This Midnight Hour
Madness In Ravenloft
Failed Madness saves can cripple a character; fortunately, they're also the least common type of effect. Make a Madness save in the following three situations:
• The character makes mental contact (using spells, special abilities, and so on) with any darklord, aberration, elemental, ooze, outsider, plant, or insane mind (any creature suffering from a Madness effect). Druids and clerics with the Plant domain are exempt from making Madness saves when contacting plants.
• The character is the victim of "gaslighting," a purposeful attempt by another party to drive her insane.
• The character suffers a total catastrophe. This can include witnessing the brutal destruction of the rest of the party, leaving the character to face the threat alone; a paladin being stripped of her powers for her misdeeds; suffering an involuntary alignment change; or being subjected to a horrific physical transformation (such as being turned into a broken one).
Determining the Madness Save DC
A Madness save's DC is determined on a case- by-case basis.
Mental Contact: If a Madness save is prompted by contact with an alien or insane mind, the DC is 10 + 1/2 the contacted creature's HD + contacted creature's Wisdom modifier.
Gaslighting: Gaslighting comes in two variet- ies. If an opponent tries to drive a character mad with a spell or other magical effect (such as bestow curse or wish), then default to the saving throw indicated by that spell (typically a Will save). That saving throw stands in for the Madness save.
One character can also gaslight another through nonmagical means. To do this, the perpe- trator must gain the victim's trust and remain in close proximity to the victim for thirty days, using that time to slowly convince the victim that her sanity is slipping away.
At the end of the thirty days, the perpetrator must make an opposed Bluff check against the victim's Sense Motive check. If the victim fails this check, she has been dr iven mad; as with other Madness saves, the degree of failure determines the result (subtract the victim's Sense Motive result from the perpetrator's Bluff result). The perpetrator can select a specific Madness effect from the selected category if he wishes.
If the victim's Sense Motive check defeats the perpetrator's Bluff check, she is unaffected. If she succeeds by 10 or more points, she immediately becomes aware of the perpetrator's failed gaslighting attempt. If the perpetrator is not detected, he can try again (with each attempt taking another thirty days).
Total Catastrophe: Madness saves prompted by personal catastrophes can be considered a par- ticularly shattering form of Horror save. The DM should use the recommended DCs and modifiers listed under Horror saves, though this will often require the DM to make a judgment call.
Minor Madness Effects
Moderate Madness Effects
Major Madness Effects
All Madness effects described below are in addition to the effective ability decreases detailed above. As a note, minor Madness effects tend to be forgiving and pass within a few hours. Moderate effects can be troubling, but PCs can usually continue to function. Characters suffering from major Madness effects often pose a danger to themselves and others and require close supervision.
Blackout: The character is merely shaken at first. However, she will not recall anything in the time period between (and including) the scene that prompted the Madness save and when she regains the last of her decreased ability scores. If the character is alone, the DM may simply cut to when she "comes to," wandering and alone, with no memory of how she came to be in her current location. Some spells, such as modify memory, can restore lost memories.
Denial: The character's mind refuses to accept the existence of the threat that prompted the Madness save. Until she regains all decreased abil- ity scores, she acts as if this threat simply does not exist. Denial provides the character with an effec- tive +4 insight bonus to any Will saves against that threat's attacks but otherwise offers no protection. When all ability scores ar e regained, the character once again acknowledges the existence of the threat (but loses the insight bonus).
Horrified: The character suffers a moderate Horror effect (determined randomly). This Horror effect's duration lasts only until the character re- gains all decreased ability sco res, rather than the usual two weeks.
Unhinged: The portion of the character's mind that should have gone mad simply shuts down instead. This leaves the character able to function but affects her personality. She receives an effec- tive +2 morale bonus to all Fear and Horror saves, but her alignment temporarily changes (roll 1d8 to randomly select a new alignment, omitting the character's original alignment from the options). A Sense Motive check (DC 20) can reveal that the Unhinged character is "not quite herself," assum- ing it isn't obvious. The character regains her normal alignment (but loses the morale bonus) when all decreased ability scores are restored. An alignment change due to this Madness effect does not cause an additional Madness check.
