Saturday, January 1, 2022

Sanity vs Trauma - reviewing CoC7e,

Learning the Sanity mechanics of COC I get to reflect a lot on my own mental quirks.

Note: Spectrum of Behavior and probability. Some dice rolls make somethings all equally probable but our experience and if we do some research some behavior is more likely than others. Most importantly they manifest in subtle ways. 
Comments on the Rules
  1. Sanity Points: 0:50 - basically Sanity HP. 
    1. Trauma mechanics in Mneme Variant for Cepheus Engine I have uses "Conditions" instead of hitpoints since Conditions are: 
      1. simplifies the range of deterioration to a qualitative measure instead of a quantitative measure. 
      2. more flexible for GMs and Players if things have de-escalated or escalated through the conditions. 
      3. Allows for compounding Conditions. 
  2. Sanity Saves 2:45 -  % roll equal to Sanity Score.
    1. Clarification of Sanity loss is for the Experience and not the Quantity of the experience. 
    2. Any Loss of sanity is a involuntary reaction determined by the keeper. 
    3. What is a 99% Sane? Some deep discussion about human nature and the mind with this. Does it mean a perfectly working brain? A sociopath is perfectly sane and rational is that 99% Sane? Guilt and the Irrationality of Empathy is "Insane?" but Altruism can also be perfectly rational and irrational if a person behaves mostly consistently to prevent unnecessary suffering? How do you know sane is not in some form of denial, willfully ignoring things that don't compute?   
  3. +5 San loss. Roll INT, success causes Temp Insane. 1d10 hours of Temp Insane.
  4. Indefinite Insanity. Losses 20% (1/5) SAN in a "Day" 
    1. protip: mark the 20% of SAN. 
    2. Up the Keeper
  5. Stages of Insanity:
    1. Bout of Madness. Its interesting that characters just have it - there is no filter or resistance to the Trauma (which coping mechanisms and our world view is for, some world views allow us to better process disturbing thoughts and experiences).
      1. Change one element of backstory except for the special one of the PC. Whats interesting is the EQ of the group who can identify changes and the implications of the backstory and personality. 
      2. 1d10 rounds if there are people to get them out of it. or 1d10 hours if everyone else is suffering or alone. 
      3. See bout of Madness Charts help. See alternate tables and insanity dice. 
    2. Underlying Insanity. Back in control but still insane. 
      1. Any SAN loss triggers a Bout of madness. 
      2. Any failed push rolls has new consequences. 
      3. Delusions and Hallucination. 
        1. Players can ask for a Reality Check (Another SAN roll). I realize that if the player triggers this or if the PC triggers this based on their backstory and psychology. If its the player and its testable that the PC will want to accept this delusion or Hallucination this might raise problems in the game. 
    3. Encounters with Strange Entities. Write entity, loss and maximum loss. This maximum loss goes down. 
    4. Insane Insight. free successful idea roll. 
    5. Mythos Hardened. When the Mythos is higher than the SAN, they lose half as much SAN from mythos. This is a threshold which once reach is a permanent trait even if they recover SAN and go higher than their Mythos. 
  6. Interesting about the randomness of the Shock and Stress of Trauma. Straight to Delusion and Denial, and the stronger manifestations of a source of stress. Forgetting the other symptoms that lead to this stronger manifestation: Confusion, Distraction, Agitation, Hostility, and Apprehension and Hesitation.
    1. Coping and Defense mechanisms - like bad habits and agitation to avoid or numb the experience typically happen first. 
    2. This would be a handy chart.   
  7. And in Game mechanics, when your this is a penalty to the Skills or anything that Needs Attention, Willpower, and Initiative. 
  8. Recovery: 
    1. Sanity Rewards. Catharsis - resolving an issue. killing or ending a threat, and uncertainty, or removing a source of stress gives a release. Seth had to remind Keepers that you recover as much as you lose from a source. 
    2. Raising a skill 90% or higher. 
    3. Psychotherapy. If you follow mental health as a hobby or for your own mental health realizing that the coping mechanisms and institutions had a lot of abuse and mismanagement this allowing the PC to recover is a dubious way to get better - with the following as the primary sources of getting better: loving and supportive family (biological or non-biological), a counselor, a place to work on ourselves and allow us to distract ourselves (a job that has a lot of idle mental time and easy repetitive tasks). I think Asylums are a kind of 
    4. Cost of living and Wages is the fall back technique for Seths challenges 4 years ago. I'm sure he's figured it out by now 2022.  


I can't say I have something Traumatic in my life, but there are certain experiences that lead me down dark paths and I cant seem to escape from. I've seen people who are changed or calcified by these experiences.

If I have mental quirks, pauses where I have to wrestle with my emotions, and I don't have a particularly traumatic life who am I to judge harshly people who have gone through worse or what dark thoughts other people are grappling with. 

If you talked to me about Psychological Trauma 10-20+ years ago, I wouldn't understand how such experiences cause Trauma. The thing is Sanity is not a good word to describe this and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or simply Trauma is better in explaining how a character can be rendered "unplayable". 

If we started talking about Trauma and how it can debilitate anyone - then I would understand how an experience can make someone lose control. And just even the small things that cause us Trauma - for me in particular - remembering my experience with gaslighting and compulsive liars and how they make me believe the worse in me and doubt myself is painful and traumatic for me. it causes me to pause, it creates the dark path for my mind to and I have to consciously avoid and control my thoughts to prevent myself from going there. Then there are other concepts like "aggregate human behavior is an illusion of a mind" that a group of people - a stereotype - an organization - or people who share a common belief - and their behavior makes them act in a way that my brain tries to simplify as a "being" which is wrong. Its an illusion of a mind, and thinking its a mind - that it can control itself and avoid doing harm - is the scary part of this realization. A well-intentioned Institution or Organization - an aggregate of human behavior - is not a mind that can exert autonomy to avoid harm. 

Going dark paths in the web also reveals this scary human nature, toxic social media as well, and all this harm that can be found makes me realize - as a Stat or a mechanic we are not respecting the importance of mental health and how fragile we are.  

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