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Rules for Fear and Madness


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#1 CthulhuFnord

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 06:37 AM

I've begun tinkering around with some possible mechanics for fear and madness using the Legend system. Yes there is Call of Cthulhu with its tried and true sanity system, but I felt like trying to make something different. This is what I have so far.

Horror Checks
When a character is first confronted by a scene of horror or monster, he must roll his Persistence skill vs the Horror Rating of the creature or situation. If the character succeeds their psyche is unaffected, and the situation proceeds normally. If they fail there are consequences. To determine how screwed your character is, use this matrix:


Character succeeds – Fear roll critical – Table One
Character fails – Fear roll succeeds – Table One
Character fails – Fear roll critical – Table Two
Character fumbles – Fear roll fails – Table One
Character fumbles – Fear roll succeeds – Table Two
Character fumbles – Fear roll critical – Table Three

Each table has a series of potential consequences. The higher the table, and D20 roll, the worse off you'll be. Table One might just make your character lose a Combat action or two from fright. Table two can make your character temporarily insane. Table three can cause permanent insanity, or die from fright.

I'm still working out the tables and the consequences. This is what I have so far for possible table results.

Dazed – the character cannot attack for 1D3 combat actions
Stunned – the character forfeits the next 1D3 combat actions
Frozen in fear – the character cannot move for the next 1D3 combat actions
Paralyzed – the character cannot move for the duration of the encounter
Fight or flight – The character has a 50/50 chance of either going berserk (as per the Fanaticism spell), or fleeing the encounter
Unconsciousness – The character loses consciousness for the duration of the encounter
Temporary mental illness
Permanent mental illness
Heart attack – the character suffers enough damage to the chest to cause a major wound. They must make a Resilience roll vs the Horror Rating or die.

#2 Mankcam

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:17 AM

I like what you have done, but you might find that you are almost re-inventing the wheel, as the BRP Renaissance system has a version which is kinda a cross between this and the Sanity system from BRP/CoC.

I think if I were to not use one of the published Fear systems then I would just simply rule a Persistence check, and assign a difficulty modifier according to the intensity of the situation. I would just narrate the outcome accordingly. If you are creating outcome tables and such then its kinda along the lines of the published versions.

I would direct my efforts elsewhere, but not to say you can't come up with an improvement on the published fear/sanity rules :-)

#3 nclarke

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:39 AM

I also pointed out the reinvention of the wheel over at the MGP forum. Necromantic Art's has something that covers Fear and Madness with a lack of multiple tables to work out the result.

#4 lawrence.whitaker

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 04:38 PM

The Insanity rules that appear in Necromantic Arts were written by me and were designed for MRQ1. I'm not especially happy with them.

If I was designing a new system for, say, RQ6, I'd base it around the combat mechanics and magic mechanics. Terrifying/sanity shaking events have a Potency and Intensity. Potency is a %-driven range, like a combat style. Intensity acts as a modifier to the character's Willpower. So Intensity 1 reduces Willpower roll from Standard to Hard, 2 to Formidable, 3 to Herculean and 4 to Impossible. Both sides roll: character vs Willpower, Sanity-Shaking Event against potency. Compare the results in a Differential roll. The number of levels of success higher the Event has over the Willpower roll introduces a number of Sanity Effects, similar to Special Effects. These range from shaken, through fleeing, to rolling into the foetal position and sobbing, to outright permanent insanity. Some Effects can only be gained if the Event scores a Critical success. Some if the character fumbles his or her Willpower roll.

I might use Sanity Points, or Tenacity Points, based on POW, but the Effects might be enough without needing additional points book-keeping.

That's how I'd do it if I was designing such a system. But I'm not. But I might. Could be useful for, say, a Luther Arkwright roleplaying game...

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#5 SDLeary

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 05:16 PM

I like what you have done, but you might find that you are almost re-inventing the wheel, as the BRP Renaissance system has a version which is kinda a cross between this and the Sanity system from BRP/CoC.

I think if I were to not use one of the published Fear systems then I would just simply rule a Persistence check, and assign a difficulty modifier according to the intensity of the situation. I would just narrate the outcome accordingly. If you are creating outcome tables and such then its kinda along the lines of the published versions.

I would direct my efforts elsewhere, but not to say you can't come up with an improvement on the published fear/sanity rules :-)


There are also the rules that Goblinoid put out for GORE, and Nick and Ben's rules from Uncounted Worlds 2.

SDLeary

#6 CthulhuFnord

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 05:26 AM

I checked out the Necromatic Arts rules, they look very similar to what I was trying to accomplish. I think I will look into including some kind of Sanity Point system. What do folks think about a character's starting Sanity Points equaling their Persistence/ Willpower? Then if the character increased that attribute over the course of the game their Sanity score would increase as well. Or is that a case of placing too much emphasis on the Persistence/ Willpower stat in horror games, to the point where players will do their best to max that skill out.

