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Passions: Madness in Roleplay sense.


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I really like the passion mechanics, however there is something I can't fit in my roleplay. E.g. when one of my players fumbles in love (wife) or hate (Saxons) he instantly becomes mad; throws his armor and rips his clothes etc. In roleplay this doesn't really fit the scene or I can't make it so. Imagine a knight who couldn't get inspiration from his hate towards Saxons, flies into rage, throwing his armor and leaveing the scene (or maybe he harms his fellows) without attacking the enemy. It seems to me there are some instances that madness or melancholy wouldn't work. What would be your advice in that regard?  

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Well, KAP 5.2 says: "This Madness may occur at once, or once the relevant action is over (at the Gamemaster’s discretion)." Melancholy also results only after the action is over. So you have some leeway as the GM on how to do it.

One thing though... Madness isn't 'flying into rage'. Only if the Maddened or the Melancholic character is the target of 'Snap Out of It' is the rage a possibility, and this would be the case if he is hassled by the Saxons too.

It is all in how you play it. Let's say that the player is trying to use Hate Saxons and fumbles. The PK tried to pull on the memories of all the wrongs the Saxons have done, raids, relatives killed, etc. But in his heightened emotional state, his thoughts skip to his family and their fate if the Saxons get to them. Must make sure that they are safe, right now! Run away! But some part of the knight realizes that by riding away from the battle, he has abandoned his friends, so at the same time he cannot bring himself to actually return home, so he is now in the forests, guarding 'his family', a clump of trees.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Passions aren't really realistic and as such, some suspension of disbelief is needed. 🙂

I am a big proponent of having Madness also on a failed critical inspiration: you are critically inspired to do something, but if you fail in whatever it was, you are driven mad by your failure. We had a situation in our campaign where a PK was critically inspired by Hospitality to protect his host. Alas, the host was beheaded by a critical strike, and while the PK managed to kill the murderer (I didn't impose the Madness until after the fight was done), he was then found by the other PKs, trying to put the head of the host back on the body, sobbing: "It won't stay on... it keeps falling off..."

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5 hours ago, Morien said:

I am a big proponent of having Madness also on a failed critical inspiration: you are critically inspired to do something, but if you fail in whatever it was, you are driven mad by your failure. We had a situation in our campaign where a PK was critically inspired by Hospitality to protect his host. Alas, the host was beheaded by a critical strike, and while the PK managed to kill the murderer (I didn't impose the Madness until after the fight was done), he was then found by the other PKs, trying to put the head of the host back on the body, sobbing: "It won't stay on... it keeps falling off..."

I confine Madness to something like this (any clear-cut failure on a task inspired by a Famous Passion or a critical on a non-Famous Passion), or any situation in which the object of the Passion believes (rightly or wrongly) that you have failed to live up to a Famous Passion.  (For things like Honour or Hospitality, the object is “society at large” rather than anyone specific.)

The way in which Madness mechanically occurs in the game doesn’t seem to correspond well to the literature to my mind.  Lancelot should be incapable of fumbling his Love (Guinevere) Passion, and while the GM is free simply to declare Madness under certain circumstances, a GM is generally going to be a little reluctant to do so without a rule.

I’ve thought about implementing a rule in which you roll again on the Passion if you fail/are perceived by the object to have failed and success on that means more serious consequences.

Edited by Voord 99
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My idea of Passions is: they are a source of really extreme emotions, which can range from positive, very encouraging and inspiring, to disheartening and despairing. When you are a "passionate" human (.i.e, if you have any Passion at all), you can experiment both sides of your Passions. The positive, "inspiring" effect is mostly a psychological effect that drives you to gread deeds; in a similar way, the "disheartening" effect is a psychological effect that drives you to despair and eventually madness.

So, when you fumble your Passion roll, you become Mad from despair and do crazy things, just like when you are Inspired you do great deeds. And, since you are Mad, you can attack your companions, kill innocent people, hug Saxon enemies thinking they are angels, and so on.

Of course, despair and Madness can also onset when you are (positively) Inspired and you fail to accomplish the object of your Inspiration.

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