Man doesn't break from the swing of a hammer, but from the slow and constant drive of a nail into his skull.
Sup /tg/, I'm here to today to talk about madness, insanity, and all those ticking neuroses that we mistake for individuality. I am not content with Lovecraftian views of madness, where it is some barrier that cracks from too much knowledge and suddenly you're a gibbering mess. Especially in many roleplaying systems where insanity is present, it is treated as an end-state equivalent to death.
I want to try making a small prototype system in which madness is a source of action, not the end of it. Where a character's perverted worldview replaces skills and abilities.
Currently I am trying to formulate all the types of madness that I could tie to one or more actions. Rather than a general "Madness", I want a long list of the savory types that may be lurking in your own skull.
Example, instead of a general social stat, there could be something like Madness: Loneliness, in which a character's need to be around others drives their ability to do so. Yet, it also may also force them towards poor choices, in the name of someone to talk to. More specific social skills could come from other madnesses, such as diplomatic ability from Madness: Approval-Starved and lying ability from Madness: Paranoid.
Each Madness is like a beast. The larger the beast, the more it can do for you, but the more food it demands. The more you feed it, the larger it gets. It is thus both a craving and a means to fulfill itself. You may attempt to force the beast to hibernate, become smaller, but to do so is never a pleasant experience.
That is what I have in mind. Where I task you all know is to help me in developing a list of potential madnesses, each one in terms of what it does and what it demands. Don't limit yourselves, no ideas are bad ideas.
So as not to be purely selfish, let's also perhaps chat about the portrayal of mental issues in games and stories. Your thoughts?
>slow and constant drive of a nail into his skull
It's an idea. Sins are close to what I'm getting at, in that they too feed themselves. My only problem is I'd like a lot more than 7, and having a "root" for every madness isn't neccisarily the route I want to go. I gave Lonliness as an example general social, and then Approval-Seeking and Paranoia from there to be more specific, but Approval-Seeking could easily be replaced with Lonliness for diplomacy without a general skill. In fact, now that I think about it, I like that idea better.
Though I may also need more poetic names. "Loneliness" and "Paranoia" are well-translated, but not particularly interesting sounding.
I have a good idea for it in my mind but it kept evading. Are you going to use 'mask of sanity' too?
It is used to masked your insanity in the community.
It is originally used by serial killers to mask themselves as 'an upstanding citizen' to avoid being caught.
For example: your neighbor loves to adopt puppies, have a trophies in basketball and always help elders crossing the street. Your mind will create an image that he is a good guy.
Or the simplest one: Your loving mother is a serial killer. It doesnt seems true right? How could she kill others when she used to tell you stories and kiss you good night.
TL:DR: Pretending to be a perfect social butterfly
Since Madness is a sickness in this 'normal' society and hate irregularity, you must use a mask in order to hide your sickness or you will get institutionalized.
Fear is also a Madness and a basic one too
"Persona", the junguian archetype. We all pretend somewhat in public, behaving differently.
The extreme, insane(?) version of this is when your persona is more important than yourself, like a famous actor seeking constant aproval and fame.
The most common junguian archetypes could perhaps work for you. Besides persona, we have, for example:
Pariah - being an outcast, either by choice or not.
sovereign - guiding and leading others, the extreme being tiranny and lust for power.
hero - someone which defends others, going as far as stunting the development of someone else so that you may be their savior.
Ah! I remember now.
We should use impulse as a way for madness to manifest.
Just like Dexter Morgan who refer his Madness as a dark passenger, If he did not satisfy his dark passenger , he would likely to kill innocents
'Control-freak' could be an extreme of the 'god' archetype, perhaps the 'sovereign' or the 'mother' (archetypes are independent from the person's gender)
Another aspect from junguian psychology which we actually used in my group's was the complex. The more a person represses a particular archetype of herself, the more it acquires independence and tries to emerge. This could become a full-fledged second personality, or outbursts of "crazy"/"OOC"/"psychotic" behavior.
The differences of D&D wizards and sorcerers could be extreme outcomes or expressions of animus and anima; man and woman, rational and instinct.
A paladin from my group always rode and fought on mounts, and had problems dealing with his "evil" selfishness and barbaric tendencies.
He confronted his inner beast, but instead of integrating it into himself (the beast was too strong and independent by now), freed and then tamed it. He acquired the power to physically manifest it as a mount to fight on.
I think some self-study of Jung could benefit anyone trying to improve himself.
I wouldn't use the internet for that. It's usually superficial, mixed with mysticism (although Jung himself dealt with it, he did it better) and new age.
For example, sinchronicity, meaningful coincidences like thinking about someone and this person calling you, don't have to be evidence of "we-are-all-one" as some sites do. The important is to decipher the meaning of the coincidence to yourself.
Jung discussed about possible, detectable ways that made this possible with Wolfgang Pauli when the latter was his pacient, but I never saw anything about them reaching any conclusion.
Are you joking? I can't tell.
Wolfgang Pauli IS this guy. The anedoct is that his coleagues' lab equipment always behaved oddly or broke when Pauli appeared.
>Pauli effect: a functioning device and Wolfgang Pauli may not occupy the same room
It would be nice if the could be something like a functional sanity subsystem for 3.x/PF, beyond the "hit yourself, hit others, do nothing" confusion thing.
I would agree with something more like a gradual slow paced/slow healing attrition...maybe it starts small, like granting susceptibility to certain emotion subtype spells and ending in something more crippling but also slighlty rewarding like going berserk or going dellusional and avoiding will saves.
I don't like what OP is doing. It's a convoluted mess throwing together terms without equal footing, and it is all based on a complete misunderstanding of what OP calls Lovecraftian. Kind of like a kid who doesn't like their condiment and sets out to get the right ketchup without any money, means of transport, or idea where the store is.
But I do agree that DRYH basically does exactly what OP wants, although much less pompously.