heavy armor, but getting up close and personal with every enemy means you'll be taking a lot of hits. Rangers and Mages keep their distance, taking less hits overall, but are also far less protected in terms of armor. Most guides will recommend doing what you have to (class selection, Birthsign selection, etc.) to get a high starting Endurance and then level it up to 100 as quickly as you can in order to have the most health possible. This is especially important in Oblivion, where nearly every enemy's stats (including health) scales with your own level, meaning even a lowly bandit can potentially one-shot a low-endurance character at a high enough level.
    • In Morrowind, "The Lord" Birthsign. It grants a healing spell which is outclassed by Hearth Heal, a spell you can get in character generation for free by having Restoration as a Major or Minor skill. (Failing that, it is also available for purchase from the only merchant in the First Town.) The tradeoff is doubling the fire damage you take. Other Birthsigns provide better skills and weaker penalties, making it suicidal to choose The Lord unless you're roleplaying.
  • While a low Intelligence build in the first two Fallout games can be funny to experiment with due to other characters' reactions to your unintelligible caveman grunting and short Manchild sentences, in terms of practicality it's utterly abysmal, as almost every NPC will ultimately refuse to give you the time of day, cutting you out of a lot of sidequests and thus making it hard to get XP outside of killing things.
    • The same is true in 3 and New Vegas but for different reasons. Intelligence determines a character's Repair, Science, and how many skill points they get per level (+1 per point in 3, +0.5 per point in New Vegas). Having to spend more caps/equipment on repairs sucks but is manageable, but being locked out of side rooms full of treasure AND being worse at just about everything is something you'll be feeling throughout the playthrough.
    • The trait "Skilled" is also widely considered a bad choice for the first two Fallout games. It gives you extra skill points each time you level up, but the tradeoff is that you get fewer Perks, which are generally far more useful than skill points.
  • Final Fantasy XII has two accessories, the Goddess' Magicite and the Dawn Shard, which give large amounts of Magick Resist to whoever equips them, but also lock their MP at 0 and prevent them from using Quickenings or Summon Magic. In a game where magic is very strong and everyone has access to it in some form, regardless of what version you're playing, this is too big a price to pay. (And even physical builds won't appreciate the loss of Quickenings) You lose both for plot reasons eventually, anyway. There's a slightly less bad version called Manufacted Nethicite, which only bestows permeant Silence in exchange for resistance to all elements, which can be situationally useful but still not something you want to use often. They only become somewhat helpful if being on the Updated Re-release version (The Zodiac Age) due to the class system meaning some characters can't use any magical abilities without outside factors, but you're better off not relying on them still.
  • Pokémon:
    • The series introduced Natures starting in Generation 3, which increase one stat by 10% and lower another by 10%. While most combinations are useful to at least a few 'Mons, Lax (+Defense, -Special Defense) and Gentle (+Special Defense, -Defense) never see use in any serious setting, as even the most polarized wall, such as Chansey (with a whopping 250 base HP and 105 Special Defense, but a pathetic 5 base Defense), will suffer a significant drop in survivability if it dumps its weaker defense stat, and between both attacking stats and speed, Stone Wall Pokémon have plenty of other choices for a Dump Stat.
    • Generation 3 also introduced Abilities, giving each Pokémon species up to two (Three, starting generation 5) abilities to choose from. Most abilities are helpful to varying degrees, but others are detrimental and can utterly neuter an otherwise viable Pokémon.
      • Truant was originally an Ability only given to Slaking, later being given as a Hidden Ability for Durant. Truant causes the user to slack off every other turn, not using any moves. When one turn can make a world of difference, this is a serious dealbreaker, especially since you can effectively remove any level of threat from a Slaking by using Protect, Dig, or Fly to avoid it on its active turns. It's telling that the most viable way to use the ability is to use Durant, use Entrainment to pass it onto the opponent and switch to a Pokémon with Shadow Tag or Arena Trap to seal the victim in, protecting and boosting effortlessly to set up a potential sweep.
