Sunday, March 15, 2015

Quirks and Sanity


Introduction

I began down this path working on my Heresies Without Number kitbash of Stars Without Number and Dark Heresy. I wanted a fairly simple but still play-affecting sanity system, as well as a way to inject some 40k flavor into characters from the get go. So I turned to two sources: Darkest Dungeon and Arnold K.

The sanity rules are pretty much a reskin of this post by Arnold. I changed the name of "insanity points" to "stress points" because I like the inclusive nature of covering everything from cosmic horror to extreme or constant mundane stress.

Quirks are meant to be a simple way to impart unique character to the acolytes, as well as to differentiate them more than merely their skills and careers. Quirks are gained at character creation, at certain levels, and as the result of breakdowns. They have a rules impact so that players and GMs will remember them and pay attention to them, but their primary goal is to be create a sense of character. They should not be used as an attempt to optimize or game the system - there are much better rules systems for that sort of play than this one.

I got a list of Darkest Dungeon quirks from the Darkest Dungeon Wiki, many of the quirks are Talents from Dark Heresy, and I supplemented with some traits from Mouse Guard and Torchbearer, as well as some disorders from Dark Heresy and the D20 version of Call of Cthluhu.

I think quirks and the sanity rules link up reasonably well, and there are some different ways you could use one, the other, or both together.

How to Use This Blog Post

Now, of course, you can do whatever the hell you want with this blog post, but here is what I see as the most likely ways to make use of it:
  • Use as one piece of the more-or-less complete Heresies Without Number rules I'm putting together. This is what I intend to do, and lots of the specific quirk rules refer to rules changes I'm using there (like having HP split into "blood" and "guts")
  • Use as a reasonably drop-in ready set of sanity rules for any D&D-alike game, or really any game with a "Willpower" equivalent type stat. If using this, please note that the stress points are scaled to a D20 roll and relevant stats - you might want to multiply everything by 5 if you use a D100 system like BRP
  • Use just Arnold's awesome sanity rules and a more freeform system for the effects
  • Use just the quirks for more interesting character creation
  • Use the names of quirks without the rules as a resource for either positive or negative character traits in combination with some other rules (potions, spells, NPCs, whatever)

Stress and Madness

Many of the things acolytes face are not meant to be experienced or understood by humanity, and these are represented by Stress points and negative quirks.


Gaining Stress Points
Whenever characters see something terrible or confront an awful truth, they gain stress points. Generally stress points will be between 1 and 4 for a single event. Characters gain 1 fewer point when they’ve encountered something similar before.


Stress points may be gained from prolonged or especially extreme exposure to more mundane stressors like hunger, darkness, or danger.


Testing for Breakdowns
Every time characters gain new stress points, they roll 1d20 + willpower modifier. If the result is is equal to or under their new stress point total, they suffer a breakdown. The nature of the freakout may be determined by existing character quirks, but by default assume catatonia or a weeping fit. If the result is higher, they face no negative consequences beyond being slightly shaken or disturbed, but the points remain.


Gaining New Negative Quirks
When characters complete their breakdown, they make a willpower test. If successful, they face no further negative consequences, but the stress points remain. If failed, they gain a new negative quirk, which can either be determined randomly, or worked out with the GM to fit the character and the circumstances of the breakdown.


Recovering Stress Points
Stress points may be recovered by doing normal, human things - like getting drunk, relaxing, enjoying good meals, visiting family, or the like. The effectiveness of different activities should be based on what the character would find cathartic or relieving. One point may be recovered per week.


Minimum Stress
Half the value of a character’s historic high stress point score becomes their new minimum value - their stress can never drop below this, as they have been permanently damaged by their experience.


Quirks

Gaining Quirks
Character Creation
At character creation, characters gain three quirks: one from their background, one positive from the starting quirks list, and one negative from the starting quirks list. The default method is to randomly determine all quirks, but at the GM’s discretion they can instead be chosen by the players in order to meet a particular character concept.


