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trechriron
07-04-2008, 03:22 PM
In my experience, players don't like going crazy. The ONLY time I have seen this be accepted is in a Call of Cthulu game that was planned as a short run (so everyone could "get into it" so to speak) and not be TOO attached to their inevitably nuts characters. :biggrin:

So, what do you think? Is it OK to inflict insanity on characters? If it's in the rules, then everyone has a heads up? The poll will be simple, but the replies are for the subtleties you might want to share.

:loco:

Law Dog
07-04-2008, 06:05 PM
I think it works even better in Unknown Armies. The five madness meters are more specific than CoC and the idea of still getting somewhat of a raw deal for passing the check as opposed to failing it demonstrates that psychologically damaging events have some effect. And of course, you can get therapy to reduce the effects.

Igbutton
07-05-2008, 11:59 PM
I enjoy it. It's a refreshing change from "I'm a hero and villians fear my wrath." to "The best I can hope to be is a pawn that is a minor nuisance." And that's only one aspect.

What really draws me is that, at least in the games I played, your character always has at least on chance to leave all this spooky, crazy shit behind a go live a normal life but chooses not to.

It's like Mulder(sp?) from X-files. "I want to believe."

Or maybe you don't want to believe but you want to disprove.

Whatever.

But if you can't get into a character that in someway wants this creepiness to be real then those games aren't for you. Which is to say they aren't for everybody. But I've always liked them.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-06-2008, 01:58 AM
In my experience, players don't like going crazy. The ONLY time I have seen this be accepted is in a Call of Cthulu game that was planned as a short run (so everyone could "get into it" so to speak) and not be TOO attached to their inevitably nuts characters. :biggrin:

So, what do you think? Is it OK to inflict insanity on characters? If it's in the rules, then everyone has a heads up? The poll will be simple, but the replies are for the subtleties you might want to share.

:loco:
I like them. Makes things more fun.

Thoth-Amon

tesral
07-06-2008, 12:27 PM
The main insanity inducing game I know is Call of Cluthulu. I don't like it.

Why?

There is no long term way to win. Even if your PCs do not go crazy, and by the time they learn enough to actually be useful they usually are crazy, you can't stop the Old Ones. You might as well pray to be Eaten First (http://www.geocities.com/neverclan/c/cthulhu.html).

jade von delioch
07-06-2008, 02:14 PM
i played palladium fantasy alot and when a person al most dies they have the possibility of gaining an insanity when brought back; there is a random roll table but a good Gm can give one that fits the death.
Anyway, i thought this always added to the character(s) since death always has a strange effect on a person who have survived it.

boulet
07-06-2008, 03:59 PM
Well something that games with insanity rules might have in common is that there isn't such a thing as "PCs win", at least in the long run. It's a different premise from the usual "PCs are heroes who shall prevail" style of games. Some like it, some don't care for it, but yeah every games aren't about hope. And that's keeping true to an author like Lovecraft (at least the few books I read).

trechriron
07-06-2008, 06:36 PM
... It's a different premise from the usual "PCs are heroes who shall prevail" style of games. Some like it, some don't care for it, ...

For me this is important. If everyone sits down to a deep emotional ham it up, let's all go crazy, horror-fest. Then it's all good. The players need to choose this game and understand the risks. Then game play can be fun. Otherwise, people just get ticked off and tend to not have fun. That's my experience with it anyway. :D

shilar
07-11-2008, 12:49 PM
Insanity is fine as long as it makes sense(I wonder if there is a pun there). It can add depth to a character. Also the degree of crazy is important. The character still needs to be able to interact meaningfully with the other players and the game world. Some GM's think insanity has to be the totally bonkers kind and that just is no fun.

darelf
08-02-2008, 07:58 PM
I wanted a simple NO on the poll. The listed NO doesn't cover why I don't like them.

I want this: No, they are all poorly implemented.

I have never, ever seen a good insanity system. I've played CoC, UA, Nemesis, Warhammer 40k, all with some form of insanity/fear system. Oh, I forgot Witchcraft.

