View Full Version : Roguenewb's Madness System [PEACH]

2012-07-21, 04:23 PM
Roguenewb's Madness system

This is my take on a way to simulate ever growing madness and insanity for a horror or livecraftian campaign. The other main use, is that it is to be used to fuel the abilities of the Cultist class I am currently developing. This system is somewhat influenced by the taint system, but more strongly influenced by the old Wheel of Time d20 rpg. I've made some non-trivial adaptions however. Please enjoy:

A classic trope of horror and “strange fiction” is that the minds of those involved are slowly decayed, and they are eventually stark raving crazy. Now, this effect has been tried by WotC at least twice that I know of, they stole Call of Cthulhu's sanity system and printed it in Unearthed Arcana, and they again tried it with the Depravity part of Taint in Heroes of Horror. However, both of those systems have a substantial problem. First, the sanity system is a lot like hit points, it's all or nothing. You're either totally fine, or your totally insane. Secondly, the Taint system has a fair amount going for it, except that it only manifests in very limited ways, and represents supernatural evil. This madness system can represent this, yes, but it can also represent simple madness, like being hit with the insanity spell ten times.

How does it work?
A character begins the game with a madness score of 0. Certain events can increase the madness score, notably, the mind-twisting effects of magic and inhuman horrors, such as aberrations and some outsiders and undead. As a character's madness score goes up, he is more and more pressured my his instability. Depending on a character's madness score, more and more common effects can force the character to make a will save against a loss of control. The DC of that will save is based on the character's madness tier, as shown on table M-1: Madness Tiers. If the character fails that save, that character rolls a number of d20s as indicated on the table. The total value of those rolled d20s is compared to table M-2: Effects of Insanity. Thus, a character with a lower level of madness can't get the more powerful effects of insanity, and the higher a character's madness score goes, the more often he will be forced to save against temporary insanity, and the more difficult and debilitating those effects will be. Also included are some suggestions for possible causes of madness gain.

{table=head]{colsp=4}Table M-1: Madness Tiers
Madness Score| Triggering Conditions|Will Save DC| Insanity Dice
0| Character is totally sane, nothing can cause temporary insanity. | -
1-9| Whenever a confusion or insanity effect ends on the character, he must save.| 10| 1d20
10-19| Whenever the character fails a save against a fear effect. | DC 12| 2d20
20-29| Whenever the character fails a save against a [Mind-Affecting] effect.| DC 14| 3d20
30-39| Whenever the character takes ability drain or gains a negative level| DC 16| 4d20
40-49| Whenever the character takes ability damage, or more than 50 damage in a single attack| DC 18| 5d20
50-59| Whenever the character takes more damage than his Constitution score| DC 20| 6d20
60-69| Whenever the character fails a save against a hostile spell| DC 22| 7d20
70-79| Whenever the character takes 5 or more damage| DC 24| 8d20
80-89| Whenever the character is the target of a spell, ability or attack| DC 26| 9d20
90-99| Whenever the character enters combat or gains conciousness| DC 28| 10d20
100| Once each round in combat, and once each hour outside of combat. | DC 30 | 11d20

Now, once the character fails the save:

{table=head]{colsp=2}Table M-2: Effects of Insanity
1-9| Confusion for 1d4 rounds
10-19| Rage for 2d6 rounds
20-29| Crushing Despair for 1d4 minutes
30-39| Slow for 1d6 minutes.
40-49| 1 point of Wisdom Drain
50-59| Character immediately attempts to destroy the nearest ally.
60-69| Insanity for 2d6 days
70-79| The character has a 50% chance of doing nothing each round for 3d6 days
80-89| Character cannot tell any other creatures or characters apart.
90-99| Character permanently loses 1 point of Wisdom
100| Character's mind collapses completely. Totally comatose, forever. Essentially death.

{table=head]{colsp=3}Table M-3: Causes of Madness Gain
Cause|To Avoid|Madness Gained
Panicked Condition| If caused by a spell, will save against save DC| 1 point
Confusion Spell| Second save after duration ends| 1 point per 5 caster levels of the caster
Insansity Spell| None| 10 points
Feeblemind Spell| DC 35 will save| 10 points
Witnessing Brain Extraction| DC 25 will save| 1d4 points
Ally being killed|DC 30 will save| 2d6 points

I'd want to flesh this table out over time. Also, I feel like the weakest spot in the whole table is the effects of insanity.

Input is awesome! PEACH!