The Path of Madness

Alternate Names: Mania, Psychosis, The Broken Mask, The Broken Mirror, the Laughing God, the Screaming God, the Blind Idiot God, The Murmuring Angel

Madness represents the various ways that the mind can lose itself and break. The path of madness traces its way through every crack and fracture in Communion. It represents not just the madness that people have suffered, but the shape in which madness tends to afflict people. Thus, Madness is not random or chaotic. It follows predictable, tragic patterns of dementia. By following those patterns, the avatar of Madness can better understand that madness, and gains the power to reshape herself, and even reality to some degree to match her delusion, but she is destined to have her madness dissolve her psyche.

Corruption of Madness

Following the Path of Madness requires nothing more than Disciplines of Faith (Ritualism), but it inflicts Corruption points, like any form of Broken Communion. The disadvantages gained from Broken Communion's corruption while following the Path of Madness must be used to acquire a disadvantage associated with self-delusion or the themes of Madness. The following represents ideas:

Disadvantages: Amnesia Compulsive Behavior (Giggling (-1 to reaction rolls), Sobbing, Laughing (treat as Coughing or Sneezing)) [-5*], Confused [-10*], Delusions (False Memories, Incorrect Beliefs) [varies], Fearfulness [-2/level], Flashbacks (Any) [varies], Manic-Depressive [-20], Neurological Disorder (Mild) [-5], Paranoia [-10], Phobia (Any) [varies]. See Horror page 144 for more ideas.

Benefits: At the GM's discretion, characters who follow the Path of Madness may purchase Probability Manipulation or Dream Control abilities with the -25% Broken Communion Path modifier in addition to the -10% Psi modifier.

Symbols

  • Color: Ultra-Violet (or Purple)
  • Regalia: Clashing colors, anachronistic garments, masks, excessive/inappropriate make-up, any kind of restraint.
  • Tools: Broken mirrors; outsider art; children's toys.
  • Locations: Pulsars; Hyperspace; Insane asylums, abandoned places of merriment;

Invocations of Symbols

Characters with Symbolic Resonance (Madness) may invoke the symbols at full value for any use of Telepathy abilities, or for use of psychic powers that interact with crazy people, that has the possibility of inflicting madness, to create bizarre, surreal scenes (sticking chairs to the ceiling, etc), or to uncover a truth that will disturb the psion. It can never be used to sooth a broken mind.

Milestones

  • Mania uncovers an important truth via unconventional methods: a dread monster lurks hidden somewhere nearby, a metaphorical or literal threat to everyone, but especially to someone close to Mania. At least one person will outright disregard this and die to the monster. Mania will slay the beast, but events will conspire to make it appear that there was no beast (and perhaps that Mania was responsible for the death of the person who ignored the threat).
  • Mania uncovers an important truth via unconventional methods: that she is loved. Someone she previously thought was unobtainable has proven to love her. More, that love is vital in some way to the safety of the world and/or ordained by Broken Communion itself. Furthermore, events conspire to prevent this person from confessing his feelings to others, or even to Mania herself. To protect the world and to fulfill the command of Broken Communion, Mania successfully engages in a romantic relationship with her lover, despite his external pretensions that he has no desire for such a thing.
  • Mania uncovers an important truth via unconventional methods: That a close ally/companion has been literally or metaphorically replaced with her antithesis. Mania sets out to restore her friend, but is unable to do so and is forced to slay the imposter (completing the milestone). Events conspire to hide the truth of the imposter, and it appears as though Mania killed her close ally/companion..
  • Mania uncovers an important truth via unconventional methods: A sinister conspiracy, reaching up to the highest levels of power, seeks to both rule the world, and to control/destroy her, personally, either literally or metaphorically. She will strike a blow at the metaphorical heart of the conspiracy (completing the milestone), but events will conspire to make it appear that she damaged a legitimate institution.
  • Mania uncovers an important truth: She has gone mad. Her flesh has betrayed her and is no longer hers. Her mind has betrayed her and is no longer hers. At least one of her previous milestones was a lie, and that she committed a terrible crime while in the throes of madness. Mania has been consumed by Mania, until nothing is left of her but the mask she wears. Mania thus dies. But someone uncovers the means by which Mania uncovered her truths, and takes up the mantle of Mania himself, carrying on her abandoned quest.

Associated Talents

Craftiness: [5/level] (Lesser Primordial Expertise). Found in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, on page 9 (and GURPS Action and Psis).

Clown: [10/level] (Greater Primordial Expertise). Found in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, on page 8.

