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High Fantasy and Sanity?


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I've wanted to run Freeport since I bought the collected trilogy. One of those 'things on my list.' This morning, I was thinking about some random thing and then I said "Hey, what happens when you mix SB5 or higher level of power with the Sanity rules? That kinda sounds like Freeport."

Anyone done it? Do the systems jive? Does it sound interesting to anyone? Is this just some obvious solution that I'm only slowly realizing?

I have to admit, I've only played a little CoC and it's been a while since I've read the Sanity rules. I'm going to have to go back over them for a refresher.

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It wil work - the important thing to tweak is the "getting used to awfulness" rule. In standard Call of Cthulhu, it doesn't matter how often you have seen Deep Ones i previous adventures, their mere existence is such an affront to humanity's world view that it will cost you SAN. In the Freeport setting I'd say it should be possible to become innured with these things - maybe allow Special and Critical SAN roles to make the PC immune to SAN affects from the specific creature causing the role?

I'll have a look at Demon Magic (the second Stormbringer Companion) tonight - that had a version of SAN for the Young Kingdoms.

Cheers,

Nick

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It wil work - the important thing to tweak is the "getting used to awfulness" rule. In standard Call of Cthulhu, it doesn't matter how often you have seen Deep Ones i previous adventures, their mere existence is such an affront to humanity's world view that it will cost you SAN. In the Freeport setting I'd say it should be possible to become innured with these things - maybe allow Special and Critical SAN roles to make the PC immune to SAN affects from the specific creature causing the role?

I'll have a look at Demon Magic (the second Stormbringer Companion) tonight - that had a version of SAN for the Young Kingdoms.

Cheers,

Nick

I've kind of avoided the whole SAN rules thing for my fantasy game due to the very statement above. I would expect characters in a fantasy world to become used to creatures eventually, but never considered using Special/Critical SAN rolls to allow the immunity. I'll have to use that for the next time I run a fantasy BRP game! Good idea/suggestion and thanks for posting it!:)

Skunk - 285/420 BRP book

You wanna be alright you gotta walk tall

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I have been toying around with the idea to introduce SAN to my RQ game in Prax.

Based on the fact that Chaos is the antithesis to life on Glorantha, any gross manifestation of pure chaos will affect the mental state of a normal viewer.

At the moment, as the rules stand, a chaos opponent is just like any other opponent (albeit more dangerous) and anyone can fight them.

Under my vision, it takes a special kind of person to stand up and hold their ground against chaos. Storm Bull's are one of them, and they already have a reputation for being mad (or stupid) for doing so.

I want the spell 'Face Chaos' to be the tool that allows them to stand and fight when all about them flee in terror.

Likes to sneak around

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I'm using the SAN rules at a very low level. Anything which would "normally" cause insanity (say, a RQ Lune / Moon Elemental, seeing Something Awful In The Woodshed) requires a SAN check. Other nasty critters (such as RQ Broo, Trolls, etc) do not. Also using the "Getting Used To Awfulness" rule.

The upshot is that for my fantasy game it's a way mostly to deal with temporary insanity - it's not going to play a major role at all (nothing like CoC), but is a background long-term mechanic which makes sense.

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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I've used the Demon Magic SAN rules as a basis, though tweaked it

a bit. It does a good job at allowing some immunity (face it, in Moorcock's

world, no matter how many times you see certain things, immunity may

not be an option). Even rules for Melniboneans being more immune due to

their heritage in dealing with the things that mere humans would blanch at.

But, I do use SAN in my Sorcery.

-V

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I'll have a look at Demon Magic (the second Stormbringer Companion) tonight - that had a version of SAN for the Young Kingdoms.

The SAN rules in Demon Magic were adapted from Call of Cthulhu circa 1985 by Mark L. Gambler. They are designed to emphasise the mind shattering qualities of Chaos in the setting, so characters are significantly less fragile than in CoC (temporary Insanity only occurs once SAN loss exceeds TIS, half ones starting SAN, in any ten minute period), especially if Melniboneans (they get huge bonuses to starting SAN, and are exempted from a number of circumstances that cause SAN rolls for other races). The system also suggest that subsequent viewing of SAN draining things is less severe on subsequent exposure: and unlike CoC, there are no 1d100 SAN shattering horrors. A lord of chaos in their most grotesque form when first encountered is rated 3d10 / 2D10, but only 2D10 / 1D4 on subsequent encounters...

