Sanity vs Stability

Sanity vs Stability

I was playing a Call of Cthulhu one shot scenario and I had this reflection about how different the idea is behind the Mental Health system in that game when you compare it to KULT: Divinity Lost.

In Call of Cthulhu Sanity is something that is slowly gnawed away by facing the unspeakable, slithering, slimy, tentacloid, horrors of the Lovecraftian mythology. It is like mental Hit Points. When you reach 0 you are out of the game. Permanently mad and it is time to make a new character. It is never good to have low Sanity. And when each step down leads to the characters END. Reach the end and you can’t play it anymore.

In KULT: Divinity Lost you have your Stability. When it decreases due to trauma you start to loose control over your Disadvantages and they have a bigger chance of triggering. But, when you reach a critical stress level you also start to see through the Illusion. If you reach the bottom and becomes broken horrible things happen. The Illusion may Crumble, You might become suicidal, You gain a new Disadvantage. But, there might also be a change in Archetype, Attributes are switched around and you might even get Experience. So reaching the bottom is seldom a positive thing but instead like in Cthulhu where it means Destruction in KULT: Divinity Lost it instead causes CHANGE.

I think this is quite significant and at the very core of KULT: Divinity Lost. Madness changes the character, it does not end it. It makes you an outcast in society, you will seem strange but at the same time you will have a deeper insight in things that are happening. It might even change your body, open gateways and call creatures into our reality.

To me, that is a far more interesting system for KULT. Than most horror systems where insanity is the end and it makes a character unplayable.

One thought on “Sanity vs Stability

  1. CoC sanity system works well for the kind of game that it is. The slow decrease in sanity contributes to the sense of dread and impending doom. Some poor rolls create temporary insanities that lead to new roleplaying opportunities and permanent insanities leave the character with mental wounds that have to be dealt with for the rest of the campaign. It’s not a good depiction of actual mental problems, and it’s not even particularly faithful to Lovecraft’s writings, but it works for the type of game that CoC is.

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