The Chaosium Digest

The Chaosium Digest supports the role-playing games produced by Chaosium Inc. and all content is fan submitted. Begun in 1994 by Shannon Appelcline who passed it to myself in 2000 and previously distributed via email, this is the newest incarnation of the Chaosium Digest. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mike’s Hierarchy of Terror d20™


(the following replaces the sections Temporary Insanity & Indefinite Insanity. These house rules provide an alternate system for determining the effect of Sanity loss upon an investigator. This system focuses more upon the accumulated and compounding effect of terror. It is intended to simulate a decent into madness through attrition.)

Starting Sanity

A Characters starting Sanity is equal to the characters Wisdom score. This score represents a starting characters current sanity points, as well as the upper limit of Sanity that can be restored by the Psychoanalysis skill. After creation, a characters current sanity score often fluctuates considerably and might never again match starting Sanity. A change in a characters Wisdom score changes the starting Sanity score in regard to what Psychoanalysis can restore. Current Sanity, however, does not change if Wisdom rises or falls.

Maximum Sanity

The Cthulhu Mythos Score skill simulates character comprehension of aspects of the Mythos. Once gained this horrible knowledge is never forgotten, and the character consequently surrenders mental equilibrium. An investigator’s Sanity weakens as the comprehension of the mythos increases. Such is the way of the universe. An investigator’s current sanity points can never be higher than 19 minus the ranks the character has in the Cthulhu Mythos skill. This number is the character’s maximum Sanity.

Current Sanity

Making a Sanity check: When an investigator encounters a gruesome, unnatural, frightening, or supernatural situation the GM may require a player to make a Sanity check with a d20. The check succeeds if the result is equal to or less than the characters Sanity. On a successful check, the character either looses no Sanity loss or only a minimum amount. Potential Sanity loss is usually shown as two numbers or dice rolls separated by a slash, such as 0/1d4. the number before the slash indicates the number of Sanity points lost if the check succeeds (in this case none): the number after the slash indicates the number of Sanity points lost if the Sanity check fails (in this case between 1 and 4 points). A investigators current Sanity is also at risk when the the character reads certain books, learns spells contained within, and attempts to cast them. These losses are usually automatic (no Sanity check is involved)- the character who chooses to undertake that activity forfeits the required Sanity points. See the Magic chapter for details.For the most part a new Sanity-shaking experience requires a new Sanity check. However the GM always gets to decide when characters make Sanity checks. Seeing several horribly mangled corpses at one time or in quick succession may call for just one Sanity check, while the same encounters at intervals of several hours may require separate checks. Loosing it: Any time an investigator looses any amount of Sanity points from a single roll, he or she has suffered enough shock that the keeper must test Sanity, and ask for an intelligence check DC 10: if the roll succeeds, then the Investigator realizes the full significance of what was beheld, and Looses It. An investigator who Looses It must check on the table below to find the number that equals their current Terror. If the Intelligence check fails, then the investigator does not Loose It, but the sanity points lost accumulate into the

Terror Pool.

The Terror is a pool made up of all the lost Sanity accumulated by an Investigator during the course of an adventure. Each time an Investigator loses Sanity it goes to the Terror Pool where it accumulates so that each time the investigator is tested, the effects of Loosing It is greater and greater. It matters not if the Sanity loss is caused by one event or several successive events, the investigator Looses It as determined by the table below. The accumulation continues until the Keeper determines that all the aggravating factors have been alleviated at which point the Terror Pool goes back to 0. At the Keepers option, accumulations in the Terror Pool may be reapplied even after the fading of the aggravating factor if the factors are close enough in nature to warrant it (i.e. faced with the same situation all over again).

1. Flinch (loss of a Move action)
2. Startled cry (loss of a Move action)
3. Retreat a few steps, may trip (loss of a Move action)
4. Short scream (loss of a Move action)
5. Shy away in horror and run for a move action(loss of a Move action)
6. Long scream, or unable to make a sound (loss of a full round action, considered stunned)
7. Run away screaming or faint for one round(loss of a full round action, considered stunned)
8. Back away in stunned silence (loss of a full round action, considered stunned)
9. Cover your eyes/ hide face or vomit or loose bowel control (loss of a full round action, considered stunned)
10. Grapple nearest investigator (loss of a full round action, considered stunned)
11. Stand fascinated until roused. Develop a Disorder (roll on Table 1.1-tier 1) until helped.
12. Run away screaming unwilling to return. Develop a Disorder (roll on Table 1.1-tier 1) until helped.
13. Go into blind rage or faint until roused. Develop a Disorder (roll on Table 1.1-tier 2) until helped
14. Run in circles babbling until stopped Develop a Disorder (roll on Table 1.1-tier 2) until helped
15. In denial of the events taking place. Wander off mumbling. Develop a Disorder (roll on Table 1.1-tier 3) until helped
16. In denial of the events taking place and become child-like until helped
17. Immediately develop a Disorder (roll on Table 1.1-tier 3) until helped
18. Immediately develop a Disorder (roll on Table 1.1-tier 3) until helped
19. Go into an epileptic seizure until helped
20. Become catatonic until helped
21. Cardiac event

Table 1.1
First Tier Disorders

1.Eating Disorders
-1. Anorexia Nervosa
-2. Bulimia Nervosa

2.Psychosexual Disorders

3.Sleep disorders
-1.Night Terrors

4.Substance Abuse Disorders

5.Impulse Control Disorders

6.Somatoform Disorders

-2.Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Second Tier Disorders

1. Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorders
Motor tension
Autonomic Hyperactivity
Expectation of Doom
Panic Disorder (Panic Attacks)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Phobia or Mania

2. Impulse Control Disorders
Pathological Lying
Kleptomania (compulsive thieving)
Pyromania (the compulsion to set fires)
Intermittent Explosive Disorder

3. Mood Disorder
Bipolar Mood Disorder

4. Somatoform Disorders
Somatoform Disorder (mild-dizziness, impotence, phantom pain, etc.)
Conversion Disorder

Third Tier Disorders
1. Personality Disorders

2. Dissociative Disorders
Dissociative Amnesia (Psychogenic Amnesia)
Dissociative Fugue
Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)

3. Schizophrenia

4. Somatoform Disorders
Somatoform Disorder (serious- blindness, deafness, paralysis, etc.)

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