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Unknown armies sanity rules for BRP?


AikiGhost

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I'm in the planning stages of a modern watchmen/punisher/batman style supers who are really just well equipped vigilantes campaign and thought I'd like to use a more deep sanity mechanic than the CoC one when the Unknown Armies sanity meters popped into my brain. I want the fact of what the PCs do and the violence and other things they are involved into mount up and genuinely damage the PCs psyches during the course of the game.

Has anyone already used the UA sanity system in BRP/CoC? If so how did it go? Any pitfalls?

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I have not tried the UA Madness rules in BRP, but have thought about it. Have you looked at Nick's and Ben's Stress rules in Uncounted Worlds #2? Certainly a better stress mechanism for general use than BRP Sanity.

SDLeary

(I almost decided to bore you with my brainstorming on an adaption of the basic concept!) ;D

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You wouldn't need to do much to just lift the rules wholesale and insert them in - replacing the Mind roll with a POWx5% roll instead perhaps - but the meters themselves could be changed.

I would note that they create a different narrative dynamic to the Cthulhu Sanity rules, while they may be more in tune with the dark graphic novel material you are citing. In Cthulhu, you enter a 'death spiral' the more you exposed to events, where you generally end up bat shit crazy and become unplayable. In Unknown Armies, you end up as a sociopath as often as not, but generally carry on playing. Also, something that people don't always mention is that the Unknown Armies system is not as simple as Cthulhu's and requires a bit more in the way of book-keeping and understanding of different point levels, etc. I am one of the (apparent) few that find the CoC rules more elegant.

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The more I think of this, I wouldn't be inclined to use the Sanity rules at all unless you want to bring in Madness, and you could leave that pretty much as written in CoC/BRP. I hear the Unknown Armies sanity rules are quite good, but in my experience it's not good to port in too many new mechanics, as it can often cause unforseen complications down the track. BRP is quite easy to 'bolt on' new rules, but just be careful on how it may impact on other facets of the game.

For what you've described I'ld probably use the Allegiance rules, using 'Morality' and 'Immorality' representing opposing parts of the character's psyche. That way you know the mechanic is sound, it's actually part of the BRP system, and there's not much work involved. Unless I'm mistaken, it seems to portray the atmosphere you describe AikiGhost.

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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I am one of the (apparent) few that find the CoC rules more elegant.

Its not really a question of elegant. I do really like the simplicity of the BRP/CoC sanity rules. I'm just after more detail and your current sanity meter levels affecting in game reactions. Knowing that gunning down the kid pointing a gun at you WILL affect your character in a definite way from now on etc. The UA madness meters make moral decisions more mechanically interesting IMHO.

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Please do :)

Still typing down the basics; I'll try to get something posted when I get home tonight. I still suggest taking a gander at Nick's and Ben's Madness rules in Uncounted Worlds 2 though. An interesting take that is somewhat more in line mechanically with Sanity, and thus may be an easier transition for some.

SDLeary

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Still typing down the basics; I'll try to get something posted when I get home tonight. I still suggest taking a gander at Nick's and Ben's Madness rules in Uncounted Worlds 2 though. An interesting take that is somewhat more in line mechanically with Sanity, and thus may be an easier transition for some.

SDLeary

Now those, I thought were excellent, and, in fact, I've adapted them for my own COC campaign, with a few tweaks.
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I think you could do something with Allegiance, merging it with the Traits/Passions from Pendragon.

Again. like Mankcam says, you only really need a binary "Morality"/"Immorality", set at 50/50 like Pendragon's T&P. As you perform actions that go against your "preferred" morality, you need to roll against the appropriate level, and gain/lose "points" as you teeter back and forth. You could then tie certain break points to SAN, to reflect something like the Joker's slip into deeper levels of psychosis and depravity as the weight towards "Immorality" grows stronger.

Ian

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The Allegiance rules are really the ones that should be looked at here I think, not so much the Sanity rules. Being insane doesn't make you 'darker' in any way, just out of touch with reality. The Allegiance rules are great for basing a mechanic from that is receptive to the characters' actions. I would retag Allegiance and call it 'Psyche', and probably have Morality and Immorality as the opposing parts of the Psyche. The system itself is simple, but has a fair amount of leg room for adding in house rules, perhaps the characters gain different traits when one of the forces is 20% greater than the other (I dunno, I'll have to read the actual rules again). I initially thought the Allegiance rules were bland, but you and always fiddle with it to spruce it up, that way you are adapting a BRP mechanic rather than porting in brand new mechanics. You just need to have major emphasis on how the Psyche reacts to characters' actions, that way the Allegiance rules wouldn't sit blandly in the background, it would be a central dynamic in this setting.

