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 Hail, Discordia!

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Maldeus



Posts : 38
Join date : 2011-04-06

PostSubject: Hail, Discordia!   Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:00 am

I've finally gotten around to writing up the rules for stress, trauma, and insanity that I'd been planning for a while. Also coming soon: Crafting. Probably. I would've done that first, but my revised dungeon creation rules include the stress and trauma rules, so I needed to write those first.

Stress

To start with, we need to solidly pin down what it means to be Lawful or Chaotic. Good and Evil are already pretty well sorted out. They're a measure of how much you care about other people as opposed to yourself. Thus, Evil people have less empathy and will not take stress damage from seeing a puppy get drowned, while Good people will. Good people are more capable of dealing with stress dealt directly to them, however.

Lawful and Chaotic are harder to deal with. I am definitively deciding that Lawful means that you are fine with other people making the rules for you, whereas Chaotic means you aren't. Lawful people are less independent and more cooperative, more likely to form a large organization to get things done but also more likely to be incapable of functioning outside of that organization. Chaotic people can still be loyal to someone, but they can't be expected to follow someone else's rules unless coerced. How honest you are, how creative you are, and how sane you are have absolutely nothing to do with it, core rulebooks be damned. Lawful and Chaotic find different things to be stress-relieving. For example, a Chaotic person will gain stress from being regulated, but a Lawful person will lose stress in the same situation.

Every time you or someone you know is in a potentially traumatic situation, you roll the appropriate stress die. You can take up to 10+WIS stress damage before you're traumatized. If Good, you get double your WIS. If Evil, you get half you WIS. This applies even if your WIS is negative. Childlike naivete and the Just World Fallacy mix poorly with reality. Whenever faced with a potentially stressful situation, you roll a die. If you get a 1, you take one point of stress damage. Thus, it takes quite a while to build up enough stress to cause trauma. Reducing stress is difficult, though. Stress goes down by your WIS every week. This can be increased or decreased by circumstances. There are also some special effects that increase or decrease stress. Calm Emotions reduces stress to 0 for its duration, but it goes back up to its normal levels afterwards, and since it has a duration measured in rounds, it's not a useful longterm solution. Keep in mind that Calm Emotions calms all emotions, including positive ones, and stops you from gaining any kind of morale boost. Heal affects stress, reducing it by 1 for every caster level of the caster. Once you gain access to Heal, it's assumed that you reduce all stress down to 0 between adventures, since that would seriously only take about two or three days.

If you're rolling real dice, I recommend rolling all the stress dice from a given encounter at once, then just look for ones, instead of rolling each one individually. The stress rolls don't affect each other. It should also be noted that certain stress rolls, like those for killing, may not have to be rolled past a certain point of attrition. If the first ten Orcs you killed at the Battle of Helm's Deep didn't bother you all that much, the next forty probably won't either.

Note: Record the appropriate stress dice for your alignment on your character sheet, as well as the current weekly stress modifier.

Stress Dice, Good

Personal: 1d8
Loved ones: 1d4
Allies: 1d8
Strangers (same race): 1d10
Strangers (same race group): 1d10
Strangers (different race group): 1d12

Stress Dice, Neutral

Personal: 1d6
Loved ones: 1d6
Allies: 1d8
Strangers (same race): 1d10
Strangers (same race group): 1d12
Strangers (different race group): 1d20

Stress Dice, Evil

Personal: 1d4
Loved ones: 1d8
Allies: 1d10
Strangers (same race): 1d12
Strangers (same race group): 1d20
Strangers (different race group): 1d100

Sometimes you'll roll more than one die. For example, if you get into a fight, you'll roll one personal stress die. If you're reduced to below 0 HP, you'll roll two. If you're tortured, you'll roll three for every successful check (torture can traumatize you in a hurry). Every time you kill an enemy, you roll a stranger stress die for the appropriate race group. This is for every enemy killed in an encounter, at the end of the encounter, even if you didn't land the killing blow. The DM can waive the stress dice rolled if a truly massive number of corpses are involved, but should consider dealing straight stress damage instead. War is Hell.

Certain things change the amount of stress you lose every week.

