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Author Topic: Insanity and ways to handle it in a PC...  (Read 7524 times)
Mayhem1979
Member

Posts: 81


« on: May 02, 2003, 01:46:37 AM »

I just recently put together a character who I gave the major flaw Insane... Scizophrenic(sp?) to be exact.  He literally hears voices.  He has dealt with this by convincing himself that he's talking to God.  For the most part it's just a roleplaying issue, talk to the GM, pass the behavior patterns and such I've come up with to him... but to make it a real "flaw" and add some randomness to the whole mess me and my friend came up with an interesting idea.

At the beginning of each session each player writes down  a few random phrases on scraps of paper and we put them into a hat/bowl whatever.  Then during the game the GM will pick random moments for my character to blindly pick a piece of paper out of the bowl.  Whatever the phrae is, is what "god" just said/told me to do... and it's up to me to interpret the random nonsense liek my character would.


But that said, has anyone else dealt with insane player charchters and how did you handle them and their insanity in game?
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Draigh
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2003, 07:24:00 AM »

I once played an insane wizard in DnD3e, and had a blast...  This guy was completely nuts... spouting off random shit, attacking a lamppost and cutting out it's "tongue" cause it was talking trash to him, hiding from the moon at night cause "she spies on me... roundfaced whore!", talking to a goat's skull named jimmy, talking to his buddy Mortichai, a greater demon... It was all done through roleplaying tho...  Morgan the Magnificent  (the wizard) was kept in check only by the fact that 6 of his buddies were always around to stop him from blowing up himself and everything in a 4 mile radius with "his" alchemy wagon.

Commonly heard phrases in that game:

"Who's watching Morgan?"- the Paladin

"Somebody go stop Morgan" - the Fighter

"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!" - Morgan

"FOOL!" - Morgan

"WORM!" - Morgan

"Foolish worm!" - Morgan

"Let me put him down... Look at him, he's mad" - Paladin to group leader

"Man, I know the guy's fucked, but he's so... ummm... well, if he does anything... Umm... Not yet, we might be able to remove whatever curse is on him when we get back to town and see the priest." - The leader.

"you killed my pet monkey!  you drowned him!  *sob*  I hate you!" - Morgan

you get the picture... man, that was a fun character to play.
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We shall join them, in good time.
If you go crossing that silvery brook it's best to leap before you look.
Ashren Va'Hale
Member

Posts: 427


« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2003, 07:54:41 AM »

mayhem, email me the character stats sometime as this idea has me pumped.
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Sneaky Git
Member

Posts: 169


« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2003, 11:44:06 AM »

Wow.  Schizophrenia is way nasty.  Delusions.  Hallucinations.  Grossly disorganized speech and behavior.  Serious social and occupational dysfunction.

And that's just the general criteria.  Paranoia and catatonia also sweeten the mix.  How do the other characters deal with this?  How do they view his obviously aberrant (and potentially violent) behavior?

Chris
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Draigh
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2003, 10:27:17 AM »

Sneaky Git said:
Quote
Serious social and occupational dysfunction.


Man, that's a beautiful way of putting it... I laughed for like 15 minutes straight.

I can only assume your questions are directed at me, so here it goes.



Quote
How do the other characters deal with this?


When I first rolled up the character, I told the DM that I wanted to play someone who was "chaotic neutral" in alignment.  Note... this was a D&D character...  The guy DMing told me that if I chose CN as my alignment, my character would be insane, so I grinned and said alright.  I asked him not to reveal it to the other players... to just let me let it come through in roleplaying.  (This was, in some ways an "over the top" campaign... we got mugged 3 times before we could cover 100 yards of this one road we were on.)  

The party, at first, thought that the character's mental difficulties were just me goofing off.  So when I'd spout of wacky shit, I would have to reassure them that I was, in fact, in character.  Here is, to the best of my recollection, the rest of the party...

The party leader: A lawful neutral Mage/Fighter.  Very logical and even headed.  

This guy was the complete opposite of Morgan, and in some ways, maintained the balance between Morgan's highly logical and intelligent side, and his wildly fluctating mad side.

The "face": A lawful good (and very homosexual) Paladin of Lothander (the god of the dawn, i believe... I'm not very familiar with the Realms).

If Morgan had a conscience, this guy would be it.  Unfortunately, most of the time he was close to killing Morgan to cure him, and the rest of the world.

The Elven bladesinger:  Morgan didn't really Interact with this guy much.

The Cleric: A Dwarven war cleric.  

Morgan hated this character, and wanted to kill him in his sleep.  This guy was ambushed by a troll, and Morgan stepped between him and the troll to hypnotise it and keep it from killing the guy, and the dwarf ran away.  