In general, I just ignore those rules if I'm running the game. I ignore fear rules in D&D and other games that have them as well. They are stupid. They don't ever do what you want, or what is intended by the game system.

I do actually use the corruption system from WH 40k, but that has a use. And that kind of thing can actually be played well using the rules that they have.

I enjoy making a game creepy by how I run the game, not by whether they passed some sort of Insanity check.

In short, I just don't like the way the rules from any of the games I've tried actually work during play. They are clunky, insulting, and generally not correctly designed. Maybe there isn't a way to do it right, but I always hold out hope that I will run across a system that actually does work correctly...

tesral
08-02-2008, 10:35 PM
In general, I just ignore those rules if I'm running the game. I ignore fear rules in D&D and other games that have them as well. They are stupid. They don't ever do what you want, or what is intended by the game system.


Yes it's a house rule, fear can have one of three effects, the fear maker dnesn't get to choose. Flee, Freeze, and Fight.

MortonStromgal
08-04-2008, 10:05 AM
Malkavians!

Seriously though I like flawed characters, I think the way CoC handles it is a bit silly but GURPS, nWOD, UA all have decent ways of going insane. Its more about making it believable. I once had a Traveller character who went nutts. No rules for it I just played him that way after his family was killed before his eyes. After a few sessions the GM asked me to tone it down and start making him more sane again over time but man he was fun to play!

tesral
08-04-2008, 10:12 AM
Malkavians!

Seriously though I like flawed characters, I think the way CoC handles it is a bit silly but GURPS, nWOD, UA all have decent ways of going insane. Its more about making it believable. I once had a Traveller character who went nutts. No rules for it I just played him that way after his family was killed before his eyes. After a few sessions the GM asked me to tone it down and start making him more sane again over time but man he was fun to play!

Currently there is an NPC in the Saturday game. The poor Kenko clerk has been killed, twice. It's unhinging him a bit. Getting killed is not a normal thing to do. It bothers him. He reaction is not too over the top, he drinks more. not that he abstained previously, being slow to return from a delivery mission and showing up tipsy is his major flaw. But he does drink more.

obiwanshinobi
08-31-2008, 07:55 PM
what is insantity???

trechriron
09-08-2008, 03:15 PM
...

I want this: No, they are all poorly implemented.

I have never, ever seen a good insanity system. ...

In general, I just ignore those rules if I'm running the game. ...

... Maybe there isn't a way to do it right, but I always hold out hope that I will run across a system that actually does work correctly...

As a closet game designer I am terribly curious what WOULD be a good insanity system? The one is Nemesis seems detailed. Also, with fear, do you not believe in uncontrollable terror? How would you emulate that in a game? Again, I am not "challenging" you, I am sincerely curious in your opinion.


what is insanity (sic)???

Was that just a joke on the misspelling? If not, just Google it. The InterWebs knows everything... :D (I can't edit the poll, so the misspelling stays...)

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
09-08-2008, 03:23 PM
WFRP has a great insanity system, IMHO. Check it out when you get a chance, trechriron.

WFRP: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

Thoth-Amon

tesral
09-08-2008, 11:02 PM
As a closet game designer I am terribly curious what WOULD be a good insanity system? The one is Nemesis seems detailed. Also, with fear, do you not believe in uncontrollable terror? How would you emulate that in a game? Again, I am not "challenging" you, I am sincerely curious in your opinion.)

One that didn't rip control of the character away from the player. Most I have seen the PC's sanity score drops below a certain level and they crack all the way and become an NPC. That isn't much fun.

I would favor a gradual slippage. Every time you blow a sanity roll, you pick up phobias, quirks and manias until your character slowly goes over the deep end. You might even design the PCs insanity tree before hand. But that gives you a chance to play with it, have some fun with it. Not simply see it as having the character ripped away from you.

Main thing, don't take control of the character away from the player, and make sure they have a way to recover. The relentless and unstoppable slide to madness is the reason I don't play CoC. You lose, so why even start?

darelf
09-09-2008, 08:05 AM
I have been not completely turned off by Dark Heresy's system of corruption and insanity. I'm still wary of it, but it is definitely the least horrible that I have seen. I have almost been impressed by it.

