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When to give Insanity?


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#1 Crispin

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 03:26 PM

Hello!

 

Fresh DH GM here. I've started game mastering Dark Heresy for my usual group with whom I play other RPGs (Fallout, DnD, GURPS), but this is the only one in which I am the GM since I know the most about the setting (Cain, Blood Raven, Gaunt's Ghosts and other omnibi). So I've been leading all the premade campaigns (PTU and Illumination with a few modifications here and there) and I plan on leading all the others out there until I familiarize myself with all the nooks and crannies of DH (or at least as much as possible) to make my own adventure.

 

So the biggest problem I think I'm having so far is with the Insanity points. My players are currently rank 6 and have no insanity to their characters. While they do have some corruption which they got for some unimperial things, they have passed every fear check so far (and there have been quite a few of them) and if I read the rules correctly, only if the character fails  a fear check is he going to receive some insanity. 

 

My questions are as follow:
I want to see if I'm missing something, and if not, what are other instances where you give your players insanity?

Should I just slap some IP to go along with every time they get CP?

 

 



#2 Covered in Weasels

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 08:54 PM

Welcome to the forums!

 

Have your players been sufficiently challenged by Purge the Unclean? I haven't played those adventures personally but I thought they were intended for characters of less than Rank 6.

 

It seems like your players have insane luck when it comes to rolling Fear tests. That's ok -- if they never fail a Fear test, there's no reason to give them Insanity points from those sources. However, you could "award" a few IP here and there for significant skill check failures. In my campaign, I gave a character 1d5 Insanity when he lost an extended social encounter and had to execute an NPC who would have returned to the Emperor's light had the encounter gone another way. The character was mentally scarred because he was unable to succeed at the task and had to kill someone because of it.

 

As a rule of thumb, I never award Insanity or Corruption without allowing the players to avoid it in some way. If the Insanity is inflicted by and enemy, I give them a Willpower test to resist it. However, if the players consciously pursue a course of action that could cause Corruption or Insanity (reading heretical texts, collaborating with xenos, etc), they don't get a save. They chose that course, so they can't avoid the consequences with some lucky die-rolling.


Edited by Covered in Weasels, 30 June 2014 - 08:55 PM.

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#3 Askil

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 02:54 PM

Insanity is for exposure to horror and madness, the screaming terrors hidden under the thin veil of normality. 

 

Corruption is for depravity and radioactivity, the secrets that shall not be known and the places one should not go.

 

Basically: if it`s shocking, hit with WP tests or spash some insanity, if it`s evil quietly slip in some corruption. If it`s an ancient eldritch horror from beyond feel free to apply a generous topping of both.

 

I also like to give corruption for players engaging in needlessly psychotic moral depravity (as was originally intended) but this is no longer the use in the RAW.

 

After all, when you fight the inquisition`s war in the shadows it leaves a mark on you. Heretical uber-radicals don`t just wake up evil one day, burn their prayerbook, get a lifetime subscription to SPIKES! magazine and last-second snipe deamonsword on eBay.

 

They take a series of small, perfectly reasonable steps further and further from the inflexible rules and attitudes of the Imperium.


Edited by Askil, 04 July 2014 - 03:22 PM.

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#4 Mikmaxs

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 08:18 PM

As part of a mission, I had one boss who was a Tzeentch entity summoned from the warp, whom the players had to fight. It was a non-corporeal Geometric Shape which constantly changed design, color, and size. If you shot at it, it would start to fragment, shatter into millions of pieces, and then reform with less stability. (If it successfully 'dodged', it would shatter into a million pieces and then reform without losing stability.) Instead of attacking players normally, or moving normally, it moved by shattering and reforming closer and closer to the players, and if it reached someone they would be forced to take willpower and intelligence checks or suffer Corruption and Insanity points, respectively. It died after dealing about 10 points of both to one of the players, but everyone thought it was a cool boss.



#5 Askil

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 07:12 AM

Wow you made an awesome boss concept, put loads of thought into it, looks like you didn't make it dangerous enough though.

 

I mean come on. A creature of non-corporeal geometric madness attacking with the pure force of it's unlogic, and in the end it inspired less madness and depravity than a spring sale at a big department store.

 

Just looking at something like that should imperil sanity, just knowing it exists should be a source of corruption.