Ben Monroe proposed a variant Sanity / mental stress mechanic for BRP / RQIII in his Yahoo RQIII Group a while back which I tweaked and used in my After the Scouring RQIII-ish game last year - He was talking about it being included in a project for Chaosium IIRC... And further fine tuning of the BRP SAN systems can be developed from the suggestions in "Growing Numb to Horror" (page 318 in the ARC, page 323 in the PDF edition of BRP).

Cheers,

Nick

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Using TalMeta's epically uber-cool, hyper-amazing GreyQuest write ups, I ran a sitting or three in the March of Sterich on Greyhawk. (This is no mere hyperbole - It's exceptional hyperbole! Thanks, Tal!)

There were mind flayers involved. Cloakers. Otyughs. Aberrations galore, in fact. That was the point of the story arc. "Where the heck did these tentacled beasts come from?"

Anyway...

We started by measuring levels of "fear effects", and laid the SAN of a given character down next to it like a ruler...

Each 20% of the character's SAN was a different "level" of effect. Ergo, there were 5 effects from "Normal" thru "Shattered".

For example, Thuggert the Half-Orc has a POW of 10. His SAN is therefore 50. Thuggert's SAN-meter broke down like this:

Normal / 50 - 41

Edgy / 40 - 31

Scared / 30 - 21

Paranoid / 20 - 11

Shattered / 10 - 1

If you ever landed at 0, your character was unplayable afterwards...

SAN damage happened using the (admittedly light) rating's I'd cooked up for the creatures, and the illithid had psychic powers to drop you into a given level immediately.

As for becoming inured to the horror, the actual SAN rolls provided that. A special on the roll (using RQ3 for these games, mind you) granted the character 1 point of SAN "armor" against that particular foe. A critical gave you 2 for that particular horror, or 1 vs anything.

It worked out well, and provided a real use for spells which changed the mind-set of their targets. "Hardened" characters with intricate bands of resistance around their minds developed. Thuggert became particularly used to mopping up the Otyughs, for example...

When the "cleric" and "wizard" types began resorting to writing detailed journals about the specifics of the invasion, I admonished my players for thinking this was a Call of Cthulhu game (because they all flatly refused to play it at the time).

To use the vernacular of the Web, I LOL'd.

Now that I think of it, this is actually where the idea came from for a derivative of BRP I've cooked up. But that's another story...

I think you *can* use SAN for high-fantasy and have it feel right. I was watching one of the Lord of the Rings movies the other day and saw the Council of Elrond scene uncut.

When Gandalf began using Black Speech to get the attention of those in attendance, I could easily envision using a SAN system to reflect that. Watch that extended scene again and look at the face of the actor who played Legolas...

That elf lost SAN, I'm sure of it!

Emerging from my Dark Age...

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I've wanted to run Freeport since I bought the collected trilogy. One of those 'things on my list.' This morning, I was thinking about some random thing and then I said "Hey, what happens when you mix SB5 or higher level of power with the Sanity rules? That kinda sounds like Freeport."

Anyone done it? Do the systems jive? Does it sound interesting to anyone? Is this just some obvious solution that I'm only slowly realizing?

I have to admit, I've only played a little CoC and it's been a while since I've read the Sanity rules. I'm going to have to go back over them for a refresher.

As the french edition of SB (same thing for Hawkmoon, by the way) is using SAN, I can ensure it works perfectly.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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I'm thinking of using san the way a ghost or demon would cast a "fear" spell on you as it seems to me if you lived in a world ful of orcs, trolls and ringwraiths, those type of things wouldn't drive you as "crazy" compared to Joe Schmo looking up to see a NightGaunt climbing through his kitchen window as he's having a cup of coffee :)

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I'm thinking of using san the way a ghost or demon would cast a "fear" spell on you as it seems to me if you lived in a world ful of orcs, trolls and ringwraiths, those type of things wouldn't drive you as "crazy" compared to Joe Schmo looking up to see a NightGaunt climbing through his kitchen window as he's having a cup of coffee :)

WFRP has rules where you gain insanity points every time you take a grievous wound.

I think it would be great fun to add san loss from ghosts, demons, chaos and aberrations, and being dominated by various spirits.

And while the world may still be full of orcs and trolls, it's still horrific to mutilated bodies and such. For starting adventurers, I think it would be great fun to to add a little SAN loss for extended dungeon delving. Then let the SAN slowly regenerate back as they become more seasoned.

