Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-14-2019, 12:46 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

Manic-Depressive [-20] is a mundane mental disadvantage, with a special self-control roll. Your mood swings between overwhelming enthusiasm and depressive withdrawal, as a cinematic version of the real-world condition of bipolar disorder. This seems to have first appeared in Compendium I for GURPS 3e.

You switch unpredictably between two different sets of disadvantages: Overconfidence and Workaholic when you’re in the manic phase, or Chronic Depression in the depressive phase. Your self-control roll for all of these disadvantages is your Will. That wasn’t changed at 4e when Self-Control Rolls were separated from Will, presumably because it’s too complicated, and few characters will take this disadvantage anyway. Your personality changes along with the disadvantages, very extroverted when manic, very introverted when depressed.

At the start of each session of play, you have 50:50 odds of being in either phase. Each 5 hours of game time, roll 3d, and on a 10 or less, you start switching to the other phase, which takes an hour. This implies you wake up in a random phase each morning. If you’re faced with an emergency, roll 3d, and on a 10 or less, you switch to the other phase immediately. Sometimes this can be helpful, and sometimes it creates an extra problem.

This is a pretty crippling disadvantage for an adventurer, and rare on published templates, showing up on artists, musicians, serial killers and some uplifted animals. Bio-Tech regards it as the kind of mental instability that can be genefixed at TL9, and mitigated by drugs. High-Tech: Pulp Guns points out that it’s a good reason for denying someone a firearms license. It shows up on a couple of Madness Dossier character templates with alternative sanity, and of course it can be inflicted. Monster Hunters Crusaders, Gifted and a few Holy Hunters can also have it, and Power-Ups 6 has a far less dangerous quirk-level version. Some templates from Psis can have this disadvantage, acquired through suffering, and Steampunk has a TL5^ treatment that’s safe, honestly. Tactical Shooting makes it a possible symptom of PTSD, along with many other mental problems.

This is a problem that’s easier to cope with in stories where everything is controlled by an author, rather than a shared creation with some random events. It’s worth having in the system as a symptom, but have you ever seen a PC or significant NPC with it?

Last edited by johndallman; 06-15-2019 at 04:38 AM. Reason: Forgot value.
johndallman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2019, 01:01 PM   #2
edk926
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

As someone whose dad is Bipolar, I don't like how it works that much. He doesn't switch back and forth that readily. Typically the moods last for much longer. Also they can have periods of time where they aren't really manic or depressive. Finally, it's pretty common for manic people to experience bouts of Compulsive Spending. My dad gets that although he's trained himself so to speak to spend on cheaper things, specifically toy cars and model cars.
edk926 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2019, 01:23 PM   #3
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

I had a PC in my banestormed romans game who took it. The PC was the defacto administrator of the town when it happened, and time could move rather quickly in that game. He had an NPC Ally specifically to fill in for his down time. He did not reveal this fact to the other PC's at first, and at the start of every session or big movement in time we'd roll to see what state the character was in. The other PC's thought he had some sort of sleep problem.

It was a very memorable trait that had an impact on the game without derailing it. Once the other players knew about the condition, it was fun to say "Is he available?" when an issue came up. In a game with different pacing the disadvantage could conceivably be much more crippling.
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2019, 07:51 PM   #4
kirbwarrior
 
kirbwarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Dreamland
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Each 5 hours of game time, roll 3d, and on a 10 or less, you start switching to the other phase, which takes an hour.
I always thought that was real time and played it as such. That's what I get for skimming. I don't know if that makes it better or worse.

I had exactly one character with it. It was fine, but I won't pick it again. None of my players seem to even consider it an option. Probably because no one wants to take Chronic Depressions, honestly.