Okay I'll jump out now, as that's my five cents worth but I'm inclined to think that you've got your heart set on importing the UA rules - best of luck with it.

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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Sorry if my tone appeared a bit negative, it certainly wasn't intended, my forum-fu is weak sometimes. Your ideas certainly sound interesting and creative, all the things that make a good GM. Best of luck with it!

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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A little late, but here it is. This is a very very very rough description, but I hope it conveys how I want to take it.

-------------------------

Soul

Soul is the spiritual (psyche in modern and future scenarios) foundation of the character. A representation of both how powerful and how healthy the spirit is. A high Soul value represents a strong life force, a low value a weak one. Soul may increase or decrease based upon issues that crop up during the game.

The starting value of Soul is equal to the character’s POW x5 (or average of CON and CHA x5; or sum of characteristics). This Attribute replaces Sanity.

Soul Points

This scale shows the relative magical power available to the Character to power spells, as well as displaying how fatigued their Soul is. The fewer Soul Points available, the more fatigued the character feels; the fewer points available to power additional spells, to defend against possession, etc. This replaces both Sanity Points and Power Points (Magic Points).

Soul Points may be reduced in several ways. The most common is to power spells. Other ways might be as a sacrifice to a deity, a gift to a helpful spirit, or placed into a vessel for future use. In a Cyberpunk campaign, they would be use as a power source for Enhancements and Wetware.

If used to power spells, they are reduced by the cost of the spell if the characters succeeds in casting. A casting failure costs all the points required by the spell, without the desired effects occurring. A fumble of the casting rips the points from the caster, causing a shock (stun) to the system, and a roll to see if they are affected in any other way. Certain monsters also feed on Soul in one way or another.

Soul Points return at the rate of 1/hr, to the maximum of your current Soul value.

Shocks to the Soul

In addition to magical issues listed above, there are other things that can cause shocks to the Soul: Violence, Unnatural situations, Isolation, and Self recrimination.

Each of these values start at 50%, modified by the game environment (setting, culture, etc.) A situation that the GM thinks should be matched against one of the categories would be rolled against its current % value, with possibly a loss of Soul Points resulting.

A Critical roll would would cause no loss of Soul Points, and should give the character an Increase Check or immediate Increase in the category. A Success would cause a 0-3 point decrease depending on the severity of the shock. A failure would reduce Soul Points by the full amount called for by the shock. A Fumble means that the situation has caused the Character to “snap”, and Something Bad ™ should happen (Madness?).

A loss of 1/10th of the Characters Soul Points within one game hour is a terrible shock, and their Soul becomes Troubled.

As the categories increase in %, the character becomes more “hardened” to that type of stressful situation. Over time, a high % can cause the character to be treated as a sociopath by the society around them. High values can be mitigated by magics, or treatment, and receded to more acceptable levels. Fumbled rolls may also decrease a value.

Lower % means more susceptibility to that kind of stress, and shows a weak will.

-------------------------

Questions, additions, proposed changes?

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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I was positive that I'd read something on Madness Meter tied into a Conan game, but on backtracking to the source it was actually voidstate's full Conan Unknown Armies port that I was thinking about.

I haven't actually used the Madness Meter with BRP yet, but I've thought about it a lot. I think it could be a great fit for what you want to do there. Unknown Armies uses a Mind stat to role against when checking the Madness Meter. For BRP you could use either Intelligence or Power depending on how influential those stats are in the BRP options you've chosen to go with, or you could pull in the Sanity stat.

Looking at it without the Sanity stat involved, if you've got powers systems in play that are fueled by the Power stat, then the Power stat tends to get weighted a bit more heavily than the others. So if you're playing with magic, psychic or super powers you might want to either have the Madness Meter default against Intelligence or Sanity. If you're not playing with superpowers and POW is just there as basically a luck roll, you could bypass Sanity and use it as the default against the Madness Meter.

A reason to use the Madness Meter? It seems to me that it is a really effective gauge on character growth. Granted, the growth is toward sociopathy, but for a grim game it tracks how circumstances that would have previously rendered the character incapacitated shift and become common place. It shows how effective and hardened the character has become incorporating what the character lost in the process.

Then, of course, there's the option of tying in teh loss of sanity through the madness meter as a gateway to power. That's probably not where you're going with your game though from the original post.

Some day I'd like to sit down and reinvision Mystara through the lens of Unknown Armies. Seems a perfectly twisted fit.

70/420

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A little late, but here it is. This is a very very very rough description, but I hope it conveys how I want to take it.

Looks interesting. I especially like the option of tying Charisma into it.

So, I'm trying to wrap my head around the numbers.