Being with a loved one: +3(Good), +2(Neutral), +1(Evil)
Being away from a loved one*: -3(Good), -2(Neutral), -1(Evil)
Being tightly regulated by an organization (guild, religion, military, etc. etc.): +1(Lawful), -1(Chaotic)
Being in an area with no solid laws: -1(Lawful), +1(Chaotic)
Being isolated: -4(Lawful), -2(Neutral), -1(Chaotic)
Being held against your will: -4(Chaotic), -2(Neutral), -1(Lawful)
Being in a dangerous environment: -1
Being in an abusive environment: -2
Being loved by your peers: +4(Lawful), +2(Neutral, +1(Chaotic)
Being feared by your peers: +1(Lawful), +2(Neutral), +4(Chaotic)
Food is good/common: +2/+1
Quarters are good/common: +2/+1

*If you don't have a loved one, you do not gain stress for being away from them. The effects of having multiple loved ones do not stack, but they do cancel each other out if you're only with some of them and not all. Your loved ones are whoever you declare your loved ones to be, within reason. A PC can expect to consider any longterm significant other or extremely close friend (much closer than is typical of brothers, but not necessarily romantically involved) a loved one if they want, but not casual acquaintances or even close friends. You cannot undeclare someone as a loved one without good reason. You are not considered to be with a loved one unless their attitude towards you is at least Friendly.

Trauma

If your stress ever exceeds its threshold, you become traumatized. When traumatized, you roll 1d6 and lose one point from an attribute permanently based on the following table:

1: Strength. Your trauma has affected your self-confidence, which has had psychosomatic effects on your physical capabilities.
2: Dexterity. You tend to shake, fidget, and rush due to your trauma, which makes you less dexterous.
3: Constitution. Your trauma makes you feel vulnerable at all times, which has psychosomatic effects on your health.
4: Intelligence. Your trauma distracts you.
5: Wisdom. Your trauma clouds your judgment.
6: Charisma. Your trauma causes you to stammer, stutter, and feel less comfortable around people.

After you've been traumatized, your stress drops back down to zero.

Insanity

Discordians (i.e. insane people) will often have to roll for stress in really weird situations, and will also sometimes have to make will saves against their insanity or else see temporary or permanent damage to their attributes. Different types of insanity work in different ways, and many provide some bonuses to offset the penalties. If you wish to play a Discordian, you can, however your exact affliction is determined randomly and you probably won't know exactly what it is until it reaches an advanced stage. Playing a Discordian is not recommended, as the effects weren't created or balanced for use by PCs.
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Rowanthepreacher



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:58 am

Ouch. These are pretty harsh add-ons. One roll for everyone who dies in combat is going to mount up pretty quickly, given that we play mercenaries that kill people for money, and most of them are humanoid.

How does killing several hundred people in a short space of time cause us to suffer psychosomatic penalties to our strength? What, do we end up feeling too much like gods of pure, seething awesome?
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Maldeus



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:25 pm

Actually, I gauged it based off of the adventures so far to make sure getting traumatized would be really unlikely to happen. The Manor would've been about 5-6 rolls, which would've likely added something like 2 stress, and that wouldn't have been too bad. The major problem with the system so far is its complexity. I'm looking at a way to simplify it.

Quote :
How does killing several hundred people in a short space of time cause us to suffer psychosomatic penalties to our strength? What, do we end up feeling too much like gods of pure, seething awesome?

I am actually, literally offended by the ignorance in that statement.

EDIT: Also, the system as written is too clunky to work in gameplay. So we're ignoring it until I can clean it up. Only reason it seemed workable before was because it was way too late.
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Rowanthepreacher



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:22 pm

Mwhahaha. Rowan the Troll strikes again.

It does seem a bit clunky, but primarily because it requires counting of all of our kills, and sorting them into types.
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Maldeus



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:12 pm

I like having kills from similar creatures be more potentially traumatic than killing something with a lizard face. And incidentally, "race group" and "creature type" aren't the same, and I just realized I haven't written up the race groups yet, so I'll put them here:

Fair Folk: Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes
Black Bloods: Goblinoids, Orcs, Ogres, Trolls
Reptillians: Kobolds, Lizardfolk, Troglodytes, Yuan-Ti
Beastmen: Gnolls, Harpies, Minotaurs
Aquatic: Locathah, Merfolk, Sahuagin

Some creatures automatically count as being from another race group, like elementals and outsiders, to everything that isn't the same species as them. Other creatures, like mostly decayed undead or constructs, don't have any stress associated with their destruction (it's not like anyone's gotten PTSD from smashing their red-ringed XBox).

The design goals of the system are:

-To make the average adventure rack up 3-5 (ish) stress, thus giving players a mechanical incentive to buy their own circus
-To make the penalties of psychological torture potentially extremely steep, and
-To provide a drawback to the obsessive kinds of insanity, so they don't end up as "here's some free attribute points in exchange for what amounts to an RP quirk."
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Maldeus



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:16 am

Okay. Round two. Goals of this system as opposed to the first, simplicity (one die roll per player per encounter, maybe two, not 5+), and hopefully less difference between Good and Evil. I don't generally like tying mechanics to alignment, because then I have to try and make sure that no alignment makes more sense than another in terms of a build (unless that build is 'summons demons' or 'has a literal guardian angel').

