# Sanity (SAN)


Summoning - Michelle Lockamy

Whenever an investigator encounters the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos or comes across something mundane yet horrific (such as stumbling across a friend’s mutilated corpse), make a percentile roll against the investigator’s current Sanity score. If you roll over your current Sanity, you lose a greater amount of Sanity points. If you roll under, you will lose less or none. The Sanity loss is generally described for an event as something like “0/1D6” or “2/1D10.” The number before the slash mark tells you how much Sanity your character loses if the roll is equal to or under their current Sanity score; the number after the slash is how much your investigator loses if you roll over their current Sanity score.

Think of the game mechanic of Sanity (abbreviated as 'SAN') as modeling the behavior of characters in horror fiction when confronted with incomprehensible physics and monstrous entities from beyond space and time. The cosmic horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos defy safe or easy comprehension. When faced with such terrors, the human mind attempts to rationalize them but may become corrupted by the experience. The loss of SAN points is the cost associated with gaining new but terrible knowledge of the Cthulhu Mythos. In this sense, SAN is a corruption of human behavior, morals, and personality. Thus, "Sanity" is the game’s register of the investigator’s mental resilience. It is not designed to model or make light of real-world mental health conditions, in the same way that hit points (and the loss of them) in most RPGs do not make light of real-world physical trauma and injury.

When you fail a “Sanity roll” the Keeper gets to momentarily control your next action as the fear takes hold of you; perhaps you unwittingly scream or squeeze the trigger of your gun.

If an investigator loses 5 or more Sanity points as the consequence of a single Sanity roll, they have suffered major emotional trauma. The player must roll 1D100. If the result is equal to or less than their Intelligence (INT), the investigator fully understands and comprehends what has been seen and goes temporarily insane (for 1D10 hours). If they fail the roll, their mind is closed to the horror and they remain sane (for now).

In addition, a temporarily insane investigator suffers a “bout of madness”—roll 1D10 and refer to the Bouts of Madness Table. If the investigator is in the presence of other investigators, play out the result round by round. If the investigator is alone you may use the result to tell how the investigator is found sometime later in a bad way, perhaps locked in a cupboard or drunk in a gutter.

If your investigator is temporarily insane, the Keeper may decide to add a phobia or mania to your sheet (such as “fear of the dark,” “fear of confined spaces,” or “kleptomania, an irrational compulsion to steal things”). Alternatively, they may decide to rewrite one of your existing backstory entries, perhaps corrupting it in some way (where you wrote “Trusting” under Traits, the Keeper corrupts this to “Fearful.”)

While temporarily insane, the Keeper may present your investigator with “Delusions” (hallucinations)—is that a zombie creeping up on you or is it just a homeless man asking for spare change? You can only be certain by asking to make a “reality check”—electing to make a Sanity roll; if you’re successful, you see through the hallucination, but if you fail, you fall deeper into the madness!

Once 1D10 hours have passed, the investigator is sane once more and cannot be affected by more delusions; however, altered backstories or phobias or manias gained while insane remain in effect.

# Sample Phobias and Manias

There are hundreds of possible phobias and manias. Here are just a few possibilities.

Phobias Manias
Fear of heights (acrophobia). Pathological kindness (agathomania).
Fear of spiders (arachnophobia). Obsession with pain (algomania).
Fear of books (bibliophobia). Irrational cheerfulness (amenomania).
Fear of mirrors (eisoptrophobia). Compulsion for stealing books (bibliokleptomania).
Fear of blood (hemaphobia). Obsession to see justice done (dikemania).
Fear of dead things (necrophobia). Uncontrollable compulsion to laugh (geliomania).
Fear of teeth (odontophobia). Irrational compulsion to shout (klazomania).
Fear of fire (pyrophobia). Irrational compulsion for stealing (kleptomania).
Fear of telephones (telephonophobia). Delusion of suffering from an imagined disease (nosomania).
Fear of strangers or foreigners (xenophobia). Irrational compulsion for lying (pseudomania).

# Bouts of Madness Table

(Keeper chooses or rolls 1D10)

Roll Result
1 Amnesia: the investigator has no memory of events that have taken place since they were last in a place of safety. It seems to them that one moment they were eating breakfast and the next they are facing a monster. This lasts for 1D10 rounds.
2 Psychosomatic Disability: the investigator suffers psychosomatic blindness, deafness, or loss of the use of a limb for 1D10 rounds.
3 Violence: a red mist of rage descends on the afflicted investigator and they explode in a spree of uncontrolled violence and destruction directed at their surroundings, allies and foes alike, for 1D10 rounds.
4 Paranoia: the investigator suffers severe paranoia for 1D10 rounds. Everyone is out to get them! No one can be trusted! They are being spied on; someone has betrayed them; what they are seeing is a trick.
5 Significant Person: review the investigator’s backstory entry for Significant People. The investigator mistakes another person in the scene for their significant person. Consider the nature of the relationship; the investigator acts upon it. This lasts 1D10 rounds.
6 Faint: the investigator faints, recovering after 1D10 rounds.
7 Flee in Panic: the investigator is compelled to get as far away as possible by whatever method available, even if it means taking the only vehicle and leaving everyone else behind. They flee for 1D10 rounds.
8 Physical Hysterics or Emotional Outburst: the investigator is incapacitated laughing, crying, screaming, etc. for 1D10 rounds.
9 Phobia: the investigator gains a new phobia, such as claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), demonophobia (fear of spirits or demons), or katsaridaphobia (fear of cockroaches). Even if the source of the phobia is not present, the investigator imagines it is there for the next 1D10 rounds, and all actions suffer a penalty die while the bout continues.
10 Mania: the investigator gains a new mania, such as ablutomania (compulsion for washing oneself), pseudomania (irrational compulsion for lying), or helminthomania (an excessive liking for worms). The investigator seeks to indulge in this new mania for the next 1D10 rounds, and all actions suffer a penalty die while the bout continues.

# Insanity Summary

When a Sanity roll is made, the Sanity loss is shown as XX/ XX (e.g. 1/1D6). The number before the slash is the Sanity points lost if the roll is successful, the number or dice roll after the slash are the points lost if the roll is failed.

Involuntary action: any Sanity points loss results in a momentary involuntary action, determined by the Keeper (such as a scream, fainting for 1 round, or pulling the trigger on a gun).

If 5 or more points are lost at any one time: ask the investigator to make an Intelligence (INT) roll: if failed, the character remains sane; if successful (they rolled equal to or lower than their INT value), they have become temporarily insane for 1D10 hours. The Keeper may apply the following as they see fit:

  1. Bout of madness: choose or roll on the Bouts of Madness Table and apply the result for 1D10 rounds.
  2. (Optional) Take the investigator sheet and add a suitable backstory entry or change an existing one based upon the nature of the investigator’s bout of madness or cause of their insanity.
  3. (Optional) Add a phobia or mania to the investigator’s backstory.
  4. Apply delusions, which the player may attempt to see through with a successful reality check (Sanity roll). Delusions can only affect the character within the 1D10 hour period of their insanity.