Stress and Breakdowns
After characters suffer a breakdown, they must test their willpower to see if they gain a new negative quirk from their experience. If they fail their willpower test, they either roll a new random negative quirk form the negative quirks in the In Play Quirks list, or agree on a specific negative quirk with the GM that fits the circumstances and character (such as gaining a Fear of Xenoi after a breakdown causing encounter with a Tyranid).


Levelling Up
Every 3rd level (3rd, 6th, 9th, et cetera) a character may gain a new positive quirk from the In Play Quirks list, either randomly, or based on their actions and character since the last positive quirk was gained. The player in question and the GM should come to a mutually agreeable decision on this if it’s not obvious.


Duplicate Quirks
If characters gain the same quirk more than once, either increase its severity or re-roll, as makes the most sense in the circumstances.


Losing Quirks
At the GM’s discretion, certain quirks may be lost, whether intentionally or not, through the course of play. Generally speaking, the system is meant to reflect slow breakdown in the face of unrelenting horror and stress, but if a more heroic campaign is desired or if circumstances are particularly apt, both positive and negative quirks can be overcome and removed from a character. This is left as an exercise in GM judgement, though players can of course make clear which quirks they may wish to explore in depth and potentially overcome.


Creating New Quirks
The quirks lists, both positive and negative, are far from exhaustive, and players should feel free to suggest new quirks to their GMs to fit the things that have happened to their characters, while GMs should create any quirks that better reflect the particular challenges and triumphs of their campaigns. The perks, flaws, or traits rules of other games, especially those dealing with horror and insanity, should be invaluable sources of inspiration. Quirks would also be an excellent way to define a Xenos player character or NPC.


Alternate Approaches
If you like the idea of quirks, but not how they are presented, here are some alternate approaches to consider:
  • Use the names of quirks, but not rules. Simply treat them as reminders to player and GM about how that character should be played and might react to situations
  • Use the names of the quirks, but instead of a specific rule for every quirk, simply grant advantage on related rolls for positive quirks, and disadvantage for negative quirks. This will take some interpretation for the less obviously applicable quirks, and in practice might end up more like the first approach above.
  • Combine positive and negative quirks into one list, and use one or both methods for gaining new quirks to represent differing reactions to stress or ongoing experience in the dark underbelly of the Imperium. For example, combining lists and only gaining quirks from stress might represent a game where some people respond positively to stress rather than negatively, and differently depending on circumstances, while combining lists and only gaining quirks every 3rd level would show that experience is a double edged sword that provides benefits as well as debilities


Starting Quirks
Positive


Positive
Roll
Name
Effect
1
Clotter
-1 to all Blood damage taken
2
Clutch Hitter
When guts reduced to 0, increase critical hit range by 1
3
Deadly
+1 to Critical hit range on all attacks
4
Eagle Eye
+1 to Critical hit range on ranged attacks
5
Evasive
+1 Guts
6
Fated
Once per session, reroll a missed to hit roll
7
Gift of the Healer
Recover 2 extra blood per day of complete rest
8
Hard Noggin
-2 damage from stun attacks
9
Hard Skinned
-1 damage from all attacks
10
Improved Balance
Advantage on any Dexterity rolls for balance
11
Last Gasp
When Guts equal to zero, +1 initiative
12
Light Sleeper
No penalties for being woken up
13
Lurker
Do +2 damage on melee attacks made from the dark
14
Meditator
Recover 1 extra stress point per week if significant time spent meditating
15
Natural Eye
+1 to hit on ranged attacks
16
Natural Swing
+1 to hit on melee attacks
17
On Guard
+1 initiative and +1 AC for first round when surprised
18
Precision Striker
+1 to critical hit range on melee attacks
19
Quick Reflexes
+1 initiative at all times
20
Quickdraw
+4 initiative first round of combat
21
Resilient
Recover 1 extra stress per week
22
Robust
Advantage on toughness checks to resist disease
23
Second Wind
+2 Damage when Guts equals zero
24
Slugger
+2 Damage in Melee
25
Steady
Advantage on Breakdown Checks
26
Stout
Recover 1 extra Blood per day
27
Thick Blooded
Advantage on Toughness checks against poison
28
Tough
+1 Blood
29
Unerring
+1 Damage to Ranged Attacks
30
Unyielding
+2 to Toughness checks against death


