Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Insanity Rules for SWL & My Mash-Up

I am in the midst of typesetting my 4-page SF+SWL Mash-Up and realized that I have no real intention for this game to go beyond 3rd level because I don’t have Erik Tenkar’s luxury of saying, “For advancement beyond 3rd level, please refer to the Sword & Wizardry: Complete rules.”

This got me thinking about how to make it possible to have a long-running campaign with SWL without going on to S&W:Complete and by extension how to do the same with my SF+SWL mash-up. In reviewing my monster list, I was reminded of how much influence H.P. Lovecraft has on the way I build RPG worlds, regardless of which system or genre. This, in turn, got me thinking about the insanity rules of Call of Cthulhu and I think I have a fun little means of extending the life of a rules-light RPG campaign that only goes to third level.

I’m Too Old for This Crap!

Delving into the Mythic Underground, going to the edge of the Outer Darkness and fighting the strange monsters that spew forth from these places can and does do damage to anyone’s sanity. Therefore, after each successful adventure, players are required to make a “Sanity Check” for their character:
Roll a d20 and add the character’s level and the number of successive adventures the player has used the character in the current campaign. If the total is ≥ 20, then the character has seen too much and needs to take a break from active adventuring. Roll a d4 (or other die type agreed upon by the player and referee). The result is the number of sessions that character has to sit out before being mentally stable enough to return. The player then creates a new character to use in the next session.
The long-term result is that each player will have a cache of characters that they can play with. Depending on which character is recuperating and what the player feels like, they have the freedom to come to the table with different characters. In turn, this gives the Referee the freedom to plan a longer term campaign that doesn’t have an automatic cut-off date when characters get to 3rd level. Indeed, it can add a bit of spiciness to the table, especially for Referees and Players who don’t mind using a random table of insanities to add to their character’s growing number of quirks.