      • Slow Start is the signature ability of Regigigas, which causes its Attack and Speed stats to be halved for five turns after it's sent out. As Regigigas heavily relies on those two stats to accomplish what it does, this ends up making it a pathetic attacker with very little going for it. Making things worse is that if it's switched out, the turn count resets after it's sent back out, even if it ran its course. This ability alone makes Regigigas commonly considered one of, if not, the worst legendary in the series (competition only being present in base Calyrex).
  • Transistor: Some of the 4% Experience Booster Limiters:
    • Permanence actively penalizes you for experimenting with the Combinatorial Explosion of functions, which is half the point of the game. Best to take this one last, after you have all the functions you need to build a Game-Breaker combo.
    • Responsibility. The boost is not worth cutting your MEM cap by more than half.

    Survival Horror 
  • Hell Night: The player character is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, but having a partner along can give you one extra hit, though your partner then dies. If the player chooses to not recruit any of the partners available (and letting Naomi, who joins you by default in the beginning, die as soon as possible), this causes the entire game to have to be played as a No-Damage Run, and there is no reward for doing this, as it locks you into a Bad Ending.
  • World of Horror has several traits that are highly disadvantageous and can make finishing a run very hard.
    • Picking the Medical History backstory is essentially asking for ending your run quickly. The injuries sustained in combat will rack up quickly, even if you run from combat (due to forced combat in at least one mystery you'll get) and chew through your funds when you try to treat them. To make matters worse, you will need to do this if you want any other backstories, as it's the first one unlocked and is required for obtaining other ones.
    • The Ill-Fated background is arguably even worse. It causes you to automatically fail all event skill checks, meaning you're likely to lose Stamina or Reason almost every time you have to investigate somewhere. It also unlocks Card Pack C, so you'd be forgoing plenty of content if you don't complete a run with it. Its only saving grace is that Miku can get a perk that gives her +1 Reason after failing a skill check and and gets substantially stronger the higher Doom is, which will increase more often with failed skill checks. For all other characters, even with the free 133 experience (basically equating to an instant level up) upon starting, Medical History is still easier.
    • The Knight-Errant backstory has you start the game with a book that, once used, increases all damage dealt in combat by 2 for the duration of the current mystery. Handy for, say, ending boss encounters pretty quickly. The downside is that every single time you get an ending for a mystery that isn't the A Ending, the Doom counter advances by 7. It's got a good chance of getting worse if you're in Timeline B: in that timeline, three of the mysteries possible will never get that golden ending. Furthermore, some golden endings require multiple mysteries to be done in the right order. For example: if you get the mystery "Bizarre Bruit of the Blood-Curdling Botanist" but don't also get "Macabre Memoir of Morbid Mermaids", you better prepare for that Doom increase, because the Golden Ending of "Botanist" requires you to have the Fire Axe, which only comes from the Golden Ending of "Mermaids". This, however, can be somewhat mitigated now that you can reroll mysteries at the start of the game assuming you haven't completed any yet.
    • Out of all the Old Gods you can pick, the old version of Ithotu the All-Devouring Flame is the harshest one since it comes with doubled Stamina penalties in comparison to other options that offer much more manageable effects. It has since been nerfed so the double damage goes both ways, which puts it on par with Old Gods that aren't Ath-Yolazsth and arguably even makes it fun, as it gives it a risk/reward factor.
    • From the randomly-chosen influences of the Old Gods hoisted upon you after finishing a mystery, getting Contaminated Water or Fetid Fumes are perhaps the worst. The former denies you the free healing from using the bath in your house, while the latter makes your Rest action less effective. This means you'll either spend more time Resting and racking up your Doom counter or spending your funds on healing items. Getting both at the same time is bound to give you problems unless you are close to finishing the run.

    Simulation Game 
  • The Moronic trait in Tropico is not a good trait to have, as it bars you from getting colleges.
