The benefits and penalties rules were designed to incorporate the flexibility of character design created by the World of Darkness games using their Merits and Flaws. To incorporate these to your game, instead of getting INT + REF of skill points to spend after the initial 40 points, you get these same points as "freebies" (or a flat 15 freebies is how I play, since INT + REF are already two of the most important stats in the game). These "freebie" points can be spent as usual on skills, but can also be spent on other Benefits (costing freebies) and Penalties (which give you more freebies). No more than 10 points of Penalties can be bought in this way.|
Over the years this list has expanded as more and more games incorporate merits and flaws for us to "appropriate". A tip of the hat has to go out to the Storyteller system games, Shadowrun and GURPS for help in building this list. Additional thanks to my players for suggestions and to Richard Harris for the whole slew of new ones he threw at me.
It should also be noted that these benefits and penalties bear a lot of resemblance to those for the Ocelot Character Generation System. It seems we both felt the same way about what the game required to customize character generation. These benefits and penalties were not intended as a supplement to his excellent work, but were developped independantly before I was aware of his work, and are designed to supplement normal (role-based) character generation.