Sanity

Sanity rules

A note from the authors.

Tabletop roleplaying games are an abstraction. We take a complex world and assign numbers and rules to it. These rules must simplify life so that they are understandable and usable as a game. The following rules are very much an oversimplification of mental health issues. But this is also a way to deal with issues in game that add depth and a little understanding to what can normally be a hack-and-slash game. We hope you enjoy the rules, and please know that we have the best intentions at heart.

—The SagaBorn Crew

A Twisted World

Sanity rules in SagaBorn try to simulate the character’s mind dealing with the strange world of Atheles and their actions within it.

There are two reasons we think this is an important addition to the Sagaborn core game. First is to illustrate the difficulties in the minds of the characters dealing with the strange things happening around them. The first time the undead rise up to fight would be a mind numbing event, not just a combat encounter. Opening and reading a Grim Mortis warps the character’s perspective of the universe. Keeping track of sanity becomes a scale trying to balance a sane mind and the horrors that Atheles contains.

The second is to add consequences to overt violence. We don’t have alignments in SagaBorn, but acts of unwarranted violence is considered evil. When one commits these acts, they erode that which makes them more than animals. In a tabletop game where we are simplifying a complex world into a world built on numeric formulas, thus is a way to also deal with the loss of compassion and understanding.

These rules are not necessary for the core game, but a GM and players can choose to incorporate them into their game.

The Sanity page of your Character Sheet

Sanity Points

 

Sanity points are a representation of a character’s mental stability. This attribute is a way to define the inherent mental stability in a character, the most stable they can be, and the current level of sane rationality.

 

Starting Sanity

Starting Sanity is 75 plus the sum of all three mental stat modifications(INT,WIS,CHA). This is your Starting Sanity and Maximum Sanity. After character creation, Sanity will fluctuate quite a bit and may never reach your Starting Sanity again.

 

Example: Brin has INT 14, WIS 9, and CHA 10. Her bonuses are +2, -1, 0. Combining the bonuses gives her +1. So her Starting Sanity is 75 +1 for a total of 76.

Base Sanity

Base Sanity is Starting Sanity plus any bonuses.

Sanity Threshold

A character’s sanity threshold is 1/4 their total starting sanity (round up).

 

Affliction threshold (AT)

Affliction threshold is the amount of sanity points a character can lose after one sanity roll before they suffer a temporary disorder. AT is 2 +your Wisdom bonus+Level+Misc modifiers.

 

Sanity Resistance

Sanity Resistance is the amount of Sanity damage that is negated before it affects your Current Sanity point level.

Current Sanity

A character’s current Sanity score fluctuates almost as often as (and sometimes much more often than) his hit points.

 

Making a Sanity Check

When a character encounters a gruesome, unnatural, or supernatural situation, the GM may require the player to make a Sanity check using percentile dice (d%). The check succeeds if the result is equal to or less than the character’s current Sanity.

 

On a successful check, the character either loses no Sanity points or loses only a minimal amount. Potential Sanity loss is usually shown as two numbers or die rolls separated by a slash, such as 0/1d4. The number before the slash indicates the number of Sanity points lost if the Sanity check succeeds (in this case, none); the number after the slash indicates the number of Sanity points lost if the Sanity check fails (in this case, between 1 and 4 points).

 

A character’s current Sanity is also at risk when the character reads certain books, learns certain types of spells, and attempts to perform dark rituals.

 

In most cases, a new Sanity-shaking confrontation requires a new Sanity check. However, the GM always gets to decide when characters make Sanity checks. Confronting several horribly mangled corpses at one time or in rapid succession may call for just one Sanity check, while the same corpses encountered singly over the course of several game hours may require separate checks.

 

Losing Sanity

Losing more than a few Sanity points may cause a character to gain disorders or lose themselves completely, as described below. If a character’s Sanity score drops to 0 or lower, they begin the quick slide into permanent insanity. Each round, the character loses another point of Sanity. Once a character’s Sanity score reaches -10, they are hopelessly, incurably insane. The Survival or Persuasion skills can be used to stabilize a character on the threshold of permanent insanity; see Mental Treatment, for details.