As far as fear is concerned, this may be a very personal choice, in that I have in fact used rules to give the idea of being "stunned" by fear or surprise, but no more than that.

I enjoy more making the actual players feel the fear of situation, and then having them RP out what their characters would do. WARNING: This requires a pretty big buy in by experienced players. They have to be willing to play out what they think their character would actually do in response to the fear that the character is experiencing. This is impossible for some people, and requires a lot more thought and experience and a willingness to "lose" for the sake of the game.

Webhead
09-09-2008, 09:31 AM
...I would favor a gradual slippage. Every time you blow a sanity roll, you pick up phobias, quirks and manias until your character slowly goes over the deep end. You might even design the PCs insanity tree before hand. But that gives you a chance to play with it, have some fun with it. Not simply see it as having the character ripped away from you...

The (admittedly few) times that I got to run CoC, gradual descent was how I handled it. As the PCs dug deeper and deeper into the "truth" of reality, their mind developed quirks as a defense mechanism against things that it could not comprehend. The player still kept control of the character and had fun role playing them getting weirder and more unstable as time went on. And there are paths to recovery in CoC. They are slow, arduous and require commitment...which is part of what makes them fun. If it was easy to recover from madness, it would kind of lose meaningfulness.


...The relentless and unstoppable slide to madness is the reason I don't play CoC. You lose, so why even start?

One of the players in my group has a similar perspective on CoC and while I respect his (and your) right to hold that opinion, it always bugged me. The only time you "lose" in CoC (or in any RPG really) is if you give up.

CoC is about a subtler and more personal kind of heroism. The PCs are like candles in the darkness, striking out in the name of defending everything they know against the encroaching and oppressive darkness. Like the man who stood before the tanks at Tiananmen Square, refusing to yield in the face of utter obliteration, because taking a stand is the right thing to do.

The point of CoC is that you are hopelessly overwhelmed but that you fight back anyway, refusing to surrender to despair, defeatism and cowardice, both because that would be worse than death and because you can still make a difference, if only to push back the darkness for one more day. The PCs are just "normal" people, not kings or warriors or people with great power. Because of that, they can be more heroic because they put themselves in very real, meaningful danger every step of the way. They are willing to sacrifice themselves to hold their world together just a little longer.

Heroism in CoC is rescuing a little girl from a group of cultists who want to sacrifice her, or killing a mad priest before he can turn the townsfolk into mindless slaves. It's not about epic powers and slaying armies, it's about holding together the threads of humanity and being the hero that no one else is willing to be. The intrusion of the maddening "reality" of the Mythos should be one of slow, creeping realization that everything the PCs understand to be "true" and "real" is actually just a thin layer protecting their minds from forces beyond their comprehension.

When played right, CoC is a lot of fun. You can't stab your way to victory in CoC. You have to rely on intelligence, wisdom and courage to guide you. And there are victories in CoC, even if they are victories on a smaller, more personal scale than most RPG players are used to.

tesral
09-09-2008, 11:19 AM
When played right, CoC is a lot of fun. You can't stab your way to victory in CoC. You have to rely on intelligence, wisdom and courage to guide you. And there are victories in CoC, even if they are victories on a smaller, more personal scale than most RPG players are used to.

I understand the game, I've played the game, own the game, but the insanity system assures that you lose. Eventually your character will succumb to madness, it is unavoidable, the more you learn the sooner it happens. So in fact, there is no way to ever prevail against the darkness, it will get you.

I run a modern horror game. I know how it works. they have a chance to win. Just me but I prefer a game with a positive outlook other than you will positively go mad.



I have been not completely turned off by Dark Heresy's system of corruption and insanity. I'm still wary of it, but it is definitely the least horrible that I have seen. I have almost been impressed by it.

Remind me not to ask you for an endorsement.. :lol:

Webhead
09-09-2008, 02:01 PM
I understand the game, I've played the game, own the game, but the insanity system assures that you lose. Eventually your character will succumb to madness, it is unavoidable, the more you learn the sooner it happens. So in fact, there is no way to ever prevail against the darkness, it will get you...

