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spaceman727270

Mental Illness in Characters?

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I'm not too well versed in the lore of 40K as a whole, and I'm not in possession of any rulebooks for Rogue Trader, my GM has them, but I can't get at them unless I'm with him (which is rare). So I was trying to make my character have a little bit more depth and I was toying with the idea of giving him some sort of mental illness, preferably one that would make him interesting to role-play. Are there any mental illnesses in the rules or would this have to be home-brewed? And if so, does anyone have any suggestions for something that may be interesting?

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There are some mental illnesses in the system, which are presented as part of the Insanity system.  I have no direct experience with these though, as none of my players have gotten to that level.

 

Mental Illness could be interesting, but in my experience has to be played carefully or it risk becoming  the entirety of the character, a crutch put in place of a personality.  I wouldn't worry about homebrewing it or anything - most Mental Illnesses are just that, mental - they can be convoyed entirely through how you Role Play the character, with little to no mechanical effect.

 

As for suggestions, it really depends on what character you're playing, what kind of background they had, what do they do for the Dynasty, and what your comfortable playing.  Unless you gained your position by virtue of Nepotisum or are the Rogue Trader yourself, your mental illness cannot be anything sever enough impair your function as a critical member of the command crew.  That rules out most major ones.

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It can be a fine detail to add to fleshing out a character, but so often, in my experience, it becomes more annoyance than asset. One of the games I like to play was Vampire: the Masquerade, before the WoD went...different (I hate it now, but other people are entitled to their own opinions). One of the most prevalent choices made by some of my friends was to play Malkavian vampires. In the event you are unaware, Malkavians are vampires gripped by one or more mental traumas. Even if they had no such problems in life, the changes of the person caused by the vampiric vitae  force the recipient to gain derangements, and they can NEVER cure ALL of them. Malkavians are often, at least in my experience, played like the Joker, with "craziness" as their chief theme, pointlessly laughing at stuff, finding crazy things amusing, and whatnot, but the most frequently selected derangement was ALWAYS Multiple Personality Disorder, just so they could act like whatever they wanted, whenever they chose, and even others still just made their character so annoying, I never really liked playing with them. Their wankiness detracted, in my scroogish mindset, from the fun of the other players. They also rarely portrayed themselves in a way where they remained beneath human notice, in a game where getting found out will get you destroyed, and then expected to get away with it, "because that's how Makies are." No they aren't, and they aren't all funny goofballs, either, but to each their own.

 

Okay, I've babbled. I like the details of having neuroses, or mental traumas, and if they actually contribute to the character, all the better, but beware of your players just looking for one more in-game excuse to act like a stupid twit, or an attention-magnet twit, because, depending on who you play with, some people just can't help but be aggravating. Don't let Insanity force, or allow, your character to just go off into stupidland, or don't hesitate to shoot them, for the good of everyone else; they probably aren't playing their condition the way it truly manifests, and just want to be goofy.

 

Okay, I'm done. Sorry for being a funkill. ;)

Edited by venkelos

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Ok, mostly because I want to share this story with Venkelos:

 

My fiancé played a Malkavian investigator many years back, and selected "OCD" as her fixed mental issue. (this was before Monk premiered)  80% of the time it was a background note.  The rest of the time she was adjusting various character's suits, using her tide-pen to remove the minor blood drop from her skirt, or figuring out which ring tone the new contact should have.  (every contact in her phone had a different ringtone).  Only a couple of times did it come enought to the forefront to have a serious effect on the game.

 

This, I feel, is the essence of how a Mental Illness (and often physical illness/disability) should be played in a game.  It should flow with the game and the character, but not be the entirety of it.  Also, if you're going to play a character with a mental issue, do some research in the issue - particularly how people cope with it.

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Wholly agreed. That character, I would have liked. A friend of mine played a slightly OCD germophobe Brujah once, and I enjoyed his portrayal, as well. It's simpy my experience that some folks, when given the chance to play in an RPG, MUST play something ludicrous, with little care as to how others feel. Malkavians simply give some of those people a built-in excuse, as they see it, to justify their unnecessary behavior.

 

A different friend of mine was playing V:tM Malkavian in a group with a very lose, giving GM, where spendy things (powers) weren't too spendy, and rock-paper-scissors was frequently more present than dice. While NPCs were doing what I can only describe as "Dragon Ball Z fighting", we had to try and catch this Malkie, each of us instructed to by a different power in our city, so we weren't even really allies. Said nutjob acted whacky, like the player would were our societal views different, talking to voices that might've been another OP NPC, or the MMN tat grumps me out, throwing Dementation around to cripple whole three-packs of Garou. Between dressing silly, acting weird, and on I could whine like I hate fun and creativity, he just got annoying, and seemed pointless, like a character who couldn't have maintained his part of the Masquerade, making me wonder why the region's Prince didn't fix that.

 

Yeah, if you are going to have one, even if it wasn't your idea, it could certainly do you well to read up on how it works, what it does, and please try not to make it be the only aspect of your character.

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Well, my Rogue Trader, Anton Strom suffered from a whole host of mental illnesses. I figure a scion of a star spanning dynasty wouldn't be all right up there. 

 

For instance, everyone could kinda see that one of his arms was not totally biological. But he himself couldn't. He's hypocritical, in that he believes he has a sterling moral fibre, but then goes and does worse things and doesn't even justify it. I went with that to show how split his perceptions were with reality. 

 

I don't think there'd be that many sane people in 40K, by our standards at least.

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Well, based on the ignorance is bliss plan, and then thinking of all the things a Rogue Trader and Co. come to know, I think many of them are a little bonkers, even those who don't know any of the things that make the inquisitor's finger on the plasma pistol-shaped neuralizer twitchy.

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My Rogue Trader's backstory includes him being stranded on a planet with his Ork shipmate for 3 years.

 

I'm thinking if I pile up too many Insanity points I might have him start envisioning the God-Emperor as having 2 aspects... >.>

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