View Full Version : [d20/OGL] Subsystems for Horror saves

2010-05-23, 08:28 PM
I'm planning to run a 50s themed Grim Tales/d20 Modern/OGL Horror mini-campaign and would like to choose which custom Horror save subsystem I'm planning to stick with, instead or plain ordinary Will rolls.

I believe the Will saves vs Fear effects are one of the most annoying features of the d20 system because combat-oriented classes generally have low Will saving throws and many use WIS as one possible dump stat, making legions of cowering warriors a possible reality. The fighting men should be brave when facing gruesome horror but mechanically will get excelled by characters with other roles.

1) Call Of Cthulhu d20/Unearthed Arcana has Sanity checks

I feel uncomfortable with using it because all players are familiar with BRP Call Of Cthulhu and may instinctively play the game as if it was a CoC game when it is supposed to be more heroic.

Being a different mechanic based on the WIS Ability would initially be a turn-off to me but since I also plan to use WP/VP which gives a somewhat similar status to CON, it wouldn't be much of an issue.

2) OGL Horror has custom Will saves depending on the kind of horror. Otherwordly, lovecraftian-esque horror would call for "Madness" saves, for instance.

An interesting feature is that the different OGL Horror classes receive different modifiers to each kind of check.

The problem is that it inflates and makes Will saves much more important than they would have been in an ordinary game plus the problem I mentioned on coward warriors.

3) Grim Tales

I am still studying it but I like it a bit, it's a different mechanic mimicked on the Turn Undead subsystem, not a Will roll.

4) I think Deadlands d20 has a custom Horror subsystem but I don't recall its details

Any other suggestions? Are there other Horror check subsystems?

One thing I've entertained is the possibility of WIS granting some sort of "mental stability" points, just like Wound Points. Perhaps certain failed Will rolls could grant "mental damage" and once they're depleted, the character is insane or otherwise helpless and require treatment at a mental institution.

Perhaps different d20 Modern Occupations (like Military and Law Enforcement) could grant a modifier to Horror check rolls. Either way, I'm still not satisfied. A Horror game deserves a special mechanic but nothing seems to be really suitable.