Monday, 11 April 2011

I is for Insanity

If you're visiting ACD from the Blogging A to Z, welcome. Moreover, you may start quizzically wondering about the language I use through out my posts. As I'm about to talk a lot about game play, let's cover the use of the word mechanic:

A game mechanic is broad when spoken in the context of a game's core mechanic, or more focused in the context of subsystem, like Fate and Fortune or Insanity.

There are many players of WFRP 2e that would, and do, draw straight lines between the Insanity mechanics of WFRP and the mechanics of madness found in the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu. It is not an undeserving correlation. In CoC, the "inside joke" is for characters to go insane and die, often in one game session. Such an outcome is almost the goal of CoC game play, even if joked about.

The core rules could not expresss it more succinctly:

Through the course of their lives, adventurers can count on being stabbed, chopped, slashed, burned, shot, impaled, mangled, and mutilated. They can also count on be exposed to hideous mutants, graphic scenes of horror and carnage, torture, unholy rituals, vile creatures, and still other more disturbing images of Chaos. After all that, it's no wonder that so many of them go insane.
Having a character go insane is a roleplaying challenge for many players. Being a rather an unapologetic, politically incorrect soul, I'll offer only this disclaimer: WFRP Insanity should never diminish, or trivialize, real world psychological problems--for an in-depth discussion on this topic I recommended Fear the Boot #61. Insanity in WFRP is stereotypical, wildly unscientific, and fun. Nothing more. Nothing less. Do not make it more than it is.

Nothing more expresses WFRP Insanity than actual game accounts and for that we turn to Ravendil Shadowstar and Martin Aulenbach (for a less organic, but gamemaster discretion).

Ravendil seemed to be a magnet for Insanity. All the result of bad rolls. Presented a horror of greenskin brutality or Sigmarite justice, Ravendil would fail a test. Delicious character development. At the campaign's haitus, he was at 3 points. Martin on the other hand was at 4 points, choosing to risk the temptation of reading the detailed accounts of an exorcism. Martin's options were many, but he sought to advance to Exorcist as a Sigmarite priest. The advancement was afforded to him by allowing research into accounts of exorcism in the Old World. As I recall, I presented the player with a number of options of various costs of experience points or penalty in Insanity. Martin choose Insanity. Double yum.

Go forth and embrace the roleplaying challenge of Insanity, then: have fun!

Posted by caffeinated at 7:00 AM in d10