Sanity

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Beyond the shelter of civilization, untold horror awaits in the dark recesses of the wilderness. Sometimes, the blackened alleys of an oppressed city and hidden basements of mad scientists hold horrors just as foul. Adventuring often brings heroes face to face with terrifying monsters and maddening experiences.

When your heroes come face to face with abject terror, you might make them roll for insanity. Insanity should primarily change a character’s outlook on the world and be a roleplay tool, although the worst effects of insanity will also have mechanical detriments attached. Be mindful of your players’ yellow and red zones when implementing any of these effects.

Depending on the type of horror that confronts the heroes, you might ask each hero to make an AWR, INT, or CHA check. The higher their roll, the more minor the insanity effect, and a very high roll might allow a hero to shrug off any insanity altogether. The lower the roll, the worse or longer-lasting a hero’s insanity will be.

When assigning DCs to the various effects of insanity, you can use this table as a quick reference, adjusting the DCs up and down as you feel is appropriate for the insanity.

Hero Level Terrible Significant Notable Trivial No Effect
1-6 5 9 13 17 21
7-12 8 13 18 23 28
13-18 11 16 22 28 34
19-24 14 20 27 33 40
25-30 17 25 32 40 48

THEMES OF INSANITY

Insanity effects should generally feel cohesive and thematically similar. Below are some example insanity tables, each of which focus on a specific theme within horror.

COSMIC HORROR INSANITY

DC Effect Duration
Abysmal You gain Vulnerable 1 to all damage.

Death is rational. There is no way out of this endless madness other than to simply give up.

1 week
Terrible You are Sickened.

I stared into the void for a moment too long, and I saw the secrets of the universe. While I now know everything, some horrible thing stared back at me.

1 day
Very Significant You are Shaken.

Everything is but a dream of some unknowable god. All of our actions are meaningless

1 day
Significant Death is rational. There is no way out of this endless madness other than to simply give up. Indefinite
Somewhat Significant I stared into the void for a moment too long, and I saw the secrets of the universe. While I now know everything, some horrible thing stared back at me. 1 week
Very Notable Everything is but a dream of some unknowable god. All of our actions are meaningless. 1 day
Notable Death is rational. There is no way out of this endless madness other than to simply give up. 4 hours
Somewhat Notable I stared into the void for a moment too long, and I saw the secrets of the universe. While I now know everything, some horrible thing stared back at me. 1 hour
Trivial Everything is but a dream of some unknowable god. All of our actions are meaningless. 10 minutes
No Effect - -