  • The Imbecile (or to a lesser extent, Incapable) trait in Crusader Kings II means that your character has to have a regent appointed to him/her, for rather obvious reasons. And this type of trait is (largely) random to acquire, so it can strike at any time.
  • Several traits in Rimworld are considered very undesirable.
    • Pawns' backstories affect which jobs they are incapable of doing. In the early game, the worst of these are "Incapable of dumb labor" or "Incapable of violence". Being unable to haul crucial resources can slow down your colony's growth, and being one man down when enemies attack can potentially be troublesome. As you gain more people, these traits become more manageable, but in the early game they can significantly crimp your growth. A very popular Game Mod called "Pawns Are Capable" nerfs this by substituting "incapable of" traits with "hates doing", which gives pawns a mood malus for doing things that they hate. This means they can still be pressed into service for when you really need something done.
    • Pyromaniac is considered the worst negative trait a pawn can have, to the point where players try to kill Pyromaniac pawns off or put them into cryptosleep pods just so they don't have to deal with them. A Pyromaniac pawn can't fight fires and can randomly have a mental break where they go around setting fires. At best, this can be annoying, as they set some small fires and force your other pawns to clean up their mess. At worst, they might set a fire that spreads to something you really don't want burning— like your wooden base or chemfuel stockpiles.
    • Volatile gives a pawn a staggering 15% higher mental break threshold, meaning they will be more susceptible to breakdowns. This is especially bad in the "Rich Explorer" scenario, where you start with one pawn. If they break down, your colony's growth will be stopped dead in its tracks, potentially for a long time.
    • Chemical fascination causes pawns to occasionally go binge on hard drugs like yayo and go-juice. While binging, they are uncontrollable, which can be very bad if you need them to do something else other than stuff their face full of drugs. At best, they might develop a new addiction after binging: at worst, they might kill themselves through an overdose. Its lesser cousin, "Chemical interest", is somewhat this, but is a bit more manageable as they binge on softer drugs like smokeleaf. The only way to stop these binges without mods, as with any mental break, is to arrest and/or beat the piss out of them. Thankfully, some balance came later, and it's mildly less annoying now; the binges are now Mental Break only, and now they have the Need for chemicals, dampening the mood if they've been sober too long but actually improving their mood if they've had a decent drug streak.
    • Gourmand acts rather like both the above Chemical traits, except the pawn will binge on your food instead, sometimes even without being on the brink of a mental break. He won't kill himself like that, but he will deplete your food stocks, which can be a problem if you're short on it as is; a Food Binge at a bad time can lead to starvation. Thankfully, as above, if this is badly timed arresting the pawn or knocking them to the floor will stop this. Also thankfully, this is the ONLY mental break they now can get, meaning the more destructive breaks like going berserk or into a murderous rage never happen to them.
    • Sickly colonists will randomly get diseases literally no one else in the colony catches, leading to the usual travails of disease: Potential death at every turn, spending valuable medicine and wasting your doctors' time. Even more if the pawn is a Wimp, as they'll drop to the floor right then and there due to pain and be unable to work (though note that Wimp on its own isn't one of these; while annoying, it also means there's a much lower chance of that colonist getting lethal/maiming injuries because they drop in agony way before that and make the opponent move on to the next target).
    • Old colonists tend to get a slew of these as the birthdays go by, from arterial damage (essentially a long term death sentence, since Heart Attacks will eventually happen and are a bitch to cure) and body frailty/pain (slow them down bit by bit until turtles can outrun and out-manipulate them) to neurological degenerations up to and including Dementia, which will slowly but surely incapacitate them until they're unable to do anything at all. Every birthday, they can get yet another one of these as a "gift".
    • "Slow Learner" colonists will acquire experience at such a sluggish rate they're nearly not worth the investment; don't expect them to level up their skills, even the ones they have a passion for, at a decent speed. Particularly undesirable in the early game, where time is key.