The Fighter: Human fighter, young kid just starting out.  The player was sorta new to roleplaying, and didn't stand out... Probably the most one dimensional character i've seen.

At first Morgan didn't interact with this guy much, but later, as his "condition" progressed, he became Morgan's sidekick and basically subservient lackey.

there were a couple more people playing, but they weren't there regularly, so aren't included.

Now, to answer your question...  The leader saw Morgan's skill as a spellcaster, and his ability to pull the craziest spell combinations out of his ass to help the party.  The paladin pitied Morgan, and saw him as an abomination (or at least that's how it came across to me), but tolerated him as long as the leader could keep him in moderated.  The cleric feared Morgan.  

In general, the party seemed to tolerate Morgan as long as he didn't go too far, to ensure this, they tried to keep him doped up or drunk as much as possible... This, however, created some interesting difficulties, such as the lamp-post incedent, nearly landing him in jail, and costing the party a fair bit of coin. (Morgan never carried any money with him, and sold his home and the majority of his possesions to pay off this fine).  For the most part, he proved his value to the party well enough to keep the other members from killing him outright.  

anyway, it's starting to storm here, so I need to get off the computer... I'll try to have some of the other players come to this thread and post their thoughts on the subject.
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Drink to the dead all you, still alive.
We shall join them, in good time.
If you go crossing that silvery brook it's best to leap before you look.
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2003, 12:13:00 PM »

Well, in a TROS sense, I see two great ways to play insanity:

Crazy SAs

Passion- Hates people with red hair
Drive- Never suffer a cat to live
Faith- Eating people is good

Etc.

Obssession SAs

Slowly reduce the SAs available to a character, until all they have left is one overriding SA...

Chris
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Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2003, 04:59:50 AM »

*Desperately resists expressing my opinions on CN aligned characters*

I'd just go with regular SAs.  What the nominally insane character takes away from a situation as important and meaningful is radically different to everyone else.  This could also easily explain characters 'losing it', when they are dropped in odd circumstances.  The noble trapped at sea with a bunch of sailors tries desperately to raise his SAs, (with which he may have a shot at survival), and by doing so makes unrealistic demands (people listen to him, privileges, etc.).  In that situation, I think he could easily get labeled as 'gone crazy.'  This could get mixed with smaller disads that are about very specific activities, but I'd stick just with the SAs.  This allows the insanity to be a creative force encouraging play, not a negative one constricting it.
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tetsugroo
Guest
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2003, 07:46:55 AM »

I played the Paladin of Lathander, Order of the Steely Dawn, and while he was bent, dressed in the colors of the dawn, and had style, he was no pufta. Nor did he force his sexuality on anyone else. Me the player, I am straight-ask my wife.
Anyway, I played a Paladin for the challenge. I like to set a dogma, or adopt one, and play it as close as I can. The characters beliefs were not Christian, and so some of his strictures may not have been what a 'Christian' Paladin would have selected. Well, enough of the background, this is supposed to be about Draigh's insane character Morgan.

Maxwell, the paladin, did not approve of the mage. His loose cannon activities pushed my character to the brink of murder in the name of Adminstering Justice. Fortunately the paladin left the group before it came to that. But Morgan was entertaining to play with, and once it was apparent that the character was acting up, not the player, we worked with it. The quotes he posted are accurate, and are still discussed around the table occasionally. The character was very much a magical version of a delusional mad scientist. Lots of intellect behind the delusions, and the power to back it up or devastate areas. But it appears the gods smile on and protect fools, as Morgan was able to not be where things exploded, or not face the really tough enemies in h2h. And he never quite pushed the Paladin too far. But he came close, and it was the other characters that stayed Maxwell's hand. I did kind of have to make it obvious to some of the others that Maxwell and snapped and was headed over to finish the Mad Dog off, so they could stop me. It is always difficult roleplaying when you need to kill off a buddies character due to the situation they have put themselves in. But the group was an elite special ops type of group, and sneaking around was getting the Paladin down so he went and joined a less mercenary, more politically active group, the Purple Dragon Knights. The next character I brought in was a mage, and on at least one occasion Webbed Mad Morgan to slow him down. Mad Morgan lit the web and took the fire damage intentionally just to get free. Imagine the Warner Brothers Wile E. Coyote post explosion look. Then the group  disentegrated and we let a new gamemaster that actually had a storyline for us to follow take over. I don't know that Draigh played him again, but a reunion would be, well, interesting.

Blessings.
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Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2003, 01:21:29 PM »

tetsugroo  & Draigh bring up an important point about 'insane' characters: one has to wonder about the effect of such a character on the other characters.  

