Types of Insanity

Character Sanity Scores

Sanity, Insanity and Disorders

Loss of Sanity

Forbidden Tomes and Knowledge

Indefinite Insanity and Disorders

Gaining or Recovering Sanity

House Rules

Types Of Insanity

Character insanity is induced by a swift succession of shocking experiences or ghastly revelations, events usually connected with dark gods, creatures from the Outer Planes, or powerful spellcasting.

Horrifying encounters can result in one of three states of mental unbalance: temporary, indefinite, and permanent insanity. The first two, temporary insanity and indefinite insanity, can be cured. The third, permanent insanity, results when a character’s Sanity points are reduced to -10 or lower. This condition cannot be cured.

Temporary Insanity

Whenever a character loses Sanity points equal to one-half her Wisdom score from a single episode of Sanity loss, she has experienced enough of a shock that the GM must ask for a Sanity check. If the check fails, the character realizes the full significance of what she saw or experienced and goes temporarily insane. If the check succeeds, the character does not go insane, but she may not clearly remember what she experienced (a trick the mind plays to protect itself).

Temporary insanity might last for a few minutes or a few days. Perhaps the character acquires a phobia or fetish befitting the situation, faints, becomes hysterical, or suffers nervous twitches, but she can still respond rationally enough to run away or hide from a threat.

A character suffering from temporary insanity remains in this state for either a number of rounds or a number of hours; roll d% and consult Table: Duration of Temporary Insanity to see whether the insanity is short-term or long-term. After determining the duration of the insanity, roll d% and consult either Table: Short-Term Temporary Insanity Effects or Table: Long-Term Temporary Insanity Effects to identify the specific effect of the insanity. The GM must describe the effect so that the player can roleplay it accordingly.

Successful application of the Heal skill (see The Heal Skill and Mental Treatment, below) may alleviate or erase temporary insanity.

Temporary insanity ends either when the duration rolled on Table: Duration of Temporary Insanity has elapsed, or earlier if the GM considers it appropriate to do so.

After an episode of temporary insanity ends, traces or even profound evidence of the experience should remain. No reason exists why, for instance, a phobia should depart from someone’s mind as quickly as a warrior draws his sword. What remains behind after a brief episode of temporary insanity should exert a pervasive influence on the character. The character may still be a bit batty, but her conscious mind once again runs the show.

If the amount of Sanity lost exceeds the character’s current Wisdom score, consider the temporary insanity to always be of the long-term variety.

Table: Duration of Temporary Insanity

d% Temporary Insanity Type Duration
01-80 Short-term 1d10+4 rounds
81-100 Long-term 1d10×10 hours

Table: Short-Term Temporary Insanity Effects

d% Effect
01-20 Character faints (can be awakened by vigorous action taking 1 round; thereafter, character is shaken until duration expires).
21-30 Character has a screaming fit.
31-40 Character flees in panic.
41-50 Character shows physical hysterics or emotional outburst (laughing, crying, and so on).
51-55 Character babbles in incoherent rapid speech or in logorrhea (a torrent of coherent speech).
56-60 Character gripped by intense phobia, perhaps rooting her to the spot.
61-65 Character becomes homicidal, dealing harm to nearest person as efficiently as possible.
66-70 Character has hallucinations or delusions (details at the discretion of the GM).
71-75 Character gripped with echopraxia or echolalia (saying or doing whatever those nearby say or do).
76-80 Character gripped with strange or deviant eating desire (dirt, slime, cannibalism, and so on).
81-90 Character falls into a stupor (assumes fetal position, oblivious to events around her).
91-99 Character becomes catatonic (can stand but has no will or interest; may be led or forced to simple actions but takes no independent action).
100 Roll on Table: Long-Term Temporary Insanity Effects.

Table: Long-Term Temporary Insanity Effects

d% Effect
01-10 Character performs compulsive rituals (washing hands constantly, praying, walking in a particular rhythm, never stepping on cracks, constantly checking to see if crossbow is loaded, and so on).
11-20 Character has hallucinations or delusions (details at the discretion of the GM).
21-30 Character becomes paranoid.
31-40 Character gripped with severe phobia (refuses to approach object of phobia except on successful DC 20 Will save).
41-45 Character has aberrant sexual desires (exhibitionism, nymphomania or satyriasis, teratophilia, necrophilia, and so on).
46-55 Character develops an attachment to a “lucky charm” (embraces object, type of object, or person as a safety blanket) and cannot function without it.
56-64 Character develops psychosomatic blindness, deafness, or the loss of the use of a limb or limbs.
65-71 Character has uncontrollable tics or tremors (-4 penalty on all attack rolls, checks, and saves, except those purely mental in nature).
72-78 Character has amnesia (memories of intimates usually lost first; Knowledge skills useless).
79-86 Character has bouts of reactive psychosis (incoherence, delusions, aberrant behavior, and/or hallucinations).
87-91 Character loses ability to communicate via speech or writing.
92-95 Character becomes catatonic (can stand but has no will or interest; may be led or forced into simple actions but takes no independent action).
96-100 Roll on the Table: Disorders.