 

A GM’s description of a Sanity-shaking situation should always justify the threat to a character’s well-being. Thus, a horde of frothing rats is horrifying, while a single ordinary rat usually is not (unless the character has an appropriate phobia, of course).

 

Temporary Disorder

If a person loses Sanity points equal to or greater than their Affliction threshold they gain a Temporary Disorder. This can either be determined by the GM to match the event (pulling from the Temporary Disorder Chart), or they may roll a d100 and randomly pick a disorder.

 

Indefinite Disorder

 

If a person’s sanity drops below their sanity threshold, they gain a temporary disorder indefinitely. This lasts until their sanity points go above their sanity threshold.

 

Phobias and fears

 

A character can choose something which normally does not require a sanity check and name it a fear. For each fear they gain + 1 to their sanity score and +1 misc modifier to their Affliction threshold. But everytime they encounter that fear they must roll a sanity check with a – 3 penalty.

 

If a character drops below their sanity threshold due to a chosen fear sanity roll, that fear becomes a phobia. Phobias are permanent and the character suffers – 5 on all sanity rolls vs them.

 

Sanity Loss Severity Chart

Sanity Loss Examples
Minor 0/1d2 Finding a dead body, a stream of blood, encounter with a minor demon, translating another’s spellbook.
Moderate 1/1d4 Being buried alive, witnessing a friend’s death, encountering a ghost, harming an innocent
Significant 1/1d8 Being tortured, seeing a ritual to raise the dead, killing an innocent
Severe 2/2d8 Assassinating someone, being part of a dark magic ritual,torturing someone
Extreme 1d10/1d100 Meeting a great one from the Navirim

 

Sanity Loss Spell Chart

Spell Sanity Loss
Cause Fear 1/1d6
Doom 1/1d6
Scare 1/1d6
Fear 2/1d8+1

 

Creature Sanity Effects by CR

Creature CR Sanity Effects
<1 0/1
1 0/1d2
2 0/1d3
3 1/1d4
4 1/1d4
5 1/1d6
6 1/1d6+1
7 1/1d8
8 2/1d8+1
9 2/1d10+1
10 2/1d12+1

 

Temporary Disorders

d% Effect
01-20 Character faints (can be awakened by vigorous action taking 1 round; thereafter, character is shaken until duration expires).
21-30 Character has a screaming fit.
31-40 Character flees in panic.
41-50 Character shows physical hysterics or emotional outburst (laughing, crying, and so on).
51-55 Character babbles in incoherent rapid speech.
56-60 The situation creates a new Fear for the character.
61-65 Character loses interest in their own well being. They don’t care for their safety, or those around them.
66-70 Character has hallucinations or delusions (details at the discretion of the GM).
71-75 The character becomes Unconscious
76-90 Character falls into a stupor (assumes fetal position, oblivious to events around her).
91-99 Character becomes catatonic (can stand but has no will or interest; may be led or forced to simple actions but takes no independent action).
100 Situation Causing the temporary disorder creates a new phobia for the character.

 

Temporary Disorder duration chart

 

d% Temporary Insanity Type Duration
01-80 Short-term 1d10+4 rounds
81-100 Long-term 1d10×10 hours

 

Indefinite Disorders

d% Effect
01-10 Character performs compulsive rituals (washing hands constantly, praying, walking in a particular rhythm, never stepping on cracks, constantly checking to see if crossbow is loaded, and so on).
11-20 Character has hallucinations or delusions (details at the discretion of the GM).
21-30 Character becomes paranoid.
31-40 One fear randomly becomes a phobia.
41-45 Character loses interest in their own well being. They don’t care for their safety, or those around them.
46-55 Character develops an attachment to a “lucky charm” (embraces object, type of object, or person as a safety blanket) and cannot function without it.
56-65 Character develops psychosomatic blindness, deafness, or the loss of the use of a limb or limbs.
66-75 Character has uncontrollable tics or tremors (-4 penalty on all attack rolls, checks, and saves, except those purely mental in nature).
76-85 Character has amnesia (memories of intimates usually lost first; Knowledge skills useless).
86-90 Character has bouts of reactive psychosis (incoherence, delusions, aberrant behavior, and/or hallucinations).
91-95 Character loses ability to communicate via speech or writing.
96-99 Character loses self. All class abilities are unusable, though HP, BAB, and Saves stay the same.
100 Character becomes catatonic (can stand but has no will or interest; may be led or forced into simple actions but takes no independent action).