Negative


Negative
Roll
Name
Effect
1
Bilious Personality
Suspicious, angry yet very watchful and aware.
2
Cardinal Personality
Seeks balance in all things, yet often cannot choose a path forward.
3
Choleric Personality
Active, takes charge, yet easy to anger.
4
Fixed Personality
Solid, unyielding and definitive in all things.
5
Melancholic Personality
Thoughtful, introspective and prone to depression.
6
Mutable Personality
Unpredictable, undisciplined and rebellious.
7
Phlegmatic Personality
Practical, careful, yet very reserved.
8
Sanguine Personality
Confident, optimistic, yet prone to dreams and whimsy.
9
Supine Personality
Loyal, devout yet easily led.
10
Anemic
Take 1 extra blood damage whenever blood damaged
11
Bad Humours
-1 Blood
12
Calm
-1 Damage first round of combat
13
Clumsy
-1 Guts
14
Curious
Obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge.
15
Diurnal
-1 Initiative in the dark
16
Emperor Fearing
Can only relieve stress through prayer and religious activity
17
Flawed Release
-1 to critical hit range on ranged attacks
18
Fragile
-1 Blood
19
Gambler
Can only relieve stress by gambling
20
Hagiomania
Obsessed with achieving sainthood.
21
Hemophilia
#ERROR!
22
Lazy Eye
-1 to hit with ranged attacks
23
Light Sensitive
-1 damage in bright light
24
Love Interest
Can only relieve stress making romantic overtures to your love interest
25
Nocturnal
-1 initiative in bright light
26
Sickly
Disadvantage on toughness checks against disease
27
Slow Reflexes
-1 initiative
28
Slowdraw
-2 initiative first round of combat
29
Soft
-1 Guts
30
Thin Blooded
Disadvantage on toughness checks against poison


