Death is not the only way your character can be taken out of play. Insanity is just as fatal. I borrowed some ideas from the Call of Cthulhu RPG
to write the section below.
This is not Rifts Earth where the horrible day-to-day life has taken its mental toll. This is regular old Earth, with its mundane toils and troubles. Because you are starting at level 1, it's assumed you haven't truly seen anything so horrifying that you have started to lose your mind yet.
All PC's will have a new stat on their PC sheets that looks like this:
Your Sanity starts off at 100% and can be reduced at GM discretion every time you fail a HF roll or experience something horrible. When it reaches 0% you are completely insane. Because our "modern world" is a bit more invasive in regards to the private lives of citizens, your sanity is an important thing to keep healthy. If you are reduced to 0% Sanity in the course of the game, your PC can no longer fit into society and will be locked away by the authorities in an asylum.
Here's the Sanity progression:Sanity: 75%
, you will receive your first permanent Insanity. This Insanity will be with you the rest of your life.Sanity: 50%
, you will receive your second permanent Insanity. This Insanity can be cured via the means below.Sanity: 25%
, you will receive your third and final permanent Insanity. This Insanity can be cured via the means below.Sanity: 0%
, you go completely insane and can no longer relate to the world around you. Incurable and locked up in an asylum. Roll up a new PC!What can reduce your Sanity?
Losing a saving throw vs. Horror Factor might lose a little. Losing a limb or almost losing your life will cost you a lot of Sanity though. It's going to be situational. Witnessing a truly horrifying event such as a grotesque human sacrifice. Facing a truly evil entity like an Alien Intelligence, Old One, Evil God, etc. Being the victim of a powerful curse. Being exposed to dimensions, time and space that human minds cannot comprehend. Forbidden arcane knowledge of evil or trans-dimensional nature. Basically, lots of things will reduce that Sanity.But Jaeger, how do I raise my Sanity and get rid of these Insanities? I don't want to be thrown in the nut house!
You're in luck my friend! You can indeed help yourself and regain your mental health. Once you receive your first Insanity, you'll have that one the rest of your life. Chalk it up as the price of meddling with the supernatural. But if you get more... there's help! Medication:
You can't cure your Insanities with medication, but you can treat the symptoms. It's cheaper, too ($25 a month per insanity). If you pay for the medication and take it regularly, you'll have the Insanity but it will not manifest itself. You can probably deal with many through natural means, but when you get a real nasty one, it's good to know there's a way to neutralize it. Includes: Antipsychotics, Antidepressants, Mood Stabilizers and Anxiolytics. Raises Sanity by 10% each month.Treatments:
Permanent cures to Insanities, and thus, more expensive. Includes Psychotherapy ($100 a session, requires 1d20 sessions to cure), and even Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) for extreme cases (guaranteed one shot deal that will cure your insanity, but carries a cost both in money ($3000) and 3d6x100 lost XP. ECT is known to induce memory loss). Raises Sanity by 10% a Psychotherapy session and 50% for ECT.Why would you consider ECT when Psychotherapy is so much cheaper? Let's look at an example: Joe Psych has seen a lot of horrible things. He has 3 Insanities and is sitting at 15% Sanity. He's taking meds but that just cancels out the symptoms, the Insanities are still there. His group wants to take a trip to some Mayan ruins to investigate a possible evil god having taken them over. Joe knows it's highly likely the event will tax his mind to the breaking point. He doesn't have time to go to many Psychotherapy sessions, because the flight is next week. Joe decides to bite the bullet and get Electroconvulsion Therapy. The sessions are a success and he's a new man! Most of his problems are gone, though he still retains an odd phobia to wet noodles. However, he can't seem to remember the last two weeks of his life. It's like... they're just gone! His investigation organizer call him to tell him they're about to go to some Mayan ruins, so Joe grabs his camera and overnight bag excited to penetrate new depths in the eternal search for the truth... Joe Psych now has 1 permanent Insanity and 65% Sanity
Clearly, it's best to treat and medicate Sanity quickly so it doesn't become a problem! But wait, there's more!Intervention:
Sometimes the supernatural deteriorates the walls of reality and harms the mind. On rare occasions, however, a PC may come across an artifact, benevolent being, or a redeeming circumstance that provides warmth and clarity. This clarity relaxes the mind and heals the harm that has been done, raising your Sanity significantly. This is not something you can plan, but could possibly come in the course of play. Solving a case or rescuing someone could trigger this feeling.Note:
This is GM Jaeger's creation and a combination of two different unrelated RPG's. I believe it is a way to have fun and experience the danger of losing one's mind, and therefore felt including it would increase enjoyment of BTS-2: SoCal 1984.