Yes, it will get you and that is the heroic sacrifice. CoC "heroes" put themselves in harm's way to protect something greater than themselves. If you save just one innocent little child from the slobbering horrors, you have "won"...even (and perhaps especially) at the cost of your own sanity and stability. Some people take that to mean that you are destined to "lose" because your character will pay the ultimate price. I say, that's what makes a hero. Players in my CoC games "win" all the time. They win by making a difference for others at the cost of themselves. It's not for glory, wealth or power. It's because it is the right thing to do.


I run a modern horror game. I know how it works. they have a chance to win. Just me but I prefer a game with a positive outlook other than you will positively go mad.

Ask my players, I'm an optimist through and through and I'm all about heroics and a positive game. I don't run non-heroic games. I don't run games where the players choices don't matter or they can't make a difference. Those things are not mutually exclusive with CoC. It's just a matter of scope. In a game like D&D, character have "big victories" like slaying armies, banishing hordes of demons and dethroning evil despots. CoC is about "little victories", the kind that might never be known or understood by anyone other than the party, but they are still victories.

The very first Star Wars campaign that I ever ran ended with the PC and his entire group of allies facing a "suicide mission" head-on. They knew it was suicide, but someone needed to do it, and they were the only ones with the courage to volunteer...and they all died...but even in death, they made a difference to the overall scope of that final battle. Because of their sacrifice, the mission was successful and my player was bleeding enthusiasm over how it all ended. He was stoked. One of the most satisfying games I ever ran.

My 2 SAN.

Mindbomb
09-18-2008, 06:28 PM
I actually love the taint system from Heros of Horror for D&D 3.5. I think mixing the visual and mental aspects together was a fun twist on the whole scenario.

trechriron
09-19-2008, 03:26 PM
I actually love the taint system from Heros of Horror for D&D 3.5. I think mixing the visual and mental aspects together was a fun twist on the whole scenario.

I need to check that out!

Grumpy Old Man
09-20-2008, 08:50 PM
I don't care what system is in play. If the DM is nuts enough to think going insane is going to bother me as a player or my characters self esteem I am willing to go along with it. After awhile they stop doing that to me.

Engineer Doramos
10-19-2008, 02:20 AM
I like insanity in a game with the right genre and when players are ready for the idea. I use my own insanity rules, which provide for a gradual drift into a choice of different madnesses, if they're not careful with their actions, but the genre is science fiction. I don't use it to punish characters or knock down their self esteem but because of the cool times I have had as a player and a dm with other system insanity rules. I also have psychic and holy abilities that can ease insanity, and of course there is psychology, and events which remove some of it.

I loved my Call of Cthulhu characters who went insane, one became an NPC in an asylum with tons of spellcasting power that a later character of mine visited with the main group. And I actually was motivated to retire another character from adventuring before he totally lost his mind for role-play purposes. That was all my choice, it suprised the Ref. Then, there was the one character in a game of my own creation who rolled up an insanity with my old insanity system that caused his character to become more and more sociopathic. It was cool to see how he played it, and since there was a person in the group who was playing an evil character, they formed a little consipracy. But that was a good role-play group, I don't think the same setup would work as well for people who don't get into the story as much.

I've also seen players that hate insanity rules and fear as well, saying it was stupid. I respect their stance that they don't want to play a game where they lose control. If you don't like something, you don't like it. I think its a matter of perspective where you choose to look at why you are playing the game. Is it for a deep sense of story and rewarding character development, or is it to delve into a fantasy world where you feel empowered and fun. I personally think you can mix the two.

Of course, you can't have every game be like Call of Cthulhu in regards to insanity. That system is designed for that specific experience. If you're not playing CoC to be like a Lovecraftian character, you are playing a different game, and the insanity rules might not seem as cool. That's why my insanity system is more toned down.

DnD 1st edition had insanity rules in the orginal DMG but that was pretty much unplayable ... You could get dementia praecox or catatonia haha.