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Sanity


Trifletraxor

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I do not like sanity as per the Cthulhu rules, but I do like the PCs having some reactions to new frightening and disturbing encounters.

My house rule is the following: If the GM deceids that an encounter is new and fightening/disturbing to a character, he has to succeed a roll POWx5 or become demoralized.

Anyone else who uses some modified or light sanity rules?

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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I think there is a difference between CoC's "Sanity Loss" for seeing things that are beyond human mind's ability to accept, and being scared out of your wits.

A "fright check" sort of thing, makes sense to me, just as long as it is applied reasonably. For instance, a modern person would probably be frightened by a charging wolf, while a veteran warrior from the middle ages either would be less frightened, or frightened, but still able to act effectively.

The POW roll seems alright to me, but I'd vary the multiplier, based on just how scary the threat is, and how experienced/brave the character is.

Pendragon's Valor roll system might be worth swiping for BRP to handle this. In Pendragon, whener a character faces some sort of frighting foe (or other scary event), he must make a Valor roll. The roll gets modifers based upon just how scary/danageous the foe is. A bear might mean a straight Valor roll (a trait generated with a 3d6 roll, but modfied by background, and can be raised or lowered during play), while a Wrym might be at -5 or -10 (on a d20 roll).

We could either swipe the trait, or convert it to a BRP skill, based off the POW roll, but improvable.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Yeah, honestly, because of the Lovecraft premise, Sanity lumps together fear and mind-shattering alieness in a way that isn't useful for general purposes. If I wanted to implement a fear system, I'd probably do something where you made POW rolls against a resistance value, and depending on how badly you failed or succeeded, I'd apply different effects (some of which might be accumlulative).

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I do not like sanity as per the Cthulhu rules, but I do like the PCs having some reactions to new frightening and disturbing encounters.

My house rule is the following: If the GM deceids that an encounter is new and fightening/disturbing to a character, he has to succeed a roll POWx5 or become demoralized.

Anyone else who uses some modified or light sanity rules?

SGL.

I did, waaaay back in eighties, use the variant of SAN from the second Stormbringer Companion for a few games, which worked reasonably well. I've also used, with RQIII, a variant mechanic designed by Ben Monroe called "Stress" which is designed to do the sort of "mental collapse" one often sees in various horror films (which differs from the erosion of mental stability SAN depicts). Ben's mentioned that it may see print at some point.

The Blake's 7 RPG that the B7 fan-club did was basically a BRP variant and had an interesting variant on the SAN idea: a character accumulates stress points from stress inducing situations and as their accumulated stress level passes predetermined levels (multiples of their Will, a characteristic analogous to POW), they suffer increasing ill effects, until their Stress exceeds their Will times 5, at which point they suffer a Mental Breakdown. Drugs and therapies can reduce Stress.

Another possibility would be to rate how "shocking" something as a number and then make players make Pow vs. Shock value rolls on the Resistance table - if they succeed they are fine, if they fail they are "shocked" (GM determines severity of penalties and duration perhaps?) and a fumble gives them a specific problem? Just an off the cuff thought.

Cheers,

Nick Middleton

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The Blake's 7 RPG that the B7 fan-club did was basically a BRP variant and had an interesting variant on the SAN idea: a character accumulates stress points from stress inducing situations and as their accumulated stress level passes predetermined levels (multiples of their Will, a characteristic analogous to POW), they suffer increasing ill effects, until their Stress exceeds their Will times 5, at which point they suffer a Mental Breakdown. Drugs and therapies can reduce Stress.

I don't suppose you have a copy of that still? BRP's "no frills" approach seems like a natural fit for B7's "no frills" setting. Probably a better match than using one of the pre-existing Sci-Fi RPGs.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Use SAN for creepiness and prolonged shocks and it works really well. Imagine teenagers in a Haunted House, teenagers being chased by mass-murderers, teenagers hunted by mutants, teenagers .....

Using SAN for shock value works fairly well. Imagine turning up to see your doctor and finding him with his skin peeled off.

Using SAN to scare hardened adventurers doesn't really work that well. You see something big and dark covered in tattoos with a huge club and it ... "Oh, it's a troll, what cult is he in?" You see a beast-like creature, foul and covered with filth, with a powerful odour and it's coming closer to you ..."Oh, it's just a broo, we'll kill it!" You see a horned winged creature, taller than the tallest of men, the air is full of the smell of brimstone ..." Oh, it's just a demon, we'll kill it!"

It's like soldiers. Some come back with Post Traumatic Stress, something that can be modelled with SAN. Most don't as they get used to seeing things and it's only really extreme things that bother them.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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It's like soldiers. Some come back with Post Traumatic Stress, something that can be modelled with SAN. Most don't as they get used to seeing things and it's only really extreme things that bother them.

