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Thag13

Horror Hero Sanity Loss

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I am sure this has been discussed on this board before, but I am searching for a Hero Machinic to simulate the Call of Cthulthu Sanity Loss.

 

Any suggestions.??

 

I do have the Horror Hero book, but I am not entirely happy with its system. But I could use it if I had to, Its not that bad.

 

I was just trying to make sure that when My very normal PCs see something really scary (a deep one, a ritual Sacrifice, a bloody headless body I had some way of making sure the PCs just didnt go Hmmm nice and move on. Thank you

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I have two suggestion for you. 1. Just create a new figured stat that would cover sanity (Possibly a combination of Ego and Presence). Depending on how fast you want them to go crazy it could be (Pre+Ego)/2 or (Pre+Ego)*2 or higher. Then figure up the penalties for each monster or headless corspe to the base roll (which probably should be the (Pre+Ego)/2). Then drain the sanity on failed rolls.

 

2. The most important thing is to find the right players. Too often players approach horror like they do a fantasy game. So what is the monster, what do I have to do to defeat it and so on. Thus they take a third person approach to the scenario and distance themselves from what is going on. Now if you find players that can get into their character, then good description will handle most of the frightening aspects without adding any new stat.

 

G

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Besides the Horror HERO system, there have been a couple of other approaches written up for HERO. One appears in the "Horror" section of the free HERO System Genre by Genre PDF (p. 43), involving the creation of a new Sanity Figured Characteristic. It's not unlike the short-term stress/shock part of the HH system, but much simpler. The other approach (my personal favorite) is to give mind-blasting horrors an actual Power representing this ability. This power was described in the "Horror World" chapter of Champions in 3-D and (with variations) in Adventurers Club #22. Without giving away all the copyrighted stuff, it's basically a combination of Transform (human to madman) plus Ego Drain, both Area of Effect and NND (successful Ego Roll protects from the effect).

 

So, whenever you encounter one of these monstrosities the effect hits you; if you make an Ego Roll you can withstand the effect, but each time you fail you edge closer to insanity. Stronger-willed characters will last longer, but each failed Ego Roll leaves your resistance weakened. Stay away from the monsters long enough and your scarred psyche has a chance to heal, at least before you actually snap. As I say there's more to it, but that's the gist.

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I've not seen Horror hero, but a construct I always liked was Transform, something like: Major Transform 1d6, cumulatuve, "Character to Insane Character", can be reversed by the appropriate therapy.

 

The effect would be that each time the hero is frightened he takes a little more transform until it pushes him over the edge, and he acquires a new Psych Lim (or possibly something else like Distinctive Features: gray hair).

 

I would be inclined to morph this into a "Fright Check" system similar to that in Savage Worlds, and basing if off a Presence attack. Hero already has guidelines for Presence attacks so it will be easy for a GM to estimate how "scary" a particular situation is. Such a system might look like this:

 

Whenever you are frightened by a something really horrific, make a Presence attack, but treat the dice as a Major Transform (in addition to the normal effect of Presence); subtract Fright Defense (1/5 PRE) and Sanity Defense (1/5 EGO) from the total 'BODY'. Keep a running cumulative total as "Insanity Damage". When insanity exceeds INT*, you have to buy it off by taking a new Disadvantage; the disadvantage points directly reduce your total Insanity score.

 

(* It makes sense to compare insanity to INT, since INT is your perception of reality as well as your ability to rationalize the irrational.)

 

That sounds complicated, so here's an example:

 

Joe the investigator has 10 PRE, 14 INT, and 13 EGO; that gives him a Fright Defense (FD) of 2 and a Sanity Defense (SD) of 3.

 

Joe is frightened by a Horrible Thing which makes an 8d6 PRE attack, which comes up 7 BODY. Subtracting 5 for his defenses, that leaves insanity damage of 2. He is shaken up but still has a firm grip on reality.

 

Later on, he takes 3, 6, 1, and 4 insanity, for a total of 16. Since 16 exceeds his INT, he must take a disadvantage. He chooses a -15 point Psych Lim (paranoia); That reduces his insanity from 16 down to 1. When it again exceeds his INT, he'll have to take another disadvantage...

 

This would be really simple to keep track of in play; it adds two new figured stats (FD and SD), one new damage type, and piggybacks onto the existing PRE attack system. It also lets the player decide his own insanities, either one big one or several smaller ones.