Delusions: The character believes something about herself that is simply not true. The nature of this delusion is usually tied into the event that provoked the Madness save. Examples might in- clude a character who believes she has endless wealth (paying for services with pebbles she insists are rubies), believes she transforms into a wolf under the light of the full moon (and insists she must be caged), or believes that she is a specific NPC ("I am Count Strahd! Bow before me!"). The character can perform actions only if she can rationalize them within the context of her delusion. For example, a character who believes she is actually a vampire would not be willing to expose herself to sunlight.
If a character ever performs an action that should be "impossible" within the context of her delusion (in other words, if the player cannot immediately provide a rationalization for the ac- tion), the character must make an immediate Horror check at DC 15.
Depression: The character is overcome by a deep melancholy, sapping away her will to live and her interest in the world around her. Such a character just wants to be left alone; she will not suggest ideas, give commands, or otherwise direct other characters. In fact, in any given situation, the character must make a Will save at the same DC as the failed Madness save to take any action whatsoever. If the charact er fails this Will save, she will do nothing at all, even in dangerous situations. In a combat situation, she cannot take any actions and is considered flatfooted.
Even if the character is motivated to act, she does so listlessly and reluctantly. She can follow the instructions of allies, but she suffers an effective
4 morale penalty to all attack rolls, loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and Reflex saves, and cannot take attacks of opportunity. On the other hand, the character's utter lack of interest in her surroundings actually provides her with an effec tive +4 insight bonus to all subsequent Fear, Horror, and Madness saves.
Hallucinations: The character perceives some- thing in the world that simply does not exist. In a sense, Hallucinations can be considered the "ex- ternal" companion to the "internal" Delusions effect. As with Delusions, the nature of the hallu- cination is usually related to the event that prompted the failed Madness check.
Examples: A character might believe that she can see ghosts, that biting insects have infested her armor, or that illithids visit her at night. She might even occasionally encounter an NPC who actually exists only in her mind.
In a sense, a hallucination can be thought of as a phantasm spell on the level of a major image, but one where the insane character is both caster and subject. As with illusions, the DM should present hallucinatory episodes as real events when they first manifest. Menacing hallucinations may provoke Fear or Horror saves (DC depends on the specific scene; see the respective sections on determining DC). Hallucinations can even attack the character, though they inflict only subdual damage, as the character merely believes she is being harmed.
Characters have little mental defense against their own inner demons. Thus, a hallucinating character suffers a -2 morale penalty to all Fear and Horror saves provoked by her own visions.
If a character somehow becomes aware that her hallucinations are just that, she must still concentrate to convince herself that the visions are not real. This works just like disbelieving illu- sions; to dispel a hallucination, the character must make a Will save at DC (13 + character's Wisdom modifier). Unlike with illusions, however, the re- assurances of allies cannot grant a hallucinating character any bonus to her Will save. An attempt to disbelieve a hallucination is a standard action and can be retried each round.
If a character successfully disbelieves a hallu- cination, the episode still continues for another 1d4 rounds. That hallucination can no longer provoke Fear or Horror saves, however, nor can it inflict subdual damage.
Paranoia: The character believes that she exists at the center of a conspiracy dedicated to her destruction. No amount of rational argument can convince her otherwise. Although the character's madness does not extend to actual hallucinations, the DM should present all NPCs and conversations with other characters in a menacing light. The DM might drop subtle visual clues that other characters are inhuman, or thread vague, easily misinter- preted "threats" into NPC dialogue.
As with hallucinations, the DM may want to give the other players secret signals that the scene is not being presented quite as it actually exists, or the DM may want to focus on the paranoid character's interaction with NPCs only when sepa- rated from other PCs. This avoids the extra work of explaining what's really happening to the other players.
The paranoid character must succeed at a Will save with a DC equal to that of the failed Madness save to place any trust in other characters. If the character fails the Will save, she must refuse all offers of help as being "obvious traps." If a paranoid character ever does come upon actual evidence that she has been betrayed or that others are conspiring against her, she must make an immediate Horror save (at DC 12 + character's Wisdom modifier).
Amnesia: A much more disabling form of the Blackout effect, Amnesia is the result of an affected mind's desperate attempt to shield itself from the memory that provoked the failed Madness save. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the amnesiac character immediately blocks out all memory of the maddening event — along with many of the months or years that came before it.