 

NPC’s and Sanity

 

An NPC always starts with sanity equal to their two highest mental stats added together.

Mental Treatment

 

A little help from my friends

 

Immediate help

A companion or NPC can try and use their Persuasion or Survival skill to stop someone from slipping into permanent insanity. As a full round action they can use either skill to try and help, one a successful DC15 check, the person’s Sanity points revert to 0.

 

Long Term

Adventurers grow bonds together and these can be used to help those who have lost Sanity regain it. Once per day, another character spends 4 hours talking with another, they both roll a DC18 Persuasion or Survival roll. If successful their companion can gain back 1 Sanity.

 

Peace and quiet

For every 3 day period the character spends relaxing (no combat, no training, no research) they will gain back 1 Sanity Point.

Forbidden Knowledge

A stand alone skill, Forbidden Knowledge is gained through research into the dark world. Forbidden tomes, ancient artifacts, or forgotten temples can allow a person to gain Forbidden Knowledge. For each point in Forbidden Knowledge, an adventurer can add a point to their Affliction Threshold as a Misc bonus, as well as add a +1 to any Knowledge check involving dark lore.

 

Researching Forbidden Knowledge is a dangerous and mind bending task. There are high risks to gain Forbidden Knowledge points, risking your health and sanity.

 

The highest Forbidden Knowledge score a character can have is +5.

 

Examples of sources of Forbidden Knowledge:

Examination

Period

Knowledge DC

to Research

Number of Spells to be gained Initial

Sanity Loss

Sanity Loss

upon Completion

Forbidden Lore

ranks gained

1 week 20 0 1 1d4 1
1 week 20 1 1d4 1d4 1
1 week 25 2 1d4 2d6 1
2 weeks 25 1d4 1d6 2d6 2
2 weeks 25 1d6 1d10 2d6 2
2 weeks 25 3 1d6 2d6 2
2 weeks 30 1d6+1 1d6 2d6 3
3 weeks 20 1d4+1 1d10 2d6 2
3 weeks 25 1d6 1d6 2d10 2
3 weeks 30 1d4+5 1d10 3d6 3

 

Talents

Blood Magic (1) – You draw your own blood to add power to your next spell. You take 1d4 damage and 1d3 Sanity to cast a blood magic spell. The effects is either an additional 2d6 damage or the target loses its Save roll vs the spell.

Dark Lore (1) – You gain a +3 to Knowledge checks involving all dark things, the Navirim, demons, and dark magics as well as gaining a +1 misc bonus to your Affliction Threshhold.

Stonewill (1) – When studying forbidden sources you take 1 less point of Sanity Loss at initiation and completion of the research.

 

Ravaging and Sanity

 

When you ravage the world for magic, you must succeed at a Sanity Check or you take sanity danger equal to double the mana cost of casting the spell.

 

Dark Spells

Some spells automatically take a mental toll on the caster. These spells cause Sanity damage with no chance of a Sanity Check.

 

Spell Mana Cost Sanity Cost
1 1
3 1d3
5 1d6
7 1d8

 

Spell Book

Spell Summaries – Detailed spell descriptions in the following section.

1 Mana

Blood Wave A wave of blood trips opponents and makes the ground slippery.

3 Mana

Bleed A victim bleeds from all orifices.

Phantom Hooks Hook ending chains appear out of the mist and grapple the victim.

Speak to the Dead Allows caster to speak to a deceased sentient creature.

 

5 Mana

Break Caster breaks one of the victims hands or feet.

Cause Madness Target loses sanity.

Flay 2d6+1 damage and the skin peels back on the victim.

 

7 Mana

Circle of Death Kill creatures within a 40’ radius.

Nightmare Terrain Area turns into a nightmarish landscape.