    • "Body Purist" slowly becomes this as the game advances. At the very beginning, where advanced prosthetics even better than regular limbs aren't a thing, it's little problem. But later on, after all the limb-removing battles, the fact it's especially expensive to regrow natural limbs will mean these colonists will either stay crippled, or be permanently unhappy. And worse, they actively hate people with artificial limbs, meaning a body purist in an advanced colony will slowly hate everyone and possibly start fights with people who have bionic limbs that can break him in half.
  • Oxygen Not Included: Among dupes, negative traits can go from entirely inconsequential to "don't even bother unless you're looking for a Self-Imposed Challenge". Among the latter are:
    • Flatulent, which will cause the dupe to occasionally generate Natural Gas. Never in a big enough amount to be useful, but always enough to cause the occasional choke and be a real problem for your greenhouse's gas control.
    • Narcoleptic dupes will randomly fall asleep in the middle of their tasks, priorities or materials be damned. Annoying already when doing something relatively harmless, something that can paralyze your colony if they are, say, hauling a pile of Slimelung-infected slime somewhere and just dump it in the middle of the hallway.
    • Mouth-Breathers will need twice as much oxygen as regular dupes, and those with a Bottomless Stomach will likewise eat twice as much as any other, taxing your stocks of both.
    • Duplicants with Allergies will take one whiff of Floral Scents (emitted by certain flowers, both the flowers and the scents normally helping the dupes' moods), and immediately start sneezing wildly, grousing and generally having their stress rise faster than just about anything else in the game. Having a flower anywhere near your base will result in constant Stress spikes (with associated responses) and massage table hogging.
    • Any dupes with a Destructive stress response. Others will simply lower morale or tax your supplies depending on what they do, but only Destructive ones will actively threaten your colony, by way of kicking apart any machinery they can find no matter how vital it is to their continued living, just because they're pissed off.
  • Surviving Mars has colonists with the "idiot" trait, who have a 10% chance of causing a building malfunction every time they go to work. Malfunctioning buildings must be repaired — which costs precious resources — before they can be restarted. The default setting is to automatically reject applicants with the "idiot" trait, but the filter can can be deactivated if you want to make life harder for yourself.

    Tower Defense 
  • Gemcraft: Chasing Shadows: features a Traits or disadvantages that make the game harder for you in exchange for more experience points, and since on replays you get only difference between the current XP score and previous for specific field, you have interest to turn them all on once you have access to them and can handle them to maximize your level and consequently skill points pool. That is, with the exception of Hatred. You'll come to hate this disadvantage, because it's just not worth it. The thing has 10 levels and each multiplies the enemy health by more and more. On maximum, the starting wave of the monsters has 100000x more health and each has 7% increase. Even the most insane players - those who had finished Endurance - say that you'll always should leave that thing turned off.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition:
    • The Berserker primal path for Barbarians is hated for the Frenzy ability. It allows a Barbarian to use a Bonus Action to attack again on each turn of their Rage, at the cost of adding a level of exhaustion when the Rage ends. The trouble is that exhaustion is hard to get rid of — you need to take a long rest just to rid of one stack, and you can get up to six of them (at which point you die with No Saving Throw). Such penalties include disadvantage on all ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws, as well as cutting your speed in half. Simply put, it's not worth the trouble to get a level of exhaustion for a single extra attack on a single enemy each turn for a single combat, which makes the subclass see very rare use.
    • The Wild Magic Sorcerer subclass falls into Awesome, but Impractical: whenever you cast a non-cantrip spell, you may have to roll a d20. If you get a 1 on this d20 roll, you then have to roll a d100 for a Wild Magic Surge, which makes something happens at random. Some of the Wild Magic Surge effects are useful — recovering HP, regaining spell slots, casting buff spells like Mirror Image for free, or your next spell needing a Bonus Action instead of an Action. But you can also end up casting Fireball or Confusion centered on yourself, make yourself Frightened of the nearest enemy, or cause necrotic damage to everything around you (including your allies). While fun in theory, the amount of potential negative effects from a Wild Magic Surge makes the sub-class not worth using, as some of the Surges can easily lead to a Total Party Kill in the wrong spot. Making this worse is that your most interesting ability — being able to give yourself advantage — leaves you open to a Wild Magic Surge roll as soon as you do it. So your one outright useful ability is probably going to be a detriment in the end. All of these drawbacks, in exchange for only slightly increasing your chances to cast spells and your damage, are not enough to make the sub-class viable.