Associated Miracles

  • Minor Blessings (Neutral)
    • Aura of Chaos
    • Primordial Expertise, Lesser (Craftiness)
    • Primordial Expertise, Greater (Clown)
    • Horrifying Truth
    • Commune with Madness
  • Major Blessings (Good)
    • Broken Window
    • Plague of Madness
    • Sanity Blasting Horror
    • Mask of Madness
    • Sense Madness
  • Miraculous Power (Very Good)
    • Psionic Madness
    • Channel Archetype (Madness)
    • Mirror Image
    • Fractured Reality
  • World-Shaking Miracles (Excellent)
    • Sanity Blasting Horror (Enhanced)
  • History-Shaping Miracles (Excellent+4)
    • Primordial Avatar (Madness)

Unique Miracles

Commune with Madness

Reaction Required: Neutral
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Dark Communion 5, Archetypal Reputation (Madness) 1
Learned Prayer Cost: 4 points
Corruption: 4 points

A deep relationship with the madness of Broken Communion grants the Avatar of Madness a deep connection with the insane. After invoking this prayer, the Avatar gains the ability to understand the emotions of the insane, and the insane intuitively trust the Avatar (+3 to reaction modifiers)

Statistics: Empathy (The Insane -20%, Broken Communion -25%) [9], Charisma +3 (The Insane -20%, Broken Communion -25%) [9] [18]

Mask of Madness

Reaction Required: Neutral
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 4, Archetypal Reputation (Madness) 1
Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points
Corruption: 3

After completion of this prayer, the avatar can psychically change her appearance. Those viewing the character can roll Will-5 to see the true face of the avatar, but otherwise, this ability grants +4 to Disguise.

Statistics: Elastic Skin (Glamour Will-5 -5%, Divine Path -25%) [14]

Sense Madness

Reaction Required: Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 7, Archetypal Reputation (Madness) 2
Learned Prayer Cost: 6 points
Corruption: 6

Upon completion of this prayer, the Avatar of Madness automatically knows the location of the nearest insane person. This information is perfect, but if the Avatar wants to understand it more deeply (ie to analyze it), he must succeed at a Philosophy roll to better comprehend its imagery.

Statistics: Detect (Madness; Occassional, No Roll Required +100%, Precise, Non Targetting +90%, Divine -25%) [28]

Mirror Image

Reaction Required: Very Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 11, Archetypal Reputation (Madness) 3
Learned Prayer Cost: 18 points
Corruption: 18

Mania summons… herself! The character spends 10 fatigue and then a perfect copy of Mania appears, as though she split into a mirror image of herself. This duplicate has the same gear and begins with the same levels of HP and FP that the character has. The player may control both the original character and the duplicate. The character may not invoke this miracle again unless the duplicate dies or the two characters “merge” and mingle their memories and experiences. The characters are not in psychic contact with one another, thus may not share information.

The duplicate is utterly indistinguishable from the original. If the duplicate dies, nothing happens to the original (who may use the miracle again). If the original dies, the duplicate remains and the player may continue playing her as though she were the original. In practical considerations, the distinction between “original” and “duplicate” is moot.

Statistics: Duplication (Broken Communion Path -25%; Existential crisis +20%; Duplicated Gear +100%; Mental Construct +60%) [90]

Fractured Reality

Reaction Required: Very Good
Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 12, Archetypal Reputation (Madness) 3
Learned Prayer Cost: 19
Corruption: 19

After completion of this prayer, the Avatar of Madness makes a delusion true. Those affected by the shared delusion must roll Will vs the Avatar's Philosophy. Those who fail can be permanently harmed or healed by that delusion.

See Demiurgy (Powers: the Weird page 33) but with +20% Reliable (Thus, you roll IQ rather than IQ-4), and Broken Communion Path -25%) [124] (Corruption 5)

Avatar Templates

Lesser Avatar of Madness

Learned Prayer Cost: 18 points

The psion retains his own personality, but gains channels the skills associated with Madness. She gains extraordinary stealth and the ability to portray herself as others, as well as the physical agility to entertain others. She also gains a deep understanding of the insane and to understand the nature of their madness. Finally, she gains a +1 when taking any unreasonable risks.

Statistics: Lesser Avatar of Madness template as Alternate form

Lesser Avatar of Madness

109 points

Advantages: Lesser Avatar Template [25]; Clown 3 [30] and Optional Rule: Talent may exceed +4 [1]; Craftiness 3 [15] and Optional Rule: Talent may exceed +4 [1]; Charisma +3 (The Insane -20%) [12]; Daredevil [15]; Empathy (The Insane -20%) [12].

Greater Avatar of Madness

Learned Prayer Cost: 34 points

The psion becomes the incarnation of Madness. In addition to the typical, overwhelming power of any Communal Avatar, his aura and features becomes fluid and shifting. She can change what she looks like instantly, and those who behold her find her strange, disturbing and confusing to behold. Her madness spills out to those nearby: Anyone within four yards must succeed at a contest of wills with the Avatar or they begin to hallucinate for a number of minutes equal to the margin of failure. The drawback is that the Avatar is inundated with all the voices and echoes of every mad person in Communion. This works something like Supersensitive, but the only way to escape the constant buzz is to go to a place of Low Sanctity to Broken Communion.

Statistics: Greater Avatar of Madness template as Alternate form

Greater Avatar of Madness

298 points

Attributes: +2 DX [40];

Advantages: Primordial Template [175]; Aura of Chaos (Always On -20%, Emanation -20%, Divine -0%) [30]; Confusion (Divine -0%) [30]; Elastic Skin (Glamour Will-5 -5%, Divine -0%, Reduced Time, Instant +100%) [38],

Disadvantages: Super-Sensitive [-15]

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