 

Mike

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Of course the main thing to do is, you know, to actually scare the players with genuine suspense & frights. Also, yamamura is absolutely right. You'll never scare players who don't want to be scared.

 

Some players are more gamers than role-players. They're too jaded or inhibited or disconnected to allow themselves to get spooked; but the game numbers matter to them. Nothing puts the fear of God (or what-have-you) into these guys like throwing off their characters' combat abilities. So how about this: every time the characters get a good fright (say, +10 on a PRE Attack), jack down their numbers a bit. Example: Fright #1 is a 1/2d6 PRE Drain that heals back one point per (hour, day, week; tailor to the length of the scenario). Linked to that effect is a -1 CV. Fright #2 is a 1d6 PRE Drain with a longer recovery period, and an additional -1 CV. At this point the players will realize that their ability to defend themselves is seriously slipping away. They'll be reluctant to face more frights. They'll start doing crazy stuff like barricading themselves indoors. And of course, that's the desired effect.

 

As an aside, be sure to control dynamite in the game. Have the PCs' crate of explosives blow up on them just before the monster descends. Most players need to learn that Aliens isn't a horror film, it's an action film. Alien is how horror works.

 

-AA

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Guest Champsguy

I agree with austenandrews. I've read Lovecraft, and played CoC. I can say, without doubt, that the game mechanics don't mirror what happens in his stories.

 

In the short story, The Call of Cthulhu, the main character sees Cthulhu rise up from the depths. Heck, he even manages to fight the thing. He doesn't immediately go insane. It's later, after his horrific experience, that he starts to lose it. He follows up on a few leads, and discovers that there's a virtual army of cultists who will most certainly murder him.

 

When the players start seeing suspicious glances from cops, pizza guys, cabbies, and perhaps even the people on TV, that's when they'll start flipping out. It doesn't matter if the cop is really out to get them or not, when you drop the right hints, they'll blow the guy away.

 

You don't need a sanity stat. The most die-hard gun bunnies are the easiest to make lose their cool in a well run CoC game. They'll shoot at anything you point them at with the proper encouragement. And if they actually manage to control themselves? Well, that's when it really is a cultist...

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Originally posted by Champsguy

When the players start seeing suspicious glances from cops, pizza guys, cabbies, and perhaps even the people on TV, that's when they'll start flipping out. It doesn't matter if the cop is really out to get them or not, when you drop the right hints, they'll blow the guy away.

 

You don't need a sanity stat. The most die-hard gun bunnies are the easiest to make lose their cool in a well run CoC game. They'll shoot at anything you point them at with the proper encouragement. And if they actually manage to control themselves? Well, that's when it really is a cultist...

 

This does work pretty well, most players can get really paranoid after awhile, drop hints that one of the PC's might be mind controlled or insane, occasionally have the PCs encounter a hoax, this works best if the players will play along (allowing the GM to have a player continue to play his now insane character). Two example come to mind one in Stalking the night fantastic after several scenarios where we did fight monsters (and began learning about banes, silver bullets, garlic etc) we ran across a poor schmuck with a demon suit who was just trying to scare his neighbors, having had our butts kicked by a small demon we took no chances and unloaded everything we had, this guy was filled with silver bullets, wood stakes from spear guns, shotguns loaded with a mix of interesting bits (glass, gold, garlic etc) and set on fire. The only thing that helped the PC's is the cops decided we were all insane so they all went to the insane assylum for the rest of their lives instead of prison.

 

The second case was CoC, several NPCs turned on us, apparently some sort of mind control (or actually the PCs were butt heads and weird) anyway the GM was able to convience us that some of the PCs were not acting under their own will, it eventually turned into a gun battle between characters basically due to paranoia, there was no mind control, we were teenagers and didn't always agree on a course of action, we eventually became so paranoid that when disenting opinions came up we were convienced they were leading us to GM design destruction, I recall the end of the game my character and one other kind of facing off like the end of John Carpenters "The Thing", eventually the monster found us and ate us as we realized our folly.

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>>>Hypothetically how would an already insane character work? Though for the most part they would likely be NPC but just curious how they would work in<<<

 

Well, in one long-ago CoC game a player convinced the GM to let him roleplay his crazed character, who decided that "the cultists" were everywhere and basically turned into a movie slasher.