    • The Underdark subraces (like Drow or Duergar) are not very popular in terms of gameplay usage due to the Sunlight Sensitivity racial feature, which imposes disadvantage on Perception checks, and attack rolls, if in sunlight. Considering how most modules have sunlight in them, unless one happens to be playing in somewhere like the Underdark, very few players want to deal with being handicapped at all times by something they can't counter, especially considering their other racial features may not be enough to justify the downsides. While Drow are popular, and run in spite of this for Evil is Cool reasons, you'll never see other Underdark subraces played because it isn't worth such a drastic weakness.
    • Most of the artifacts in D&D have some form of disadvantage, ranging from amusingly annoying to lethal. Take the sword Blackrazor. It drains the life force from those it hits. However, if it ever hits a being without life force (undead and some extraplaner creatures) it drains YOUR life force.
  • GURPS has a whole bunch of these. It's actually understandable since not all of them are necessarily designed to be taken by PCs, and are instead better suited to NPCs and enemies.
    • Combat Paralysis — you tend to randomly "freeze" in combat. Some particularly fiendish GMs recommend having each PC start with it in realistic 'normal people' games.
    • The Hemophila disadvantage makes any wound you suffer into either a royal pain in the ass, a life-threatening disaster, or a quick trip to the morgue.
    • Woe on anyone who takes the disadvantages Unluckiness or Cursed — you're just begging the GM to be a dick towards you at the worst possible time. While the 75 free points you get for it are a massive advantage, especially for a low-level character, there's no way any GM worth the name isn't going to take a huge amount of pleasure in making you regret it. Here's the actual description for Cursed:
      Like Unluckiness, but worse. Whenever anything goes wrong for your party, it happens to you, first and worst. If something goes right, it misses you. And any time the GM feels like hosing you, he can, and you have no gripe coming, because you are cursed.
    • Klutz and Total Klutz likewise encourage the GM to screw with you in their description. "The GM should be creative in inventing minor torments."
    • There is actually an Easy to Kill disadvantage. While it can be offset with plenty of Hit Points, Damage Resistance, etc., it's rarely taken because it's only worth -2 points per level.
    • Unique sounds cool at first, but it means that if anything ever changes the time line significantly (and you can only take it in worlds where this is possible), you cease to have ever existed, anywhere, with no chance of ever being remembered. You can also take it in parallel universe settings, where it's closer to Minmaxer's Delight — not only do you get disadvantage points for taking it, it gives you the Zeroed advantage (i.e. your character is not listed in any of the usual publicly-available records) for free.
    • Slave Mentality requires you to make a rather difficult roll "before you can take any action that isn't either obeying a direct order or part of an established routine." And to do anything other than fold to social influence requires GM permission and another difficult roll. As the book says, "rarely appropriate for PCs"!
    • At the highest level of Terminally Ill, your character will suddenly drop dead after a month or so. This potentially flips over into Minmaxer's Delight if you don't expect the campaign to last that long, but that's quite a real gamble if don't know how long it will go at character creation, and you can forget about using for one-shots as the book specifies "If the GM is running a one-shot adventure or short campaign, he should disallow this disadvantage as meaningless". Finding a permanent solution during the campaign means you have to buy off the disadvantage, or get new disadvantages instead.
    • Reduced Time Rate makes it so a character takes twice as long to perform any non-combat tasks, and in combat you declare all your actions (like punching that guy in front of you), then wait a turn, then perform those actions (like punching the air where that guy was last round).
    • The relatively obscure Anterograde Amnesia disadvantages (Cinematic and Regular) prevent your character from forming new memories. Have fun roleplaying that!
