Monday, March 23, 2009

World of Darkness Sanity/Morality, Part II

Ok, I did a post about this already, but I need to nail something down because my chronicle supposedly starts this week.

I have a problem with the Morality system, as I have stated. If you're not familiar with NWoD, it works this way: You start with Morality 7. If you commit petty theft or worse, you make a degeneration roll, using a number of dice determined by the "severity" if what you've done. You get a number of dice to roll, and the worse the crime, the fewer dice you get. If you succeed, your Morality remains the same. If you fail, you lose a point of Morality and then you have to roll to see if you gain a permanent Derangement. Yes, that means that if you knick someone's wallet, the average person does have a chance (however slight) of being driven insane by the experience.

Seriously? I find it easier to believe that the character inhabit a world full of vampires, Frankenstein monsters, and werewolves than I do the notion that you can lose your marbles by stealing a car stereo.

My other objection to the RAW regarding Morality comes from the Asylum source book. Most of the patient characters who have Derangements (keep in mind this is a book about mental asylums)have Morality scores lower than 7. I find this kind of repulsive. So crazy people are immoral/immoral people are crazy?

That's some straight up Victorian shit, yo. Can I take a specialization in Phrenology for my character's medicine skill? Ok, I can see a violent psychopath or sociopath having a "lower" Morality score, using the hierarchy of sins as described by this book...oh, fuck this. Morality mechanics in a game suck. Morality adds nothing to a World of Darkness game.

I think this pretty much seals the deal that I am kicking Morality out and creating a Sanity score. It works much the same way: it starts at 7. Your Sanity is checked when you encounter a traumatic situation or something otherworldly. You roll Willpower (Resolve + Composure) at a penalty appropriate for what you have seen: -2, perhaps, for a grisly ritual murder, maybe -5 if you catch a glimpse of a Lovecraftian horror. I'm not going to codify the table because I don't want Sanity loss to be something that is easy to predict. If you lose a Sanity point, you check to see if you get a Derangement, much like you do for the RAW check for loss of Morality.

In the RAW, it is possible to go above Morality 8. I don't think it is possible to be "saner than sane," so likely I will not allow Sanity to go above 7. I might allow Sanity to be regained under special circumstances, and probably by spending experience points along with it. Characters who are patients can choose to have a Sanity as low as 5 to start, but unlike the RAW with Morality trade in, you do not get experience points for giving yourself lower Sanity; this is a choice players will make entirely of their own will. (If they wanted to play someone sane, they could play someone who is wrongfully admitted to the hospital, or a staff member.)


  1. My friends goaded me and one basically shat on me when I suggested the morality mechanic in WoD is arbitrary at best. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this mechanic as bad.

  2. No offense, but your friends sound like dicks.