In Play Quirks
Positive


Positive
Roll
Name
Effect
1
Air of Authority
Advantage on Command tests
2
Armour of Contempt
Advantage on malignancy tests from gaining corruption points
3
Berserk Charge
Advantage on melee to hit rolls in first round of combat if you were able to charge
4
Bitter
Advantage to resist persuade rolls
5
Close-Minded
You are unswayed by new or heretical thoughts. Advantage on willpower tests against those espousing them.
6
Clotter
-1 to all Blood damage taken
7
Clutch Hitter
When guts reduced to 0, increase critical hit range by 1
8
Crack Shot
Add +1 Blood damage when damaging Blood with ranged attacks
9
Crippling Strike
Option to take disadvantage on a melee to hit roll, if attack hits, counts as critical
10
Crushing Blow
Add +1 damage to melee attacks
11
Dark Soul
Add willpower modifier to malignancy tests
12
Deadeye Shot
You may take disadvantage on ranged attacks, and if attack hits, it counts as critical
13
Deadly
+1 to Critical hit range on all attacks
14
Decadence
You are extremely resistant to the ill effects of drugs and alcohol
15
Die Hard
Advantage on Death Saves
16
Disturbing Voice
Advantage on Intimidate rolls, disadvantage on friendly persuade rolls
17
Eagle Eye
+1 to Critical hit range on ranged attacks
18
Evasive
+1 Guts
19
Extrovert
Advantage on persuade rolls with strangers
20
Fated
Once per session, reroll a missed to hit roll
21
Favoured by the Warp
Advantage on Perils of the Warp Tests
22
Fearless
Immune to fear effects
23
Foresight
Once per session, gain advantage on any Lore test.
24
Frenzy
Enter a psychotic rage to gain an extra melee attack per round, but with some chance to attack unintended targets
25
Gift of the Healer
Recover 2 extra blood per day of complete rest
26
Good Reputation†
You are well thought of within a certain, specific group. This may grant bonuses to certain rolls
27
Hard Noggin
-2 damage from stun attacks
28
Hard Skinned
-1 damage from all attacks
29
Hard Target
Opponents have disadvantage on ranged attacks against you when you run
30
Hardy
Heal 1 extra Blood per day
31
Hatred of Chaos
+2 Damage and Advantage on Breakdown checks caused by Chaotic Creatures
32
Hatred of Heretics
+2 Damage and Advantage on Breakdown checks caused by Heretics
33
Hatred of Mankind
+2 Damage and Advantage on Breakdown checks caused by Humans
34
Hatred of Xenoi
+2 Damage and Advantage on Breakdown checks caused by Xenoi
35
Hidden Depths
You are surprisingly insightful. Once per session, automatically succeed in a Lore test
36
Hip Shooting
You may run and shoot with disadavantage
37
Honorable
Advantage on Breakdown checks if breaking down would endanger a promise you have made
38
Improved Balance
Advantage on any Dexterity rolls for balance
39
Insanely Faithful
Advantage on breakdown rolls against heretics and chaotic beings
40
Into the Jaws of Hell
Subordinates have +1 morale
41
Iron Discipline
Advantage on command tests with subordinates
42
Iron Jaw
May make a toughness check to overcome stunning
43
Jaded
Take no stress from mundane, non-supernatural situations or horrors
44
Keen Hearing
Your hearing is extremely sharp. Hear things others can't, and advantage for any hearing-based awareness tests
45
Keen Smell
You can smell things others can't. Advantage on smell based awareness tests. Extremely sensitive to unpleasant smells.
46
Last Gasp
When Guts equal to zero, +1 initiative
47
Light Sleeper