      • Cannot Learn runs in a similar vein. Players with it cannot spend points to boost Dexterity, Intelligence, any skills, or acquire (most) new advantages. Now how to improve your character...
    • Jinxed was this for the whole party back in 3rd edition. A variant of Bad Luck, it affected everybody around the character but not the character themselves. In other words, it would give players points for ruining the fun of others. Unsurprisingly it got cut for 4th edition.
  • Legend of the Five Rings' tabletop game is rife with these. The creators have noted that disadvantages in their system are supposed to be deadly, not a minor handicap, and taking one is supposed to be handing the GM an excuse to ruin you.
    • Momoku removes your ability to spend Void Points. Imagine if you couldn't spend Willpower in The World of Darkness and you have an idea of how utterly this will screw you. Worth 10 Character Points, the most of any disadvantage, but it's absolutely not worth it. A later Balance Buff changed it to give only 8 Character Points and made it only remove your ability to use the common Void Point expenditures, meaning you can still use Void to activate Techniques that require it. Still, getting 8 points in exchange for losing out on tools that most characters would have by default is a hard sell.
    • Dark Fate. For 3 points (as of 4th Edition), you hand the GM a "screw you" card that they can play whenever they feel like it. When that happens, you will betray everything your character holds dear, most likely including the other players, and either become an NPC, die, or suffer a Fate Worse than Death. Note that Rokugan is a setting where fates worse than death are common.
  • Dark Fate in the Old World of Darkness games. The books try to make it sound appealing by pointing out your Dark Fate means you have an effectively open hand until it hits (unless it's your Dark Fate, what can the situation do to you?), but realistically, the Storyteller will hammer you with your Dark Fate as soon as you screw up one too many of his plans.
  • Serenity Roleplaying Game:
    • "Bleeder" is like GURPS' Hemophilia: any significant wound is death.
    • "Things Don't Go Smooth" makes it so that the GM can void any success they like once or twice per game session, typically the "do or die" ones. Notably, the stat sheet for canon character Malcolm Reynolds has it— not too much of a surprise, considering it's named after one of his lines.
  • The highest level of Coward in All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Buy it and your character will never play any real role in the game ever again.
  • Dragon magazine:
    • Issue #325 has the Superstitious flaw. If you create a character with a crippling phobia of magic, maybe adventuring just isn't for you.
    • Another issue of Dragon includes a selection of extremely crippling commoner-oriented flaws, up to and including Corpse. Of course, they weren't intended to be used, seeing as it was an April Fools' Day joke. Oddly enough, creative interpretation of several of these ended up being a significant boon and turned what was originally a class with no abilities and bare minimum stats into a Lethal Joke Character.
  • Dark Heresy has the Nascent Psyker Elite Advance package from The Inquisitor's Handbook. The only Elite Advance that costs 0 xp (the game lacking a point-buy advantage/disadvantage system), Nascent Psyker gives your character spectacular powers (fuelled by Hell) which they can't control, and which have a definite chance of randomly making you, or everyone around you explode, or making you share your mind and body with a daemon. Oh, and you have to be under extreme stress before those powers will manifest. If any other characters find out you have them, they are legally obliged to either kill you, or capture you and send you across the galaxy to be turned into a living battery for the Astronomican or be taught how to control it over the next decade or so: all of these options effectively require you to retire the character, though the latter at least gives you the chance to come back as a Sanctioned Psyker. Even if you manage to hide it from the others— which is not particularly easy— or they are heretical/radical enough not to have you purged or sanctioned, it's only a matter of time before your magical mishaps kill you or worse. It is explicitly noted that taking this package is effectively an open-ended death sentence.
