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Mansions of Madness» Forums » Variants

Subject: New Investigator Action: Suicide Attempt rss

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Philippe Velten
Belgium
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Once again in our last MoM session, we were faced with the "issue" that the investigator team was wondering whether they should try to make that insane character to die to get a new one before the final event is revealed.
For the keeper (i.e. me), it would have been bad news because I needed that insane guy to complete my scenario objective. In the end, I won for this very reason: poor insane Monterey Jack didn't die, but was assaulted by an angry Lost Soul when the objective was revealed (House of Fears, Objective 1B). A very anti-climatic ending by the way, but that's an other topic...

The problem for me is that there is no specific mechanics in the game for the investigators to get rid of an investigator if they think it might favor them. I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be included since, on the other hand, the Keeper is very often encouraged to diminish the Health/Sanity of the investigators but without killing them before the Final Act has been revealed.
Providing such a mean to the investigators would add tension between the two parties (it would also increase the winning chance of the investigators, a much needed feature in most of the scenarios imo).

So here is the idea I came up with: Add a new available action to the investigator to kill himself!

-----------------------------------
Action: Suicide Attempt

Test Willpower -Remaining Sanity -X.
The keeper may spend X Threat to increase the difficulty of the test.

Pass: Resolve a combat card as if you were attacking a humanoid monster in your space. Apply to yourself any effect that should be applied to the target of your attack (and dismiss any effect that should be applied to you). If you dealt yourself at least 3 damage, you actually managed to kill yourself!

Your death doesn't count as a "killed investigator" for keeper objective purpose.
You may attempt a suicide with a monster in your space without the need to evade it.
-----------------------------------

I think it fits the theme perfectly: why not take your life yourself if you are completely desperate?

Any comments and/or suggestions would be very appreciated!
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Diego Garcia
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That's a good and really thematic idea. Would you mind to give us your thoughts after playing with that house rule?
 
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Guido Gloor
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Ostermundigen
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Theamtically: I think no investigator would attempt suicide in a situation like that. Imagine a horror movie ... the guy that was slowly driven crazy by the haunted house, is he going to end his life because he's a danger for everyone? Hell no, he'll revel in his madness and make life difficult for everyone. The player might want to end his character's life, but the character will almost certainly disagree.

Mechanically: This would change the balance of a lot of scenarios in unpredictable ways. You'd need to playtest this properly. I suspect it would make a lot of scenarios a lot harder or unwinnable for the keeper.
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Paul Leigh
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The keeper has to work quite hard (and sometimes has to for the scenario objective) to get one or more of the characters insane. If they can then just bump themselves off to introduce a new character, that weakens the keeper massively.

I would be wary of this variant.

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Byron Campbell
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trouvere wrote:
The keeper has to work quite hard (and sometimes has to for the scenario objective) to get one or more of the characters insane. If they can then just bump themselves off to introduce a new character, that weakens the keeper massively.

I would be wary of this variant.



I agree. If nothing else, it is a nice way to force the keeper to waste threat. Suicide is overpowered and underpunished for investigatoes as it is, so making it easier for investigators is an odd choice.

If you are going to implement this, I would suggest increasing the difficulty as investigators lose sanity, not vice versa. That way, investigators can bump off a character who is just not right for the scenario if they do it early enough, but it becomes increasingly difficult as the game goes on. And I would argue that it DOES count as a keeper kill if that is the objective. I would also make it impossible for an insane character to suicide.
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Chick Lewis
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Wity no intention to offend you, it seems a bad idea to me. In many of the scenarios, that option is already available, and my players have used it twice to make it effectively impossible for the keeper to win. (Though they didn't know it at the time, they certainly suspected it.)

Anytime there is a room on fire, weakened investigators can (and DO) simply go stand there at the end of their turn, and presto, investigator immolation.

I rather think a house rule DISallowing deliberate self-immolation would be a better change.
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Mike A
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You can already do this somewhat. Once when playing as Dexter Drake I realized that the objective would soon be revealed and my character was close to death. Dexter bravely sacrificed himself by jumping into a room on fire. Ashcan Pete arrived and was actually instrumental in saving the day. We considered a house rule to not allow players to do this, but what happened was so fun we decided against it.
 
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Philippe Velten
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Thanks for your comments, guys, I will make a grouped answer.


Quote:
Theamtically: I think no investigator would attempt suicide in a situation like that. Imagine a horror movie ... the guy that was slowly driven crazy by the haunted house, is he going to end his life because he's a danger for everyone? Hell no, he'll revel in his madness and make life difficult for everyone. The player might want to end his character's life, but the character will almost certainly disagree.


Well, I would be interested to know from where you get all this knowledge about the behavior and psychology of insane people struggling against monstrosities from other universes... I read some of the Lovecraft novels and I can tell you that the poor "hero" of his stories is usually more of the "totally depressed and on the verge of suicide" kind of insane rather than "I am so mad that I'll start a killing spree on every innocent people I come across" kind.

Quote:
Mechanically: This would change the balance of a lot of scenarios in unpredictable ways. You'd need to playtest this properly. I suspect it would make a lot of scenarios a lot harder or unwinnable for the keeper.


Quote:
The keeper has to work quite hard (and sometimes has to for the scenario objective) to get one or more of the characters insane. If they can then just bump themselves off to introduce a new character, that weakens the keeper massively.

I would be wary of this variant.


Make the game harder for the Keeper? Well, please! That is the very intent of this variant! If you think that the game is perfectly balanced already, or even in favor of the investigators, you are clearly not concerned by this variant.

