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Fearless and insanity

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#1 Armour



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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:52 PM

I am running an Dark Heresy game with the newer (and rather more polished) OW rules.  As the themes will include the horrors that exist in 40k and their affect on the PCs, I'll be using a fair amount of awful situations involving fear and corruption.

I was wondering about how Fearless affects insanity point gain.  The talent specifies that you are immune from the effects of fear, but not that you are immune to insanity.  However, Insanity Points are only gained in the rules as coming as a result of failing fear checks.  I'm not sure if this is intended, as getting a talent to become completely immune to a major character-affecting thing, like insanity, seems at best overpowered.

Has anyone else encountered/considered this?  Just because you show no fear doesn't mean you aren't haunted by what you have seen.  Even Space Marines (in Deathwatch) can gain insanity, though admittedly only though extreme circumstances.  But they have rather more conditioning and experience than a DH or DH character.

Also, I noticed that there appear to be no insanity points given for failing fear in combat in the OW shock table, but I plan to just add gains based on Dark Heresy's older table to that.

#2 AtoMaki



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Posted 28 February 2013 - 12:19 AM

Yes, Fearless gives complete immunity to Fear and thus Fear-inducted Insanity. But characters can acquire Insanity Points from other sources too, not just through Fear (just like how they could acquire Corruption Points other than Warp contact). Bizzarre and mind-blowing stuff is not neccessarily terrifying. For example, taking some sort of truly powerful hallucinogenic drug will result in Insanity Points gain, even though the character will only see colorful ponies and rainbows while riding a robot unicorn. 

Also, Fearless > Space Marine training. There is a reason why Space Marines can take this Talent ;)

#3 Bassemandrh



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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

I agree with the one above me. You can certainly gain Insanity points without doing fear tests.

#4 Darth Smeg

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:45 PM

By being forced to listen to Barry Manilow for example!

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#5 whoseyes



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:16 AM

I tend to houserule fear tests (and insanity points), because I feel that the official system is not detailed enough. I don't know DHeresy, maybe its better there…

My system combines the Only War rules with some cool things from the Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium) system. Some experiences and enemies can make you lose Fear points even if you pass the fear test (this would apply also to fearless characters), although you lose less points in those situations.

Also, some events make you lose more points than others: it's not the same to see your comrade get sniped down while you were happily chatting or to see a great demon in front of you.

#6 Flail-Bot



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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:53 AM

Seeing something that Should Not Be like demons or geometry that doesn't make sense or sounds that make you taste blood can grant insanity. Oh and demons tend to have auras of insanity and also certain weapons will do it. Exposure to the Warp will "bestow" corruption and insanity.

Look to Jaded (in the DH rules) for an idea. It states that the person is immune to insanity from mundane horrors things From Beyond and the like, still induce fear and insanity in the Jaded.

But yeah, it's a good talent, which is why they gave it that drawback where you're a little suicidal.

#7 Armour



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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:48 PM

Flail-Bot, the point is that Fearless gives no such provisions for extreme situations, like Jaded does.  You take that one talent (which Only War lets you get with your very first 1000 XP or so) and thats it.  You are immune to insanity in 99% of situations.

The issue is that there exists a system for gaining insanity from alien geometry/scenes of horror/the effect of artifacts.  Its called the Fear system.  Out-of-combat checks are supposed to be made for bizzare, strange situations and events, and these can inflict insanity if you fail.  However, Fearless immunizes a character from that, too.

Actual, rule-based ways to gain insanity, from Only War:

  • Failing a fear check, in or out of combat.
  • Taking the drug Spook. 
  • Getting Soul-bound.
  • Getting Possessed.
  • Taking the Cold-hearted talent (which gives you 1)

That is it.  Thereare literally no other ways, rules-as-written, of gaining insanity.  PCs simply won't take Spook, even if they can get hold of it.  Possession is really a trick you can maybe pull off once per campaign, and even then the crippling aftermath of a possession with result in a retired character most of the time.

I admit that you can (by house-rules) inflict insanity from other events, ignoring the fear system, and I will as everyone does, it seems.  I'm just pointing out that this isn't in the rules.  Its a constant need to house-rule in something.  Interestingly, looking at the Dark Heresy forum shows that this topic comes up a lot… seems like something that could use more official rules, is all I'm saying.

#8 Evilshed



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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:17 PM

I suppose you could argue that the fearless trait means that you are not scared of the encounter but it is slowly messing you up internally. There is a reference in the GM kit adventure which kinda supports this. So it could be that some scenes / encounters / events slowly build up the pressure on a soldier until he cracks. So being under heavy siege for a long time or seeing half your squad get killed. Things that would stay with you after the event has long since stopped being able to cause fear.

  The bit from the kit adventure is below but I'll just give it a quick "SPOILER ALERT" in case anyone is playing through it.




When you come across the wrecked Chimera and you find it cut in two and the squad butchered you gain 1d5 insanity right off the bat. No fear tests as there is nothing to be scared of. I'm tempted to offer a willpower test to resist (+10 for jaded) but thats personal houserules.

#9 KommissarK



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 03:04 AM


I think the point is it is the "rule" in this system that Insanity Points should be handed out as a result of "scripted" events in the 40k RPG.

Examples of this are often written into the sample modules.

As far as how the rules go, I guess it seems a bit odd for the rules to go into a free-form "heres an idea of what to do at your table regarding this".

#10 Armour



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 11:24 PM


I agree with you about insanity being more a scripted thing; if used like that, it brings the game closer to horror RPGs like Call of Cthulhu.  Which is the right way to handle things if you are going for the gritty, punishing feel a horror game needs, I think.

It just seems odd to me that the fear system used to deal with that.  For instance, the earliest Dark Heresy modules (I haven't actually read many newer published adventures) horrific events would call for the PCs to make a fear test.  Seems that FFG's writers have moved away from using those mechanics.  I guess we can chalk this up to yet another fossil of copy-paste left in OW.

Still, its an interesting topic.  I think that not many people are running OW as a horror game, at least for now.  I may end up houseruling something about it, as I am going more on the horror route with my DH game.

#11 bogi_khaosa



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Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:15 PM

Armour said:

  • Failing a fear check, in or out of combat.

Nope, failing a Fear check in combat in Only War will not make you gain Insainity. Only noncombat fear does!

Because… get this, this is funny… they copy-pasted the Fear Table from Black Cusade!

Guardsmen are impervious to madness. Althat stuff about Guardsmen killing themselves and going mad in the face of tyranids -- higwash!

I think this book must be 25% copy-pastes from wrong sources.


#12 Brother Praetus

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 12:04 AM

Evilshed said:

When you come across the wrecked Chimera and you find it cut in two and the squad butchered you gain 1d5 insanity right off the bat. No fear tests as there is nothing to be scared of. I'm tempted to offer a willpower test to resist (+10 for jaded) but thats personal houserules.


Actually, Jaded makes you immune to fear from mundane horrors, so you shouldn't need to test at all if you have the talent.

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