 

It was actually pretty funny in a macabre sort of way as the rest of the characters chased Larry's psycho from crime scene to crime scene, both trying to end his murderous rampage (and losing SAN along the way :D) and also to cover up their own involvement.

 

It was funny because the characters caught up with Larry several times, but just like a movie slasher, he refused to stay dead, escaping into the dark and lurching off leaking blood from an increasing variety of holes to commit more depravities.

 

All good things have to end, of course and eventually they got him, but by then several other investigators were on the verge :)

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Horror Hero Sanity Loss

 

Originally posted by Thag13

I am sure this has been discussed on this board before, but I am searching for a Hero Machinic to simulate the Call of Cthulthu Sanity Loss.

 

This really depends on what you want to do mechanics wise. One way would be to have all things related to sanity to have the same transform attack. It is cumulative and when it overcomes your body you gain a 20 point disad. This is a more permanent action.

 

You could accomplish the same thing using the Aid mechanic whereby every encounter with eldritch stuff causes the character to gain points towards a PSYCH disad. You could buy down the recovery rate to however long you wanted the player to take to psychicly (sp?) heal the damage done to him.

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You could do a 1d6 Major Transormation, BOECV (+1), NND (Ego Roll), Cummulative (-1/2), Standard Effect (-0)

 

Transform: decent into madness (paranoid psychosis?)

Recovery condition: extensive psychotherapy

 

The transform reflects the character's gradual decent into madness, each experience bringing them inexorably closer to the precipice of insanity. The standard effect will result in a roll of "3," which will overcome 1.5 points of ego. Rounded in favor of the character this is 1 point of ego overcome per encounter.

 

My design has some assumptions:

 

1) characters do not have mental defense(s) or masses of resistance

2) characters have some longevity (no instant whack-jobs)

3) stronger willed characters are less likely to lose it

3) the players are capable of role playing the change

 

As was mentioned above, Lovecraft's protagonists seldom went mad on their first encounter with the supernatural, even when it was with cthulu.

 

Low level encounters should invoke no ego roll penalties and be limited in terms of effect (use as written). Nickel and diming stuff.

 

High level encounters (holy crap! its cthulu!) should probably invoke hefty ego roll penalties (I'd go with -4 in some cases), be built with more dice, and the "Gradual Effect" modifier, which would be tailored to cause insanity over a period of weeks or months.

 

Mechanics are great to have, but the key is: can the players role-play the effects the mechanics are designed to mimmic?

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As odd as it sounds, I'd have some mechanic in place to allow less intelligent characters to recover easier from the effects of SAN attacks. IMO, dull-minded people don't contemplate things in their leisure as much, so they wouldn't relive the moment they saw Cthulhu buying a super-sized McRib combo at the local McD's every time they dream.:eek:

 

And don't forget, characters are doubly screwed; not only are they probably going to go back after these things, they have to think about the event over and over, looking it over for weaknesses.

 

Poor bastards.

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Originally posted by Yog Sothoth

To me insanity looks something like this:

 

http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com

 

I admit, failled my ego roll again. :D

 

 

Again, I don't think you should ever be allowed to roll again

 

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Mushroom Mushroom Badger Badger Badger...

 

 

 

Arrrrrgh, make it stop I can't get the voices out of my head

 

 

(great link, thanks it made my day and I needed something silly today)

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Horror Hero (where)?

 

What is this Horror HERO I keep hearing about?  I can't find any links to it on this site??

I bought the e-books New Badlam Asylum & Widows & Orphans, and would love a large official genre book for Horror (HERO).

Can someone drop the 411 on me?

 

P.S. I'm thankful for this thread's subject matter, if only for raising the HH issue :)

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Re: Horror Hero (where)?

 

Originally posted by Nightfly

What is this Horror HERO I keep hearing about?  I can't find any links to it on this site??

I bought the e-books New Badlam Asylum & Widows & Orphans, and would love a large official genre book for Horror (HERO).

Can someone drop the 411 on me?

 

P.S. I'm thankful for this thread's subject matter, if only for raising the HH issue :)

 

It was a genre book put out for 4th Ed (about 10 years ago).

 

You might be able to find a copy on e-bay.

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