Anyway, I don't think it will change the balance in such a radical way that the objectives of the keeper become unwinnable, because since the investigators don't know the objectives, they are always taking the risk of helping the keeper by doing that. Moreover, it costs them a precious "Action" with the risk of a failure attempt...
Btw, for me it is funnier to put a gun in my mouth, shoot and realize I merely managed to disfigured myself, rather than standing immobile in a room in fire doing nothing, just waiting to die. But that is probably personal taste...

Quote:
I agree. If nothing else, it is a nice way to force the keeper to waste threat. Suicide is overpowered and underpunished for investigatoes as it is, so making it easier for investigators is an odd choice.

If you are going to implement this, I would suggest increasing the difficulty as investigators lose sanity, not vice versa. That way, investigators can bump off a character who is just not right for the scenario if they do it early enough, but it becomes increasingly difficult as the game goes on. And I would argue that it DOES count as a keeper kill if that is the objective. I would also make it impossible for an insane character to suicide.


Why "force the keeper"? He will do what he wants of his threat. Actually, I like the fact that since the Keeper has the choice, the investigators may try to interpret his move. So in return he can try to bluff, by making the investigators to think that he really wants to prevent the death of the investigator, or the other way around... In general I like the rules which introduce some kind of manipulation/bluffing mechanics to the game (that is one of the reasons why I always play with the variant of seeding Mythos in room, presented somewhere else in this forum, and which works great btw).

Increasing difficulty with sanity reduction is the odd way in my opinion, because getting rid of an insane character was the very reason I implement this rule!
I don't like the idea of getting rid a character just because he wouldn't "fit" the scenario and I am pretty sure that with the rule you propose, no player will ever perform this "Suicide Attempt" action, even less if that counts as a keeper kill!

"Suicide is overpowered and underpunished for investigatoes as it is"
You talking about the "staying in a room in fire" suicide? Because that is the only way to perform a suicide that I know of in the current rules (well with the exception of trying to mate with a shoggoth... hum those slimy tentacles... modest), and I hardly see how it is overpowered and underpunished, moreover because the keeper has often some means to make the investigator to move against their will.


Quote:
Wity no intention to offend you, it seems a bad idea to me. In many of the scenarios, that option is already available, and my players have used it twice to make it effectively impossible for the keeper to win. (Though they didn't know it at the time, they certainly suspected it.)

Anytime there is a room on fire, weakened investigators can (and DO) simply go stand there at the end of their turn, and presto, investigator immolation.

I rather think a house rule DISallowing deliberate self-immolation would be a better change.


Quote:
You can already do this somewhat. Once when playing as Dexter Drake I realized that the objective would soon be revealed and my character was close to death. Dexter bravely sacrificed himself by jumping into a room on fire. Ashcan Pete arrived and was actually instrumental in saving the day. We considered a house rule to not allow players to do this, but what happened was so fun we decided against it.


The only problem I have with this mechanics is that this rule was certainly not designed as a way to suicide a character, so it can even be seen as an "exploit" as you mentioned yourselves.
But in my mind, it is a practical fix for a feature lacking in the rules, and this feature is precisely the possibility for the investigators to get rid of a insane/half-dead character!
The keeper is strongly encouraged to weaken the investigators as much as possible, but certainly not to kill them! On the contrary, it is best for him to keep them alive, only until the objective is revealed to finish them off. That part is fine for me but the problem is that there is nothing to counterbalance that on the investigator side.

My proposed variant is a way to introduce some kind of tension:

-as a keeper, should I diminish the investigators to the maximum I can, at the risk that they decide to kill themselves? Or should I let them think they may have a chance, only to better destroy their illusion at a later stage?

-as a investigator, should I keep my not-in-such-good-shape character? Or should I try to suicide him to get a fresh one, at the risk of missing the suicide attempt and thus wasting my time?

The current rules leads to anti-climatic ending, as I once again experienced on my last game session:

Jack was mad early during the game, which was quite easy to achieve for the keeper in this scenario but still I had to wait until the event4 to happen to show to the inv. that they had lost... very boring for me since I knew very early that I would most probably win, and boring for them because they realized that all their efforts were useless in the end, because would they had find the last clue or not it wouldn't make any difference!
Oh surely, they thought to get rid of Jack, but
-no fire, so no clean way to kill him
-the keeper didn't make use of the fact he was mad, so why not continue to use him to kill monsters with his guns? Of course, there was the risk that his madness would generate nasty stuff later, but what would be the alternative? Since it was the first time playing this scenario, there was no clue what could be the objective...

I was wondering to forbid the Suicide Attempt Action once the finale/objective has been revealed: "Now that we know that the keeper objective is to kill one/two of us under some condition, let just kill ourselves!!!". But since the keeper can still win by killing all investigators, I tend to think it is not really needed...



 
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177ark
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Personally, I see the spirit of the rule of getting a new Investigator when one dies is to keep a Player in the game instead of forcing them to sit out the rest of the game.
If you want to create a Suicide Attempt Action, I think they shouldn't get a new Investigator. Thematically, if someone is going to commit suicide it's because they've given up or they see it as the noble sacrifice for the greater good. They're not doing it knowing that they'll be back in a few minutes as someone else. But, if that's the point of the Action then call it what it is, a Reincarnation Action, which in it self ruins any thematic sense.
If someone wants to use a Suicide Action, it should be with the mind set of giving up on playing out the rest of the game or the noble sacrifice so others may be able to win even though they loose.
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