So I know it's been awhile- life has been nuts, but I'm finally really getting back into game and recommitting to actually being active in the community again.
I'm running a new campaign, and have been working on a new mechanic for it, "Sanity". So far it's gone well, and has really helped the players focus on and develop their character. The idea is that as the story goes on, their supply of sanity slowly starts to dwindle. In order to maintain and possibly build it back up, they must play to their core character traits and kind of rely on themselves in both a story element and meta aspect.
I know it's a long read, but I'd love some thoughts on the mechanics:
Each character starts with a Sanity score cap equal to their Wisdom score x 4. This score represents the mental well being and balance of the character and they can never earn or regain more than this cap. A player may choose to sacrifice 1 Sanity to gain the benefit of an Inspiration Point. Regular rules for use of Inspiration apply, but this boon can be used as often as the player desires. However, doing so more than ONCE per day may lead to unfortunate consequences. Each point used between long rests after the first will increase the likelihood of incurring temporary insanity or some other dissociative malady.(Sanity Table link: https://db4sgowjqfwig.cloudfront.net/campaigns/244268/assets/1072975/Screenshot_2020-05-04_Sanity_d20srd_org.png?1588802979)
Other uses are, but not limited to:
At any level where you may raise your base attributes or gain a feat, you may permanently sacrifice 15 Sanity points, lowering your maximum cap, to gain either the attribute increase and a feat, or gain 2 feats.
Saving throws Players can spend their reaction and a Sanity point to reroll a saving throw.
I have a thing for that Allow a player to spend a Sanity Point to “remember” their character purchased a non-magical mundane or useful item, and that they have it somewhere on their person.
I know a guy… Allow a player to spend Sanity to create and describe an NPC contact who can help with the current situation or mission. Must be within reason and context (agreed upon by the player and DM). The results of exactly how useful/trustworthy/forthcoming that contact is will be determined by Char rolls (persuasion, intimidate, etc.) and the description. Think Han Solo calling on Lando Calrissian (very mixed results) vs. James Bond going to Q (sweet new goodies!).
Battle of Wills : If both parties decide to engage (and are intelligent enough to do so), a creature, NPC, or PC may initiate a Battle of Wills. To do so, each opponent can choose to spend up to 12 Sanity (if they have them) to force the other to falter and submit. The number spent will be represented by either 2d6 or 1d12, and revealed at the same time to each opponent. The margin by which a victory is claimed will have varying degrees of consequence for the losing party.
To gain the upper hand before the roll, the opponents can make Deception vs Insight to either tell how powerful their opponent is, or trick the other into thinking that they are weaker or stronger, thus trying to influence how many Sanity points to spend.
Sanity Check: During gameplay, a player may make an Sanity Check to attempt to use a Sanity Point or multiple points to achieve something otherwise outside of their capabilities. The DM then may offer a Counter. This may be simply a number of points to accomplish the Sanity Check, or some other action or sacrifice. They then Negotiate and resolve the outcome based of the Counter agreed on.
Sanity may be gained through story arc development or other special circumstances. In addition to regular gain , at the end of each session players regain a Sanity point for each time they played to their characters personality trait, bond, ideal, or flaw during the session.
Sanity may also be lost if faced with traumatic events or creatures that disturbs the psyche.
If a character reaches 0 Sanity… Well, let’s just hope it never comes to that…
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