In this respect the little house rule of Trifle does work well, IMO. Those soldiers which are are coming back stressed just didnt manage their POWx5 roll.

The CoC sanity model is quite good in simulating the specific horrors of the lovecraftian (or any similar) setting. But I dont think its an universally usable BRP mechanic.

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It's like soldiers. Some come back with Post Traumatic Stress, something that can be modelled with SAN. Most don't as they get used to seeing things and it's only really extreme things that bother them.

UA's 'madness meter' covers that sort of thing really well... you either start to go nuts in the face of the horrible, or you start to get 'hardened' and slowly lose your humanity.

I misinterpreted the original post though... as I thought it was wanting a replacement for sanity in COC... rather than looking for a fear mechanic for non-horror settings.

Though combat/war usually is a kind of horror of it's own... just ask Colonel Kurtz.

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In my opinion sanity should be an optional rule based on the game setting. In a modern game your player might not expect the store clerk to turn into a tentacle horror. And a sanity check would make sense there. But to Thrud the Barbarian in a fantasy game, well it would be business as normal, just cut off the head and take all the twinkies. But Thrud might need to make a sanity check to cross a busy street in a modern town with care zooming by, honking horns etc..

And once your players have had some one turn into a monster 3-4 times there should no longer be sanity checks for such things as people get used to things. Years ago when I work as an EMT, at first working with people all bloody was ick. But soon I could be working on some one with their guts all out and be discussing where to eat lunch with my partner with no problem

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Sanity is an optional rule in BRP.

However, I mentioned in one of the other threads that I'd have loved to make it more akin to hit points, fatigue points, or even power points. A limited resource based more directly off two characteristics and not tied to a skill.

An alternate easy way might be to include Pendragon-style personality mechanics, and make one of those spectrums "Sane ---- Insane". Then, you could simply adjust your total along the track according to failed rolls and character action. I've long had a hankering for a Call of Cthulhu with personality mechanics in it...

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An alternate easy way might be to include Pendragon-style personality mechanics, and make one of those spectrums "Sane ---- Insane". Then, you could simply adjust your total along the track according to failed rolls and character action. I've long had a hankering for a Call of Cthulhu with personality mechanics in it...

Woo! Now this sounds interesting.

Perhaps with an additional pairing... Hardened/Sympathetic, and some way to note particular situations that might reoccur.

Time to go back to the Classics books to find the full list of pairings.

SDLeary

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It's like soldiers. Some come back with Post Traumatic Stress, something that can be modelled with SAN. Most don't as they get used to seeing things and it's only really extreme things that bother them.

You know, this statement, combined with my experiences working at a Hospital gives me an idea. How about people developing some sorm of Mental Armor that works like AP against shock and horror?

I know that after working in the trauma room, we all got sort of jaded towards physical injuries and pain and suffering. After awhile., about the only thing that would "faze" me was when we got injured children.

Its sort of like you permanently sell off some SAN points to by a few points of SAN Armor Points. Maybe we could allow character to sell off 5 or 10 SAN points for a Point of SAN AP? We could cap the AP at 1/4POW or so. But the AP is only applicable to that kind of shock. While the trama team is farily impervious SAN loss from seeing the the horrors of physical injury, a Shoggoth would still shock the hell out of them.

Maybe sorcerers could get some free AP from thier summonging skill (say their Crit chance)?

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Old editions of Gamma World had a Mental Strength characteristic, and maybe this could be used to resist horrifying situations.

You assign the horrifying event a Potency, and then you match that Potency vs. character's Mental Strength.

Failure to resist the horrifying event could result in Sanity loss (if using Sanity in conjuction with the Mental Strength characteristic)...

or....

failure could mean a phobia, trauma, etc. Maybe something like GURPS.

Anyway, just an idea off the cuff.

BRP Ze 32/420

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Again... UA's 'madness meter' breaks down shock in categories...

You have:

Unnatural... the shoggoth

Self... you're own self-image vs. reality

Violence... self explanatory

Isolation... reaction to being cut off from community

Helplessness... the feeling you get when facing off against Cthulhu or the DMV.

Every threat to your sanity, in each category, has a rating that you roll against...

If you fail to many times you go nuts... if you succeed several times then your rating in that category goes up and those sorts of things stop bothering you. You don't even have to roll against stuff you are sufficiently hardened against.

There are lots of things in UA that I don't like but the Madness Meter is really pretty great.

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Gratzie.

I've never looked at or read anything about that game.

Unknown Armies was developed by Greg Stolze and John Tynes for Atlas Games. Tynes was the leading force behind Pagan Publishing before PP parted ways with Chaosium.

Some Chaosium freelancers and some of the Pagan team worked on the Unknown Armies game line, and there are some design elements that are very much a response to Call of Cthulhu.

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