Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

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EddyPo
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Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

Post by EddyPo » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:39 pm

Hypothetical - how do you handle multiple occurrences of the same mythos in a single session regarding San checks? For instance, say your investigators encounter two deep ones and later they encounter two more. Two separate San checks for each pair? Now suppose they are under siege from dozens of them. How would you handle that? I realize there is a maximum San loss they can take from one source. Do you keep having the players roll San each time an instance of the creatures presents itself until they max out?

Just a hypothetical.
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Re: Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

Post by cookiegerard » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:45 pm

I remember either reading in the main rule book, or it was mentioned on the podcast, I can't recall which, but I think what you are meant to do is have a reduced SAN loss if they happen in a short enough time period. Seeing a Dark One for the first time would be seriously freaky, but seeing another one within a day or two, while still horrible, won't compare to that first burst of pure terror. Getting to know your enemy and such.

I'd say have a reduced SAN loss for the same mythos creature if the players see/fight/etc the foul beast within a month maybe. After that, assume they have had time to forget details, block the memory, etc, and then it is fair enough to blast them with the full SAN loss.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

Post by EddyPo » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:58 pm

Thanks!
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Re: Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

Post by Keeper Dan » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:20 pm

The way Cookiegerard described it is how I would go with it. If they see something in a short period, say a few days, then I'd have them stop rolling once they hit the max loss for the type. A Keeper would be well within their rights to give the PC nightmares about that type of creature for a good long while though, and maybe a minor phobia regarding similar natural animals.
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Re: Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

Post by Dr. Gerard » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:24 pm

Yeah, I'd say the SAN effect hypothetically wears down a bit, but never entirely. One Deep One is a horrible thing to witness, and the SAN loss should be as listed. A second one, honestly, shouldn't be that much less of a shock because now the character must grapple with the realization that this isn't just some unfortunate isolated mutation...there could be a whole family of them out there. And then, when faced with a hoard of these things, there is an even greater shock in knowing that a whole race of such things lives among us, doing their bad business in forgotten coastal harbors around the world.

Each time the character has to cross one of these cognitive thresholds, I think it's fair game to give them a full-on SAN blast at the original level. Treat it as a loss for the encounter, not for each individual creature.

Mechanically, I think it's best to look at the scenario or campaign and try to judiciously space out appearances of the same thing anyway. Count up the overall potential SAN losses based on the encounters you have in store. If you want to put an average of one or two of your players in jeopardy of temporary insanity at a particular point in the story, build in at least a couple of SAN checks of 1d6 or 1d6+1. Think about your biggest sanity-blasting scene, and plan for average losses of 10-12 sanity points if you want there to be an indefinite insanity risk.

I'm making all of this up. There might be better guidance already written in the book, but that's how I do it.

As far as storytelling, I would try to treat multiple encounters with the same thing as an upward slope, rather than downward. Change the circumstances each time. Raise the stakes. Thus, a first encounter might be a good look at the Deep One's face in the shadows of some back alley. The second time, increase the sanity risk by making the players witness a small circle of Deep Ones feeding on something around a fire down by the docks. The third time, perhaps the players will see them climbing over the gunwale of a boat, or a congregation of them at a church, or perhaps it's just one, but this time they see a favorite NPC butchered and hung in a smokehouse before their eyes. To my mind, the Keeper should do their best to increase the horror in the description of the same creature, with an eye toward freaking out the players more than they'd been during the previous encounter.
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Re: Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

Post by Gerall » Sun May 11, 2014 4:53 pm

I've always played it like this...

A character can't lose more than the max roll for seeing a given species / entity. So if SAN loss for the Vourd (my own monster) is 2/1d6, here's how I'd run it:

Seeing a single entity: 2/1d6.
Seeing several at once: just deduct 6 (the max).

If seeing one doesn't drop a character's SAN by the maximum amount (say a 3 point loss), I'd make a note on my index card for the character of Vourd: 3. Future encounters wouldn't cause more than 3 further points of SAN damage.

Note that this doesn't mean the characters are used to seeing these things- they've just got over the initial shock. They'll still have effects from their madnesses and insanities to deal with...

Nyarlathotep's SAN loss is 1d10/1d100... It can keep creeping investigators out for quite a long time!

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Re: Multiple occurrence of same mythos creature

Post by Shannon Mac » Mon May 12, 2014 10:56 am

The Mythos are beyond our comprehension and absolutely horrifying as a result.

I go all the way until they cap out. That means they keep rolling for Deep Ones in new scenes until they hit the 6 pt cap.

I will reduce the SAN loss or give them bonuses in certain scenes if it's going to result in a TPK before the finale yet it's still in Act 3 (meaning too far in for some groups to want to make new characters).

Sometimes I will have a delayed reaction. For instance in a recent game a group of modern day players with no combat backgrounds murdered 4 people as they did not want to be identified later. They stabbed each person in the head to be certain they were dead.

It wasn't until they had time to process it and get back to a cafe to unwind that I surprised them with ye old SAN check roll.

I did this b/c it was a Cthulhu Dark game and 3 of the 4 players were but one more SAN hit from going permanently insane. There was one more big scene to end the game and even though character creation can take 2 minutes I didn't want to lose any momentum to the story by bringing in new players. In case you're wondering 2 of the 4 died at that finale, 1 was wounded but lived and the last became something of a Gollum with his newfound Precious. :skull2:

I'm also big on haunting PCs in their dreams. Veteran players who play with me a lot expect it.

Overall I don't have players make SAN checks again until it is a new scene (in my mind). This is subjective and I like it that way. When players start "instructing me" that the DC to open a door is 10 and not 12 I don't want to play with them anymore. :roll: Yeah, that's one of the main reasons I don't run D&D games much anymore. It attracts too many people of that type.

In general, I prefer story/narrative flow over mechanics. I will sometimes ignore a SAN check for seeing yet another Deep One if it feels overplayed much like a chase scene that should be 1-3 venue changes to some of the ridiculous ones that go far beyond 1-3 scenes. You know what I'm talking about: they start on foot, then jump into a canoe, then they run again and jump on to mopeds then hang gliders! And it keeps going on and on and on . . .
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