So, boiling everything down to one will save after every potentially traumatic occurrence, because then an entire encounter can be boiled down to just one will save. Also, as people become more competent in general, they become less vulnerable to trauma, hence the grizzled, battle-hardened warrior. On top of this, the lack of specificity works in our favor, since the Good person making a roll against "oh, gods, I just killed six people" and the Evil person making a roll against "oh, gods, six people just tried to kill me" will be exactly the same. Here's a sample of Will saves against trauma. 5 and 10 are provided for reference, typically you won't actually have to roll these, as they're too trivial (especially 5). Note that the term "alien" is sometimes used to describe sapient creatures from outside of your race group (like harpies, for example).

5: A particularly heated argument, a fist fight, having an embarrassing secret betrayed, teenage drama, the sort of thing that would only scar very sensitive people
10: A potentially dangerous accident or fight in which no one is seriously injured, lethal combat with creatures from another race group, the unexpected sight of a mangled animal or alien corpse, being in a hostile or oppressive environment, seeing an aberration or an undead from a safe distance, the sort of thing that would scar normal people
15: Lethal combat with creatures from your own race group, the unexpected sight of a mangled corpse from your own race group, seeing an aberration or an undead from a close distance, being in a hostile and oppressive environment, the sort of thing that would scar even strong willed people
20: Being tortured, having your mind attacked by a Mind Flayer, the sort of thing that would scar even superhumanly resilient people
25+: Only the sorts of magic wielded by gods and demons causes will saves this high.

As you experience more and more of a potentially traumatic circumstance, you begin to grow immune to it. The following are circumstancial modifiers to will saves against trauma.

-1: Experiencing the trauma for the first time, you first experienced the trauma as a child and did not become immune then
0: You have experienced the situation before, but not recently or regularly
+1: You have experienced the situation recently
+2: You have experienced the situation regularly (at least once a week) for at least three months
+3: You have experienced the situation regularly for at least a year
+4: You have experienced the situation regularly for at least two years
+5: You have experienced the situation regularly for at least five years

This leaves the question of what it is a failed Will save is going to be reducing. Your Sanity score is equal to 10+WIS, so usually in the range of 9-14. Every time you fail a will save, it goes down by one (usually). Assuming you have access to common food and lodging and nothing else is interfering with your recovery, your SAN score will increase by one every week, up to its maximum. Other things that may help or hinder your mental recovery will be forthcoming.
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Rowanthepreacher



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:03 am

This is much less byzantine. and we're likely to rack up a fair few of those, but not too many. Nice.
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MrWillis

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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:50 am

That is definitely better.
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Maldeus



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:57 pm

Alright, one more addition to the system: Composure. Composure is a measure of how much you're being affected by trauma due to purely external circumstances, like sleeping on silk sheets instead of a rock or owning your own personal circus. It's a bonus (or, very rarely, a penalty) that's applied to Will saves against trauma and nothing else. This serves one real purpose, that being my revised and expanded dungeon construction system needs to have some kind of mechanical benefit to buying a theater, circus, court jester, or whatever to brighten the mood in the place, so I'm giving it a Composure bonus. There's a lot of happy side effects, though. Classes with low Will saves can catch up to those who have high Will saves, which is good because you'll be making saves against trauma regularly. Classes with low Will saves are virtually required to live in something approaching decadence at higher levels, while classes with high Will saves can be either placid and unshakable regardless of circumstance (Cleric, Monk, etc.) or eerily and inhumanly immune to trauma as their otherwordly power reaches its apex (Wizard, Sorcerer, etc.). It gives a mechanical benefit to having a spouse/kids in the background, which is something that practically everyone wants to have, making it kind of bizarre that adventurers never seem to go for it.

Regardless, here are the Composure modifiers (note that there are going to be a lot more of these attached to base improvements available in the revised and expanded dungeon construction system):

+1 (You've had good food and lodging the majority of nights for the past month)
+1/2/3 (You've been with your loved ones in the past month, how much this is worth is entirely up to you; if you want to be a guy who drowns puppies for a living but still loves his wife and kids more than anything, that actually sounds pretty interesting)
-1/2/3 (Your loved ones are actively in danger, such as being held by your enemies or someone is shooting arrows at them)
+1 for every 5 Leadership points you have or would have if you took the Leadership feat. Probably going to refer to that as "Renown" from here on in.
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Stubbazubba



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:45 pm

Hm...Impressive. Does this penalize characters with a long-lost loved one in their back story? I only mention this because I just spent the last while putting the finishing details on my new char's back story, which does, in fact, revolve around being separated from his significant other for the past 21 years. Actually, I guess that gives me a +5 for the WIL save against that trauma, doesn't it? OK.