 

1 Mana Spells

Blood Wave

Mana: 1

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 15’ cone

Target: cone shaped burst

Duration:  1 round

Saving Throw: Will negates

Sanity Cost: 1

 

The mage pricks their hand and using their own blood, expands it into a giant wave of blood that crashes out 15’. Those within the area of effect must succeed at a Heroic action vs. the caster ( DEX vs. Spellcraft) or be tripped and end up prone. The area covered by the cone remains slick for 1 round, requiring a successful DC 10 Acrobatics check from any creature attempting to move within it.

 

3 Mana Spells

Bleed

Mana: 3

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 30’

Target: 1 creature

Duration: 1 round

Saving Throw: Will half

Sanity Cost: 1d3

 

Blood seeps from all orifices of a victim doing 1d8+1 in damage, 1 Bleed  and causing 1d3 Sanity damage if they fail their Sanity roll.

 

Phantom Hooks

Mana: 3

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 30’

Target: 1 creature

Duration: 1d4+1 rounds

Saving Throw: Reflex half, see text

Sanity Cost: 1d3

 

Mist surrounds the target in which hooked chains fly towards the victim. The hooks embed themselves in the target, pulling skin loose and slowing movement. They receive 1d3 Sanity damage if they fail their Sanity roll. If they fail their reflex save, the hooks grapple the victim and do 1d6+1 damage. If grappled, the target can not move. If they succeed at the initial Reflex save, the target is still hooked, but only suffer half the damage and can move at half speed. Each round the spell lasts the target may attempt a Heroic Action (DEX vs. Spellcraft) to escape, which allows them to move at full speed.

 

Speak to the Dead

Mana: 3

Casting Time: 10 minutes

Range: Touch

Target: 1 dead sentient creature

Duration: 1 minute per level

Saving Throw: Will negates

Sanity Cost: 1d3

 

You grant the semblance of life and intellect to a corpse, allowing it to answer several questions that you put to it. You may ask one question per two caster levels. Unasked questions are wasted if the duration expires. The corpse’s knowledge is limited to what the creature knew during life, including the languages it spoke (if any). Answers are usually brief, cryptic, or repetitive.

 

This spell does not let you actually speak to the person (whose soul has departed). It instead draws on the imprinted knowledge stored in the corpse. The partially animated body retains the imprint of the soul that once inhabited it, and thus it can speak with all the knowledge that the creature had while alive. The corpse, however, cannot learn new information. This spell does not affect a corpse that has been turned into an undead creature.

 

5 Mana Spells

Break

Mana: 5

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 100’

Target: Single creature

Duration: Instant

Saving Throw: Will, see text

Sanity Cost: 1d6

 

The mage breaks their target’s hand or foot, the digits shattering and twisting backwards. The caster chooses which appendage is damaged. This causes 2d8+1 damage plus renders that extremity useless. This means they can not wield a weapon, use an object, or hold anything with a hand. With a broken foot, they can only move at 1/2 speed, and it is with great suffering that they do move. The victim must roll a Sanity save, and if failed, they suffer 1d4 Sanity damage.

 

A successful Will save means the victim takes half damage and they can use their extremity.

 

Cause Madness

Mana: 5

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 100’

Target: Single creature

Duration: Instant

Saving Throw: Will partial

Sanity Cost: 1d6

 

The spellcaster causes the target to experience their greatest unknown fear. They will lose 2d8 Sanity unless they successfully save, in which they will take only 1d6 Sanity damage.

 

Flay

Mana: 5

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 100’

Target: Single creature

Duration: Instant

Saving Throw: Will partial

Sanity Cost: 1d6

 

The spellcaster causes the target’s skin to peel back from their body. This causes 2d6+1 damage, 3 Bleed, and 1d6 sanity damage if they fail their Sanity save. A will save halves the damage and negates the need to roll a Sanity save.

7 Mana Spells

Circle of Death

Mana: 7

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 100’

Target: Several living creatures within a 40-ft.-radius burst

Duration: Instant

Saving Throw: Fortitude negates

Sanity Cost: 1d8+1

 

The spell slays 4 HD worth of living creatures per caster level. Creatures with the fewest HD are affected first; among creatures with equal HD, those who are closest to the burst’s point of origin are affected first.