No penalties for being woken up
48
Lightning Attack
Gain an additional melee attack per round
49
Lightning Reflexes
Add +2 to initiative rolls
50
Litany of Hate
Extend the benefits of a Hatred effect to all friendly characters within earshot
51
Lurker
Do +2 damage on melee attacks made from the dark
52
Marksman
Advantage on extremely long range to hit rolls
53
Master Orator
Advantage on persuade rolls when you have a large audience
54
Meditator
Recover 1 extra stress point per week if significant time spent meditating
55
Mental Fortress
Advantage to resist mental attacks and interrogation
56
Mimic
You can copy voices you havce heard
57
Natural Bearings
You always know the cardinal directions (or other fixed point of reference) and are almost never lost
58
Natural Eye
+1 to hit on ranged attacks
59
Natural Swing
+1 to hit on melee attacks
60
Nerves of Steel
Advantage on breakdown tests where stress is caused by physical danger
61
Nymphomania
Recover 1 extra stress per week if you can engage in sexual activity
62
On Guard
+1 initiative and +1 AC for first round when surprised
63
Photomania
Instantly calm down from breakdowns if brought into bright light and out of immediate danger
64
Precise Blow
Increase melee critical hit range by 1
65
Precision Striker
+1 to critical hit range on melee attacks
66
Quick Reflexes
+1 initiative at all times
67
Quickdraw
+4 initiative first round of combat
68
Rapid Reaction
Make a willpower check to avoid being surprised
69
Rapid Reload
Reduce time to reload weapons
70
Resilient
Recover 1 extra stress per week
71
Robust
Advantage on toughness checks to resist disease
72
Second Wind
+2 Damage when Guts equals zero
73
Sharpshooter
Extend the critical hit range by 1 on ranged attacks
74
Slayer of Chaos
+2 to hit and increase critical range by 1 against chaotic beings
75
Slayer of Heretics
+2 to hit and increase critical range by 1 against heretics
76
Slayer of Mankind
+2 to hit and increase critical range by 1 against humans
77
Slayer of Xenoi
+2 to hit and increase critical range by 1 against Xenoi
78
Slugger
+2 Damage in Melee
79
Sound Constitution
+1 Blood
80
Sprint
You can run faster than normal for short periods of time
81
Steady
Advantage on Breakdown Checks
82
Step Aside
Improve AC by 2 in Melee if you forgo attacking
83
Stoic
Advantage on breakdown rolls brought about by mundane stressors
84
Stout
Recover 1 extra Blood per day
85
Street Fighting
Advantage on melee to hit rolls involving knives or improvised weapons
86
Strong Minded
Advantage on willpower tests to resist psychic powers
87
Sure Strike
Modify critical hit rolls up or down by 1, your choice.
88
Suspicious
Advantage on willpower tests to resist persuasion.
89
Swift Attack
You can attack twice in melee
90
Takedown
You can choose to replace all damage from a melee attack to knock your opponent prone
91
Thick Blooded
Advantage on Toughness checks against poison
92
Total Recall
You can remember trivial facts and minor details with uncanny accuracy
93
Tough
+1 Blood
94
True Grit
Critical hit injury rolls against you take -1
95
Unerring
+1 Damage to Ranged Attacks
96
Unremarkable
You are easily forgettable
97
Unshakeable Faith
Advantage on stress rolls that involve fear
98
Unyielding
+2 to Toughness checks against death
99
Wall of Steel
Improve AC by an extra 2 if you fight defensively in Melee
100
Warrior of Light
+2 Melee damage in bright light