The greatest benefit is this also helps you figure out which alignment you really are. Does being loved/respected by your peers sound more encouraging to your char, or does being feared? If neither, neutral. I think a great many people will find themselves to, in fact, be neutral, which is a good thing, in my book. It makes Good and Evil that much more distinguished.

So, according to your Composure mechanic, bread and circuses are the answer. lol! I like that emote; it's Goku...waving an LOL sign...hilarity ensues...

But, seriously, does that mean that we now have a mechanical incentive to drink and chase women in our down-time? I think it's brilliant, doctor! Again, my new char just became mechanically more complex.
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Maldeus



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:54 pm

Ah, now here's some good questions.

It depends on how much the character is focused on the long-lost loved one. If they've accepted the long-lost nature of the loved one, there won't be any effect. If they're the protagonist of a Christopher Nolan movie, there will be. You don't get the +5 "been there, got the t-shirt" Will bonus except against trauma rolls involving the loss of loved ones, though.

Drinking is going to help, yes. I think what it's going to be is you'll make some kind of booze roll to increase your SAN by one. Chasing women, sort of. Qualifying a person as a "loved one" doesn't really require you to have a deep and lasting affection and concern for their well-being, so you could bounce back and forth between various +/-1 lovers, dropping the last one for a new one as soon as she's no longer available (or you get bored). Even shameless rakes have genuine passion for a relationship while it lasts, after all.
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Stubbazubba



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:42 am

Egads! The girl in question is named Mel! That's only one letter off from Mal!

Indeed. The character has been on the trail of said loved one for 21 years, but the trail has been cold for the past 8, and he's more or less moving on with life at this point, though he's still in that transition.

Does Perform give an additional benefit to others for the purpose of relieving Stress, as well?

Let me see if I have this formula down correct-

For each potentially traumatic experience, you make a WIL save against a DC as outlined, modified by your degree of exposure to that trauma. Failure indicates you lose 1 SAN. Your initial and maximum SAN is 10+WIS. Each week you regain an amount of SAN equal to your total Composure*. If your SAN hits 0, roll 1d6 to determine which Attribute is permanently reduced by 1 due to psychosomatic symptoms of PTSD.

*You seem to touch on Composure stuff in the original version, with varying effects based on alignment, which was one of my favorite parts. Are those modifiers still in the new system, or are they replaced with an alignment-neutral scheme based purely on external modifiers, as described in Composure?

Is there a way to undo Traumatization? A hero overcoming a traumatizing experience would be a worthwhile mechanic for story-telling purposes, I would think. Nothing comes to mind right now, but I might make some suggestions later.

Torture, while being very effective at traumatizing people, is not, mechanically, very likely to get them to talk, since Intimidation is opposed primarily based on character level and WIS, and there's only a 1 in 6 chance that pushing a person to the point of traumatizing them will actually make them more likely to be successfully Intimidated. This is realistic, I suppose, since torture is rather hit-and-miss as is, but, then, as a game mechanic, is it really viable except for CE baddies who just want to see you suffer? Of course, the HP effects of torture, combined with the possibility of any permanent Attribute loss, would be enough of an influence on players to make things happen, I suppose. Then it becomes a psychological game, the torturing of the players, more than a mechanical one, torturing the characters.
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Maldeus



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:14 am

Perform will eventually grant a bonus to Composure depending on what level you've got it at, but for now, no, because I haven't got the dungeon creation system figured out, and it'll be based off of that. As far as undoing traumatization, Limited Wish and Wish can both do that for free, actually, which is less heroic than overcoming it through your own will, but that's D&D for you. Some kind of mechanic for overcoming it without magic would definitely be a good idea...I'll tell you if I come up with something.

Torture isn't really something that's likely to come up with regards to the PCs, and was mostly just there to provide a benchmark. I don't think any of us have any solid idea of how traumatizing it is to have your psyche ripped open by a Mind Flayer. Maybe it's just me.

Recovering SAN is currently just one weekly, flat, probably plus one or maybe two more for boozing your worries away (which is probably going to come with some consequences, being not the most healthy way to deal with things). There's going to be ways to increase that besides just drinking, but for now you're unlikely to rack up more than one per week to begin with, unless you're really unlucky with the Will rolls.
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Rowanthepreacher



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PostSubject: Re: Hail, Discordia!   Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:23 pm

I only wish I hadn't designated Wis as my dump stat.
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