The Winston Pact
Mental Health in ToC
Pull Yourself Together!
Stability is your mind’s immune system. The higher the rating, the stronger it is and the less likely you are to snapping. Sanity is how much of your mind is left after having been exposed to the Cthulhu Mythos. Since Stability is the one dealt with more often, let’s start with it.
There are just some times when you witness something that just messes with your brain. And that’s when you make a Stability check!
The DN for a Stability check is 4, unless it’s something you’ve seen before or something so horrifying it just blows your mind. Then it’s a 3 or a 5, respectively. And like other skill checks, you can send Stability points to help pass the check. Just know that if you fail the check, you lose those points plus whatever the price of failing the check was.
Like Health, things happen if your Stability drops below 0.
Stability at 0 to -5 is SHAKEN: All DN’s for checks increase by one and you can’t spend investigative points.
Stability at -6 to -11 is BLASTED: You gain a mental illness! And it’s permanent! You also lose 1 points from your Stability rating. You can always buy it back.
Stability at -12 and under is INSANE: You are officially cuckoo for cuckoo puffs. You got one chance to go out in a blaze of glory or you can consign yourself to a mental ward.
There are several ways to regain Stability. Stability points refresh after a adventure/session or the player can have the investigator follow their Drive.
Sources of Stability
For every three points of Stability RATING you have, you may define a “source of stability”. This is a person that you rely on to keep you going. Visiting this person can help restore your stability; however, you risk losing Stability RATING points if anything happens to them.
There’s only two ways to lose Sanity. And the best way to say it is straight from the book!
A Mythos shock drops your Stability pool to 0 or below.
You use the Cthulhu Mythos.
If you lose Sanity, you lose Sanity. You can’t roll to avoid Sanity loss.
What’s a Mythos Shock? It’s when the investigator witnesses a Mythos-related event and it drops the Stability score.
If the character is SHAKEN by the mythos, the Sanity raiting drops by 1 point.
If the character is BLASTED, the Sanity raiting drops by 2.
If both happen, you’ll only suffer one of those losses during any given adventure. Yes, the more severe loss.
Now there are some ways to keep your Sanity and they’re pretty awesome for roleplaying.
Denial – If no evidence exists at the end of the adventure, then it must have been all in your mind. At the Keeper’s discretion, the player may be required to take on a mental illness or make up a story about what you think happened to what really happened. If the player ever uses info that he shouldn’t remember, the Keeper can take a Sanity point from the player.
Fainting – Yup! If something so terrifying occurs and the investigator stands to lose more than 1 Sanity point, the player can declare that the investigator faints dead away and will only lose 1 Sanity point. They keep their Sanity but they’re not allowed to participate for the rest of that particular scene.
But keep in mind that if the investigator faints and the team ends up running away, someone may be left behind…
Pillars of Sanity
For every three points of Sanity RATING you have, you must define a Pillar of Sanity. These are the core beliefs your investigator holds to; they can be damaged by encountering the Mythos. Here are a few examples:
• Family (especially family honor, purity of one’s blood, and suchlike)
• Human dignity and value
• Scientific progress or the value of the intellect
• Physical laws and the reality of scientific knowledge
• The goodness, beauty, or worthiness of Nature or the environment
• The innate goodness of mankind
• Moral principles
• Aesthetics or the high principles of art
• Epicureanism; living life to the fullest
• Patriotism and national virtue
• Love of one’s home city or town
Your Drive is the reason you do things. It’s the “why” you decide to venture down an dark alleyway (Curiostiy) or the “why” you won’t stop hunting the man in black (Revenge). For Jackson Elias, I decided her Drive was Sudden Shock. She encountered things that she can’t explain and now needs to find out what they mean.
When you follow your Drive, you can regain Stability points. If you don’t follow it, you can lose stability points.
If the Keeper thinks your Drive would really, really motivate you to do something, that’s called a Hard Driver. Resisting a Hard Driver costs 4 Stability points. If you give in to the Hard Driver, you gain 2 Stability points.
If the Keeper thinks you should probably do something because of your Drive, that’s a Soft Driver. Resisting a Soft Driver costs 2 Stability points, and giving in to it gains you 1 Stability point.
Drivers should (and won’t!) not replace roleplaying; however, this is a horror game, and that will require your characters not act like D&D murderhobos. (I kid.)
You are perfectly justified in pointing out to the Keeper that you are following your Drive and should earn Stability. The Keeper cautions you that Drivers only occur when the situation would be made worse by following it.