Negative
Negative
Roll
Name
Effect
1
Ablutomania
Obsessed with cleanliness. Disadvantage on Breakdown checks involving filth
2
Alcoholism
Heavy drinker. Can only recover stress by getting very drunk.
3
Anemic
Take 1 extra blood damage whenever blood damaged
4
Anxious
Suffer anxiety over even minor stresses. More likely to gain stress than normal
5
Automatonophobia
Believe humans are actually soulless robots. Take 1 extra stress in stress inducing situations involving human enemies
6
Bad Gambler
Disadvantage on gambling rolls
7
Bad Humours
-1 Blood
8
Bloodthirsty
Fascinated with injury, wounds, and torture.
9
Bulimic
Heal 1 fewer Blood per day, and half Guts from eating
10
Callous
Lack of empathy and feeling for fellow man
11
Calm
-1 Damage first round of combat
12
Chemical Addiction
Addicted to some drug stronger than alcohol
13
Claustrophobia
Severe fear of enclosed spaces.
14
Clumsy
-1 Guts
15
Compulsion
Character must frequently perform some action and becomes extremely agitated if prevented
16
Compulsive
Suffers intense need to do specific actions.
17
Curious
Obsessed with the acquisition of knowledge.
18
Dacnomania
Obsessed with killing.
19
Dark Temptation
Prone to investigating Forbidden Lore
20
Dead Comrade
Hears and/or sees a dead comrade, who often offers rebukes and criticism
21
Delusion
Holds and acts on an erroneous belief about self or the world
22
Demonomania
Believes self possessed by demons
23
Demonophobia
Disadvantage on breakdown checks caused by demons
24
Deviant Tastes
Socially unacceptable appetites, not welcome in brothels
25
Dispomania
Intense craving for alcohol. Will go to great lengths to seek it out.
26
Diurnal
-1 Initiative in the dark
27
Egomania
Obsessed with self-worship.
28
Emperor Fearing
Can only relieve stress through prayer and religious activity
29
Enlightened
Will only relieve stress through meditation
30
Explosive
Frequent outbursts of violence and aggression
31
Faithless
Cannot relieve stress through prayer or other religious action
32
Fear Of Chaos
Disadvantage on breakdown checks caused by chaotic beings
33
Fear of Heretics
Disadvantage on breakdown checks caused by heretics
34
Fear Of Insects
Extereme fear of insects, arthropods, and those alien creatures reminiscent of them
35
Fear of Mankind
Disadvantage on breakdown checks caused by humans
36
Fear Of The Dead
Extreme fear of corpses and death
37
Fear of Xenos
Disadvantage on breakdown checks caused by Xenoi
38
Flagellant
Can only relieve stress by self flaggellation
39
Flashbacks
Vivid hallucinations of past traumatic events
40
Flawed Release
-1 to critical hit range on ranged attacks
41
Fragile
-1 Blood
42
Gambler
Can only relieve stress by gambling
43
Guilty Conscience
Bears the crushing guilt of deeds real and imagined.
44
Hagiomania
Obsessed with achieving sainthood.
45
Hemophilia
+1 to all blood damage taken
46
Hieromania
Experiences religious visions and delusions.
47
Horrific Nightmares
Terrible dreams, trouble sleeping
48
Hylomania
Obsessed with material things.
49
Hypochondria
Often suffer from imagined illnesses in order to gain attention. Follow rules for disease, without risk of actual death
50
Invulnerability
Believes self unable to suffer harm, either from a specific source, or at all
51
Kleptomaniac
Prone to stealing Items
52
Known Cheat
Not welcome with gamblers that know your reputation
53
Lazy Eye
-1 to hit with ranged attacks
54
Light Sensitive
-1 damage in bright light
55
Love Interest
Can only relieve stress making romantic overtures to your love interest
56
Lygophobia
Disadvantage on Breakdown Checks in the dark
57
Megalomania
Delusion of own's power and superiority, obsessed with exercise of power over others
58
Mercurial
You frequently change your mind and have a hard time sticking to a consistent plan of action
59
Misses the Spot
-1 to critical hit range
60
Monophobia
Fear of being alone. Disadvantage on breakdown checks while alone
61
Necromania
Fascinated with corpses.
62
Nervous
Disadvantage on all breakdown checks
63
Nervous Tic
When stressed or nervous, suffer a specific involuntary twitch
64
Nocturnal
-1 initiative in bright light
65
Obsession
Character fixates on particular topic and has difficulty not thinking or referring to it
66
Off Guard
-2 initiative and -2 AC first round when surprised
67
Panicky
Disadvantage on willpower checks to remain calm
68
Paranoia
Delusions of hostile attention and action from specific or general entities
69
Paranormania
Obsessed with the paranormal.
70
Pathological Liar
Will frequently lie, even when it is disadvantageous. Advantage on Persuade rolls involving lies, must pass willpower check to avoid lying when under stress
71
Phengophobia
Disadvantage on breakdown checks made in direct sunlight
72
Plutomania
Manic for money.
73
Resolution
Will not drink and cannot relieve stress by doing so
74
Righteousness
Believes in rightness of own actions no matter what actual compromises are made or costs are paid
75
Ruins Phobe
Disadvantage on breakdown checks in ruins
76
Ruminator
Relieve 1 point of stress every other week of stress relieving activity
77
Selective Amnesia
Cannot remember traumatic events, will not believe others about them
78
Self-Mortification
Character compulsively damages own flesh
79
Shaky
-1 Damage to ranged attacks
80
Shell Shock
Distant, emotionally deadened, nightmares. More likely to take stress from going into dangerous situations
81
Shocker
+1 damage taken from stun attacks
82
Sickly
Disadvantage on toughness checks against disease
83
Sleep Walking
While sleeping, will occasionally get up and move around, even in potentially dangerous situations
84
Slow Reflexes
-1 initiative
85
Slowdraw
-2 initiative first round of combat
86
Soft
-1 Guts
87
Stress Eater
When stress is over minimum value, eat compulsively
88
Thanatophobia
Disadvantage on breakdown checks when Guts equals 0
89
The Flesh Is Weak!
Character blames flesh for failings and weakness, and will desire to replace it with improvements like cybernetics
90
The Yips
-1 to hit ranged attacks
91
Thin Blooded
Disadvantage on toughness checks against poison
92
Tippler
Can only relieve stress by drinking
93
Tither
Donates large amounts of money to the church. -1 to all Patronage checks
94
Tuckered Out
-1 Damage when Guts equals 0
95
Unquiet Mind
Cannot relieve stress by contemplation or meditation
96
Weak Grip
-1 to critical hit range in melee
97
Weak Grip on Life
Disadvantage on Death Saves
98
Winded
-1 Initiative when Guts equals 0
99
Witness
Cannot relieve stress by prayer or religious activity after seeing disturbing behavior
100
Zoophobia
Disadvantage on breakdown checks caused by animalistic creatures