Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Cryptworld Skill: Psychiatry

Halloween is fast upon us, so it's time to celebrate with some new content over the next few days! Up first is a new skill for CRYPTWORLD based once again on a skill found in the original Pacesetter CHILL roleplaying game. My version of Psychiatry presented below includes the NPC sanity determination from the original skill, but I've added a little something extra for dealing with the results of fear checks. As always, this skill is not intended to be a factual representation of psychiatry but to emulate the conventions found in horror movies that touch on madness instead.

For added flavor, characters that take the Psychiatry skill may also be interested in taking the Hypnotism skill presented earlier on this blog as well.

Tell me about your early childhood...
*† Psychiatry
Exclusive: Yes
Base: (Pcn+Wpr+Per+Luck)/4
Check: General

Psychiatry is a medical specialty that encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Characters with the Psychiatry skill are medical doctors referred to as psychiatrists although they were commonly called alienists from the late Victorian era up until the early 20th century when the term fell out of use. This skill may only be taken if the character has the skill Medicine at the Expert level.

A character with the Psychiatry skill may attempt to mitigate the result of another character’s fear check. After a character makes a fear check, a psychiatrist can immediately make a general Psychiatry check to prevent the character from running away (or hiding) and improve their fear check result by one category. For example, failure on the fear check becomes an S (scared) result, an S result becomes an L (loathing) result, an L result becomes an M (misgivings) result, and an M result becomes an H/C (heroism) result. Failure on the general Psychiatry check means the psychiatrist has had absolutely no effect on the victim’s fear reaction. Unlike the Medicine skill, a psychiatrist may not use Psychiatry for self treatment.

Straight Jacket Required
This skill may also be used to determine if a seemingly insane NPC patient is in fact telling the truth about a supernatural encounter with a thing, or merely making up stories, rambling incoherently, or hallucinating. After a character with Psychiatry spends 1-5 hours (1d10/2 rounded up) with the patient, the CM makes a general check for the PC in secret. If the check fails, the PC is convinced only of the patient’s insanity whether they truly are insane or not. Success reveals the truth as determined by the CM: the patient did indeed experience a supernatural encounter with a thing and is quite sane (or perhaps was driven insane as a result of the encounter), or the patient is completely insane and their persistent belief in or deception about having an imaginary encounter with a supernatural being is symptomatic of their mental disorder.
This Nice Padded Room Awaits You...