If a failed Madness save results in an Amnesia effect, the DM should roll d%. Multiply this per- centage times the characte r's total levels (rounding down). The character then receives that many negative levels.
Although an amnesiac character still has ac- cess to all of her skills, she loses all memory of events since gaining those levels. A character who acquires a number of negative levels equal to her character level regresses to childhood.
Example: A 15th-level fighter fails a Madness check, resulting in Amnesia. The DM rolls d%, with a result of 48. The fighter then acquires seven (15 × 48% = 7.2, rounde d down) negative levels.
This character would not remember any events he has witnessed or any people he has met since becoming an 8th-level fighter. Restoration spells cannot remove these nega- tive levels; they are caused by memory loss, not negative energy.
Multiple Personalities: The character's psyche makes a desperate attempt to contain the mental trauma it has suffered by splintering into separate identities. The character retains a core personality, 10d10 fragments , and 2d10 alter egos.
The core personality is the character's original persona. It has access to all of the character's memories, skills, and abilities. Fragments are partial personas, easily described in a single phrase, such as "coin collector," "sleepy child, " or "talented dancer."
The player can assign a single skill or ability to each fragment. Fragments can use their one talent if called upon, but they always ignore anything that has no relation to their single subject.
Alter egos are fully formed personalities. Each alter ego considers itself a distinct individual, but alters often believe that their race, class, or even gender differs from the core personality. As with Delusional characters, these alter egos cannot be convinced that they are not as real as the core personality. The player should flesh out the per- sona of each alter ego: • Roll 1d6 to determine each alter ego's ap- proximate age. 1: Child. 2: Adolescent. 3: Adult. 4: Middle aged. 5: Old. 6: Venerable. • Roll 1d6 to determine each alter ego's sup- posed sex and race. 1: Same sex, same race. 2: Male, same race. 3 : Female, same race. 4: Male, different race. 5: Female, different race. 6: Same sex, different race. Most alter egos who believe themselves a different race will still consider themselves humanoids, but some alter egos may believe they are giants, fey, or even magical beasts.
• Roll d% on Table 5-5 in the Dungeon Master's Guide to select a trait as the base of the alter ego's personality.
Alter egos have access to all of the core personality's skills and abilities, but they will not use them if doing so is "out of character." For example, a wizard's alter ego that belie ves itself to be an ogre distrustful of magic would not cast spells. The player should keep a numbered list of her hero's fragments and alters for ease of reference. Whenever a character suffering from Multiple Personalities has to make a Will save, she must also make an immediate additional Will save equal to the failed Madness save's DC or randomly switch personalities (as a free action). The character should also make a Will save (DC 15 + character's Wisdom modifier) each time she r ests. If the character succeeds at the Will save, she wakes up as the core personality. If she fails, she switches to a random persona.
The core personality has no conscious memory of time spent in other personalities, but the character does not acquire negative levels as with Amnesia. Alter egos typically are aware of each other and can "leave messages" for each other if they wish. It is not uncommon for alter egos to dislike each other or the core personality.
Schizophrenia: The character's personality suffers a serious collapse. As the character's sense of self erodes, she can experience drastic and unpre- dictable personality shifts. Once every week, and whenever the character makes a Will save of any kind, she must succeed at a Will save (DC 15 + character's Wisdom modifier) or have her alignment immediately and randomly change. The player should roll 2d4 of different colors: one die represents ethical alignment (1: Lawful. 2: Neutral. 3: Chaotic. 4: Original alignment); the other represents moral alignment (1: Good. 2: Neutral. 3: Evil. 4: Original alignment). A character might be a saint one moment, a monster the next. An alignment change due to this Madness effect does not cause an additional Madness check.
Suicidal Thoughts: This is a more serious form of the Depression effect. In addition to all of the effects detailed under Depression, the character's will to live hangs by a thread. If the character fails any subsequent Fear, Horror, or Madness saves, she must soon (within an hour) make an attempt to take her own life. The character makes the suicide attempt via the most efficient means at her disposal: leaping off a high balcony, drinking poisonous chemicals, hurling herself into a river, and so on.
A character can also use a piercing or slashing melee weapon to inflict a coup de grace against herself. This is also possible with some ranged weapons, such as crossbows and firearms.
