Advanced Dungeons&Dragons 2nd Edition Rules Supplement

Gradual Loss of Sanity

Gradual Loss of Sanity There are rules covering insanity for AD&D but most of them deal with a mindshattering magical effect or monstrous encounter as the cause. There wasn't really an established table for gradual insanity. This is a fairly simple system for dealing with gradual insanity in Dungeons & Dragons. Under this system the onset is gradual as your sanity erodes over time. As this occurs you become more susceptible to episodes and these episodes become more severe. Once the character is afflicted with madness they start with their sanity at 100%, each time the character is exposed to a trigger the player must roll. If the player fails the roll (rolling over their characters current rating) the character has an episode (roll for the particular effect) and their total sanity percentage drops by 1 (or more at the DM's discretion). Triggers should be determined in advance by the GM, something like an intelligence or wisdom check, for the afflicted character. Stage 1: Onset (100% to66%) 1d6 – These episodes are short, only a few seconds in duration, and usually not too traumatic. At this point there is more than enough sanity to rationalize what is going on as impossible and due to another factor (lack of sleep, stress, or magic). The outward effects on the character are not readily noticed except by close friends who may just think they need a break or to focus a bit more. Stage 1: Onset (1d6) Roll 1 2 3 4 5 6 Inanimate objects appear to bleed. Bits of conversation or entire sentences may be replaced with garbled speech. People appear covered in swarms of roaches which quickly disperse leaving no trace. Lights just outside of periphory vision or hurried whispers which fade from a direction. Fingers or hands on people appear monstrous or insectile for a moment, then normal again. Eyes appear solid black or white then quickly revert to normal again once the person blinks.


Stage 2: Increasing Instability (65% to 33%) 1d8 - These episodes can be a few minutes in duration and are much more vivid. Reality has become very distorted at this point and it is difficult for the character to tell what is in their head and what is really happening around them. Everyone around the character perceives this as just them being very stressed and needing a long rest. Stage 2: Increasing Instability (1d8) Roll 1 2 3


Flesh appears to melt like wax, leaving a gross distortion of features. Those affected do not seem to notice this is happening to them. Voices become garbled or switched entirely. (A friend starts speaking with the voice of a party nemesis) Hallucinations during which the qualities of the surrounding environment are greatly distorted usually to extremes. (a dark cellar may seem as forboding as an ancient crypt full of undead, while a simple firelit room may seem as warm and inviting as a holiday celebration with friends.) People have faint auras. These auras aren't very bright or overpowering, and they have no discernable meaning or bearing. They just simply are.


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The faces of fallen comrades, enemies, or deceased relatives may appear and dissapear in crowds. Exposed skin seems badly decomposed or corpse-like. Skin may also decompose rapidly in front of the character, only to suddenly be fully restored a few moments later. Hushed conversation or sounds such as light scraping across stone can be heard just out of earshot from a definite direction. Swarms of some insect (ants, roaches, maggots) appear to crawl on the character and either melt or burrow painlessly into their skin.

Stage 3: Insanity (32%-1%) 1d12 - These episodes are severe and can last from a few moments up to a few hours. They can also stack with lesser episodes. The character's mind is frayed and their sanity is almost gone. The character's waking hours are spent wondering if this is all just a really bad nightmare. There is no hiding it, the character's outward appearance is such that those around them can tell something is deeply wrong with just a glance. Stage 3: Insanity (1d12) Roll 1


People are percieved as hostile by the character. Regardless of their tone, their words come across as clipped, sharp, or that they are hiding something from the character. Their manner is always confrontational, condescending, or both. Everyone, from the gaurdsman who is simply making his rounds to the merchant in the square, even trusted party members all seem to harbor some ill will towards them. Hushed conversation is overhear during which the character can make out a familiar name or two, or sounds such as metal scraping across stone can be heard fairly close by from a definite direction. People or small crowds decompose into undead in a matter of moments before the character's eyes. There is a 50% chance the character will perceive them as hostile based off their actions. Random individuals sometimes appear as slain enemies to the character. Imagine haggling with a merchant over the price of goods, and when the character goes to pay him, they find themself handing coins to that bandit with face tattoos that they killed a few weeks ago. The character will notice random non descript individuals in crowds who will then begin to pick at their skin then peel away large chunks, finally removing large strips at which point: • 01-25% - Patches of scales, chitin, or hide can clearly be seen beneath as they quickly wander off. • 26-50% - Their skin pulls away as their body collapses into a pile of fine dust which is quickly scattered by the wind, or a puddle of water which quickly evaporates. • 51-75% - Their bodies will collapse into a hideous swarm of skittering black carrion beetles which quickly disperse leaving no trace. • 76-100% - Their skin comes off to reveal some giant malevolent insectoid monstrosity. Voices become replaced by sounds which should not be. (Screeching metal, cracking ice, the cry of cicadas). Sometimes the voice seems made of the noise and the words still carry, other times it is just a cacophony of noise whenever the person speaks as though someone has thrown open a gate to Pandemonium itself. The character becomes obsessed with patterns in all things. From grand designs to







something as little as letters on a page. They will spend hours, days, or longer studying them and attempting to link it to a greater pattern that even they don't understand. 8 Mental exhaustion overcomes the character and they are not able to discern reality from their dreams. The character may become dangerously reckless as they believe they are impervious to damage or that they can fly. Images from their dreams or nightmares may also begin to surface during their waking hours. A fascination or overpowering fear takes hold of the character. The character suffers constant penalties when not in possession of their favored object, or when in the presence of their feared object.(They cannot be parted from their favorite coin or may be deathly afraid of flames, hooks, or chains.) The afflicted believes that they have been chosen by a higher power to do their work in this realm. The nature of this diety or power should be decided by the DM, but it should be some pantheon or power that the character is already familiar with. The character has befriended some sort of creature which needs to be fed. This starts small but the meals become larger and larger over time. (This can play out 2 ways, either there actually is some low intelligence creature who has come to have a relationship with the character based on food or there is no creature and this is all in the character's head. "Well that explains all the bodies turning up in the sewers/wooded ruins of late.") The character is overcome with depression and malaise, unwilling to function as they just don't see a point in it. "Everything is just a distraction, why waste the time and energy dancing the dance?"





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