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 Post subject: Sanity and Mythos Magic
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:03 am 
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Location: Yavne, Israel
I posted bits and parts of this elsewhere, but in this thread I will develop my Cthulhu Mythos sanity and magic rules.

I'll start with Sanity.

Cthulhu Mythos "insanity" is not a mental illness as we define it in the real world, even if it has shared characteristics. Mental illnesses have biological and environmental causes. 22nd century technology will probably be highly effective to treat them. For those who can afford it, that is. Mythos insanity is the metastatic realization of one's, and humanity's, insignificant place in a vast, ancient universe inhabited by beings vastly more powerful and old than humanity itself. It is the infectious insight into cosmic reality, which radically is different from the more placid reality perceived by most human beings. The human mind is unsuited to process such knowledge, insights, and realizations, and hence "insanity". Psychiatry can alleviate some of the symptoms of Mythos "insanity". Psychotherapy might even help the subject rationalize or suppress the Mythos truth, which helps with recovery. But none can cure the cancerous thoughts generated by encountering the Unknowable.

Each character starts with a Sanity rating equal to the sum of their END + INT characteristics, minus their Occult skill. Sanity cannot recover above this maximum level, though it may increase if teh character increases END or INT.

Encountering the supernatural, the Mythos or - far less often - "mundane" horrors, forces Sanity checks. These are END throws. A sanity throw may be noted, for example, as END 8+/0/1d3, which means that you must throw 8+ and add your END DM (as in MGT/CE) to succeed; you don't lose Sanity if you succeed; and you lose 1d3 Sanity if you fail.

Spacers are accustomed to encountering alien flora and fauna. However, Mythos beings do not fit well into the mundane world of xenobiology and xenoecology. Encountering supernatural monsters or phenomena damages Sanity. Studying Mythos texts, learning magic, and in some cases using magic cause Sanity loss. Misjumps, or EVA while in Jump Space, may cause Sanity loss. Resurrection as a Cyborg definitely incurs serious Sanity loss.

If you roll “snake eyes” (a “natural” 2) on your Sanity check, or lose 3 or more points of Sanity within a single encounter, the character gains Temporary Affliction, which lasts 1D rounds. This includes things such as fainting, running away in terror, psychosomatic blindness, or a violent outbreak against all in sight. (I'll build a random table in a future iteration of these rules).

When the character’s Sanity score reaches half of their maximum Sanity (rounded up), the character suffers a Permanent Affliction such as phobias, compulsions, random bursts of anger, or amnesia.

If and when a character’s Sanity score reaches zero, the character becomes a permanently insane NPC, unless the Referee decrees that advanced psychiatric care (when available) can restore the character to a semblance of sanity.

Characters may regain Sanity in various ways:
- Successfully completing an adventure against the Mythos recovers 1 Sanity point.
- Every year of convalescence (non-adventuring life) recovers 1 Sanity point.
- Every week in psychiatric hospitalization recovers 1 Sanity point.

Also, 1D months in psychiatric hospitalization may remove a single Permanent Affliction.

Entering psychiatric hospitalization often has a social and personal cost. At the Referee's discretion, characters spending long periods of time in psychiatric institutions might lose points of their SOC characteristic or even find difficulties acquiring legal weapons on higher law level worlds, among many other things.

_________________
We are but a tiny candle flickering against the darkness of our times.

Stellagama Publishing - Visit our Blog, Den of the Lizard King


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 Post subject: Mythos Magic
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:05 am 
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Location: Yavne, Israel
I am developing my own Lovecraftian magic system for use in Traveller and the Cepheus Engine. This will be especially useful with my Hard Space near-future, near-Earth Lovecraftian setting.

In a nutshell, under this system, anybody can attempt to learn spells by studying Mythos tomes; anybody can attempt to cast any spell. And there are no spell points or "hard" daily "spell slots".


HOWEVER:

1. Learning spells has a Sanity cost. So does studying the tomes to begin with. Learning also requires an INT throw to successfully learn; failure means you need to repeat studying it, again - with a Sanity cost. The more powerful the spell, the harder the INT throw to learn it.

2. Spells take time to cast; in many cases, hours. "Combat" spells, which are often weaker, usually take two full combat rounds to cast, and concentration might be broken if the sorcerer received damage while casting the spell.

3. Spellcasting requires an Occult skill throw. Fail or roll "snake eyes" (there is no automatic success in spellcasting), you'll get the spell's integral "miscast" result. The stronger the spell - the nastier the miscast.

4. The really powerful spells damage your Sanity on failure and/or on success (Commune with Cthulhu at your own peril!). So you can technically attempt to cast any number of spells a day as you'd like, and a totally clueless layman can try to learn and cast magic (with the usual DM-3 Unskilled Penalty), but the limiting factor is the risk you're taking (a very, very powerful limiting factor), as well as casting time. Cast as many times as you dare and as the casting time allows you - at your own peril!

Yes, this means that even skilled sorcerers will sometimes fail in spellcasting - at least once in every 36 spells (on average - the chance of "snake eyes"). This is H.P. Lovecraft's legacy we're talking about here - not Dungeons & Dragons. Sorcerers do not cast powerful magic casually. They may use weak spells more often, as the risks of failure for them might be bearable, but no no one takes powerful summoning and necromantic magic lightly.

This, of course, leads to all sorts of sorcerous disasters (read: adventures), as - for example - some utterly unskilled fool is just bound to try casting that 6th Circle earth-shattering summoning spell, unleashing something horrid upon the local colony!

The above were just initial thoughts and ramblings. I'll write up a more coherent magic system later on.

_________________
We are but a tiny candle flickering against the darkness of our times.

Stellagama Publishing - Visit our Blog, Den of the Lizard King


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