And don't forget Realism Rule # 1 "If you can do it in real life you should be able to do it in BRP". - Simon Phipp

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In my opinion sanity checks should be made for things that are against the world view you grew up with. Your barbarian chaos fighter would not make san checks against some slime demon because he was brought up knowing such creatures exist and has his magics and Gods behind him when goes to fight them. On the other hand transport him to a modern city with all the noise and strange devices such as cars and escalators and he might crawl into a fetal position whimpering.

Another interesting example would be a space explorer en counting some Cthulhu spell casting monster . He would expect to meet funny looking life forms but of course he would also not believe in magic. He would explain any spells as some advance technology or psychic power as every rational man knows there no such thing as magic.

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In my opinion sanity checks should be made for things that are against the world view you grew up with. Your barbarian chaos fighter would not make san checks against some slime demon because he was brought up knowing such creatures exist and has his magics and Gods behind him when goes to fight them.

Exactly the point I was going to make.

On the other hand transport him to a modern city with all the noise and strange devices such as cars and escalators and he might crawl into a fetal position whimpering.

I don't know about this - people are very resilient in my opinion.

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

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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And while the world may still be full of orcs and trolls, it's still horrific to mutilated bodies and such.

Not as much as you think. You show a mutilated body to someone who's seen death first hand like a NYC Cop or a Child Soldier from the Sudan, and they wouldn't even blink an eye. If you grew up in a Fantasy world full of magic, monsters, and bloodshead, your not going to be as effected emotionaly like us Earthlings as it's been the way of life ever since you were born. Even if you never seen a Dragon first hand, chances are you've seen some evidence of it; either flying off in the distance or seen it's head mounted above the Kings Throne like an Elk . Even your Grandfather pointing to a dark old mountain saying, " That's where the Dragon lives" will have a degree of merit on you to believe and be ajusted by something that terrifying is living close by.

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Exactly the point I was going to make.

I don't know about this - people are very resilient in my opinion.

I agree as well. The Barbarian might be freaked out, but not to the point of falling down to the ground in a crying heap. Infact, if you think about it, If he was standing there as a Bus was heading straight towards him--he'd probably charge at it with his axe!

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In my opinion sanity checks should be made for things that are against the world view you grew up with.

[...]

Another interesting example would be a space explorer en counting some Cthulhu spell casting monster . He would expect to meet funny looking life forms but of course he would also not believe in magic. He would explain any spells as some advance technology or psychic power as every rational man knows there no such thing as magic.

Excellent points - and I agree with Simon (soltakss) that people are generally pretty resilient. I think the threats to one's mental stability come not from visual /perceptual cues (Big Ugly Monsters) but from stress (Big Ugly Monsters pounding on your bedroom wall every night stopping you from getting any sleep...). Quantifying what stresses your character in the first place has to be partly a roleplaying decision (viz. Winston Smith and the rats in 1984), although you can have rules for what happens to your character once they are under extreme stress.

I think coupling this with the "Growing Numb to Horror" rule and you start to have a workable system. Personally, though, apart from CoC where it's clearly a "genre feature", I don't think SAN rules should play an over-large role in the genres we're generally playing, although they do provide an excellent method for gaming what happens when Madness has to play a role in the plots of your games.

Good discussion.

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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SAN rules for extremely chaotic sightings are ok. But only because WFRP has this means nothing. One of the goals of these rules is to shock the players and contribute to the apocalyptic feeling of the setting. Its for style only and dont drive you permanently mad like CoC SAN does.

So if you have a dark and apocalyptic crossover between horror and fantasy then SAN rules are maybe a good choice. But for normal or high fantasy games it does not contribute to anything and I would not consider it if I were you.

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Not as much as you think. You show a mutilated body to someone who's seen death first hand like a NYC Cop or a Child Soldier from the Sudan, and they wouldn't even blink an eye. If you grew up in a Fantasy world full of magic, monsters, and bloodshead, your not going to be as effected emotionaly like us Earthlings as it's been the way of life ever since you were born. Even if you never seen a Dragon first hand, chances are you've seen some evidence of it; either flying off in the distance or seen it's head mounted above the Kings Throne like an Elk . Even your Grandfather pointing to a dark old mountain saying, " That's where the Dragon lives" will have a degree of merit on you to believe and be ajusted by something that terrifying is living close by.

I agree with this and can speak from personal experiance. I have worked in the healthcare field for over 30 years now(EMT then as a tech ) and at first people bleeding out all over bothered me. Nowadays I can order lunch and eat just after cleaning a few pints of blood and guts off me .

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