Edited by CthulhuFnord, 25 June 2014 - 06:30 PM.


#7 CthulhuFnord

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 07:23 AM

For SAN loss what do folks think of the Wrack table as a guide? So a fear score of 60 would cause a player to lose 1d6 sanity if they blow their Persistence test. Given that I'm thinking of having Sanity based off Persistence rather than POWx5 it makes sense to keep the sources of SAN loss relatively low compared to Call of Cthulhu.

#8 Mankcam

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 12:24 PM

There are also the rules that Goblinoid put out for GORE, and Nick and Ben's rules from Uncounted Worlds 2.

Hmm they are both good alternatives to the standard BRP/CoC Sanity rules. I think perhaps the GORE rules are a bit more pulpy and would suit LEGEND better, whereas the rules from Uncounted Worlds 2 are an alternative for core BRP. Thanks for pointing these out SDLeary!

Cthulhufnord, have a look at the GORE Stress rules - perhaps you can adapt these rules for LEGEND quite easily by replacing the 'Maximum Stress' roll with a Persistence roll. It has rules for what 'Sanity damage' to inflict, based upon the genre type. It could be the kind of thing you are after. But in answer to your last post, yes the Wrack spell scope is probably quite reasonable.

Edited by Mankcam, 26 June 2014 - 12:32 PM.


#9 fmitchell

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 02:44 PM

For completeness I should mention the Unknown Armies sanity system, explained elsewhere and discussed here.

Things I like:

  • Multiple variables for different types of horror, especially personal horror.
  • Becoming hardened to some types of horror: a trauma surgeon shouldn't lose sanity when she sees blood, and a homicide detective sees dead bodies all the time ... but both should freak out about a walking corpse.
  • Being too hardened poses as much danger as being a gibbering wreck.

To adapt it to Legend, one would only have to replace the "Mind" roll with a Persistence roll. Granted, it's a little more bookkeeping, and perhaps too much for what you want. (Also, Atlas Games may not appreciate republishing it in your own work.)

There's also Trail of Cthulhu's split between Stability and Sanity, i.e. short-term mental trauma vs. long-term mental integrity. The mechanics might not translate very well, though.
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#10 CthulhuFnord

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 07:53 PM

I was thinking rather than going with the Call of Cthulhu route, I could treat Sanity points as a kind of hit points. Maybe have them equal the character's POW+CHA divided by 2. They would heal at the same rate as hit points using the POW in place of the CON attribute. When a character reaches half sanity they would go temporarily insane. If they hit zero sanity in a encounter they would pick up a permanent mental illness and reduce their permanent sanity points by one.

#11 Mjollnir

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 07:03 AM

I like what you have done, but you might find that you are almost re-inventing the wheel, as the BRP Renaissance system has a version which is kinda a cross between this and the Sanity system from BRP/CoC.

I think if I were to not use one of the published Fear systems then I would just simply rule a Persistence check, and assign a difficulty modifier according to the intensity of the situation. I would just narrate the outcome accordingly. If you are creating outcome tables and such then its kinda along the lines of the published versions.

I would direct my efforts elsewhere, but not to say you can't come up with an improvement on the published fear/sanity rules :-)

 

Is there a conversion guide for the San loss of Monsters from CoC to the Renaissance system?



#12 CthulhuFnord

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 06:49 PM

I have decided to go with the hit point route for the sanity point mechanic. What do folks think of sanity points equaling POW or being a combination of POW + INT or CHA divided by two.

#13 K Peterson

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 07:40 PM

I have decided to go with the hit point route for the sanity point mechanic. What do folks think of sanity points equaling POW or being a combination of POW + INT or CHA divided by two.

 

I think that's how Renaissance does it:

 

A PC's sanity is equal to POW. Their major insanity level (MIL) is equal to POW/2. When a horrific event occurs, a Persistence test is made (with potential modifiers). In the case of a failed roll, or fumble, Sanity points are lost. If the number of lost Sanity points are equal to or greater than the MIL, the degree of insanity is worse.



#14 CthulhuFnord

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 06:56 AM

I think that's how Renaissance does it:

 

A PC's sanity is equal to POW. Their major insanity level (MIL) is equal to POW/2. When a horrific event occurs, a Persistence test is made (with potential modifiers). In the case of a failed roll, or fumble, Sanity points are lost. If the number of lost Sanity points are equal to or greater than the MIL, the degree of insanity is worse.

Sounds good.  I'll check out Renaissance for more ideas.  Thank you.






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