Say I've got a Soul of 55. That can be used to power spells and such. It seems to give me a whole bunch of punch to play with. I've got the raw ability to cast 13 four point spells in a day, say. That is, as long as I space it out. If I pop off two three point spells in a game hour I suffer terrible shock and freak out.

I dig tying the skill rolls to stress situations. I think the same could be done with the Madness Meter, actually.

Looking at it, instead of defaulting to a stat for a roll you could use Violence, Unnatural, Helplessness, Isolation and Self as skills in of them selves that could be improved as opposed to hardened notches. One aspect of Unknown Armies is tracking the failures as well, so that if you've a few failures notched up (as likely you would if you've achieved high hardened notches) then when you significantly fail the shit really hits the fan. Depending on the game desired I'm not convinced that has to be a part of it.

A last note. I've seen mention of dropping Isolation from the Madness Meter, letting it be absorbed by Helplessness and Self. I think that might be a good way of slimming the madness meter down a bit.

70/420

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Looks interesting. I especially like the option of tying Charisma into it.

So, I'm trying to wrap my head around the numbers.

Say I've got a Soul of 55. That can be used to power spells and such. It seems to give me a whole bunch of punch to play with. I've got the raw ability to cast 13 four point spells in a day, say. That is, as long as I space it out. If I pop off two three point spells in a game hour I suffer terrible shock and freak out.

This has grown out of a house ruled revision that I've been thinking about that utilizes Pendragon type magic at it core, hence the large numbers of Soul Points. Pendragon's magic, at least the higher end stuff in the Talents, tends to use a lot of points. The other issue I wanted to resolve is the bookkeeping. Two matrices of points is slightly easier to administer than three.

I dig tying the skill rolls to stress situations. I think the same could be done with the Madness Meter, actually.

Yes, you could. You could simply dispense with the large matrix and utilize Madness Meters. I'm would like to tweak things so it also works as a unified Mental Fatigue pool. That way, system shocks, use of magic, spirit combats, beasties that feed on your Soul, etc. all have an effect, and as you become more "fatigued" mentally, you become more susceptible to short term issues.

OTOH, I have also thought of dispensing with the matrix and simply applying effects as bonuses or penalties to Personality Traits.

Looking at it, instead of defaulting to a stat for a roll you could use Violence, Unnatural, Helplessness, Isolation and Self as skills in of them selves that could be improved as opposed to hardened notches. One aspect of Unknown Armies is tracking the failures as well, so that if you've a few failures notched up (as likely you would if you've achieved high hardened notches) then when you significantly fail the shit really hits the fan. Depending on the game desired I'm not convinced that has to be a part of it.

That is somewhat the way the core works. Each value is a skill, or to use that forbidden term in BRP, a Save. These values are NOT trainable. The higher the percentage in a value, the more you have failed in that category and received Checks, whereby the value might increase; or simply increase by a value set by the GM.

In the case here, the only time the shit would really hit the fan is if you Fumble the roll... then the character "Snaps". Otherwise, a failure simply involves a loss of Soul Points, which would function like Sanity or Stress Points (As in Nick's and Ben's Stress Rules) possibly causing something to happen over time.

A last note. I've seen mention of dropping Isolation from the Madness Meter, letting it be absorbed by Helplessness and Self. I think that might be a good way of slimming the madness meter down a bit.

I am in favor of this. Isolation seems to be the weakest of the situations to me. I personally think that Mad Hermits are Mad when they take up the profession! Not because of it.

In fact, I am going to strike it from my write up! :)

SDLeary

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I dig it man. I've got to pick up Pendragon again. Are you using the magic system in 4th edition? That's the book I have. Always thought that iteration of Pendragon would make a kick ass Shanara game with a few minor tweaks.

OTOH, I have also thought of dispensing with the matrix and simply applying effects as bonuses or penalties to Personality Traits.

It sounds cool. How would this play out?

In the case here, the only time the shit would really hit the fan is if you Fumble the roll... then the character "Snaps". Otherwise, a failure simply involves a loss of Soul Points, which would function like Sanity or Stress Points (As in Nick's and Ben's Stress Rules) possibly causing something to happen over time.

Or if the PC spends their Soul too quickly, right?

70/420

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It sounds cool. How would this play out?

Still in the formative stages on that. Much more tentative than the rest! :)

Or if the PC spends their Soul too quickly, right?

No. But if it get ripped away by the fumbling of a spell, or through normal Soul (Sanity) loss over an hours period.

So, if you make a roll, not only would you get a check to increase that category, but you also might loose between zero and three points of Soul, based on the beastie or situation. Loose so many points in an hour, something happens. Loose 5 points at once, you are shaken (stunned).

I said beastie above, because those that would normally feed on MP would feed on Soul here. Currently, figuring out how Spirit Combat works without the PC going totally bonkers is a major stumbling block.

SDLeary

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