 

Nightmare Terrain

Mana: 7

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 100’

Target: Several living creatures within a 40-ft.-radius burst

Duration: Instant

Saving Throw: Fortitude negates

Sanity Cost: 1d8

 

The mage contorts the terrain to look, sound, and smell like something out of a nightmare. Writhing vegetation, disembodied limbs, animated corpses, and smoking pits cover every surface. Mist fills the area, and the stench of death fills the air.

 

The nightmare terrain created is mostly illusory, but the obstacles are partially real. Creatures within, entering, or viewing the area are entitled to Will saves to discern the illusion. Creatures that fail their saves become entangled and must make a Sanity save. If they fail the Sanity check, they suffer 1d8+1 sanity damage.

Dark Rituals

Summon Greater Navirite

 

Casting Time: 10 hours

Duration: 1 hour

Materials: A single candle whose wax is mixed with the blood of the caster, silver wire (400gp), 5 gold runestones (200 gp), amarnium hooks (2000gp)

Skill Checks: Fortitude DC 2 first hour, each hour after reroll DC adds a +1. At apex a cost of 40 mana as well as a DC 40 spellcraft check (mana is subtracted  from the group of casters, and each caster rolls a spellcraft check and they are all added together)

Cost: Each spellcaster suffers one temporary negative level. Each day the spellcaster can try to to regain the lost level with a DC20 will save.

Failure: Gain 1 phobia

Sanity Cost: 2/3d4

 

The circle is drawn in a place untouched by sun or moon. The single candle is lit on the northern side. A net is woven of the silver wire, with the amarnium hooks attached. The five runestones are set equidistant apart along the circle.

 

The casters begin the ritual, weaving the magic to enchant the net to hold the greater being. As they weave, the begin to tear the rift to the Navirim.

 

If the ritual is successfully cast, the creature is bound in the net. They will remain prisoner for one hour, and will be subject to answer questions or be bound by another ritual to serve the mages.

 

Magic Items

Mind’s Eye Amulet – This ancient amulet was made to protect mages while experimenting with unknown magics. This gives the wearer +5 to their starting Sanity while it is worn. When the amulet is first worn, it adds the +5 to the wearer’s base sanity bonus as well as allowing them to regain 5 Sanity points. If removed, the wearer loses the +5 bonus as well as losing 5 points of Sanity.

 

Psyward – This item can come in many forms, but it shields the mind of the wearer against mental attacks. The wearer gains a +1 to their Sanity Resistance.

 

Grim Mortis, Minor – A Grim Mortis contains ancient knowledge which impart the reader with Forbidden Knowledge.

Minor Grim Mortis

Examination

Period

Knowledge DC

to Research

Number of Spells to be gained Initial

Sanity Loss

Sanity Loss

upon Completion

Forbidden Lore

ranks gained

1 week 20 2 1d4 2d6 1

 

Grim Mortis, Major – A Grim Mortis contains ancient knowledge which impart the reader with Forbidden Knowledge.

Major Grim Mortis

Examination

Period

Knowledge DC

to Research

Number of Spells to be gained Initial

Sanity Loss

Sanity Loss

upon Completion

Forbidden Lore

ranks gained

2 weeks 22 3 1d6 2d6 2

 

Diary of Daloron the Leech – Daloron was the right hand of the Warlock King. He performed unimaginable experiments of both science and magic. He extended his own life and the Warlock King to many centuries. He combined man and beast. He summoned creatures from beyond. And his diary holds the coded secrets to these dark experiments.

 

Diary of Daloron

3 weeks 28 1d4+5 1d10 3d6 3

 

Sample Legacy Items

 

Mother’s Guard – This amulet was created to protect their child as magic returns. At level 2 it protects the bearer against the Daze spell, giving the bearer an 80% chance to negate the Daze spell if they failed their save. At 4th level the amulet allows a reroll on a sanity check once per day. At 8th level it gives the bearer a +5 to their Affliction threshold and they gain back 2 Sanity per day.