If a character fails another Madness save while already suffering a Madness e ffect, do not ro ll 1d4 to determine a new effect. The character's mind, already insane, merely sinks deeper into its existing dementia. Ability score decreases are cumulative with multiple failed Madness saves, however. If any of the character's mental ability scores ever drop below 3, she becomes what is commonly known in Ravenloft as a lost one — a walking catatonic whose mind was shattered by memories too horrible to bear. The character becomes an NPC until she has at least a 3 in all mental ability scores; until then, the character eats and drinks if fed, walks if led, and may occasionally mumble some gibberish, but otherwise she can take no meaningful actions. The DM can shape a lost one's personality by looking at which ability score has dropped to 1 or 2.
A lost one with minimal Intelligence may seem like a cheery and friendly fellow, but he might have absolutely no short-term memory. He is unable to remember anything about anyone from one minute to the next. A lost one with minimal Wisdom might have a vibrant memory but would be completely stymied by any kind of external task, such as opening a door latch or changing his clothes. A lost one with minimal Charisma might wander in a daze, mumbling strange rhymes, and is seemingly unable to register the existe nce of other creatures.
If any ability score drops to 0, the character slips into complete catatonia (see "Ability Score Loss" in the Dungeon Master's Guide). If all three ability scores are raised above 0 ag ain, the character wakes up as a lost one.
Madness and Alignment
Some Madness effects can cause a character's alignment to temporarily change. This is an invol- untary alignment shift but does not require an additional Madness save. Some classes require spe- cific alignments, like the lawful good paladin. In these cases, the insane character should be consid- ered an effective "ex" member of that class and may or may not lose class abilities. (For example, an ex- barbarian loses the ability to rage, whereas an ex- monk still retains all abilities.) This loss of class abilities is only temporary; because the alignment change is involuntary, the character is not considered to have actually aban- doned the class.
When the Madness effect causing the alignment change is removed, the character's original alignment is restored and she can continue to gain levels in that class as normal. Divine spellcasters such as the cleric, druid, or paladin may be required to atone first, however.
Recovering from Madness
The road from madness to sanity is often long and difficult. Madness effects are removed when all ability points lost to the failed Madness save are regained. In the case of minor Madness effects, this period is mercifully short: never longer than 6 hours. Moderate and major effects require much more effort to shake off. Several methods are available to characters in need of recovery:
Peace and Quiet: If the character rests for thirty days without failing any subsequent Will saves, she can make a recovery check (a Madness save) against the same DC . If this check succeeds, she regains 1 point in one of her decreased ability scores. While the player can choose which ability score to place the point in, the fastest road to recovery lies in restoring Wisdom to normal first. The character can attempt a new recovery check once per restful month against the original DC until Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma return to normal. However, particularly if the character's Wisdom score was drastically lowered by the Madness save, the DC may be so high that the character cannot su cceed. In these cases, the character needs to turn to outside help.
Magic: If available, magic is the quickest and most efficient method of recovery. Restoration can restore drained ability scores but requires three castings to remove a Madness effect (one casting to restore each ability score), while the spells greater restoration and heal can each cure madness at a stroke. Note that of these spells, only heal can restore memories lost to a Blackout or Amnesia.
Modify memory can also restore lost memories, but it may require multiple castings to recover all lost memories.
Hypnosis: If the character does not have access to magic, access to a character with the Hypnosis skill is the next best option. The hypno- tism spell can be used in the same way; use this system, but the spell's increased efficiency grants the subject a +2 bonus to her recovery check.
Hypnosis is a new technique, first developed by (and still largely limited to) the alienists, or doctors, working in Ravenloft's handful of asylums and sanitariums. Were magic more plentiful in Ravenloft, this skill would be even less known — it is primarily a nonmagical substitute for the hypnotism spell.
When a character is curing madness, the DC of a Hypnosis skill check is equal to the DC of the subject's failed Madness save. The hypnotist may benefit from the modifiers listed on Table 3-4. If the hypnotist has at least 5 ranks in Heal, he gains a +2 synergy bonus to the skill check.
The hypnotist can sense the subject's emotions through magical means (including hypnotism).
The therapy takes places in a setting where the subject feels safe and comfortable
The hypnotist has the same alignment as the subject (disregarding Madness-induced alignment change).
The hypnotist comes from a similar background as the subject (including homeland,social class, and character class).