Going Extra Mad
I love the madness rules in the Dungeon Master’s Guide but I do have a problem. I want more! I recently posted rules for going mad in The Damned Lands of my setting, Exploration Age. I realized that only 12 forms of indefinite madness were not nearly enough for my purposes. So I’ve created new rules for indefinite madness which will be available in the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide. Take a look at the excerpt below.
A quick note about the excerpt. When I wrote the madness flaws, I was inspired by works of fiction I had consumed in the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres. It’s been brought to my attention since first posting this, that some of the flaws hit close to home with folks struggling with or know someone struggling with mental illness, so please consider this a trigger warning.
Variant: New Forms of Indefinite Madness
Any extended adventure in The Damned Lands will have PCs fighting off madness. When their fight fails, DMs should use the rules for indefinite madness in chapter 8 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. This variant rule is meant to expand the indefinite madness flaws available for your campaign.
When a creature contracts indefinite madness the DM may choose one of the flaws below which is then applied to the creature. The DM may instead to choose to roll for a random flaw. If this is the case the DM first rolls on the Types of Indefinite Madness table and then rolls on the appropriate flaw table.
Types of Indefinite Madness
|d4||Type of Indefinite Madness|
People suffering from violent madness are out for blood. They might have specific triggers or simply take pleasure in causing physical harm to others. Those who revel in torture, pain, and murder suffer from this type of madness.
Violent Madness Flaws
|1||I only feel pleasure when I am killing.|
|2||I murder people I disagree with rather than arguing with them.|
|3||Physically torturing others helps me understand my own pain.|
|4||I hunt and kill all members of a particular race or group of people I believe have wronged me.|
|5||When I see a physical imperfection on someone I must remove it.|
|6||Only those I deem perfect and holy can live.|
Those who believe they are being watched when no one else is around, those who are sure a secret organization has marked them for death, and those who know their friends are actually their enemies are people who suffer from paranoid madness. In a setting like Exploration Age there are many secret societies and plots to over-throw a government. Sometimes the lines between madness and the truth are blurred and it becomes that much more difficult to know what to believe.
Paranoid Madness Flaws
|1||I am being watched at all times and therefore communicate in a code of my own creation.|
|2||Anyone who tries to get to know me better is going to be violently interrogated.|
|3||I will only consume food and drink I grow and harvest myself in a secret location.|
|4||Words can be used against me so I don’t communicate with anyone ever.|
|5||Everyone will turn on me eventually, so I better run away or turn on them first.|
|6||It is only safe for me in one location which I’ll never leave.|
Identity Loss Madness
Sometimes madness causes people’s personal realities to crumbling around them to the point of victims not being sure who they are anymore. People who take on someone else’s traits, people who worry about fading away, and people who question their own existence all suffer from identity loss madness.
Identity Loss Madness Flaws
|1||I see now that someone else has stolen my real identity and I must take it back by wearing that person’s clothes and acting like that person.|
|2||I am slowly forgetting all the details of my personal history and will soon not even know my own name.|
|3||I’m convinced that I do not actually exist in this world and nothing I do has any real consequences.|
|4||This whole time I’ve been a sleeper agent for a secret organization bent on world domination and my programming was just activated.|
|5||No one will remember me unless I commit violent and depraved acts.|
|6||To me what is friendly is terrifying and what is dangerous is attractive.|
People suffering from emotional madness redefine the phrase mood swing. They don’t react to stresses good and bad the way someone without madness might. They’re unpredictable and as dangerous to themselves as they are to those around them.
Emotional Madness Flaws
|1||What should make me angry makes me laugh, what should make me happy makes me furious.|
|2||Everything in life reminds me of the futile state of existence.|
|3||A friend only I can see tells me how to think, feel, and act.|
|4||I must constantly be inebriated or the pain of living is too great.|
|5||I have trigger words that make happy, sad, and angry. They change daily.|
|6||When in situations of extreme stress I literally become a completely different person.|
It’s Time for a PDF
For those of you looking to have and hold these expanded madness options for your campaigns, I’ve created a free PDF for you. You can click on the link below or head on over to the Free Game Resources section of this site where it lives with a bunch of other supplements for your game like new magic items and monsters.
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March 15, 2015 @ 5:58 am
Interesting, I find these a bit more playable/interesting than the average take on Madness.
March 15, 2015 @ 7:52 pm
Thanks so much! If you use them, let me know how it goes.
August 9, 2017 @ 2:56 pm
(with respect to actuality), the trigger warning at the beginning made me rub my hands together and delightfully cackle…
Good horror show, mate! I like the new directions madness goes here.
Critique: possibly contribute some more mechanical aspects. i.e., madness is a damn dangerous thing to add to the game – I par it with dying. Possibly a Madness Save that parallels the Death Save to make things interesting….and of course, these saves are made Passively…behind the screen.
Thank you for doing this! =)