Indefinite Insanity

If a character loses 20% (one-fifth) or more of her current Sanity points in the space of 1 hour, she goes indefinitely insane. The GM judges when the impact of events calls for such a measure. Some GMs never apply the concept to more than the result of a single roll, since this state can remove characters from play for extended periods. An episode of indefinite insanity lasts for 1d6 game months (or as the GM dictates). Symptoms of indefinite insanity may not be immediately apparent (which may give the GM additional time to decide what the effects of such a bout of insanity might be).

Table: Indefinite Insanity and Table: Disorders below is consulted as an aid to selecting what form a character’s indefinite insanity takes. (The mental disorders mentioned on this table, as well as the disorders table are explained in that section.) Many GMs prefer to choose an appropriate way for the insanity to manifest, based on the circumstances that provoked it. It’s also a good idea to consult with the player of the afflicted character to see what sort of mental malady the player wishes to roleplay.

The state of indefinite insanity is encompassing and incapacitating. For instance, a schizophrenic may be able to walk the streets while babbling and gesticulating, find rudimentary shelter, and beg for enough food to survive, but most of the business of the mind has departed into itself: She cannot fully interact with friends, family, and acquaintances. Conversation, cooperation, and all sense of personal regard have vanished from her psyche.

It is possible for characters with indefinite insanity to continue to be played as active characters, depending on the form their madness takes. The character may still attempt to stumble madly through the rest of an adventure. However, with her weakened grasp on reality, she is most likely a danger to herself and others.

If a character goes indefinitely insane near the end of an adventure, the GM may decide to set the next adventure to begin after the insane character has recovered.

Characters suffering from indefinite insanity are in limbo, unable to help themselves or others. The Heal skill can be used to restore Sanity points during this period, but the underlying insanity remains.

After recovery, a victim retains definite traces of madness. For example, even though a character knows he is no longer insane, she might be deathly afraid of going to sleep if her insanity manifested itself in the form of terrifying nightmares. The character is in control of her actions, but the experience of insanity has changed her, perhaps forever.

Indefinite Insanity and Disorders

Table: Indefinite Insanity

d% Mental Disorder Type
01–15 Anxiety (includes severe phobias)
16–20 Dissociative (amnesia, multiple personalities)
21–25 Eating (anorexia, bulimia)
26–30 Impulse control (compulsions)
31–35 Mood (manic/depressive)
36–45 Personality (various neuroses)
46–50 Psychosexual (sadism, nymphomania)
51–55 Psychospecies
56–70 Schizophrenia/psychotic (delusions,
hallucinations, paranoia, catatonia)
71–79 Sleep (night terrors, sleepwalking)
80–84 Somatoform (psychosomatic conditions)
85–89 Substance abuse (alcoholic, drug addict)
90–95 Other (megalomania, quixotism, panzaism)
96–100 Roll on the Table: Disorders.

Table: Disorders

Roll d100 Disorder
01-24 A Minor Disorder
25-28 Addiction
29-30 Alignment (personality) Change
31-32 Allergy
33-36 Amnesia
37-38 Animosity/Intolerance
39-41 Catatonia
42-44 Dementia
45-47 Depression
48-49 Frenzy (Berserk Rage)
50-52 Gluttony
53-54 Hallucinations
55-58 Heroic Idiocy
59-60 Hypochondria
61-62 Hysterical Injury
63-64 Hysterical Sense Loss
65-67 Introversion
68-69 Kleptomania
70-74 Mania
75-78 Manic Depression
79-80 Megalomania
81-82 Multiple Personalities
83-84 Obsessive Behavior
85-86 Paranoia
87-88 Pathological Lying
89-93 Phobia
94-95 Pyromania
96-97 Schizophrenia (Split personality)
98-99 Sexual Disorder
100 Multiple Disorders (roll 1d3 times)

Types of Insanity

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