Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New World of Darkness: A thought

My upcoming NWoD game is going to be set in a mental hospital besieged by supernatural forces. I think that this is the perfect setting to do what I've always wanted to do with the Morality system; namely to kick it the hell out.

I am replacing Morality with a Sanity score. As I discussed in a previous post, I don't like alignments or other attempts to measure the ethics of a character. I also think that, for this particular chronicle, a character's sanity (or lack thereof) is much more important.

I'm looking at one of two ways of handling this:

1. Use the Morality rules but change it to be Sanity based. That is, characters have to make rolls to avoid losing sanity when they encounter horrible, mind bending shit. The number of dice they roll will depend on what they encounter; an awful but non-supernatural encounter will roll more dice to resist Sanity loss than, say, coming face to face with something out of Lovecraft or just encountering the obviously supernatural for the first time. For ever point below Sanity 7, they will gain a Derangement or a pre-existing arrangement will become more severe. I might borrow somewhat from the Clarity rules in new Changeling.

2. Have Sanity as "mental hit points." Perhaps Sanity is equal to Resolve plus Composure. (Though I realize this would make it equal to Willpower) On the other hand, perhaps the character adds a base number to the lower of Resolve or Composure. (Perhaps the base is three for patients and five for staff members, or the same for everyone.) Supernatural or horrible encounters have a certain number of dice associated with them that roll "damage" against a character's mental health levels. If they are reduced to zero, the character gains a Derangement or an existing worsens. A character who takes too much mental damage during one session might run the risk of going catatonic. In fact, the campaign could be run in such a manner that only mental hit points are used for damage. (Eh, that's a little too Forgie for me)

I'm launching this game in about a week and a half, so I'd better nail this one down quickly.

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