#6 Mikmaxs

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 08:31 AM

Wow you made an awesome boss concept, put loads of thought into it, looks like you didn't make it dangerous enough though.
 
I mean come on. A creature of non-corporeal geometric madness attacking with the pure force of it's unlogic, and in the end it inspired less madness and depravity than a spring sale at a big department store.
 
Just looking at something like that should imperil sanity, just knowing it exists should be a source of corruption.

I would have made it tougher, but the boss fight was actually a raid against an army of cultists who had been summoning demons and building monsters en masse. The Geometric Shape was fighting alongside several other big nasties, and the players decided to focus all their firepower on it. :P

In retrospect, maybe I should have saved it for a standalone fight so it could have been a lot more sturdy, but oh well.

#7 InquisitorAlexel

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 11:36 AM

Insanity; scenes of mass murder, disemboweld bodies, children shot straight in the head, beheaded good friend, pool of blood running down the stairs, cries of suffering too loud, etc. 

 

There are many ways of doing so; just think about anything that could shake the mental resilience of a person! ;)



#8 Angel of Death

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 01:08 PM

Insanity; scenes of mass murder, disemboweld bodies, children shot straight in the head, beheaded good friend, pool of blood running down the stairs, cries of suffering too loud, etc. 

 

There are many ways of doing so; just think about anything that could shake the mental resilience of a person! ;)

Is 1 of the things that makes Jaded great!!


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#9 ThenDoctor

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 03:30 PM

I generally require a test when the character encounters something disturbing they haven't seen before, or does something with a drastic effect they'd never seen before.

 

First time our psyker got a killing level critical hit with rending damage I made him roll because up until that point he'd simply never gutted a man.



#10 Simsum

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 02:10 AM

In retrospect, maybe I should have saved it for a standalone fight so it could have been a lot more sturdy, but oh well.

 

RPGs are all about perception. As long as the players think their characters were lucky to walk away from the encounter, it's all good. Even if the reality is they unknowingly roflstomped the poor thing.



#11 Askil

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 03:57 PM

This is the wonder of the "mook points" system as detailed in the Inquisitor's handbook. It dies when the players have worked hard enough.



#12 InquisitorAlexel

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 07:17 PM

 

Insanity; scenes of mass murder, disemboweld bodies, children shot straight in the head, beheaded good friend, pool of blood running down the stairs, cries of suffering too loud, etc. 

 

There are many ways of doing so; just think about anything that could shake the mental resilience of a person! ;)

Is 1 of the things that makes Jaded great!!

 

 

Seriously? I didn't think that it was suggested in the rules "Only give insanity points when Jaded could not soak, for this talent to be useless". Nor did Crispin say "I want insanity points for things that aren't ignored by the Jaded talent"

 

It is worth noting that many career do not get Jaded until late; which can let "basic" situations mentally cripple many characters. 

 

And if ever it would be to be to late for Crispin's actual players' characters, it is worth noting for him for an eventual next game.



#13 Askil

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 02:43 PM

I find it helps to consider Insanity and Corruption points inversely.

 

Losing sanity and purity.

 

I find it more relateable to suffer loss of sanity and erosion of purity than the current rather odd system of "gaining" a negative stat.


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#14 Crispin

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:42 AM

I thank you for your input as tt has been quite helpful. Since the party is now rank 7 I'm gonna start slapping them with IP and CP on a more regular basis (innocent ppl being killed, larger warp evens etc.) just to compensate the earlier ranks but nothing too big for them to notice. :)



#15 Secutor 00K

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 09:39 AM

I find it helps to consider Insanity and Corruption points inversely.

 

Losing sanity and purity.

 

I find it more relateable to suffer loss of sanity and erosion of purity than the current rather odd system of "gaining" a negative stat.

I like the sound of this idea,  how does it work? do the Acolytes all start with 100 Sanity and 100 Morality, and lose points as the go ? Could you explain it to me? I'd like to give it a try. 



#16 Askil

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 03:16 PM

 

I find it helps to consider Insanity and Corruption points inversely.

 

Losing sanity and purity.

 

I find it more relateable to suffer loss of sanity and erosion of purity than the current rather odd system of "gaining" a negative stat.

I like the sound of this idea,  how does it work? do the Acolytes all start with 100 Sanity and 100 Morality, and lose points as the go ? Could you explain it to me? I'd like to give it a try. 