For TROS, characters should not be made in a vacuum.  The GM and all the players should have some dialogue about what they want, think would work, etc.  For specifically TROS, this really needs to also include things like what country characters are from, and their SAs.  If after that discussion an 'insane' character would work, and if someone wants to play one, sure.  It is also quite possible it would be fine for players to find out during play one of the characters was nuts.

My question in all of this is not something that should be explained to the GM or Seneschal of the game: Why do you want to play an insane character?  What about him intrigues you?  The same question applies to the power hungry mage, the noble-to-a-fault knight, and whatever other extreme personalities people can think up.  I think Ron summed up the premise of TROS as "What would you kill for?"  Given that as the premise, for most campaigns, IMO players should think a while before having characters who are clinically insane.
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Jake Norwood
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Posts: 2261


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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2003, 05:11:13 PM »

One of the first test-games of TROS featured a Stahlnish noble character searching for his father's killer...except that this guy was his fathers killer! All his SA's were dumped into finding this guy, and he would constantly concoct new theories placing people that he just met at the center of the consipiracy. The question "what would he kill for?" was answered on a daily basis, even though the character was insanely mislead.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Michael Tree
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Posts: 41


« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2003, 06:52:40 PM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
One of the first test-games of TROS featured a Stahlnish noble character searching for his father's killer...except that this guy was his fathers killer! All his SA's were dumped into finding this guy, and he would constantly concoct new theories placing people that he just met at the center of the consipiracy. The question "what would he kill for?" was answered on a daily basis, even though the character was insanely mislead.

Was that character based on a movie?  I'd say which one, but I don't want to spoil it for people who havn't seen it.
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--G.K. Chesterton
Nick the Nevermet
Member

Posts: 352


« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2003, 07:05:57 PM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
One of the first test-games of TROS featured a Stahlnish noble character searching for his father's killer...except that this guy was his fathers killer! All his SA's were dumped into finding this guy, and he would constantly concoct new theories placing people that he just met at the center of the consipiracy. The question "what would he kill for?" was answered on a daily basis, even though the character was insanely mislead.

Jake


Sounds like a fun character.  I gotta know, though: did he have that moment of realization?  If so, what'd he do next?
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Michael Tree
Member

Posts: 41


« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2003, 07:08:57 PM »

Quote from: Sneaky Git
Wow.  Schizophrenia is way nasty.  Delusions.  Hallucinations.  Grossly disorganized speech and behavior.  Serious social and occupational dysfunction.

And that's just the general criteria.  Paranoia and catatonia also sweeten the mix.  How do the other characters deal with this?  How do they view his obviously aberrant (and potentially violent) behavior?

You're assuming that people are roleplaying real world schizophrenia, not some made up TV/Movie version.

I have yet to see a "crazy" character played even remotely realistically, except for a couple cases where the player worked in mental health.

I played a schizophrenic character at a con a couple of months ago, in a freeform game set in a world where psychic powers are real.  Schizophrenics often have real problems with boundaries, being able to tell where one object (or themselves) ends and where another begins.  One of my professors recounts an instance when she stood up out of her chair during therapy with a schizophrenic patient, and her patient said "hey, now there are two of you!".  Similarly, one patient in the hospital where I work was terrified of taking his arms off a table, for fear of leaving part of himself behind.

My character had this problem, but through a weird form of astral projection, it was actually true, so he could percieve and animate other objects around him as if they were a part of him.  He was actually fairly high functioning (non-delusional) most of the time, but the more he used his power (which he didn't consciously use, it just happened to him) the more psychotic he became.

The power was fun, but trying to roleplay a schizphrenic way of talking and relating with other people was even more interesting.  I tried speaking in a way that made sense to me but not neccessarily to other people, unless they could wrap their minds around what I was trying to say.  As a real world example, one patient of mind once asked me how tall my IQ was.  Another good example of schizophrenic-esque logic is www.timecube.com.
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"Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated"
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Bankuei
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2003, 08:15:42 PM »

Quote
One of the first test-games of TROS featured a Stahlnish noble character searching for his father's killer...except that this guy was his fathers killer!


He didn't also tattoo the clues on his chest and arms did he?  :P

Chris(now looking through his movie collection for good SAs)
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Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2003, 10:21:46 AM »

Actually no, the character wasn't based off of any movie--we played this some time before Memento, for example, and the guy who made him us wasn't into the psychological thriller genre. It was a lot of fun.

As for schizophrenia...it is hard to really play. I have a close relative with the disease, and he always thought that someone was trying to poison him--he left my house (after a month) when he decided I was trying now.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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