However, I like how it works, or more accurately the mechanics of it. I've had fun replacing effects of disads with very close effects without changing mechanically how it works; Klutz becomes Moron changing DX to IQ, Loner becomes a weaker type of phobia by changing Bad Temper to Honesty, etc. Changing the disads that make up Manic Depressive with other similarly priced ones could make for some new fun disads. But then, that also sounds like Split Personality, and now I'm not sure why Manic-Depressive works like it does when Split Personality is close but not quite the same and can cover more types of characters.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmicfish View Post
While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
kirbwarrior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 03:07 AM   #5
RogerBW
 
RogerBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
This is a pretty crippling disadvantage for an adventurer
That's the problem, really. I could see using it on an NPC where I could control what state they were in, but to have a PC who's randomly unavailable for adventuring seems unworkable to me.

On the other hand, putting a drugs mitigator on it (probably a daily drug treatment for -60%) seems quite workable, and for the net -8 you'd end up with minor social penalties (that business with gun licences) and a tendency to pack really carefully when going into the wilderness.
RogerBW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 03:54 AM   #6
a humble lich
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

I had a character with it once, where it was a disadvantage I gained from to many failed fright checks. As it was one of several disadvantages that character had which were gained that way I found it difficult to play. I eventually bought it off for the same reason several people here have mentioned: it was pretty crippling to play. I like the concept, it was just difficult to have in practice.

The moral: avoid contact nameless horrors that man was not meant to know if you don't want difficult mental disadvantages. And definitely avoid sacrificing your soul to them for the good of the party.
a humble lich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 04:35 AM   #7
Daigoro
 
Daigoro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Meifumado
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

So what would be a more playable version to go with? Include an "acts normal" result to the die roll?
__________________
World Wikis:
Cyberpunk: Duopoly Nation
Fantasy: Dominion Cross
Space Opera: Behind the King's Eclipse
Steampunk: Colonial Steam
Daigoro is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 04:54 AM   #8
a humble lich
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

Mainly make Chronic Depression less crippling. The way it is written many be realistic for severe cases of depression, but I've know several people with depression (myself included) and the description of the disadvantage is harsh (and probably worth more than -15). As it is written, the character can do nothing without a self control roll. Perhaps make it clear that unlike other disadvantages, regularly making self control rolls does not represent bad roll playing but represents the character fighting against their depression.

Also, in the particular case of my character, it was unplayable because it was one of many mental disadvantages gained in play which were added only an already sizable list of mental disadvantages. She had issues, and as a player it was hard keeping them all straight.
a humble lich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2019, 02:51 PM   #9
gmillerd
 
gmillerd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
That's the problem, really. I could see using it on an NPC where I could control what state they were in, but to have a PC who's randomly unavailable for adventuring seems unworkable to me.
It's not as bad as real life for sure (sans limitations such as medications for either).

A character that migrates from a range of Ace Rimmer and Arnold Rimmer or Marvin the Robot to C3PO isn't so bad (unrelated sheets, but the contrast is what I am speaking to). It's 20 points bad, but not a deal breaker or a game breaker normally. There are a lot of physical disads or stone cold bad stuff that is worse.

I would like to see a discussion of mitigation by other players, as there are plenty of skills to bring to bear. Often enough a "Oh jezz Rick" interaction is also unworkable. I am sure there are plenty of mitigations. Coward even has mitigations.
__________________
NearByGamers | "Look after the universe for me will you, I have put a lot of work into it." -- Doctor Who
gmillerd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2019, 03:41 PM   #10
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic]Disadvantage of the Week: Manic-Depressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
So what would be a more playable version to go with? Include an "acts normal" result to the die roll?
The easiest ways are to change the probability of flipping state, and make the rolls less frequent. Changing the probabilities to spend more time in one state could also help.

For example, if you rolled once per day, and would change from manic to depressive on a 6-, and depressive to manic on a 15-, you'd be manic most of the time, which is much better for an adventurer. There's also scope for things to influence the priorities: for example, getting drunk and waking up with a hangover could plausibly increase the probability of going depressive.
johndallman is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
disadvantage of the week, manic-depressive

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.