Could Schizophrenia allow A Pc to unknowingly also be the campaigns true and final villain?

marshalljames1
edited May 11 in General Discussion

I've had A Idea for A Unique Campaign and The Main Villains ID has a unique twist to it that with a little modification could be used in almost RPG Setting, what do you think of my idea?

Since Schizophrenia is a condition were the same person has 2 personalities, in all case's the 2 personalities can never recall what happened whilst the other personality was in control and in most case's they believe that they have some condition that cause's them to forget hours if not days

So what do you think?, with enough planning could Schizophrenia be used as a way of allowing A Pc to unknowingly also be the campaigns true and final villain?

Post edited by marshalljames1 on

Comments

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 962

    I don't see why you couldn't make that work logistically.  But, I'd lean toward doing this with a possession or a curse (similar to Lycanthropy) or a cursed magic item, versus a mental issue with the Character.  The reason is that with one of the other options the Player has a game mechanic way of solving the issue and coming out a hero.  Whereas with the mental issue, it's not clear how the situation can be resolved.

     

     

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • marshalljames1
    Posts: 184

    I've just thought of a way for it to be a mental issue that can be cured curable by magic, but it involves The 7th level Spell Limited Wish and I don't know enough about 1st edition DAD to know if it would work

    The idea is that if possible no one learns the truth until The Pc Magic User reach's 14th level,in case your wondering in 1st edition you gain access to 7th level spells at 14th level not 13th level, then he or she will use A Limited Wish Spell to destroy the evil personality whilst leaving the good personality unaffected. Would it work?

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 962

    14 levels seems like a really long time for the PC not to notice any gaps in time/memory.  I think you would need a ready repeatable explanation for why the Character had those gaps in time/memory.  Maybe the alternate personality has convinced the main personality that they are being contacted by a god or outsider patron of some kind, and if the Character goes off and "meditates" alone, then the god/outsider will award the Character with items or new spells or something like that.  But what's really happening is that the alternate personality is going off and adventuring to obtain the items/spells, and brings them back as "gifts" to the main personality.

    How would the Character find out in game that they had specifically schizophrenia?  Is there a psychologist, or a cleric/healer, that diagnoses mental issues?  And is Limited Wish a known cure for mental issues, or just something that someone would suggest as a "well, you could try this, since nothing else has worked ..."?

    I'd also be curious how the condition originated ... and is it just going to originate again for the same reason after the Limited Wish?

     

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • neqis
    neqis
    Posts: 28 edited May 14

    The old Jekyll & Hyde?

    Pardon the intrusion, but I think you mean Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a dissociative disorder, rather than Schizophrenia, a psychotic disorder. Other disorder types includes: personality disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders. All are psychiatric disorders (NB: psychotic disorders are a subtype of psychiatric disorders, and aren't the same thing). Knowing more about each may help with constructing the narrative.

    Schizophrenia is, more or less, being out-of-touch with reality, such as having episodes of hallucinations, delusions, disorderly thinking and the like. It may include paranoia, but not always. The stereotype is someone living on the street, talking to themself and wearing a crazy outfit of all sorts of mismatched clothes. (This latter aspect has a basis in fact. A search on PubMed for "schizophrenia thermoregulation" turns up quite a few results, going back to 1950. The brains of schizophrenics have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and tend to feel colder, which can make their symptoms worse. Bundling is therapeutic.) If you've ever seen "Donnie Darko", much of it can be interpreted as the experience of a schizophrenic.

    One central aspect of DID is "dissociation", which is a coping mechanism. Some people, faced with trauma, detach emotionally from the situation, distancing themselves mentally so it feels like it's happening to someone else. Another is "compartmentalization", another coping mechanism where conflicting thoughts & feelings are kept mentally separate (though this might be a mild form of dissociation).

    There's quite a bit of disagreement over the DID diagnosis, including whether it should be considered a disorder at all, and it's perhaps something of an umbrella term covering a few different conditions (itself falling under "multiplicity"). It doesn't always involve separate identities, and when it does, they may be aware of each other. Sometimes it involves a change of persona to handle emotionally extreme situations, so that it seems like the person becomes someone else, but they still have the same sense of self. We all do this to some degree, changing with social context; we may be serious at work, irritable with family, outgoing with friends, withdrawn with strangers. For someone with DID, however, this goes to extremes, and can include alter egos, sometimes called "alters".

    In most cases, DID develops response to a prolonged period of traumas in childhood. One explanation is that when situations become too much for someone to handle, they develop a new personality to handle them. The original, or "apparently normal", personality is typically physiologically andemotionally blunted, while the new, or "emotional part", is all about fight-or-flight. From "Trauma-Related Structural Dissociation Of The Personality":

    [...] Myers observed that the "emotional" personality (EP) recurrently suffers vivid sensorimotor experiences charged with painful affects which, at least subjectively, closely match the original trauma. Thus the EP is stuck in the traumatic experience that persistently fails to become a narrative memory of the trauma. The "apparently normal" personality (ANP), on the other hand, is associated with avoidance of the traumatic memories, detachment, numbing, and partial or complete amnesia.

    Note the memory gaps happen for the ANP. An EP might not suffer from them, and might be aware of alternate egos. ANPs are active in daily life, while EPs come out in survival situations.

    Another explanation for DID is that it's created during therapy, similar to how recovered memories are sometimes false memories.

    DID, as with many psychiatric disorders, can be expressed differently in different cultures; possession is a common one.

    For some shows & films that feature characters with DID, check out "The United States of Tara", "Moon Knight" and "The Three Faces of Eve" (which might be the earliest).

    In the end, a psychological basis for a split personality may not fit the narrative, but there are plenty of other causes you could create.

    Post edited by neqis on
  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 962

    @neqis, thats all great background.  Thanks for providing it!  It also kind of highlights another reason I would lean away from a medical issue toward something that has a game mechanic attached to it ... the Players might know more than the GM about the disorder, and then be confused when the symptoms and manifestations don't match the real disorder.

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • marshalljames1
    Posts: 184

    I've had a thought. Even if the Players do know more than the GM about the disorder, and were confused when the symptoms and manifestations don't match the real disorder The GM could, and in my opinion should, decide that the differences are due to the fact that The DAD version of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which I initially made the mistake of calling Schizophrenia, is very different to how it is in real life

  • neqis
    neqis
    Posts: 28

    It depends on your players, and whether they would be satisfied with that. The more the players know, the greater a suspension of disbelief will be required of them, which only works if the rest of the narrative is satisfying. If it isn't, it can feel like the GM is cheating or being lazy, or make the world feel fake. If the GM is going to introduce something from the real world but have it operate under different rules, they'd better introduce those rules before making use of them. This will also potentially foreshadow the plot point.

    Another issue with making a player unknowingly the villain (through any plot points/character aspects) is it railroads the player's character's story, removing the player's agency over their own character. Whether the player would dislike this depends on the person, so I'd recommend doing it only if you know your players well enough to determine they'd enjoy it.

  • marshalljames1
    Posts: 184 edited May 19
    I will point out that what I believed was called Schizophrenia is actually called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), this means that if used in a campaign Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) won't operate differently to how it does in real life, rather I simply made the mistake of getting its name wrong and it will work exactly like it does in real life
    Post edited by marshalljames1 on
Sign In or Register to comment.

October2022
Wildside

Read the feature post on the blog
Return to Obsidian Portal

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Discussions