 

 

Eaxctly that, rather than "gaining" a poorly defined amount of insanity or corruption as a negative stat take it as damage to a positive stat. I admit it kind of pierces the grimdark a bit but it works better in my mind and I'd like to imagine most gamers would feel similarly.

 

For the actually ruling of it I'm taking a leaf out of the WW publishing's WoD system (just the concept of thesholds not the examples or sytemic implementation.) Assign thesholds with d5 and d10 damage values to certain acts/sights/crimes and allow PCs to take WP tests to apply their WPB+ each 2DoS to resist it. (Maybe allow a sanity or purity "bonus" of 0-10 on these rolls?)

 

Quick theshold examples.

 

Sanity

d5: witnessed the murder of innocent/s

d5: failed a fear test by a small degree

d5: rendered helpless by the enemy

d10: Failed a fear test by a great degree

d10: Failed a critical mission

d10: watched a friend/ally die

 

Purity

d5: Knowingly broke the law for own gain.

d5: Keeping a heretical/xenos artifact when ordered to destroy it.

d5: Witnessed a sinful act and did nothing

d10: Witnessed a Choas ritual.

d10: Saw an undisguised deamon/deamonhost

d10: Knowingly aided the enemies of mankind.

 

Eg.

 

Bob bursts into the Sanguine Cabal's sanctum his bolt pistol smoking and chainblade dripping from his heroic last push through the last few cultists guarding the doors.

 

But it's too late.

 

He arrives just in time to witness his master Inquisitor Frank dying under a bone knife upon an altar of bronze, sacrificed to the dark gods by the radical horusian inquisitor Harry Bigbad.

 

Two mutated cultists seize him and he is forced to watch as Bigbad binds a deamon into the flesh of his master. After the act is done they beath him unconscious and throw him into a sump pit.

 

Bob suffers 2D10+D5 Sanity Damage from the ordeal (failed a mission, watched an ally die, rendered helpless), and 2D10+d5 Purity damage from witnessing the ritual (Witnessed a chos ritual, saw a deamonhost, witnessed sinful act and did nothing.)

 

Bob (WP 25, Sanity 94, Purity 100) requires a 34 on his Sanity test (WP+Sanity Bonus of 9)rolls a 40, failing his WP test against the sanity damage and loses 16 (2d10+d5) sanity points,

 

He requires a 35 for his Purity test, (WP+Purity bonus of 10) he rolls a 5, gaining three DoS giving him a resistance of 4 against his Purity damage of 12 (2d10+d5) leaving him with a Purity loss of 8.

 

Bob survives the ordeal but suffers mentally and spiritually from the experience. Leaving him with Sanity 78 and Purity 92.


Edited by Askil, 26 August 2014 - 03:17 PM.


#17 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:10 PM

You could in theory just port over Call of Cthulhu's Sanity rules.

 

I wonder how that would work out.


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#18 Visitor Q

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 03:42 AM

You could in theory just port over Call of Cthulhu's Sanity rules.

 

I wonder how that would work out.

 

I was just going to suggest this.  You'd need to tweak a few talents here and there but by and large I think it would work.

 

Certainly I use Call of Cthulhu's as a very close guide for working out Insanity points. 

 

What I really liked about CoC is that you suffered a minimum and a maximum sanity point loss.

 

So seeing Cthulhu himself might be worth D10 if you passed the sanity check but D100 if you failed it!

 

I also strongly agree with Askil that Corruption points should be used for minor evil acts (such as murdering someone in cold blood). 

 

However gaining corruption points in this manner should quickly level off until only engaging in acts of reality sundering departivity will gain you more corruption points.  In other words a particularly evil but not Chaotic Hive ganger might have 4 or 5 corruption points but wouldn't ever gain more just for killing more people. 

 

In this way mundane acts of corruption can weaken your moral fibre so to speak so that you are all the more vulnerable if you ever do engage in Chaotic acts.


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#19 bogi_khaosa

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:55 PM

The one thing I can see is that in CoC losing sanity is a process that speeds up with time. The lower your sanity is, the faster tou will lose more sanity.

 

Whereas 40KRPG works the other way. As you become more insane, you become more resistant to fear (and hence madness).



#20 Visitor Q

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 12:15 AM

Yeah, I guess in CoC it is set in the real world so odd behaviour by definition is madness whereas alot of the normal characters in WH40K would be considered psychotic by modern standards.