  • Dependence is this in the Hero System. While it was originally intended to replicate characters like Aquaman, who needed to dunk himself in water once a day, it turns into a bludgeon against the character, because all the GM has to do to screw over the guy is not allow access, storywise.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Bloodfeeder for the Chaos Lord. When used in melee, you roll 2 six-sided dice and get that many plus 4 attacks in that round (keep in mind that, for a character, you should usually get about five attacks). That is, unless you roll a 1 on either die (which has a 30.6% chance of happening), in which your Chaos Lord goes into a wrist-slitting emo mode, represented by him taking an armor-ignoring wound and forfeiting all of his attacks that round, which more-often-than-not coincides with him getting obliterated in whatever melee he was a part of. No surprise, the fluff clearly points out in many places that "Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows". The Chaos Marines have a number of Confusion Fu options in their codex, but the Bloodfeeder is by far the most self-destructive.
    • Anything with the Rage special rule, prior to 6th edition (2012). A unit with the old version of Rage must move directly towards the closest enemy as fast as possible. A unit is usually subject to Rage because of a bad roll on a certain test, or as a mechanical counterbalance to some other amazing ability (often Furious Charge or something of the like). Often the trademark of a particularly Ax-Crazy model/unit. While it's a rather negligible drawback against new and inexperienced players, who will almost instinctively park on objectives and never move, a veteran player with a fast vehicle or two can drag Rage units by the nose all over the table.
  • Things with the One-Use rule is generally this or a Gamebreaker. Because of the way the game is set up, there are a number of ways for a one-use item to absolutely crap out and be a total waste of points, and they often came at a premium due to the disproportional effects they have.
  • In deadEarth, the player is forced to roll several random mutations for their character, some of which explicitly kill your character during chargen (which is combined with the game only allowing you three characters ever.) At least you can later roll a radiation mutation later in character generation to nullify such effects.
  • Similar to the GURPS "Terminally Ill" disadvantage, the Juicer in Rifts only has a maximum of five years to live once the game starts. While many consider this a toothless flaw, all it takes is the GM declaring that a year has passed for your character's life to be down to a single dice roll. The only way to survive is to stop being a Juicer - which comes with a massive pile of drawbacks and is more and more likely to kill you outright the longer you wait before you pull the plug.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Numerous in XCOM 2:
    • There are some very unpleasant Dark Events such as one that has the UFO chase the Avenger (and often being the cause of That One Level), Avatar breakthroughs (which can often cause permanent time loss to the Avatar timer that can only be offset in the War of the Chosen DLC), Viper Bullets for ADVENT soldiers (which makes every successful shot at your soldier poison them), and cutting the next month's supply drop in half.
    • The Scramble Sensors dark event is an absolute bitch to deal with, as it nearly doubles the time it takes to scan and complete tasks on the world map, cutting your ability to get things done in half, and this can last for 6 weeks.
    • In War of the Chosen, a new Dark Event makes the Black Market unavailable for 6 weeks. That's already a sizable disadvantage, but even worse, when it resurfaces, you have to re-scan the location. Because it's now a scanning location, the Chosen can kick you in the teeth further by extending this scan to eleven days with their Chosen sabotage action.
    • The "Made Whole" Dark Event completely remove all of the Chosen's weaknesses while active, taking away what little advantage the player had or could exploit. If the "Grim Horizon" modifier is on then this can last the entire game, if it is not stopped.
    • Zig-zagged with the Alien Cypher Dark Event, which increases intel costs by 100% for a whole month, which can set a run back up to months if it arrives at an inopportune time, such as when you're about to make a push forward or need to rush somewhere to destroy an alien facility and need to spend intel. If it shows up when you're in a comfortable position to just clean up everything you already have unlocked, it's utterly harmless.
    • Several Dark Events in War of the Chosen are odd cases— several of them lose any weight once one or more Chosen are taken care of, and the game fails to remove them from the Dark Event pool, so you can still get The Collectors (the Chosen will attempt to capture soldiers at every opportunity) and Made Whole even if they're all dead, meaning that they're a non-factor. There's a mod on the workshop that fixes this which removes such events from the pool and prevents them from showing up again for the sake of consistency.
    • An inversion of a strange variety (that's still as frustrating as an example being played straight), the Chosen weakness "Groundling" makes it easier to land a hit from shots taken from above. This does not affect damage output whatsoever.