S k y r P a b c k l d o o d b
p a g e : 3
O S k y r P a b c k l d o o d
The Break Counter:
The Break Counter is a simple modification to thed20 rule set based on the truism that sooner or later,everyone breaks under torture. Once the Break Counter’s starting position is set by the initial checks,it can never move backward.... only forward to theinevitable conclusion of the interrogation. The best atortured prisoner can hope for is to delay his or her breakdown with additional Fortitude saves, delayingthe interrogator until help arrives or the interrogator moves on in search of easier prey.When the Break Counter reaches 20, the prisoner succumbs to the torture and reveals one piece of secretinformation. When NPCs are tortured, the GameMaster decides what information they reveal, andusually the first revelations are the most innocuous andleast tactically important. Tortured player charactersmust answer a specific question truthfully, which isasked before the torture session begins.Once a victim succumbs to torture, he or she is morelikely to fail again. The Break Counter is initially a‘to-20’ counter. After the victim breaks the first time,the Break Counter becomes a ‘to-19’ counter, meaningthe Break Counter must only reach 19 for the character to break again. Each time the tortured character revealsa piece of information, the Break Counter lowers byone, down to a minimum of 1. At this point, the pris-oner is an emotionally scarred wreck, who cannotmuster any further resistance to his tormentors. Oncescarred by torture, a character’s Break Counter cannever be reset.A prisoner can intentionally choose to reveal thedesired Intel, hoping to spare himself the potentiallycrippling effects of the torture. The shame of doing socan also cripple a character. If the prisoner intention-ally reveals information, he or she must make a Willsave (
DC 20 + the interrogator’s ranks in Intimidate
)or have their Break Counter reduced by one, just as if they had succumbed to a torture session.The prisoner’s Break Counter fills during a torturesession. However, if the prisoner has a chance to rest between torture sessions, the Break Counter empties,and a new torture session must begin. At least 6 to 8hours of rest is required between torture sessions. If the prisoner is not allowed to rest, or if passive torturemethods like sleep deprivation or expose to continualloud noises, the Break Counter does not empty.Effectively, the victim is being exposed to one long,continual torture session, not several discrete sessions.
Torture leaves scars that never fully heal. Even if a prisoner resists his interrogator’s demands, never onceletting a secret slip, he may still suffer permanentharm. Each of the torture methods described below isunfortunately used by several real world governments,and offers interrogators a circumstance bonus on hisIntimidate check. In addition, the victim of the torturemust make a separate Fortitude save, unrelated to theopposed torture checks which fill the Break Counter,to avoid suffering lasting, possibly fatal harm.
If a victim breaks as a result of torture, he or she mightdevelop severe phobias or post traumatic stress disor-ders from the experience. Even years after the fact, avictim might suffer debilitating flashbacks from their horrible experiences. Common triggers of their phobicflashbacks are listed for each torture.If a torture victim experiences extreme stress, andencounters one of his phobic triggers, he must makea Will save (
DC 12 + number of times his Break Counter has filled
) or become panicked for 1d4minutes. Success indicates the victim is merely shakenfor the duration. The GM may activate the character’s phobia at any time, but the torture victim gains atemporary action point (
which must be spent within 24hours
) each time the game master does so.The most common type of phobic trigger is encoun-tering someone with a resemblance (
either physi-cally, or in mannerisms
) to their torturer, being in aroom similar to where the torture took place or beingtortured again. These symptoms may apply to anyonewho has been tortured, by any method.
Strangulation, suffocation, slow hanging and drowning:
Strangulation and suffocation are some of the mostcommonly used torture methods, inflicting primalterror on a victim without lasting harm or obviousforensic traces. Bringing a victim to the point of unconscious or the edge of death and than letting thatvictim breathe again can break even the strongest will.Strangulation and other breath control methods arealso incredibly cheap and easy to administer torturemethods, requiring nothing more expensive than alength of rope, a pail of water or a plastic bag, or eventhe torturer’s own hands.
+1. The intimidation bonus is+1d4 if the victim has previously been choked into